2014 Pheasant Hunting Forecast

While some may think the formula for producing pheasants is confusing or downright mysterious, science tells us weather and habitat are the two critical variables determining our pheasant population.  Evidenced by our 2014 Pheasant Hunting Forecast, positive weather patterns during the winter and spring seasons have assisted in population increases for most states.

For bird hunters who enjoy walking tracts of pheasant habitat, the fall hunting season of 2014 should provide a high level of anticipation compared to recent years. Read your own state’s Pheasant Hunting Forecast HERE.

While Pheasants Forever is obviously thrilled about this year’s upturn in bird numbers, “The Habitat Organization” remains steadfast in our commitment to improving both the quantity and quality of prairies and grasslands throughout pheasant country.

Favorable weather conditions can lead to short-term population gains, however, it’s habitat that remains the key to a long-term turnaround in bird numbers.  Even in the most challenging of times for habitat and wildlife, our member’s support of our mission for wild things and wild places is crucial for protecting habitat and our hunting heritage.

Good luck in the field this fall.  If you’re not yet engaged in the cause for conservation, help us continue the fight and Become a Pheasants Forever Member Today.

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.
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Pheasant population up slightly; habitat loss still poses biggest threat

Despite a short-term increase in the number of Minnesota pheasants, habitat loss continues to be the primary factor in the long-term decline of the state’s pheasant population, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR’s August roadside survey for pheasants showed a six percent increase in the pheasant index from 2013, an increase that occurred in spite of a severe winter, a slow start to spring and heavy rains in June.

This year’s statewide pheasant index was 28.7 birds per 100 miles of roadside driven. The highest pheasant counts were in the southwest, south-central and west-central regions, where observers reported 28 to 62 birds per 100 miles driven. Hunters will find good harvest opportunities in these areas.

Looking over longer periods of time, the 2014 pheasant index is 58 percent below the 10-year average and 71 percent below the long-term average.

Weather and habitat are the two main factors that drive pheasant population trends. Weather causes annual fluctuations in roadside indices. Available grassland habitat for nesting and brood-rearing drives the longer-term pattern.

Like other Midwestern states, the loss of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres is the primary reason there’s been a steady decline in Minnesota’s pheasant harvest since 2006.

“We expect the decline in the rooster harvest to continue because of more anticipated losses in grassland habitat in the next few years as CRP contracts continue to expire and more grassland is converted to cropland,” said Nicole Davros, the DNR research scientist who oversees the August roadside survey.

Pheasant hunters are expected to harvest about 224,000 roosters this fall, which is less than half the number of pheasants taken during the 2005-2008 seasons when hunting was exceptionally good.

Davros cautioned that direct comparisons between survey results from this year and last year may not accurately reflect population trends.

“The 2014 pheasant roadside counts do show improvement over last year’s numbers but we believe there were more birds in the field last year than what we counted because of the late hatch,” Davros said. “This year’s results suggest the survey did not undercount birds so hunting conditions should be comparable to last fall.”

Although many regions in Minnesota experienced a tough winter, conditions within the core of the pheasant range were not as severe. This likely led to higher winter survival for hens as evidenced by an 18 percent increase in the hen index from 2013. Higher winter hen survival leads to more pheasant nests in the spring.

Reproductive indices showed increases from 2013 despite having cooler spring temperatures and substantial rainfalls in June. The number of broods observed per 100 miles driven increased 28 percent and the number of broods per 100 hens increased three percent.

The average number of chicks per brood was down 15 percent compared to 2013, which may be related to below normal survival rates of very young birds during heavy rains in June. The median hatch date of nests was June 16, which was five days later than the 10-year average. Warmer temperatures in June may have helped young chicks survive the rains and drier conditions in July were beneficial for re-nesting birds.

