DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending November 12
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports: Snow and cold weather seemed to aid hunters for the opening weekend of the regular firearms seasons. Success was limited but most hunters he spoke to reported seeing a good amount of fresh deer sign and at least fleeting glimpses of deer. Violations included: Hunting deer over bait, and no license in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked deer hunters this past week. He also checked a few waterfowl hunters before freeze up at the end of the week. CO Velsvaag had several calls about party hunting and baiting deer.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking deer hunters during the opening weekend. The officer responded to complaints and followed up bait cases. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, transporting loaded firearms, no blaze orange, fail to tag deer, fail to validate tag and ATV violations.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy deer opener and week leading up to it. Numerous deer stands and hunting locations were scouted for illegal baiting. CO Manning and CO Hill contacted one group on opening morning- relieving them of some apples and firearms before sending them off with some paperwork. The process was repeated the following morning, but with the most delicious smelling bait block the officer has encountered.
CO Bermel (Babbitt) and COC Larson worked on ATV enforcement and searched for baited deer stands leading up to the deer season. Enforcement action was taken on transporting a loaded firearm, hunting over bait, hunting without a deer license, hunting without blaze orange, open bottle on an ATV, and an untagged deer. A possible trespass complaint was followed up on.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area deer hunting activity. Time was also spent checking a few that ventured out for very early ice fishing.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking multiple hunters during opening weekend of the firearms deer season. The weather was cold and hunters on the shore were not as successful as they would have liked. Hill did notice, however, that the majority of the hunters who he spoke with who harvested deer were successful during late morning/early afternoon. It pays to stay in the stand while others go in for coffee. A trio of hunters was cited for hunting with the aid of bait after they scattered leftover apples near their stand location. Hill assisted a neighboring officer by tracking down a hunter suspected of transporting an untagged deer.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a cold and quiet deer opener along the North shore. Not many deer were seen hanging on the camp pole but hunters were out enjoying the outdoors. Murray checked the first ice anglers of the season with some small lakes already having 4 inches of ice. Enforcement action was taken for licensing violations and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reports week prior and opening weekend of firearms deer season were busy as always. Hunters’ reports were good with most seeing deer as the cold weather had the deer moving. People are reminded that it’s the hunter’s responsibility to read the labels of the blocks that they place in the woods and hunt over. Enforcement action taken included hunting over bait, shooting from road at a big game animal, borrowing lending licenses, fail to validate site tag, and trespassing.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) As usual for this time of year the firearms deer season becomes the focus of a significant portion of the population, both hunters and non-hunters. During this two week period attitudes toward hunting and hunters are often developed. Lack of respect for property owners is a common complaint heard this time of year. Whitefish netters are still searching for open access points to set and tend nets. A couple groups were encountered this past week tent camping. One man said his wife told him not to come home if he didn’t bring any whitefish with him. ATV regulations are still in effect during the firearms deer season and include additional restrictions. Operators and passengers under 18 still need to wear a helmet.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the deer season was a non-event locally with the fewest number of hunters he has seen. A number of camps were vacant. Very few deer were observed harvested. Equipment work continues. Most lakes have frozen over.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) Encountered more hunters attempting to take deer over bait, than actually seeing deer being harvested over the weekend. CO Zavodnik and Captain Patten witnessed an individual who stated he was watching his land for trespassers but later admitted to hunting deer. Further investigation revealed the hunter was hunting over bait and had not purchased a deer license. The CO also responded to a call early in the morning involving a nearly hypothermic driver whose vehicle went off the road and into water. After ensuring that the driver was clear of any injuries, Zavodnik sensed there may have been more factors involving the vehicle going off the road. The driver was found to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
CO Marc Hopkins (Tower) The officer did not see many deer harvested on opening weekend. Hunters agreed that the deer were not moving much. The officer spent most of the opener dealing with hunting over bait issues. Numerous citations were issued and firearms seized. The officer is investigating a trespass complaint and closed an illegal bear case.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) spent time documenting deer baits prior to season and worked the deer firearms opener. CO Bozovsky tracked a suspect through 3 miles of alder swamp, woods and cattail marsh and arrested the suspect who fled on foot from the Hibbing PD. The suspect had bailed out of his car after fleeing in a motor vehicle. He had a revoked driver’s license and a number of arrest warrants, which were also fleeing related. Another assist of a hit and run call resulted in a domestic assault arrest. An angler ventured onto the ice to angle, but the pair of otter seen fared better and did well with numerous panfish consumed. Hunting over bait violations were prevalent, along with transporting loaded firearms, two easily preventable violations. Other enforcement action was taken on operating ATVs during the closed hours, no blaze orange, willful trespass, littering, and ATV registration.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting and trapping activity. Opening deer season yielded limited success. Many deer hunters reported seeing few deer. CO Broughten investigated persons hunting deer over bait, trespassing, and shooting from the roadway.