DNR Report: The end of the week brought some snow, to many snowmobilers' delight

Jan. 11—Conservation officer Darrin Kittelson (International Falls 1) reports snowmobile enthusiasts welcomed recent snowfall. However, much more is needed so trails can be used and maintained by area clubs. Along with snow, colder weather is in the forecast to improve the ice conditions for ice fishing, but people still must use extreme caution when venturing onto ice. Trapping issues were handled. He also assisted other agencies with incidents.

CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports spending time this past week on area lakes checking anglers and people out recreating. Anglers reported the fishing was good earlier in the week. Simonson assisted other local agencies throughout the week with different calls. Enforcement action taken this past week was for a variety of registration issues on snowmobiles and ATVs, litter complaints, and anglers with illegal-length walleyes.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports angling and spearing activity continues to pick up speed in the area. Ice conditions are still questionable in most areas. The recent snow did not amount to enough to help snowmobile enthusiasts, but it is a start. Expired registration or registration not displayed have been common on both snowmobiles and ATVs. Forecast temperatures should help build ice, but caution is still required.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports little activity on area lakes. Ice remains unsafe in areas, and some insulating snow fell, further adding to poor ice conditions. What little snow fell is far less than needed to adequately ride a snowmobile in the woods or on trails without damaging a machine. Computer work is ongoing, as is equipment work.

CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling enforcement. Larson checked several backwoods lakes around his station as ice conditions are beginning to improve. Larson also spent time checking for traps as conditions for travel on trails and backroads have remained open with the lack of snow earlier in the week. Larson also responded to an animal-attack call.

CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling, trapping and ATV activity. In addition, time was spent assisting partner law enforcement agencies and working with other local COs on an ongoing investigation. Colder weather through the week allowed the area lakes to firm up a bit, but anglers were still finding only mixed success. Violations encountered included possession of illegal-length northern pike, operating a motor vehicle on a closed trail, and angling license issues.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time completing a background investigation and investigating a possible timber theft issue on state land. The first of the anxious snowmobile riders were observed over the weekend after the recent snow the region received. Ice conditions are starting to improve and look to get much better as single-digit temperatures are expected to hit the region.

CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring fishing and spearing activity. Ice conditions are slowly improving, but recent snowfall has hidden poor ice. The area did receive some snow but not enough for snowmobiling. Broughten also fielded calls regarding timber theft, injured animals and snowmobile trails.

CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports the first significant snowfall finally fell in the Ely area beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend. As snowmobiles began to be seen around the area on lakes and trails, officers noticed that there was still some ATV and truck traffic using the trails. Several ATVs and trucks were contacted, and enforcement action was taken. Folks are reminded that any designated snowmobile trail is closed to motor vehicle and ATV traffic even if the trail has not yet been groomed.

CO Brent Ihnen (Ely 2) focused mainly on checking anglers this week. He also patrolled for ATV and snowmobile operators and small-game hunting/trapping activity.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) reports following up on a deer case with the assistance of CO Salzer in which a doe was taken in a buck-only permit area. Enforcement action was taken in the case. Bermel would like to remind people to be careful on the ice as there are lots of pressure ridges, thin ice areas and ice thickness variability. Another reminder following the first significant snow of the season: Enforcement action will be taken against those who take vehicles and ATVs onto designated snowmobile trails. That was an issue addressed several times over the weekend.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking anglers on area lakes. Enforcement action was taken for taking fish out of season and license violations.

CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais 2) focused mainly on checking anglers within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness throughout the week. A handful of fish were seen being caught, but mostly all the fish were small. Enforcement action was taken for multiple ATV violations.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) reports checking ice anglers throughout the week with an average bite noted. Truck work was handled in Duluth. Hill and CO Ledeen stopped a side-by-side being operated on Highway 61 in Beaver Bay. The juvenile operator did not have a driver's license and the machine was unregistered. The father received citations for the registration violations.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) continued to monitor angling activity and ice conditions on area lakes. Ice continues to have areas of unsafe travel with inconsistent ice depths. Be sure to check ice frequently and use caution when traveling on new ice. Murray also took a call of an injured wolf and checked on a trapping complaint.

