MinBlogs

Gary Botzek: a well deserved Man of the Year

For most of the past decade, Gary Botzek’s name has been near the top of the list as a candidate for Outdoor News Man of the Year. In 2011, we’ve finally awarded him this well-deserved honor. He’s the 13th person to receive this award, and like his predecessors, he’s an old-school conservationist who believes in the holy trinity of public…

Wildlife group speaks out on blight of free-ranging cats

In lieu of a massive Rob blog this week, I’m posting an excellent press release from a Maryland-based organization called The Wildlife Society. The group emailed this on Thursday and it sums up many of my feelings on the free-ranging cat issue nicely. I haven’t done a long “cat rant’ in a while, but one is brewing inside my gut…

A quick rundown of Minnesota Outdoor News bits

As always, there’s lots going on in the state’s outdoor realm. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch for: • It seems clear that a study of what’s killing moose in northeastern Minnesota will go forward. The study was one of 17 projects for which the previous Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources recommended funding, but that the…

A grab bag of rants

Here’s a quick grab bag of newsie items that generated some mini-rants from me this week. Cougar cornerFirst, from the “alert the media” file, I see that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday declared the eastern cougar extinct. This, according to the Associated Press story, confirms a near-universal belief (I’d say “fact”) that America wiped out native eastern…

Congressional budgets propose to slash duck dollars

The executive director of Ducks Unlimited, H. Dale Hall, had an excellent piece this past Monday Feb. 21 in the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution Journal. He titled it, “Cut federal waste but leave the good alone.” DU drafted the op-ed in response to House Resolution 1, the budget bill that the U.S. House of Representatives leadership unveiled two weeks ago. HR1 would…

A tough winter? Yup

The Minnesota DNR winter severity data released today show what the vast majority of Minnesotans would tell you: It’s been a much more severe winter than last year. For the week ending Feb. 20, the winter severity index – the combined number of days with snow deeper than 15 inches and temperatures below 0 – in most parts of the…

The newest form of ‘anti-hunting’

Garry Leaf from Sportsmen for Change this morning forwarded me a news clipping from the Feb. 7 edition of the Pope County Tribune. At a recent meeting of the Pope County Board, the local Corn and Soybean Grower’s Association presented a letter supporting the county’s position of “no net gain” of public lands in the county. Everywhere you turn these…

Dayton fills Lessard council vacancies

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council is complete. Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday made his two citizen appointments, bringing the council to full strength at 12 members. Dayton’s two appointments were Scott Rall, who lives in Worthington and has been on the council since its inception. Gov. Tim Pawlenty first appointed Rall.His other appointment was Jane Kingston, who lives in Eveleth. She’s…

Hold Governor Dayton to his campaigning words

Campaign promises are made to be broken right? It would seem that’s a common trend throughout the history of our Republic but that’s just a cynical way of seeing the world.  How do you get a politician to honor their word? Get them on the public record. Make sure that their commitments are published someplace so that if they break…

Zebra mussels, property values, and Chicken Little

A story in the Park Rapids, Minn., newspaper last week caught my attention. The topic was zebra mussels, and the main person quoted was a county commissioner from Kandiyohi County. That county, and the Green Lake association – for good reason – has been especially worried about zebra mussels getting into that lake.Early in the story, he was quoted as…

Changes at 500 Lafayette Ave.

New DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr announced his leadership team Tuesday and sent Outdoor News a photo of the latest incarnation of agency brass. This marks the fourth time I’ve seen a transition to a new DNR administration. Usually when a new commissioner comes to town, the old guard leaves. This time around, the new commissioner not only brought in his own…

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…

Spring wild turkey hunt confirmation postcards in the mail

The MN DNR has completed its 2011 spring turkey lottery and mailed confirmation postcards to 27,320 lottery winners this week. This blogger happily received his confirmation card for Permit Area 346, the heart of southeast Minnesota turkey country. If you haven’t received a card yet, you can double-check if you were drawn by viewing complete wild turkey lottery results here….

A St. Paul crowd salutes Mark Holsten

Attended the Mark Holsten appreciation gathering Tuesday evening at the Holiday Inn East in St. Paul. A healthy crowd of probably 100 people turned out to thank Holsten for his several terms in the state Legislature and the past eight years on sixth floor of 500 Lafayette Ave. From 2003 to 2007, Holsten was deputy commissioner of the Minnesota DNR,…

CWD returns to the front page of Outdoor News

A federal laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed this week what the Minnesota DNR announced last Friday: For the first time ever, Minnesota has chronic wasting disease in wild whitetail deer. Into the abyss, folks. This is terrible news, and Outdoor News readers can expect a massive amount of coverage in our pages as this story unfolds this spring and beyond….

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…

A few thoughts from 2011 DNR Roundtable

The 2011 Wildlife, Fisheries and Eco-Services Roundtable last weekend drew a strong crowd during a cold January weekend. Gotta give the DNR credit for organizing the roundtable during the slow, quiet, post-holidays time of year. Gov. Dayton’s fine appointment of Tom Landwehr to lead the DNR of course was the buzz of the weekend. You’d be hard-pressed to find any sensible…

Tom Landwehr: Gov. Dayton’s fine choice for Minnesota DNR Commissioner

Gov. Mark Dayton’s selection Thursday of Tom Landwehr to lead the Minnesota DNR has received a thumbs-up from nearly everyone in the outdoors community, including the editorial staff here at Outdoor News. The timing occurs right before arguably the agency’s biggest policy weekend of the year, the Wildlife, Fisheries and Eco-Services Roundtable in Brooklyn Center. That bodes well for the event’s…

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…

Waiting for a new MN DNR commissioner

We’re still waiting to hear who Gov.-elect Mark Dayton will appoint to lead the Minnesota DNR. Here’s betting we’ll know in the next few days, just in time for the 2011 DNR Wildlife and Fisheries Roundtable, which begins Friday at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Center. Preliminary meetings with some of the nonprofit groups actually begin this Thursday. On…

Mass retirements no longer looming at MN DNR. They’re here.

Retirements are hitting the Minnesota DNR en masse this month. Of the DNR’s 2,630 employees in November, 120 have accepted the state’s 2010 early retirement incentive. That’s better than 41⁄2 percent of the agency’s full-time equivalents, and that doesn’t include people leaving under normal attrition. Moving these folks off the state payroll will save tax dollars in the long run,…

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…