« Outdoors Live

Minnesota outdoor news

by Doug Leier

Comments on southeastern Minnesota deer population goals recommended by a citizen advisory team will be accepted Tuesday, April 8, through Sunday, April 20, on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at www.mndnr.gov/deer .

Weve used a fairly extensive process to revisit deer population goals in southeastern Minnesota, said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. To date, the public engagement process has included hunter and landowner surveys, public meetings and opt-in questionnaires, and most recently, the assistance of a citizen advisory team to review public input and provide recommendations for revised deer population goals.

People serving on the 21-member advisory committee represented a cross-section of interests including archery, firearm and muzzleloader hunters; area residents and landowners; farmers, orchard owners and operators; land managers, local government staff and appointed officials; local business owners; and members of hunting, conservation and agricultural organizations.

Specific population goal recommendations for each of the nine deer hunting areas that comprise the goal-setting area of southeastern Minnesota will be posted online as well as the factors advisory team members cited when making recommendations. People should review this supporting information before submitting comments, which can be made online at www.mndnr.gov/deer or mailed to Leslie McInenly, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

The DNR will evaluate advisory team recommendations and public comments on those recommendations before determining the final deer population goal for each hunting area. Once goals are established, the DNR will announce those goals and wildlife managers will implement harvest strategies to meet and maintain them.

More information on the process is available on the DNRs deer management Web page at www.mndnr.gov/deer .

-30-

DNR NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2014
Media contact: Jason Abraham, season setting specialist, 651-259-5197 , jason.abraham@state.mn.us . Long winter prompts temporary beaver season extension
Due to prolonged ice cover, the beaver trapping season in the northern third of Minnesota will be extended throughThursday, May 15.

The season was scheduled to close statewide on Wednesday, April 30, but a second consecutive winter of persistently frozen lakes and rivers in the north prompted the Department of Natural Resources to temporarily extend the 2013-14 season. Beaver trapping will close as scheduled in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Trappers who participate in the season extension will be required to take the following modifications to prevent incidental otter catch:

  • Foothold traps must be set in at least 8 inches of water.
  • Body-gripping traps must be completely submerged. Those with a jaw opening greater than 7 inches must be set with the trigger wires moved all the way to one side of the trap. The wires must point straight down.
  • Snares must be set with stops affixed to the cable to ensure that the portion of the snare that makes up the noose loop may not be less than 4 inches in diameter when fully closed.

The season will be extended north of state Highway 200, east of state Highway 73 and north of the Pine-Carlton county line. A map of the open area (the north mink/muskrat/beaver/otter zone) can be found on page 48 of the 2013 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, which is available online www.mndr.gov/regulations/ hunting .

-30-

DNR NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2014
Media contact: Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist, 218-999-7802 , dan.stark@state.mn.us .

Bear hunt applications available; deadline is Friday, May 2
Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 2, at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236 .

A total of 3,750 licenses are available in 11 permit areas, the same number of licenses available last year. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. The season opens Monday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 12.

Notification to successful lottery winners will be made in mid- to late May. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available to those eligible starting at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 6.

An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for no-quota areas in east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in a no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.

By offering the same number of licenses as last year, the DNR continues to work toward its goal of gradually increasing Minnesotas bear population. The states bear population was estimated at 17,000 in 2008. Trends since then suggest that todays population is 10,000-15,000. Reducing the number of bear licenses results in hunters harvesting fewer bears, allowing the population to gradually increase.

Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear .

-30-

DNR NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2014
Media contact: Larry Himanga, DNR fire prevention coordinator, 651-345-4924 , ext. 243,
larry.himanga@state.mn.us ;
Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (MIFC) Information, 218-327-4558 . DNR encourages homeowners to complete necessary open burningThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages homeowners to complete necessary open burning now, as restrictions will take effect shortly after snowmelt occurs.

Warm temperatures will continue to erode the snowpack in the next few weeks, said Larry Himanga, DNR fire prevention coordinator. This will expose last years leaves and other yard waste. The safest way to dispose of this vegetation is to recycle or compost it.

Homeowners who choose to burn should do so under the safest conditions, when snow is still on the ground. A DNR burning permit is not required when there are at least 3 inches of continuous snow cover. The cover drastically reduces the chance a fire will escape and burn unintended areas. Check local city and municipal regulations; many are more stringent.

Spring fire restrictions will soon take effect and will severely limit open burning until summer green up occurs. Traditionally, most wildfires occur in April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error. Due to the high fire incidence during this period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual "fire season."

The restrictions are weather dependent, but normally last from four to six weeks until there is sufficient green vegetative growth. Historically, spring fire restrictions dramatically decrease the number and size of accidental fires.

By burning prior to snowmelt, homeowners can reduce the potential for an escaped fire, which could endanger homes and property. And, if the DNR or a fire department has to respond to an escaped fire, the homeowner is responsible for the cost.

-30-

DNR NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2014
Media contact: TJ DeBates, DNR east metro area fisheries supervisor, 651-259-5770 , timothy.debates@state.mn.us .

DNR adds 2 miles metro trout fishing opportunities along Vermillion

Metro anglers who want to stick close to home for the April 12 stream trout opener will have nearly two additional miles of shoreline to explore as a result of acquisitions made by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Dakota County.

Half a mile north of Dakota County Road 66 along County 79, the DNR has acquired a 52-acre aquatic management area that straddles the main branch of the Vermillion River, protecting 4,100 feet of shoreline. Upland areas of the property include five acres of grasslands and 25 acres of woods.

Further east, a 62-acre acquisition now affords access to the south branch of the Vermillion River just south of County Road 66 and west of state Highway 52. That parcel includes 6,900 feet of shoreline, 25 acres of grassland and 20 acres of woodland. The south branch is a coldwater tributary to the Vermillion that provides rearing areas and offers refuge for trout, especially during hot summer weather.

Both properties provide habitat for pheasants, turkeys, ducks, doves, deer and other wildlife; they also will be open to hunting, trapping and wildlife watching. The DNRs Fisheries section will continue to work with DNR Wildlife section to manage upland areas.

These properties are a great addition to the regions outdoor recreation system, especially for busy metro anglers and hunters who may not always have time for a several-hour drive, said T.J. DeBates, DNRs east metro fisheries supervisor. Acquisitions like these not only protect habitat, they also provide much needed public access.

The two properties cost $384,200. Funding came from state lottery proceeds, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources; constitutionally dedicated sales tax, as allocated by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and Dakota County.

The Vermillion River has gained notoriety over the past 10 years as a trophy brown trout stream within 45 minutes of a major urban area. As recently as 1960, though, the stream was considered unfit for any game fish due to poor water quality from industrial wastes and land use practices. The rivers comeback has been the result of local, regional and state efforts to improve water quality.

Since 2005, the DNR has acquired land protecting nearly 10 miles of shoreline along the Vermillion for habitat and public access for fishing and hunting. The DNR also has worked with local government and nonprofit conservation organizations on several stream restoration projects along the Vermillion.

-30-

DNR QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: Last night I heard and saw what I believe was a flock of cranes. It was a dark night, with bright stars shining, but only a little moonlight. Is it common for cranes to migrate at night?

A: Sandhill cranes normally migrate during the day, but in some circumstances they have been observed migrating after dark, especially if there is a bright starlit or moonlit night sky.

A Florida field naturalist reported migratory sandhill cranes flying overhead at 10:30 p.m. and another two flocks flying overhead at 3 a.m. on the same night near Gainesville, Fla. on Nov. 25-26, 1984.

Sandhill cranes from eastern Minnesota winter in Florida and would be migrating to Florida in November.