MinBlogs

WMAs: No longer a Minnesota bonding bill priority?

This week’s Outdoors Insights column focuses on the declining revenue for wildlife management areas in the Minnesota bonding bill. The state House and Senate released their versions of the bonding bills last week, and it wasn’t pretty for WMA acquisition. Neither body offered more than $1 million for WMAs, which made the $4 million that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed…

DNR seeks watercraft inspector applicants

The Minnesota DNR is seeking watercraft inspector interns for the upcoming boating season. Inspectors are stationed at public accesses on lakes and rivers infested with invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. “We’re looking for enthusiastic young adults interested in doing important environmental conservation work,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR watercraft inspection program coordinator. Watercraft inspectors inform and educate…

Moose population decline continues in northeastern Minnesota

Bad news continues for Minnesota’s moose population, According to results of an aerial survey released Monday by the Minnesota DNR, the moose population in northeastern Minnesota continues to decline. Survey results revealed lower moose numbers and the proportion of cows accompanied by calves continued a 13-year decline and dropping to a record low of 28 calves per 100 cows. “These…

New DNR license-buying system goes online Feb. 18

Minnesotans who buy their hunting, fishing and other DNR licenses at retail outlets will soon do so via a new electronic licensing system. Effective Feb. 18, DNR retail license sales will be available on new touch-screen terminals that allow sales clerks to be more efficient when inputting data and outputting licenses. “Hunters, anglers and trappers alone account for about 3.3…

Heated camper cabins now open at Afton State Park

Two new camper cabins, heated and wired with electricity, have opened at Afton State Park near a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River. The White Pine and Bur Oak cabins are located by the park’s group campsite. The new cabins, one of which is accessible, are available year-round at a cost of $50 per night, smoke-free, and sleep up to…

National Wild Turkey Federation honors Aitkin-area CO

The Minnesota chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has named Conservation Officer Bob Mlynar as its Minnesota Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Mlynar is a 14-year employee of the Minnesota DNR and currently stationed in Aitkin. “CO Mlynar has been a valuable asset to the state of Minnesota and a role model for others to follow,” said Tom…

Minnesota Waterfowl Association awards banquet is Feb. 6

The Minnesota Waterfowl Association has a busy Saturday planned with its annual Waterfowl Symposium followed by an awards banquet tomorrow night, Feb. 6, at the Ramada Mall of America motel in Bloomington. Among the award winners will be Outdoor News’ own Joe Albert, who will be getting the group’s Media Award. The banquet will also mark the kick-off of the…

Two Minnesota juveniles charged with poaching seven deer

The Minnesota DNR reports that two Roseau County youths have been charged with deer poaching and related gross misdemeanors as part of an investigation by the agency. A 16-year-old from Roseau was charged with taking big game without a license, gross misdemeanor taking big game with artificial light, gross misdemeanor transport of illegally taken big game, and wanton waste. A…

Out with the old, in with the old at the USFWS?

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar named a new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday. Sam D. Hamilton by all accounts has been a smart, career public servant who takes his job seriously. I’m sure he has the stellar credentials to ensure a quick confirmation. You can read the complete, unedited USFWS release below. In some waterfowling circles…

Some high- and lowlights from the 2009 Legislative session.

• Bob Lessard’s name stayed on the Outdoor Heritage Council. The final version adds the name of former state Sen. Dallas Sams. That’s not inappropriate. Sams was a good senator from Staples who worked hard on dedicated funding. He died before his time and deserves some honors, too. • How’d you like to be a conservation officer in southeast Minnesota…

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…

Lake Minnetonka Crappie Contest details

Here are the details on the 2009 Lake Minnetonka Crappie Contest. I received them late yesterday afternoon – not in time for this week’s print edition of Outdoor News. Lord Fletcher’s is the host sponsor this year. Anglers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts can take part in the annual Crappie Contest. Join The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the fight against…

Let’s expand elk populations in Minnesota!

All state residents have a stake in elk management in Minnesota. So it’s in the best interest of citizens in the Twin Cities and across southern Minnesota to attend a public meeting in St. Paul on Tuesday, May 5. The state’s elk management plan will be the focus of the St. Paul gathering. A similar meeting takes place in the…

Limbaugh supports HSUS?

My long-time friend in conservation Mike Sidders alerted me this afternoon to a baffling story involving radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh. The long and short of it: Limbaugh has cut public service announcements supporting the Humane Society of the United States. For details, click the link here, or Google “Limbaugh HSUS” and see a boatload of hits regarding the story. It appears…

Animal rights update in Congress

Bob Frye, a Pittsburg-based outdoors writer and correspondent for Pennsylvania Outdoor News, posted this fine column today. The middle nugget on the latest efforts by Humane Society of the United States should be of interest to outdoorsmen everywhere in the country. Read it here. Perhaps taking a cue from sportsmen and the successful Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the animal rights folks…

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,…

Hey Minnesota: Don’t let Lake Vermilion State Park opportunity slip away!

Doug Smith at the Star Tribune this Thursday morning reports that a “dispute over land values”  is endangering plans for a new state park along the southeast shore of Lake Vermilion. Hard to believe in this economy that developing shoreline for lakehomes remains significantly more profitable than selling property to the state. But, sadly, pristine shoreline has become a rare…

Bill would increase price of Federal Duck Stamp

Ducks Unlimited sent out this press release (pasted below) today, and if this passes, you’ll pay more to hunt ducks everywhere in the United States. Federal Duck Stamps currently cost $15, and this legislation would increase the price to $25. Different versions of this bill have been around for several years, but the anti-tax increase (or “fee”) attitude in the…

Increase your odds for drawing a Minnesota moose tag

Below you’ll see the Minnesota DNR’s press release for the annual moose hunt. The state will issue 225 high-demand tags, and with the large number of applicants, the chances of obtaining one run pretty thin. But here’s a tip for the hardy hunters among us: Apply for an interior Boundary Waters Canoe Area permit zone. DNR licensing people tell me that…

On-Air with Ron Schara this Saturday

Minnesota Bound’s Ron Schara called and interviewed me this morning for a news segment that will appear on his WCCO Radio show Saturday morning. We chatted briefly about what’s cooking in the state Legislature this spring. Despite a $5 billion budget deficit, legislators still find time for bills on fish hatcheries, pike slots limits, dove hunting, or live coyote transport….

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…

Missing Tony Dean today

A friend in conservation sent me the press release below to note the appointment of the new NRCS chief. I’ve spent some time trying to research Mr. White and generally am developing a semi-positive vibe about the man. He has strong credentials and experience, and Sen. Tom Harkin praised White’s efforts working on the conservation title of the past two…