Two-line bill and snow goose issue highlight this week's news section
Here's a grab bag of items from this week's Outdoor News as we head into the middle of what the weather terrorists describe as the "coldest week of the year."
• Gov. Mark Dayton will be fishing this weekend at the annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Tournament on Gull Lake. He'll be the first governor ever to appear at the event. The new governor isn't wasting any time cozying up to sportsmen, or maybe after spending a piece of his personal wealth on his campaign, he simply wants a crack at that $150,000 in prizes. Either way, probably a pretty smart move right out the gate to appear at this uniquely Minnesota contest. State lakes will host a number of large ice-fishing events in coming weeks. Check out the display ads in Outdoor News or our Mixed Bag section for times, dates, and locations.
• The two-line bill has generated beaucoup debate in the Letters to Editor section of Outdoor News, and long-time columnist Joe Fellegy clearly has spelled out his opposition. This scribe opposes the Tom Hackbarth two-line bill as written, but could be tempted with a $10 upcharge for that extra line. Given the potential hole in the Game and Fish Fund within a couple of years, someone needs to think outside the box in generating ideas for declining license revenues. In his column this week, Fellegy raises the potential enforcement nightmare for conservation officers dealing with one-line anglers vs. two-liners. Watch our continuing news coverage of this debate to see if DNR enforcement leadership wants to weigh in on that possibility.
• Speaking of Enforcement, congratulations to the DNR and the St. Paul PD for tracking down the guys who stole more than 20 mounted animals, mostly deer heads, the agency uses with its Wall of Shame display. Guess trying to fence antlers and head mounts of multiple species challenges a thief more than they expected.
Had the culprits stuck with stealing state-owned equipment like chainsaws and post-hole diggers, this story would have sparked nary a ripple. As soon as the press heard that mounted trophy deer racks were missing, however, this story spread like wildfire. Don't mess with people's wildlife. Wonder what the perps were thinking when they saw the news coverage and began worrying about how to unload this highly-identifiable loot. Cold sweat anyone?
• Tim Spielman has a fine story on Page 4 of this week's newspaper detailing how the spring snow goose "conservation order" has had only modest success in helping to control the birds. I believe 2011 marks year 12 of the spring hunt, and the feds and states will need to ask themselves soon, "What other options do we have in controlling mid-continent snow goose populations?" Check out Spielman's story for some of the options he describes, or listen to Tim Lesmeister discuss this quandary on Outdoor News Radio, located elsewhere on this website.