MN DNR

Owners of resorts, campgrounds and rental businesses required to take aquatic invasive species training

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species training to owners of lake service provider businesses, so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake service provider businesses include resorts, outfitters and campgrounds that rent or lease boats and other water-related equipment. Business owners must attend training, apply for a permit and pay a $50 application fee every three years to comply with Minnesota law.

When the law and permit began in 2012, it applied only to some resorts and outfitters, along with businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire, said April Rust, DNR aquatic invasive species training coordinator.

The law was updated in 2013 to include any businesses that rent any type of boats or other water-related equipment.

“That means resorts and campgrounds that offer equipment to their guests like pontoons, fishing boats or kayaks and canoes as a part of their stay, need training on AIS and this permit,” she said.

Eleven AIS training sessions are planned around the state starting this month, and a new online training will be available in March. Training is offered in winter to give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines for in-person training are one week prior to each training. A listing all 2017 training sessions is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/calendar.

Overall, Minnesotans are doing a good job of helping to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Less than 5 percent of Minnesota lakes are on the infested waters list.

To register for training or for more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/lsp.

Greetings from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,

This is the newsletter where DNR shares highlights from our interaction with Minnesota’s Legislature. Thanks for reading!

Budget

DNR leadership completed presentations of the Governor’s budget package for DNR in the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee this week.

Our press release and budget in brief documents provide detail about our initiatives and how they benefit all Minnesotans.

Bonding

There is no significant activity on bonding to report this week.

This week in Review (February 13th- 17th)

Recorded audio, and sometimes video, is available for many of these hearings. If you’re interested, please visit the House Audio and Video Archives page or the 2016 Committee meetings on the Senate Media Services page.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, DNR leadership presented the Governor’s budget package for DNR in the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. These presentations are now complete for all DNR Divisions.

On Tuesday the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee, heard a bill of interest to the DNR related to ATV trail system funds. This bill was passed out of committee.

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee with heard a separate bill of interest to the DNR related to Snowmobile and ATV funds. This bill passed out of committee.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee heard a bill of interest to the DNR regarding wetland replacement, which was passed out of committee. The bill was passed out of committee.

Next week (February 20th-24th)

You can view the schedule for the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee here.  The Senate Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee’s schedule can be found here. Likewise, you can view the schedule for the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee here. While we track bills through many other committees, these are the ones with primary responsibility for environment and natural resources topics.

On Monday, the House Legacy Finance Committee has a full agenda including a DNR Overview of the Parks and Trails Fund.

On Monday evening the DNR will provide information on buffer mapping to a Joint Meeting of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance; and Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Finance.  MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) will also present on alternative practices.  The Committee Chairs have indicated no official action will be taken.

On Tuesday the House Agriculture Policy Committee will hear a bill of interest to the DNR regarding roadside mowing.

We anticipate additional hearings will be scheduled for next week after you receive this message – you can go online to find an up-to-date list of posted meetings (or news about changes to previously scheduled meetings) for the House and Senate.

Contact us

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact the DNR’s legislative team: Bob Meier, Annalee Garletz, or me.

Sincerely,

Amber Ellering

2017 Legislative Coordinator

Amber.Ellering@state.mn.us

Greetings from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,

This is the newsletter where DNR shares highlights from our interaction with Minnesota’s Legislature. Thanks for reading!

Budget

DNR continues to inform and educate our partners about the Governor’s proposed budget for DNR. This budget includes modest fee increases and GF support for DNR to maintain or improve services to all Minnesotans. Please see our press release and budget in brief documents for more information and reach out to us with specific questions.

Bonding

On Monday, HF892, containing the Governor’s bonding proposal, was introduced and referred to the House Capital Investment Committee. The companion, SF640, was likewise introduced and referred to the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

On Tuesday in the House Capital Investment Committee, Commissioner Myron Frans of Minnesota Management and Budget provided an overview of the Governor’s bonding proposal.

This week in Review (February 6th- 10th)

Recorded audio, and sometimes video, is available for many of these hearings. If you’re interested, please visit the House Audio and Video Archives page or the 2016 Committee meetings on the Senate Media Services page.

On Monday, SF723 (the Governor’s Budget bill for Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations) was introduced in the Senate and referred to Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.  The chief author is Senator Ingebrigtsen and co-author Senator Tomassoni.

Also on Monday, the House Veterans Affairs Division heard a bill of interest to the DNR.

On Tuesday, the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee heard a bill of interest to the DNR.  Also on Tuesday the House Capital Investment Committee will heard MMB’s overview of the Governor’s Bonding Proposal.

On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Mining, Forestry & Tourism met to hear an overview presentation about the state of the iron ore industry in Minnesota.

Later on Wednesday the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance received an overview of the 2015-2017 Federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit Program Feasibility Study from the Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) and DNR.

On Thursday, the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee heard a bill of interest to the DNR, and DNR began presenting the governor’s recommended FY18-19 Biennial Budget items.  This presentation will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Next week (February 13th- 17th)

On Tuesday and Wednesday, DNR leadership will present the Governor’s budget package for DNR in the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. DNR Division Directors will have the opportunity to present what Minnesotans get from this budget. By Thursday, the Committee is scheduled to receive the presentation on the Governor’s budget for Board of Soil and Water Resources.

The Senate Tax Committee will hear a bill of interest to the DNR on Tuesday.

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee with hear bills of interest to the DNR related to recreation.

We anticipate additional hearings will be scheduled for next week after you receive this message – you can go online to find an up-to-date list of posted meetings (or news about changes to previously scheduled meetings) for the House and Senate.

Extra

As part of Governor Mark Dayton’s Year of Water Action, he announced Thursday a poster contest for youth on the subject of clean water. The Governor’s website states, “This contest raises awareness about water conservation and protection. Our goal is to educate and inspire youth to take the lead and ensure clean water for generations of Minnesotans to come.” More information can be found here.

Contact us

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact the DNR’s legislative team: Bob Meier, Annalee Garletz, or me.

Sincerely,

Amber Ellering

2017 Legislative Coordinator

Amber.Ellering@state.mn.us

Minnesota welcomes back bass tournament that wowed the pros    

Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship to Return to Mille Lacs Lake Sept. 14-17, 2017

The 2016 tournament put Mille Lacs Lake in the spotlight: fishing pro after pro raving about hauling in multiple four-pound-plus smallmouth bass, a rainbow extending down to the water and the crowds turning out in force to see Minnesota’s own Seth Feider win the 2016 championship.

The return to Mille Lacs of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship means that once again, the public can attend and watch some of the best bass anglers fish a lake Minnesotans have long prized as a multi-species fishing destination and one Bassmaster calls a “world-class smallmouth bass factory.” This is the first time the tournament will happen in the same location two years in a row.

“Lake Mille Lacs is a premiere fishing destination for anglers from across the United States,” said Lt. Gov Tina Smith. “We are excited to have America’s greatest anglers return to Mille Lacs next year for the Toyota Bassmaster tournament, and show off the fishing found only in Minnesota.”

The event takes place Thursday, Sept. 14, to Sunday, Sept. 17, with competition on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, spectators can attend an outdoor fan-appreciation day at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, where the pros will be giving seminars, signing autographs and engaging with fans on a personal level, according to Bassmaster.

At the tournament, weigh-ins on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and the Saturday fan-appreciation day, are free for the public to attend and take place in the parking lot of Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

“The energy of this tournament is fantastic, and we’re often in awe of the fishing ability of some of these pros to haul in so many huge, trophy bass,” said Don Pereira, fisheries chief with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “But then, we’ve long known this was a quality smallmouth bass fishery and it wouldn’t surprise me to see more anglers out this summer trying to catch some of the same fish the pros will be after.”

The catch-and-release tournaments follow changes in fishing regulations that the DNR made in 2015 to attract larger bass tournaments to the lake.

“The pros raved about how many huge fish they caught here, with overall weights unprecedented in past Bassmaster tournaments,” said Brad Parsons, DNR central region fisheries manager. “This spotlight on Mille Lacs strengthens the community and celebrates our state’s great fishing tradition.”

Mille Lacs Lake is one of the premiere bass fishing lakes in the country, with a smallmouth bass fishery that attracts anglers from all around the United States in search of a lunker ready and willing to put up a fight. The lake also offers abundant largemouth bass, trophy sized walleye, northern pike and muskellunge.

