DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports it was a very busy start to the last weekend of the regular firearms deer season. More hunters hit the woods on the Echo Trail Saturday than either of the previous weekends. The rush was short-lived as most hunters left early Sunday ahead of the several inches of snow and colder weather.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked deer-hunting activity this past week. Hunting was slow overall, with many complaints of low deer numbers and high wolf numbers. Velsvaag received numerous calls about hours of operation for ATVs during the deer season and the deer-registration timeline.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season. He followed up on complaints, monitored whitefish nets and executed a felony arrest. Enforcement action was taken for deer and firearms violations.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) wrapped up a rather slow firearms deer season. Deer continued to be scarce and by the final day so were hunters. She also checked a few trap sets, took calls about nuisance beavers and followed up on a burn permit issue. Winter is slow in coming this year and property owners are reminded they need 3 inches of actual snow completely covering the ground to legally burn brush without a permit. Burning trash, paper, treated or painted wood, furniture or other toxic items is always illegal.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the final week of the firearms deer season, as well as decorative materials and trapping enforcement. A buck was seized that was shot over bait. The deer was also untagged and unregistered. Bermel assisted CO Larson with a large balsam bough seizure that were cut off state land without a permit. Trespass calls and deer-possession tags were handled.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the end of the deer season. High winds kept things fairly quiet. A cold spell has iced-over lakes, but not enough to get out on them yet.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports the end of the firearms season came quietly in the area as deer harvests were few and far between. A few hunters who passed on small bucks early in the season mentioned they wished they had the chance to do it over. Hill actually saw quite a few small-game hunters taking advantage of the lack of people inland. Good numbers of harvested feather and fur were seen. Surveillance was done on a trapping case. A warning was issued for no deer license in possession.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a cold and windy close to the firearms deer season. Hunters reported seeing deer, but many were antlerless in the bucks-only zone and not available for harvest. Ice has just begun to show up on shallow ponds and lakes, but is unsafe for even foot travel. Enforcement action was taken for trespass, shooting from the roadway, and an overlimit of deer.

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the 2021 firearms deer season has come to an end. The muzzleloader deer-hunting season is next, and the trapping season continues. Overall, the deer season was a success for most people if you equate success with harvesting a deer. In Kittelson?s opinion, it?s not always about killing something; it?s about being outdoors and all that entails family, friendship, stories of past and present, shack food, and the hopes of seeing some wildlife. However, some people just can?t play by the rules, which leads to the enforcement action taken for the week: Hunting over bait, operating ATVs during restricted hours, license violations, allowing juveniles to hunt over bait, lending/borrowing licenses, and transporting loaded firearm.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working deer-hunting activity with people trying to fill their tags on the last weekend. He also assisted neighboring officers with a hunting-over-bait violation. Simonson also handled deer-dumping complaint calls throughout the week as well.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports deer-hunting complaints continued to trickle in throughout the season. Success and effort waned as the season progressed. With the previous week?s snow causing difficulties getting around on trails and in the woods, many hunting shacks sat empty. Shooting deer over bait, knowingly allowing a juvenile to hunt in violation of regulations, transporting illegally taken big game, driving ATVs during the closed hours, transporting loaded firearms, and license violations were investigated.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little deer hunting over the week was observed. The season ended with little hunting activity and continued complaints about no deer and high wolf numbers. Equipment work was completed. Administrative tasks continue. Other time was spent returning calls.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily deer-hunting activity. Larson spent time working cases related to baiting, illegal take of decorative materials, and shooting from the roadway. Ice is quickly building, but yet unsafe, on many small lakes and the bays of Lake Vermilion.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game-hunting activity. Fewer hunters were seen in the field during the second week of the firearms deer season and those who were reported not seeing many deer. Numerous calls were fielded and some investigations remain ongoing. Violations encountered included hunting over bait, trespassing, failure to register deer, and no deer license in possession.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending the PEER support training program during the week. He also followed up on several big-game cases. Zavodnik, along with several neighboring COs, worked a detail that led to a shooting from the roadway case. Time was also spent following up on several decorative product violations.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Few deer hunters were observed taking to the field for the last week of the firearms deer season. Broughten fielded calls regarding injured animals and license questions.