DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending December 30
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity continued to be slow in the Ely area. Snowmobiling continues to pick up as trail conditions improve. Violations included angling without a license in possession and driving after revocation.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and a few trappers this past week. Slush is on more area lakes and fishing is slow. Marten trappers had nice weather but a fair amount of snow. Velsvaag also saw a few snowmobiles out on the newly groomed trails.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time on the snowmobile checking anglers and snowmobilers. Time was spent talking with snowmobile clubs about trail conditions and common violations. Area lakes are improving with the cold last week.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) attended the funeral for retired CO Ken Schlueter as part of the DNR Honor Guard. Manning also checked anglers and snowmobilers and followed up on an ATV case. The pine marten and fisher trapping season is off to a slow start and non-trappers are advised that the season is later this year than in the past. A bucket of fish remains was dumped at a parking area and anyone with information is asked to contact the officer.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily ice fishing and snowmobile enforcement throughout the past week. Time was also spent on potential deer-season violations requiring follow up. Enforcement action for the week included several unmarked/unlicensed fish houses, expired snowmobile and ATV registrations, and a couple individuals in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A few area snowmobile trails are now groomed or partially groomed. Bermel also attended the funeral for retired Babbitt warden Ken Schlueter.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area trapping and snowmobiling activity this past week. Much of his time was spent on a continuing background.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports contacting multiple anglers fishing throughout the week. Success was limited but the nice weather made it enjoyable. One lake in particular had anywhere from 6 to 16 inches of ice. The angler who drove his truck out onto the ice was reminded to be careful. One shelter violation was handled. Hill checked only a few traps during the opening weekend of the fisher and pine marten season. Unplowed roads made it tough to get deep into the woods. With the holiday season here, more snowmobiles are being seen coming into the area. Hill continued to work on a background investigation.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked ice angling and snowmobile activity during the week. Area trails are improving daily with grooming efforts and lake ice has improved with recent subzero temperatures. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) and COC Seifermann spent time on trapping enforcement as the pine marten, fisher, and bobcat trapping season opened over the weekend. A complaint of illegal possession/taking of several deer was also investigated. The call originated from county probation officers during a probation check. They found a whole deer (hide still on) and parts of another deer thawing out in a basement sink of a residence. Charges are forthcoming against several people involved. Ice fishing and spearing activities were also monitored on Rainy Lake.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) checked and monitored trapping activity. Despite a depressed fur market, more trappers were encountered in the field so far this year than in the previous several years. Questions on spearing and angling were responded to. Seasonal equipment changes were made and work continues on a pre-employment background investigation.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area lakes and forest roads. A trapping violation was dealt with and slush has appeared on area lakes with standing water under the snow. Weekend temperatures in the area were higher than 40 degrees. Equipment work and administrative tasks continue.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports the first snowmobile stop of the year was due to an individual operating 82 miles per hour on the trail. Shortly after the stop, Zavodnik smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the driver and he also sensed the operator was under the influence of alcohol. Despite being extremely apologetic, the driver was arrested for operating a snowmobile under the influence and several other violations. Zavodnik also spent time with COs Lerchen and Swedberg checking anglers and patrolling the snowmobile trails. Violations included unattended lines, a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, expired registration, speeding, no license in possession, operating a snowmobile off the posted trail, and failure to transfer ownership within 15 days of purchase.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked anglers and snowmobiles, investigated decorative materials cases, assisted the State Patrol at an injury crash, and followed up on open deer-hunting cases. Enforcement action was taken for no fishing license in possession, driving after revocation, failure to carry consent to transport decorative materials, bough buyer failing to keep records, and a number of snowmobile violations.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, trapping, and snowmobiling activity. Ice conditions on area lakes have not improved even with the recent cold weather. Few anglers were observed and many are still waiting for better conditions. Groomers are doing what they can for the snowmobile trails but due to unfrozen ground they also are limited.