Hunting News

Discovery of VHS spurring Great Lakes states action

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul – About two weeks ago, officials in Michigan discovered a fish die-off in Budd Lake in the middle Lower Peninsula may have been caused by viral hemorrhagic septicemia. Dead crappies, bluegills, and muskellunge from that small lake tested positive for VHS, the first time the fast-spreading fish disease was found in an inland lake…

‘Open Fields’ promoted for Farm Bill 2007 plan

DNR embarking on walk-in report for state Legislature By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Washington – Conservation groups this week applauded reintroduction of a bill that would help fund walk-in area hunting programs across the nation. At the same time, the Minnesota DNR began assembling a team that would, at the behest of the state Legislature, look into such a program for…

One-scaup bag limit possible by this fall

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – A recent proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could have the effect of reducing the daily bag limit of scaup to one as early as this fall. The USFWS is proposing to use a specific harvest strategy for scaup, which, essentially, would create an annual allowable harvest that’s based on breeding…

DNR: a strong outlook for walleye fry in 2007

Warmer water may make ’07 a prime year for walleyes By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul – A rite of spring in Minnesota – the annual stocking of walleye fry into a host of lakes across the state – was wrapping up this week, with fisheries biologists hopeful this year’s efforts, combined with good lake conditions, might bring better-than-average returns….

Biologists hoping for rebound of waterfowl

e By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Grand Rapids, Minn. – A year ago, wildlife officials counting ducks in Minnesota from the air and by ground found fewer mallards than they had in 23 years of May surveys. Lead biologist Steve Cordts, the DNR’s waterfowl specialist in Bemidji, said, as the survey neared its close on Tuesday, such poor results are unlikely this…

New fish and game laws on the way

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Deer hunters will be able to use crossbows during the regular firearms season, but pheasant hunters may still only shoot two roosters this fall. Those are among the highlights of what was left in, and out, of an omnibus environmental policy bill passed by the House and Senate and forwarded to Gov. Tim…

Dedicated funding runs out of session

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Around 10:15 on Monday night, John Schroers was relieved, though a little bit uneasy. A conference committee had just passed a dedicated funding bill minutes earlier – a milestone indeed, given that’s as far as the bill ever has advanced – and sent it to the House, then, presumably the Senate, for a…

With Senate approval, funding bill advances

Senate votes 52-14 to pass the bill; trip through committees continues in House By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Sportsmen scored a victory at the Capitol last week when the Senate, for the second consecutive year, passed a bill to constitutionally dedicate funds to natural resources. The final tally’s wide margin – 52 in favor, 14 against – caught…

Cormorant kill continues at Leech; study ongoing

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Walker, Minn. – Shooters took an opening-weekend break from efforts to cull cormorants from Leech Lake, but their work there continues. As of earlier this week, federal sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services had taken more than 1,400 cormorants. The main culling operation is expected to wrap up later this month, though shooters…

Opener assessment: Best in three years

Governor finds success on Leech Lake By Ron C. Hustvedt, Jr.Contributing Writer Walker, Minn. – ‘Leech Lake is back,’ Gov. Tim Pawlenty said alongside the shores of Leech Lake during the opening weekend festivities at the Governor’s Fishing Opener. He made that statement at a lunchtime press conference after a successful outing with First Lady Mary Pawlenty. Each of them…

Wind-pushed fire consumes 16,000 acres along Gunflint

By Mike KallokStaff Writer Grand Marais, Minn. – Efforts to suppress a fire that has already burned more than 16,000 acres at the end of the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais likely will continue for weeks if weather conditions don’t improve. As of press time, a front was expected to bring clouds and the possibility of rain late in the…

Environment finance bill goes to Pawlenty

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – As the days that remain in the legislation session wind down – adjournment is May 21, though talk of a special session has heated up lately – action on the outdoors front has been hot and heavy. Consider that in the past week, lawmakers have: sent to Gov. Tim Pawlenty a wide-ranging omnibus…

Forecast bright for ’07 fishing opener

By Glen SchmittStaff Writer Hackensack, Minn. – Jim Tuller is not a weatherman. He owns Swanson’s Bait and Tackle in Hackensack, but for one week each year he wishes he could accurately predict the weather. On the eve of another fishing opener, the biggest concern for Tuller and about one million anglers across Minnesota is the weather. That’s understandable considering…

Reactions vary to report on conservation council

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – A plan to create a four- to nine-member citizens council that would serve as the focal point for conservation in the state and oversee the DNR, among other duties, is drawing mixed reactions. Gov. Tim Pawlenty created the Conservation Legacy Council to devise a new conservation model for the state, one that would…

Council pitches new conservation model

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – A 15-member council created last fall to look at natural resource management in the state has finished its work, the result a 57-page report that outlines ‘bold, yet achievable’ recommendations for changing the way conservation is funded and delivered in the state. The Conservation Legacy Council, made up of 11 citizens and four…

Northwest deer-culling effort takes 488 deer

Six suspected to have bovine TB By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Minnesota’s first foray into using sharpshooters to try to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis is in the bag. Between Feb. 22 and mid-April, sharpshooters with U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services killed 488 deer around the town of Skime in northwestern Minnesota. Of those deer, six…

Supporters await funding in session’s final weeks

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – For proponents of a plan to dedicate funds to natural resources, last week produced a roller coaster of emotions. First, the Taxes Committee in the Senate, on a 7-5 vote, rejected Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller’s proposal to dedicate 3/8 of 1 percent of the sales tax to fish and wildlife habitat, clean…

Legislation could mean more lake trout netting on Superior

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Grand Marais, Minn. – In the latest twist in the Lake Superior lake trout story, it now appears nets will be allowed in the lake to take a limited number of fish. A bill that passed the Senate last week allows commercial fishermen to harvest and sell up to 3,000 lake trout, beginning this summer, in…

Development could relocate Rochester geese from WMA

Some hunting opportunity could be sacrificed By Tim SpielmanAccociate Editor Rochester, Minn. – The county of Olmsted in southeastern Minnesota needs a location for a new office facility. Geese that spend time in the Rochester area need a place to feed – other than nearby farm fields. And hunters who stalk their prey on the Haverhill Wildlife Management Area might…

Commercial fishery likely on Red Lake this summer

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Red Lake, Minn. – Preparations are under way for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians to begin a commercial walleye processing operation this summer. The plan would allow tribal fishermen to bring the fish they catch to the fish-processing plant in Redby, which is being renovated after Red Lake received a $1 million economic development…

Deer-baiting busts hit all-time record

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – Statistics released last week by the DNR confirm what hunters and conservation officers have been saying for some time: Deer baiting in the state is on the rise. Last year, COs wrote a total of 118 citations and warnings, to date the largest number handed out. Violations have been on the rise for…

Third year of cormorant-culling at Leech to start

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor Walker, Minn. – For the third year in a row, sharpshooters will target cormorants on Leech Lake. Last year, shooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services killed 3,303 cormorants, which brought the number of breeding pairs at Leech to 532. In the two years of the project, sharpshooters have culled 6,296 cormorants. Shooting is…

Fraud at park reservation service?

Fewer than 10 Minnesotans likely affected By Tim SpielmanAccociate Editor St. Paul – Employees at the Carmel, Ind., call center that handles Minnesota state park reservations are suspected of possible credit card fraud, and ‘three to six Minnesota individuals may be affected,’ according to the DNR. Officials for InfoSpherix notified the DNR last week that law enforcement personnel were investigating…