Monitoring pheasant population trends is part of the DNR’s annual August roadside wildlife survey, which began in 1955. DNR wildlife managers and conservation officers in the farmland region of Minnesota conduct the survey during the first half of August. This year’s survey consisted of 171 routes, each 25 miles long, with 152 routes located in the ring-necked pheasant range.

Observers drive each route in early morning and record the number and species of wildlife they see. The data provide an index of relative abundance and are used to monitor annual changes and long-term population trends of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, eastern cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits, mourning doves and other wildlife.

Also recorded in the survey:

  • The cottontail rabbit index increased 11 percent from 2013 but remained below the 10-year average and long-term averages.
  • The gray partridge index decreased 13 percent, well below its 10-year and long-term average.
  • The mourning dove index decreased five percent, well below its 10-year and long-term average.
  • The white-tailed jackrabbit index was similar to last year but remains at a historic low.
  • The white-tailed deer index was similar to 2013, at 20.8 deer per 100 miles, which is 34 percent above the 10-year average, and 109 percent above the long-term average.

The 2014 August Roadside Survey report and a map of pheasant hunting prospects can be viewed and downloaded from www.mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant.

Minnesota’s 2014 pheasant season runs Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Jan. 4. The daily bag limit is two roosters through November. It increases to three roosters from Monday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Jan. 4. The possession limit is six roosters (increasing to nine roosters on Dec. 1). Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant

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Project LIBERTY Grand Opening celebration – Sept. 3, 2014


The Grand Opening celebration for Project LIBERTY – POET-DSM’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant – took place on Sept. 3, 2014 in Emmetsburg, Iowa. POET Founder Jeff Broin and DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma hosted distinguished guests including His Royal Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, DOE Deputry Under Secretary for Science and Energy Dr. Michael Knotek, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

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Minnesota Muskie and Pike Alliance

Working to Preserve, Promote and Advance Muskie and Pike Education and Research in Minnesota.
September 1, 2014 Seventy-seventh Edition
From Aaron Meyer, MMPA Co-chair
Last week I attended the latest DNR Esox Workshop. The main topics of discussion for the last couple meetings have been potential new regulations to improve pike management, and thoughts on the current state of our muskie populations regarding a widespread perception that the quality of our fisheries is declining. There’s a lot of technical work being done to figure out the best way to solve Minnesota’s pike problem. Things are starting to take shape. We might see things move in the direction of managing pike in 3 defined zones, rather than with one statewide regulation. Pike populations differ greatly in different parts of the state, and one statewide regulation just doesn’t do them justice. The goals are twofold: improve the balance of pike size structures while moderating exploding populations, and at the same time continuing to allow pike harvest to be an important part of our management. What seems to be shaking out is that we need to put more protection on the size of pike that are harvested the most in order to actually produce more pike in that preferred size range. This would also help reduce small pike numbers and potentially produce more large pike as well. Initial possibilities revolve around expanding the bag limit on pike under 22 inches to encourage significant harvest of those smaller fish while implementing a slot limit protecting pike from 22 inches up to possibly 25, 26, 27, or 28 inches. The take-away message that we need to pass along is that harvesting lots of pike under 22 inches is actually good for the overall fishery, and keeping pike larger than that can have significant negative impacts. On the muskie front, many anglers feel that muskie populations are starting to slip downward in many lakes across Minnesota. This is something that we’ve been reporting to the DNR for a couple years. It seems that lake assessments and DNR data are now starting to verify this trend. The DNR has started to take some real serious interest in understanding this situation.
Initial observations show that muskie stocking rates have varied greatly from lake to lake, and even within individual lakes. There’s really been no consistency. There’s also some evidence suggesting that well established populations of big fish suppress the recruitment of younger fish regardless of how many are stocked. This is a natural occurrence that happens in native populations as well, but stocked populations are often dominated by just a few year classes. It may have been an unforeseen mistake to stock lakes more heavily in their beginning stages as a “jumpstart”. Initial stockings generally have very high survival which may lead to the population reaching a peak with lots of big fish having only a small age difference between them. Most of those fish then reach maximum age within a few years of each other, resulting in a sudden drop in fish numbers when those fish begin to die off. It would take a lot more space to explain the details of all this, but it seems to be coming together in a pretty logical manner. I believe that much of this also coincided with the timing of the explosion of muskie fishing’s popularity in Minnesota. This explosion led to increased rates of harvest and delayed mortality of muskies at the hands of thousands of new anglers not experienced in handling these big, fragile fish. I think what will come out of this will be changes in the ways and rates we stock muskies. The goal will probably be to create fisheries that might not spike quite as high, but also don’t crash quite as far. A population with a more diverse age structure should produce that result. There’s no such thing as a quick fix in muskie management but as long as we keep working with the DNR to improve our fisheries management I think the future of our fisheries is bright! Aaron Meyer
From Steve Wernersbach (MMPA PAC)
MN Muskie and Pike Alliance Legislative Fund
Events at the legislature every year have shown the need for a strong lobbying effort. This year has also identified several legislators willing to get involved and initiate actions that support the musky fishery. And the MMPA Political Action Committee Legislative Fund will be used to do exactly that at the end of this year’s session. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to allow this to happen.
For those of you that haven’t yet contributed, but would like to support this critical effort the form attached is your means to do so. This money can only be used to contribute to our selected legislator’s re-election funds. The MMPA is not allowed to use any general funds for this purpose. If we are to successfully secure the legislative actions needed to promote and advance the musky fishery in Minnesota it is imperative we maintain strong connections with these collaborative legislators. These PAC fund contributions are our best method for doing this.
The fund can accept a maximum contribution of $20 from any single individual per calendar year. Strong legislative support is more important now than ever. The legislature is extremely influential in determining where the DNR spends its fisheries dollars and in setting fishing regulations.
Please consider making this all important contribution.
Steve Wernersbach
Treasurer, MMPA PAC

