Conservation Officer Sean Williams (Ely) reports warm weather arrived again early last week, and recently there has been some relief from the constant biting flies and mosquitoes. Bear hunting activity has been steady with only a few hunters being successful, but most reporting at least some of their baits being visited. Violations included fail to register a bait station, no ID on bait station, and bait with solid waste.
Conservation Officer Marty Stage (Ely) received calls about bears and beavers, as well as wetlands and dock violations. While launching a boat at the landing, the officer noted that a collared wolf walked right down the road, within 20 yards of him and never looked up. The officer said behavior like that didn’t happen 20 years ago. A reminder to anglers: Small mouth bass season is closing soon in some areas of the state.
Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) worked with other officers checking bear hunters. One hunter was found hunting in the wrong zone, another was found with a bait station that included a tin can. Five gallon buckets were also found stashed by one bait station. One person was talked to about leaving baiting items in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Several baits were found to be unregistered and enforcement action will be taken. Another person was given a lesson on making sure he tells law enforcement he’s carrying a loaded pistol.
Conservation Officer Mary Manning (Hovland) worked a busy bear hunting opening week. Hunters have reported good strikes to the baits, but few bears are being taken. Bear hunters also reported being happy with the new online bait registration system. Anglers and boaters were checked on inland lakes and the officer took a report of a road constructed through a wetland.
Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked a busy week of bear, early goose, angling, boating, and ATV enforcement. A Boundary Waters Canoe Area detail was worked with Conservation Officer Lawler in which a few fish were seen and increased waterfowl movement was observed. Enforcement action was taken for no federal waterfowl stamp, no state waterfowl stamp, unplugged gun, failure to register a bear bait station, unregistered watercraft, no personal flotation devices, an unregistered ATV, riding an ATV on a county road, littering, and no fishing license in possession.
Conservation Officer Thomas Wahlstrom (Tofte) spent the week checking bear hunters, ATV riders and anglers. The bear harvest is down so far this season, but a few nice bears were taken. Hunters are still hitting it hard in the woods trying their luck.
Conservation Officer Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked bear season enforcement efforts in the Tofte and Grand Marais stations. Violations encountered included hunting in the wrong zone, unregistered bear baits, and litter left at a bait site. Murray also worked fishing activity in the vacant Silver Bay station and responded to a sick or injured bear report.
Water Resource Enforcement Officer Mike Scott (Northeast Minnesota) worked at the state fair on Labor Day answering general DNR questions as well as questions about hunting, fishing and aquatic invasive species. Information about a possible wetland violation in Lake County was looked at and will result in a restoration order for impacts to a wetland. A public waters violation was investigated in which an unknown person deposited class five gravel into a stream bed to repair a washed out culvert and regain access to the road.
Lake Superior Marine Unit
Sgt. Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked anglers and boaters on Lake Superior and the Duluth harbor. He checked bear baits and hunters in the Duluth and Grand Marais stations. The warm weather has seemed to hamper the success of the bear hunters. Olson fielded questions about the upcoming hunting seasons and received calls and comments of timber wolves being spotted in the city limits.
Conservation Officer Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) checked boaters and anglers on Lake Superior. Salmon have continued to be very cooperative along the North Shore near Silver Bay and Tofte. Compliance with boating safety regulations has been very high on the big lake this year. It’s a good sign of educated boaters. Wild rice harvest has begun in some spots, and the weekend found a few young hunters out for Youth Waterfowl Day. Enforcement action taken for angling, boating, and ATV violations.
Conservation Officer Troy Ter Meer (Lake Superior Marine Unit) spent the week checking anglers, boaters, and bear hunters.