“Fishing has long been a main reason Mille Lacs is such a draw for tourists and out-of-state anglers,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “The area additionally offers lots of ways people can enjoy the area’s natural beauty on hiking, biking and ATV trails, watching wildlife, golfing or visiting a Minnesota State Park.”

Bassmaster also announced it would schedule a Classic Bracket tournament in Grand Rapids, Minnesota on Pokegama Lake, from Sunday, Sept. 19, to Wednesday, Sept. 22. More information on that event is available at www.bassmaster.com/news.

Hunting and fishing in Minnesota support 48,000 private sector jobs, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More information about Mille Lacs Lake is available at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

 

 

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #95                                                                                   Dec. 15. 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
New Minnesota DNR logos available
First breeding bull introduced to Minneopa bison herd
DNR reminder: Avoid early ice

DNR MEDIA ADVISORY
Media contact: Chris Niskanen, DNR communications director, 651-259-5023, chris.niskanen@state.mn.us.

 

New Minnesota DNR logos available

The Department of Natural Resources has launched a new agency logo as part of the State of Minnesota brand campaign. The department is one of nine agencies currently rolling out this new look; the remaining state agencies will do so throughout 2017.

Logo image files are attached to this email for use by your media outlet. Additional files are also available for download via our FTP server, in the “New DNR Logo” folder.

Please replace any previous DNR logo graphics your organization may have on file with these new versions. If you have any trouble downloading or using the new logo, please contact the DNR’s media unit at 651-259-5342.

Additional information about the DNR’s new logo and State of Minnesota brand can be found at mndnr.gov/branding.

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DNR NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Alex Watson, DNR regional naturalist, 507-359-6062, alexander.watson@state.mn.us, Amy Barrett, DNR Parks and Trails information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us, Josh Le, Minnesota Zoo communications and media relations manager, 952-431-9534, josh.le@state.mn.us.

First breeding bull introduced to Minneopa bison herd

The first breeding bull has arrived at Minneopa State Park near Mankato, bringing to 15 the number of bison at the park, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The yearling bull comes from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and spent a month quarantined at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

“This is a milestone,” said DNR regional naturalist Alex Watson. “Nearly 130 years after the last wild and free bison disappeared from Minnesota and narrowly escaped extinction, this bull symbolizes the success of past conservation, and the need to always look forward.”

Eleven bison were reintroduced to Minneopa in the fall of 2015. The herd expanded to 14 with the birth of three calves in 2016. It’s hoped the newly-acquired bull will successfully breed bison cows within the existing herd, strengthening the herd’s genetic similarities with its free-ranging ancestors from two centuries ago.

That point is important, said Tony Fisher with the Minnesota Zoo.  “We need to occasionally bring animals from outside the herd to ensure the herd’s genetics maintain a healthy amount of diversity.”

The bison are part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed through a formal agreement between the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison and plan to grow the herd at several locations including Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park and the Minnesota Zoo. The goal is a 500-animal herd at multiple locations. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011-2014 found them largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle. Less than 1 percent of all American plains bison tested so far have been found free of cattle genes.

“The herd is not yet large enough to sustain reproduction on its own, so this new addition is very valuable,” Fisher said.

Watson offered some tips for viewing the bison. “The new bull may be only a year and half old, but he is already the same size as the adult cows, which might make him hard to identify. He has a noticeably longer beard and thicker horns that point outward. Female bison usually have horns that curve in. The new bull also has a temporary ear tag required for transportation from North Dakota that will eventually be removed. For now, this makes him easy to spot if you see the tag.”

Bison viewing tips:

 

  • The bison drive begins near the campground off state Highway 68. A vehicle permit ($5/one-day or $25/year-round) is required to enter the park.
  • Bison may be difficult to spot at times. Visitors should drive slowly and keep a watchful eye as they go through the range.
  • Remain inside vehicle while driving through the bison range.
  • Bison should be given clearance of at least 75 feet from people and vehicles at all times.
  • Dogs can make bison nervous, so pets must be kept on a leash while in the park and hiking around the bison range.
  • Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity, so keep voices down and movements to a minimum to help keep the bison within easy viewing.
  • Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range that can provide some fantastic views of the bison.

Minneopa State Park is located off U.S. Highway 169 and state Highway 68, 5 miles west of Mankato.  The bison range road is open Thursday through Tuesday each week from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, including a virtual tour, visit www.mndnr.gov/minneopa. For more information on the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, visit www.mnzoo.org/conservation/minnesota/bison-conservation-minnesota/ or www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/minneopa/bison.html.

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Broadcast copy: (:40)
Minneopa State Park in Mankato is now home to a breeding bison bull from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The bull is part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, a joint project between the D-N-R and Minnesota Zoo. The D-N-R and zoo officials believe the bull is genetically similar to its ancestors that roamed the Great Plains centuries ago.

The new breeding bull’s arrival should strengthen the herd’s genetics, which are believed to be free of cattle genes, unlike most herds. Park visitors can see the yearling bull and the rest of the herd Thursday through Tuesday each week. More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/Minneopa.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos and video available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “12-15-16 bison bull.” Photo caption: This yearling bull gets to know his new surroundings at Minneopa State Park. The bull came from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and is the first breeding animal in the Minneopa State Park herd.  



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Lisa Dugan, boat and water safety outreach coordinator, 651-259-5354
lisa.dugan@state.mn.us ; Capt. Cory Palmer, conservation officer, 507-359-6040,
cory.palmer@state.mn.us.

DNR reminder: Avoid early ice

With ice forming on Minnesota lakes, outdoor enthusiasts may be tempted to get out before ice is thick enough to support foot traffic. The Department of Natural Resources conservation officers have a message – stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.

“Each year we see people going out on the ice before giving it enough time for a solid freeze.  People unexpectedly fall through and sadly lives have been lost because it was just too soon to be out on the ice,” said regional enforcement manager Capt. Cory Palmer.  “While no ice is 100 percent safe, we recommend following the DNR ice thickness guidelines before heading out.”

“On average, 3 to 4 people have died each winter season on Minnesota water over the past decade,” cautions Lisa Dugan, DNR boat and water safety outreach coordinator.  “Most of those deaths occurred with someone operating a snowmobile or ATV on the ice.

The DNR offers the following guidelines for new clear ice:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
  • 5 inches for snowmobile or ATV.
  • 8-12 inches for car or small pickup.
  • 12-15 inches for medium truck.

Ice thickness may vary greatly across a single body of water, making it important to check the ice conditions before heading out.

“In addition to checking conditions and being prepared with an ice safety kit, the most important piece of equipment to have on the ice is a life jacket,” Dugan said. “By wearing, not just carrying, a life jacket the odds of surviving a fall into extremely cold water increase and could save your life.”

Once out on the ice, a safety kit is a good idea, should the ice give way. An ice safety kit should include:

  • Rope
  • Ice picks
  • Ice chisel
  • Tape measure

Last, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

The DNR ice thickness guidelines and more resources are available at: mndnr.gov/icesafety.

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Broadcast version:  Many lakes across the state are forming ice – but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says those prized fish will still be there next week – and that giving the winter weather more time to create a safer amount of ice is worth the wait.

Ice-related deaths have averaged just under four per year in the last decade. Most of the deaths occur with someone operating a snowmobile or ATV.  The D-N-R emphasizes that no ice is 100 percent safe, but department guidelines suggest a minimum four inches of ice for ice fishing, five inches for a snowmobile or ATV, and 12 to 15 inches for a medium-sized pickup truck.

Some safety tips are to wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice, seal your cell phone in a zip-locked bag, have ice picks in your pockets, and tell people where you’re going and when you expect to return.  More safety tips are available at the D-N-R website at mndnr.gov/icesafety.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Sound bites available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “12-15-16 ice safety.”

Minnesota DNR NEWS #94

Dec. 12, 2016

Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us. All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Chronic wasting disease management zone, 5-county deer feeding ban announced
12 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees
Waiting for ice to support you? You can support walleye fishing
Holiday wreaths from Minnesota state forests sold nationwide
Warm up to winter at Minnesota state parks and trails
DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes
Question of the week: Catfish in winter

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager, 651-259-5202, lou.cornicelli@state.mn.us.

Chronic wasting disease management zone,
5-county deer feeding ban announced

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will focus actions to slow and hopefully eliminate the spread of chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota within about a 10-mile radius of Preston and include a deer feeding ban in the five adjoining area counties.

