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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Mar 15, 2023 10:47AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media files

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - March 15, 2023

Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports snow continued to fall through the weekend and, along with cooler weather, helped improve trail conditions. Angling activity was noticeably lower through the week into the weekend. Violations included angling without a license in possession and failure to display current snowmobile registration.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobile riders this past week. Snowmobile conditions are very good with the recent snowfall. Velsvaag received several calls about panfish regulations and nuisance-animal questions.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) received a report of a dead calf moose that was discovered in the Schroeder area. Upon further investigation there was no dead moose, but two butchered farm-raised hogs that had been illegally dumped in the forest. Violations encountered this week included no license in possession, failure to display snowmobile registration and an overlimit of lake trout.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) took an individual who is interested in a career as a conservation officer on a ride-along. Fresh snow has come just in time to extend the snowmobile season. Enforcement action focused around angling and snowmobile enforcement. An individual was arrested for DWI driving off the lake from fishing at over twice the legal limit. Charges are pending. An angler was checked on a local lake who stated he was just ?testing out his equipment.? He had a rod baited with a hook and crappie minnow and was found to have no license-purchase history. A citation was issued. Other enforcement action was taken for snowmobile violations, including loud exhaust, which continues to be a common problem and complaint.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and snowmobile enforcement efforts this past week. As the deadline for ice shelter removal approaches, anglers are reminded to not wait until the last moment and make sure to remove all items and leave the area clean. Enforcement action was taken for licensing and registration violations.

Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the recent snowstorm has extended the snowmobile season as the trails are back in great shape. Ice fishing on Rainy Lake continues, but the success rate is not so great, with small fish being caught. Enforcement action taken for the week included license issues. People are reminded that new angling license were needed March 1.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking anglers and snowmobile activity. ATV activity was monitored on area forest roads and lakes. Equipment maintenance was taken care of.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports it appears the latest snowfall will extend the snowmobile season longer than many anticipated. If you are still itching to get out and ride, the trail conditions have been excellent and we can expect that to continue for a while yet. Anglers have been finding easy access to lakes, but mostly small fish have been leaving fish bags light. Common issues encountered the past week continued to involve snowmobile registration and display, illegal snowmobile exhaust, and excessive speed.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports continued monitoring of angling and snowmobile activities. Multiple inches of new snow fell over the weekend, extending the riding season, which is good for motorized snowmobiles, but bad for deer. Area forest roads were monitored as was the upcoming fish house removal.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson spent time checking anglers on Lake Vermilion, with very few people fishing for panfish. Snowmobile trails in locations were degrading fairly quickly with the warming weather resulting in bare spots. The fresh snow over the weekend may help extend the snowmobile season a while longer.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling activity and snowmobile enforcement. In addition, time was spent training at Camp Ripley and recovering a stolen ATV that was found abandoned. Most shelters have been removed from local lakes, but a few remain. Anglers are reminded that the shelter removal date is March 20 for the northern one-third of the state. Violations encountered included snowmobile speed, snowmobile registration, and operating a motor vehicle on a grant-in-aid snowmobile trail.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and snowmobile activity. Anglers reported limited success. Fewer snowmobiles were observed this week. Broughten also fielded calls regarding ATV registration and littering.

Cook vacant.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) assisted WREO Speldrich with an AIS law enforcement training in the metro. Humphrey reviewed several ongoing wetland and waters cases. Humphrey worked snowmobile trail enforcement in the Carlton area and responded to a few calls for service locally.

Aviation Section

CO Pilot Tim Gray (Bemidji) flew telemetry flights, a deer-feeding flight and a training flight for ski landings. He spent time orientating CO Fox around his new station.

NR Pilot Brad Maas (Brainerd) worked on upcoming flight training plans and administrative tasks.

CO Pilot Charles Scott (Grand Rapids) completed required training. Wolf-telemetry fights were planned for the upcoming week. Manual updates were worked on.

Standby CO Pilot Jake Willis (Duluth) attended training most of the week and the poor weather with the winter storm prevented any weekend flights.

NR Pilot Gracie Zeller (Brainerd) worked on developing training material for the helicopters and attended to administrative duties.
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