While 2004 started with debate over Minnesota’s degraded water
quality and ended with the tragedy of murdered deer hunters, the
year posted signs of optimism, such as the state’s first mourning
dove hunt in nearly 60 years and an increase in walleye fingerling
With that in mind, here’s a look at the year in review.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) added 215 waters
to its Impaired Waters list. Such waters do not meet the water
quality standards of the national Clean Water Act. Statewide the
MPCA lists 1,916 impairments on 920 lakes and 203 streams.
At a DNR Roundtable event in St. Cloud, state Rep. Dennis Ozment
told participants that if the state does not create a plan to
remedy its impaired waters, the federal government would take
action. Clean-up costs were estimated at $1 billion over 10
Outdoor News founder Jim Peterson died. He was 83.
DNR Commission Gene Merriam raised the walleye fingerling
stocking goals from 130,000 pounds to 160,000, leaning on private
producers to provide the difference.
The 1837 Ceded Territory Fisheries Committee unveiled a total
safe harvest level of 480,000 pounds of walleye during the 2004
fishing season on Lake Mille Lacs.
The dedicated funding debate continued in St. Paul, with still
no law passed.
Jeff Halverson, Staples, was named the 2003 DNR Conservation
Officer of the Year.
The best snow year in four found the state’s snowmobile trails
in great condition.
A state House funding bill contained language that would
establish a “walk-in” hunting lands program. The program would pay
landowners to allow public hunting. It did not pass.
Changes were proposed for Minnesota’s fox and raccoon hunting
and trapping seasons to better reflect the animal’s value as a
Federal authorities’ efforts to remove the wolf from the
Endangered Species List stalled due to a USFWS focus on
Gov. Pawlenty and Attorney General Mike Hatch announced they’re
suing North Dakota over nonresident hunting restrictions.
The USFWS said it “has no issue” with state restrictions on
hunting. North Dakota lawmakers say they plan to keep hunting
restrictions in place.
State Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, introduced a stand-alone bill
allowing bear hunting with hounds.
Bob Brush of Winnebago, Minn., was named the 2004 Outdoor News
Person of the Year.
The DNR worked on ways to stop the Asian carp invasion.
State Sen. Leroy Stumpf, DFL-Thief River Falls, introduced
legislation requiring Quality Deer Management, or the harvest of
trophy bucks only, in four northwestern counties.
Chai Vang pleads not guilty to murdering six Wisconsin deer