MinBlogs

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…

Tumble down a ravine ends day’s hunting

If wind hindered deer hunting opening weekend, then I suspect many hunters will blame the full moon and warm temperatures for last weekend. The light snow cover last week contributed to a bright landscape in the dead of night. Indeed, trail cameras revealed great deer movement, during the moonlit hours between dusk and dawn. That was the least of my…

Deer harvest down, but success to report

The firearms deer kill remains down from last year, when firearms hunters killed a total of more than 174,000 deer. Through Tuesday, hunters have killed 83,500 whitetails, compared with about 101,000 at the same time last year. Many hunters report heavy wind during the first three days of the season was the primary factor that reduced harvest. Deer simply don't…

File comments by Nov. 4 regarding DNR’s Poplar River decision

The Minnesota DNR yesterday afternoon issued the press release below about the Poplar River. I’m not happy about the timing because it missed our print deadline, and the comment period for what this scribe considers a pretty big deal ends Friday, Nov. 4. That means readers of next week’s Minnesota Outdoor News won’t see this release until 90 percent of…

It’s not that hard!

A DNR press release earlier this week illustrated what’s apparently becoming a growing problem: People transporting zebra mussels from one body of water to another via boat lifts. To which I ask: How on Earth could that happen? I don’t pretend to know exactly what happened in either case – on Rose Lake in Otter Tail County and on Lake…

Outdoor Insights

Plopping down in ever-so-comfortable Delta Airlines seat 6B en route to Grand Junction, Colo., two weeks ago, a familiar face glanced up from my left. There against the window was Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever government affairs director. “You’ll never escape the press,” I quipped at the affable Nomsen. On our flight west, we had a discussion about the federal Farm…

U.S. Forest Service may eliminate BWCA lottery system

I’m not a massive fan of the U.S. Forest Service lottery system for obtaining a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permits, but it’s worked pretty well for me the past couple of years. If you have your act together, and know what entry point you wanted when the lottery period opened, you’d get your permit. Still, applying for backups was…

An outdoors grab-bag

A grab-bag of items from the outdoors world: • Despite massive changes to this year’s duck season, the DNR likely will sell fewer state duck stamps than ever before. Agency officials hoped the changes, including an earlier opener and earlier shooting hours, would prompt more people to pick up a shotgun and head to the marsh. But, so far at…

Report from TRCP Media Summit

Last week, I attended the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s annual media summit in Colorado. The group has become an important source for Outdoor News in recent years on matters of national agriculture and natural resource policy, so spending a few days with staff provided an opportunity to put names to faces and commiserate about the challenges facing modern conservation. Here’s…

Is a Wolf a Wolf? Is a Coyote a Coyote?

A new, irritating wrinkle has emerged in the gray wolf delisting saga. I hope readers reviewed Tim Spielman’s wolf delisting story on the front of the Sept. 2 edition of Outdoor News. A taxonomic debate has emerged over whether the so-called eastern wolf has interbred with gray wolves, especially in Wisconsin and Michigan. A status review of the eastern wolf,…

Women in the outdoors – and on the cover

Has anybody else noticed that several national magazines in the outdoors-magazine section feature women on the cover this month?  I was at my favorite bookstore yesterday and noticed this on at least two well-known hunting publications. I decided to do a little more digging and have found several other prominent references to women on outdoors websites, publications and retailers.Case in…

Meeting Bono: “…that’s kind of a strange name.”

As the Twin Cities basked in the afterglow of the big U2 concert, a funny anecdote involving former DNR Fisheries Chief Ron Payer came my way Monday morning. In the mid-2000s, Payer and other DNR officials were in Washington, D.C. gathering support for some federal resource funding. While they waited outside then-U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy’s office, suddenly an upbeat, well-dressed chap…

State shutdown ends

The shutdown is over. Fishing and hunting licenses are for sale again, and state parks are in various stages of opening. DNR and other state employees are back on the job, and state conservation officers are back to their regular routines.While people, rightfully, gnash their teeth about the agreement that got things rolling again – borrowed money, essentially – there’s…

A possible threat to recreational GPS?

As if sportsmen and citizenry in general didn’t have enough to worry about, what with the federal government on the brink of defaulting on debt, a Minnesota state government shutdown because of petulant, bratty lawmakers, and the San Francisco Giant Brian Wilson’s beard giving children and adults alike nightmares… Yeah, as if all that wasn’t absurd (albeit real) enough, I…

Outdoor casualties of a state government shutdown

I went the other day to renew my license plate tabs. This was after the state government shutdown. Ahead of me in line was a woman who had tried in vain to buy a fishing license at a retail store and then a bait shop. She was certain if she found an open government center she could get a license….

Good summer lull event: fish and paddle the St. Croix River

The St. Croix River is a phenomenal fishing river and scenic destination that too many Minnesotans probably take for granted. Here’s the skinny on an event raising awareness about the health of the St. Croix, plus just an excuse for some good old-fashioned summer fun. The St. Croix River Association invites the public to join them in celebrating the group’s…

Remembering, and Memorializing, Slain Game Wardens

The Minnesota DNR on Monday formally dedicated a memorial to three Minnesota game wardens killed more than 70 years ago. The memorial is at the DNR’s regional office in New Ulm.More than 80 conservation officers from around the state attended the dedication, and at least that many other people did, too. Family members of two of the three slain wardens…

A 2,250-Mile Journey Begins with the Stroke of a Paddle

Blakeley, Minn. – Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren are paddling to become the first women to traverse the 2,250 miles from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in an effort to inspire other young women to explore the outdoors and raise money for the YMCA’s Camp Menogyn. Outdoor News caught up with them on day five of their journey on the Minnesota…

Fishing cranks up; legislative logjam continues

Well, this should be a slow time of year, now that the legislative session has ended. But the reality is that lawmakers spent five months without accomplishing a whole lot on the natural resources front. What didn’t get done?• A budget for agencies like the Board of Water and Soil Resources, DNR, and Pollution Control Agency. If lawmakers and Gov….

Take a ride fishing in a kayak

Fish in Minnesota can grow pretty big but the vast majority of them lack the size and strength to pull an average fishing boat any significant distance. It's really too bad. Some of the best fishing stories involve boats being dragged this way and that by an angry sea creature. In the end, it all comes down to brains and…

Crowd gathers in St. Paul to celebrate 80 years of Bob Lessard

A healthy, bipartisan (maybe tri-partisan) crowd turned out Wednesday evening to mark the 80th birthday of the Old Trapper himself, Bob Lessard. Attendees included leaders of state conservation groups, DNR staffers, Bob’s family, buddies like Bud Grant, and politicians such as Gov. Mark Dayton and former state senators Roger Moe and Jane Krentz. The 2010 Outdoor News Man of the…