Joe Albert

Anti-public lands bill introduced

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has introduced his long-rumored bill – HF 332 – that would make it illegal for the state to own any more land than it currently owns. The salient part of the bill reads like this: “The state shall not acquire fee title to any land unless the state declares an equal amount of state-owned land surplus…

Poor weather grounds DNR planes in area where CWD-positive deer found

State officials last week announced that a deer in the Pine Island, Minn., area had preliminarily tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Further testing has confirmed the female deer indeed was infected. It’s the first time in the state a wild deer has been found with CWD. But even before the official confirmation, DNR officials set in motion their CWD…

Wall of Shame Mounts Recovered… Should we Shoot Collared Bears?

To circle back on last week’s report on the thefts from the DNR’s Central Region offices, which included animal mounts from the Wall of Shame: St. Paul police officers and state conservation officers recovered most of the items, including the mounts.Most of the mounts were in good shape and could have gone directly onto the wall, according to Capt. Greg…

MN DNR: Wall of Shame mounts stolen

St. Paul – Thieves have stolen 18 white-tailed deer and other mounted animals from the DNR. The agency and St. Paul Police Department are investigating the thefts of the mounts – all killed by poachers and now part of the DNR’s Wall of Shame. The thefts, which also included other equipment worth several thousand dollars, happened sometime between last Friday…

On Controlling Aquatic Invasives

Look for Minnesota DNR to push policies regarding aquatic invasive species such as milfoil and zebra mussels during the legislative session that kicked off Tuesday. Included will be enforcement provisions and other measures designed to stop the spread of such species. Such efforts are sure to be met with groans and sighs from some who believe they’re fruitless, or who…

Who will be DNR Commissioner? And other stuff…

One thing that didn’t fit into this week’s story about Mark Dayton finally winning the election and preparing to succeed outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty – the creation of a Governor’s Pheasant Opener. Dayton mentioned his plan to hold such an event during an interview in October with Outdoor News, and he’s since repeated it to other media organizations. He also…

McNamara takes over

We told you last week to stay tuned about the fate of Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar. He was to head the committee that deals with environment and natural resources policy and finance in the House. Several days after House leadership suspended Hackbarth from the position, he voluntarily resigned. Taking Hackbarth’s place is Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings. He’s been in the Legislature since 2002 and…

On dedicated funding

All eyes this week are on the Cultural and Outdoor Resources Finance Division in the Minnesota House of Representatives. It’s this committee that will roll together all aspects of dedicated funding – habitat, clean water, parks and trails, and the arts – into a single bill. Meetings have been held nearly every day this week, including this morning, but the…

A clarification about tournaments

I wrote a story a couple of weeks ago about new fishing tournament rules being discussed at the state Legislature. Among the multiple provisions is the DNR could allow weigh-ins at public accesses. I then wrote that a number of muskie, bass, and northern pike groups support provisions in the bill. Perhaps I should have been more specific in saying…

Good start for Minnesota turkey hunters

Turkey hunters in Minnesota took more than 2,200 turkeys during the first season, which ran April 15-19. To give proper perspective to that figure, consider that in the years since the first turkey season in the state in 1978, total harvest in more than half of the seasons has been less than what hunters killed last week. The increased harvest…

Made your deer-hunting plans yet?

The fishing opener is still a month away, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about deer hunting. At least if you’re the governor of Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced yesterday the seventh annual Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener will be held Nov. 6-7 this year in Thief River Falls. “The opening of deer hunting season is a special time,…

LOHC bill authors named

The bills that carry the recommendations of the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council have been introduced. In the House, it’s HF 2131 and the author is Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul. Co-authors include Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich. In the Senate, both Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, and Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, introduced the exact same…

Habitat funding recommendations

The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council made its final picks for year one of dedicated funding. It’s a nearly $69 million package that includes 18 on-the-ground habitat projects and that funds a program to distribute small grants to sporting groups and other local organizations. The council passed the measure on an 11-1 vote and will formally send it to the Legislature…

Keep the pressure on

It was good to see the Star Tribune editorial this morning that dealt with the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council. While the newspaper opposed dedicated funding to begin with, it’s good to see its defense of the council now in the matter of metro versus rural spending. As has been reported, the council made preliminary recommendations for about $68 million worth…