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This week’s Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

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District 6 - Two Harbors

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports checking several muzzleloader deer hunters over the weekend. Reports continued to be bleak, and even with freshly fallen snow deer sign was exceedingly rare. Angling activity was light and ice conditions noted were highly variable. Some areas measured as little as one inch, while on the same lake other areas had up to seven inches. Anglers are urged to continue to be cautious, especially with the varied weather conditions we’ve seen.


CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) continued checking deer and small-game hunters this week. He also patrolled for trapping activity.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked trapping activity, muzzleloader hunters and followed up on past season big-game investigations. Enforcement action was taken for big-game violations.


CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports that some trappers hit the woods this past weekend in search of fisher, pine marten, and bobcat. Several traps were checked, as were a few trappers. Investigations are ongoing following violations from the deer-hunting season. Enforcement action was taken for lend and borrow big-game violations.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) completed a case report for a deer case, answered various questions from the public, and spent time on a litter investigation.


CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports continued work on multiple deer-hunting related investigations throughout the week. Hill, along with COs Ledeen and Wahlstrom, conducted multiple interviews over the weekend surrounding suspicion of lending and borrowing deer tags. Admissions were received, and multiple people were issued citations and $500 in wildlife restitution for the cost of the deer. A wanton-waste complaint was followed up on. Ice reports have been mixed, but with the warm weather throughout the week, please use caution when venturing out on the lake.


District 5 - Eveleth

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports muzzleloader season came to a quite close with a few people out trying to fill their tags. While muzzleloaders were put away, trappers hit the woods with the pine marten, fisher, and bobcat seasons opening. The small dusting of snow and cold weather should help things. ATV violations were encountered and handled.


CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) contacted trappers during the opening days of the marten/fisher season. Conditions are very good for getting around with most of the trails and roads frozen. Grouse had hunters wondering where they had disappeared to. Several groups commented they were still seeing significant numbers of grouse at the end of the regular deer season and now they seem all but nonexistent. Several muzzleloader deer hunters were contacted trying their luck as the final days and hours closed in. They were reporting seeing a few more deer, but not what they were hoping for. The northern pike spearing crowd has started to venture out, with widely varying conditions noted. Although some fish were seen, it was not what they expected.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and public water access sites. Little angling activity was noted over the week and ice remains unsafe. Fisher/marten trappers were greeted with opening day rain. Equipment work continues. Administrative reporting is ongoing.


CO Sean Cannon (Cook) completed field training and took over the Cook station this week. Time was spent collecting equipment and getting maintenance done, along with spending time getting to know the station. Muzzleloader deer hunters, small-game hunters, ice anglers and trappers were checked, with low success rates seen for all. Several ATV riders were out taking advantage of the unseasonable weather and lack of snow this week. Time was also spent monitoring for decorative materials.


CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling, trapping, and ATV enforcement. Larson checked many anglers across his station who were finding a slow walleye bite. Violations included no state park permit, driving around a barrier/closed area in a state park, allowing youth to violate ATV laws, and more than one passenger on a Class 1 ATV.


CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling, ATV and trapping activity. Warm weather throughout the week created more uncertainty for ice conditions, but anglers still were able to get out onto local lakes. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, spearing with no license, and licenses not in possession.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time working on equipment maintenance tasks as well as checking angling activity. Warmer weather brought both ice anglers and grouse hunters out during the week. Many of the local lakes were also active with ice skaters due to unusually smooth ice conditions. Additional time was spent following up on a violation involving an ATV stuck on a snowmobile trail.


CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting, trapping, and fishing activity. Ice on area lakes is poor with some lakes still open. Muzzleloader deer hunters reported limited success. Grouse hunters continued to report seeing a high number of birds. Snowmobilers anxiously are waiting for snow.


Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) flew big-game support and training flights. Geving also worked on maintenance tasks.


CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended the yearly Minnesota Incident Command System conference. He completed required yearly training and followed up on active aircraft-maintenance items.


CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew some training flights and completed online training.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter-maintenance items and planning and administrative tasks.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) worked on developing training quizzes and attended to helicopter logistics tasks.


Enforcement Education

Please check the DNR website at for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Education Courses and instructor training sessions.

If you missed a fall class and are over 18, check online for the online course information. (It’s also at

Please check the DNR website for a current class listing of all DNR Enforcement Youth and Adult Snowmobile Safety Courses and instructor training sessions.


Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.


Reminder: Anyone born after December 31, 1979 cannot purchase a license to hunt in Minnesota without first taking a DNR Safety Training Course and receiving a certificate. In addition, many states have even more stringent mandatory Hunter Education requirements. Check before you go!

Reminder: Any resident born after December 31, 1976, who operates a snowmobile in Minnesota must possess a snowmobile certificate. Two options are available to complete certification. Ages 11 and older can take the online course and hands-on day or attend the traditional youth course. Those 16 or older can take the online course.

Reminder: Anyone born after July 1, 1987, who operates an ATV on public lands and waters in Minnesota must successfully complete the ATV Safety Training online course.

People under age 16 must complete the ATV online course and riding component before riding on public lands.

Please direct questions to 1-800-366-8917 or 1-888-MINNDNR.



If you are 18 or older and would like to become an instructor for Snowmobile Safety, ATV Safety, Firearms Safety, Trail Ambassador or one of the Advanced Hunter programs, contact your local conservation officer or regional safety training officer. Instructor clinics are scheduled throughout the state and are listed on the DNR website.

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