DNR news releases, Oct. 20, 2014

Media contacts: Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries supervisor, 218-927-7503, ext. 228,
rick.bruesewitz@state.mn.us; Brad Parsons, DNR central region fisheries manager,

651-259-5789, bradford.parsons@state.mn.us.

Mille Lacs Lake fall fish survey shows promise

For the first time since 2008, Mille Lacs Lake walleye surviving into their second year remain abundant and the following year’s hatch appears to be doing well, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“We’re far from out of the woods on Mille Lacs Lake,” said Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries supervisor for the DNR. “But younger walleye are showing more positive signs of survival than they have in past years.”

That’s good news for the lake’s walleye population, which has been declining because the vast majority of walleye that hatch in Mille Lacs have not grown into yearlings by surviving to their second autumn. When not enough smaller fish grow into larger ones, the population eventually drops.

As expected, the walleye catch in all types of nets during this fall’s population assessment was down slightly from last year but there were strong numbers of walleye hatched the previous year in all surveys. Catch rates of these walleye were among the highest observed since 1991 for electrofishing and 2006 for fine-mesh gill nets.

“This year class survived its first year much better than any of the year classes from the previous four years,” Bruesewitz said. “They look pretty strong going into 2015.”

Electrofishing for walleye hatched this year produced average numbers when compared with catches from previous years, indicating that reproduction in 2014 was again successful. Walleye hatched this year were a little below average in size. This may be related to a lack of food caused by low numbers of newly hatched perch, which serve as the primary food source for newly hatched walleye.

High numbers of newly hatched and yearling tullibee, which range from 3-8 inches long, were too large for newly hatched walleye to eat but their availability will provide more food for larger walleye.

“Both of these tullibee age classes were caught at the highest levels we’ve seen in the forage nets,” Bruesewitz said. “With that much food for larger predators, smaller walleye may have had a better chance of survival from predation. This food resource also appears to have improved the overall condition of larger walleye, which was better than we’ve seen for several years.”

More perch ranging from 6- to 7.9-inches were caught in near-shore and offshore nets but the number of perch longer than 9 inches remained at about the same relatively low level.

Results of assessment netting also showed high numbers of northern pike, many of which range from 22- to 28-inches although fish as long as 39.7 inches were observed in the survey. Smallmouth bass numbers decreased slightly close to shore but increased in off-shore nets. Tullibee numbers increased throughout the lake.

DNR staff continue to compile catch information from fall assessment surveys, including age analysis. Once complete, the data will be added into the stock assessment modeling carried out by both state and tribal biologists.

Annual Mille Lacs Lake safe harvest levels are based on fish population assessments in combination with other sources of information, including past harvest statistics. The DNR and eight Indian bands will evaluate technical data and modeling results related to Mille Lacs Lake and use that information to reach agreement on final safe harvest levels in January. The DNR uses these levels as the basis for walleye management.

Mille Lacs Lake covers 132,000 acres. State anglers are expected to harvest close to 30,000 pounds of walleye this fishing season from an allocation of 42,900 pounds. Indian bands with rights under the 1837 Treaty harvested about 13,000 pounds of walleye last spring. Their total allocation was 17,100 pounds.

For more information on Mille Lacs Lake, visit www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Oct. 20, 2014
Media contact: Leslie McInenly, big game program leader, 651-259-5198, leslie.mcinenly@state.mn.us.

Conservative deer season will lower harvest

Hunters may not see fewer deer when firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 8, but regulations implemented to help increase Minnesota’s deer population will place more of those deer off limits, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“By design, this year’s deer harvest will be one of the lowest we’ve seen in decades,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader. “In fact, our total harvest this year may end up coming in around 120,000, a level not reported since the early 1980s.”

Because hunters can only harvest bucks in some places and fewer antlerless permits were offered, the 2014 harvest will fall significantly from the 170,000 deer harvested in 2013.

A one-deer bag limit rules most of the state and opportunities to take additional antlerless deer are few and far between, with only seven of 129 deer permit areas and some special hunts allowing the use of bonus permits. The greatest impacts will be in the northeast, the region hardest hit by severe winter weather the past two years, where most of the permit areas only allow the harvest of bucks.

