Hunting News

Wild turkey hunters on par with last year

Deadline to apply for spring 2007 hunt is Dec. 1 By Joe Albert Staff Writer Elba, Minn. — At the halfway point of the state’s fall wild turkey season, things are on par with last year. Hunters during the first season – held Oct. 18-22 – this year killed 355 turkeys. Harvest for the first season last year was 347…

Washington County weighs land protection ballot vote

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Woodbury, Minn. — Voters in Washington County will decide Nov. 7 whether they want to increase their property taxes in exchange for the “preservation of water quality, woodlands, and other natural areas” within the county. The ballot initiative, if approved, would ramp up county spending by $20 million for land acquisition and permanent preservation agreements….

Thistles a CRP issue for some landowners

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Pipestone, Minn. — Eric Peterson, a farmer in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, said he wants to provide habitat for the wildlife of the prairie, mostly via the federal Conservation Reserve Program, but that federal officials charged with administering the program are making it tough for him to do so. Ditto for other landowners enrolled…

Groups want CSP focus in ’07 Farm Bill

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Lanesboro, Minn. – Groups whose interests include both agriculture and conservation say when members of Congress consider the upcoming Farm Bill, one of their primary focuses should be the Conservation Security Program, one that rewards landowners for environmentally friendly land-use practices. ‘One of the most critical reforms the Minnesota conservation farm groups are supporting is…

Standing crops don’t halt weekend pheasant action

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Watson, Minn. – Pheasant hunters, it appears, believed the pre-season hype. While some escaped to the northwest to hunt deer, plenty of hunters followed tradition and hit the fields for pheasants. One conservation officer reported so many hunters in the field that it looked like the sun was out. Counts at Lac qui Parle Wildlife…

Early antlerless hunt kills 2,000 whitetails

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A recent DNR survey showed hunters liked the opportunity to hunt deer with firearms before the traditional November season began. Preliminary results from the state’s second early antlerless deer season – held last weekend in five northwest and three north metro permit areas – seem to add credence to those findings. This…

Study: Deer likely spread wasting disease via saliva

By Lauran Neergaard AP Medical Writer Washington (AP) – Deer probably spread the brain-destroying illness chronic wasting disease through their saliva, concludes a study that finally pins down a long-suspected culprit. The key was that Colorado researchers tested some special deer. Chronic wasting disease is in the same family of fatal brain illnesses as mad cow disease and its human…

Strong outlook for pheasant opener

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Pheasant hunters in Minnesota are riding a wave of good weather and lots of habitat. So much so that modern-day harvest records could drop in the upcoming season, which begins Saturday. There’s seems little question that hunters will kill more than 500,000 roosters. The question is, will they top last year’s kill…

Conservationists put on edge by change to WRP

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — Changes to the way land appraisals for the Wetlands Reserve Program are done have officials at the Natural Resources Conservation Service working harder to enroll landowners into the program. An audit completed by the Office of the Inspector General, released in August of 2005, found NRCS wasn’t properly valuing potential WRP sites….

DU: Strip subsidies for prairie-busters

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bismarck, N.D. — Current provisions in the Farm Bill are contributing to the loss in the Prairie Pothole Region of the native prairie important to duck production, according to Ducks Unlimited. The group is aiming to change that in the 2007 federal Farm Bill with an amendment known as “Sodsaver,” which would remove incentives for…

Two-day firearms deer hunt set for Oct.14-15

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — For the second consecutive year, hunters don’t have to wait until November to target deer with a gun. For one weekend this month – Oct. 14 and 15 – whitetails are fair game for gun hunters in five northwest and three north metro permit areas. “It knocked down some deer (last year),”…

2006 waterfowl hunt off to a decent start

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Walker, Minn. — When 4 p.m. rolled around on Sunday of Minnesota’s 2006 duck opening weekend, most hunters left their blinds feeling mostly satisfied. That’s according to DNR officials, conservation officers, sport shop owners, and duck hunters themselves. Things were especially rosy in the Leech Lake area. “We have ducks,” said Jeff Arnold, of Reeds…

Canadian ‘joint venture’ boots Delta Waterfowl

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bismarck, N.D. – Disenchanted with the direction of waterfowl conservation in Canada and its refusal to agree to what it classified as a ‘gag order,’ has led to dismissal of Delta Waterfowl from the largest conservation partnership in prairie Canada – the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Delta officials…

State’s ’06 duck hunt set to begin

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – While wetland conditions have probably improved in most of the state, hunters ready to take part in the waterfowl season, 2006 version, may find one popular species in short supply – and getting shorter. Recent spells of cooler-than-normal weather have sent blue-winged teal packing in several areas of the state, especially in…

Warm water kills steelhead, Kamloops from French River

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Duluth, Minn. – Add steelhead and Kamloops rainbow trout to the list of things affected by the run of warm weather in the state. The combination of warm air temperatures and a sustained northeast wind has caused a fish die-off at the French River Hatchery just off Lake Superior. Total mortality, as of last weekend:…

A ‘different world’ in deer hunting’s future

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Deer hunters can expect big changes in the next few years. The DNR has been testing alternative regulations intended to increase pressure on antlerless deer at state parks, using public input to create deer population goals around the state, and recently completed an extensive hunter survey to see which alternative rules they…

Animal rights group sues to limit trapping in Minnesota

Duluth, Minn. (AP) – An animal rights group is suing to force changes in Minnesota’s trapping rules, saying the state’s trappers catch and often kill endangered species. The Sacramento, Calif.-based Animal Protection Institute said it’s trying to force Minnesota to abide by the federal Endangered Species Act. It says traps set for predators also are killing endangered animals. The lawsuit…

Duck hunt ’06 to open with two-scaup limit

But are there changes ahead? By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Minneapolis – Signs exist that this year’s duck-hunting season in Minnesota could be pretty good – at least compared to the past couple seasons some hunters might classify as dismal. Waterfowl officials report good breeding success for some of the more popular species, including mallards, in parts of prairie Canada….

DNR taking a hard look at WMA encroachment

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Though wildlife management areas are created with hunting and trapping in mind, those two activities often are limited as development envelops lands many people perceive as permanent open space. A quick check of the 2006 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook shows a number of WMAs that are closed to hunting altogether,…

Dove fields: Hunters show up, birds don’t

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Watson, Minn. – Ken Varland, DNR regional wildlife manager in New Ulm, didn’t hear of any complaints about the DNR’s management of fields specifically for doves, ‘other than, where are the doves?’ And that’s the line around the state: Hunters showed interest in the 14 fields managed for doves, but doves didn’t show the same…

Deer testing to resume; ban on feeding coming

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The DNR, once again, is planning to test for disease in some of the deer that hunters kill this fall, and is working on a rule that would ban recreational deer feeding in some areas. Bovine tuberculosis, detected in five cattle herds in northwest Minnesota, also was found in two wild deer…

Archery deer forecast looks bright

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – The continuing trend of mild winters has been good for deer – and other species – and that should again translate to fine deer hunting in the state, as archers prepare to kick off the deer-hunting season Sept. 16. Other weather-related factors could affect early bowhunting action; drought that’s dried some ditches and…

Boomer retirements looming at the DNR

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — In the next five years, nearly one in four (24 percent) of those who work in the DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife are eligible to retire.The Division of Land and Minerals could lose 26 percent of its current workers. And Forestry could lose up to 27 percent. But the DNR isn’t…