Hunting News

Committee: DNR Game & Fish spending receives thumbs up

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The DNR is mostly making good use of the money raised by sales of licenses for hunting and fishing, according to the group charged each year with overseeing expenditures. “By and large, everything is OK,” said Rick Horton, chairman of the Game and Fish Fund Budgetary Oversight Committee. The oversight committee issues…

2005 Duck Factory outlook still cloudy

By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison, Wis. — The jury is still out on what duck production numbers will mean for the 2005 hunting season. At the Outdoor Writers Association of America annual convention held in Madison, June 18-21, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave a briefing on preliminary breeding conditions, but shed little light on pond conditions and…

WMA lake drained; future uncertain

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Hugo, Minn. — Duck hunters who set up on Rice Lake in the 360-acre Paul Hugo Farms Wildlife Management Area in the north metro may want to make alternative plans for this season’s hunt. Rice Lake is a virtual mud flat, the water from the 200-acre lake having left via a ditch that underwent a…

Hatcheries operate if shutdown occurs

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul — Should Minnesota legislators and the governor end a stalemate and settle on a budget for the next two years, life happily will go on at DNR fish hatcheries. And if they don’t, department officials say fish-rearing activity shouldn’t face much of a setback; at least one staffer will be available at each…

Changes could threaten private land conservation

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — Two years after the Washington Post exposed abuses to a system intended to protect wildlife on private land — abuses including tax-reduced easements on golf course fairways and fraudulent agreements between landowners and land trust organizations — federal lawmakers are nearing a plan to close some of the…

New plan to reform LCMR on the table

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — State Rep. Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount, thinks he has a plan to break the legislative logjam that surrounds proposals to reform the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The LCMR is a 20-legislator panel that doles out money from the Environmental Trust Fund to pay for natural resource projects. Last fall, Gov. Tim Pawlenty…

Support for deer changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Greenbush, Minn. — Clyde Stephens, president of Quality Deer Management, Inc., has been pushing the DNR to alter the way it manages deer in the state, but even he was surprised by the number of changes the agency announced last week. Among them: An antlerless season in mid-October, special regulations in seven state parks, and…

Judge tosses out Minnesota lawsuit on N.D. hunting regs

By Dale Wetzel Associated Press Bismarck, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota may restrict out-of-state hunters without violating constitutional protections for doing business between states, a federal judge has concluded. The decision threw out a Minnesota legal challenge to North Dakota’s hunting regulations. “Recreational hunting is not a fundamental right, and states have a legitimate interest in regulating the taking of…

Operation cormorant cull tops 2,500; goal in sight

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Walker, Minn. – Wildlife officials are close to meeting their goal of culling 80 percent of the nesting cormorants from Little Pelican Island on Leech Lake. Federal sharpshooters have killed more than 2,500 birds since early May, and plan to shoot for another week or two. There were more than 4,000 nesting birds on the…

Early doe season tops deer hunting changes

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Change is coming to a deer hunt near you. Some hunters will hunt under new experimental regulations, some will hunt antlerless deer a few weeks early, and some will hunt deer longer than usual. It’s all part of a plan, beginning with this fall’s deer seasons (archery, Sept. 17; firearms, Nov. 5;…

Persistent rains affect bird production

By Glen Schmitt Staff Writer But relatively dry in the Dakotas Nicollet, Minn. „ ItÍs been a six-week stretch of wet weather across most of Minnesota. Although heavy downpours and flooding havenÍt been a major issue, the persistency of these rains and the cold weather thatÍs accompanied them has caused some concern. DNR wildlife experts say itÍs too early to…

Orange Hat Brigade monitors Capitol

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Five days before the Legislative session ended, more than 20 sportsmen and women, each wearing a blaze orange hat, stood atop the steps of the state Capitol. They planned to attend a conference committee hearing regarding Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal to overhaul the state’s Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. The hearing was…

Turkey harvest down more than 800 birds

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – For the first time in 10 years, turkey hunters in the state didn’t set a harvest record during the spring season, which ended May 26. Minnesota hunters killed 7,611 turkeys this spring, though that number will rise a bit because there are paper registrations that haven’t been tallied yet, said Bill Penning,…

Snagged Lake Vermilion gill net full of rotten fish

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Cotton, Minn. – Authorities in northern Minnesota are investigating a 200-foot gill net a Lake Vermilion angler recently hooked. The net, which contained an estimated 75 to 100 fish, had been in the water about three weeks, according to a state conservation officer. CO Marty Stage, of Babbitt, said the net was found in tribally…

‘Big Three’ legislative issues still unresolved

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – The regular session of the state Legislature ended Monday – Gov. Tim Pawlenty quickly called a special session – with most issues considered important to sportsmen still unresolved. Notable exceptions include passage of a law that protects shooting ranges, and passage of an omnibus game and fish bill. Both await Pawlenty’s signature….

The bass bonanza begins Saturday

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Bill Hildebrand, a professional bass angler and radio show host, knows a fellow professional angler who makes his living catching walleyes, but “when he wants to go out and have a good time, he goes bass fishing.” That’s kind of the story of bass in Minnesota. Walleyes bring home the bacon; bass…

Freeport man’s redhorse could be a world record

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Freeport, Minn. – Robin Schmitz is going to have a hard time beating this. The 19-year-old Freeport fisherman caught last Friday what apparently will be the new state and world record shorthead redhorse from the Sauk River. Assuming his fish is certified, Schmitz will have shattered previous records. The current state record shorthead redhorse is…