In general, regulations over the past decade have been implemented to reduce the deer population to goals set through a public process and have become more conservative as goals were met. This year’s season reflects not only the effects of winter weather but a response to public interest in growing the population. However, with a return of more moderate winter weather, future seasons will not be similarly lean.

“This season is a bit of a pause prior to revisiting deer goals for most of the state over the next two years,” McInenly said. “Once we are through that process, we’ll have a course set for management.”

Given past experience with times when deer populations are lower, deer populations can respond fairly quickly when harvest is limited, particularly when combined with more moderate winters. For example, after two severe winters in the mid-1990s, the 1997 deer season harvest was 144,000 deer; by 2000, the harvest had rebounded to more than 212,000 deer.

For more information on deer hunting, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

Northeast region
In the northeast region there are lower deer densities than in past years. However, differences across the landscape mean some hunters might find good or even better deer numbers than last year, while others might find the opposite. Regardless of how many deer are seen by hunters, regulations will limit harvest to one deer, and in some areas only bucks.

“Hunting in quality fall habitat and spending time in the woods prior to opening day is more important than ever during years of low deer densities,” said Jeff Lightfoot, northeast regional wildlife manager. “To be successful in harvesting deer, hunters will need to put in the extra time to know where deer are and where they aren’t.”

Due to a series of severe to moderately severe winters, deer densities are below established population goals in most permit areas in the northeast. The conservative regulations eliminate or reduce the harvest of antlerless deer, allowing the deer population to rebound.

“Providing acceptable deer densities for the public is important to area wildlife managers,” Lightfoot said. “To boost deer densities we’re improving deer habitat and considering deer when planning how, when and where to harvest timber on public land, all in addition to the regulations that will limit the number of deer harvested this season.”

Northwest region
Hunters in the northwest region can expect similar to improved deer numbers over last season.

“Hunters will find deer in all areas of the region, though many areas are near or just below goal in terms of deer population,” said John Williams, northwest regional wildlife manager. “The anticipated harvest will be lower than the previous several years due to harvest strategies in place this year that will move populations up toward goal.”

Cropland harvest of corn and beans is behind normal this year and there may be a good amount of standing corn in some areas leading up to and perhaps into the firearms deer season.

All permit areas except Itasca State Park (permit area 287) and the Northwest Angle (permit area 114) will be either lottery or hunter choice, which means hunters in either permit area will only be allowed to shoot one deer. In hunter choice areas, a hunter can harvest one deer of either sex.

Southern region
In the southern region, cropland harvest is as usual a factor for hunters to consider.

“In this mostly open, agricultural part of Minnesota, row crop fields have been experiencing a delayed harvest pace and standing corn in the field may impact hunting,” said Ken Varland, southern regional wildlife manager.

However, the deer herd in the southern region is quite robust following the winter of 2013 to 2014, which was less severe than other parts of Minnesota. Conditions are abnormally dry in a portion of south-central Minnesota despite heavy rains in June that prevented planting of crops in some areas.

“Even though some fawns didn’t make it through last winter, deer came into the spring in relatively good condition. For the most part, we are near the population goal for the region,” Varland said.

Central region
Crop harvest and weather are two factors for hunters to consider in the central region.

“Weather’s always a fairly big determinant of deer harvest,” said Cynthia Osmundson, central region wildlife manager. “And crop harvest will have some impact. We’re going to see a really late crop harvest, and some corn will probably not be harvested this year because of wet conditions.”

Deer will hide in corn not harvested, with wet conditions making it more difficult to drive deer.

A conservative season will also likely affect hunter behavior, meaning people could be waiting longer to squeeze the trigger or loose an arrow, and a longer wait means a lower probability of taking deer. But despite a conservative season in which harvest is expected to be significantly lower for that reason alone, there are still deer to be found in the DNR’s central region, especially in the far southeastern portion of the state.