“This 370 square mile disease management zone is the area of greatest concern,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Landowners and hunters will help us conduct our primary control and sampling efforts here so we can act quickly, aggressively and cooperatively to limit and hopefully stop any spread of CWD.”

The zone is bordered roughly on the northwest by Chatfield, on the northeast by Arendahl, on the southeast by Canton and on the southwest by Bristol.

One of the actions planned in the disease management zone will be a special late-season deer hunt from Saturday, Dec. 31, through Sunday, Jan 15. Additional details regarding the special hunting season will be released at a later date.

Later this month, a deer feeding ban goes into effect for residents of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties. Those counties adjoin the area west of Lanesboro where two CWD-infected deer recently were discovered. The feeding ban encompasses a wider area because the potential extent of the infection is not known and one of the most probable mechanisms for CWD spread among deer is over a food source that concentrates animals and allows close contact.

“One simple step that anyone can do to help prevent the spread of disease is to stop feeding deer,” Cornicelli said.

Details of how landowners and hunters can help the DNR proceed with disease management actions will be discussed with the public at a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15, in Preston. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Fillmore Central School Auditorium, 702 Chatfield St.

Items that will be discussed include the disease management zone and activities governed within it; the deer feeding ban; the special late-season hunt; landowner shooting permits; and temporary suspension of antler point restriction regulations. DNR staff will answer additional questions as will representatives from other state agencies and deer hunting groups.

DNR still needs hunters’ assistance to continue testing deer harvested in permit areas 347 and 348. Hunters should follow the instructions to complete a simple form and place it – along with the head of a harvested deer – in drop boxes located in Chatfield, Harmony, Lanesboro, Preston and Wykoff.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to the recent discovery near Lanesboro, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

For more information, including a map of the disease management zone, feeding ban area, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.
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NOTE: Maps of the disease management zone are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named news release resources,” then in folder named “12-12-16 CWD zone.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Chris Niskanen, DNR communications director, 651-259-5023, chris.niskanen@state.mn.us; or Sarah Strommen, DNR assistant commissioner, 651-259-5021, sarah.strommen@state.mn.us.

12 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 12 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.

The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.

Appointed to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are David Engels, Menahga; Burl Haar, Afton; Paul Hoppe, Ogilvie; Andrew Mauch, Wyoming; Bert Pexsa, Miltona; Mark Weber, Eden Prairie; and John Wells, St. Paul.

Appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee are James Arndt, Duluth; Kirk Duholm, Eagan; Charles Haslerud, Duluth; Becca Nash, Minneapolis; and Dave Thompson, Battle Lake. Also, the commissioner extended one-year appointments to Jeff Johnson of New London and Marj Hart of St. Michael so that they provide an additional year of their experience to this committee.

The new appointees join other members whose terms will expire in December 2017. The committees will resume work after the mid-December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2016.

“We look forward to working with these citizens,” said Dave Schad, DNR deputy commissioner. “Through these appointments we’re continuing our commitment to share detailed budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”

The fisheries and the wildlife oversight committees each continue a citizen oversight function first created in 1994. More than 35 people applied for oversight committee positions this time. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity and a mix of interests.

In the weeks ahead committee chairs and four members will be selected by each committee to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee chaired by another appointee, John Lenczewski. This budgetary committee will develop an overall report on expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations will be delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.

Though not well known, Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core natural resource management functions. About $110 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue, including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment.

Past Game and Fish Fund reports and oversight reports are available at www.mndnr.gov/gamefishoversight.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Neil Vanderbosch, fisheries program consultant, 651-259-5178, neil.vanderbosch@state.mn.us.

Waiting for ice to support you? You can support walleye fishing

Ice thick enough for fishing may be on the wish lists of many anglers heading into the holiday season, but there is another present anglers can give themselves that makes fishing better all around the state – a walleye stamp.

“Walleye stamps can be purchased any time of the year, even if you already have a fishing license,” said Neil Vanderbosch, fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We use the funds from stamp sales to support walleye stocking.”

A walleye stamp validation costs $5 and can be purchased wherever Minnesota fishing licenses are sold. For 75 cents more, the DNR will mail the stamp as a collector’s item. A walleye stamp is not required to fish for or keep walleye.

The DNR uses walleye stamp proceeds to buy walleye from private producers, which are stocked in lakes that don’t have naturally reproducing walleye populations. Stocking lets anglers catch walleye in a more geographically wide range of the state.

Because of stocking, walleye can be found in around 1,300 Minnesota lakes spread throughout the state. However, most walleye are caught in large rivers or about 260 large walleye lakes where they naturally reproduce.

More information on the walleye stamp is available at www.mndnr.gov/stamps under “Walleye Habitat Stamp.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Kristen Bergstrand, DNR utilization and marketing program coordinator, kristen.bergstrand@state.mn.us, 218-322-2511.

Holiday wreaths from Minnesota state forests sold nationwide
‘Tis the season for holiday wreaths, swags and garland. These beautiful and fragrant decorations most likely came from a Minnesota state forest. Balsam fir boughs and branches harvested from state forests are used to make wreaths that adorn homes across the nation, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Balsam fir grows in northeastern and north-central Minnesota and is commonly found in several types of forests. The flat, fragrant needles and durable branches are well-suited for making wreaths.

Each year, about 750,000 pounds of balsam boughs are harvested from state forests between late September and early December. This results in the production of 150,000 wreaths.

Minnesota is a national leader in the natural holiday decor industry. Estimated annual sales for Minnesota companies producing wreaths exceeds $23 million and continues to grow. These companies ship wreaths nationwide and across the globe.

“Balsam bough harvesting and the wreath industry provide thousands of Minnesotans with seasonal income,” said Kristen Bergstrand, DNR utilization and marketing program coordinator. “The balsam fir found in Minnesota’s forests provide the base material to support many of these jobs. Local nonprofits such as Boy Scouts, 4-H and schools sell wreaths and swags as fund raisers.”

Wreaths are made and sold by different businesses. Small family businesses collect boughs, and assemble and sell their own wreaths. Commercial businesses either contract with individuals or families to make wreaths from materials they collect or purchase the raw materials to assemble wreaths and swag in small factories.

While Minnesotans have made wreaths from local forests for decades, the industry of harvesting and wreath making began in Minnesota in the 1960s. The DNR promotes proper bough harvesting techniques to minimize harm to balsam firs and support future bough harvests.

To harvest balsam boughs from state forest lands, all harvesters must get and carry a permit from their local DNR forestry office. Visit the DNR balsam boughs harvesting webpage at  www.mndnr.gov/treecare/maintenance/balsamharvest.html for more information on harvesting balsam boughs.
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NOTE: Images available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “12-12-16 balsam boughs.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, DNR Parks and Trails Division, communications and outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, DNR Parks and Trails Division, information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

Warm up to winter at Minnesota state parks and trails

Winter officially begins on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Upcoming events at Minnesota state parks and trails provide many ways to get out and enjoy it.

Starting Dec. 31: Candlelight Events
Few views soothe the soul like candlelight flickering on snow. Dozens of candlelight events, some of which draw crowds of more than 1,000 people, will take place at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter. These events feature trails lit up at night with candles, lanterns and other luminaries. Depending on the location of the event and the amount of snow cover, people can hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski along the lighted trails, then enjoy roasting marshmallows or sipping cocoa around a crackling bonfire.

Fort Snelling State Park will host a New Year’s Eve candlelight walk from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. For the complete schedule of the many candlelight events across Minnesota, visit www.mndnr.gov/candlelight.

Jan. 1: First Day Hikes
Minnesota state parks and trails joins other states in a nationwide effort to get thousands of children and adults outside hiking on Sunday, Jan. 1. The effort, led by America’s State Parks, will include guided hikes in all 50 states.

In Minnesota, guided First Day Hikes will take place at:

  • Frontenac State Park (Red Wing), 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Itasca State Park (Park Rapids), 1-3:30 p.m.
  • Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton), 10:30 a.m.-noon and 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji), 10 a.m.-noon.
  • Lake Carlos State Park (Alexandria), 1-3 p.m.
  • Minneopa State Park (Mankato), 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Tettegouche State Park (Silver Bay), 1-4 p.m.
  • Whitewater State Park (Altura), 1-2 p.m.

“Walking is a great way to warm up to winter,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “If you can’t attend one of our guided hikes, round up your friends and family for your own First Day Hike. Start 2017 with a commitment to yourself; you’ll burn calories, reduce stress and have fun.”

