Here are highlights from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer (CO) reports for the week ending Oct. 5, 2020. The complete report is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/co_report/index.html

CO John Slatinski IV (Ray) reports fall is in full swing with more than the usual number of visitors using the great north woods to get away and relax. Dispersed camping has become more prominent although tent camping has become less popular as the temperatures drop at night. Grouse hunters have mostly been successful, with good reports heard. A popular and disturbing violations encountered in recent days has been the transport of loaded firearms in/on a motor vehicle. In one instance the individual had a loaded shotgun in the cab of their pickup with the safety in the fire position with an excited dog also in the cab stepping on the gun. Situations like this are prime for a bad ending to a good day. A few minutes thinking about the safety fundamentals of outdoor recreation will allow everyone to go home at the end of the day. Various hunting and ATV violations were encountered.CO

CO Shane Zavodnik (Cook) encountered the same individual who was cited the previous week for transporting spruce tops without a permit. Again, he was found to be driving a borrowed pickup truck and transporting spruce top bundles illegally. The subject’s spruce tops were seized again. A 50-year Volunteer Firearm Instructor Award was also given to an instructor from the Cook/Orr area. His dedication to the program and the students definitely do not go unnoticed. Thank you, sir!!

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) monitoring hunting and angling activity, ATV riders and checked on a wetland fill complaint. A duck hunter who was transporting a loaded shotgun was arrested on a felony warrant. Everyone has heard of distracted driving, but distracted horseback riding was observed for the first time. The rider, however, continued on with the smartphone without incident. Enforcement action was taken on transport loaded firearm and a number of ATV violations.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) and COC Charles Scott checked area small-game hunters. They handled a nuisance-bear complaint of a bear dinning in bird feeders. The people were advised to remove food sources that attract bears. They transported two extremely social otters to a rehabilitation facility and performed equipment maintenance and completed assigned training tasks.

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji) checked anglers, waterfowl hunters and grouse hunters throughout the past week. The crappie bite on small lakes in the area is excellent. While checking one couple, it was found they were 46 crappies over their legal limit. Vollbrecht assisted the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with an individual who was armed with a pistol walking along the highway. The individual was later taken into custody by the sheriff’s office.

CO Patrick McGowan (Pine River) worked waterfowl hunters and anglers throughout the week. Assistance was also given to a waterfowl hunter who was yelling for help and in the water hanging on to his boat. Enforcement action was taken for numerus waterfowl and angling violations.

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