50 GUN EVENT!! Central St. Croix Ducks Unlimited – Monday,10/05/2015

50 GUN EVENT!! Central St. Croix Ducks Unlimited – Monday,10/05/2015

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Please join your Central St. Croix Ducks Unlimited Chapter Volunteers as they host their

2nd Annual 50 GUN EVENT Fundraiser

Monday, October 5th: Baldwin American Legion & Doors Open at 5:00 p.m.

Your help is needed to RESCUE OUR WETLANDS!!!


All tickets include entry into 11 door prize guns!***

$50 Single: Dinner Ticket, DU membership w/magazine

$300 Bronze Sponsor: Dinner Ticket, DU membership w/magazine, 1 Sponsor Gun Raffle Ticket, a 2015 WI DU Framed Sponsor Framed Print. Bonus! $120 in Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 3 Tickets on EACH of the 3 Gun Packages!

$600 Silver Sponsor: Two Dinner Tickets, DU memberships w/magazine, 2 Sponsor Gun Raffle Tickets, a 2015 WI DU Framed Sponsor Framed Print. Bonus! $160 in Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 5 Tickets on EACH of the 3 Gun Packages!

$800 Corporate Level: Eight Dinner Tickets, which includes DU membership w/magazine, $75 in Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 1 Ticket on EACH of the 3 Gun Packages FOR ALL EIGHT!

$1,200 Corporate Elite Level: Eight Dinner Tickets, which includes DU membership w/magazine, $75 in Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 1 Ticket on EACH of the 3 Gun Packages FOR ALL EIGHT! IN ADDITION, each Corporate Elite Table will receive its own gun to raffle off exclusively between the Elite eight attendees!!!

$100 Packages: Buy Early and Save! For $100 you get an event ticket, $60 worth of Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 1 ticket on the Rifleman, the Wing-Shooters OR the Conceal & Carry raffle!

$200 Triple Crown: For $200 you receive an event ticket, $100 worth of Gun Tier Raffle Tickets and 3 tickets on the Rifleman, the Wing-Shooters AND the Conceal & Carry raffle!

$30 Greenwing: Dinner Ticket, DU membership w/magazine *** Greenwings are not include in the 11 door prize guns drawing

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New living shorelines video – check it out!

New Video: An Introduction to Living Shorelines



We are excited to share our new living shorelines video with you! Living shorelines approaches are becoming more widely used and discussed, yet there are a lot of questions. This short video has introductory information about living shorelines and why they are worth investigating. Check it out and share it! We’ve also got a lot of other great info and resources at our living shorelines website.



Want to be part of the solution? Join us at the Living Shorelines Summit – December 1-2, 2015, in Hartford, CT. You’ll have opportunities to learn about the latest science, connect with other living shorelines community members, and check out new innovations and techniques. Learn more!
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Wings North update.

The cooler temps are finally here!   We have released just under 800 birds so far this year.   The phone has been ringing non-stop!  J    The cover is the best it’s ever been & will be great through the winter.     

Here are some dates to remember.  


September 30th RMEF gun Extravaganza at Wings North.   They will be raffling off 25-30 guns!    This event starts at 6:00pm    Cost is $20.00 to get in. 


October 8th Pheasants forever meeting East Central Spurs @ Wings North 7:00pm


October 9th Pine Insurance Pheasant Hunt.  They are sponsoring the hunt. And offsetting the cost of the hunt.   

     25 Pheasants Per field, Dog & handler   up to 5 hunters in the field.  

& a light dinner all for only $500.00 this includes the daily membership’s 


October 10th Blue Package Hunt; Club is full!   


October 17th & 18th Mixed bag Hunt.    We will have 10 pheasants 10 Chuckars & 10 Bobwhite Quail with 2 Turkeys.   Cost is $560.00 per field up to 5 hunters per field. 

This is an afternoon hunt it will start at 1:00   (limited to 10 fields per day.)


October 18th Conceal & carry class.   Cost is $95.00 this includes lunch & range time.   Class runs from 9:00-3:00  


October 31st Halloween party & costume contest $500 in cash & prizes.