Another finer point: In the metro deer management area (deer permit area 601), the harvest regulation has stayed the same as last year, which means hunters can take an unlimited number of antlerless deer. In response to the more liberal harvest regulations in the metro deer management area, Osmundson has been contacted by numerous hunters interested in hunting in the metro area for the first time.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Map available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “10-20-14 region map.”



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      Oct. 20, 2014
Media contact: Steve Michaels, licensing program director, 651-355-0150, steve.michaels@state.mn.us.

Hunters can register deer through phone, Internet or in person

Hunters can register deer they harvest by making a telephone call, using the Internet, or bringing deer to a big-game registration station, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Registration instructions for all methods are available at www.mndnr.gov/gameregistrationhelp.

“Our system gives hunters the ability to choose the registration option that works best for their situation. Electronic or phone registration is convenient for many hunters,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. A number of hunters still choose to go in person to registration stations.

However, hunters in the southeastern Minnesota deer permit areas of 348 and 349 must register deer in person during the opening weekend of firearms season because the DNR is conducting voluntary surveillance for chronic wasting disease in these areas. Phone and Internet registration will be available for these areas once enough samples have been collected.

In all areas, deer must be registered within 48 hours after the deer was taken, and before being processed and before antlers are removed. Deer can be transported out of the area where they were taken before being registered. Registration is important because it provides data on harvest that’s used for management of deer populations.

Phone registration
Register deer via phone by calling 888-706-6367. Directions are printed on the back of each deer hunting license. Have a pen ready. A confirmation number will be given; it must be written on the license and site tag.

Internet registration
Register deer via Internet at www.mndnr.gov/gameregistration. Directions will be similar to phone registration, and a confirmation number must be written on the license and site tag.

Walk-in registration
When phone or Internet registration is not possible, hunters must take their deer to a big-game registration station. The person whose name appears on the license must be present at the registration station with their deer. They will receive a big-game possession tag that must be attached to the hind leg, ear or antler where the site tag was attached. A list of all stations organized by city and county is available at any DNR wildlife office or at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

Other species
In addition to registering a deer online, hunters can also go online to register a bear, wolf or turkey. If an animal can be registered via phone, instructions will be printed on the back of the license. More hunting information is available at www.mndnr.gov/hunting.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          Oct. 20, 2014
Media contact: Steve Michaels, licensing program director, 651-355-0150, steve.michaels@state.mn.us.

Deer hunters encouraged to buy license early

With nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to purchase their licenses early to avoid long lines and any potential system issues associated with the high sales volume. The 2014 Minnesota firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 8.

“Buying now beats buying later as last year we sold more than 150,000 licenses on the Thursday and Friday before the firearms season,” said Steve Michaels, DNR licensing program director. “A lot of those folks end up standing in lines who didn’t need to be.”

Deer licenses can be purchased by Minnesota resident adults for $30 at DNR license agents across Minnesota, by phone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. There are additional fees for telephone and Internet transactions. Hunters who purchase licenses by phone and Internet will receive their deer license and tags by mail, which can take three to five business days to arrive.

Hunters must have a valid deer license and tag in their possession when hunting deer.

The information center and license center at DNR headquarters in St. Paul will extend their hours on opening weekend to accommodate additional phone calls from deer hunters. Phone lines will be open on Friday, Nov. 7, until 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 8, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Hunters need to be familiar with deer hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

License questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         Oct. 20, 2014
Media contact: Leslie McInenly, big game program leader, 651-259-5198, leslie.mcinenly@state.mn.us.

Minnesota deer facts

Deer: The Animal

  • Adult female white-tailed deer weigh about 145 lbs., males 170 lbs.
  • The biggest white-tailed deer ever recorded in Minnesota was a 500-pound buck.
  • A whitetail’s home range is about one square mile.