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Great Op-ed article in the Duluth News Tribune

Dear Gary,


I read with great interest your op-ed article in the August 27th issue of the Duluth News Tribune. Thank you for taking the time to write such a well measured and careful article. I had not yet heard of the MN Conservation Federation, and I appreciated the information I found on your Website. I loved seeing that you’re an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation–I was an intern in their DC office many years ago.


Have you written anything about urban forests? I would appreciate any information you can send me.


Also, I’m wondering how familiar you are with Duluth (hopefully you’ve spent a lot of time enjoying this part of your home state!), and if you know about the proposed E. 4th Street reconstruction project, which (according to the lead engineer) would clear cut more than 200 mature trees along the street. The engineer’s goal is to repair or replace utility pipes under the street, cutting through tree roots, thus killing the trees. It doesn’t appear that  he has explored methods to upgrade the pipes without killing the trees. Those methods are well known as trenchless pipe repair, directional drilling, and cured-in-place pipe repair (CIPP). There are numerous contractors that provide these services, including Veit & Company, which was just approved for a $4.5 million CIPP project in Duluth.


As background, I’m sending you two photos–basically the “before and after” shots of what 4th Street looks like now, and the “after” shot of what it will look like if we don’t convince the engineer to use pipe repair methods that will preserve the trees (the “after” shot is from another street in Duluth where they removed the trees, dug up the street, and planted trees that were 80% DOA–and the vehicles now move at 46 mph).


You have far more knowledge and experience than I do when it comes to conservation issues in MN. I would appreciate any insights you have about the value of urban forests and the ability for citizens to protect them.



Ann Redelfs


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Wings North Update,

The weather is cooling down & Birds are flying great!

It is time to bring the dog(s) out and get them ready for the upcoming season.

We have released over 200 birds so far this season, & with the cool temps in the forecast

The phone has been ringing steady.

We have several events coming up this month.


7th Conceal & Carry

7th Noon Vikings Game at Wings,

7th Guide Seminar:


19th Open house,  (come out & try our new menu items) reservations required.


