Hunting News

Minnesotans enjoyed banner hunting in ’05

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – Pheasant and deer hunters in the state this fall had success nearly unparalleled by previous years’ seasons, at least according to preliminary reports and numbers. The total deer harvest likely will be the third-highest in the state’s history, said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. And pheasant hunters likely surpassed the…

Few complaints as DNR draws down Swan Lake

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Nicollet, Minn. – The DNR’s decision to draw down Swan Lake met with little resistance at a public meeting last week. The drawdown began Dec. 6, two weeks after a DNR Fisheries crew electroshocked a three-pound carp from the famed 10,000-acre shallow lake. The water-level reduction is meant to kill any remaining carp and will…

Senate blocks oil drilling in Alaskan wildlife refuge

By H. Josef Hebert Associated Press Washington (AP) – The long fight over whether to drill for oil in an Alaska wildlife refuge is nowhere near an end. But attempts to open the refuge to oil development – one of President Bush’s top energy priorities – received another setback last week as the Senate refused to include the drilling measure…

Bovine TB probable from northwest deer

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – While disappointed in the discovery of what’s likely bovine tuberculosis in a wild deer, Minnesota DNR officials last week weren’t particularly surprised. Further, they hope to act quickly to head off a disease whose prevalence in the wild herd is believed to be low. According to the DNR, a deer harvested this…

DNR finalizing plans for Upper Red Lake

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bemidji, Minn. – Upper Red Lake walleyes and northern pike are getting an extra measure of protection next year. DNR Fisheries managers in the Bemidji area had recommended a two-walleye limit (daily and possession) with a 17- to 26-inch protected slot limit, and one over that size; and a three-pike limit with a 26- to…

Southeast trout habitat to benefit from federal grant

By Tori J. McCormickt Contributing Writer Madison, Wis. – A federal grant has been awarded for restoration efforts of the Driftless Area. The $192,500 Multistate Conservation Grant will help with planning and other activities in restoring the watersheds of the four-state region as part of the Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TUDARE), said Laura Hewitt, Midwest conservation director for…

Support growing for Wetlands Loan Act

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bloomington, Minn. – A plan to double the amount of money spent for wetland conservation and acquisition is moving ahead. The Emergency Wetlands Loan Act of 2005 would allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to spend $800 million over the next 10 years from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Based on receipts from sales…

Lake Superior proposal has commercial netting

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Duluth, Minn. – A proposed plan that would guide a multitude of activities in and around Lake Superior in Minnesota includes – among a host of other items – a proposal to increase the number of lake trout harvested by commercial netters, according to Don Schreiner, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Duluth. That portion of…

Could Kyoto help duck production?

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Ottawa, Ontario – As Canada works to honor its climate change commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, ducks could be a main beneficiary, says a major conservation group. Ducks Unlimited Canada, with $2.7 million over three years from three agencies of the Canadian government, is researching the extent to which wetlands and grasslands reduce greenhouse emissions…

Duck season ends; now looking ahead

Season closes on a positive note By Joe Albert Staff Writer Shakopee, Minn. — Devout duck hunter John Schroers is still giddy about the last two weeks of the waterfowl season. “I’m trying to get over mallard mania,” Schroers said last Wednesday, a day after the duck season closed. “If you take into consideration the late-season aspect, it was one…

USFWS scales back changes for Upper Miss refuge plan

By Todd Richmond Associated Press Madison, Wis. (AP) – Hunters could still carry as many shells as they want, campers could still drink, and boaters could race along more stretches under scaled-back conservation plans for the upper Mississippi River federal wildlife officials released Saturday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new plan represents the latest version of shifting strategies for…

Deer harvest down, but will be top three or four

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – When it’s all said and done, the state’s deer harvest this fall will be in the top three or four of all time. Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, predicted the final kill would be between about 235,000 and 240,000. Firearms seasons have ended, but muzzleloader hunters can be afield through…

Ice forms fast in the north

By Glen Schmitt Staff Writer Baudette, Minn. – After several nights of below-zero temperatures, the ice fishing season is off and running in most areas. Ice that was barely thick enough to walk on a week ago is now in good enough shape for some ATV travel. From St. Cloud to points north, permanent shelters are being pulled out, and…

CRP faring better in U.S. House bill

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Washington – A U.S. House plan to balance the federal budget would take less of a bite out of conservation programs – especially the Conservation Reserve Program – than one earlier approved by the Senate, according to conservation officials. However, they’re quick to point out a conference committee must eliminate discrepancies in the bills, which…

Guenther hanging it up after 30 years at DNR

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – John Guenther has a lot of catching up to do. Much of that includes hunting and fishing that he’s missed out on during the 30 years he’s been with the DNR, most recently as the head of the Fish and Wildlife Division. Guenther, 61, announced last week his retirement from the agency,…

Wetlands Loan Act bill hikes Duck Stamp fees

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Washington — The price of the federal Duck Stamp would rise from $15 to $35 by 2015 as part of a bill introduced last week by Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., called the Wetlands Loan Act. In return for the price hike, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would receive a $400 million advance on future…

Options limited in final days of state duck hunt

Late Canada goose prospects bright By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Rochester, Minn. — These are the good times for the so-called “river rats” of southeastern Minnesota – those that chase the big greenheads on Mississippi River backwaters while others hustle after bucks. This year seems to be working according to plan, said Don Nelson, DNR wildlife manager in Rochester. He…

A plague of baiters

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor Even youths have been caught up in the web of increasing illegal deer baiting Aurora, Minn. – When Minnesota DNR conservation officer Mark Fredin received a tip about illegal deer baiting on the opening morning of the gun deer season, he didn’t expect to find a trail of youths leading to the alleged St. Louis…

This fall’s deer kill still far short of 2004 tally

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Grand Rapids, Minn. – The state’s deer herd is estimated to be at record levels in many areas, but that doesn’t mean hunters are running into deer around every tree. Deer hunters in some places reported excellent hunting, while others struggled to see any deer, said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters…

LCMR advisory group seeking public input

By Joe Albert Staff Writer St. Paul – A task force that’s evaluating the way conservation projects in the state are funded is looking for input. The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund Advisory Task Force is taking public testimony next Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in St. Paul. Created during last spring’s legislative session, the task…

Evansville woman killed in deer hunting accident

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Ashby, Minn. – For the first time in two years, a Minnesota hunter has died as a result of a hunting accident. Shelley Denece Burgess, 48, of Evansville was killed Saturday morning when she was shot in the hip, apparently by a hunter in her party, according to Grant County Sheriff Dwight Walvatne. Burgess and…

Muskie group challenges 69-11 world record fish

By Tim Spielmant Associate Editor Hayward, Wis. – When you’re on top, you’ll likely have someone shooting for you. A muskie caught more than 50 years ago is no exception. A group that calls itself the World Record Muskie Alliance and has as members muskie fishermen the likes of Pete Maina and Jim Saric, has presented the National Fresh Water…

Opener hunters kill about 100,000 deer

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Perham, Minn. – Though Gov. Tim Pawlenty saw a doe and a fawn opening morning of deer hunting, he admitted to getting ‘buck fever’ and wound up not shooting anything. The same, apparently, is true for many of the hunters out for opening weekend. About 76,000 deer had been registered in the Electronic Licensing System…

Bears have hankerin’ for the power poles

By Joe Albert Staff Writer Bigfork, Minn. – Berries, nuts, and human garbage, it turns out, aren’t the only things that attract bears. In Bigfork, located north of Grand Rapids and east of Red Lake, power poles that belong to a local power company seem to draw them just as well. ‘They’re just chewing the dickens out of (the poles),’…