Hunting News

Whitewater may be added to list of impaired waters

By Mike KallokStaff Writer St. Paul – The middle branch of the Whitewater River and four other southern Minnesota rivers likely will be listed as impaired due to the presence of a chemical commonly found in pesticides. Acetochlor, which is used to control weeds in row crops, has been measured in concentrations that could be harmful to aquatic plants, according…

DNR looks to add 15,000 WMA acres

Park would cover 2,500 acres and protect nearly 5 miles of shoreline By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Soudan, Minn. – A state park on the shores of Lake Vermilion likely would be among the state’s most pristine. Excited as officials are about the prospects of adding the first major park in 30 years, there’s no guarantee it’ll get done. That’s up…

Minnesota hosts national CO rendezvous this week

By Mike KallokStaff Writer St. Paul – Coinciding with its 120th anniversary of natural resource law enforcement, Minnesota played host this week to the annual North American Wildlife Enforcement Officer Association conference. All licensed conservation officers in the state of Minnesota are members of the NAWEOA, according to Rich Sprouse, DNR information officer. The event, which is being held at…

Conservationists get first look at Peterson farm bill

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Washington – Depending on which member of Congress you ask, or which conservation group, you’re likely to get a different answer regarding the likelihood of a new, far-reaching Farm Bill being passed this year. Regardless, early this week the House unveiled the proposal of Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, chair of the House Agriculture Committee. For the…

Continental duck numbers ‘pretty rosy’

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Washington – As populations of mallards go, Minnesota has one thing in common with the rest of the nation and Canada: Their numbers are higher than last year. That’s about the extent of it. While breeding populations of other ducks fell in the state – and, thus, the total number of ducks – the opposite thing…

State mallard numbers jump

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – Following a precipitous drop last year, the breeding population of mallards in the state has rebounded to nearly a quarter-million birds. Likewise, the total number of ponds in the state increased from last year, though there were fewer temporary wetlands. On the other hand, the estimate of total ducks – 489,000 – was…

DNR scales back wetland flights

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Milaca, Minn. – Think of a conservation officer’s duties in the summertime, and what comes to mind are fish overlimits, no fishing licenses, and maybe not having enough life jackets on board a boat. If only it were that easy. Summer means work in public waters and wetlands – sometimes permitted activities, oftentimes not. It might…

All-season deer hunters to see changes in 2007

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – In many parts of the state, the DNR is doing almost everything it can to help deer hunters kill more animals in an effort to reduce populations. That’s not the case everywhere. In the farmland part of the state, hunters annually kill more deer than the DNR issues permits. As a result, the…

USFWS removes eagle from endangered list

Group prepared to challenge new rules on eagles By Laura KurtzmanAssociated Press Sacramento (AP) – A California legal group said last week it may challenge new rules the federal government has adopted to protect the bald eagle once it is taken off the endangered species list, if those rules stop landowners from developing their property. The Pacific Legal Foundation sued…

Breaking News

This story broke after Outdoor News went to press on Monday July 1. Warm water, unprecedented pressure narrows Mille Lacs slot By Mike KallokStaff Writer Aitkin, Minn – Hungry walleyes, warmer water, and more than 1 million angling hours have tipped the scales past allocation projections at Lake Mille Lacs in 2007. Given that, state anglers can expect the first…

Grouse counts up for second straight year

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Grand Rapids, Minn. – When ruffed grouse counts rose last spring, DNR researcher Mike Larson took care not to whip up a section of the hunting crowd that was in need of good news. But privately, he believed it marked the beginning of an increase in the bird’s 10-year population cycle. Turns out he was right….

Statewide conservation plan pitched to council

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – In the past, the commission that parcels out state lottery dollars has done so on a somewhat scattershot basis. It’s difficult to know what the most important projects are to complete, and there’s been little evaluation of completed projects, or a way to measure progress, according to John Velin, director of the Legislative-Citizen…

DNR fisheries submits new VHS control plan for review

By Mike KallokStaff Writer St. Paul – DNR Fisheries last week drafted a response plan in the event of a Minnesota outbreak of a deadly fish virus spreading across the Great Lakes. Fish die-offs from viral hemorrhagic septicemia have been confirmed in the St. Lawrence River, the Niagara River, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and Lake…

Bear hunting: Application increase start of a trend?

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – While the number of hunters applying for permits to hunt bears in the state, by historical levels, remains low, applications in 2007 snapped a two-year slide. This year, 16,334 hunters applied for 13,200 bear permits. In 2006, 15,725 hunters applied, while 16,153 did so in 2005. The number of permits that are available…

Survey shows hunter, angler numbers down

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Washington – State officials weren’t surprised by the results: The number of fishermen and hunters in the United States has dropped since 2001. That’s according to the preliminary results of a survey of American hunters and anglers by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows those two groups shrunk by 4 percent and 12 percent,…

DNR monitors ’07 Mille Lacs harvest

By Mike KallokStaff Writer Aitkin, Minn. – A more relaxed slot limit scheduled to begin mid-July on Lake Mille Lacs may not happen thanks to higher-than-expected angling pressure and catch rates in early June. As of June 15, the total walleye kill at Mille Lacs was 326,000 pounds, according to Tom Jones, DNR large lake specialist in Aitkin. ‘The kill…

Groups react to Clean Water Act ‘guidance’

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Washington – Field offices of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers last week were issued ‘joint guidance’ regarding interpretation of the federal Clean Water Act, specifically, what constitutes a wetland. While federal officials say the guidance will reduce confusion and protect wetlands, some environmental groups believe it will do quite the opposite, on both…

Session resolves some ditch-buffer issues; more to come

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Ditch buffers have been a topic of discussion at the state Capitol and in meeting rooms around the state for years. Now, lawmakers have passed a ditch-buffer bill and the on-the-ground results that create habitat and protect water quality should be visible in the next year or two, but discussions haven’t ended. ‘The…

Dove hunt defense begins

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Lakeville, Minn. – Three years ago, dove hunters were flying high, having just watched state lawmakers vote to allow a dove season in the state. Three years later, dove hunters are working to make sure their season isn’t lost again (there was no dove season in the state for nearly 60 years before 2004). Legislation was…

The push for ‘Sodsaver’ kicking off

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Washington – A provision that might slow the conversion of native prairie grasses to active farmland has been slow to catch on in Congress, but has the support of the USDA, as well as conservation groups and ranchers. It also has the backing of a forthcoming study. Farm Bill discussion in the House so far as…

S.D. guv’s brother among people agent investigated

By Kevin WosterRapid City Journal Rapid City, S.D. (AP) – A week before Gov. Mike Rounds targeted federal game warden Bob Prieksat for removal from his job, Prieksat was investigating a case of illegal waterfowl processing that involved one of the governor’s brothers. Tom Rounds, a banker in Pierre, was not charged in the case that Prieksat opened in early…

One-scaup bag limit possible by this fall

11 percent more than previous record By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Turkey hunters in Minnesota shot more birds during this spring’s hunt than ever before. The unofficial tally: 9,386 turkeys. That’s nearly 1,000 birds more than the previous high – 8,434, the number hunters killed in 2004 – and officials expect it to rise slightly in coming days…

New ‘clean water’ bill introduced in Congress

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Washington – A Minnesota Congressman is leading an effort to restore protection of waters he and conservation groups believe were stripped by Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar recently introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act, a bill he said was ‘designed to restore the authority of the Clean Water Act so…