Deer: Hunting

  • Last year, 30 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters successfully harvested a deer. About 53 percent were antlered bucks.
  • 70 percent of Minnesota’s firearms deer harvest typically occurs during the first three or four days of the season.
  • The average hunter spends five days afield during Minnesota’s firearms deer season.
  • Last year’s total deer harvest was about 170,000.
  • Because of a conservative 2014 season designed to boost the statewide population, total deer harvest in 2014 is anticipated to be considerably lower and could reach levels not experienced in decades.
  • Hunters can register their deer via Internet, phone or at walk-in big-game registration stations.
  • The largest typical whitetail buck ever taken in Minnesota had a Boone & Crockett score of 202; shot by John Breen in 1918 near Funkley.
  • Minnesota’s No. 1 non-typical whitetail buck had 43 points; shot by 17-year-old Mitch Vakoch in 1974.

Deer: Licenses

  • In total, about 812,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2013.
  • 95 percent of deer licenses are sold to Minnesota residents.
  • The DNR Information Center remained open two hours later on the day before last year’s deer opener to answer more than 2,000 telephone inquiries, most of them related to the firearms opener.

Deer: Economics

  • Nearly 500,000 deer hunters in Minnesota.
  • Direct retail sales – $234 million.
  • Salaries, wages, business owner income – $127 million.
  • State and local tax revenue – $28 million.
  • Number of directly supported jobs – 3,760.
  • Economic impact is greatest in Greater Minnesota.

Top 10 big game hunting violations
1) Hunt over bait
2) Transport uncased/loaded firearm
3) Fail to validate
4) Fail to register
5) License not in possession
6) Untagged
7) No valid license
8) Lending, borrowing, transferring or altering a license
9) Unmarked/unregistered bear bait station
10) Shooting from the road at big game


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   Oct. 20, 2014
Media contact: Beau Liddell, Little Falls area wildlife manager, 320-616-2468, ext. 222, beaulin.liddell@state.mn.us.

Mild conditions greet hunters during first Camp Ripley hunt

Archers took a two-day total of 75 deer during the first two-day bow hunt at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls on Oct. 15-16, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

There were 1,805 permits issued for the first hunt, with 1,282 hunters participating. Hunter success was 6 percent (down 2 percent from last year for the first hunt).

“This was one of two large archery hunts this year at Camp Ripley,” said Beau Liddell, Little Falls area wildlife supervisor for the DNR. “Hunters apply in advance for these hunts, which have become an annual tradition.”

Greg Meinert of Rice, and Juan Valencia of Elk River, each took bucks tipping the scales at 207 pounds. Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 128 pounds, taken by Daniel Myrum of Pierz.

The second two-day hunt is scheduled for Oct. 25-26. The DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Image available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “10-20-14 Meinert.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Greg Meinert of Rice bagged a 207-pound buck at the Camp Ripley Archery Hunt on Oct. 15.  The hunt is administered by the DNR with cooperation from the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs.  – Photo taken by Beau Liddell, DNR.

Question of the week

Q: I’ve heard that fall is a good time to remove buckthorn on my land. What’s the best way to control buckthorn?

A: There are two types of invasive buckthorn in Minnesota. Common buckthorn is easily found in late fall when many native shrubs and trees have lost their leaves. Common buckthorn will often have green leaves through November. Glossy buckthorn does not stay green as late as common buckthorn. Use caution as many native trees look similar to buckthorn, and some native trees hold their leaves into the winter.

Buckthorn plants 2 inches in diameter or larger can be controlled by cutting the stem at the soil surface and treating the stump with herbicide or covering the stump to prevent re-sprouting. Cutting can be done effectively with hand tools, chain saws or brush cutters. Stumps should be treated immediately after cutting (within two hours) with an herbicide containing triclopyr (found in many brush killers, Garlon 3A or 4) or glyphosate (Roundup and others) to prevent re-sprouting. An alternative if only cutting a few stumps is to cover them with a tin can or black plastic to prevent re-sprouting. For smaller plants, pulling or herbicide application are methods for control.

Laura Van Riper, DNR terrestrial invasive species coordinator

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What does 45 years of MN Fishing and Hunting history look like?

Check out this book: http://www.outdoornews.com/Outdoor-News-History-Book/

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NBC Nightly news: Asian carp in Illinois River


Hi folks – Definitely scary video in this Friday news feature: http://www.nbcnews.com/watch/nightly-news/experts-desperate-to-keep-flying-carp-out-of-great-lakes-3443472039Hi folks – 

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Seen between Lanesboro and Peterson, MN


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2015 MTWS Elections – possible, interested MCF folks?

