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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 warm weather and rain during the week transitioned to lower temperatures and light snow throughout the end of the week into the weekend. Angling activity slowed and some lakes saw little to no activity. Violations included angling with extra lines on a designated trout lake, angling without a license in possession and no dark house license on a fish house.

CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) patrolled his station for fishing activity this week. He also checked ATV operators.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked on Bear Committee-related items and attended a meeting.  Time was spent on annual training requirements. Station lakes were patrolled. A citation was issued for consumption and display of alcoholic beverages in a state park and a warning was issued for the new uncontained garbage on the ice law.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring ATV activity. Angling activity was steady with limited success. Enforcement action was taken for angling activity.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports that area ice remains in good shape and foot travel in the BWCA is as good as it gets. Anglers continue to pursue trout, and some nice fish were seen caught. Equipment maintenance was performed.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and ATV activity during the week. Colder weather has started to repair weakened ice conditions on area lakes. Murray also investigated a litter case and responded to an injured-eagle call.

District 5 - Eveleth

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports winter activities are very slow with little ice fishing and no snowmobiling. People are reminded to use extreme caution when venturing onto ice as conditions are very unpredictable. A few incidental catches of otters from beaver trappers where reported and handled.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week working area lakes and patrolling area forest roads/trails. Enforcement action was taken this past week for ATV registration issues.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobiling activity came to an abrupt halt in the area and anglers pulled most shelters off area waterways. Bare ice on lake surfaces has made travel difficult on snowmobiles and traction is known to be an issue trying to pull shelters around with ATVs. If venturing out on the ice be vigilant of your surroundings. Holes opened up at random locations during the warm weather and rain. With a return to more seasonable temperatures those holes are now covered with a relatively thin layer of ice. Fishing reports were mostly poor.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports most outdoor activities were halted with multiple days of rain over the week. Lakes are back to bare ice with little to no snow cover. Snowmobiling appears over. Area forest roads and local lakes were monitored and equipment work continues.

CO Sean Cannon (Cook) spent the majority of the week checking anglers. Fishing remains slow, with few anglers having much success. The warmth and rain took out the remaining snow on Lake Vermilion, so snowmobiling in the area is nonexistent. Time was also spent dealing with equipment maintenance and repairs.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. He spent time focusing on angling activity, particularly on Lake Vermilion. Angling activity has dropped off with melting temperatures and rain, but after temps dropped again the ice seems to have recovered nicely with very little snow or slush on the lake. Violations encountered were related to angling licenses, ATV and snowmobile registration, the possession of fish fillets on a special regulations lake, and state park permits. Larson also spent extra time working illegal snowmobile exhaust and checking anglers in the BWCAW.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and ATV enforcement. In addition, time was spent doing online training, fielding a variety of calls, and monitoring forest roads and trails. Rain and continued warm weather deteriorated local snowmobile trails to an unusable state. Anglers should use extreme caution, especially around the shorelines of local lakes.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) responded to a suspicious-person complaint described as an individual who was walking around in their slippers on a dirt road and looked to be under the influence. Upon further discovery, the CO recognized the individual who was known to be involved in birch pole theft. Zavodnik and deputies located the other half of the party who was found to be illegally harvesting birch poles. During the interview, the suspect openly admitted to being in the wrong as well as recently using illicit drugs. Enforcement action was taken. Time was also spent responding to several wildlife-related calls.

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.

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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