More information
For additional ideas on what to do at Minnesota state parks and trails this winter, pick up a copy of the new winter Programs and Events brochure at the nearest state park or request one from the DNR Information Center (info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367).

Online resources include a:

Most winter programs—including the First Day hikes and candlelight events—are free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a vehicle permit (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/permit.html) can purchase one at the park.

To save time, vehicle permits can be purchased in advance. Visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations, log in (or create an account), click on “entry permit,” select a duration of “one-day” ($5) or “year-round” ($25), and continue as directed. The emailed permit can be printed and displayed in vehicles during a visit.

Skiers age 16 and older need the Great Minnesota Ski Pass to use groomed ski trails. The ski pass ($6/one-day pass, $20/single-season pass, and $55/three-season pass) allows access to hundreds of miles of trails in state parks, state forests, city parks and other public lands throughout Minnesota (visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing/skipass/list.html for a complete list and map).

Note that events may be changed or canceled due to weather. For more information, check the visitor alert on the park’s Web page at www.mndnr.gov, email info.dnr@state.mn.us or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

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NOTE: Images available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “12-12-16 winter events.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist, 651-259-5087, marilyn.danks@state.mn.us.

DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems.

”Open water areas created by aeration systems can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions,” said Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist. “Leaks may develop in air lines, creating other areas of weak ice or open water.”

Aeration systems are generally operated from the time lakes freeze until ice break-up in the spring. They help prevent winterkill of fish, but they also create areas of open water and thin ice, which are significant hazards.

Two types of signs are used to post aerated lakes: “Thin Ice” and “Warning” signs. The person who applies for the permit (permittee) is to maintain “Warning” signs at all commonly used access points to the lake. This sign warns people approaching the lake that an aeration system is in operation and to use extreme caution.

The permittee must also put up “Thin Ice” signs to mark the open water area’s perimeter. Some cities and towns may have ordinances that prohibit entering into the thin ice area or prohibit the night use of motorized vehicles on lakes with aeration systems in operation, or both. These local regulations are often posted at accesses where they apply.

Permittees and DNR staff inspect aeration systems for safety and compliance with regulations.

For more information, call a regional fisheries office or the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

The following is a list of the about 295 lakes that will likely have aeration systems in operation this winter.

When there are lakes in the county with the same name as the aerated lake, the nearest town is shown in brackets. Names in parentheses are alternate lake names. Those names followed by an asterisk are newly aerated lakes.

REGION 1 (NORTHWEST)
COUNTY: LAKE
BECKER: Big Cormorant, Bijou, Ellison, Eunice, Island, Little Cormorant, Melissa, Round, Sallie, Upper Cormorant, Wolf.
BELTRAMI: Ewert’s Pond.
CLAY: Blue Eagle, Lake Fifteen.
CLEARWATER: Pine.
DOUGLAS: Aldrich.
HUBBARD: Petite, Wolf.
OTTER TAIL: Adley, Big McDonald, Big Pine, Buchanan, Devils, East Silent, Fish (Parkers Prairie), Fish (Pelican Rapids), Jewett, Lida, Little McDonald, Little Pine, Lizzie, Marion, Paul, Pelican, Perch, Pickerel, Rush, Tamarac, West McDonald.
POLK: Badger, Cable, Maple, Sarah.
POPE: Signalness.
STEVENS: Hattie, North and South Baker.
WADENA: Stocking.

REGION II (NORTHEAST)
AITKIN: Cedar (McGrath).
CASS: Eagle, George, Gull,* Leech (Kabekona Bay), Loon, Meadow.
CROW WING: Nisswa, Round.*
LAKE: Superior (Marinas).
ST. LOUIS: Colby.

REGION III (CENTRAL)
ANOKA: Bald Eagle, Centerville, Coon, Crooked, Golden, Ham, Martin, Moore (East), Peltier, Shack Eddy, Spring.
CARVER: Eagle, Oak, Rice Marsh, Susan.
CHISAGO: Moody.
CROW WING: Platte.
DAKOTA: Alimagnet, Bald, Black Dog, Blackhawk, Bur Oaks, Carlson, Cliff, East Thomas, Farquar, Fish, Gun Club, Hay, Heine, Holland, Isabelle, LeMay, Manor, Marion, McDonough, Pickerel, Rebecca [Hastings], Roger’s, Schwanz, Thomas (Eagan), Thompson.
GOODHUE: Pottery Pond [Red Wing], Frontenac Pond.
HENNEPIN: Arrowhead, Bass, Cedar Island, Crystal, Edward, Gleason, Hadley, Hyland, Indianhead, Mitchell, Mooney, Penn (Lower Penn), Powderhorn, Rebecca [Maple Plain], Red Rock, Rice, Round, Shady Oak, Snelling, Sweeney-Twin, Thomas, Wirth, Wolfe.
KANABEC: Knife, Mora.
MORRISON: Alexander, Crookneck, Fish Trap, Shamineau.
RAMSEY: Beaver, Bennett, Birch, Casey, Como, Gilfillan, Island, Loeb, Otter, Owasso, Pleasant, Silver (East Silver), Silver (Columbia Heights), Shoreview Community Center Pond, Vadnais, Willow.
SCOTT: Arctic,* Cedar (New Prague), Cleary, Crystal, Krenz (Sunset), Lakefront Park Pond, Legends, McColl, McMahon (Carls), Murphy, O’Dowd, Thole.
SHERBURNE: Ann [Becker], Fremont.
STEARNS: Black Oak, Carnelian, Marie (Maria) [Kimball].
TODD: Jacobs.
WASHINGTON: Battle Creek (Mud) [Woodbury], Big Marine,* Cloverdale, Colby, Goose, McDonald, Pine Tree, Sand, Shields, St. Croix River (Marina), Sunset,* White Bear.
WINONA: Winona.
WRIGHT: Augusta, Crawford, Dean, Foster, Little Waverly, Louisa.

REGION IV (SOUTH)
BIG STONE: Artichoke, East Toqua, Long Tom.
BLUE EARTH: Crystal, Ida, Loon [Lake Crystal], Lura, Mills.
BROWN: Clear, Hanska, Sleepy Eye.
COTTONWOOD: Bean, Bingham, Cottonwood, Double (North and South basins), Mountain [Mountain Lake].
FARIBAULT: Rice.
FREEBORN: Albert Lea, Fountain, Morin.
JACKSON: Clear [Jackson], Independence, Little Spirit, Loon [Jackson], Pearl, Round.
KANDIYOHI: East Solomon, Elizabeth, Foot, Long, Mud (Monongalia) [New London], Nest, Ringo [Spicer], Swenson [Pennock], Unnamed (Tadd), Unnamed (Upper), Wakanda, Willmar.
LESUEUR: Clear [Lexington], Gorman, Greenleaf, Mabel [Kilkenny], Scotch, Silver [Elysian].
LINCOLN: Benton, Dead Coon, Hendricks, Shaokatan, Stay (East Stay).
LYON: Clear, Cottonwood, East Goose, East Twin, Lady Slipper, Rock, School Grove, West Twin, Yankton.
MARTIN: Big Twin, Budd, Buffalo, Cedar, Clear, Fish [Trimont], George, Sisseton.
MCLEOD: Marion, Swan [Silver Lake], Winsted.
MEEKER: Star, Thompson.
MURRAY: Bloody, Buffalo [Currie], Corabelle, Current, First (South) Fulda, Fox, Lime, Louisa, Sarah, Second Fulda, Shetek, Wilson (North and South basins).
NOBLES: East Graham, Indian, Kinbrae, Okabena, Ocheda, West Graham.
PIPESTONE: Split Rock.
RICE: Circle, Cody.
SIBLEY: Silver [Henderson].
STEELE: Kohlmeier.
WASECA: Elysian, Loon [Waseca].
WATONWAN: Kansas, St. James.
YELLOW MEDICINE: Tyson, Wood.

Question of the week

Q:  Do Minnesota’s catfish go dormant in the winter?

A: During the winter months, the two large catfish species present in Minnesota behave differently. Channel catfish remain active and will congregate in loose schools in the rivers and lakes they inhabit.  Anglers can target these fish through the ice (if ice is thick enough), or even in open water in deeper, slow-moving areas of rivers. The Horseshoe Chain of Lakes near Cold Spring is a popular destination for anglers looking to target channel catfish through the ice.

