Hunting News

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…

Muskie minimum of 48 inches on table

By Joe Fellegy Contributing Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. — Minnesota anglers would be unable to keep muskies less than 48 inches long under a DNR proposal to raise the statewide muskie minimum size from the present 40 inches to 48 inches. If the proposed regulation change becomes law following a public input process, it likely would be implemented on the…

Deer kill No. 3 in state history

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Minnesota hunters killed more than a quarter of a million deer in 2005, making the season the third most successful ever. Hunters killed about 255,500 deer last year, down about 2 percent from 2004, according to Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. The high-water mark was a harvest of 290,500 deer…

DNR shuffling Eco Services

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A plan to shuffle the Ecological Services Division at the DNR and bring it more in line with other divisions could mean changes for managers in St. Paul. At least three Eco Services programs will be affected: the Environmental Review Program, Natural Heritage Program, and Nongame Wildlife Program. Nongame Wildlife is one…

Senate DFLers offer a dedicated funding bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – As the clock ticked toward the March 1 start of the legislative session, House and Senate democrats were busy pushing their conservation agenda. Last week, House DFLers announced the formation of a Conservation Caucus. Among other conservation issues, the caucus will seek to recapture about $60 million per year in lottery money,…

Survey: Midwest duck hunters aren’t satisfied

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Las Vegas – Midwest duck hunters are those most prone to decry a decline in the quality of their hunt, according to the results of a comprehensive survey unveiled last week at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. The survey, which included about 10,000 respondents from the four flyways in the…

LCMR agreement to add citizens to ‘hybrid’ plan

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Citizens would play an expanded role in determining how money from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is spent under an agreement to reform the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The agreement, reached last week between Dave Zentner and Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, was expected to be voted upon Tuesday…

Diverse groups talk wetlands at Summit

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bloomington, Minn. — While the pace of wetland loss in the state has slowed in recent years, they’re still under fire and not adequately protected by the state and federal laws meant to afford them protection. That was the attitude of many at the first Wetlands Summit last Saturday in Bloomington, where more than 300…

Smallmouth regs generate Zumbro River controversy

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Rochester, Minn. — They include just 12 miles of a long-running southeast Minnesota river, but special smallmouth bass angling regulations have created a philosophical divide between those who’d like to protect all Zumbro River smallies and others who’d like to fry them up. One group – the Southeast Minnesota Public Anglers Coalition, which would like…

Mille Lacs 2006 safe harvest set at 600K pounds

By Mike Kallok Mille Lacs Messenger Isle, Minn. — Following DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam’s stamp of approval, the safe harvest level for Mille Lacs walleyes likely will increase to 600,000 pounds with tribal netters retaining 100,000 pounds of the total. News of the increase came after the joint 1837 Ceded Territories Fisheries Committee meeting – a closed meeting between the…

Too many deer in forests?

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – As one part of the certification of 4.7 million acres of the state’s forests, forest and deer managers have something to prove by this fall. They must show they have a plan to ensure deer populations won’t hinder forest regeneration. One of the two audits – that of Forest Stewardship Council –…

DNR ponders options under fed’s plan to reduce geese

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. – The DNR has begun discussions about a federal plan that allows states more latitude in controlling resident Canada geese. The plan was released last November, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn’t sent out a record of decision, which it must do before states can implement any of the provisions. Under…

Leech Lake Task Force demands huge stocking

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Walker, Minn. — Brad Walhof, the mayor of Walker, says he’s finally able to admit Leech Lake has a problem, and that the lake is “sick, very ill.” “I’ve been a very positive person about Leech Lake…” he said. “(But) it’s like a person that is really ill and has a disease. We are finally…

Southeast legislator seeks funds for venison donation

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — The price of deer hunting licenses would increase by $1 under a proposal by Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, and the $450,000 it would raise annually would be used to offset the costs of processing deer donated for charitable purposes. The price increase would apply to parent resident and nonresident licenses (not bonus…

Dave Schad to lead DNR’s F&W Division

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Perhaps it’s only fitting Dave Schad was named as the new head of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division. He’s been climbing the ladder since he began with the agency in 1981. He started as a student worker conducting mail surveys of hunters and trappers, was an area wildlife manager, and a…

Trollers want different fee structure for Lake Superior

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Duluth, Minn. — Is Lake Superior being slighted when it comes to proceeds from the state trout and salmon stamp? Some Superior anglers believe so, and now are promoting a “Lake Superior Fishing and Angling Endorsement” to replace the stamp as a requirement for big lake anglers, with the funds strictly reserved for Superior management….

Drawdown on Swan Lake progressing very slowly

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Nicollet, Minn. — While water isn’t flowing out of Swan Lake as fast as officials hoped, it is progressing nonetheless. The water’s going down about one-quarter inch per day, and is down in total about 7.5 inches. “We were a little discouraged by the flow progress of the drawdown,” said Ken Varland, DNR regional wildlife…

Mdewakanton band to exercise treaty claims

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – For the first time in more than 100 years, Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community members netted in the place where they believe they were placed on earth. That place: The mouth of the Minnesota River, where it flows into the Mississippi River within Fort Snelling State Park. The net: One 200-foot gill net,…

Red Lake Band, DNR: Fishery is in great shape

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. – While Red Lake supports what officials call a surplus of spawning-sized walleyes, both the DNR and Red Lake Band of Chippewa plan to play it safe in terms of allowable harvest, at least right away. The state will allow anglers to harvest 108,000 pounds of walleyes between May 13 and Nov. 30….

Fridley may take steps to curb goose problems

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Fridley, Minn. — Officials in the metropolitan city of Fridley are afraid their residents may be just a bit too friendly when it comes to geese and ducks. Incessant feeding of the waterfowl has made the feathered critters congregate in public areas, leaving behind a maze of droppings, along with the litter geese and ducks…