MinBlogs

Is it really about the Castle Doctrine?

It reminds me of the campfire game where someone tells a secret to the person next to them and they repeat it to the person next to them and it goes around the circle to the last person who repeats it. Nine times out of ten it doesn't resemble what the original statement was at all. Such is the case…

Fee increase moving

A plan to hike fishing and hunting license fees, which hasn’t been done on a general scale since 2001, won unanimous approval from a key Senate committee on Tuesday. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee approved of the plan, offered by committee chair Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, that, among other things, would increase the annual cost for a resident fishing license…

What do moose and eelpout have in common?

A story by long-time Grand Forks Herald outdoors scribe Brad Dokken has appeared in several publications and websites the past few days via the Associated Press wire. Dokken reports a recurring theme about burbot, or eelpout, in this part of the country: They’re struggling. Like the moose – another signature species in Minnesota – eelpout prefer cold Minnesota weather. While…

The “magic” of outdoors television

No matter how many times we hear it, some people just don’t seem to be able to accept the concept of, “Don’t believe everything you see on television.” That’s true with everything you see on television, particularly commercials and outdoors programs. Not to sound too cynical, but the line between commercial and outdoors program is a very grey area. Post…

Four fast-and-furious bloggy thoughts

High Lonesome Ranch. This week’s Outdoor News Radio contains an interview with Paul Vahldiek, Jr., the majority shareholder and CEO of the High Lonesome Ranch, a mixed use landscape in west-central Colorado. I visited the 300-square-mile operation last fall during the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Media Summit. The vision that Vahldiek and his staff have created for sustainable, private lands management…

$15 to access walk-in lands?

It’s put up or shut up time for the state’s young walk-in hunting access program. Originally intended as a three-year, federally funded pilot, it appears the program either is going to have to stand on its own, or go down the road. This is why: That third year of federal funds isn’t coming. DNR officials hope to enroll 25,000 acres of…

Refreshing ‘Conservation Hawks’ doesn’t mince words

New outdoor group deserves a chance from sporting community Last fall, I trout fished Colorado’s White River with Todd Tanner, a Montana-based conservation writer and fine fly-fisherman. Guests of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership at its annual writer’s summit, we had a two-hour van ride along with other writers and TRCP staff to the river. En route, we chatted about our…

Trip reflection

If this is what global warming looks like, I’ll take it.I’ve just returned from an annual ice-fishing trip that I’ve taken now for 13 years with the same group of college buddies. In other years, we’ve rented sleeper houses at Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, Upper Red, and Cass.This year, we bucked tradition and went to Alexandria. My family’s…

Minnesota DNR public meetings next week, plus a cat link

The DNR announced this week that it’s seeking citizen input on three hunting and trapping issues at a series of five meetings beginning this coming Thursday. The proposals are: • Requiring non-toxic shot for rail and snipe hunting. • Adding a third waterfowl zone in southern Minnesota. • Allowing snaring to begin earlier on private property in the farmland zone….

How much is too much?

How far are we willing to go in the fight against invasive species such as zebra mussels?I’ve been pondering that question a lot lately.The DNR already has announced that, beginning with this spring’s ice-out, simply pulling a boat is sufficient grounds to get pulled over and checked.And now, in its latest proposal to the Legislature, the DNR seeks to make…

Invoking ducks to justify 220 Conibears

But protecting waterfowl not a good enough reason to extend raccoon season Debate over the use and placement of 220 Conibears has erupted within the mainstream media and in the pages of Outdoor News. A couple of writers have suggested trappers alter their methods, especially on public land, to help avoid the bad publicity that always ensues when a dog…

Conservation grab bag: Bad BWSR idea, and a fellow trout angler passes

A proposal emerged last week to combine the Board of Water and Soil Resources with the state Department of Agriculture. Bad idea. As Joe Albert reports in the Jan. 27 Outdoor News (and this website) it’s part of the House GOP’s Reform 2.0 effort to find more efficiencies in state government. Sounds reasonable, but legislators should look elsewhere for problems in…

Dayton agreement with USDA, EPA deserves more scrutiny

It’s wasn’t the most glamorous headline, but Gov. Mark Dayton this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a new program for farmers designed to increase “voluntary adoption of conservation practices to protect rivers, streams and other waters.” Sounds good, but a key word there, folks: voluntary. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top…

Susan Thornton: Unfired

The details surrounding the Susan Thornton saga have been murky since the Monday before Christmas. That’s the day word of her termination was leaked to the press. Thornton since 2008 has been head of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, which recommends about $50 million in spending each biennium from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.Now, Thornton – in…

Happy Birthday to my conservation hero: Aldo Leopold

Received an email from the Aldo Leopold Foundation today commemorating the 125th birthday of the great Aldo Leopold. My dad read excerpts from Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac to me and my siblings by our old wood stove as kids. During my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I enrolled in some wildlife ecology courses in the department that Leopold…

DNR announces intent to hold state’s first modern wolf hunt

Looks like we’re going to have a Minnesota wolf hunt beginning in late 2012. The DNR won’t commit to a quota or a number of licenses, but officials say they want to start conservatively and learn how to manage a hunt - and presumably the kill - for future seasons. The agency announced preliminary details for the hunt at a news conference, which…

Treaty issue demands top-down leadership

At a special meeting of the Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group in early December, area business owners, anglers, and residents went on record objecting to the Chippewa spring gill-net fishery on the big lake. It was a call to action directed at the DNR, which represents the state’s side of the treaty fishery management apparatus. DNR fall fish surveys showed the…

Thoughts on LCCMR director’s firing… What the hell is going on?!

Given that the state Republican Party has been swimming upstream against a river of nasty, even bizarre news reports the past couple of weeks, party operatives chose an odd time to declare they had the right to terminate the employment of the LCCMR head. The Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources doles out the funds that enter the Environmental Trust Fund from the…

A quick check on deer

Another firearms deer season is in the bag. My little group had a pretty darn good year, but that, of course, is a small sample size. Statewide, the numbers show a deer season that was – from a harvest perspective, anyway – a little worse than last year. Firearms hunters last year killed about 174,000 deer. This year's take of…