Flathead catfish, on the other hand, migrate to wintering areas when the water temperatures dip down to 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. They congregate in deep holes in the rivers, out of the current, and essentially go dormant until the water warms in the spring. Many dozens of these large fish can stack up on top of one another in groups and are highly vulnerable to illegal snagging. A change in Minnesota fishing regulations has closed the angling season for flathead catfish from Dec. 1 to March 31 to protect these large, dormant fish from being overexploited.

Joel Stiras, DNR fisheries specialist

 

The Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program (CPL) is now accepting applications for Round 2 of the Metro grant cycle. $1.1 million is available for habitat projects in the 7-county metro area or in cities with a population of 50,000 people or greater. This includes the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington, and the cities of Duluth, Rochester, and St. Cloud. Projects must be on public lands or waters or on lands permanently protected by a conservation easement.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      Dec. 6, 2016
Media contact: Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager, 651-259-5202,
lou.cornicelli@state.mn.us.

Chronic wasting disease information meeting in Preston Dec. 15

Information about chronic wasting disease and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ management response to its discovery in two deer near Lanesboro will be the focus of a public meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Fillmore Central School Auditorium, 702 Chatfield St., in Preston.

DNR staff will explain the disease and why a quick and aggressive response is the most effective way to limit its spread. They also will discuss response measures including establishment of a disease management zone, a special winter deer hunt, landowner shooting permits and the necessity to conduct an aerial deer population survey.

Representatives from other state agencies and deer hunting groups also will be available to answer questions.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to this discovery, the disease has only been found in Minnesota in one wild deer harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

For more information, including maps of chronic wasting disease surveillance areas, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #91                                                                                      Dec. 1, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
No additional deer test positive for CWD in southeastern Minnesota

DNR invites input on Taconite State Trail Master Plan

DNR invites public input on Fort Ridgely State Park draft plan amendment

DNR seeks input on master plan for Thief Lake WMA in northwestern Minnesota

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager, 651-259-5202,
lou.cornicelli@state.mn.us.

No additional deer test positive for CWD in southeastern Minnesota
DNR asks deer hunters to use head boxes in Lanesboro, Preston, Chatfield, Harmony

No additional deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease from samples collected this fall in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Nearly one-third of all deer harvested during southeastern Minnesota’s first firearms deer season and the first three days of the second season were tested for CWD. Only two of the 2,866 deer tested returned positive results. Both were harvested about 1 mile apart west of Lanesboro in deer permit area 348.

“This was an extensive surveillance effort,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. “While we’re disappointed we found two positive deer, we remain optimistic the infection is localized and not widespread throughout the southeast.”

The DNR now is planning and implementing its CWD response plan, which will include a December public meeting announcing the response plan details and continued opportunities for hunters in permit areas 347 and 348 to have their harvested deer tested.

Hunters can get a simple form, complete it and place it – along with the head of a harvested deer – in boxes located at the:

  • Preston forestry office, 912 Houston St., Preston.
  • Lanesboro fisheries office, 23785 Grosbeak Road., Lanesboro.
  • Magnum Sports, 20 Main St. S., Chatfield.
  • Oak Meadow Meats, 50 9th St., Harmony.

Samples are submitted for testing weekly. Test results become available the following week. Hunters will only be notified if a deer tests positive for CWD.

Instructions on how to use the head boxes are at the boxes and available on the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

“The DNR is in the process of developing more specific CWD management actions,” Cornicelli said. “We will engage and fully inform the affected communities – particularly landowners – as we develop and implement quick and aggressive response actions that can limit the spread of the disease.”

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to this discovery, the disease was only found in a single other wild deer harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

The DNR discovered the two infected deer during this fall’s enhanced CWD surveillance program, which was initiated because the region abuts Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. Wisconsin has 43 counties affected by CWD and the disease has been detected in northeastern Iowa’s Allamakee County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization have found no scientific evidence that the disease presents a health risk to humans who come in contact with infected animals or eat infected meat. Still, the CDC advises against eating meat from animals known to have CWD. Hunters should take these recommended precautions when harvesting deer:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • If you do shoot a deer that acts abnormally or appears emaciated, report your harvest to your area DNR office.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing deer.
  • Bone out the meat from the animal. Don’t saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
  • If hunters have a deer or elk commercially processed, request that the animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from their animal.

CWD is transmitted primarily from animal-to-animal by infectious agents in feces, urine or saliva. The disease also can persist for a long time in the environment and may be contracted from contaminated soil. The movement of live animals is one of the greatest risk factors in spreading the disease to new areas.

For more information, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, Parks and Trails Division outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division public information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

DNR invites input on Taconite State Trail Master Plan  
 

Anyone with an interest in the future of the Taconite State Trail in northeastern Minnesota is invited to review an updated master plan for the trail and submit ideas by Friday, Jan. 6.

Staff from the Parks and Trails Division of the Department of Natural Resources will be available to answer questions about the planning process and receive comments at the following informal open house meetings:

  • Grand Rapids – Thursday, Dec. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Itasca County Fairgrounds, Trailhead Building, 1336 Fairgrounds Road.
  • Ely – Monday, Dec. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Vermilion Community College, Classroom Building, Room CL 104, 1900 East Camp St.
  • Side Lake – Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the French Township Hall/Community Building, 7548 Highway 5.

The Taconite State Trail extends over 145 miles from Ely (in St. Louis County) to Grand Rapids (in Itasca County). It is a multiple-use, multiple-season trail, which has been used primarily for snowmobiling. Other proposed trail uses include hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and off-highway vehicle riding, where sustainable and practical.

“The Taconite State Trail provides amazing access to the beauty and variety of northeast Minnesota and brings many visitors to this area,” said Scott Kelling, northeast regional manager for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “This plan provides flexibility for deciding where various trail uses are allowed. It considers what uses are compatible and sustainable and weighs local needs and preferences. We look forward to receiving comments and feedback from the public as we refine this plan.”

The master plan was last approved in 1981. The new draft is available on the DNR website at
www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/trails/taconite.html.

Anyone unable to review and comment on the draft at the open house meetings can submit comments by phone or email to:

  • Diane Anderson, DNR principal planner (St. Paul), 651-259-5614, diane.k.anderson@state.mn.us.
  • Guy Lunz, DNR area supervisor (Grand Rapids), 218-328-8984, guy.lunz@state.mn.us.
  • Joe Majerus, DNR area supervisor (Tower), 218-300-7842, joseph.majerus@state.mn.us.DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Media contacts: Kathy Dummer, Parks and Trails Division Southern Regional Manager, 507-359-6060, kathy.dummer@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division public information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

    DNR invites public input on Fort Ridgely State Park
    draft plan amendment

    Open house scheduled for Dec.15

    The Department of Natural Resources invites the public to review a draft management plan amendment for Fort Ridgely State Park, located near Fairfax in southern Minnesota.The amendment will guide future development, natural and cultural resource management, and interpretation at the park. The DNR is creating the amendment to prioritize new investments in the park after the golf course closed Sept. 6. The amendment includes recommendations such as:
  • Restoring the original plant communities on the golf course while exploring other recreational opportunities.
  • Nominating Fort Ridgely as a National Civil War Battlefield.
  • Upgrading shower and restroom facilities.
  • Accommodating additional winter recreational uses.
  • Improving trail conditions, connections, and accessibility.

To answer questions, the DNR is hosting an open house Thursday, Dec. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the New Ulm Community Center, 600 N. German St., New Ulm. The open house will be a come and go format without a formal presentation. DNR staff will be available to answer questions about the plan amendment planning process and receive comments on the draft amendment.

The DNR worked with citizens, stakeholders, tribal communities, and government representatives throughout the planning process. The process included public input from a citizen advisory committee, stakeholder meetings, and an online public input questionnaire.

Comments will be accepted until Jan. 6.  Those unable to attend the open house can review the draft management plan amendment and submit comments online at:  www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/parks/fort_ridgely.html.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: John Williams, DNR northwest region manager, 218-308-2680, john.williams@state.mn.us.

DNR seeks input on master plan for
Thief Lake WMA in northwestern Minnesota

The public is invited to provide input on a master plan to guide management of the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in northwestern Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources is updating the plan that guides management of the WMA’s forests, brushlands, prairies and grasslands, wetlands and agricultural lands, which provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species. The plan was last updated in 1980.

Input to help guide the update can be given via an online questionnaire through Sunday, Dec. 18. A second opportunity for public input will be available next spring after a draft master plan is ready for review.

