Hunting News

Feds deny GLIFWC bag, baiting pitch

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Ft. Snelling – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied a proposal by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission to allow waterfowl baiting and a 40-duck limit on off-reservation lands in two treaty areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin this fall. The USFWS published its proposed rules in the Federal Register last week,…

New LCCMR nearly formed

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A new commission that will make natural resource-spending recommendations to the Legislature is nearly in place. Eleven of the 17 members of the new Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources have been named. Four members of the Senate and two citizens remain to be named. The LCCMR, passed into law earlier this year,…

Red Lake boat case to have day in court

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Jerry Mueller isn’t excited about it, but he’s going back to the place where his boat and fishing equipment were confiscated at the end of May. Mueller, of Princeton, and his son-in-law were fishing on Red Lake, and say they accidentally drifted into waters controlled by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa…

USFWS working to remove bald eagle from ESA listing

By Frederic J. Frommer Associated Press Washington (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last Friday it is working to remove the bald eagle from the list of endangered species, following a court decision ordering it do so by Feb. 16 unless it can prove further delays are necessary. U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim’s order came in…

DNR begins efforts to study state ringnecks

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. – Even as the continental population of ring-necked ducks has been on the rise of late, the number of local birds in Minnesota seems to be going down. During a three-year survey of birds on traditionally good ringneck lakes around the Bemidji area, the number of breeding ringnecks has fallen from about 100…

Federal appeals court upholds N.D. nonresident restrictions

By Dave Kolpack Associated Press Fargo, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s restrictions on nonresident hunters are legal, a federal appeals court says in rejecting a challenge from Minnesota. North Dakota allows residents to hunt ducks and geese a week earlier than nonresidents, and the state charges out-of-state hunters more for licenses. Minnesota officials argued that the restrictions discriminate against outsiders…

Four-duck limit sticks for hunting season ’06

Goose hunters get more days to hunt By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. — After considering a six-bird duck limit, for at least part of the duck-hunting season, the Minnesota DNR has decided to, for the most part, maintain status quo for the 2006 season. That means waterfowlers in the state again will have a four-bird limit this fall….

DNR nixes Superior lake trout netting

Upset commercial fishermen say they plan to challenge agency’s decision By Joe Albert Staff Writer Duluth, Minn. — Commercial fishermen will be unable to net more lake trout in Lake Superior after all. A draft management plan for Lake Superior, in the works since late in 2004, among other things would have allowed 3,000 lake trout to be harvested each…

Four ducks, or six?

Minnesota DNR weighing upcoming duck-hunting season bag limit options By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Last year, while hunters up and down the Mississippi Flyway were allowed a daily bag of six ducks, hunters in Minnesota – mostly because of concerns raised by fellow hunters – saw their daily bag limit drop to four. DNR officials say the…

DNR aims for increased harvest of ruffed grouse

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Hunters in the state should kill an average of 650,000 ruffed grouse per year, no matter where grouse are at in their 10-year cycle, according to a draft version of the DNR’s Long-Range Management Plan for Ruffed Grouse in Minnesota. The annual harvest currently is at about 545,000, though in peak years…

Wildlife refuge money woes hinder progress

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Washington – The nation’s refuge system is at the breaking point, crippled by funding cuts that threaten their ability to fill their role as providers of wildlife habitat and public access. That’s according to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, which recently detailed to Congress the ‘mounting crisis facing national wildlife refuges.’ ‘We’re in trouble,’ said…

Hunting seasons in plan for Hamden Slough NWR

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Audubon, Minn. – Waterfowl, deer, and small game hunters could see additional hunting opportunities in western Minnesota this year, should proposals be approved – and programs put into place – on two national wildlife refuges, one near Detroit Lakes, the other near Thief River Falls. For the first time in its 16-year history, the Hamden…

Fire scorches 32,000 acres – and counting

Blaze could affect moose hunt By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Grand Marais, Minn. — Early this week, firefighters from a number of states and various agencies continued to battle a big blaze located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. As of Monday, the fire had consumed about 32,000 acres of “blowdown,” left from storm winds in…

DNR plans dove fields for eight state WMAs

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — In their third shot at hunting the birds in the state, Minnesota dove hunters this fall will have some new options. The DNR is in the process of creating about 14 fields in eight wildlife management areas that will be managed for doves. The fields total about 57 acres. “We’re going to…

Altered deer regulations possible for state in ’07

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — As a project to assess and control the state’s deer population continues, the results of an extensive survey give insight into the way hunters feel about certain regulations. In one part of the project, the DNR is using public input to try to come up with deer population goals in various parts…

Low flow means no go for big river drawdown

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Rochester, Minn. – Lack of water flow through Pool 5 of the Mississippi River has caused officials to at least temporarily abandon an attempt to draw down the pool, and most doubt the drawdown will resume. The pool was drawn down last year in an attempt to restore vegetation in the river – by exposing…

COs increase enforcement of state wetland violations

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – If it seems like conservation officers in the state are spending more time on wetland violations, it’s because they are. Beginning April 1, the DNR began a stepped-up effort to find wetlands violations, when agency pilots were dispatched to fly over counties across the state. To date, pilots have flown over…

Fish die-offs limited as water temperatures rise

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Duluth, Minn. – In 1983, Lake Bemidji experienced a massive die-off of tullibees, with a total kill of about a quarter-million fish. Given the heat that’s encompassed the state of late – and that began with a sweltering Memorial Day weekend – officials were concerned such an event could happen again. ‘We were getting a…

Push begins for more clean-water funding

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Funding to clean up the state’s lakes and rivers received a $25 million shot in the arm this spring, but advocates already are pushing next year’s Legislature – unknown as it now may be – for more. Lawmakers last spring passed a Clean Water Legacy, the framework by which water in the…

Continental duck populations increase slightly

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The number of breeding mallards in Minnesota may be on the decline, but that doesn’t reflect what’s happening in the rest of their range. The number of mallards on prairie breeding grounds, at about 7.3 million, is slightly above the count last year, and on par with the species’ long-term average. Most…

2005 pheasant harvest the highest since 1964

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The DNR this week confirmed what pheasant hunters knew last fall: the 2005 season was a stellar one. With a kill of nearly 586,000 roosters, the fall harvest was the highest since 1964, and more than 200,000 birds above the average during the past 20 years. It’s also the fourth time harvest…

USFWS unveils revised Upper Mississippi plan

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor La Crosse, Wis. — After nearly four years of planning, public meetings (46 of them), revisions, and review of more than 3,200 comments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced its final plan for management of the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years. After a 30-day…

WRP gets Senate backing

Subcommittee backs full funding in 2007 By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — The full U.S. Senate has yet to vote on the matter, but supporters of the federal Wetlands Reserve Program are celebrating a subcommittee victory for WRP, an agricultural set-aside program. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies voted recently to provide full funding…