Greetings, Fellow Wildlifers!  As our MTWS Chapter’s Past President, it’s my pleasure to help encourage fellow wildlife professionals to run as candidates for our Chapter’s Governing Board.  Positions to be filled at the election in Feb. at our 2015 Annual Meeting include President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Region 2, 4, and 6 Representatives (see below map of Regions).   Positions duties can be found in our Chapter Bylaws and Operations Manual.


If you are interested in conserving our wildlife resources, serving our Chapter members, gaining experience on a Governing Board, building relationships with wildlife professionals across MN, beefing up that resume, and feeling the reward of knowing you’re making a difference, please let me know by Nov. 15.  Candidate information will be placed in the December Chapter newsletter.


Serving as a MTWS Board and committee member has provided me excellent professional growth.  I highly recommend it!  Please feel free to contact me or other Board members if you have questions.  Thank you.


Yours in conservation,

Jodie Provost

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Fifteen Minnesota Sporting Groups Back EPA Carbon Pollution Limits

“As stewards for future generations, it is our obligation to conserve land and water resources.”


October 15, 2014 – Groups representing millions of hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts are speaking out in support of climate action, releasing a letter in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The letter is signed by 325 national, regional, and state groups including 15 Minnesota conservation and environmental organizations. National organizations signing the letter include the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.


“As hunters and anglers, we see first-hand how climate change is altering habitat and putting our outdoor heritage at risk,” reads the letter. “We agree that more can and should be done to update our clean air standards to address carbon pollution from major sources including new and existing power plants. America’s hunters, anglers, and the $90 billion a year industry that supports them, encourage long overdue action to address climate change and preserve America’s conservation legacy.”


The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the summer of 2014 went into the record books as the hottest on record globally. Here in Minnesota wildlife are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Moose, deer, and other wildlife populations are at great risk as winter tick populations increase in our warming climate. With the abundance of winter ticks, the infections they spread to moose, deer, and other wildlife will only increase. Moose have already become incredibly vulnerable to winter ticks, and their populations have been affected and are diminishing as the issue worsens.


“As an active sportsman, I’m seeing first-hand how climate change is impacting both wildlife and wildlife habitat. To ensure that we are preserving the outdoor culture of sportsmen across the country, strategic conservation investments are needed by our nation’s leaders,” said John Brinkman, president of the Minnesota Conservation Federation. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on climate-disrupting industrial carbon pollution are a historic step in protecting our outdoor experience.”


“Living and working in northern Minnesota, I see on a daily basis changes that are occurring in our wildlife, our habitat, and our environment in general,” commented Dr. William Faber, professor at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and an avid hunter and angler. He added that he has researched moose and moose decline his entire career and is now concerned that the same decline could occur in our deer herds and other fish and game animals.


“Warmer weather means warmer waters in your lakes, rivers, and streams,” explained John Lenczewski, executive director of the Minnesota Trout Unlimited. “Even small increases in water temperatures will and are already affecting our trout, steelhead and salmon. Impacts to walleye and other species are next, not to mention boosting invasive species,” he added.


Sportsmen and women across the country are witnessing first-hand how climate change is altering wildlife habitat and putting the outdoor heritage at risk. Action is needed to not only promote healthy fish and wildlife populations, but to also sustain the forests, grasslands, rivers and other systems on which wildlife depend.


The letter also points to the economic benefits of climate action. American sportsmen and the $90 billion industry that supports them continue to encourage long overdue action to address climate change and preserve America’s conservation legacy.


For more information on the National Wildlife Federation’s efforts to protect sporting traditions, visit www.nwf.org/Sportsmen. Get more National Wildlife Federation news at NWF.org/News.



The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. The Minnesota Conservation Federation is the state affiliate of the NWF and works on public policy representing local sportsmen’s clubs in our state. 

