MN DNR Conservation Officers weekly report

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports finishing step one of field training with COC Choua Khang. Small-game and fishing activities continue to be the main emphasis of the work activities, with lots of grouse in the bags of hunters. A couple of wetland violations were reported to Kittelson and will be further investigated.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working small-game hunters and working the Rainy River this past week.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that despite cold weather and snowy conditions, grouse hunters were active with birds being harvested. Waterfowl-hunting activity has been steady with birds now on the move. Reports of illegal stands being built on public lands were investigated. Windy conditions and cooler weather have created hazardous conditions on area waterways. As always, users are reminded and encouraged to wear PFDs.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring hunting and ATV activities over the week. Local public water access sites continue to be checked. Area forest roads and state lands were checked. Equipment work was completed. Phone calls remain consistent at all hours of the day. Permits were issued and other administrative tasks were completed.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) spent time checking grouse hunters throughout his station. He also spent time investigating cases related to shooting within 500 feet of an occupied structure and other complaints from Lake Vermilion property owners.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game, ATV, and big-game activity. Time was also spent speaking at a firearms safety class in Hibbing and assisting the Hibbing Fire Department locate and transport a lost and injured hiker. Snow and precipitation over the weekend saw a decline in recreational activity, but local hunters still reported seeing some good grouse numbers.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time investigating multiple timber-trespass complaints. He also completed several administrative tasks over the course of the week.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, hunting, and ATV activity. Poor weather conditions limited recreational activity. Waterfowl hunters reported limited success and stated few ducks were seen. Grouse hunters reported seeing more birds this week. Broughten fielded calls regarding nuisance animals, illegal bough cutting, and license requirements.

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports hunting activity tapered off toward the weekend as several days of rain and snow arrived. Waterfowl reports were generally poor with only some ducks and flights of mergansers arriving in the Ely area. Grouse-hunting reports were fair, although most hunters did not make it far into the wet, snow-covered woods.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked angling, small-game hunting and ATV activity throughout the week. He responded to several hunting complaints in the area and assisted with an investigation regarding a vehicle that was shot in a person’s driveway. Enforcement action was taken for hunting violations.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) took calls of road hit-moose and ATVs operating on the highway. Grouse hunters were checked. They had good success, especially those who got away from the roads and trails. Late-season muskie anglers were trying their hardest, and a few anglers are still searching the tributaries for salmon. Enforcement action was taken for angling and ATV violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) spent the week field training COC Ledeen. Small-game enforcement was conducted, with most hunting parties having great success harvesting grouse. Hill and Ledeen picked up a party on a local warrant.

A few anglers were contacted possessing limits of some dandy brook trout. Worms seem to be working quite well. Enforcement action was taken for hunting with no license in possession, unattended property left at a public water access, and carrying a pistol while in possession of narcotics.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked big-game archery and small-game hunting and trapping activity this week. The first snow of the season gave archery hunters some tracking snow and visibility in the woods improved as fall colors have peaked and are dropping. The weekend was busy with hunters tending to deer stands and cabins in preparation for deer firearms season.