Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports
District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports deer-hunting activity stayed strong through the week into the weekend. Many hunters contacted stated that the snow cover that initially attracted them to the area also had the effect of showing there were very few deer present in the woods. Violations included hunter harassment, insufficient blaze orange, and hunting with no license in possession.
CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) patrolled for fishing, hunting, and trapping activity this week. He also checked boat and ATV operators.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked deer hunters and whitefish nets. Wahlstrom worked a detail with COs Fairbanks and Brown. He responded to a call about a lost hunter. Enforcement action was taken for big-game and whitefish-netting violations.
CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week patrolling the woods and waters. Deer hunters continue to report almost zero success. Whitefish netters are seeing some fish show up, but nothing noteworthy. Enforcement action was taken for multiple violations involving whitefish nets and one illegally taken deer.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued field training COC Ambroz. They report a slow firearms deer season. While some hunters have found their lucky buck, reports of wolf sightings continue to be common. Enforcement action was taken for an overlimit of scaup, no PFD, transportation of a loaded firearm, unplugged shotgun, failure to carry written consent when harvesting decorative materials and timber trespass. The officers encountered a hunter with a rifle in hand on a paved roadway. The hunter admitted to shooting a doe from the road in a bucks-only zone. The hunter was cited.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports another week of low deer harvest reports. One hunter was contacted with a doe they had harvested from Cascade State Park. The hunter was ultimately cited for taking a deer without the required licenses and special hunt permits. A juvenile hunter and their dad were given a break for failure to validate and tag a nice little buck they juvenile harvested.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked deer-hunting and small-game activity during the week. Not as many deer hunters were afield this weekend as many hunters switched to chasing grouse once again with the recent warm up. Murray monitored decorative materials harvest in the area and investigated an illegal trash dumping complaint.
District 5 - Eveleth
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) started field training Step 4 with COC Jahn. Time was spent working the firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken for shooting from the roadway.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending the majority of this past week monitoring deer-hunting activity throughout the area. Hunting related calls and complaints were handled throughout the week as well. Enforcement action taken this past week consisted of shooting deer from the road right-of-way, transporting illegally taken big-game animals, discharging firearms across a roadway at a big-game animal and operating ATVs during closed hours during the firearms deer season.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that as the second week of the firearms deer season came to a close, so too it appears did a lot of driveway gates for hunting shacks. Most hunters contacted were wondering where the deer went. Several groups commented they had observed a fair amount of deer movement the previous weekend and early in the week but that had changed abruptly as the season progressed. The recent snow and rain have created a mess on trails and roads, so please assess whether your travel in these areas is necessary to avoid causing damage. The weather forecasted for the next week should make for favorable conditions to spend additional time in the woods for the determined hunters remaining.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports deer hunting appeared nonexistent over the week. Very few hunters were observed afield. Several hunters commented that “there are no deer.” Area forest roads were checked and public access sites were monitored. Equipment work continues.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily deer-hunting activity. Larson spent time checking hunters across the Tower and Cook stations. Hunter success continued to be limited, with many comments on how many wolves were being sighted. Violations were related to licenses and ATVs. Complaints were fielded related to wolves and hunter harassment.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game, small-game, and ATV activity. The second week of the firearms deer season continued to frustrate many local hunters who again reported few deer being seen. Grouse numbers remain high in the area, though, and several hunters were checked who left their deer stand to pursue grouse instead. Time was also spent maintaining station equipment and working a detail with other local COs.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports a slow second weekend of the rifle season. He also noticed a significant drop in hunter activity. Time was spent assisting neighboring COs with an investigation involving an illegally taken deer over the week.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring deer-hunting and trapping activity. Very few deer hunters were encountered. The few deer hunters encountered reported limited success. Broughten also fielded calls of trespass and car-injured deer.
CO Pilot Bob Geving (Mankato) worked big-game activities with local officers from the ground due to inclement weather throughout the week.
CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew flights in support of conservation officers during the firearms deer season and assisted in patrolling when weather did not permit flying.
CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports continued flights to support field officers for illegal deer-hunting activity. Wetland violations are still being found and enforcement action was taken for a person feeding deer in a CWD zone.
CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) scheduled upcoming maintenance, repositioned aircraft for maintenance, planned future training flights and attended to assigned administrative tasks.
Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) planned ongoing enforcement flights, but the low ceilings and snow prevented flights for night activity.
NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) completed annual training and a class instructing the use of a GIS program.
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.