Outdoors

Fri
21
Jan

DNR seeking public input on deer population goals including Ely area

Beginning Monday, Jan. 24, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for public input on deer population goals in 28 of 130 deer permit areas (DPAs).
“We’re continuing with an online questionnaire this year and adding webinars for those who wish to connect directly with area wildlife managers on this topic,” said Barbara Keller, DNR big game program leader. “We’re excited to have people participate and encourage anyone who has an interest in deer management to give feedback on deer population trends in the areas where they live, work and recreate.”
The DNR establishes deer population goals — how much of an increase or decrease is desired in a deer population in a particular DPA — as part of managing the state’s wild deer.

Fri
14
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the brief warmer weather brought out a good deal of snowmobile and angling activity. Fishing reports from the BWCAW were fair to good, although travel was difficult due to flowing water. Violations included failure to display snowmobile registration and operating an unregistered snowmobile.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) reports snowmobile trail conditions improved but on the lake it’s a little bumpy. Fishing was slow this past week and a little slush showed up after the snow. Velsvaag took several calls on trapping and northern pike regulations.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking anglers on remote lakes in the BWCAW and patrolled snowmobile trails. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

Fri
07
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a good amount of snow fell over the week, followed by extreme cold over the weekend. Some snowmobile activity was seen before the weekend, but it tapered off with the cold. Violations included angling without a license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration, and failure to transfer registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Trail conditions have improved but fishing has been slow. Velsvaag received several calls about trout openers.

Fri
31
Dec

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) assisted St. Louis County and Morse and Ely ambulance with a snowmobile accident near Burntside Lake. Fishing reports improved over the week as colder weather and more ice made more lakes accessible. Fisher and marten trapping activity stayed strong through the weekend and more than a few successful trappers were contacted.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trappers and anglers this past week. Trapping was slow but some nice fish are being caught. Snowmobiling activity picked up and trail conditions should improve this week with the upcoming snowfall.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked pine marten, fisher and otter sets. Snowmobile trails were also patrolled. Temperature swings and lack of good snowfall continue to cause varied trail conditions.

Thu
23
Dec

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports warm and rainy conditions early in the week stalled out much of the angling activity. Over the weekend, trapping and fishing activity was good and some early snowmobiling activity was again seen.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers, netters and trappers this past week. Ice conditions improved considerably this past week, but the ice is still relatively thin on the main portion of some of the larger lakes. Anglers did better at the end of the week and Velsvaag got several calls on the pike regulations.

Fri
17
Dec

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports mild weather over the weekend meant a huge amount of hunting, fishing, ATV, snowmobile, and skiing activity. A good amount of time was spent focusing on ski trail pass enforcement. A 100% compliance rate was seen. Violations included operating an ATV with no safety certificate and failure to display ATV registration.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked deer hunters and anglers this past week. Snowmobile activity picked up a bit but trails aren’t groomed. Velsvaag worked a detail in the Grand Marais area and took calls about deer zones and a designated trout lake.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking snowmobilers and anglers. He attended training at Camp Ripley and worked on equipment. Enforcement action was taken for multiple snowmobile violations.

Fri
10
Dec

Monster 17-point buck was a team effort

It took three hunters to bring down a 17-point buck in the Ely area on the last weekend of the firearms deer season.
The buck ended up taking top prize in the United Way of NE MN’s Big Buck Contest.
Dean DeBeltz said he was hunting with daughter Carena and nephew Ruger Carpenter, checking on a few spots before heading home for the day.
“We walked over to a spot and I told my nephew to watch the clearing. We were about to leave and he said, ‘There’s a deer down there!”
DeBeltz said the buck was about 230 yards away and he decided to take a shot.
“I didn’t think we could get any closer so I took a shot and I think I hit it.”
But the deer was downwind and looked like it didn’t know which way to go. Fortunately, it made the wrong decision.
“It walked across the trail and then it started coming our way so I told those two, get your guns up and when it comes into the clearing we’re all going to shoot.”

Fri
10
Dec

DNR certifies new state record for muskie

An angler caught a muskellunge weighing 55 pounds, 14 ounces, from Mille Lacs Lake that the Department of Natural Resources has certified as a weight-based state record.
The previous record was a 54-pound muskie caught from Lake Winnibigoshish in 1957. Although news of the fish has spread quickly in the news and social media, a record is not official until the certification process is complete.
Nolan Sprengeler caught the muskie on Nov. 22, with friends Kevin Kray and Zack Skoglund. Their plan was to fish the afternoon until after moonrise, which was about 8 p.m.
After some delay due to low water and frozen water at accesses, they eventually broke some ice to get Sprengeler’s boat in the water after sunset.
“On our last spot of the evening at about 9 p.m., I felt a tap on the end of my line. I fought the fish to the boat and Kevin Kray netted it for me. The fish measured 57.75 inches by 29 inches,” Sprengeler said.

Fri
03
Dec

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.

Mon
29
Nov

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.

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