Hunting News

Minnesota rep to author Wetlands Loan Act bill

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Maple Grove, Minn. — Hoping to curb the trend of wetland and grassland losses nationwide, conservation group leaders met Tuesday with U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minnesota, in an effort to double the amount of money spent each year on habitat. Kennedy said he would author a bill in Congress to revive a program, the Wetlands…

State conservation leader passes away

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Frank Schneider Jr. was the Outdoor News 2001 Man of the Year St. Paul — A conservation giant in Minnesota has died. Frank Schneider Jr. passed away on Monday, Aug. 8 at 4:45 p.m. of a brain tumor. He was 86, and diagnosed in late May with inoperable brain cancer. “It’s a great loss for…

BWCAW blaze continues; some blowdown burning

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Ely, Minn. — A fire in the Boundary Waters Area Canoe Wilderness of northeastern Minnesota continued to burn near the Canadian border Tuesday, when a light rain in the morning did little but allow firefighters to change their approach. More rain was possible Tuesday night. “Over the fire, the amount of rain was just over…

Wetlands program gets more funding

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington — A federal program that supplies matching grant dollars for projects that benefit wetlands and associated uplands received a boost recently when Congress approved an increase in funding of about $2 million for next year. The increase in North American Wetlands Conservation Act funding raises to $40 million the appropriation. Other sources typically double…

Hunters get duck ‘days,’ lower bag

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Duck hunters in Minnesota will face tighter restrictions than waterfowlers in other Mississippi Flyway states when the season opens Oct. 1. Minnesota DNR officials this week announced a season with a bag limit lighter than the federal frameworks would allow – four instead of six ducks, including just one hen mallard. The…

Waterfowl Association manages to stay afloat

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Plymouth, Minn. — A group with a cloud over its head the past two years, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, has a new lease on life. The 39-year-old conservation group will stay in business after delegates learned Saturday its $150,000 goal had been reached and voted unanimously to keep it running. “Everybody was pleasantly surprised,” said…

DNR debating 2005 6/60 duck offering

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. — Federal officials this week recommended a liberal season – 60 days and six ducks in the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Minnesota – for all U.S. flyways. But state officials say this time around, they won’t be so quick to accept the offer. “There’s serious consideration in the agency (DNR) that maybe we…

Osprey nest could disrupt activity at Irondale High

New Brighton, Minn. (AP) — A federally protected bird of prey has made its nest atop a light pole at Irondale High School’s football field. And because it’s against the law to disturb an osprey, school officials are waiting to see whether school activities can go on as scheduled. If not, the completion of an artificial turf project may have…

DNR debating 2005 6/60 duck offering

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – Federal officials this week recommended a liberal season – 60 days and six ducks in the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Minnesota – for all U.S. flyways. But state officials say this time around, they won’t be so quick to accept the offer. “There’s serious consideration in the agency (DNR) that maybe we…

State’s first dove season produces 107,000 birds

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Minnesota dove hunters last fall, in their first season in nearly 60 years, shot about 107,000 birds, though the number of hunters who pursued them was below early estimates. The DNR estimated up to 50,000 people might hunt doves; about 14,000 hunters did, according to data released by the U.S. Fish and…

Waterfowl Association manages to stay afloat

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Plymouth, Minn. – A group with a cloud over its head the past two years, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, has a new lease on life. The 39-year-old conservation group will stay in business after delegates learned Saturday its $150,000 goal had been reached and voted unanimously to keep it running. “Everybody was pleasantly surprised,” said…

Osprey nest could disrupt activity at Irondale High

New Brighton, Minn. (AP) – A federally protected bird of prey has made its nest atop a light pole at Irondale High School’s football field. And because it’s against the law to disturb an osprey, school officials are waiting to see whether school activities can go on as scheduled. If not, the completion of an artificial turf project may have…

Agencies approve plug plan for dry Rice Lake

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – A lake in a state wildlife management area – accidentally drained following ditch maintenance by the Rice Creek Watershed District – will be plugged with an earthen structure that could perhaps make the lake a viable option for duck hunting this fall. According to a press release from the DNR, which manages…

USFWS revamps plan for Mississippi River refuge

By Frederic J. Frommer Associated Press Washington (AP) – Federal officials are creating a new plan for protecting the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge after the original proposal prompted a backlash over restrictions on hunting, camping and other uses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which held 17 hearings and eight workshops up and down the river since announcing…

Case of TB in cattle prompts deer testing

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – The discovery of bovine tuberculosis in a cattle herd in northwestern Minnesota has prompted the state DNR to announce deer testing will take place in Roseau County this fall to see if area whitetails contracted the respiratory disease. Mike DonCarlos, DNR wildlife program manager, said the exact area and the target number…

WMAs, CREP II top bonding proposals for 2006 agenda

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Next year’s bonding bill – assuming it’s passed on time, and if the DNR and Board of Water and Soil Resources get what they’ve proposed – will be a boon to sportsmen. Potential highlights include: $20 million for the acquisition of wildlife management areas; $30.15 million for RIM Reserve and a second…

State duck numbers, harvest down

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Preliminary harvest reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support what Minnesota duck hunters suspected since their last trip to the duck blind: The 2004 duck season was one that often lacked one important element – ducks. State hunters last year killed about 683,000 ducks, compared to about 884,000 in 2003,…

Debate grows about efforts to relocate urban Canada geese

Minneapolis (AP) – As the metro area continues efforts to control its Canada goose population, one of the most effective goose relocation efforts may be running out of places to send unwanted goslings. The DNR’s urban goose management program collects Canada geese from more than 50 metro cities and county parks. Jim Cooper, a retired University of Minnesota professor who…

Woodcock population stable for second year

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Their numbers may not be on the rise, but woodcock enthusiasts nonetheless can take comfort in the fact that the birds’ population apparently is stable. For the second year in a row, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trend estimates show two separate woodcock populations – Eastern and Central regions – that are…

Western goose hunters may catch break

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Bemidji, Minn. – Goose hunters in western Minnesota, often limited by special protections for Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese, which migrate through the area, may have fewer limitations this fall. DNR waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts recently got a first-hand look at EPP production in Canada, and said things are looking up for the migrants. Cordts,…

Environmental funding bill keeps DNR running

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul — When a legislative working group passed a bill last Thursday to fund the DNR and other environmental agencies, the room erupted in applause. At the time, Senate and House passage was assumed, as was the governor’s signature. That all happened, and state parks remained open and the DNR avoided being shut down….

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…