Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel (Babbitt / Ely) reported assisting a trapper in releasing an incidentally caught wolf. Trappers were worked throughout the week with enforcement action taken for trapping violations. Wolf hunters and wolf trappers were doing well. The first ice fisherman checked this year received paperwork for possession of an illegal length northern.
Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Ely) worked trapping enforcement. The marten/fisher season participants were reporting very little success. There was a lot of frustration expressed. People felt that things happened too soon after deer season, overlapped the Thanksgiving holiday family time and that there were too many people competing for the same time window. Ice is on the lakes, but the warm weather is making it very dangerous. Be careful.
Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) helped with DNR marten, fisher, and otter registration during the week. The number of animals registered and trapper numbers were down. Fagerman checked wolf hunters, muzzleloader hunters, trappers and anglers during the week. Some of the small, shallow lakes have 5-6 inches of ice on them, but with recent warm temperatures, caution is advised. Anglers that have ventured out have found fishing to be slow so far. Enforcement action was taken for unlawful water trap sets, untagged traps and no fishing license. Approximately 40 traps were reported stolen to the officer during the week.
Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) followed up on cases from the firearm deer season and checked muzzleloader hunters. Wahlstrom checked traps and found the majority of trappers in compliance. A few traps were found set illegally, traps were seized and paperwork was issued. Wahlstrom registered furs with the wildlife manager in Finland.
Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy fisher and pine marten season. Rumors of good prices brought out many trappers. The season also brought complaints of traps set in a state park, trap and fur theft and one dog caught in a trap. Manning also assisted the DNR wildlife manager with fur registration. The officer checked a successful wolf trapper and other of hopeful trappers. She continued to work complaints from deer season and prepare for seasonal equipment changeover.
Conservation Officer Randy Hanzal (Duluth) reported the ice on local lakes is extremely thin and no travel is advised at this time. Time was spent wrapping up several cases left over from the firearms deer season. Pine marten and fisher trappers were checked. A complaint regarding wolf hunting was investigated. A few muzzleloader hunters were contacted. Complaints of deer carcasses being dumped are still being fielded.
Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan (Duluth) worked known trapping areas for trapping activity. Many traps were checked with law compliance being very good. Time was also spent at the area DNR wildlife office during fur registration visiting with DNR staff and area trappers. Officers Duncan and Ter Meer investigated a possible hunter harassment case that eventually turned into charges of hunting over bait within the city of Duluth while archery deer hunting. Officers Ter Meer and Duncan also investigated a case of illegal taking of deer during closed hours. Wolf and deer hunters were also checked in the field over the weekend.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott (NE MN) attended the Environmental Congress meeting in Duluth. Large turnout of folks who are concerned about the environment and what elected officials are doing to deal with it. Input was given to those in position to deal with the issues. A wetland violation was investigated with cease and desist order issued. Officer Scott assisted Officer Hanzal in investigation of a wolf hunter who had placed a large amount of deer parts and scraps from processing deer.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sergeant Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked muzzleloader deer hunters and trappers over the course of the week and spent time at fur registration. He finished up month- end reports and paperwork and followed up on a fire arms safety field day for an area youth. Shore anglers along the North Shore checked in the Duluth area.
Conservation Officer Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked a few diehard trout anglers who got out on Lake Superior at the start of the new lake trout season. Fishing was slow with a few trout and salmon reportedly being hooked. Marten and fisher trappers found very few animals in their sets this year; unseasonal weather did not help. Warm weather knocked back the early snow, leaving snowmobilers to wait for another winter storm to begin their season. Enforcement action was taken for trapping and all-terrain vehicle violations.
Conservation Officer Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) investigated an archery deer hunter hunting over bait, and investigated a deer shot in Hermantown by the airport after dark. If you have information contact TIP toll-free statewide: 1-800-652-9093. Ter Meer also worked on finishing up deer season paperwork. He checked traps, predator hunters, and attended furbearer registration. Some archery and muzzleloader hunters were checked and he attended some on-line training. Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over bait, trapping, blaze orange, and ATV violations.