Hunting News

Rally for conservation is Saturday in St. Paul

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — For the second consecutive year, sportsmen and conservationists of all stripes will gather on the steps of the state Capitol to press for passage of outdoors-related legislation. The second Ducks, Wetlands and Clean Water Rally is scheduled for Saturday – Earth Day – from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Last year’s rally…

Funding bill may see House vote this week

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The concept of constitutionally dedicating a part of the state sales tax to natural resources is in uncharted waters this legislative session. It’s passed in the Senate – the first time it’s ever been approved by either body – and a House committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon could send it to…

Rain dampens first week of Minnesota turkey hunt

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Despite forecasts of a light turkey hunt in some areas of the state – due mainly to below-average reproduction the past couple springs, along with spring rains this year – hunters across the state are nearly on par with last year following spring turkey hunting’s first season. Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife…

Waterfowling change sought in Sask.

‘Rogue’ outfitters prompt association proposal; Delta opposes it By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Prince Albert, Saskatchewan — If the efforts of the Saskatchewan Outfitters Association are successful, nonresident bird hunters who travel to the province will see rules mirroring those encountered by big game hunters – the general requirement their trip be guided by an outfitter. Others aren’t so certain…

Dedicated funding heats up in House

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Tuesday marked the third and final deadline at the Legislature, and most bills conservationists and sportsmen had been watching still were in play. Dedicated funding passed the Senate last week, and passed out of another committee in the House moments before this issue of Outdoor News went to press. Both House and…

Trappers ‘in awe’ of fur prices

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bruno, Minn. – It’s been a while since Minnesota trappers have been this well compensated. But rejuvenated demand for fur in China and Russia, as well as other countries overseas, has this year made trapping state furbearers a profitable venture. ‘With the exception of raccoons, prices (for the pelts of furbearers) have doubled and in…

BWSR: CREP payment rates falling off pace

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The follow-up to the wildly successful Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program isn’t progressing as smoothly. In a bonding bill passed last year (such bills typically are passed in even-numbered years), legislators appropriated $23 million for the first phase of a second round of CREP, and there was an assumption another $30.15 million –…

WMAs fare well in House bonding bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Moments after a dedicated funding bill passed out of another House committee, other representatives were busy unveiling an uncharacteristically large bonding bill. And that all came one day after the Senate passed its version of dedicated funding off the floor, marking the first time either legislative body has signed off on the…

COs await tests on fish fillets in poaching case

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Evansville, Minn. — Charges are expected to be filed soon in a fish-poaching case in which conservation officers say they confiscated more than 600 fish possessed by two people in Douglas County. Some of the fish were fresh; others were in freezers and were possibly five to six years old, officials said. Because some fillets…

Dedicated funding OK’d in the Senate

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — At the DNR roundtable meetings earlier this year, Gov. Tim Pawlenty jokingly said the idea to dedicate a portion of the state sales tax to natural resources had passed out of the House of Representatives. Not yet, replied House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon. But soon, he’s since promised, going so far as…

Red Lakers may have 10-fish walleye limit

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Red Lake, Minn. – Red Lake tribal members would be allowed to take, by hook and line, 10 walleyes in waters of Upper and Lower Red lakes under a proposal being offered by the tribal council. Pat Brown, Red Lake Band fisheries biologist, said the proposal is a cautious approach. ‘It wouldn’t include involve any…

North Dakota hunting rules illegal, assistant AG argues

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press Grand Forks, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota cannot extend preferential duck hunting rights to resident landowners while denying the same benefits to property owners who live outside the state, a Minnesota assistant attorney general says. Attempting to revive a Minnesota lawsuit against an assortment of North Dakota hunting laws, Ann Bildtsen tried last week to…

No CREP funding in Senate bonding bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – With the first legislative deadlines come and gone, four main conservation issues remain in play, as do a variety of smaller topics. The Clean Water Legacy Act continues to make headway in the House and Senate, as do plans to dedicate funding to natural resources and reform the Legislative Commission on Minnesota…

State reports first CWD-positive deer

Whitetail from western Minnesota farm By Joe Albert Staff Writer Madison, Minn. — A white-tailed deer on a farm in western Minnesota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced last week. The positive test marks the first time the disease has been found in a deer in Minnesota, though it’s been detected in…

USFWS pitches wolf plan for Great Lakes delisting

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced a new plan to remove the gray wolf from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, as well as the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Michigan. For Minnesota, the delisting includes “removing the gray wolf special rules which define the circumstances when…

Dedicated funding saga continues in committee

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Uncertainty still seems to reign at the Legislature regarding the future of dedicated funding – bills to do it evolve on a consistent basis – but two other pieces of legislation, creation of a new body to spend lottery proceeds and the Clean Water Legacy Act, are making headway. In an already…

Bush names Kempthorne new Secretary of Interior

By David Espo AP Special Correspondent Washington (AP) — President George W. Bush selected Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as Interior secretary on Thursday, choosing a Westerner whose state is home to rich natural beauty as well as great mineral wealth to become the next steward of millions of acres of public land. If confirmed by the Senate, the 54-year-old Kempthorne,…

Waterfowlers lose conservation ‘giant’

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Hugo, Minn. — Look at nearly any type of waterfowl management activity that exists today – from annual duck surveys to the way flyway councils function – and it’s likely to have been touched in some way by Art Hawkins, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. Hawkins, of Hugo, died last Thursday. He…

Interior Secretary Gale Norton leaving post

By John Miller Associated Press Idaho governor a possible Norton replacement Boise, Idaho (AP) – With Interior Secretary Gale Norton calling it quits, some groups in Washington, D.C., say an informal short list of possible replacements has already emerged, including Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Others mentioned by lobbyists and conservationists as possible nominees include former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, Colorado…

Capitol committees review resource funding, policies

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Aquatic vegetation targeted in House bill St. Paul – Legislation in the House would require the DNR to grant a permit to any lakeshore owners for control of submerged vegetation on up to 100 feet of their shoreline, and allow the use – without permit – of aquatic plant-control devices in an area up to…

Zentner, Tony Dean decry ESA changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Minneapolis – A bill that’s passed the U.S. House and is slated for discussion in the Senate in the near future, would significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act, according to two prominent outdoorsmen. Dave Zentner of Duluth, a past president of the Izaak Walton League, along with Tony Dean, an outdoors personality from South Dakota,…

Ice-out dates occurring earlier, but how much?

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – A news release from the National Environmental Trust regarding increasingly early ice-out on Minnesota lakes and others across the nation likely raised some eyebrows. But Minnesota DNR officials say that while trends indicate earlier ice-out than what occurred 100 years ago, the change isn’t as drastic as noted by the NET, a…