The year in review

July

During a rancorous special session, the State Legislature passes
a bonding bill that includes $51.4 million for the Conservation
Reserve Program, making Minnesota eligible for $100 million in
federal conservation funds.

Minnesota congressmen Gil Gutnecht and Bill Luther are among 80
co-sponsors of a bill that would ban leghold traps.

Popular DNR wildlife biologist Bill Berg, a recognized expert on
northern grouse and furbearers, announces his retirement.

Minnesota’s 2000 duck harvest of 492,000 is 25 percent less than
1999. Drought, poor weather, and an exodus of Minnesota hunters to
other states contributed to the decline.

Securing dedicated funding for natural resources, such as
3/16ths of 1 percent of the state sales tax, will be a top priority
for conservationists in the 2002 legislative session.

After seeing a televised news report that a restrictive walleye
bag limit has decimated angling pressure on Mille Lacs, DNR
Commissioner Allen Garber drives up to the lake, and says that he
found a lot of people fishing and enjoying the lake.

The DNR celebrates the 50th anniversary of the state Wildlife
Management Area system.

The DNR announces that it is considering a limited prairie
chicken hunt to elevate interest in the bird.

Steve Williams, Kansas Wildlife and Parks secretary, is
nominated director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

August

The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources approves a $20
million Restoring Minnesota’s Fish and Wildlife Habitat Corridors
project.

The Lac qui Parle goose hunt will be extended 10 days to boost
the harvest in the West-Central Goose Zone, announces the DNR.

Keeping a promise made to the Mille Lacs Fisheries Input Group,
DNR Commissioner Allen Garber briefs Gov. Jesse Ventura on the
situation at Mille Lacs.

Minneapolis artist Louis Raymer wins the 2002 Minnesota Trout
and Salmon Contest with a painting of a rainbow trout.

Dry weather in eastern Ontario has led to a nightcrawler drought
for Minnesota anglers.

Outdoor News columnist Joe Fellegy signs autographs for admiring
children when he is inducted to the Minnesota Fishing Hall of
Fame.

A cougar was shot by a homeowner north of McGregor when the
animal wrestles with a family dog and could not be chased away from
the front porch.

September

Pheasant hunting prospects are rated fair at best when the DNR
announces bird counts declined 50 percent from 2000.

Travelers to Canada can expect more scrutiny from Customs
officials following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United
States.

National conservation issues are on hold as Congress focuses on
national security in response to terrorist attacks.

Tom Meyers, a stalwart of the Minnesota Conservation Federation,
passes away after a brief illness.

October

Conservation officers won’t pull security detail at a
psychiatric hospital during the state employees strike due to legal
action by their union.

DNR Commissioner Allen Garber promotes his special assistant Kim
Bonde to assistant commissioner, resulting in an $8,000 pay raise
for her and a $12,000 pay demotion for Kurt Ulrich, who held the
position before Bonde and was reassigned.

Mille Lacs ice anglers get a wider walleye slot limit than open
water anglers and will be allowed to keep fish 14 to 18 inches
long, and one trophy over 28 inches.

The DNR Wildlife Division proposes a private lands walk-in
program for hunters, but says no funding is presently
available.

Minnesota is proclaimed an “official elk state” by the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation.

A proposal to extend the Deep South duck season draws fire from
the Minnesota DNR and senators Dayton and Wellstone.

South Dakotans jump-start the pheasant season with a
residents-only hunt on public lands, but have mediocre hunting
success.

About 3,500 antlerless deer tags are sent to the wrong hunters
due to a mailing glitch.

DNR Commissioner Allen Garber pulls out of talks with the White
Earth Ojibwe Band when he learns the Indians plan to post
reservation property just prior to deer season.

Nine bucks over 200 pounds are killed at Camp Ripley in the
first weekend of the annual bow hunt.

November

Elk imported from a Colorado game farm infected with Chronic
Wasting Disease are traced to Minnesota, but do not test positive
for the illness.

Despite the horror of Sept. 11, arson and other acts of
eco-terrorism have continued to occur in the United States.

Outdoor News announces Operation Stay In Touch, providing free
subscriptions to Minnesotans in the military who are stationed
overseas.

The DNR Wildlife Director Tim Bremicker announces he will seek a
two-year moratorium on the new, spinning-wing duck decoys to allow
biologists to study their effectiveness for attracting ducks.

A nuisance deer killing permit for the Grand Rapids Airport is
revoked by the DNR because city police officers killed nearly twice
as many deer as the permit’s quota, and, the local newspaper
reports, took friends and family members out to shoot the deer.
However, citing safety issues, the DNR declines to pursue
charges.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the duck season
will not be extended in the southern Mississippi Flyway.

December

Mille Lacs-area citizens meet for one hour with Gov. Jesse
Ventura after gathering 20,000 signatures for a petition asking the
governor to do something regarding the ever-changing,
treaty-related restrictions on Mille Lacs walleye fishing.

Ice anglers throughout the state are not-so-patiently waiting
for cold weather and ice to arrive.

News that the state budget has plunged from surpluses to a $2
billion deficit means conservationists will have to fight to retain
existing programs and quashes hopes for any new efforts.

After nearly three years of meetings, polls, and studies, the
DNR makes minimal changes to fish bag limits, which Fisheries
officials admit will not reverse the decline in quality of
Minnesota fisheries.

Although baiting deer is illegal, the DNR is concerned large
numbers of hunters are taking advantage of a loophole in the law to
attract deer to food piles.

Minnesota’s 2001 firearms deer kill of 200,100 is the third
highest ever.

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