Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

2010: The Year in Review

Even in the 21st Century, old-school outdoors stories continue
to intrigue Minnesotans. News reports of cougar sightings,
poachers, and tantalizing big bucks kept outdoorsmen and women
churning through pages of Outdoor News the past year. In between,
readers saw the first year of dedicated funding spending while an
overall state budget, plus “unallotment,” took a bite out of
DNR_revenues.

Here’s a look back on the year that was 2009 – from the pages of
Outdoor News.

January

A state legislator, Rep. Sandra Masin, said she was considering
introducing a bill to the Minnesota Legislature to restrict or ban
lead bullets.

The DNR announced that it would not trap any wild turkeys for
trap-and-transplant efforts in Minnesota in 2009. That marked
another milestone for the wild turkeys in the Gopher State.

White-tailed deer management was a dominant topic at the 2009
Wildlife Roundtable held in Brooklyn Center. Two points heard
serious discussion: eliminate cross-tagging of bucks and delaying
the season to avoid the peak of the rut.

The DNR officially announced that the 2008 deer season would go
down as the eighth highest kill in state history. Poor weather
likely hindered the kill, which exceeded 221,000 animals.

An Olmsted County domestic elk raised on a farm north of
Rochester tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The
discovery marked the first time since 2006 that the disease had
been found in the state.

DNR Conservation Officer Todd Kanieski and his K9 partner,
Saber, were praised for their actions during the armed robbery of a
pharmacy in Champlin on Jan. 30.

February

A budget proposal from Gov. Tim Pawlenty eliminates General Fund
dollars from the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division.

The safe harvest level for Lake Mille Lacs in 2009 is set at
541,000 pounds. The state’s allocation is 414,500 pounds, up from
307,500 pounds in 2008.

Pope and Young officials confirm that the nontypical
white-tailed buck that Ben Spanjers killed in 2008 in Houston
County will claim the top Minnesota spot in the club’s
recordbook.

An aerial survey of moose in northeastern Minnesota revealed a
similar number of animals from 2008, though researchers cautioned
that the population – hovering around 7,600 moose – likely still is
declining.

The DNR said that grant funding from two federal programs,
Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson, would provide another
increase in funding – about $25.5 million for Minnesota – for
2009.

Longtime Minnesota conservationist and waterfowl advocate Don
“The Duckman” Helmeke passed away Feb. 18 at age 62 after a battle
with a heart ailment.

March

The DNR Commissioner’s Office detailed how it would pay back
funds the Office of the Legislative Auditor said it improperly
spent on a wardens conference in 2007. Total reimbursement to three
different funds totals $305,381, according to DNR Commissioner Mark
Holsten.

Delisting of gray wolves in Minnesota and other Midwestern
states was approved March 6 by the Obama administration. Animal
rights organizations immediately promised a swift legal
response.

More than 232,000 acres of land, and water would be protected,
enhanced, or restored under a package of conservation projects
approved by the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council. On an 11-1 vote,
the council approved the nearly $69 million mix of projects.

The state DNR, Board of Water and Soil Resources, and Pollution
Control Agency would be abolished under legislation introduced in
the state Senate.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report says that one-third of
the nation’s 800 bird species “are endangered, threatened, or in
significant decline due to habitat loss, invasive species, and
other threats, like free-ranging domestic cats.”

April

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that four Minnesota
men were charged with federal misdemeanor Lacey Act violations of
import regulations. The case resulted from three of the men
illegally smuggling migratory waterfowl into the U.S. from
Argentina in 2008.

State conservation officers assisted with resident rescue and
levee monitoring in the Red River Valley during a spring flood
event.

The Minnesota DNR names Randy Doyle, of Eyota, its 2008
Volunteer Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year.

The 2009 spring wild turkey season kicks off with a record
42,328 permits issued. Three new permit areas, in Cass, Clay, and
Crow Wing counties, are available at the northern fringe of turkey
range.

A deer killed by sharpshooters in the Middle River area had
lesions in its lungs and chest cavity – clinical signs of bovine
tuberculosis. It’s the first whitetail to test positive for the
disease in 2009.

In Greenbush, 75 citizens attended a tense public meeting to
consider the future of wild elk in northwestern Minnesota.

May

Outdoor News reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
recently made permanent the conservation order that allows spring
hunting of overabundant “light geese.”

The third year of an intensive effort to remove deer from
northwestern Minnesota to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis
ends. The DNR reports that aerial and ground sharpshooters killed
738 deer and one bull elk from February through April.

For the fifth consecutive year, shooters began removing
double-crested cormorants from Little and Big Pelican islands on
Leech Lake.

The north metro hosted Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his fishing party
at the ’09 Governor’s Fishing Opener on White Bear Lake.

It took until the final minutes of the 2009 Legislative session,
but lawmakers approved Legacy_Amendment legislation that would
spend nearly $397 million over two years on fish and wildlife
habitat, clean water, parks and trails, and the arts.

For the third consecutive year, Minnesota turkey hunters set a
record harvest with 12,210 dead turkeys. That’s the second straight
year that the harvest has exceeded 10,000 birds.

June

One of the most well known fishing guides and paddle makers in
northern Minnesota, LeVerne Oveson passed away at the age of 94.
He’d been guiding clients in border country since the 1920s.

Cold water, strong winds, cool air temperatures, and stubborn
fish highlighted the first challenging month of the 2009 open-water
walleye fishing season.

The DNR’s operating budget faces another 2.25-percent reduction
in general funds following Gov. Pawlenty’s “unallotment.” That’s
atop a 6.9-percent reduction to address the state budget shortfall
over the next two years.

In a continuing effort to dramatically reduce wild elk numbers
in northwestern Minnesota, the DNR announces that 30 permits are
available for state hunters during autumn 2009.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tim Vilsack announces that Tom
Tidwell, a 32-year U.S. Forest Service employee from the
north-central portion of the country, is the new head of the
agency.

