Conservation Report District – 5 11-15-22
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the second weekend of the deer season was much like the first: Slow. The first major winter storm of the year could be a contributing factor as people weren?t willing to venture out in the wind and cold. However, some people did, and some continue to not be able to follow the rules. Enforcement action was taken for illegal party hunting, borrowing and lending licenses, hunting over bait, transporting a loaded firearm, operating an ATV during closed hours, shooting a big-game animal from road right-of-way, and allowing illegal juvenile ATV operation.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) reports spending time this past week checking deer hunters and patrolling for ATV activity. Enforcement action taken was for transporting loaded firearms, illegal party hunting and hunting with the aid of bait.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports deer hunting was the main focus this past week. Many hunters were contacted, with most concerned about the lack of deer and perceived abundance of predators. Reports were consistently negative, with pockets of success. The forecasted winter storm caused some people to leave hunting camps early to avoid being caught in difficult conditions like the previous year. Area lakes and rivers are beginning to succumb to the grip of Jack Frost with several locking up with ice over the last two nights, making waterfowl hunting options limited.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports the week was filled with listening to complaining about the lack of deer and high wolf numbers. Deer-hunting activity remains nonexistent. Few hunters were found afield. Equipment work is ongoing. Administrative tasks continue. Local waterways have begun to freeze as the last days of waterfowl hunting approach.
CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily deer-hunting enforcement. Time was spent checking deer hunters and deer camps. Hunters seem to be seeing a below-average number of deer, yet have bagged a few across the area. Larson investigated illegal deer-hunting activity and violations relating to deer hunting. Larson encountered violations such as transporting loaded firearms, failing to validate tags, litter, the use of motor vehicle on trails, and wetlands violations. A reminder to watch for trail signs including bike, snowmobile, and ATV trails that do not allow for other motor vehicle use.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) continued working the firearms deer season. There was a steep decline in hunting activity due to rain, snow, and cold weather that moved through the area during the week and weekend. Time was also spent investigating a wetlands-violation complaint and fielding various calls. Violations encountered included trespassing, operating a motor vehicle on a closed trail, allowing illegal use of an ATV, and placing fill in a wetland.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) and COC Fontes spent time conducting big-game enforcement. Trespassing concerns were also investigated. A traffic stop was initiated on a vehicle due to an egregious driving offense. During the stop, a loaded firearm was observed in plain view. The driver was found to have a canceled-inimical to public safety driver?s license status, and was also found to be a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing a firearm. An arrest and enforcement action followed suit.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring deer hunting, trapping and ATV activity. Few deer hunters were observed in the field this week. Deer-hunting success is very low. Broughten received a call from an individual who was surprised by a bear while he was picking cranberries. The individual was concerned people might not be aware of this bear activity. The individual was advised it is not uncommon to find bears near berries. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, injured animals, and hunting regulations.