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) checked ice anglers and monitored ATV and trapping activities. Wildlife-, fishing and trapping-related questions were answered. With the inconsistent ice conditions, anglers are encouraged to check the ice as they make their way out and to use ice safety equipment at all times on the ice.

CO Jayson Hansen (Bigfork) worked ATVs, small-game and fishing activities. He patrolled campgrounds and trails. Numerous game and fish-related questions were answered. He also responded to wildlife-related complaints.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, monitored trapping activity and investigated Turn in Poachers complaints. Fairbanks and his K-9 partner, Fennec, also searched for evidence on a Turn in Poachers investigation. Enforcement action was taken for failure to display registration on an off-highway vehicle, no shelter tag and angling with extra lines.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked ice angling and spearing activity over the past week with ice conditions improving. Sutherland is starting to see ATVs on area lakes, but extreme caution should be used because of varying ice depths. Sutherland also worked trapping activity in the area with individuals still out trapping beavers, bobcats and otters.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) reports working trapping, angling, dark house spearing, and decorative materials. Work was also completed on open investigations as well. Enforcement action was taken for various angling license violations.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) spent most of the week patrolling forest roads for bobcat-trapping activity and checking anglers who were finally able to make it out to their favorite spots. Fishing success was moderate overall, but people were in good spirits about being able to get out. A law and ethics talk was also given at a snowmobile safety class.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) checked angling and trapping activity throughout the previous week. Time was also spent monitoring recreational vehicles. Holt continued working on a background investigation on an applicant for the next CO Academy.

CO Derek Peterlin (Brookston) primarily focused on trapping and ATV enforcement. He investigated reports of illegal trapping sets and garbage dumping. He is starting to see some snowmobiling activity with the snow finally arriving. Enforcement action was taken for untagged snares and ATV violations including youth under 18 without a helmet, operating on a state highway, and failure to display registration.

CO Andy Schmidt (Duluth West) investigated a complaint of a wounded deer that led to trapping violations. Ice angling activity was monitored during the week and ice conditions seem to be improving. Time was spent dealing with nuisance-animal complaints and wildlife possession permits.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent some time following up and completing a bear-hunting investigation with CO Hand. Ice conditions have improved around the Duluth area, so more people have been winter fishing on area lakes. Duncan continued to work on deer-hunting complaints involving late-season archery hunters. Duncan also attended a snowmobile safety class and talked with the kids about safety and snowmobile laws.

CO Tony Elwell (Cloquet) gave a safety presentation to youth attending snowmobile safety certification and monitored ice angling. Patrols for trapping activity were also conducted. He also gave a ride-along to an intern candidate. Snowmobile activity was observed on local lakes.

CO Mikeena Wehr (Carlton) continued work on special projects. Complaints regarding hunting deer out of season and trapping were fielded.

CO Aimee Hand (Willow River) finished an investigation into an out-of-state resident illegally guiding for bears. She also patrolled her station for ATV and fishing activity and completed a follow-up game farm inspection. A complaint of potential deer poaching was investigated. The end of the week brought some snow, to many snowmobilers' delight. Enforcement action for the week included illegally set body-gripping traps, failing to register bear baits, and baiting bears for compensation without an outfitter license.

CO Ben Karon (Pine City) spent time this week continuing to work on a background investigation. Angers were checked on various lakes. Continue to be cautious on lakes as the ice thickness varies from lake to lake and within the same body of water. Karon also monitored trapping activities throughout the week.

CO Matt Miller (Marine Unit — Duluth) checked a few ice anglers as ice began to finally thicken. A unit meeting was attended, and equipment outfitting efforts were worked on. Time was spent in area schools, and a meeting was attended with Fisheries staff. Enforcement action was taken for angling violations.