DNR Report: Sept. 28Reports filed Sunday by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.
District 5 - Eveleth area
Conservation Officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls) reported that opening waterfowl season was uneventful with some people having a few ducks in the bag. Invasive species enforcement checks on waterfowl hunters found most hunters in compliance. Grouse hunters success has increased from opening weekend. A Firearms Safety Instructors Clinic in International Falls was well attended by new and old instructors. Enforcement action taken for the week included no small game license, transport watercraft with drain plug in, and illegal all-terrain vehicle operation.
Conservation Officer Brad Schultz (Cook) reported that a few muskie anglers were fishing Lake Vermilion. A few grouse hunters were observed, but they did not have many birds in the bag. The waterfowl opener was very slow with only a couple hunters observed and no ducks.
Conservation Officer Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) worked the waterfowl opener, other ongoing hunting seasons, angling, the state park, invasive species enforcement, and dealt with a road- killed bull moose. It was refreshing to see that duck hunters did well with good numbers of birds being taken and a low violation rate. The officer is looking for assistance in locating the suspects involved in the illegal taking and dumping of two large white-tailed deer bucks a few miles east of Hibbing. The un-harvested deer had been shot elsewhere, the heads removed, and carcasses dumped near a road. Enforcement action was taken on hunters of waterfowl who had lead shot in possession, no personal floatation devises and no state park permit.
Conservation Officer Matt Frericks (Virginia) spent time checking bear hunters and their baits, and also located some deer baits. Nuisance beaver trapping permits were issued and questions have started coming in regarding deer hunting zones and how many deer can be taken.
Conservation Officer Mark Fredin (Aurora) wrapped up a bear hunting case with violations for hunting without a bear license, failure to register bear bait station, and baiting without a license. Waterfowl hunters had ideal weather, cloudy with drizzling rain. A few wood duck, mallards, and ring necks were taken. A nuisance bear was reported getting into dumpsters within town. A hunter has been contacted to try to resolve the problem.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
Conservation Officer John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers and hunters this past week. Velsvaag received calls about deer hunting and spoke at a youth firearms safety class in Babbitt. He took several calls on nuisance animals and checked waterfowl hunters.
Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Ely) worked grouse hunters and all-terrain vehicles throughout the week. Time was spent doing investigations, checking illegal baiting sites, and doing aquatic invasive species work. Fishing has been slow and the weather has turned cold. Fall is in the air, so remember to wear those personal floatation devices if you venture onto the cold Minnesota waters.
Conservation Officer Brad Johnson (Silver Bay) reports that he worked the waterfowl opener. Ducks were present and some hunters had good success northeast of Finland. He also checked grouse hunters, anglers, and all-terrain vehicles throughout the week. Johnson attended training at Camp Ripley and patrolled at state parks along the North Shore.
Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) worked the waterfowl opener checking duck hunters and checking for aquatic invasive species violations. Grouse, duck and moose hunters were out despite the snow and sleet. Complaints of low numbers of grouse in the area were common. The Officer responded with advice, “get off the roads and get into the woods.” The roads were busy with tribal moose hunters and leaf lookers. Wahlstrom also spent time at Camp Ripley teaching defensive tactics and armoring shotguns.
Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reported a few snow falls and big bulls on the move during the week. The moose rut is on. One person reports that he saw a bull moose mating with a cow. Moose tracks are also starting to appear more frequently on the back roads. Not many grouse hunters out, so a few grouse are starting to come back to the roadsides once again. The few duck hunters that were out reported some success. Lots of shooting took place on some very remote lakes. Enforcement action was taken again this week for unregistered bears.
Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) attended annual training and firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley. The officer worked the duck opener with neighboring officers; aquatic invasive species enforcement was also a priority and compliance was found to be good. Grouse hunters were plentiful and reports of birds taken were mixed. Salmon are running in Lake Superior tributaries and anglers are also numerous. One angler checked was relieved when the officer walked into the river to retrieve a Rapala lure that he had hooked on a rock declaring, “You just saved me four bucks!” He was not so happy when she replied, “Well, not exactly,” and proceeded to explain regulations regarding single hook requirements and then provided him with appropriate paperwork. Another angler was cited for failing to release two fish he had foul-hooked saying he didn’t think he should just let them go.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sergeant Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked river anglers targeting pink salmon, as well as archery deer hunters north of Duluth. Calls continue to come in on the upcoming fire arms safety field days. Olson assisted with the Turn In Poachers wall of shame set up in Carlton. He followed up on Lake Superior guide monthly reports. He met with the U.S. Coast Guard on upcoming maintenance issues.
Conservation Officer Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers taking advantage of a smaller-than-usual fall salmon run. Due to the floods in June, many rivers have a gravel bar stretching across their mouth that prevents fish from entering the river. Archery deer season has begun, and with it the usual baiting and dumping of carcasses complaints. Enforcement action was taken for angling and aquatic invasive species violations.
Conservation Officer Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked small game, waterfowl, big game, angling, boating, and aquatic invasive species enforcement throughout the week. Training was also given and attended. Remember, it is the hunter’s or angler’s responsibility to make sure all the required stamps are purchased along with licenses over the internet or at an electronic licensing system vendor. Enforcement action was taken for various violations.