24th Ducks unlimited Sponsor event:  (if you are a sponsor/committee member contact the club)

27th &28th Becoming an outdoor women,   Ladies only event,   Please call the club or check out the website.


Chad Hughes

Wings North



(320) 629-5002 Clubhouse

(320) 282-8614 Cell

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MN BHA Update

MN BHA Friends,


-Minnesota BHA will have a table/booth at the Hunting Film Tour in Minneapolis (on Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, at the Parkway Theater). Anyone willing/able to volunteer should contact MN BHA co-chair Erik Jensen at progressiveoutdoorsman@gmail.com

-Hunting Film Tour: A Great Success in Bend, OR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb4l05RQKrI


-Thanks to everyone who attended/made MN BHA’s second annual Rendezvous a great success, and see our Rendezvous Roundup/Report for details:


-Meet one of BHA’s newest Life Members, Melinda Miller, who also attended the MN BHA Rendezvous: http://www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/state-chapters/colorado-bha/co-life-members/784-melinda-miller


-Take a look at BHA’s latest Backcountry College installment: “Knots and Such:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdfWaXYzZC0&index=10&list=PLx7wtJPSKQFC4IEPh49dK5ND0jMXFEZ65

-And BHA’s giveaway for 50 Years of Wilderness & 50 Thousand Facebook Fans!



-Sign BHA’s Sportsmen’s Pledge, then forward to your sportsmen and women friends, family and acquaintances: http://backcountryhunters.org/index.php/sportsman-s-pledge

-Of Farmers, Hunters, Oil Money and the Double Secret Déjà Vu Shuffle: http://www.cascwild.org/of-farmers-hunters-oil-money-and-the-double-secret-deja-vu-shuffle/


Updates on proposed sulfide mining in northern Minnesota (and elsewhere):

-Mining and Water Don’t Mix: Acid Mine Drainage Threatens Lake Superior and Boundary Waters: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mgeertsma/mining_and_water_dont_mix_acid.html

-There’s only one way we can avoid a similar catastrophe:


-Massive Mine Tailings Pond Blowout Makes “Coexist” Video Sadly Laughable: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/the-conservationist/massive-mine-tailings-pond-blowout-makes-%E2%80%9Ccoexist%E2%80%9D-video-sadly-laughable

-Take Action on Sulfide Mining: https://secure2.convio.net/mnlcv/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=431


-Apply soon for Minnesota antlerless deer permits: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/content/field-reports-apply-soon-minnesota-antlerless-deer-permits-wolf-licenses

-MN DNR deer population goal setting (scroll down): http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/deer/mgmt.html

-Rut-Related Buck Movements: http://www.qdma.com/galleries/rut-related-buck-movements

-GPS Reveals Early Season Buck Movement Patterns: http://www.qdma.com/articles/gps-reveals-early-season-buck-movement-patterns?utm_source=Ntl+Newsletter+8%2F28%2F14&utm_campaign=Ntl+Newsletter+8%2F28%2F14&utm_medium=email


-Grouse Hunting: Minnesota: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/grouse/index.html

-Number of pheasant hunters, and harvest, plunges: http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/272609541.html

-Apply for mentored upland bird hunts: http://blogs.twincities.com/outdoors/2014/08/25/rookie-hunters-apply-now-mentored-upland-bird-hunts/

-Minnesota waterfowl hunting season dates announced:



-Minnesota DNR: Consider rerouting proposed Sandpiper pipeline: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/content/minnesota-dnr-consider-rerouting-proposed-sandpiper-pipeline

-Minnesota BHA comments on the proposed Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline:


-Fighting to keep the oil boom out of North Dakota park: http://www.startribune.com/local/271539191.html


-Body traps cause some hunters to fear for their dogs’ safety: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/272439011.html

