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Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the week continuing to focus on bear hunting. Hunting reports continued to be good as cooler weather and rain arrived. There has been an increase in nuisance-bear reports across the BWCA over the last few weeks and people visiting the wilderness are being asked to be extra careful with food and garbage.


CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) spent the week checking fishing and boating activity. Additional time was spent patrolling for bear and waterfowl hunters.


CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking bear hunters and monitoring ATV riders. He patrolled in the BWCAW checking anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, and license violations.


CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports fishing on the inland lakes is starting to pick up as fall progresses. With bear season well underway, few bears are being observed by hunters and even fewer are being harvested. One ATV was stopped this week for operating with a juvenile passenger with no approved helmet. The person driving the ATV was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun but did not have a permit to carry. Enforcement action was taken for both violations.


CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued field training with COC Nick Ambroz. The officers again worked a wide variety of enforcement activities and encountered numerous violations. A couple ongoing investigations were finished up, resulting in enforcement action. Assistance was provided instructing a youth firearms safety class in Babbitt where 15 youths were certified. Thanks to the volunteers who gave of their time. Enforcement action for the week included unregistered bear bait, unsigned bear bait, fishing without a license, failure to transfer watercraft title, expired personal watercraft registration (1996 sticker), operating a PWC too close to shore, operating a motor vehicle on bike trail closed to motor vehicles, and no state park vehicle permit.


CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) followed up on a shoreline-development complaint and a management area encroachment. An ATV operator found speeding down the traffic lane on a state highway had no idea there were specific ATV laws or safety training requirements. Parking complaints and early deer shooting complaints were received. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations.


CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports attending yearly firearms qualification and medical training at Camp Ripley throughout the week.


CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear- and early goose-hunting activity during the week. Wild rice harvesting continued and fall fishing success remained good in area lakes and streams. Murray also attended a fall training session at Camp Ripley and investigated a shoreline violation.


District 5 - Eveleth

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) continued field training COC Jahn. Time was spent on bear-hunting and fishing enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for transporting fish in an unmeasurable state.


CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working ATV activity, checking sturgeon anglers, bear hunters, and waterfowl-hunting activity this past week. Many people were out enjoying the weather and having some success along the way. Enforcement action consisted of hunting waterfowl with an unplugged gun, and not having state or federal stamps.


CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that although there has not been a frost to pare back biting insects yet, people are out enjoying time in the woods. Bear hunters endured very warm weather for the opening days but with cooler temperatures the bears became more active. Acorns are dropping and the leaves are turning color, indicating fall is in the air. Angling reports continue to be positive. Early goose and youth waterfowl hunting was monitored with favorable conditions observed. In-service training was also attended this past week.


CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. Area forest roads were checked. Early goose hunting was non-existent due to no geese. ATV activities were checked. Numerous phone calls on a variety of outdoor topics were returned. Other time was spent completing administrative reporting requirements.


CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily bear-hunting and ATV enforcement throughout the week. Larson spent time investigating and following up with hunting violations. He also spent a few days at annual training at Camp Ripley.


CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game, waterfowl, and ATV activity. Rainfall and cooler weather led to a large drop-off in recreational activity. Lots of grouse are being seen in the area, which bodes well for hunters during the upcoming small-game opener next weekend.


CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending fall training at Camp Ripley over the week. He also fielded numerous questions regarding the upcoming small- and big-game seasons. Increasing numbers of waterfowl are starting to arrive with the weather turning cooler.


CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, bear-hunting, goose-hunting, and ATV activity. Bear hunters continued to report moderate success. Goose hunters reported limited success. ATV activity remained high. Broughten also fielded calls regarding youth waterfowl season, nuisance beavers, and injured animals.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) flew Wetland Conservation Act patrol flights and night currency training. He also attended to administrative tasks.


CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) checked goose and bear hunters.


CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying some late-season aquatic plant management and waters flights and assisting field officers with locating a missing wild rice gatherer on a refuge lake.


NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter maintenance items, training items, flight instructor review, and administrative tasks.


CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended training at Camp Ripley. Aviation training task and currency requirements were worked on. Upcoming enforcement flights were scheduled.


NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) began making preparations for Girls in Aviation Day and picked up unused supplies from another DNR office for use in the Brainerd hangars.



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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