November 13th Annual Second weekend of deer season.   Hunt; 20 Birds per field. 

Pheasant strip dinner all for only $125. Per hunter


If you are looking to book an event or outing for this fall please call the club ASAP: 

We are booking hunts steady.    Oct. 10th is full we only have 5 fields left for the day after Thanksgiving

Chad Hughes

Wings North www.wingsnorth.orgwings1@ecenet.com 

(320) 629-5002 Clubhouse

(320) 282-8614 Cell


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DNR news releases, Sept. 28, 2015

Hunters can use nearly 23,000 acres of Walk-In Access land this fall
DNR still seeking input on Leech Lake management plan update
Avoid deer-vehicle crashes this fall
Hunters: Blaze orange clothing required
Question of the week: deer coat


Media contact: Jesse Roberts, Walk-In Access coordinator, 507-359-6046,
jesse.f.roberts@state.mn.us.Kevin Lines, pheasant action plan coordinator, 651-259-5183,

Hunters can use nearly 23,000 acres of Walk-In Access land this fall

Hunters in western and south-central Minnesota can access a total 22,800 acres through the Walk-In Access program that allows public hunting on private land, representing an increase of 1,700 acres this year.

“This program is great for those hunting pheasants, upland birds, deer and other game because hunters gain access to land without having to knock on doors to seek permission,” said Jesse Roberts, Department of Natural Resources Walk-In Access coordinator.

Bright yellow-green signs have been placed on Walk-In Access boundaries. Maps of all sites are available for viewing at www.mndnr.gov/walkin. Printed atlases of Walk-In Access sites are being distributed across western and south-central Minnesota to DNR license agents, area wildlife offices, and county soil and water conservation district offices. Wildlife office locations can be found at www.mndnr.gov/contact/locator.html. The atlases also will be available by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.

The Walk-In Access program provides public access to private land and pays landowners by the acre to allow hunting access from Sept. 1 to May 31. Most Walk-In Access land is also enrolled in private land conservation programs or has natural cover. Small inclusions of cropland or hay land may be present.

Hunters must have a Walk-In Access Validation ($3) on their hunting license to legally access Walk-In Access land.

The 2015 Minnesota pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 10, and seasons for several other small game species are already open.

Seeking permanent funding
The Walk-in Access program is funded from a combination of state appropriations and federal grant dollars.

In August, a $1.67 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program will extend the program through at least the 2017-18 hunting seasons. Over the three years of the grant, the program has a goal of adding an additional 8,000 acres of Walk-In Access land, making about 30,000 available for hunting.

“Gaining access to these lands is vital to keep our hunting traditions thriving in this part of the state. The DNR has a 2015 Minnesota Pheasant Summit Action Plan, and in that plan we have made securing permanent funding for the Walk-In Access program one of the 10 action items,” said Kevin Lines, pheasant action plan coordinator. “We need a permanent, stable source for this funding to avoid putting hunting opportunities at risk.”

For more about the Pheasant Summit Action Plan, see www.mndnr.gov/pheasantaction.


NOTE: Image available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “09-28-15 Walk-In-Access.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          Sept. 28, 2015

Media contact: Doug Schultz, Walker area fisheries supervisor, 218-547-1683,

DNR still seeking input on Leech Lake management plan update

Leech Lake – one of Minnesota’s 10 large walleye lakes – has a new draft management plan and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking input through Oct. 9.

The plan outlines the proposed five-year fish population objectives and fisheries management actions. It incorporates the recommendations of the 16-member Leech Lake Fisheries Input Group, which has held six meetings since February 2015.

Input is being taken at www.mndnr.gov/leechlake. The Web page includes a video introduction to each survey section, information considered by the input group and the group’s final report.

Public comments will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9, online at www.mndnr.gov/leechlake. Paper questionnaires also are available at the DNR’s Walker area fisheries office, 07316 State 371 NW, Walker. Comments will be reviewed and considered in October and November. The final Leech Lake management plan will be completed in December. For more information, contact the DNR’s Walker area fisheries office at 218-547-1683.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Sept. 28, 2015

Media contact: Rich Sprouse, public information officer, DNR Enforcement Division,
800-366-8917, ext. 2511, richard.sprouse@state.mn.us.