-Minnesota Sporting Journal subscription half-price for hunting, fishing license buyers: http://www.walkermn.com/outdoors/minnesota-sporting-journal-subscription-half-price-for-hunting-fishing-license/article_4fa04d76-176d-11e4-89e4-0019bb2963f4.html

-DNR is paving the way toward energy savings: http://www.grandrapidsmn.com/news/dnr-is-paving-the-way-toward-energy-savings/article_85417250-2a43-11e4-9a81-0019bb2963f4.html


-Celebrating 50 Years of America’s Wild Places:


-Become a BHA Lifetime Member, and get a new pistol/rifle (scroll down for details/options): http://www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/join-us

-Check out the MN BHA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/MinnesotaBackcountryHunters/


Have a good weekend,



David A. Lien

Co-Chair, Minnesota

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

The Sportsman’s Voice for Our Wild Public Lands, Waters and Wildlife



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DNR news releases, Aug. 28, 2014

Media contact: Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager, 651-259-5220,

DNR announces process to revisit deer population goals in 2015

Preliminary details of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ upcoming 2015 deer population goal-setting process now are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

“Working with citizens to achieve conservation and management goals is integral to the mission of the DNR,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “To make sure that goals are based on the broad range of public interest in deer, we use a public process to help determine how many deer to manage for in a given area.”

Deer population goals will be set for 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas during the upcoming process, which formally kicks off in October when nominations open for advisory team members and concludes in May 2015 with the announcement of final goals. Large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota will be affected.

Areas selected for goal setting in 2015 are:

  • Area 1 – Superior Uplands Arrowhead, which include permit areas 117, 122, 126, 127, 180.
  • Area 2 – North Central Plains Moraines, which include permit areas 169, 172, 184, 197, 210, 298.
  • Area 3 – Pine Moraines, which include permit areas 241, 242, 246, 248, 251, 258, 259, 287.
  • Area 4 – East Central Uplands, which include permit areas 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 183, 221, 222, 225, 247, 259.
  • Area 5 – Sand Plain-Big Woods, which include permit areas 223, 224, 227, 229, 235, 236, 249, 285, 338, 339.

There will be opportunities for broad public input through public meetings as well as online and written questionnaires prior to convening a citizen advisory team for each area. The DNR also is collecting representative data on public desires using hunter and landowner mail surveys administered by the University of Minnesota.

“The public participation process has been designed to include input from anyone who has an interest in deer management,” McInenly said. “Citizen team members also will be selected to represent the range of public interests, including hunting, wildlife viewing, natural resource management and local business interests.”

This is the third year the DNR has worked with citizens to reassess and re-establish deer population goals in Minnesota. Goals for southwestern and a portion of northern Minnesota were set in 2012. Goals for southeastern Minnesota were set last year. Goals for the deer permit areas not part of the 2015 process will be set in 2016.

A timeline showing opportunities for public input is available online at www.mndnr.gov/deer.  The DNR will seek advisory team nominations for each of the five affected areas in October and select members in January 2015. Each team will review relevant biological and social data as well as public input. Teams will recommend population goals for each deer permit area in their assigned areas. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the advisory teams’ recommendations before the DNR makes its final decision about goals.

White-tailed deer are an important resource to the state of Minnesota. Nearly 500,000 individuals hunt deer and countless other people enjoy viewing deer in the state.

Nationally, deer managers look at deer density goals as a societal issue more so than a biological issue. Deer are capable of achieving high densities so are generally managed at a level of social tolerance rather than managed for the maximum number that can be supported by the habitat. This involves balancing desires of hunters, wildlife watchers and others who may support higher deer densities with those of farmers, foresters or others who experience conflicts with deer who may favor lower deer densities.

People interested in learning more about deer management and public input opportunities during the goal-setting process should subscribe to the DNR’s Deer Notes email newsletter at www.mndnr.gov/deer.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         Aug. 28, 2014
Media contact: Kara Owens, boat and water safety specialist, 651-259-5354, kara.owens@state.mn.us.

