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This week’s Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports noticing that angling activity grew steadily over the week but saw a sharp end after Saturday evening as rain and very warm weather arrived. Success was modest, but most anglers reported having some luck. Violation included no license in possession and angling more than 200 feet from a tip up.

CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) spent his week checking fishing, hunting and trapping activity. Additional time was spent patrolling for ATV riders.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling enforcement throughout the past week. Time was also spent going through and resolving evidence from closed cases and completing a litter investigation in which a civil citation was issued. Additional enforcement action was taken this week for angling with an extra line, unattended lines and failure to display a shelter tag. He also issued warnings in regards to the new litter on ice law, in which garbage was laying uncontained outside of fish houses.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports registering fur early in the week. Activity was slow again this year, with the same people continuing to bring fur in as previous years. Hill took care of vehicle maintenance. The ice is in rough shape and Hill urges anglers to be cautious. With warm and wet weather in the forecast, don’t be afraid to change your plans for the BWCA trout opener if conditions are unsafe.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked trapping activity and wrapped up a case of illegal decorative materials harvest. Ice conditions have deteriorated in the area, making for unpredictable ice depth and openings in the ice. Extreme caution should be used while traveling on ice until colder weather returns.


District 5 - Eveleth

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking anglers on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River. ATV and trapping activity was monitored throughout the area as well.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) handled several wild-animal complaints. He also checked on spearing and angling activity. It seems overall weather patterns are keeping activity down, which is understandable with ice-related incidents commonly heard throughout the region. Recent rain and warm weather have caused ice-thickness reductions. Check before you go and realize conditions are changing daily, if not more frequently. Trapping activity was also monitored, with concerns about ice conditions heard from trappers. Ongoing cases were updated and evidence was processed.   

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports unseasonable warm weather continues to deteriorate ice conditions. Weekend rain and temps in the 40s have rapidly changed ice conditions. Little angling activity was noted over the week. Area lakes were checked, as were forest roads. Equipment work continues. There is no snow throughout the work area.

CO Sean Cannon (Cook) spent the week monitoring trapping activity, checking ice anglers and following up on decorative materials harvest. Cannon also responded to reports of a snowmobile and a Class 2 ATV going through the ice. Area ice has been changing rapidly with the unseasonable weather and will continue to change until colder weather here to stay, so please be safe and don’t venture on potentially unsafe ice.    

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling, trapping, and ATV enforcement. Ice conditions on Lake Vermilion have become very unpredictable over the past week with few days dropping below freezing. Larson received information of ATVs and snowmobiles breaking through the ice. Violations involved licenses, ATVs, and revoked hunting privileges. Larson also spent time at the Tower DNR fur registration.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and trapping activity. In addition, time was spent working at the fur registration station in Hibbing and assisting local law enforcement agencies. Violations encountered included angling with extra lines, taking fish with no angling license, and failure to validate fisher/marten coupons.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports local lakes are seeing significant ice degradation due to the unseasonably warm weather and excessive rain events over the week. Many anglers also have made the decision to pull their ice shelters off the lake and back to shore until freezing weather comes again. Anglers who were willing to walk have reported decent fishing success throughout the area.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) prepared for and rescheduled upcoming wildlife flights. He continued work on training curriculums and assigned tasks.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on planning possibilities for the upcoming moose survey and monitored helicopter maintenance. He also worked on administrative tasks and computer training.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) continued working on assigned tasks involving training and moose survey preparation.

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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