Rob Drieslein

USDA Secretary Vilsack returning to Iowa to attend National Pheasant Fest

Des Moines, Iowa — Pheasants Forever has confirmed that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will attend National Pheasant Fest 2010. Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, is slated to give the keynote address at the Pheasant Fest luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 27 at noon. Immediately following the luncheon, Vilsack will sign a first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between the…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

Visiting brother, enjoying Atlantic Coast of North Carolina

Spent several days last week along the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina while visiting my brother. He’s a Marine Corps pilot and officer at Camp LeJeune and bound for Afghanistan next month. Though I’ve spent a fair amount of time along both coasts, this was my first visit to the Carolinas, and their famed Outer Banks. The marine and fishing…

MCF donates $5,000 for south-metro WMA

The Minnesota Conservation Federation recently gave a check for $5,000 to the Minnesota DNR for the Vermillion Wildlife Management Area complex in Dakota County. The organization gave the DNR the check during a quarterly board meeting held at the Eden Prairie Gander Mountain store. I attended and witnessed some grassroots conservation firsthand. MCF President Steve Maurice presented the check to Tim…

2009 Outdoor News Man of the Year

Outdoor News subscribers can read today about our 2009 Man of the Year: Garry Leaf. He’s our 11th Man of the Year since we started the award in 1999 (Joe Duggan was the first recipient), and Garry is arguably the most surprising pick we’ve ever made. Most folks who have won this award (10 men, one woman) received it as…

Lee and Tiffany Lakosky visit Minnesota Deer Classic this weekend

An outdoors feature in today’s Star Tribune profiled Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, of The Outdoor Channel’s “Getting Close with Lee and Tiffany.” Story didn’t mention it, but Outdoor News helped Tiffany achieve some measure of her initial hunting publicity through our annual Best Buck Contest. Looking through archives this morning, I see the former Tiffany Profant was a weekly winner…