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Local view: Sportsmen and sportswomen support clean water

Read the article regarding sportmen/women supporting clean water here: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/content/local-view-sportsmen-and-sportswomen-support-clean-water

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The Flyer E-Newsletter: October


Dear Gary,

Happy National Wildlife Refuge Week! From now until Saturday October 18 refuges across the country will be hosting celebrations ranging from bird watching, to bioluminescent kayak tours. Now is probably the best time throughout the entire System to visit refuges because of migration, the beautiful weather, and the extensive list of activities.




The National Wildlife Refuge System

This week is National Wildlife Refuge Week! Rather than featuring one specific refuge, this week warrants a feature on the Refuge System as a whole. Our national wildlife refuges are home to more than 700 types of birds, 220 varieties of mammals, 250 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, 1,000 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants.




The Refuge Association is Growing on Social Media

The Refuge Association is making great strides in our reach on social media. Recently, we joined Instagram with the username RefugeAssociation. On Facebook, we recently reached over 100k likes! To better engage these audiences we made a call for photos to celebrate Refuge Week and have received almost 500 entries!



Updates from the Hill and the Obama Administration 

Congress has come and gone and completed a few things before leaving on recess. They passed two resolutions and a C.R. to continue funding the government through December. And, the Obama administration announced the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.



Events Across the Refuge System for National Wildlife Refuge Week

Friends and Refuge Staff are hosting events across the country for National Wildlife Refuge Week. At Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge there are events happening all week. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is hosting a wildlife festival filled with tons of wildlife-centric activities. Click below to learn more!





Keep an eye out for these upcoming events: 

October 12-18: National Wildlife Refuge Week


October 31: Halloween


November 4: Election Day


November 11: Veteran’s Day


November 27: Thanksgiving


We’re now accepting award nominations for the 2015 National Wildlife Refuge Association National Wildlife Refuge System Awards. The National Wildlife Refuge System Awards honor outstanding accomplishments by refuge managers, refuge employees, volunteers and Friends groups. For more information about the awards and how to submit a nomination, click here!

Attention Federal Employees!

As you know, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the annual fund-raising drive conducted by federal employees in their workplace each fall. Please help us make a difference for the Refuge System by checking #10076 on your contribution form. CFC donations help us carry out our mission of protecting refuges by building community support and educating decision-makers about the importance of refuges for wildlife conservation

More Headlines from this Month



Puddles the Blue Goose has been the official symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System since 1936. The Goose can be seen on publications, posters and refuge boundary signs all across the US – and sometimes in person at special events!

The National Wildlife Refuge System is best known for: From one-ton bison to half-ounce warblers, you can find a vast variety of species and landscapes throughout the country. It is the nation’s largest network of public lands dedicated to wildlife conservation.

The Refuge System’s best-kept secret is: An amazing amount of wildlife – from 700 species of birds to 220 mammals and more — right in many people’s backyards. At least one refuge can be found in every state, and world-class recreation is available at most of them.

The most interesting species in the Refuge System is: I might be biased, but I would have to say the blue goose. I was once thought to be a separate species but I’m now recognized as a dark form, or “morph,” of the snow goose.

Favorite activity in the Refuge System is: Flying! The Refuge System is vital for my survival as well as many other species of birds. I migrate from way up at the north end of North America in the summer, down to many regions in the United States for winter. If I’m around I’m hard to miss as I like to be in large flocks with others of my kind.

The best time to visit the Refuge System is: Right now! Most refuges will have migratory birds stopping through. The weather is perfect this time of year because the country’s “hot” climes aren’t so hot and the “cold” areas aren’t so very cold yet. However, each refuge is unique and may have special times of year that are particularly amazing. Find a refuge close to you.

View this section online

Friends, are you connected?

RefugeFriendsConnect.org is a membership site that is managed by the Refuge Association and a group of volunteers. If you are a Friends group member or are refuge staff working with Friends you are welcome to join.

Follow NWRA


National Wildlife Refuge Association

Our Mission

To conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect and enhance the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries.

Flyer Masthead Photo Credit: Kestrel, Wade Dowdy

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