MinBlogs

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…

For Bowhunters, December Goes by in a Flash

“It’s been a long December,” as the Counting Crows sing in one of my favorite songs. Only thing is, for bowhunters, December seems to go by in a flash.I know that I can’t hang up my bow just yet. There’s still a season to be hunted and I have tags to fill. After a few years of holding out for…

Outdoor Websights

Wrote a portion of this week’s Outdoor Insights column in the print edition of Outdoor News about whining I’m hearing among some birders. Some of my fellow birdwatchers (I consider myself one) are upset that Minnesota sandhill crane hunters don’t need a federal migratory bird stamp, the so-called Duck Stamp, to hunt cranes. Nearly 2,000 hunters bought $3.50 permits to…

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…

Workshop to assist applicants apply for conservation grant money

The Minnesota DNR has scheduled a series of statewide workshops in August to explain the application process for $4,210,560 in Conservation Partners Legacy grants available this year.Projects must be designed to restore, enhance or protect prairies, forests, wetlands and habitat for fish, game and wildlife in Minnesota. Successful applicants must provide a 10 percent match for grants up to $100,000…

Salazar and Vilsack Announce Appointments to Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council

Washington — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointments of 18 people to the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, a group created earlier this year to advise the two departments about recreational hunting and shooting sports activities and associated wildlife and habitat conservation. “Inspired by the legacy of President…

Exotic species enforcement gone wild

This editor sympathizes with growing concern among letter writers about Minnesota’s hyper-emphasis on exotic species enforcement. Columnist Shawn Perich recently questioned the DNR’s dubiously named, “Pick It or Ticket” campaign, over the Fourth of July. Real subtle, DNR: Threaten taxpayers to remove vegetation from boats and trailers. The public employee who coined “Pick It or Ticket,” and the sixth floor DNR brass…

Apply by Aug. 20 for October special youth deer hunts

Minnesota youth have until Friday, Aug. 20, to apply for 15 mentored deer hunts in October, according to the Minnesota DNR. “With a relaxed pace, these hunts provide high-quality introductory experiences where the total focus of the adult is on mentoring the youth hunter” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “Youth deer hunts provide the ideal learn-by-doing experience.” Youth…

DNR announces special youth deer season

Youth ages 10-15 also are eligible to participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 21, to Sunday, Oct. 24, in 12 permit areas of southeastern and 15 deer permit areas of northwestern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota DNR. “This youth-only season provides an opportunity for parents, guardians and mentors to schedule and plan a special deer…

USDA to Release Open Fields Funding

Washington — The U.S. Department of Agriculture anounced Thursday that it would to release funding for the “Open Fields” Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, a new effort to encourage owners and operators of privately held farm, ranch and forest lands to provide public access to their lands for wildlife-dependent activities such as hunting and fishing. Open Fields was…

Iowa DNR advises caution on swollen rivers, reservoirs

Boaters, anglers, paddlers and swimmers are encouraged to use caution if planning to spend time on Iowa rivers or flood control reservoirs this July 4 holiday weekend. Near record flooding over much of the state has sent rivers out of their banks and sending downed trees and other debris downstream. “Our rivers are always changing but with the recent flooding,…

Apply now for the 2010 Minnesota elk hunt

Hunters have until Friday, July 16, to apply for one of 11 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota DNR. Licenses for the 2010 hunts will be available in the traditional Grygla area and central Kittson County, which is a consolidation of the north and south Kittson zones from last year. Maps of the two hunt zones can be…

Grand Portage State Park closed for weekend due to construction

In the interest of public safety, Grand Portage State Park, near the Canadian border, will be closed this weekend. The closure will allow for the grading and paving of a new entrance road and other work related to the construction of a new visitor’s center, according to the Minnesota DNR. The park will reopen as soon as paving is complete….

A quick review of 2010 OWAA conference in Rochester

Spent Friday at the Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conference in Rochester. The four-day event travels every year, and it last visited Minnesota in 1996. (Madison hosted the conference in 2005, but I missed that one thanks to the arrival of my third son that exact same weekend. I had my priorities straight.) In my 13 years as an…

Minnesota finalizes agreement for Lake Vermilion State Park

St. Paul — Gov. Tim Pawlenty and officials from U.S. Steel Corporation today signed documents formally transferring property on the shores of Lake Vermilion to the state of Minnesota, the first step in creating Minnesota’s first new major state park in more than 30 years. The agreement includes approximately 3,000 acres of land. The new park will provide greater public…

Minnesota state parks to offer free admission on Saturday, June 12

Along with other parks across the country, the Minnesota DNR is encouraging families to participate in National Get Outdoors Day by offering a variety of free activities statewide on Saturday, June 12. The DNR will also waive the requirement for a $5 vehicle permit and provide free admission at all 73 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas that day. The…

Three Minnesota DNR conservation officers promoted

The Minnesota DNR has announced the promotion of three conservation officers. Mike Shelden was named Fergus Falls area enforcement supervisor, which includes Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Todd and Traverse counties. Julie Olson is the new St. Cloud area enforcement supervisor. The area includes Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Sherburne and Wright counties. Aaron Kahre will be the…

Father and daughter’s first turkey hunt a success

It was raining the morning of April 15 when David Tietz woke his 16-year-old daughter Mattie to do some turkey hunting on a farm south of their home in New Prague. “It was 4:30 a.m., it was raining, and I asked her if she’d like to go the next day,” her father said. “But she’s a real trooper and said,…

Rabid cat attacks highlight idiocy of feral cat colonies

The following press release arrived today from the American Bird Conservancy. I like this group, because they’re birders who expose the terrible environmental consequences of free-ranging domestic cats. While many birding groups and magazines waltz around this issue, these guys provide good data and science to the public explaining this growing problem. Of course, they’re too nice even for me….

Man to retire after 50-year Minnesota DNR career

Larry Koster has a boat that’s long been collecting dust. He figures it’s time to get it back on the water.”I do like to fish and I can sit there for a long time, even if I’m not catching anything,” Koster said. “I just like to be outside, enjoying nature.” After 50 years with the Minnesota DNR as a laborer…