Hunting News

This fall’s deer kill still far short of 2004 tally

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – The state’s deer herd is estimated to be at record levels in many areas, but that doesn’t mean hunters are running into deer around every tree. Deer hunters in some places reported excellent hunting, while others struggled to see any deer, said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters…

A plague of baiters

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Even youths have been caught up in the web of increasing illegal deer baiting Aurora, Minn. – When Minnesota DNR conservation officer Mark Fredin received a tip about illegal deer baiting on the opening morning of the gun deer season, he didn’t expect to find a trail of youths leading to the alleged St. Louis…

Muskie group challenges 69-11 world record fish

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Hayward, Wis. – When you’re on top, you’ll likely have someone shooting for you. A muskie caught more than 50 years ago is no exception. A group that calls itself the World Record Muskie Alliance and has as members muskie fishermen the likes of Pete Maina and Jim Saric, has presented the National Fresh Water…

Evansville woman killed in deer hunting accident

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Ashby, Minn. – For the first time in two years, a Minnesota hunter has died as a result of a hunting accident. Shelley Denece Burgess, 48, of Evansville was killed Saturday morning when she was shot in the hip, apparently by a hunter in her party, according to Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne. Burgess and…

Opener hunters kill about 100,000 deer

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Perham, Minn. – Though Gov. Tim Pawlenty saw a doe and a fawn opening morning of deer hunting, he admitted to getting ‘buck fever’ and wound up not shooting anything. The same, apparently, is true for many of the hunters out for opening weekend. About 76,000 deer had been registered in the Electronic Licensing System…

LCMR advisory group seeking public input

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A task force that’s evaluating the way conservation projects in the state are funded is looking for input. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Advisory Task Force is taking public testimony next Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in St. Paul. Created during last spring’s legislative session, the task…

Deer hunters questioned about alternative regs

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – As the deer opener looms, a survey unlike any other sent out by the DNR is showing up in deer hunters’ mailboxes. The survey was mailed to 6,000 hunters to gauge their support for various management options as the DNR tries to reduce deer populations in some areas of the state. It’s…

Bears have hankerin’ for the power poles

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bigfork, Minn. – Berries, nuts, and human garbage, it turns out, aren’t the only things that attract bears. In Bigfork, located north of Grand Rapids and east of Red Lake, power poles that belong to a local power company seem to draw them just as well. ‘They’re just chewing the dickens out of (the poles),’…

High hopes for ‘05 gun deer opener

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – For all the deer hunters who find themselves shrouded in a sea of change, this Saturday’s firearms deer opener offers a sense of stability. Some areas have more permits available than previous years, and some hunters already have harvested a deer with a firearm, but, at its core, it’s still the…

Two trumpeters shot dead

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Bagley, Minn. – Despite the increasing number of trumpeter swans in the state, officials say the instances of illegal killings of the species have remained stable the past few years. Still, two waterfowlers face stiff fines and other penalties for allegedly killing two trumpeters in northern Minnesota. Ryan Robert Bjorstrom and Shane Leo Corrow, part…

Rice Lake ‘zeebs’ could affect Mississippi River

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Routine fall lakeshore duties recently resulted in the ‘extremely serious’ discovery of the invasive zebra mussel in Rice Lake near Brainerd. Rice, an impoundment of the Mississippi River, is the fourth inland lake in the state where zeebs have been found. State DNR officials say Gil Millette found a zebra mussel on…

The ‘lakes’ area: Can we grow more wisely?

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Brainerd, Minn. — When it comes to population growth in the state of Minnesota, the ’90s definitely were roaring. The population grew by more than half a million during the decade. Conservationists now are monitoring the effects of more newcomers on the environment, and how the environmentally recluse might learn to better care for the…

CPR saves waterfowling pup

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Winnebago, Minn. — State conservation officers Todd VanderWeyst and Mitch Boyum stop short of calling what happened in their duck hunting boat last week a miracle. But still, a bit of divine intervention may have helped the two preserve the life of a young yellow Lab named Dutch. Boyum, a Rochester CO, and VanderWeyst, who…

Early season hunters kill 1,000-plus deer

By Joe Albert Staff Writer North Branch, Minn. — The state’s first foray into alternative deer management is in the bag. In some instances the early season for antlerless deer, held last weekend in eight north metro and northwest permit areas, was more popular and more successful than DNR officials expected. A total of 5,526 hunters bought 6,761 permits (each…

‘Legendary’ conservation officer dies

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Duluth, Minn. — When Don Polovina was a game warden at the Floodwood station in the 1960s, he arrested a would-be poacher who was shining deer, and brought him before the justice of the peace. The man, down on his luck, needed the meat to feed his family, and couldn’t afford the $50 fine. “Don…

DNR pondering record bass transport issues

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Mark Raveling, a pro bass anglers and the proud owner of the record for biggest largemouth caught in the state, has little but praise for the DNR and its fisheries management. DNR officials are quick to congratulate Raveling, and say now’s the time to “celebrate” the state’s natural resources. So, what’s diverting…

Standing crops could slow pheasant action

But birds are ‘just all over the place’ By Joe Albert Staff Writer Madelia, Minn. — It’s a double-edged sword for hunters heading out this weekend for pheasants: Bird counts are up from last year, but rain has hindered crop harvest in many places. Most expect hunters will enjoy an exceptional season, but it may not begin until after Saturday’s…

Turkeys headed northwest, into ‘uncharted territory’

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Thief River Falls, Minn. – One time extirpated from Minnesota, wild turkeys now are found over a wide swath from the southeast to the northwest. And the beat goes on. The DNR this winter plans to release 60 to 70 turkeys in two northwest counties, Marshall and Red Lake, which will be the farthest north…

2005 duck opener hot and cold; mostly warm

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Nicollet, Minn. – The air was cool, the skies gray; it was weather most duck hunters relish. Unfortunately for waterfowlers, that was the weekend prior to the duck opener. This past weekend brought mostly sunny skies, unseasonably warm weather, wind, and in some areas, decent duck hunting. However, Swan Lake in Nicollet County wasn’t one…

Oct. 15 and 16: an early shot at whitetails

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – As the DNR’s big-game program coordinator, Lou Cornicelli was instrumental in creating this fall’s early antlerless deer season, the first of its kind in the state. But he’s not just going to sit on the sidelines and wait to see how it turns out. &#8221I’ve got a new flintlock and I want…

New director of forestry takes hands-on approach

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Duluth, Minn. – If there’s one thing Minnesota’s DNR Forestry director in waiting knows about his new position, it’s that he’ll spend as much time as possible in the field, amid those carrying out the division’s missions. “I want to get out in the woods with the rest of the crew,” said Dave Epperly, 49,…

Duck hunting 2005: tempered optimism

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Middle River, Minn. – Joel Huener, manager of the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area, has done what he can to ensure this year’s waterfowl opener will be better than last year. The water on Thief Lake, an important stopover point for migrating ducks, is a little below its normal level. And the cover and submerged…

Rice Lake filling back up

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Hugo, Minn. – Rice Lake once again will be full of water. That’s the good news. The bad: It might not be in time for Saturday’s waterfowl opener. A judge in Washington County District Court last Thursday ordered the Rice Creek Watershed District to install a dam by Oct. 1 that will catch water and…