DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked muzzleloaders and anglers this past week. A few ice anglers were checked, but they weren’t having much success. Velsvaag received several calls about deer-hunting regulations and trapping restrictions in the Canada lynx zone.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) traveled area forest roads and checked lake accesses. Rain earlier in the month is still impacting some road conditions, with washed out areas and large sheets of ice across entire sections of a few roads. She also followed up on reports of wildlife feeding and she spoke with local radio station about safety during outdoor winter activities. Snow to date has been minimal, so now is a good time to take a required safety training rather than wrecking a snowmobile on barely covered trails.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area hunting and angling activity. Time was spent checking on complaints of illegal angling on trout lakes, and one muzzleloader-hunting issue.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) worked a trapping case through the week. He also completed equipment maintenance. A few grouse hunters were checked in the area but Hill is getting the sense that most outdoor enthusiasts are waiting for snow and ice.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping and ice angling activity this week. Most area lakes are now ice-covered and anglers are starting to venture out on foot to try their luck. Ice thickness varied from 4 to 7 inches on lakes checked in the Two Harbors area. Anglers should check ice often when traveling on newly formed ice and wear a PFD, with ice picks available for use if needed.

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the opening of the 2021 muzzleloader deer season was slow, with few people observed in the field despite the weather being mild. A few animal-related complaints were handled, as were questions in regards to muzzleloader hunting and licensing. No enforcement action was needed this weekend.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working the muzzleloader deer opener. Activity was pretty slow throughout the area. Simonson also checked a number of people out doing a little last-minute grouse hunting this past weekend.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) followed up on incidents from the firearms deer season. Cases were concluded and complaint areas were checked on. Questions on the muzzleloader season and northern pike spearing were fielded. A few individuals were out braving the wintery conditions, still after the whitetails. Ice conditions are still not safe for any kind of recreational activity.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports ice fishing is in full swing. With little snow cover on area lakes, ice conditions continue to improve. Illegal spruce cutting continues. Muzzleloader deer hunting was nonexistent. Snow continues to melt as above-freezing daytime temperatures continue. Public access sites were checked and equipment work and administrative tasks were completed.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game hunting and angling activity. Anglers are reminded that ice is still dangerously thin in most parts of the state and to exercise extreme caution, even when fishing small bodies of water. Time was also spent preparing equipment for the winter season and responding to calls.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time taking calls related to big game, trapping, and nuisance animals over the week. He also spent a majority of the week taking care of equipment and putting it away for the winter. Zavodnik continues to wrap up several decorative product cases from the fall.