Boat safe and sober this Labor Day weekend

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer for most Minnesotans. The Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to keep safety in mind while out on lakes and rivers.

“Safety never takes a vacation,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist.
“Boaters should wear a life jacket every time they step on a boat and stay away from alcohol; booze and boating don’t mix.”

In Minnesota so far this year, nine people have died in boating accidents compared to nine deaths for the same time period last year.

Boating while intoxicated (BWI) arrests are on a downward trend. This year 59 people have been arrested for boating while intoxicated in Minnesota compared to 81 at this time in 2013 and 146 in 2012.

“We want people to get out and enjoy our weather, but don’t put yourself or someone else in danger by drinking and boating or operating your boat recklessly,” Owens said.

The DNR offers tips for safe and responsible boating including:

  • State law requires a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket for each person on board all watercraft.
  • All children under 10-years-old are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while a boat is underway.
  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix.
  • Take a boater course and receive a boat education certificate.

Find information on boating courses and other boating safety information at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        Aug. 28, 2014
Media contact: Craig VanSickle, DNR nurseries supervisor, 218-652-2385, craig.vansickle@state.mn.us.

DNR seedlings sales are in full swing

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources State Forest Nursery is accepting seedling orders for April and May pickup or delivery in 2015.

Millions of seedlings will be available for the 2015 planting season, including 21 species of native bareroot trees and shrubs grown from seeds collected in Minnesota.

“This year we’ve included some old favorites such as Tamarack and Black Spruce, and again will have our popular specialty packets available,” said Craig VanSickle, nurseries supervisor.

Visit the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/nurseries for a list of available species and to download the tree seedling order form. Contact the nurseries at 800-657-3767 to order seedlings.

A minimum of 500 seedlings must be ordered, which is enough seedlings to cover an acre of land. Seedlings vary in size from 6 to 18 inches in height, and prices start as low as $125 for 500 seedlings.

These seedlings can be used for reforestation, improving wildlife habitat, creating shelterbelts, developing green buffers to protect water quality and cleaning the air by removing carbon dioxide.

Minnesota landowners with forest stewardship plans should contact their plan writer for cost-share program information that cover costs to purchase and plant seedlings. Contact your local Forestry office or visit www.mndnr.gov/foreststewardship to learn about the forest stewardship program.

By law, seedlings purchased from Minnesota state forest may not be planted for ornamental purposes, resold, given away or removed with roots attached for a period of 10 years from the date of purchase. Seedlings also must be planted in Minnesota.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  Aug. 28, 2014
Media contact: Patty Holt, arrests and confiscations supervisor, DNR Enforcement Division, 651-355-0162,

Hunting and fishing equipment auction set

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will auction confiscated hunting equipment on Saturday, Sept. 20, beginning at 10 a.m. The auction’s items are from people who forfeited their equipment after committing serious game violations.

The auction is open to the public. It will be held at Hiller Auction Service, 10785 261st Ave., Zimmerman.

Sale items include confiscated firearms and bows. A list of firearms and bows for sale is on the auction website at: www.hillerauction.com/apr28.html.

Inspection of items is Friday, Sept. 19, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at 8 a.m. the day of the auction. Once the auction begins, there will not be any access to the firearms.

All equipment is sold as is, including all defects or faults, known or unknown. Items cannot be returned once they have been purchased. Buyers may bring their own cases or there will be cases available for purchase to transport firearms. Anyone buying a firearm must pass a background check.

Proceeds from the auction will be deposited in the state’s Game and Fish Fund, the fiscal foundation for much of Minnesota’s core fish and wildlife management functions.




DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             Aug. 28, 2014
Media contact: Lori Naumann, nongame wildlife program information officer, 651-259-5148,

Baby turtles are hatching and adults are getting ready for winter
Help turtles safely cross roads

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking people to share the road with hatchling and adult turtles this fall.

