Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports
District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the usual slump in activity over the week between MEA and next weekend’s regular firearms deer opener was noticeable in the Ely area. ATV riding and a small amount of small-game hunting were monitored. The first snowfall also occurred and a variety of new waterfowl were observed.
CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) spent the week patrolling for fishing and boating activity. He also checked small-game hunters.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on remote trout lakes, small-game hunters and ATV riders. A successful day was held at the Cook County School, where all the students passed the ATV safety field day.
CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) assisted with ATV field day at Cook County High School where 25 students earned their ATV safety certificate. Time was also spent patrolling forest roads, ATV tails, responding to nuisance-animal calls, and working on seasonal equipment maintenance. Enforcement action was taken when some folks decided to drive their lifted Jeeps down a trail only open to ATV use.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a variety of enforcement activities throughout the week and weekend including trapping, waterfowl, grouse, and decorative forestry product enforcement. A good push of migrating ducks was observed, including a couple surf scoters harvested in the area. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from a motor vehicle, no small-game license, no state waterfowl stamp, no HIP certification, failure to carry consent for decorative forest products, and driving after revocation. Be alert with your pets as numerous reports of wolf attacks have been coming in, especially with the low deer populations.
CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) took calls relating to upcoming state park management deer hunts and abandoned boats. Questions were answered relating to ATV trail closures during firearms deer season. Nuisance beavers were handled with a referral to a local trapper. Commercial records violations were received and enforcement action was taken.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports fielding multiple deer hunting-related questions throughout the week in preparation for the upcoming opener. The seasonal equipment shuffle has also begun. Few grouse hunters were checked throughout the week as it appears there is a brief pause in the hunting pressure in the area.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked small-game and waterfowl activity during the week. Colder weather has more ducks and geese on the move headed south for the winter as small ponds had the first skim ice of the season. Murray answered several questions about the upcoming firearms deer season and investigated a wetland-related complaint.
District 5 - Eveleth
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports a much slower weekend than the past two as the cold and snow kept a lot of people inside or they were just waiting for next weekend, the firearms deer opener. A few ATV-related complaints were handled, along with deer stand issues and trespass issues.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking small-game hunters, monitoring ATV activity and answering questions regarding this upcoming deer season.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports with an abrupt change in the weather came a pretty significant change in activity. Several individuals were putting final touches on preparations for the upcoming firearms deer season. Grouse hunters were trying to get a last hunt in before the rain turned to snow. It seems inevitable the open-water trapping season will likely be short, barring a significant change in the forecast. An individual found to be burning prohibited materials was contacted. Miscellaneous wild animal-related complaints were heard, with some suggestions provided. Seasonal equipment preparations continue.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring area forest roads and public access sites. Waterfowl hunters continue to wait for ducks, which have not shown up, resulting in little to no activity noted. Deer numbers are the lowest Fondie has ever seen. Equipment work is ongoing. Numerous phone calls were returned and various permits were issued.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily small-game and angling activity. Larson checked grouse hunters around his station. Angling activity on most lakes in the Tower station has slowed as docks are being removed from public accesses. He also fielded calls related to small-game hunting and an ATV complaint.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked small-game, big-game, and decorative materials enforcement. In addition, time was spent completing online training, attending a sponsored disability hunt at McCarthy Beach State Park, and investigating a complaint of shooting from the roadway that resulted in enforcement action being taken.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting, trapping, and ATV activity. Waterfowl and archery deer hunters reported poor success. Grouse hunters continued to report good success. Few trappers were encountered. A recent cold snap hindered water trapping. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, deer hunting regulations, and injured animals.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) attended water ditching/egress training in Grand Rapids. During inclement weather, Geving worked with ground units on a district 17 and 18 big-game enforcement detail.
CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) attended a water ditching training and flew fall flights.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports flying station flights to look for baited deer stands. Numerous wetland violations were encountered. Jensen also attended water egress training and planned numerous flights for the upcoming week.
NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on helicopter items and attended two aviation webinars. He also attended forestry classes put on by USFS on water ditching for aircrews. Excellent training for helicopter crews during our firefighting efforts and while stocking fish by helicopter.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) attended a water ditching survival course. Completed training task. Attended to assigned projects.
Stand-by CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) attended a Water Ditching and Survival training course in Grand Rapids. Flights continue for decorative materials harvesting issues and flights related to the upcoming firearms deer season.
NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) attended Water Ditching and Survival training in Grand Rapids. She also attended an FAA winter prep workshop.
Please check the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov 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 www.mndnr.gov.)
Please check the DNR website www.mndnr.gov 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.
SCHEDULED INSTRUCTOR TRAINING SESSIONS
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.