Thief Lake WMA, in Marshall County, is a 55,000-acre management area that spans the forest-prairie transition zone in northwestern Minnesota. At its core lies 7,100-acre Thief Lake, a large marsh that is an important production and staging area for waterfowl. The WMA is one of eight wildlife management areas currently classified as a major unit.

To participate in the questionnaire, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thieflake. For more information about Thief Lake WMA, visit www.mndnr.gov/wmas.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #90                                                                                     Nov. 28, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
DNR selects members for statewide deer advisory committee
As water temperature dips, DNR urges caution for boaters
Question of the week: snowmobile training
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader, 651-259-5198, adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

DNR selects members for statewide deer advisory committee

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has selected a 20-member advisory committee to provide the agency with feedback and advice on deer management as it develops a statewide deer plan.

“These committee members represent a broad range of interests,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “We’ll use recommendations from the committee and broader public input as we set strategic direction and guiding principles for deer management.”

Over the next year, the Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee will review technical information and also public input that will be collected this winter through regional public meetings, online and through written comments. The committee will make recommendations to the DNR for the plan that will be in effect for 10 years.

“We value this open and public process to develop the plan,” Murkowski said. “Committee recommendations and input from the public will be vitally important.”

Committee members represent archery, firearm and muzzleloader hunters as well as nonhunters; landowners; farmers; livestock producers; land managers; wildlife photographers; local government officials; community activists; natural resource scientists; public health officials; and members and employees of hunting, conservation and agricultural organizations.

Thirteen seats are being filled by invited representatives of organizations.

  • 1854 Treaty Authority, Andy Edwards.
  • Bluffland Whitetails Association, Michael Sieve.
  • Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners, Nathan Eide.
  • Minnesota Conservation Federation, Gary Botzek.
  • Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Craig Engwall and Denis Quarberg (two seats).
  • Minnesota Department of Health, Jenna Bjork.
  • Minnesota Farm Bureau, Kevin Paap.
  • Minnesota Farmers Union, Rod Sommerfield.
  • Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership, Dennis Thompson.
  • Quality Deer Management Association, Pat Morstad.
  • The Nature Conservancy, Meredith Cornett.
  • Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons, Diane Smith.

Additionally, seven “at-large” committee members were selected from an open call for applications this fall. More than 200 people applied to participate on the committee. Applicants were selected based on criteria including their knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer, familiarity with different areas of the state, and their interest and experience working collaboratively with a diverse group of individuals.

  • Ted Brenny, Mazeppa.
  • James Buchwitz, Strathcona.
  • Daniel Butler, Cohasset.
  • Kevin Goedtke, Fulda.
  • Yeng Moua, Brooklyn Park.
  • Bernard Overby, Kenyon.
  • Rebecca Strand, Shafer.

The plan is expected to be finished by the spring of 2018. More information about the planning process and the committee is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan.

The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Lisa Dugan, boat & water safety outreach coordinator, 651-259-5354,
lisa.dugan@state.mn.us.

As water temperature dips, DNR urges caution for boaters
30 percent of boating deaths happen on cold water

As the days grow shorter and the water temperatures dip, the Department of Natural Resources urges hunters, anglers, paddlers and all boaters to use extreme caution, especially when venturing out in small boats.

People on small boats, such as canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats, should take extra precautions to prevent being suddenly thrown overboard, swamped or stranded in rough, cold waters.

“Cold water robs body heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature,” said Lt. Col. Greg Salo of the DNR’s Enforcement Division. “Should you find yourself in the water, righting your canoe or small boat and climbing back aboard is extremely difficult in muscle-cramping cold water. It’s best to not boat alone and to always wear a life jacket.”

Recent incidents have involved late season boaters ending up in the water after reaching over the side of the boat or small boats capsizing in rough conditions. Even with above average air temperatures it’s important to keep in mind that the water is cold. Hypothermia and cold water shock can set in within minutes. Wearing a life jacket, at all times, while boating will increase chances of survival in cold water.

“In Minnesota, more than 30 percent of all boating fatalities happen in cold water with the victim not wearing a life jacket,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boat and water safety outreach coordinator.  “Wearing a foam-insulated life jacket or float coat can help retain your body’s core temperature and delay the onset on hypothermia. Those wearing, not just carrying, a life jacket when exposed to cold water have the life-saving advantage of being able to keep their head above water, stay calm, and call for help before hypothermia sets in.”

Know the risks of cold water boating and take the right precautions when boating in cold water.

  • At the very least, all boats must carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger. Wear it, don’t just carry it.
  • Don’t boat alone; boating safety increases with numbers.
  • Keep an eye on the sky, head to shore if wind gusts start to pick up.
  • If the boat capsizes or swamps, stay with the boat and try to re-board. Do not attempt to swim to shore.
  • No matter the season, when on the water, life jackets should be worn. For more tips on staying safe in cold water visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater/cold-water.html.

    Question of the week
    Q:  With snow finally in the air, folks are getting ready to ride their snowmobiles. What training is required to legally operate a snowmobile?A:  Minnesota law requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1976 to take a safety training course before operating a snowmobile on public lands or waters. For those 11 years old and older, there are two options. A classroom course consisting of multiple sessions followed by a hands-on riding course, or an online course that then requires a hands-on ride/review day. For those 16 years old and older, there is an independent study online course where students can complete their certification training at home.Once they have successfully completed their courses, students are given instructions on how to receive a certificate from the DNR. Both of these courses show students the most common causes of snowmobile accidents in Minnesota, and how to avoid them. Volunteers teach classes across the state. Information regarding snowmobile certification classes can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/safety/vehicle/snowmobile.

    Capt. Jon Paurus, DNR Enforcement Division education programs coordinator

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       Nov. 22, 2016
Media contact: Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager, 651-259-5202,
lou.cornicelli@state.mn.us.

Tests confirm 2 CWD-positive deer near Lanesboro
DNR initiates disease response plan; offers hunters information on field dressing

Test results show two deer harvested by hunters in southeastern Minnesota were infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

One deer has been confirmed as CWD-positive. Confirmation of the second is expected later this week. The deer, both male, were killed near Lanesboro in Fillmore County during the first firearms deer season.

The two deer were harvested approximately 1 mile apart. These are the only deer to test positive from 2,493 samples collected Nov. 5-13. Results are still pending from 373 additional test samples collected during the opening three days of the second firearms season, Nov. 19-21.

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. While it is found in deer in states bordering southeastern Minnesota, it was only found in a single other wild deer in Minnesota in 2010.

The DNR discovered the disease when sampling hunter-killed deer this fall in southeastern Minnesota as part of its CWD surveillance program. Dr. Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said hunter and landowner cooperation on disease surveillance is the key to keeping the state’s deer herd healthy.

“We were proactively looking for the disease, a proven strategy that allows us to manage CWD by finding it early, reacting quickly and aggressively to control it and hopefully eliminating its spread,” he said.

It is unknown how the two CWD-positive deer, which were harvested 4 miles west of Lanesboro in deer permit area 348, contracted the disease, Cornicelli said.

“We want to thank hunters who have brought their deer to our check stations for sampling,” he said. “While finding CWD-positive deer is disappointing, we plan to work with hunters, landowners and other organizations to protect the state’s deer herd and provide hunters the opportunity to pass on their deer hunting traditions.”

These are the first wild deer found to have CWD since a deer harvested in fall 2010 near Pine Island tested positive. It was found during a successful disease control effort prompted by the detection in 2009 of CWD on a domestic elk farm. The DNR, landowners and hunters worked together to sample more than 4,000 deer in the Pine Island area from 2011 to 2013, and no additional infected deer were found.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization have found no scientific evidence that the disease presents a health risk to humans who come in contact with infected animals or eat infected meat. Still, the CDC advises against eating meat from animals known to have CWD.

With the muzzleloader deer season stretching into mid-December and archery season open through Saturday, Dec. 31, hunters should take these recommended precautions when harvesting deer:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing your deer.
  • Bone out the meat from your animal. Don’t saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from your animal.

The DNR already has begun implementing the state’s CWD response plan. Three additional CWD testing stations were opened in Fillmore County last weekend and electronic registration was turned off in two additional deer permit areas.

“We’ll wait until the late 3B firearms season concludes this weekend and analyze test results from all the samples we collect from hunters,” Cornicelli said. “That will provide a better indication of the potential prevalence and distribution of CWD so we can determine boundaries for a disease management zone and the actions we’ll take to manage the disease and limit its spread.”

