Hunting News

Aquatic plants bill heard in committee

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – The DNR has been too conservative in its efforts to control invasive aquatic species in the state’s lakes, according to a group called Minnesotans for Healthy Lakes. The group, organized in 2003 by property owners, is pushing a bill – SF506, authored by Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista – to require the DNR, among…

Ice fishing finished across most of state

By Glen SchmittStaff Writer Blackduck, Minn. – Travel far enough north this weekend and you could find walkable ice, but you’d probably need a real long plank to reach it. By most accounts, ice-fishing opportunities have ended for the season. Even where the shorelines have stayed somewhat intact, main lake ice has become honeycombed and not overly attractive to even…

Border waters beckon as season’s ice melts away

By Mike KallokStaff Writer Brainerd, Minn. – Ice fishing opportunities are melting quickly, and any weekend plans should involve a boat or some sturdy planks – and the expectation that travel will be on foot – if your destination is south of Brainerd. In addition to the Rainy River and Mississippi, scattered open water options arrived as far north as…

Latest resource funding bill moves in committee

By Joe AlbertAssociate Editor St. Paul – As if to prove that a plan to dedicate funds to natural resources is a concept that’s in a constant state of evolution, a Senate committee last Saturday passed a refined version. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller’s bill, SF6, still would increase the state sales tax by 3/8 of 1 percent, but the…

State’s moose population falls

As numbers drop, opportunities for hunting tumble, too By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul – A poor showing by northeastern Minnesota moose in the most recent DNR survey along with discouraging results from a five-year moose study in the same area have prompted state DNR officials to make changes to the upcoming fall moose hunt in the state, including a…

Light goose migration blows through Dakotas

By Mike KallokStaff Writer Bismarck, N.D. – This weekend might be the last chance for light goose hunters to take part in federal ‘conservation order’ hunting for snow, blue, and Ross’ geese in the Lower 48. The birds were sprinting through North Dakota as of early this week. On Monday, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials said that no…

House begins work on ’07 Game and Fish bill

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul – Deer hunters would be able to use crossbows during the firearms and muzzleloader seasons under legislation that’s moving through the House. But the crossbow allowance is just one part of the Omnibus Game and Fish Bill (HF1116) assembled last week in the House. Other provisions within the bill also would affect a large…

House set to commence dedicated funding talks

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul – The wait is over. The state House appears on the verge of tackling the idea of a constitutional dedication of funds for natural resources. House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said he will introduce a bill, possibly as early as this week. It won’t be the first dedicated funding bill introduced in the…

Waters guru tackles DNR operations post

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul – The DNR this week announced it had filled a position vacated a few months ago by longtime assistant commissioner of operations Brad Moore, who now heads the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Larry Kramka, who most recently served as the DNR’s regional hydrologist in Bemidji, will begin duties in St. Paul beginning March 28….

Survey: Majority of voters behind dedicated funding

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul – For more than eight years the concept has been in the picture, and a majority of people in the state remain supportive of the idea to use a constitutional amendment to dedicate funds to natural resources. That’s according to a survey conducted by two firms – one Republican, one Democratic – in early…

State now in charge of wolf management

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul – It was a day many in the DNR acknowledged they might never see – the day timber wolf management became the responsibility of the state of Minnesota – for the first time since the early 1970s. But that day arrived, March 12, 2007, to be exact, 30 days after the U.S. Fish and…

Former state senator Sams dies at age 54

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul – Former state Sen. Dallas Sams, who in recent years championed dedicated funding proposals and other outdoors measures, died Monday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. He was 54. The Staples DFLer was elected to the Senate in 1990 and lost his bid to return to the Senate last fall, defeated by Sen….

State rep seeks bump in state rooster limit

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Denny McNamara was pheasant hunting around Christmas last year, just he and his dog, and within an hour of starting, he had his daily limit of two roosters in the bag. He had thought it before and was thinking it again: Why can’t I shoot another bird? ‘Who knows, I maybe would…

MCEA sues DNR over shoreland standards

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Arguing the DNR decided in an arbitrary manner to deny a petition to start a process to make alternative shoreland standards mandatory, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy filed suit last week against the agency. As part of a five-county project to develop updated shoreland standards, a diverse array of interest groups…

Pheasant bag hike a top topic for DNR meetings

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – The DNR began hosting a series of meetings across the state this week where department officials will have opportunities to discuss with hunters and trappers a slew of topics, including a possible bag increase for pheasant hunters, additional restrictions for Conibear trap users, and new draw-weight requirements for bowhunters. The DNR is…

Funding bill clears second committee

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Dedicated funding’s push through the Legislature took another step forward Monday, when it passed out of its second Senate committee. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller’s bill, SF 6, left the State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee virtually unscathed, though changes were made to the council that would oversee the fish…

No change for walleye slot on Lake Mille Lacs in 2007

DNR Reports St. Paul — Anglers who fish Lake Mille Lacs this year again will have ample opportunity to harvest walleyes under a slot limit unchanged since 2004, according to the Minnesota DNR. The season will open May 12 with a regulation that will allow anglers to keep four walleyes up to 20 inches, which may include one trophy over…

Drought could result in spring pond shortages

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. — If temporary ponds are the welcome mats for northbound ducks in the spring, Minnesota may be more of a pass-through than a destination. That’s because drought conditions exist nearly statewide. Water levels were low entering winter, and snowfall nearly everywhere is below average. In fact, Duluth’s snowfall as of early this week…

Legislature tackles fish and game bills

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Earlier this week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed off on the Great Lakes Compact, a bill designed to afford the lakes added protection. The previous night, the House followed the Senate’s lead and passed a bill that creates a renewable energy standard in the state. That bill – Pawlenty is expected to sign…

Bush budget would halt some land conservation

By Dirk LammersAP Business Writer Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP) — President Bush’s proposed budget would put a land conservation program that protects some 35 million acres on hold in favor of boosting corn production to meet the growing demand for ethanol. While the proposal might help lessen the country’s dependence on oil, a pheasant hunting and conservation group was quick…

Venison donation program in works at state Capitol

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul — While some of the state’s deer hunters are pushing for a state outlay of money to fund a venison donation program, others would like hunters to pay an extra buck to make the program go, while at the same time presumably enhancing their public image. Either way, the state’s deer-hunting organizations, and DNR…

Olson bill targets plants along state’s lakeshores

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — DNR officials have “serious concerns” about a bill introduced in the Senate they say would strip the agency of much its ability to protect aquatic vegetation along lakeshore. The bill, authored by Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista, mandates the agency must grant all permit requests to control submerged vegetation for 100 feet of shoreline…