Avoid deer-vehicle crashes this fall

Most deer-vehicle crashes statewide occur from September through January, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The combination of fewer daylight hours with the increased movement of deer due to mating season and hunting season increases the risk of collisions between deer and vehicles.

Though most people would expect these crashes to be more likely in rural areas, motorists in urban areas also need to watch out for these dangerous — and sometimes deadly — accidents involving deer.

Use these driving tips to help avoid collisions with deer:

  • See the signs: Deer-crossing signs are posted in high-risk areas. Drive with caution, especially in the posted areas.
  • Deer often run together: If one deer is near or crossing the road, expect that others may follow.
  • Danger from dusk to dawn: Watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset. About 20 percent of these crashes occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
  • Safety begins behind the wheel: Always wear safety belts and drive at safe, sensible speeds for road conditions.
  • Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving also can cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take the vehicle off the roadway into a tree or a ditch and increase the chances of serious injuries.

If a vehicle strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash by calling local law enforcement, the sheriff’s department, the Minnesota State Patrol or the Department of Natural Resources.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      Sept. 28, 2015
Media contact: Jon Paurus, education program coordinator, Enforcement Division, ext. 2504,

Hunters: Blaze orange clothing required

With Minnesota’s small game hunting season underway, conservation officers (CO) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report some hunters not wearing required blaze orange clothing.

“The blaze orange requirement is for safety,” said CO Marty Stage of Ely. “One hunter said that he wasn’t very far from his home, to excuse him from needing blaze orange.”

Making a blaze orange fashion statement this fall might not get you on the best-dressed list, but it just might save your life.

“Wearing blaze orange clothing is a safety requirement to hunt or trap during Minnesota’s small game season or firearms deer season,” said Jon Paurus, DNR enforcement education program coordinator. “It’s important to be seen by others.”

Small game seasons: At least one visible article of clothing above the waist must be blaze orange when taking small game, except when hunting migratory birds from a blind or on the water, wild turkeys, raccoons or predators, when hunting by falconry, when trapping (outside deer seasons) or when hunting deer by archery while stationary.

Deer season: The visible portion of at least one item of a cap and one item of outer clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, must be blaze orange when hunting or trapping during any open season where deer may be taken by firearms (including special hunts, early antlerless, youth seasons and muzzleloader). Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot.

“The failure to wear to wear blaze orange puts a hunter in jeopardy of not being seen by someone who does not take the time to properly identify their target and what’s beyond it,” Paurus said.

Paurus recommends faded blaze orange garments be replaced.

“Blaze orange clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover or woods,” Paurus said. “Any hunter who has ever identified someone strictly by seeing blaze orange knows its value in keeping track of other hunters in the field, especially in low light conditions.”

For those who use ground blinds, Paurus said to remember to place some blaze orange on the outside of the blind for others to see.

Some safety tips for non-hunters:

  • Wear bright clothing. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or green, and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and animal-colored clothing. Blaze orange vests and hats are advisable.
  • Be courteous. Don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid confrontations.
  • Know the dates of hunting seasons. Learn about where and when hunting is taking place.


Question of the week

Q: Why does the fur coat of a deer change colors depending on the time of year – a reddish color in the spring and brown in the fall?

A: A deer’s coat is designed to provide both a means for thermoregulation and camouflage. Summer coats appear reddish and are thin, allowing deer to better cope with heat stress. In the fall, deer begin a process of molting, which is triggered by hormonal changes that reflect the changing seasons. The reddish summer coat turns into a faded gray or brown color as the new winter coat begins to grow.

The winter coat is comprised of two layers. Outer guard hairs are hollow, stiff and grow about 2 inches longer than the undercoat. The inner layer is soft and dense, which insulates deer from the cold weather and snow. Coat color, regardless of the season, tends to be darker in forested areas and lighter in agricultural areas where deer are exposed to more direct sunlight.

Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor

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MN BHA Update

BHA in the News:

-BHA Welcomes New Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges: http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/bha-welcomes-new-hunting-and-fishing-opportunities-on-national-wildlife-refuges/

-“A sportsman’s view: Hunters, anglers support Land and Water Conservation Fund,” 9/14/15. http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/local-view/3839054-sportsmans-view-hunters-anglers-support-land-and-water-conservation-fund; http://www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/state-chapters/minnesota-bha/minnesota-issues

-“Guest opinion: Keep public lands in public hands.” Glenwood Springs, Colo., PostIndependent: 9/24/15.  http://www.postindependent.com/opinion/18335958-113/guest-opinion-keep-public-lands-in-public-hands

-“Time ticking for important conservation funding.” Outdoor News: 9/17/15. http://www.outdoornews.com/September-2015/Time-ticking-for-important-conservation-funding-plus-a-Bigfoot-phone-call/

-“Reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.” The Pueblo Chieftain: 9/26/15. http://www.chieftain.com/opinion/ideas/3960583-120/public-access-lwcf-conservation

-Still time for a happy ending to this conservation success story:  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/253081-still-time-for-a-happy-ending-to-this-conservation

-“Support LWCF reauthorization.” Durango Telegraph: 9/24/15 (scroll down). http://www.durangotelegraph.com/index.cfm/news1/soapbox/

-ESA Ruling for Sage-grouse a Win for Collaborative Conservation, Says BHA: http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/esa-ruling-for-sage-grouse-a-win-for-collaborative-conservation-says-bha/


BHA Events/Member Action/Tips:

-Link to information about BHA’s 5th Annual Rendezvous in Missoula (2016): https://www.facebook.com/events/727460724066711/

-IDFG biologist [& BHA member] debuts ‘Untamed’ hunting film: http://www.cdapress.com/news/outdoors/article_c40fc9a7-8cdc-58e0-9f46-90f7c93d5a21.html


Sulfide Mining:

-Couple (Dave and Amy Freeman) to spend year in BWCAW: http://www.timberjay.com/stories/Couple-to-spend-year-in-BWCAW,12294

-Couple Plans to Spend a Year in the BWCA:http://www.fox21online.com/news/local-news/Couple-Plans-to-Spend-a-Year-in-the-BWCA/34917496

-Minnesota Couple Sets Off For A Year In The BWCA: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/09/18/minnesota-couple-sets-off-for-a-year-in-the-bwca/

-Minnesota couple sets off for a year in the wilderness: http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/outdoors/Minnesota-couple-sets-off-for-a-year-in-the-wilderness-328998911.html

-Save the Boundary Waters video: https://www.facebook.com/savetheboundarywaters/videos/1612978868955399/?fref=nf

-Take Action to Help Prevent a Tailings Dam Failure at PolyMet: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/6606/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20416


Department of Natural Resources:

-DNR set to talk turkey season tweak: http://www.outdoornews.com/September-2015/DNR-set-to-talk-turkey-season-tweak/

-Attend a regional turkey season discussion this fall: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/turkey/index.html

-Minnesota DNR Designates New Wildlife Lands for Public Use: http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/minnesota-dnr-designates-new-wildlife-lands-for-public-use/

-Minnesota to Spend $100 Million on Pheasant Conservation: http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/issue/2015-1/article/minnesota-to-spend-100-million-for-pheasant-habitat


Upland Game/Small Game:

-Minnesota’s grouse are remarkable native birds: http://www.dl-online.com/outdoors/blane-klemek/3837062-minnesotas-grouse-are-remarkable-native-birds

-Grouse Hunting is a Great Way to Enjoy Fall in Minnesota; Season Opens Sept. 19: http://www.ammoland.com/2015/09/grouse-hunting-is-a-great-way-to-enjoy-fall-in-minnesota-season-opens-sept-19/

-Missing in action: Minnesota’s small game hunters: http://www.startribune.com/missing-in-action-minnesota-s-small-game-hunters/325824631/


Other News/Events/Upates:

-Steven Rinella (get off your butt!): Support the Land and Water Conservation Fund! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFtKswto-LY&feature=youtu.be