The DNR began CWD testing in southeastern Minnesota again this fall in response to expanded CWD infections in Wisconsin, Illinois, and northeast Iowa, as well as new and growing infections in Arkansas and Missouri. The increasing prevalence and geographic spread of the disease also prompted an expanded carcass import restriction that does not allow whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose and caribou to be brought into Minnesota.

The discovery of CWD in wild deer reinforces the need for the vigilance that disease surveillance and carcass import restrictions provide. Although inconvenient, hunter cooperation with these measures help protect Minnesota’s deer herd.

“Working with landowners and hunters to better protect deer from disease is vital to Minnesota’s hunting tradition and economy and most important, the deer population in general,” Cornicelli said. “In states where CWD has become well-established in wild deer, efforts at elimination have been unsuccessful. Research has shown that if established, the disease will reduce deer populations in the long term. Nobody wants this to happen in Minnesota.”

Because much of southeastern Minnesota’s land is privately owned, the DNR will work with landowners when collecting additional samples to assess disease distribution and reduce the potential for CWD to spread. Sample collection could take the form of a late winter deer hunt, landowner shooting permits and sharpshooting in conjunction with cooperating landowners who provide permission.

“Those decisions will be made after surveillance is done this hunting season,” Cornicelli said.

The DNR has been on the lookout for CWD since 2002, when the disease first was detected at a domestic elk farm in central Minnesota. In recent years it has put additional focus on southeastern Minnesota; the region abuts Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. Wisconsin has 43 counties affected by CWD and the disease has been detected in northeastern Iowa’s Allamakee County.

Since 2002, the DNR has tested approximately 50,000 deer, elk, and moose for CWD.

CWD is transmitted primarily from animal-to-animal by infectious agents in feces, urine or saliva. The disease also can persist for a long time in the environment and may be contracted from contaminated soil. The movement of live animals is one of the greatest risk factors in spreading the disease to new areas.

For more information, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions, hunter information and venison processing, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd. Landowners, hunters and citizens can stay engaged and informed by visiting the CWD page and signing up to receive an email automatically when new information on CWD management becomes available.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #89                                                                                          Nov. 21, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
DNR updates Minnesota buffer strip map; implementation continues

Grant aims to get more people hunting and fishing

DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2018 turkey stamp

Eagles on roadways – Give them a brake

Question of the week: turkeys

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Steve Colvin, deputy director, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 651-259-5709, steve.colvin@state.mn.us.

DNR updates Minnesota buffer map; implementation continues

The Department of Natural Resources has released the first of two planned updates to Minnesota’s buffer map that was first released in July. The map shows public waters and public ditches requiring permanent vegetative buffers or alternative water quality practices to help reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment.

The update is based on comments and change requests from landowners and drainage authorities to ensure the map accurately shows where buffers are needed. The update includes 645 changes. Not all comments resulted in changes. The DNR found some of the change requests lacked foundation, while some comments were duplicates and others still require review or action.

  • Nearly 1,000 comments involve discrepancies in watercourse alignments or lake and wetland boundaries.
  • 500 comments involve additions to or deletions from the public ditch inventory, as directed by drainage authorities.
  • 275 comments relate to public waters inventory status. Using statutory public waters inventory criteria, the DNR has removed 120 water features from the buffer map and added 40.
  • More than 600 locations require field review. 133 field reviews have been completed, with the balance expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Since the preliminary buffer map was released in March, the DNR has received more than 3,400 comments or change requests and has made nearly 2,100 map updates.

DNR Buffer Mapping Project Manager Bill Huber explained why some change requests are approved and others are not. Each change request is evaluated for consistency with the statutory requirement and DNR criteria for map development, he said. Other comments that do not meet the criteria for the buffer map, such as adding wetlands without a shoreland classification, were not changed on the buffer map.

“It’s important to note that these types of changes were expected, and they represent a very small fraction of the total waters depicted on the map,” Huber said.

Map criteria and the updated buffer map are available at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

The DNR has also updated the buffer map application. The application is a web-based mapping tool for soil and water conservation districts, drainage authorities and local governments to review the buffer map, suggest corrections and see DNR review decisions. The updated application provides soil and water conservation districts and drainage authorities with an easy way to submit map change requests and other comments.

The final update of the buffer map is scheduled for early 2017. Meanwhile, buffer implementation is moving forward with these deadlines:

  • Nov 1, 2017: 50-foot average width, 30-foot minimum width, buffers must be in place on lands adjacent to public waters and identified and mapped on the buffer map.
  • Nov. 1, 2018: 16.5-foot minimum width buffers must be in place on lands adjacent to public ditches as identified and mapped on the buffer map.

The buffer initiative is a multi-agency effort involving the DNR, Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The DNR is responsible for maintaining a map of the public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers or alternative water quality practices.

More information and answers to specific questions about Minnesota’s buffer mapping project are available at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

NOTE: Image of a segment of the buffer map is available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “11-21-16 buffer map.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    
Media contact: Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment and retention supervisor, 651-259-5247, jeff.ledermann@state.mn.us.

Grant aims to get more people hunting and fishing

Anglers still cast lines and hunters head to deer camp each year, but the percentage of Minnesotans who hunt or fish is shrinking.

To help grow the number of hunters and anglers, organizations can apply for grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Groups that will help move people through the process of becoming hunters and anglers, or of continuing to hunt or fish, are encouraged to apply for funding,” said Jeff Ledermann, DNR angler recruitment and retention supervisor. “We give priority to programs for underserved audiences, new immigrant populations and those with an ongoing impact rather than one-time events.”

Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops, and camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation.

Groups must apply for this round of grants by Jan. 9, 2017. The grant program began this year and this is the third round of grants. In this round, awards will range from $5,000 to $50,000. The DNR anticipates a total of $100,000 will be available. Third-round projects must be completed in Minnesota and be finished by June 30, 2018.

New in this round, there is no longer a requirement of a funding match. Organizations are nonetheless encouraged to include a match in their project that can be funding, or donated labor, materials or services. Match amounts will be considered in the selection process.

“The grant program began this year and the first two rounds were competitive, with more than 50 applicants,” Ledermann said. “The groups we chose shared a commitment to ongoing support for helping people enjoy the outdoors through hunting or fishing.”

To learn more about the DNR’s work in recruitment, retention and reactivation, and to find grant application requirements, visit www.mndnr.gov/r3. Details about the grant and a list of award winners can be found at the link under “Help others discover.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Steve Merchant, wildlife populations program manager, 651-259-5220, steve.merchant@state.mn.us.

DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2018 turkey stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2018 Minnesota Wild Turkey Stamp from Monday, Dec. 5, through 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16.

The cost of a turkey stamp is included in a turkey license, but pictorial stamps are sold as collectables. In the contest, the eastern wild turkey must be the primary focus of the design.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists may issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds.

Final judging is open to the public and will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, in St. Paul. The public is welcome to come and view the winning design 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Dec. 23.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to wild turkey habitat management. Extirpated from Minnesota around 1900, wild turkeys now thrive throughout all but the northern forested portions of the state.

For more information on stamp contests, guidelines for submitting work, and to sign up to receive regular email updates on stamp contests, visit www.mndnr.gov/stamps. Contest guidelines are also available from the DNR Information Center by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Christine Herwig, DNR northwest region nongame specialist – Bemidji,
651-259-5706, christine.herwig@state.mn.us.

Eagles on roadways – Give them a brake

It’s the time of year when an increase in deer activity leads to more road-killed deer that attract animals, such as eagles, to a free meal along roadways. This is also the time of year when Minnesota Department of Natural Resources nongame wildlife staff and area wildlife managers receive many calls about injured or dead eagles on Minnesota roads.

Why do eagles get hit by vehicles? After all, people rarely see a crow injured or dead along the roadway. Crows simply fly off.

Just as an overloaded plane can’t take off, eagles can “over eat” and become too heavy to fly until they digest their meal. Eagles can also suffer from neurological issues if they are exposed to lead in the carcass of the animal they are eating. When this happens, eagles become disoriented and do not know to fly off when a car is approaching.

“When deer are particularly active, we tend to get calls about eagles that are injured or killed by vehicles or sick and dying from lead poisoning,” said Christine Herwig, DNR northwest region nongame specialist. “If you see a dead deer on the road and can safely move the deer off the roadway, this improves the safety of other motorists and wildlife.”

