Hunting News

Conservation bills in flux as 2006 session wraps up

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Supporters of dedicated funding still were crossing their fingers Tuesday that a compromise deal would be reached to send a constitutional question to the voters. A 10-member conference committee met last week to begin discussions about how to iron out the differences between dedicated funding bills passed by the House and Senate….

Latest invader found in Superior

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Duluth, Minn. — State and federal officials say they’ve confirmed that a new foreign species has been discovered in the Duluth-Superior Harbor of Lake Superior. The Minnesota DNR reported this week that members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found New Zealand mudsnails during a survey last fall that was part of a project aimed…

DNR going high-tech in mallard monitoring

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. — Privacy has become a thing of the past for three mallards trapped last week in northern Minnesota. Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist in Bemidji, trapped the drake and two hens between Thief Lake and Roseau. Later, Rich Malecki, of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University in New York,…

Pawlenty, lawmakers tout plan to decrease mercury

By Patrick Condon Associated Press St. Paul (AP) — The amount of mercury released into Minnesota’s environment by coal-fired power plants would decline by 1,200 pounds a year, under a plan Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers released last week, and that passed the House 132-to-0 on Monday. The new mercury emission standards would govern the state’s largest coal-fired power plants….

With prices of crops rising, signups for CRP are slipping

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Escalating farm land values, higher cash rent payments, and a continued focus on alternative fuel like ethanol are just a few factors officials say may have led to fewer Conservation Reserve Program signups and “re-ups” in April. Landowners – some with soon-to-expire CRP contracts, others new to the program – had opportunities…

Dedicated funding reaches conferees

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The passage of bills in both bodies of the Legislature to dedicate funding to natural resources was hailed by outdoors leaders as something with the potential to change the state’s conservation course. The two versions passed by the House and Senate are markedly different, so, for now, the future of dedicated funding…

Dedicated funding debated in House

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – After several hours of debate and a multitude of amendments on the House floor, the House passed on a 78-to-55 vote a dedicated funding bill late Tuesday afternoon. The House version dedicates 3/16 of 1 percent of the existing sales tax and splits it four ways. The $135 million per year would…

Rally-goers push for funding compromise

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – For the second time in as many years, sportsmen and conservationists gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to push their legislative agenda. For the second time in as many years, legislative leaders stood in front of the crowd, telling those gathered how important clean water and habitat are to their…

States, federal government to restore Midwest trout streams

By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer Madison, Wis. – Saying they hope to tap federal conservation programs to improve the long-term health of the region’s watersheds, the governors of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, along with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, signed a resolution last week that endorses a unified approach to watershed restoration in the so-called Driftless…

Rally for conservation is Saturday in St. Paul

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — For the second consecutive year, sportsmen and conservationists of all stripes will gather on the steps of the state Capitol to press for passage of outdoors-related legislation. The second Ducks, Wetlands and Clean Water Rally is scheduled for Saturday – Earth Day – from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Last year’s rally…

Funding bill may see House vote this week

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The concept of constitutionally dedicating a part of the state sales tax to natural resources is in uncharted waters this legislative session. It’s passed in the Senate – the first time it’s ever been approved by either body – and a House committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon could send it to…

Rain dampens first week of Minnesota turkey hunt

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Despite forecasts of a light turkey hunt in some areas of the state – due mainly to below-average reproduction the past couple springs, along with spring rains this year – hunters across the state are nearly on par with last year following spring turkey hunting’s first season. Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife…

Waterfowling change sought in Sask.

‘Rogue’ outfitters prompt association proposal; Delta opposes it By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Prince Albert, Saskatchewan — If the efforts of the Saskatchewan Outfitters Association are successful, nonresident bird hunters who travel to the province will see rules mirroring those encountered by big game hunters – the general requirement their trip be guided by an outfitter. Others aren’t so certain…

Dedicated funding heats up in House

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Tuesday marked the third and final deadline at the Legislature, and most bills conservationists and sportsmen had been watching still were in play. Dedicated funding passed the Senate last week, and passed out of another committee in the House moments before this issue of Outdoor News went to press. Both House and…

Trappers ‘in awe’ of fur prices

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bruno, Minn. – It’s been a while since Minnesota trappers have been this well compensated. But rejuvenated demand for fur in China and Russia, as well as other countries overseas, has this year made trapping state furbearers a profitable venture. ‘With the exception of raccoons, prices (for the pelts of furbearers) have doubled and in…

BWSR: CREP payment rates falling off pace

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The follow-up to the wildly successful Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program isn’t progressing as smoothly. In a bonding bill passed last year (such bills typically are passed in even-numbered years), legislators appropriated $23 million for the first phase of a second round of CREP, and there was an assumption another $30.15 million –…

WMAs fare well in House bonding bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Moments after a dedicated funding bill passed out of another House committee, other representatives were busy unveiling an uncharacteristically large bonding bill. And that all came one day after the Senate passed its version of dedicated funding off the floor, marking the first time either legislative body has signed off on the…

COs await tests on fish fillets in poaching case

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Evansville, Minn. — Charges are expected to be filed soon in a fish-poaching case in which conservation officers say they confiscated more than 600 fish possessed by two people in Douglas County. Some of the fish were fresh; others were in freezers and were possibly five to six years old, officials said. Because some fillets…

Dedicated funding OK’d in the Senate

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — At the DNR roundtable meetings earlier this year, Gov. Tim Pawlenty jokingly said the idea to dedicate a portion of the state sales tax to natural resources had passed out of the House of Representatives. Not yet, replied House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon. But soon, he’s since promised, going so far as…

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…