Minnesota DNR seeking nominations for new waterfowl hunting focus group

Minnesotans who would like to participate in a newly formed Department of Natural Resources (DNR) waterfowl hunting listening session should nominate themselves by March 14.

The DNR soon will select a 12-person focus group that will meet once a month from March through June 2011. Each listening session will focus on a single topic. The agency will seek input on hunter recruitment and retention; habitat issues and strategies; and hunting and harvest issues such as season dates and bag limits.

"I want to hear what waterfowl hunters have to say," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "And I believe this approach – an in-depth conversation about their attitudes, preferences and feelings – will add value to the information we collect through surveys, public input meetings, stakeholder gatherings and biological assessments."

Each meeting will begin with a brief DNR presentation followed by a moderated discussion. All meetings will be in or around the Twin Cities. Interested individuals should send an e-mail with their name and address and a short description of their interest and background to commissioner.dnr@state.mn.us before the March 14 deadline.

This first-ever focus group will be comprised of one representative each from Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, plus nine at-large waterfowl hunters. The at-large hunters will represent different areas of the state, age and types of hunting interests and experiences. Participants will be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Ray Norrgard, DNR wetland wildlife program leader, said focus group information will be incorporated into other public input and biological considerations as the agency sets its waterfowl priorities during the next four years. Minnesota has a long and storied waterfowl history, he said, but that saga is saddened by the realities of wetland loss, wetland and shallow lake degradation, limited nesting cover, and unfavorable migration patterns.

"The next chapter of our state's waterfowl history will be defined by what happens on the land and the actions taken by conservation agencies, conservation organizations and those who hunt," Norrgard said. "Focus group participants will have an opportunity to influence these actions."

Categories: Hunting News, Waterfowl

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