-114 Outdoor businesses in 23 states have one message for Congress about LWCF: http://blog.trcp.org/2015/09/10/114-outdoor-businesses-in-23-states-have-one-message-for-congress-about-lwcf/?utm_source=rooseveltreportshort&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Roosevelt%20Report%202015


-Lots of good information in this Responsive Management Report (“How to Talk to the Public About Hunting,” May 2015): http://www.responsivemanagement.com/download/RM_ENews/RM_HuntPublic_newsletter.pdf

-“Who We Are” (a short/excellent video): https://vimeo.com/105686970


-Meat Care 101: How to Make the Most of Your Wild Game: http://www.bowhuntingmag.com/recipes/meat-care-101-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-wild-game/

-Deer hunters asked to consider copper vs. lead: http://www.sctimes.com/story/sports/outdoors/2015/08/24/deer-hunters-asked-consider-copper-vs-lead/32279545/

-DNR confirms 110-lb. mountain lion killed on road near Bemidji: https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2009/09/dnr-confirms-110-lb-mountain-lion-killed-road-near-bemidji

-The Ghost Cat:http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/issues/2015/sep-oct/cougars-in-minnesota.html


-Wisconsin plans to boost elk population, add second herd:


-9 of the Closest Elk Bowhunts You Will Ever See: http://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/2015/05/21/9-closest-elk-bowhunts-will-ever-see/

-“Five Tips For Beginning Elk Hunters.” http://coloradooutdoorsmag.com/2014/09/19/five-tips-for-beginning-elk-hunters/


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


Have a good week/fall!



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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Meet Rusty Patched Bumble Bee – While It’s Still Around

Meet Rusty Patched Bumble Bee – While It’s Still Around

September 28, 2015 – John Michaelson, Public News Service (MN)

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The rusty patched bumble bee used to be common in parts of the state, but has seen its population plummet in recent years. Credit: Rich Hatfield/The Xerces Society

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Protections could be on the way for a bumblebee that used to be commonly found in parts of Minnesota and across the Upper Midwest, but is now threatened with extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a year-long review to determine if an Endangered Species Act listing is warranted for the rusty patched bumble bee.

Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director for The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, says the bee is facing a number of threats, including habitat loss, pesticides and diseases passed on from commercially managed bumblebees.

“There’s quite a bit of concern among people who study bumblebees that commercial bumblebees are spreading diseases to wild bumblebees and that is leading to their decline,” she points out.

Jepsen says the rusty patched bumble bee has disappeared from 87 percent of its historic range and even where it still does exist, its populations are as much as 95 percent smaller than they were just a few decades ago.

Jepsen says the rusty patched bumble bee is an excellent pollinator of wildflowers and numerous crops including apple and alfalfa.

She notes that the push for their listing comes as the federal government is looking to protect bees and other pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly.

“Earlier this year, the White House released a strategy to protect native bees, honey bees and monarch butterflies,” she says. “And I think the attention from the White House that has been given to pollinators has been really great for native pollinator conservation.”

The National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators is focused on protecting, restoring and enhancing their habitat.

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DNR launches voluntary program to test ducks for avian influenza

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field testing staff will offer voluntary testing to waterfowl hunters in seven western and central Minnesota counties when the waterfowl season opens this weekend. No cases of avian influenza have been detected in Minnesota ducks or geese since the outbreak of the flu in the state in March, and the Department of Health assures hunters that there are no food safety concerns with avian influenza.

The DNR will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties. Staff in these areas will solicit hunters to volunteer their birds for sampling, which involves taking a quick swab from each bird. Since there are no food safety concerns even with a positive test, hunters can immediately take home their birds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking whole duck or goose to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“These efforts will help us determine the prevalence of avian influenza in ducks,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “The information learned will be widely shared with wildlife management and agriculture agencies and organizations.”

Crews will be stationed at:

  • Lake Osakis.
  • Middle Fork Crow River, north of New London.
  • Mud Lake state water access site, just west of the Burbank Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near the intersection of county roads 128 and 33.
  • Dietrich Lange WMA at the Lake Calhoun public access.
  • Yarmon WMA.
  • Rice-Skunk WMA.
  • Big Rice Lake public boat access.
  • Kobliska WMA boat access on Long Lake.
  • Quistorff WMA.
  • Other hunting areas around Spicer, Pennock, Sunberg, Greenwald and Lake Lillian.

