Hunting News

Agencies approve plug plan for dry Rice Lake

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – A lake in a state wildlife management area – accidentally drained following ditch maintenance by the Rice Creek Watershed District – will be plugged with an earthen structure that could perhaps make the lake a viable option for duck hunting this fall. According to a press release from the DNR, which manages…

Case of TB in cattle prompts deer testing

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – The discovery of bovine tuberculosis in a cattle herd in northwestern Minnesota has prompted the state DNR to announce deer testing will take place in Roseau County this fall to see if area whitetails contracted the respiratory disease. Mike DonCarlos, DNR wildlife program manager, said the exact area and the target number…

WMAs, CREP II top bonding proposals for 2006 agenda

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Next year’s bonding bill – assuming it’s passed on time, and if the DNR and Board of Water and Soil Resources get what they’ve proposed – will be a boon to sportsmen. Potential highlights include: $20 million for the acquisition of wildlife management areas; $30.15 million for RIM Reserve and a second…

Woodcock population stable for second year

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Their numbers may not be on the rise, but woodcock enthusiasts nonetheless can take comfort in the fact that the birds’ population apparently is stable. For the second year in a row, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trend estimates show two separate woodcock populations – Eastern and Central regions – that are…

State duck numbers, harvest down

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Preliminary harvest reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support what Minnesota duck hunters suspected since their last trip to the duck blind: The 2004 duck season was one that often lacked one important element – ducks. State hunters last year killed about 683,000 ducks, compared to about 884,000 in 2003,…

Debate grows about efforts to relocate urban Canada geese

Minneapolis (AP) – As the metro area continues efforts to control its Canada goose population, one of the most effective goose relocation efforts may be running out of places to send unwanted goslings. The DNR’s urban goose management program collects Canada geese from more than 50 metro cities and county parks. Jim Cooper, a retired University of Minnesota professor who…

Committee: DNR Game & Fish spending receives thumbs up

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The DNR is mostly making good use of the money raised by sales of licenses for hunting and fishing, according to the group charged each year with overseeing expenditures. “By and large, everything is OK,” said Rick Horton, chairman of the Game and Fish Fund Budgetary Oversight Committee. The oversight committee issues…

Environmental funding bill keeps DNR running

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — When a legislative working group passed a bill last Thursday to fund the DNR and other environmental agencies, the room erupted in applause. At the time, Senate and House passage was assumed, as was the governor’s signature. That all happened, and state parks remained open and the DNR avoided being shut down….

Western goose hunters may catch break

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – Goose hunters in western Minnesota, often limited by special protections for Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese, which migrate through the area, may have fewer limitations this fall. DNR waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts recently got a first-hand look at EPP production in Canada, and said things are looking up for the migrants. Cordts,…

2005 Duck Factory outlook still cloudy

By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison, Wis. — The jury is still out on what duck production numbers will mean for the 2005 hunting season. At the Outdoor Writers Association of America annual convention held in Madison, June 18-21, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave a briefing on preliminary breeding conditions, but shed little light on pond conditions and…

WMA lake drained; future uncertain

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Hugo, Minn. — Duck hunters who set up on Rice Lake in the 360-acre Paul Hugo Farms Wildlife Management Area in the north metro may want to make alternative plans for this season’s hunt. Rice Lake is a virtual mud flat, the water from the 200-acre lake having left via a ditch that underwent a…

Hatcheries operate if shutdown occurs

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Should Minnesota legislators and the governor end a stalemate and settle on a budget for the next two years, life happily will go on at DNR fish hatcheries. And if they don’t, department officials say fish-rearing activity shouldn’t face much of a setback; at least one staffer will be available at each…

Changes could threaten private land conservation

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — Two years after the Washington Post exposed abuses to a system intended to protect wildlife on private land — abuses including tax-reduced easements on golf course fairways and fraudulent agreements between landowners and land trust organizations — federal lawmakers are nearing a plan to close some of the…

New plan to reform LCMR on the table

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — State Rep. Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount, thinks he has a plan to break the legislative logjam that surrounds proposals to reform the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The LCMR is a 20-legislator panel that doles out money from the Environmental Trust Fund to pay for natural resource projects. Last fall, Gov. Tim Pawlenty…

Judge tosses out Minnesota lawsuit on N.D. hunting regs

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press Bismarck, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota may restrict out-of-state hunters without violating constitutional protections for doing business between states, a federal judge has concluded. The decision threw out a Minnesota legal challenge to North Dakota’s hunting regulations. “Recreational hunting is not a fundamental right, and states have a legitimate interest in regulating the taking of…

Support for deer changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Greenbush, Minn. — Clyde Stephens, president of Quality Deer Management, Inc., has been pushing the DNR to alter the way it manages deer in the state, but even he was surprised by the number of changes the agency announced last week. Among them: An antlerless season in mid-October, special regulations in seven state parks, and…

Operation cormorant cull tops 2,500; goal in sight

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Walker, Minn. – Wildlife officials are close to meeting their goal of culling 80 percent of the nesting cormorants from Little Pelican Island on Leech Lake. Federal sharpshooters have killed more than 2,500 birds since early May, and plan to shoot for another week or two. There were more than 4,000 nesting birds on the…

Persistent rains affect bird production

By Glen Schmitt Staff Writer But relatively dry in the Dakotas Nicollet, Minn. „ ItÍs been a six-week stretch of wet weather across most of Minnesota. Although heavy downpours and flooding havenÍt been a major issue, the persistency of these rains and the cold weather thatÍs accompanied them has caused some concern. DNR wildlife experts say itÍs too early to…

Early doe season tops deer hunting changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Change is coming to a deer hunt near you. Some hunters will hunt under new experimental regulations, some will hunt antlerless deer a few weeks early, and some will hunt deer longer than usual. It’s all part of a plan, beginning with this fall’s deer seasons (archery, Sept. 17; firearms, Nov. 5;…

Orange Hat Brigade monitors Capitol

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Five days before the Legislative session ended, more than 20 sportsmen and women, each wearing a blaze orange hat, stood atop the steps of the state Capitol. They planned to attend a conference committee hearing regarding Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal to overhaul the state’s Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The hearing was…

Turkey harvest down more than 800 birds

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – For the first time in 10 years, turkey hunters in the state didn’t set a harvest record during the spring season, which ended May 26. Minnesota hunters killed 7,611 turkeys this spring, though that number will rise a bit because there are paper registrations that haven’t been tallied yet, said Bill Penning,…