Hunting News

Conservation easements seeing more support

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul — Two key U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would extend a program that provides landowners’ tax benefits while conserving land. The voluntary land conservation initiative became more favorable to landowners last summer when the incentives increased greatly. Now, Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, say not only has the program shown…

Bands plan for increase in Mille Lacs walleye quota

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — The eight tribes that are part of the 1837 Treaty plan to increase their allocation of walleyes from Lake Mille Lacs by more than 20 percent as part of their new five-year plan, which begins April 1, 2008. Under the harvest plan, which was discussed during two days of technical committee meetings last…

USFWS announces wolf delisting in the Midwest

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Minneapolis — After years of wrangling about adequate protection by state agencies, distinct population segments, lethal control, and other matters, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that gray wolves will be removed from the federal endangered species list. State management by primary “wolf” states in the Midwest – Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan –…

Shift to budget discussion expected at state Capitol

Dedicated funding, energy are top issues By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — Dedicated funding and renewable energy. At least as the outdoors goes, that’s where the Legislature’s current focus is. To date, six dedicated funding bills had been introduced – five in the Senate and one in the House – and at least one more was expected to be…

Coleman authors new Wetlands Loan Act bill

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer Washington — Sen. Norm Coleman has breathed new life into the Wetlands Loan Act. The U.S. senator from Minnesota earlier this month introduced the bill, which would double over the next 10 years the amount of money spent from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. The increase, about $400 million, would be repaid via future increases to…

Fishing opener on S.D. border remains in limbo

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor Ortonville, Minn. — Turn to Page 51 of the new Minnesota fishing regulations pamphlet, and you’ll see that the South Dakota border waters opener for Minnesota anglers this year is slated for April 28, two weeks before the regular inland game fish opener in the state. Now, flip back to Page 5 and you’ll see that…

Pawlenty budget has more for environment

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — Gov. Tim Pawlenty earlier this week released his proposed two-year, $34.4 billion budget, and education was the big winner. Still, natural resources and the environment also get some help in his proposal, which doesn’t increase taxes but would increase total state spending by about 9.3 percent over the current biennium. “It’s going in…

Outdoor bills emerge as session advances

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — Legislators have been on the job for about three weeks, and, so far, slow is the name of the game. That’s not to say there hasn’t been movement as it relates to conservation and environmental issues, but priority mostly has been placed on education and information. “It’s a learning curve for any Legislature,…

Study: Young Minnesotans less interested in fishing

St. Paul (AP) — The average Minnesotan angler is getting older because there are fewer young people picking up the sport, a study found, which could mean trouble for the state’s huge sport fishing industry. The new study by the state DNR reports a 9.3 percent decline in the number of licensed anglers ages 16 to 44 from 2000 to…

DNR aims for aquaculture policy and rules changes

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — Changes are on the horizon concerning the use of wetlands for aquaculture in the state, as the DNR plans to push for additional policies and regulations in coming months. The scope of any changes is undecided as of yet, but agency officials last month unveiled a list of options, brought the issue before…

Meier a new assistant commissioner

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — Since he began at the DNR in 2004, Bob Meier has been one of two men – Mark Holsten, now commissioner, was the other – consistently working the legislative halls on behalf of the agency. Now, Meier is The Man. As he continues to round out his administration, Holsten last week named Meier,…

Long-range plan aims for more wild turkeys

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Paul — The wild turkey often is considered a wildlife management success in the state. Less than 30 years ago, the state held its first modern wild turkey hunt in two permit areas in the southeast. That year, 420 permits were available for a spring hunt. In the spring of 2006, 32,264 permits were available…

Roundtable 2007: funding top topic

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Cloud, Minn. — Like it is for many sportsmen, the concept of a constitutional dedication of funds for natural resources was one of the hot topics at the DNR Roundtable sessions. Formal presentations covered the topic, and meeting attendees discussed it in the hallways and around dinner tables. Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs…

Wolf, eagle proposed for delisting in Minnesota

By Tim SpielmanAssociate Editor St. Paul — The state DNR is now accepting comments on a plan to update the state’s endangered, threatened, and “special concern” lists, a proposal that includes removing the gray wolf and bald eagle from state listing. Other notable proposals regarding the list, last revised in 1996, are adding the Canada lynx to the list of…

New firewood rules possible on state land by this spring

By Joe AlbertStaff Writer St. Cloud, Minn. — Campers and others who have campfires at state parks or on other state-managed land could be in for some changes once the next camping season rolls around. DNR officials, during Roundtable sessions last week, unveiled a proposal that would place regulations upon the firewood that could be brought onto state-managed lands. The…

2006: The year in review

By Joe Noble Contributing Writer Plymouth, Minn. — From expectation to frustration and disappointment to celebration and more, 2006 had a little something for everyone. This was the year that “dedicated funding” could have become law. It didn’t. More grassland habitat, thanks in part to CRP, resulted in great wingshooting. The whitetail harvest was also excellent. With the notable exception…

Pheasant hunters finish record season

Sales of pheasant stamps were at an all-time high in 2006 By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Before the pheasant season, DNR officials predicted it would be a good one. Apparently, hunters believed them. The DNR sold nearly 130,000 pheasant stamps – an all-time high – and, especially early in the season, the increased pressure was evident in…

Martinson named DNR deputy commissioner

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Mark Holsten, who began earlier this week as head of the DNR, didn’t have to look far to find his deputy. Laurie Martinson, who was named to the post last week, is a former director of the DNR’s Trails and Waterways Division and has been acting assistant commissioner since August. As deputy…

More bans on lead shot coming, timing unclear

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – At some point in time, shotgun hunters in the state won’t be able to use lead shot while they’re hunting. It’s unclear exactly when that may be, as a task force studying nontoxic shot regulations in the state urged the DNR to proceed with caution, but acknowledged that an all-out ban is…