Snowmobilers illegally skipping their machines across open water usually is a winter or early spring problem in Minnesota.
But four Iron Range snowmobilers have been cited this month after doing just that. Three of the four machines sunk.
“This apparently is a new thing,’’ said Don Bozovsky, the DNR conservation officer in Hibbing. “I’ve never had that happen this time of year. Now I’ve had two cases in less than a week.’’
Three Hibbing men tried to skip their snowmobiles across a small Hibbing lake, but all three machines sunk. Bozovsky issued several citations for failed registration and other violations.
But the three also were arrested because they had outstanding warrants — for failing to pay $135 fines related to a water-skipping incidents last winter. They have similar fines for their latest adventure. They were able to pull the sunken machines from the water.
Skipping open water with a snowmobile is considered reckless driving, Bozovsky said. And he said sunken machines can pollute waters with gas and oil, and be navigation hazards for boaters.
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The Department of Natural Resources will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties.
Results mirror results in Minnesota, South Dakota.
Previously, the DNR said it would wait until an annual fall walleye survey was complete on Mille Lacs before determing whether winter walleye fishing could begin Dec. 1.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 24