DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending January 28
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the annual area snowmobile fun run was well attended. Warm weather and nicely groomed trails made for very comfortable travel, although on some lakes slush was again becoming a problem. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, failure to display current snowmobile registration, and taking trout with no stamp in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. He also received questions on injured animals, slot-size restrictions and complaints about litter left on the ice by trout anglers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on remote trout lakes who were struggling with the slush and a few flowages that have opened with the warm weather. Snowmobile trails remain busy with all the fresh snow. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and fishing violations.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked several days with CO Lawler on snowmobile and angling enforcement. Trails were busy, and moderate angling was activity noted in the area. Enforcement action included no trout stamp, extra lines, and snowmobiles with expired registration, illegal equipment, and riding conduct violations. With the warm weather and snowmobile traffic, the trails took a beating over the weekend.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) spent the past week working trout lakes and snowmobile trails. Time was also spent checking trapping activity.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports conducting equipment maintenance during the week. Hill spent time closing old cases and transferring various wild animals to DNR Wildlife for research opportunities. A radio interview was done with WTIP in Grand Marais. The snowmobile trails were busy during the week and one operator was cited for having an extremely loud muffler that was not in proper working condition. Please watch decibel levels on snowmobile exhausts as landowners do not appreciate the extra noise on the trails.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobiling activity this past week. Area trails are groomed and in excellent shape. A snowmobile accident that did not result in an injury was investigated and enforcement action was taken for excessive muffler noise.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports conditions on area lakes have made it difficult to access favorite fishing holes. Several anglers reported they spent a considerable amount of time trying to free snowmobiles from the slush. Angling success has been slow but the determined are finding a few. Time was spent patrolling area snowmobile trails, with several operators stopped for illegal exhaust. Instruction was given to a group of youth for a snowmobile safety certification class. Injured-animal calls were also fielded.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports snowmobile activity was monitored. The continued problem of display of registration on snowmobiles continues. Fishing activity was minimal. Lake travel remains difficult at best. Area forest roads and public access sites were monitored.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) spent time checking anglers on a variety of different lakes during the past week. The crappie bite has seemed to pick up the past week, but trout and walleye success has slowed down considerably. Zavodnik patrolled area snowmobile trails. Excessive speed remains an issue of concern. With more deer observed using the snowmobile trails lately, Zavodnik cautions riders to be more vigilant and for riders to follow at further distances. Enforcement action due to excessive speed on snowmobiles was taken over the week.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) worked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. There was a fun run this past weekend, and the nice weather brought out a lot of sleds. Hopkins took enforcement action on speeding, registration, loud exhaust, and stop sign violations. He spent time focusing on snowmobilers who took corners too fast and crossed into the opposite side of the trail. One individual was charged with careless driving after he almost hit Hopkins head-on.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked trout anglers, snowmobile riders, a dog-in-a-snare complaint and a deer-hunting case that involved an invalid license. Feeding deer near busy roads has always been a concern for motorists, and the damage can be catastrophic. A feeder within 60 yards of a county road resulted in one deer being cut in half by a vehicle, negating any benefits from the person who was thinking they were helping out. Enforcement action was taken for taking deer with an invalid license, no fishing license or trout stamp in possession and a number of snowmobile violations consisting mainly of registration and speed.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Anglers reported limited success. Area lakes still have a lot of slush. High snowmobile activity was observed this past week as snowmobile trails are in good condition. Speed and loud machines continue to be the majority of complaints toward snowmobilers. Broughten also investigated a complaint of a person fishing after his fishing privileges were revoked from previous fishing violations. He was located and enforcement action was taken for fishing after revocation, possession of a small amount of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.