Hunting News

Red Lakers may have 10-fish walleye limit

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Red Lake, Minn. – Red Lake tribal members would be allowed to take, by hook and line, 10 walleyes in waters of Upper and Lower Red lakes under a proposal being offered by the tribal council. Pat Brown, Red Lake Band fisheries biologist, said the proposal is a cautious approach. ‘It wouldn’t include involve any…

North Dakota hunting rules illegal, assistant AG argues

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press Grand Forks, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota cannot extend preferential duck hunting rights to resident landowners while denying the same benefits to property owners who live outside the state, a Minnesota assistant attorney general says. Attempting to revive a Minnesota lawsuit against an assortment of North Dakota hunting laws, Ann Bildtsen tried last week to…

No CREP funding in Senate bonding bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – With the first legislative deadlines come and gone, four main conservation issues remain in play, as do a variety of smaller topics. The Clean Water Legacy Act continues to make headway in the House and Senate, as do plans to dedicate funding to natural resources and reform the Legislative Commission on Minnesota…

State reports first CWD-positive deer

Whitetail from western Minnesota farm By Joe Albert Staff Writer Madison, Minn. — A white-tailed deer on a farm in western Minnesota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced last week. The positive test marks the first time the disease has been found in a deer in Minnesota, though it’s been detected in…

USFWS pitches wolf plan for Great Lakes delisting

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced a new plan to remove the gray wolf from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, as well as the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Michigan. For Minnesota, the delisting includes “removing the gray wolf special rules which define the circumstances when…

Dedicated funding saga continues in committee

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Uncertainty still seems to reign at the Legislature regarding the future of dedicated funding – bills to do it evolve on a consistent basis – but two other pieces of legislation, creation of a new body to spend lottery proceeds and the Clean Water Legacy Act, are making headway. In an already…

Bush names Kempthorne new Secretary of Interior

By David Espo AP Special Correspondent Washington (AP) — President George W. Bush selected Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as Interior secretary on Thursday, choosing a Westerner whose state is home to rich natural beauty as well as great mineral wealth to become the next steward of millions of acres of public land. If confirmed by the Senate, the 54-year-old Kempthorne,…

Waterfowlers lose conservation ‘giant’

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Hugo, Minn. — Look at nearly any type of waterfowl management activity that exists today – from annual duck surveys to the way flyway councils function – and it’s likely to have been touched in some way by Art Hawkins, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. Hawkins, of Hugo, died last Thursday. He…

Interior Secretary Gale Norton leaving post

By John Miller Associated Press Idaho governor a possible Norton replacement Boise, Idaho (AP) – With Interior Secretary Gale Norton calling it quits, some groups in Washington, D.C., say an informal short list of possible replacements has already emerged, including Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Others mentioned by lobbyists and conservationists as possible nominees include former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, Colorado…

Capitol committees review resource funding, policies

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Aquatic vegetation targeted in House bill St. Paul – Legislation in the House would require the DNR to grant a permit to any lakeshore owners for control of submerged vegetation on up to 100 feet of their shoreline, and allow the use – without permit – of aquatic plant-control devices in an area up to…

Zentner, Tony Dean decry ESA changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Minneapolis – A bill that’s passed the U.S. House and is slated for discussion in the Senate in the near future, would significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act, according to two prominent outdoorsmen. Dave Zentner of Duluth, a past president of the Izaak Walton League, along with Tony Dean, an outdoors personality from South Dakota,…

Ice-out dates occurring earlier, but how much?

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – A news release from the National Environmental Trust regarding increasingly early ice-out on Minnesota lakes and others across the nation likely raised some eyebrows. But Minnesota DNR officials say that while trends indicate earlier ice-out than what occurred 100 years ago, the change isn’t as drastic as noted by the NET, a…

Association of governors backs Wetlands Loan Act

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington – The proposed federal Wetlands Loan Act, a plan to accelerate the purchase of land for wildlife, received another ally when the the National Governors Association endorsed the bill. Bob Schroeder, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said Pawlenty was involved in bringing the proposal before the body of governors. The legislation…

Ample outdoors bills as Legislature begins

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The 2006 session of the Legislature began fast and furious. Discussion will continue this session on three of the major bills conservation groups have been talking about for the past few years: dedicated funding, lake and river cleanup, and reform of the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (though a task force has…

Expanded turkey hours on tap at DNR input meetings

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The DNR is looking for thoughts on five hunting and trapping topics during its annual public input meetings, held this week and next across the state. Deer, turkey, small game, and waterfowl hunters, as well as otter trappers, would be affected by issues the DNR is proposing or considering. Meeting topics include:…

Catch of the day: Yellow perch that isn’t yellow

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Malmo, Minn. – Dick Bassing had caught two nice perch in the short time he had been fishing Lake Mille Lacs one morning in December. When the third fish hit, he assumed he had another jumbo perch. Then it came out of the hole, and didn’t look like any perch – or fish, for that…

Muzzleloader hunters seek ability to hunt with scopes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Erskine, Minn. — On the heels of a muzzleloader harvest that last year broke the state’s previous record – 14,000 deer – a group of blackpowder hunters in Polk County are seeking a law change that would allow muzzleloader hunters to use magnified scopes on their guns. Allowing scopes during the muzzleloader season would boost…

Study: Duck kill rate higher with spinners

And they don’t reduce the crippling factor By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. — A study in Minnesota on the vulnerability of mallards to spinning-wing decoys has produced a mixed set of results. On one hand, researchers, as expected, found that kill rates are higher when spinners are used. On the other hand, they found spinners don’t reduce crippling,…

Nature center acquires precarious eagle nest

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor McGregor, Minn. — An eagle’s nest, formerly nestled high in a dead white pine tree north of McGregor in Aitkin County, is now displayed at the Long Lake Conservation Center near Palisade. The effort to move the nest occurred about a week ago. But obtaining permission to move the federally protected nest began long ago,…

Group calls for 50-year state conservation plan

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — More than 1 million acres of farmland and natural areas will be developed during the next 25 years to accommodate a state population that’s expected to increase by 1.2 million. At the same time, conservation spending from the state General Fund is at its lowest level in 30 years. The convergence, according…