Turtles crossing roads in late-August and September are often moving to familiar overwintering locations. Unfortunately, many hatchling and adult turtles’ have to cross roads to get to wintering areas.

“Roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the United States,” said Christopher Smith, DNR nongame wildlife specialist.

In Minnesota, where all turtles are mainly aquatic, overland journeys usually occur: in connection with seasonal movements between different wetland habitats; during the annual early summer nesting migration of egg laden females; or when newly hatched youngsters seek out the backwaters and ponds that will serve as their permanent home. Turtles can travel many miles during a single year, and may even be found far from water; this is no need for concern.

Giving turtles a hand
Here are some tips to help turtles across roads:

  • Avoid danger. Simply pulling off the road and turning on hazard lights may alert other drivers to slow down. Be aware of surroundings and traffic.
  • Avoid excessive handling. While wanting to inspect turtles closely is understandable, excessive handling can disrupt normal behavior. Prolonged examination of turtles should therefore be limited to only one or two individuals of each species.
  • Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements, as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.
  • Handle turtles gently. If necessary to pick them up, all turtles except Snappers and Softshells should be grasped gently along the shell edge near the mid-point of the body. Many turtles empty their bladder when lifted off the ground, so be careful not to drop them if they should suddenly expel water.
  • Maintain direction of travel. Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling in when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.

Find more information at www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/helping-turtles-roads.html.

Check out the DNR’s turtle poster:http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/turtle_poster.pdf.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Image available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “08-28-14 turtle.”


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         Aug. 28, 2014
Media contact: Rich Sprouse, information officer, DNR Enforcement Division, 800-366-8917, ext. 2511,

Basil Irwin Warden’s Jug stays in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pistol team won its 12th consecutive Basil Irwin Memorial Pistol Shoot during completion held Aug. 14-15 in Elkader, Iowa against game wardens from the Iowa DNR.

The Minnesota team consisted of 2nd Lt. Aaron Kahre, and conservation officers Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, Mitch Boyum of Rushford, Thor Nelson of New Ulm, and Brent Ihnen of Waseca. Retired Minnesota COs, Greg Abraham and Fred Peterson, also participated.

The competition consists of three categories with the points from each added together for the grand aggregate that determines the match winner and winning team. The categories include a tactical course, a practical pistol course (PPC), and a bulls-eye course.

Abraham won the retired warden’s jug for the second year in a row while Boyum  won for the active wardens. Oldakowski finished third among active wardens.

The awards were numerous for team Minnesota: Kahre and Abraham finished first and second in the tactical course; Abraham, Boyum, and Oldakowski placed one, two, and three in the bulls-eye program; and Abraham and Oldakowski were one and two in the PPC competition.

The competition keeps job skills sharp, besides other benefits.

“I do it mainly because I like to shoot,” Kahre said. “I thoroughly enjoy the friendships I have made in other states and the networking it involves. The more states cooperate and communicate the better we can protect the natural resources of this country.”

Previous competitions included natural resources enforcement officers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but budget cuts have reduced the number of participants in recent years.

Basil Irwin was a Minnesota “game warden” in the Sandstone area for decades. In 1967 he challenged some Wisconsin wardens to a team pistol match. The inaugural event was called the “Minnesota-Wisconsin Wardens Pistol Match,” but renamed “The Basil Irwin Memorial Game Warden Pistol Shoot” after Irwin’s death in 1970.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Images are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “08-28-14 Warden’s Jug.”


2014 Basil Irwin – Group (L-R) Retired Minnesota CO Fred Peterson,  CO Mitch Boyum of Rushford, CO Thor Nelson of New Ulm, CO Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, CO Brent Ihnen of Waseca,  2nd Lt. Aaron Kahre (Enf. asst. training coordinator), and Retired Minnesota CO Greg Abraham

2014 Basil Irwin – Abraham

2014 Basil Irwin – Boyum

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