Hunting News

USFWS scales back changes for Upper Miss refuge plan

By Todd Richmond Associated Press Madison, Wis. (AP) – Hunters could still carry as many shells as they want, campers could still drink, and boaters could race along more stretches under scaled-back conservation plans for the upper Mississippi River federal wildlife officials released Saturday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new plan represents the latest version of shifting strategies for…

Deer harvest down, but will be top three or four

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – When it’s all said and done, the state’s deer harvest this fall will be in the top three or four of all time. Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, predicted the final kill would be between about 235,000 and 240,000. Firearms seasons have ended, but muzzleloader hunters can be afield through…

Guenther hanging it up after 30 years at DNR

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – John Guenther has a lot of catching up to do. Much of that includes hunting and fishing that he’s missed out on during the 30 years he’s been with the DNR, most recently as the head of the Fish and Wildlife Division. Guenther, 61, announced last week his retirement from the agency,…

CRP faring better in U.S. House bill

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington – A U.S. House plan to balance the federal budget would take less of a bite out of conservation programs – especially the Conservation Reserve Program – than one earlier approved by the Senate, according to conservation officials. However, they’re quick to point out a conference committee must eliminate discrepancies in the bills, which…

Wetlands Loan Act bill hikes Duck Stamp fees

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Washington — The price of the federal Duck Stamp would rise from $15 to $35 by 2015 as part of a bill introduced last week by Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., called the Wetlands Loan Act. In return for the price hike, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would receive a $400 million advance on future…

Options limited in final days of state duck hunt

Late Canada goose prospects bright By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Rochester, Minn. — These are the good times for the so-called “river rats” of southeastern Minnesota – those that chase the big greenheads on Mississippi River backwaters while others hustle after bucks. This year seems to be working according to plan, said Don Nelson, DNR wildlife manager in Rochester. He…

This fall’s deer kill still far short of 2004 tally

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – The state’s deer herd is estimated to be at record levels in many areas, but that doesn’t mean hunters are running into deer around every tree. Deer hunters in some places reported excellent hunting, while others struggled to see any deer, said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters…

A plague of baiters

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Even youths have been caught up in the web of increasing illegal deer baiting Aurora, Minn. – When Minnesota DNR conservation officer Mark Fredin received a tip about illegal deer baiting on the opening morning of the gun deer season, he didn’t expect to find a trail of youths leading to the alleged St. Louis…

Opener hunters kill about 100,000 deer

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Perham, Minn. – Though Gov. Tim Pawlenty saw a doe and a fawn opening morning of deer hunting, he admitted to getting ‘buck fever’ and wound up not shooting anything. The same, apparently, is true for many of the hunters out for opening weekend. About 76,000 deer had been registered in the Electronic Licensing System…

LCMR advisory group seeking public input

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A task force that’s evaluating the way conservation projects in the state are funded is looking for input. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Advisory Task Force is taking public testimony next Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in St. Paul. Created during last spring’s legislative session, the task…

Evansville woman killed in deer hunting accident

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Ashby, Minn. – For the first time in two years, a Minnesota hunter has died as a result of a hunting accident. Shelley Denece Burgess, 48, of Evansville was killed Saturday morning when she was shot in the hip, apparently by a hunter in her party, according to Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne. Burgess and…

Muskie group challenges 69-11 world record fish

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Hayward, Wis. – When you’re on top, you’ll likely have someone shooting for you. A muskie caught more than 50 years ago is no exception. A group that calls itself the World Record Muskie Alliance and has as members muskie fishermen the likes of Pete Maina and Jim Saric, has presented the National Fresh Water…

Bears have hankerin’ for the power poles

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bigfork, Minn. – Berries, nuts, and human garbage, it turns out, aren’t the only things that attract bears. In Bigfork, located north of Grand Rapids and east of Red Lake, power poles that belong to a local power company seem to draw them just as well. ‘They’re just chewing the dickens out of (the poles),’…

Deer hunters questioned about alternative regs

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – As the deer opener looms, a survey unlike any other sent out by the DNR is showing up in deer hunters’ mailboxes. The survey was mailed to 6,000 hunters to gauge their support for various management options as the DNR tries to reduce deer populations in some areas of the state. It’s…

High hopes for ‘05 gun deer opener

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – For all the deer hunters who find themselves shrouded in a sea of change, this Saturday’s firearms deer opener offers a sense of stability. Some areas have more permits available than previous years, and some hunters already have harvested a deer with a firearm, but, at its core, it’s still the…

Two trumpeters shot dead

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Bagley, Minn. – Despite the increasing number of trumpeter swans in the state, officials say the instances of illegal killings of the species have remained stable the past few years. Still, two waterfowlers face stiff fines and other penalties for allegedly killing two trumpeters in northern Minnesota. Ryan Robert Bjorstrom and Shane Leo Corrow, part…

Rice Lake ‘zeebs’ could affect Mississippi River

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Routine fall lakeshore duties recently resulted in the ‘extremely serious’ discovery of the invasive zebra mussel in Rice Lake near Brainerd. Rice, an impoundment of the Mississippi River, is the fourth inland lake in the state where zeebs have been found. State DNR officials say Gil Millette found a zebra mussel on…

Early season hunters kill 1,000-plus deer

By Joe Albert Staff Writer North Branch, Minn. — The state’s first foray into alternative deer management is in the bag. In some instances the early season for antlerless deer, held last weekend in eight north metro and northwest permit areas, was more popular and more successful than DNR officials expected. A total of 5,526 hunters bought 6,761 permits (each…

CPR saves waterfowling pup

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Winnebago, Minn. — State conservation officers Todd VanderWeyst and Mitch Boyum stop short of calling what happened in their duck hunting boat last week a miracle. But still, a bit of divine intervention may have helped the two preserve the life of a young yellow Lab named Dutch. Boyum, a Rochester CO, and VanderWeyst, who…

The ‘lakes’ area: Can we grow more wisely?

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Brainerd, Minn. — When it comes to population growth in the state of Minnesota, the ’90s definitely were roaring. The population grew by more than half a million during the decade. Conservationists now are monitoring the effects of more newcomers on the environment, and how the environmentally recluse might learn to better care for the…

Standing crops could slow pheasant action

But birds are ‘just all over the place’ By Joe Albert Staff Writer Madelia, Minn. — It’s a double-edged sword for hunters heading out this weekend for pheasants: Bird counts are up from last year, but rain has hindered crop harvest in many places. Most expect hunters will enjoy an exceptional season, but it may not begin until after Saturday’s…

DNR pondering record bass transport issues

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Mark Raveling, a pro bass anglers and the proud owner of the record for biggest largemouth caught in the state, has little but praise for the DNR and its fisheries management. DNR officials are quick to congratulate Raveling, and say now’s the time to “celebrate” the state’s natural resources. So, what’s diverting…