The voluntary testing, which is designed to sample 800 birds during the first two weeks of the season, is a joint effort of the DNR, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the U.S. Geological Survey.

DNR staff successfully conducted similar surveillance from 2006-2010 and Cornicelli said hunter participation is essential for this effort to be successful.

The sampling of harvested birds this fall will supplement information collected on wild birds since the outbreak began last winter. The DNR has:

  • Collected more than 3,000 fecal samples from a variety of waterfowl species.
  • Sampled more than 600 Canada geese as part of the annual goose banding project.
  • Sampled more than 100 dead birds that were reported to the DNR.
  • Sampled nearly 200 ducks as part of the summer duck banding project.

Since the outbreak of the flu in Minnesota in March, the DNR has only found two positive cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Minnesota wildlife – a Cooper’s hawk from Yellow Medicine County and a black-capped chickadee from Ramsey County.

Data collected during testing may be informative for the poultry industry as it develops biosecurity plans. This fall’s testing is continued surveillance for the virus and not part of research authorized by avian influenza relief legislation passed earlier this year. No demographic or other identifying information will be gathered from participating hunters.

For more information, visit the DNR avian flu Web page at www.mndnr.gov/ai.

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Rare bison herd released into Minneopa State Park

Eleven genetically rare bison have been released into Minneopa State Park near Mankato as part of the newest efforts by the Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Zoological Gardens (Minnesota Zoo) to expand the Minnesota Conservation Bison Herd.

At one time, bison herds in North America were estimated to number between 30 and 60 million animals, and they roamed throughout Minnesota except the northeastern portion. Populations in Minnesota are unknown, but reports from the 1700s to 1800s suggest they were numerous. During the late 19th century, bison were hunted to near extinction until less than 1,000 animals remained in the entire United States. The last wild bison observed in Minnesota was in Norman County in 1880.

Bison were reintroduced to Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne in 1961. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011-2013 found they were largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle, making them rare. Of the more than 500,000 bison in North America, less than 30,000 fit into this category.

DNR/Minnesota Zoo partnership
In 2012, The Minnesota Zoo and the DNR entered into an agreement to work together to preserve the American bison. The Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd will be grown from the 90 bison at Blue Mounds State Park to a 500-animal herd occupying several locations. Minneopa State Park will be the first of these additional locations welcoming the rare bison.

Minneopa State Park was selected for several reasons:

  • The park has a large potential audience with over 200,000 people within 50 miles.
  • Numerous nearby educational institutions are potential research partners.
  • The park contains sufficient prairie to accommodate a bison herd.
  • The reintroduction of bison will help naturally manage the prairie landscape.

“We are excited about our bison conservation partnership with the DNR,” said Tony Fisher, Minnesota Zoo director of animal collections. “The Minnesota Zoo works on animal conservation projects around the world and we are proud to now be helping a rare species right here in Minnesota.”

The group of 11 bison brought to Minneopa include cow/calf pairs and yearling bison heifers; some of the cows are bred and will calve next spring. Eventually the herd will grow to 30-40 bison.

The public will be allowed to drive personal vehicles through the range on a hard-surfaced road.  The interpretive focus will be the historic relationship between bison and humans. However, it will take time for the bison to get used to their new home.

Kathy Dummer, regional manager for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, said the entire campground side of Minneopa State Park will be closed until the bison are acclimated. “We ask that the public be patient while the bison settle in,” Dummer said. “We anticipate opening things back up by mid-October.”

The waterfalls side of the park and the park office will remain open.

Updates on the bison and more information on Minneopa State Park can be found at www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/minneopa/index.html. For more information on the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, visit http://mnzoo.org/conservation/minnesota/bison-conservation-minnesota/. The park is located off U.S. Highway 169 and State Highway 68, 5 miles west of Mankato.

About the Minnesota Zoo
The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952-431-9500 or visit www.mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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