July

The DNR announces that it will be more difficult to shoot an
antlerless whitetail during 2009 deer seasons. Lottery areas will
become more prevalent across the state, and in 11 southwest permit
areas, youth will have to apply for limited antlerless permits.

The number of ducks on the continent’s main breeding grounds
increased 13 percent from 2008 and is 25 percent above the
long-term average, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service.

By mid-July, state-licensed anglers on Upper Red Lake in 2009
had harvested more than twice the walleyes they did during the
entire 2008 open-water season. Anglers on Lake Mille Lacs also were
doing better than in 2008.

Water levels remained seriously low on lakes in many portions of
the state. Anglers were noticing the effects of the drought when
they hit accesses on lakes like White Bear Lake, which was 3 feet
below normal levels in late July.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has completed its tallies
and reports that U.S. waterfowlers killed about 13.7 million ducks
in 2008, a drop from 2007 when they killed about 14.6 million
birds.

August

As of Aug. 1, penalties for damaging wetlands with an ATV
increased. Certain wetland damage caused by ATV operation became a
gross misdemeanor, and a first offense is punishable by up to a
$3,000 fine and/or a year in jail.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the state Pollution
Control Agency’s permitting of ballast water into Lake Superior.
The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy had challenged the
rules on the grounds that they don’t protect the lake from exotic
species.

St. Louis Park artist Richard Goodkind won the 2010 Minnesota
Trout and Salmon Stamp contest with his painting of a brook
trout.

A committee charged with helping to frame the state’s long-term
management of moose recommended that the northeastern moose hunt
continue. About 220 licenses were available for the 2009 hunt.

The Minnesota Trappers Association elected Shawn Johnson, 43,
who lives between Duluth and Two Harbors, as the president of the
organization.

September

The long tale of gray wolf delisting in the Lower 48 entered a
new phase when Idaho began selling thousands of permits for a crack
at 220 wolves in that state.

Bob Schroeder, one of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s four citizen
appointments to the Lessard-Sams Heritage Council, takes a job as
Pawlenty’s chief of staff. The state constitution prevents him from
holding both positions at once. Ryan Bronson, of Eagan, replaces
Schroeder on the council in November.

Habitat loss and tough weather drive pheasant counts down 27
percent from 2008. The DNR blamed a tough winter and loss of
Conservation Reserve Program acreage for the decline.

DNR and federal wildlife officials investigated reports of feral
hogs in the Mississippi River bluff country around Frontenac State
Park in Goodhue County.

Depopulation of the state’s largest farmed elk herd begins, nine
months after the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a
slaughtered cow elk from what formerly was Elk Country USA in
Olmstead County.

State conservationists mourned the loss of dedicated waterfowler
and public servant Steve Kufrin, who passed away following a
five-year battle with brain cancer. Kufrin was the 2005 Outdoor
News Man of the Year.

October

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that Kevin
Forester, who currently manages a refuge in California, will
replace the recently retired Don Hultman as manager of the Upper
Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

Judges chose Minnetonka artist David Chapman’s painting of a
pheasant in a snowy cornfield as the 2010 state pheasant stamp.

Cold, November-like temperatures greeted state pheasant hunters,
and – combined with a loss of grassland ground – contributed to a
slow October opener for ringneck roosters.

Bear hunters in 2009 killed more animals than in 2008, but the
tally still was the second lowest in the past seven seasons.
Electronic registrations showed hunters killed 2,622 bears during
this year’s season compared to 2,100 in 2008.

Wild turkey hunters killed 1,128 birds during the fall of 2009,
but that was still the second-highest Minnesota fall harvest
ever.

November

By early November, state anglers had purchased 7,000 of the new
$5 state walleye stamps, generating only $35,000.

The second 2009 archery hunt at Camp Ripley produced 305 deer,
for a total of 477 deer this year. That was 57 percent above the
long-term average harvest of 304 whitetails over the annual four
days of hunting.

Recently retired Fisheries Chief Ron Payer sat down with Outdoor
News to discuss his 32 years with the DNR. Payer had been involved
in Lake Mille Lacs treaty negotiations and overseen Red Lake
walleye recovery during his tenure.

The Zone 3A deer season was extended two days, from seven to
nine, in 2009. The extra two days, in place only for the 2009 hunt,
included modified earn-a-buck regulations and eliminated buck
cross-tagging.

The slow drain on the federal Conservation Reserve Program
continued this fall in Minnesota – and nationwide – as the state
lost an estimated 61,000 program acres, according to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

The DNR announces several changes to the spring turkey season,
including a large, 35-percent increase in the number of permits –
from 43,300 in 2009 to about 57,000 for 2010.

Minnesota conservation officers seized a potential record-book
8-point whitetail rack and filed poaching charges against a Cannon
Falls man.

December

Reports from hunters and duck biologists suggest that the 2009
duck-hunting season will, at best, rank as so-so and “below
expectations” for waterfowlers.

Mankato resident Mike Anderson, a 29-year-old elevator mechanic
from Mankato, topped 66 other callers from around the country on
Nov. 28 to win the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest in
Stuttgart, Ark.

Footage from a police officer of an apparently wild cougar
roaming suburban Champlin, Minn., generates significant news buzz
in the Twin Cities.

Though the archery deer season runs through the end of the year,
DNR Wildlife managers estimate that the white-tailed deer harvest
for firearms, archery, and muzzleloader seasons will total about
190,000 in 2009.

Ken “Burgie” Burgland, a long-time supporter of the state
outdoors scene and a friend of legendary Minnesota outdoorsmen Les
Kouba, Jimmy Robinson, and Jim Petersen, passes away at age 84.

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