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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Feb 09, 2023 08:26AM ● By Content Editor
Image: Boreal Community Media

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - February 9, 2023

District 6 - Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports he and other local officers attended the annual snowmobile fun run. The majority of those attending showed very responsible and safe operation for what turned out to be one of the nicest days in weeks. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, failure to transfer snowmobile registration, and failure to display current snowmobile registration.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Fishing has been slow and there are still a few pockets of slush. Trail conditions have improved but there weren?t a lot of snowmobilers around this week.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports trout fishing in the area remains slow. Snowmobiling activity was high over the weekend with the local snowmobile club having a fun run. Ledeen wants to remind people to stay at a safe distance when viewing wildlife. Enforcement action was taken for modified snowmobile exhaust and failure to display snowmobile registration.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports a bitterly cold week kept recreational activity down, but warm weather returned in time for the weekend and the Ely-Babbitt-Tower snowmobile fun run. Enforcement action was taken on a couple anglers using extra lines, and enforcement action was plentiful for snowmobile speed, registration, and loud exhaust violations, with speeds up to 89 miles per hour documented. An individual was also arrested for motor vehicle DWI. He was operating at more than twice the legal limit.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) took several reports of coyotes within the city limits, and passed on information regarding requirements and abilities under state statute. Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition with nice grooming and ample snow cover. Ice anglers and snowmobile riders were checked, with activity levels down since the cold weather took hold. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports finishing a background investigation for the upcoming Academy. A few citations were issued to trappers after Hill found a few leftover traps from the fisher and pine marten season. Hill worked via snowmobile over the weekend, contacting large groups of riders who were in town for the fun run. Citations were given for exhaust modification and registration issues. Assistance was given to county medical staff with an overdose.

District 5 - Eveleth area

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week patrolling area snowmobile trails and checking anglers on area lakes. Anglers reported having some success and snowmobile riders were enjoying the trail conditions. Enforcement action was taken for multiple snowmobile-registration violations.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports snowmobile activity picked up toward this past weekend with the temperatures a little more tolerable. Trail conditions are about as good as they can be, so get out and ride. Time was spent patrolling snowmobile trails in Lake and Cook counties with conditions there fantastic as well. Assistance was provided for an individual who had become separated from his riding partner on the trails. Wildlife-related calls were fielded and tended to.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and snowmobile activities over the week. Fishing remains poor with few fish observed caught. Timber sales continue to be monitored. Administrative tasks are ongoing, as is equipment work.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) checked for angling and snowmobile activity. Cold weather limited snowmobile activity during the week, but it picked up during the weekend. Larson spent time working with CO Williams, Lt. Thomasen, and Border Patrol over the weekend during a snowmobile event. Violations were related to speed on the snowmobile trails.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling activity and snowmobile enforcement. Cold weather throughout the week limited recreational activity, but a warmer weekend brought people back outside. Anglers report minimal success on area lakes, but snowmobile trails remain in good condition. A complaint regarding a dog chasing deer was investigated. Violations encountered included snowmobile speed, expired registration, failure to transfer ownership, and no angling shelter license.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time wrapping up a bear-hunting investigation from the previous season. Enforcement action was taken on the subject due to multiple bear-bait violations, as well as an unregistered turkey that was found to have been harvested the previous spring. He also worked several snowmobile details around the Cook and Tower area over the weekend. Approximately 15 individuals were cited for excessive speed while operating on the snowmobile trails. Zavodnik wants to remind operators to be mindful of their speeds while operating on the trails.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobiling activity. Cold weather during the week limited recreational activity. The warmer weekend brought out few anglers but numerous snowmobile riders. Anglers reported limited success. Snowmobile trails are in good shape but could use some new snow.

Cook vacant.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew telemetry and training flights.

CO Pilot Jason Jensen (Brainerd) reports a week of flying wolf-pack surveys. While flying these surveys, Jensen found a number of illegal deer-feeding locations within the CWD surveillance zone. Jensen also found a number of unpermitted and improperly posted aeration systems. Jensen assisted with relocating helicopters and also spoke at an airport safety meeting about DNR aviation.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) completed a helicopter deer survey research project in Deer Permit Areas 296, 299, 252, and 253. Nearly 200 1-square-mile plots were flown, counting deer in each. Snow conditions were still very good, but rapidly changing temperatures were beginning to show open field tops and some deer were observed laying on brown patches on south sides of trees and vegetation. Administrative tasks were also completed.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) worked on upcoming maintenance appointments for two aircraft. Currency requirements were completed. He worked on syllabi for upcoming training.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Grand Rapids) flew two telemetry flights this week. One was near Big Fork and the other northeast of Ely. After a long January of poor weather, it was nice to have some clear days despite the cold.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) attended to administrative tasks.