Conservation Officer Weekly Report – District 5
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the muzzleloader deer season came to a quiet close. Overall hunter numbers in the area seemed to be down from previous years. Snowmobile activity and spearing activity are picking up, but upcoming nice weather might hinder ice-making. People are reminded to use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice, and to be prepared for the worst. Enforcement action for the week included operating an unregistered snowmobile and trespass issues. A few animal-related complaints were also handled.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports working the last weekend of the muzzle-loader deer season. Activity was low in the area with only a few hunters out and about. Trapping activity and early ice fishing activity was monitored.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) checked spearing activity as well as snowmobile and ATV operators. Ice is forming on area waterways but not at the pace area snowmobilers would like to see. The forecasted warm spell will slow ice development and as a result extreme caution should be used when venturing out. Even though some of the local bays and backwaters are being traveled for spearing and angling, the main lake surface is far from being ready for long-distance travel. The close of muzzleloader deer hunting was monitored, training was completed, and seasonal equipment maintenance was tended to.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports monitoring ice fishing activities. Lake travel was hampered with the recent heavy snowfall as slush has appeared. Snowmobile and ATV activities were checked. Car-killed deer permits were issued, phone calls were returned and administrative tasks were completed. Assistance was provided to the DNR Forestry Division.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. Larson spent time investigating illegal snowmobile trail usage and checking anglers on Lake Vermilion. Snowmobile trail conditions remain fairly poor.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked angling and small-game-hunting activity. The muzzleloader deer season came to a close and few hunters were seen over the final weekend. Time was also spent investigating a trespassing complaint, attending a darkhouse association meeting in Hibbing, and maintaining station equipment.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) spent time monitoring snowmobile trails and completing paperwork. Zavodnik has observed 3 to 6 inches of ice on most of the surrounding lakes.