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Boreal Community Media

Weekly Conservation Officer Reports for Northeast Minnesota

Sep 14, 2023 11:20AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media 

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - September 14, 2023

Two Harbors area

CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) spent the week continuing to focus on bear hunting. Hunting reports continued to be good as cooler weather and rain arrived. There has been an increase in nuisance-bear reports across the BWCA over the last few weeks and people visiting the wilderness are being asked to be extra careful with food and garbage.

CO Brent Ihnen (Ely #2) spent the week checking fishing and boating activity. Additional time was spent patrolling for bear and waterfowl hunters.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking bear hunters and monitoring ATV riders. He patrolled in the BWCAW checking anglers. Enforcement action was taken for angling, ATV, and license violations.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) reports fishing on the inland lakes is starting to pick up as fall progresses. With bear season well underway, few bears are being observed by hunters and even fewer are being harvested. One ATV was stopped this week for operating with a juvenile passenger with no approved helmet. The person driving the ATV was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun but did not have a permit to carry. Enforcement action was taken for both violations.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) continued field training with COC Nick Ambroz. The officers again worked a wide variety of enforcement activities and encountered numerous violations. A couple ongoing investigations were finished up, resulting in enforcement action. Assistance was provided instructing a youth firearms safety class in Babbitt where 15 youths were certified. Thanks to the volunteers who gave of their time. Enforcement action for the week included unregistered bear bait, unsigned bear bait, fishing without a license, failure to transfer watercraft title, expired personal watercraft registration (1996 sticker), operating a PWC too close to shore, operating a motor vehicle on bike trail closed to motor vehicles, and no state park vehicle permit.

CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) followed up on a shoreline-development complaint and a management area encroachment. An ATV operator found speeding down the traffic lane on a state highway had no idea there were specific ATV laws or safety training requirements. Parking complaints and early deer shooting complaints were received. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and angling violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports attending yearly firearms qualification and medical training at Camp Ripley throughout the week.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear- and early goose-hunting activity during the week. Wild rice harvesting continued and fall fishing success remained good in area lakes and streams. Murray also attended a fall training session at Camp Ripley and investigated a shoreline violation.

Eveleth area

CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) continued field training COC Jahn. Time was spent on bear-hunting and fishing enforcement. Enforcement action was taken for transporting fish in an unmeasurable state.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working ATV activity, checking sturgeon anglers, bear hunters, and waterfowl-hunting activity this past week. Many people were out enjoying the weather and having some success along the way. Enforcement action consisted of hunting waterfowl with an unplugged gun, and not having state or federal stamps.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports that although there has not been a frost to pare back biting insects yet, people are out enjoying time in the woods. Bear hunters endured very warm weather for the opening days but with cooler temperatures the bears became more active. Acorns are dropping and the leaves are turning color, indicating fall is in the air. Angling reports continue to be positive. Early goose and youth waterfowl hunting was monitored with favorable conditions observed. In-service training was also attended this past week.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring angling and boating activities. Area forest roads were checked. Early goose hunting was non-existent due to no geese. ATV activities were checked. Numerous phone calls on a variety of outdoor topics were returned. Other time was spent completing administrative reporting requirements.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily bear-hunting and ATV enforcement throughout the week. Larson spent time investigating and following up with hunting violations. He also spent a few days at annual training at Camp Ripley.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game, waterfowl, and ATV activity. Rainfall and cooler weather led to a large drop-off in recreational activity. Lots of grouse are being seen in the area, which bodes well for hunters during the upcoming small-game opener next weekend.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time attending fall training at Camp Ripley over the week. He also fielded numerous questions regarding the upcoming small- and big-game seasons. Increasing numbers of waterfowl are starting to arrive with the weather turning cooler.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing, bear-hunting, goose-hunting, and ATV activity. Bear hunters continued to report moderate success. Goose hunters reported limited success. ATV activity remained high. Broughten also fielded calls regarding youth waterfowl season, nuisance beavers, and injured animals.

Cook vacant.

Water Resource Enforcement Officers

WREO Jeff Humphrey (NE) updated several new and ongoing wetland and waters cases, as well as an aquatic plant management case. Humphrey attended fall in-service training and firearms qualification. He also worked on equipment maintenance.

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