DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week of November 24
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports hunting success continued to taper off at the end of the regular firearms season as we drifted further from the peak of the rut. More issues with hunters wearing very little or no blaze orange were addressed over the week and became the No. 1 violation seen for the season. Hunters are reminded that although they may feel like they have a wide expanse of wilderness to themselves, other hunters may be closer than they know. Blaze orange and pink laws exist to protect hunters from accidents.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked deer hunters this past week.He also followed up on deer-baiting violations and had multiple questions on party hunting and using electronic devices while hunting. Hunting success was slow and a couple of people were seen out on ice fishing on thin ice.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) checked deer hunters in the field and traveling the roads looking for deer. The season finished out with many tags unfilled. Manning followed up on deer-license issues from the season, issued car-killed deer permits and handled squad maintenance issues. Lakes are freezing with the lack of snow and low overnight temperatures, but folks are urged to use caution when venturing out to check the ice.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked the final week of the firearms deer season. A couple road-hunting details were worked. Harvest the last week seemed slow. Enforcement action included shooting from a motor vehicle, registration, and blaze orange violations. Several roadkill possession permits were issued and complaints were followed up on.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked the last week of deer season. Time was spent checking a few grouse hunters as well. Schottenbauer came across a couple of cross-country skiers on a partially frozen lake. The skiers were warned about the poor ice conditions.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a very busy week of checking deer hunters in the Tofte area and surrounding stations. The continued cold weather kept the deer on their feet with a few nice bucks seen at camps. This spike in deer movement also led to Hill issuing possession permits for car-killed deer. Hill also did some outreach with a local news outlet. Grouse hunters were also checked and no violations were seen.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked a fairly quiet final weekend of the firearms deer season along the North Shore. Snow and cooler weather made for better tracking conditions but fewer hunters were encountered. Ice has formed on most area lakes but extreme caution must be used when venturing out early in the season as ice depth varies greatly.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) and COC Curtis Simonson started the past week off checking deer hunters in the area. Hunters reported limited success. Time was spent investigating deer that people reported to be shot and left for waste. With the rifle season winding down, people reported slow deer movement to wrap up the season. Trespass calls were received and handled as well.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports overall deer-hunting activity this past week was some of the slowest observed. Most hunters encountered wondered where the deer were and commented that this was the worst year for seeing deer they can remember. The milder temperatures toward the end of the week coupled with hunters closing up their shacks for the season brought an uptick in activity, but still negative reports. A report of sick raccoons was heard, with the caller concerned her dog had encountered two slow-moving raccoons within the same general area in the past five weeks. Other activity included a trespass complaint and a decorative materials cutter operating without documented permission.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports most hunting camps were vacant and there was little traffic on area forest roads. Comments from hunters continue about the lack of deer. Public access sites were checked. ATV use was monitored. Equipment work continues.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) reports deer hunters were found to be low in numbers during the third week of the firearms deer season. Zavodnik and COs Bermel and Bozovsky worked a road-hunting detail in a high-complaint area over the weekend. Violations encountered included failure to register deer, shooting from the roadway, shooting from a motor vehicle, transporting a loaded firearm, and no blaze orange. Zavodnik handled a number of trespass and deer-baiting complaints. He reminds anglers to be extra cautious during the early ice and encourages them to wear a PFD and bring ice spikes with them while out on the lakes.
CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) continued working the ongoing firearms deer season and the associated complaints that accompany it. Bozovsky worked a road-hunting complaint with COs Zavodnik and Bermel. All sense of safety was disregarded as one road-hunting deer hunter, who was the passenger, shot out the driver’s side window with the driver sitting behind the wheel. When the vehicle was stopped, a total of four citations were issued. New types of deer baits are being tried all the time, and Bozovsky thought he had seen it all. The last deer baiter of the season tried a new one that would work well to draw in deer, but didn’t factor in a visit from the law. It is best to hunt the old-fashioned way so you can hunt the following year with the rifle you went out in the woods with. The first ice angler was observed on what was believed to be unsafe ice. Enforcement action was taken for shooting deer from the roadway, hunting deer over bait, transporting a loaded firearm, failure to register deer, no blaze orange, driving after revocation, no insurance, expired registration, trespassing, and shoot within 500 feet of an occupied building.
CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) continued to locate more deer baits throughout the deer season. No hunters were found hunting over the baits, however. Fewer and fewer hunters were seen during the final weekend of the rifle deer season. Trespass calls were investigated and enforcement action was taken for insufficient blaze orange.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the past week monitoring hunting and trapping activity.
Deer hunters continue to report limited success and few hunters were observed taking to the field for the second week of deer season.
Broughten also investigated complaints of trespass, shooting from the roadway, and operating an ATV during closed hours.