DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week ending October 7

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. He taught an ATV safety class at the Cook County middle school. Time was also spent assisting with an ATV work detail along the North Shore.

CO Sean Williams (Ely) attended a work crew with officers from around the state focusing on ATV recreation and small-game hunting south of Ely in areas of the Superior National Forest. Hunter success was fair with most hunters reporting seeing birds. Violations included hunting without a license in possession and failure to display current ATV registration.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and small-game activity during the week. Salmon have begun to move into area streams but recent rainfall has made for challenging fishing conditions on North Shore streams. Murray took a water-quality complaint on Lake Superior that is under investigation and continued big-game baiting investigations.


Local students participate in boreal forest field day event

Sixth grade students from Ely, Tower-Soudan and North Woods all gathered at Bear Head Lake State Park on Sept. 26, to take part in a fun filled day of learning.
The program, in its fifth year, is organized by James Pointer, Interpretive Supervisor at Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park.
During the event the students rotate through seven interesting stations that relate to aspects of our boreal forest.
The stations included topics of mammals, watersheds, forestry, fisheries, water quality, bird banding, and Great Lakes Worm Watch.
The program is made possible by the many volunteers that assist with the program.
This year there were representatives from the Forest Service, DNR forestry, DNR fisheries, Vermilion Community College forestry and water clubs, and St. Louis Country Soil and Water Conservation.


Vermilion River ATV Bridge officially opens

The sun was shining bright on a new bridge over the Vermilion River and on over 300 ATV riders attending its official opening on Friday, Sept. 20. Standing on the bridge with riders from across the state, in the area for the annual convention of the ATV Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), were over a dozen elected officials and representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).
Set in place just a week earlier, the 185-foot bridge was built by the Voyageur Country ATV. It is the largest bridge ever built by a Minnesota ATV club. The $1.26 million project includes a picnic area near the bridge, and 16 miles of trail that connect Elephant Lake and Echo Lake. The project funding came from the IRRRB and from ATV user fees.


Ribbon cutting for new bike trails

RIBBON CUTTING for new bike trails at Hidden Valley, with mayor Chuck Novak and Scott Anderson holding the scissors on Sept. 12. Photo by Tom Coombe.


Bear harvest up so far

The Minnestoa DNR reports bear hunters have had good luck during the first three days of the 2019 season.
Preliminary bear harvest registration through Tuesday Sept. 3 showed a total registration of 1018 bears based on electronic licensing. This is about 40% higher than last season harvest to date, but similar to 2017.
Statewide numbers showed 58 percent males with similar numbers in zones in the Ely area. In bear zone 24, 65 percent of the harvest was males; in 25 is was 59 percent males and in 31 it was 60 percent. All numbers are preliminary. The season ends on Oct. 13.


Hunters asked not to shoot ear-tagged and radio-collared research bears

The Minnesota bear hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 1, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears. These bears are marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio collared black bears across the state, especially in zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork.
Others are farther north, near Orr or Voyageurs National Park. Some collared bears are also around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer.
“We’re asking hunters to watch out for these valuable research bears, and avoid shooting them. These collared bears are providing much of the data that is being used in bear management,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.


$10,000 Trip Winner

WINNER of the $10,000 trip given away in a raffle by the Ely Rotary Club was Heidi Devos. Her name was drawn at Wednesday night’s Rotary Auction and announced by Craig Loughery. Heidi said she and her husband Mike would like to travel to Ireland and Scotland. They moved to Ely a year ago. Photo by Nick Wognum.


Three new Loon champs

by Tom Coombe
Three new champions were crowned Thursday in Ely.
Those were the winners in the 34th annual Loon Calling Contest, held under sunny skies outside Piragis Northwoods Company near the deck at new restaurant Moose Bear Wolf.
Ben Tomlinson won the adult division, Avery Ellerbroek was first among the boys and Eleanor Nyquist was the girls division.
The Loony Day celebration included the contest, which attracted an audience of about 75 people.
For three decades, the coos and trills of loons have resonated from the courtyard outside Piragis Northwoods Company, and the business treated all participants and spectators to ice cream cones.
Tomlinson, who is from Cleveland, Ohio, topped the adult field with Laura Harm of Madison, Wisc., in second place. Ely’s Micah Larson took third.


Get ready for deer season: 2019 regs out

Hunters can start planning ahead for significant changes to deer season regulations, including a youth deer season that’s expanded statewide, expanded deer feeding and attractant bans, and other updates related to managing chronic wasting disease.
“We heard a lot of support for a statewide youth deer hunting season,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’re excited to make it easier for parents, relatives or trusted adults to share their hunting knowledge and traditions with the next generation of deer hunters.”
The 2019 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations handbook is now available on the DNR’s deer hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunting licenses go on sale Thursday, Aug. 1, and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.


Erzar wins East-West challenge

GO FAST - Chris Erzar #987, of Ely, took first place in the East-West Challenge Dan Hill Cup at the World Championship Snowmobile Watercross in Grantsburg, WI. For the third year in a row, Erzar also grabbed the canoe race title, partnered for the past two years with Nick Mattila of Ely. Photo by Eric Sherman.


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