Conservation officers remind the public to leave fawns and other young animals alone


Conservation Officer Curtis Simonson (International Falls 2) reports having a busy week checking out fishermen and boating activities on Rainy Lake. Time has been devoted to handling complaints about ATVs in the region and responding to questions regarding special regulations for walleye on Rainy Lake. The enforcement action taken this week concerned the possession of several walleye of illegal length on Rainy Lake. Simonson urges people to consult the rule book before they go fishing and to call if you have questions about anything specific that you cannot find.

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) noted that time has been spent monitoring inbound and outbound traffic for aquatic invasive species compliance. The most common offense was carrying a boat without removing the drain plugs. Angling reports continue to be mostly negative, with overall lower catch rates. ATV complaint areas were monitored.

Slatinski responded to a variety of wildlife-related calls. He reminds people to leave the animals of the year alone, as this gives them the best chance of survival.

CO Troy Fondie (Orr) angling and boating activity reports were monitored during the week. Wolves, bears and beavers continue to cause problems. Mountain biking activity has remained constant despite the arrival of summer bugs. Equipment work continues. Forest roads in the area have been checked.

Commander Marc Johnson (Hibbing) mainly worked on the application of mountain bikes, nautical activity and controlled public accesses. In addition, we spent time taking training at Camp Ripley and talking with children at “Safety Town,” a local event aimed at teaching children how to be safe in many aspects of daily life.

The calls received included complaints of trespassing and infilling of wetlands; nuisance bears; own a captive-bred red fox; and assist local law enforcement agencies.

CO Shane Zavodnik (Virginia) reports that time was spent following up on previous cases and primarily enforcing ATV laws throughout the week. Numerous ATV offenses were noted and he observed that many people under the age of 18 were not wearing helmets.

Zavodnik also encountered an individual carrying a 3-year-old passenger on a moped. During Zavodnik’s sightings, the passenger was not wearing a helmet and was on the operator’s lap because both lanes of traffic were slowing down for him. Enforcement measures have been taken.

District 6 – Two Port Zone

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) mainly worked on aquatic invasive species, boating and fishing law enforcement. Anglers caught a good number of walleyes during the Birch Lake walleye tournament despite very windy conditions.

The enforcement actions included transporting a loaded firearm and two caseless firearms in a motor vehicle; no personal flotation devices; unlicensed boat; transport a boat with the drain plug in place; and no trailer lights on boat trailers.

Commander Sean Williams (Ely) focused on fishing and mountain biking in the Ely region. Fishing reports escalated towards the end of the week as the weather began to change, but success was still only passable.

Several nuisance bear complaints have been received, all relating to improper storage of waste and food. Visitors are reminded to be aware that bears are still hungry and that extra care should be taken to avoid bear problems.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) anglers and boaters checked last week. He found several places with rubbish from people camping in non-traditional locations. Several calls were received regarding pests and the illegal use of personal watercraft.

Commander Don Murray (Two Ports) fishing and boating activity worked during the week. Fishing success has slowed this week, but warm weather has resulted in heavy recreational boat use in the area’s lakes.

Several reports of seemingly orphan fawns were recorded this week. The best advice for fawns is to leave them alone where they are. It is normal for fawns to be left alone for several hours by their mother.

Commander Mary Manning (Hovland) helped with firearms qualifications at Camp Ripley again this week. She also checked ATV riders and anglers. Manning also took a report from a couple who decided the free admission to the state park wasn’t good enough and decided to jump in without paying for their campsite.

CO David Schottenbauer (Silver Bay) worked area angling and nautical activity. Time was also spent checking out ATV trails in the area.

CO Kylan Hill (Tofte) trained at Camp Ripley.

District 7 – Grand Rapids Region

CO Vinny Brown (Northome) driving boating, fishing and ATV law enforcement. Brown helped Forestry complain about the illegal cutting of birch poles and camping.

Assistance was also provided to local counties with a stranded boater and the search for a missing person. Brown participated in the fishing vessel survey with Captain Tim Gray’s pilot.

Enforcement measures were taken for transporting aquatic macrophytes and operating a personal watercraft too close to swimmers.

Commander Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) monitored fishermen and off-road vehicle activity monitored. The walleye bite was good this week. Enforcement action has been taken for licensing issues.

Commander Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) has been angling for the past week and enforcement action has been taken for expired boat registrations and fishing without a license. A survey of forest fires was also carried out in the region.

CO Jimmy Van Asch (Pengilly) focused law enforcement efforts on boating, angling, ATVs, and aquatic invasive species. Van Asch also spoke at the Balsam Trailblazers ATV Club Youth Safety Course. Special thanks to all of the volunteer instructors who helped out with the class.

Enforcement measures have been taken for several offenses related to angling and boating.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) mainly worked fishing, boating and mountain biking. The walleye bite in the area appeared to slow down a bit, while the panfish bite remains stable. ATV riders have reported dusty conditions due to very little rainfall in recent weeks.

Violations included fishing in a closed area and not having a sufficient number of personal flotation devices on board a boat.

District 8 – Duluth Sector

Commander Jacob Willis (Brookston) Addressed ongoing cases this week and answered calls regarding regulatory matters and phone calls relating to complaints. Willis also helped conduct continuing education for the Division at Camp Ripley.

CO Kipp Duncan (Duluth East) spent time at area accesses discussing aquatic invasive species issues with boaters and performing inspections. ATV complaint areas have been monitored and patrolled.

Fishing and boating law enforcement has been worked on and Duncan has responded to complaints about ATVs and wildlife nuisance issues.

CO Jeff Humphrey (Cromwell) worked in angling, boating, all terrain vehicles and aquatic invasive species law enforcement during the week. Humphrey was sent a call from a lost person in the area to a nearby officer.

Humphrey attended division firearms training at Camp Ripley and an honor guard meeting during the week.

He also followed up on investigations, including wolf depredation, environmental damage issues, and a trespassing issue. Several calls were returned with questions / concerns on various issues including property of local residents, registration of homemade boats, public access to water and youth requirements for off-road vehicles.

Commander Scott Staples (Carlton) worked on water and wetland violations in the region. With the hot weather, the nautical activity was very active.

Enforcement measures have been taken for angling without a license and registration violations.

A complaint was received regarding a large amount of garbage dumped on state forest lands. After spending time rummaging through the trash, a piece of mail was found with a name and address. The investigation is still ongoing and a suspect will be contacted shortly.

Lake Superior Marine Unit

CO Keith Olson (Lake Superior Marine Unit) worked weekends focusing on boating safety and AIS enforcement on Lake Superior and inland lakes. The good weather allowed many people to enjoy the waters of the region.

CO Matt Miller (Lake Superior Marine Unit) anglers, boaters and paddleboarders registered on Lake Superior. The cold water slowed down fishing in some places.

Compliance with registration and personal flotation device violations on paddleboards has been poor. ATV complaints were received and common infringement areas verified.

Enforcement measures have been taken for offenses relating to ATVs and boats.

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