[Reprinted from original]
DNR Report: Trap tampering a persistent issue, conservation officer reports
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report for the week of May 1.
District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the sturgeon “keep” season on the Rainy River is in full swing with lots of people out attempting to catch one. People are reminded again to make sure they have all their boat safety equipment on board their boats. A few animal-related complaints were handled throughout the week. Enforcement action for the week mainly involved license issues and failure to have the proper or sufficient number of safety equipment on board.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working the Rainy River, checking spring beaver-trapping activity and monitoring area forest roads for ATV activity. Anglers reported suckers were starting to run and the sturgeon bite has been picking up. Enforcement action taken was for keeping an illegal-length sturgeon, fishing without a license, registration issues and various PFD violations.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) monitored trapping activity and completed end-of-the-season equipment tasks. Another agency was assisted with a vehicle off the roadway. Miscellaneous wildlife-related calls were also fielded.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports all lakes in the work area remain ice-covered. Trapping activities continue to be monitored. Closed-season otter catches continue to be reported as otter populations have increased. A trap-theft case was dealt with. Equipment work continues.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily trapping enforcement over the last week. Larson spent time checking traps and trappers out on their trap line. Larson also fielded complaints about loose domestic animals and spring bear activity.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked trapping and ATV enforcement. In addition, time was spent speaking at a firearms safety class in Hibbing and maintaining station equipment. Recreational activity remains in a lull as we transition between seasons. A reminder to anglers and boaters to check your watercraft registration to ensure you’re ready for the open-water season.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time monitoring trapping activity and attending deer farm training over the week. Several inquiries were fielded regarding increased bear activity observed throughout the region as of late. Open water for fishing opener seems to be the hot topic of conversation, since many of the lakes throughout the region are still locked up with ice. It looks like it’ll be another opener that will come down to the wire. Zavodnik wants to remind ATV operators to refresh themselves on the rules of the road in the DNR synopsis book. The rate of ATV contacts to violations have been quite high early in the season.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring trapping, ATV, and fishing activity. Recreational activity remained low due to poor weather conditions. Lake ice is slowly deteriorating. Broughten also fielded calls regarding nuisance bears and litter.
District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports cool weather with a combination of rain and snow lasted into the weekend. Smaller lakes are beginning to show signs of opening, with several no longer having ice locked to shore. No angling activity was seen through the week and very little ATV use was seen. Violations included operating an ATV on a state highway and failure to display ATV registration.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) monitored seasonal closures and ATV activity. He attended the Healthy Kids Day that took place in Grand Marais. Equipment maintenance was executed on his patrol vehicle and ATV.
CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais #2) spent the week patrolling trapping and angling activities. Anglers have been having minimal success chasing steelhead. However, the few fish that have been landed have been of quality size. Winter weather still lingers in the area.
CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) spent time on equipment maintenance and gave a classroom presentation at Vermilion Community College. Many reports are coming in about local turkey populations. An incidentally caught otter was processed. Enforcement action was taken for litter.
CO Matt Miller (Silver Bay) checked ATVs, snowmobiles, steelhead anglers, ice anglers, campgrounds, cross-country skiers and state parks on a true multi-season week along the North Shore. Campgrounds were over half full despite remaining snow piles. Rivers remain high and cold, and steelhead angling will improve as temperatures increase. Lakes do not show many signs of losing their ice yet, and snowpack remains deep away from the lake. Enforcement action was taken for state park and ATV violations.
CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports an extremely slow week of outdoor activity in Cook County. Although streams and beaver ponds are beginning to open, trapping activity remains very light. A few steelhead anglers were contacted, with only one reporting success. Hill and other emergency personnel attended Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA. The kiddos were able to see ATVs, boats and canoes, and Hill even let them honk the air horn and sirens on the squad truck.
CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked spring beaver-trapping and angling activity during the week. Snow is rapidly melting in the area but most lakes are still ice-covered this week. Spring fish run activity is behind schedule as water temperatures remain low. Check your area restrictions before burning as most areas are now requiring burning permits as snow cover has disappeared.
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked trappers and monitored ATV and trapping activities. Brown answered fishing and hunting related questions and responded to wildlife-related calls. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV in a careless manner and expired ATV registration.
CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) attended K-9 school with his K-9 partner, Fennec, this week.
CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ATV issues and took reports of many deer being hit by cars. Deer have been in area ditches trying to feed on the freshly grown grass and many have been hit by cars. Sutherland has worked the spring beaver-trapping season and it seems there are more trappers out than normal this year.
CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked fishing and recreational vehicles during the previous week. Time was also spent on wildlife-related complaints and training. Holt monitored closed roads and trails.
CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) gave a law and ethics talk at both an ATV and a firearms safety class. Anglers are beginning to try their luck at catching catfish and suckers in local rivers and creeks. Spring beaver-trapping activity remains low due to fluctuating water levels.
District 8 - Duluth area
CO Jacob Willis (Brookston) fielded multiple trapping complaints and regulation calls. Calls about the upcoming angling season are also increasing. Trap tampering continues to be an issue; remember it is illegal to tamper with a lawfully set trap. Guidance and assistance were also provided to a local ATV group in addressing trail-flooding issues.
CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) followed up on squatting complaints on state property and checked anglers along the North Shore. Smelters were checked, and water temperatures and flow have hampered harvest abilities. Turkey hunting activity was monitored and anglers on Lake Superior were checked. He assisted with a semi crash on highways 33/53, and multiple nuisance-bear complaints were handled.
CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) worked beaver-trapping locations. Many trappers were contacted during the week, with most having success. Many anglers along the North Shore were checked throughout the week as they were attempting to catch steelhead. Water flow continues to be high and fast, but many anglers are still fishing. Lake Superior continues to be busy with boat anglers when the weather allows. Area lakes are still ice-covered, but they are deteriorating quickly.
CO Mikeena Wehr (Willow River) continued work on special projects this week. Calls were fielded regarding nuisance-beaver issues and dogs chasing deer.
CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) monitored ATV activity and handled various nuisance-animal calls this week. Elwell spoke to 52 students during an ATV safety certification class in Barnum. Spring fish run details were also worked.
CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent the week patrolling for ATV activity, checking anglers and handling miscellaneous wildlife-related calls. Karon reports that the entrances at the closed gates of the Chengwatana State Forest are beginning to have littering issues again. Target shooting at the parking area by the gate is prohibited.