Conservation Report – District 5
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports muzzleloader season continues to be slow with few people and minimal harvest. A few animal-related complaints were handled throughout the week and weekend. Ice conditions are not good, so people are asked to use caution and common sense.
CO Curtis Simonson (International Falls #2) monitored muzzleloader deer-hunting activity, small-game hunting, and trapping activity this past week. Cold weather and high winds resulted in low activity. Ice continues to improve on the Rainy River and area lakes. Simonson encourages people to check ice conditions before venturing out.
CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) monitored the ongoing muzzleloader season. Small-game hunters are still reporting some success, although it?s been tougher with the snow and cold weather. As snowmobiles begin to be woken up from a summer slumber, operators are reminded to check for registration requirements as well as any maintenance issues that were not taken care of before putting them away. Parents are also reminded they are responsible to make sure juvenile operators under their care know the rules and have the appropriate safety certification before allowing them to operate.
CO Troy Fondie (Orr) reports outdoor activities were minimal over the week. Newly formed ice is unsafe, and no angling was noted. Deer hunting is nonexistent. Complaints continue with regards to the number of wolves and no deer. Snowmobiles have made an appearance. Equipment work is ongoing.
CO Marc Johnson (Hibbing) primarily worked big-game and trapping activity. A handful of anglers were also checked, and anglers are reminded to be cautious for areas of thin ice. Time was also spent investigating a trespassing complaint that resulted in criminal charges and assisting in getting a wounded bald eagle to a rehabilitation facility.
CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) and COC Coby Fontes gave a presentation on decorative forest products to a group of approximately 100 DNR forest officers. Time was spent on Upper Red Lake for the early ice walleye bite. It resulted in 15 individuals being cited for violations. Most notably, nine people were cited for the possession of an overlimit of walleyes, one person was cited for possessing a fish outside of the slot, and one person was cited for having unattended lines. A total of 42 walleyes were seized during 12 hours of work on the busy lake. Enforcement action was also taken against several individuals for drug-related offenses, which resulted in the seizure of numerous grams of marijuana and several pieces of drug-related paraphernalia.
CO Duke Broughten (Aurora) spent the week monitoring hunting, trapping, and fishing activity. Few muzzleloader deer hunters were encountered. Recent cold weather brought out a few ice anglers. Ice conditions vary, with some lakes still open. Snowmobile riders will have to wait for more snow. Broughten also fielded calls regarding trespass, timber theft, and deer baiting.