Conservation Officer Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) spent time last week checking bear baits and hunters. With the opening of the small game this weekend, a lot of people took to the trails. Hunters reported seeing low numbers of birds. High winds and green forests were factors in which hunters were not very successful in the area. ATV activity was also monitored in the region.
Simonson also worked at Rainy River last week to check out sturgeon fishermen.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) completed training and started a background investigation of a potential candidate for the upcoming Conservation Officer Academy.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) ATV, small game, archery and boating activities verified. Grouse hunting was a non-event, with few hunters observed. Public access sites were controlled and forest roads in the area were monitored. The equipment works are in progress. Extra time was spent on administrative tasks.
Commander Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily on small game and ATV law enforcement. Larson attended an ATV rally over the weekend that drew a large number of participants. During the small game opening, fewer hunters than expected were outside. Many hunters have had limited success.
Commander Marc Johnson (Hibbing) mainly worked the activity of mountain biking and the opener of small game deer / archery. Time was also spent on training at Camp Ripley and investigating a wetland / shoreline complaint. Hunters saw mixed results over the opening weekend, with plenty of cover remaining in the woods.
Violations encountered included carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle; conduct after dismissal; expired ATV registration; and ride an ATV without the headlights on.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent most of the last week training for honor guard duties with the Law Enforcement Memorial Association at Camp Ripley. Time was also spent checking grouse hunters and returning phone calls. Enforcement actions taken during the week included several ATV and angling violations.
Ward 6 – Two ports area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports that the small game opening was well attended with a higher than normal number of hunters seen in the Ely area. Although the drought conditions created less undergrowth than usual for the small game opener, very few grouse were reported captured by hunters. The offenses included hunting without a license in possession, operating an unlicensed off-road motorcycle and operating an OHM on a roadway.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely 2) anglers and small game hunters checked last week. He also trained at Camp Ripley. Velsvaag also carried out checks on ATVs and boating and received several calls regarding pests.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked with sector agents during the opening of small game. The trails were occupied by ATV riders and hunters. Overall, small game hunters have had moderate success. He also trained at Camp Ripley. Enforcement measures have been taken for hunting and ATV related offenses.
Commander Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy little game opener. A pair of hunters tried to tell Manning that “we just got checked yesterday” in order to avoid being checked in the field. Both were carrying loaded shotguns on their ATVs.
A pair of young ATV riders drove past Manning without helmets, but put them on a few minutes later and tried to play like they had them all the time.
She also discovered an unattended and unauthorized burning pile of brush on a newly cleared piece of land. The fire was extinguished by the local fire department and the owner was notified upon his return.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time primarily on small game and ATV law enforcement. There were a large number of ATVs in the area for the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota event, including a large crowd for the Big Air show at Babbitt. Ely’s Public Safety Day was also attended.
Enforcement measures included numerous ATV operational violations and the transport of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked a slower little game opener than expected. However, there were a number of problems with the transportation of firearms. Time was also spent on starting work on a background investigation.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports a great week of outdoor activities in the resort. Pink salmon hit rivers hard and fishermen report several fish throughout the day. A reminder to have all licenses and stamps and to use legal material. Grouse hunters were very successful when Hill checked out several groups near a limit.
A few hunters have been cited for transporting loaded shotguns on ATVs. Two in particular also had minors without helmets. An ATV rider had three young people under the age of 10 (one in a car seat) without helmets or seat belts. A hunter was asked about the use of an unregistered motorcycle / off-road motorbike on the road.
Hill continued to work on a background investigation.
Commander Don Murray (Two Ports) worked busy small game and deer archery openers. Hunters reported seeing birds and deer as well as enjoying the fall colors. ATV use was high in the area, with many cyclists taking advantage of the trails. The first goose and bear hunters still brought in a good harvest.
Ward 7 – Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) continue to monitor bear hunting and baiting activities and patrol ATV trails. Brown worked the opening weekend of the small game and archery deer hunt and saw fewer grouse and deer hunters in the area than he expected. . The remains of a bird of prey were seized from a small game hunter who said he thought the bird was a grouse. Hunters are reminded to know the species you are hunting before they go out into the field.
CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) patrolled state parks and worked with anglers, big and small game hunters, boaters and ATV operators. Many questions related to game and fish were answered. It has also responded to wildlife complaints and assisted other agencies.
Commander Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) worked on the small game / archery deer opener, investigated a forest fire, monitored off-road vehicle activity, and assisted the county in a motor vehicle accident. Fairbanks and his K-9 partner, Si, also helped search for a gun that was thrown after a suspect escaped law enforcement. Enforcement action has been taken for licensing issues, youth under the age of 18 without helmets on ATVs, and insufficient personal flotation devices.
Commander Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked the opening of small game and deer archery over the past weekend with quite a few hunters. Enforcement measures have been taken to hunt deer over bait, assist and encourage deer hunting over bait, and to operate ATVs in closed areas. As hunters have seen many young grouse over the past summer, early success looks good and could lead to a very promising fall for hunters.
CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports small game, angling, mountain biking and big game control activities. Several grouse hunters were contacted during the opening weekend of the small game season. Enforcement action was taken for taking grouse during a closed season, illegally transporting game birds, no orange blaze and several ATV-related offenses.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) followed the opening of small game hunting and archery. Hochstein responded to a large fire that required several planes to help contain the flames. ATV traffic in the region remains high with good compliance rates among bikers.
District 8 – Duluth region
Commander Jacob Willis (Brookston) Answered calls regarding regulatory issues and gave advice on nuisance and wildlife issues at the resort. Training was held at Camp Ripley for new members of the Honor Guard. Wetland violations have been followed up with enforcement actions to follow. Enforcement measures were also taken for driving an ATV without the headlights on and without a license in his possession. Various appeals for handing over from poachers were followed.
CO Andy Schmidt (West Duluth) attended Honor Guard training at Camp Ripley during the week. Schmidt also worked in areas of high small game hunting activity, with moderate success observed. A case concerning camping on state land was also followed up.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time investigating a net violation that resulted in the deaths of many turtles. Another ongoing investigation involved a killed and discarded bear. The bear was dressed in campaign clothes and headless. No meat was taken. The opening of the little game was very busy. Many people walked and rode ATVs on the trails in the area in search of grouse.
CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) continued to work on hunting and law enforcement on off-road vehicles throughout the week. Humphrey patrolled the Fond du Lac State Forest, Wildlife Management Areas and County Forests during the Small Game Open. He also checked a few fishermen during his travels. Humphrey investigated a wetland complaint and followed up on various other cases. A nuisance bear permit was issued on a farm that suffered crop damage.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) instructs the current state patrol class of new recruits along with other members of the Water Survival Team. He checked out many ATV riders and grouse hunters over the opening weekend. The good weather and the decent number of ruffed grouse produced many smiles and happy hunters. Lake Superior fishermen also benefited from catching salmon and lake trout throughout the week and weekend.
CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) anglers and boaters checked on Superior. Salmon are starting to congregate and enter rivers with the recent rains. The early goose hunters have had some success, with more birds on the move after the recent chilly nights. Complaints and issues with ATVs are ongoing, but more use is starting to be seen in the woods as hunters prepare for the fall seasons. Enforcement measures have been taken for ATV and public access violations.