People who encounter a dead eagle, can leave it alone or bring it to the nearest DNR office; it’s a good idea to call ahead to be sure they have a freezer. Eagles are sent to a national feather repository where the feathers and other eagle parts are cleaned and distributed to Native American reservations for use in ceremonies.

“You may not keep a dead eagle, but by law you are allowed to transport a dead eagle to a state or federal wildlife agency office.” Herwig said. “In 1940, Congress enacted the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which makes possession of an eagle or an eagle feather a federal crime punishable by a $10,000 fine and a year in prison.”

For people who encounter an injured eagle, Herwig recommends either contacting a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or letting nature take its course. Some eagles can survive their injuries and be transported to a rehabilitator like the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center, which rehabilitates more than 800 sick and injured hawks, eagles, falcons and owls a year. Again, there are exceptions to federal laws, including an allowance for those attempting to bring wounded birds to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Citizens may not rehabilitate wildlife without a permit.

Before transporting an eagle to the Raptor Center, DNR office or wildlife rehabilitator, Herwig recommends to first contact the local DNR office or rehabilitator. Transporting any injured animal, particularly a raptor, can be challenging and even dangerous. Thick leather gloves should be worn and a blanket (without loops) could be put over the head of the animal to calm it down. Be sure the animal is contained in a secure and appropriately sized pet carrier or box. Do not feed or water the animal, and bring the animal to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Being near humans and around unfamiliar, loud noises is stressful to wildlife, especially when they are injured. When transporting any wild animal in a vehicle, passengers should remain quiet, leave the radio off and leave the animal alone.

Information about wildlife rehabilitation including a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators: www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/rehabilitation/injured-wildlife.html.

People can help support Minnesota’s Nongame Wildlife Program by making a tax-deductible donation using the Nongame Wildlife checkoff this tax season.

For more information on bald eagles and the Nongame Wildlife Program, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame.

Question of the week: turkeys

Q: Wild turkeys seem to be fairly common in Minnesota. Has this always been the case?

A: Historically, wild turkeys are thought to have lived only in far southern Minnesota. By 1880, they had vanished from the state due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss.

Attempts to re-establish wild turkeys in Minnesota date back to the 1920s, but these efforts weren’t successful until 1971, when turkeys trapped in Missouri were released into Houston County and showed strong survival. From the 1970s through 2008, the DNR continued its trap-and-release program to release wild turkeys throughout much of Minnesota to improve hunting opportunities. This, along with a favorable mix of agricultural and forest habitat, allowed turkeys to expand well beyond their pre-settlement range.

DNR research has shown why the ag/forest habitat mix is important for year-round survival of wild turkeys in Minnesota. Woodlands provide roosting sites and year-round cover, while forest edges and openings provide nesting and brood-rearing cover. Access to nearby agricultural land provides an important food source. Turkeys can survive Minnesota’s cold winters as long as they can find food, which is another reason why they have successfully expanded their range to the north.

To learn more, visit the DNR’s wild turkey management page at www.mndnr.gov/turkey.

Nicole Davros, DNR upland game project leader

DNR MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                             Nov. 17, 2016
Media contact: Amy Kay Kerber, forestry outreach supervisor, amykay.kerber@state.mn.us, 651-259-5272.

Governor’s Christmas tree to be harvested from state forest

WHAT:
With the holiday season just around the corner, Gov. Mark Dayton’s home will soon become festive. A large balsam fir will be cut down in the Nemadji State Forest that will be the Christmas tree on the front grounds of the governor’s residence in St. Paul.

WHO:
DNR forestry and Conservation Corps of Minnesota will cut and load the tree.

WHEN:
Friday, Nov. 18, 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:
The tree is located in the Nemadji State Forest. Media should meet at 9:30 a.m.
outside the Duquette General Store, 88235 Minnesota Highway 23, Duquette,
MN 55756 and then drive to the site.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The 2016 Christmas tree for the governor’s residence is a balsam fir from the Nemadji State Forest. This tree is 30 feet tall and estimated to be 40-45 years old. Each year, DNR staff and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota cut the tree on the Friday before Thanksgiving. But, the search for just the right tree begins months before. DNR foresters keep an eye out for a tall tree that’s nicely shaped and well filled out. The tree also needs to be in a location where it will not be damaged when dropped and then easily pulled out and loaded onto a trailer.

The tree will be set up at the governor’s official residence, 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, around
9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 21. The tree will be lit Dec. 1. More information and details on viewing the tree is at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/governor-christmas-tree.html.

Each holiday season, half a million Christmas trees are harvested from private tree farms in Minnesota, contributing about $30 million to the state’s economy. For each tree harvested, one to three trees are replanted. Real Christmas trees store carbon during their lifespan. They can be chipped for mulch when the season is over, making them an environmentally friendly choice.

NOTE
Video and photos of the tree being cut and loaded will be available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “11-18-16 Christmas tree” after 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       Nov. 10, 2016
Media contact: Adam Murkowski, big game program leader, 651-259-5198,
adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

Hunters register 68,958 deer during first weekend of season
Harvest down 3 percent from a year ago

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,958 deer during the first two days of firearms deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show that the number of deer registered fell 3 percent from 2015. Of the deer harvested, 67 percent were bucks, compared to 68 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2015.

In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 7 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 28 percent.

“Even with record-high temperatures statewide, the opening weekend harvest in Zone 1 is at least 16 percent higher than last year,” said DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski. “Since these are preliminary numbers, it’s too soon to say if the unusual weather had any impact on harvest elsewhere in the state, but as conditions change and hunting continues, we’ll get a better sense of how the season is progressing.”

Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2016 total deer harvest to be between 165,000 and 185,000 deer. The 2015 total harvest was a little more than 159,000.

In much of Minnesota, the deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 13. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 20; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 27; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 26, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 11.

The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      Nov. 10, 2016
Media contacts: John Williams, DNR northwest region wildlife manager, 218-308-2680, john.williams@state.mn.us; Ruth Anne Franke, Karlstad area wildlife supervisor, 218-436-2427,
ext. 222, ruth.anne.franke@state.mn.us.

Minnesota’s elk hunts successful

The 2016 elk hunts in northwestern Minnesota wrapped up on Sept. 18 with another successful season in the Kittson County area, according to the Department of the Natural Resources. Five of seven hunters harvested bulls.

Two zones were open to hunting and all permits were bull only. In the Caribou-Vita herd (Zone 30), which migrates between northern Kittson County and Manitoba, two permits were issued and both hunters successfully harvested 6×6 bulls, meaning each bull had six points on each side. One bull was harvested on private land and one on the Caribou Wildlife Management Area.

In the Kittson-Central herd (Zone 20), located near Lancaster in Kittson County, three of five permits were filled with 5×6, 6×6 and 6×7 bulls, all on private land.

“We are excited to be able to offer elk hunters the opportunity to take part in these once in a lifetime hunts in northwestern Minnesota,” said Ruth Anne Franke, Karlstad area wildlife supervisor. “The large tracts of public land and willingness of landowners to allow elk hunting on their properties make Minnesota an excellent elk hunting destination. We are grateful to local landowners for their support.”

The elk season was timed to coincide with the elk rut (breeding season) and elk were actively bugling. This gave hunters the opportunity to locate the bulls by listening for their bugles, and test their bugling (calling) and stalking skills.

Once again, a hunting season was not offered in the Grygla area where herd numbers remain below the population goal of 30-38 elk. The Grygla herd survey last winter recorded 21 elk. Previous estimates are 18 in 2015, 20 in 2014 and 28 in 2013. This herd hasn’t been hunted since 2012.

Elk management in Minnesota
The DNR’s goal is to maintain a free-ranging, wild elk population in northwestern Minnesota. The department envisions a healthy population that offers recreational and economic opportunities while actively addressing conflicts between elk and people. Habitat and herd structure will be maintained. Hunting seasons are used to help manage problem animals and herd size.

Information on Minnesota’s elk and the current management plan is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/elk.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Nov. 3, 2016
Media contacts: Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager, 651-259-5789, bradford.parsons@state.mn.us; Don Pereira, fisheries chief, 651-259-5229,
don.pereira@state.mn.us.

Mille Lacs Lake to be open for winter fishing season
Winter fishing limits 1 walleye, 5 northern pike per angler

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today announced that the winter walleye regulation will allow anglers to keep one walleye between 19 and 21 inches or one longer than 28 inches.

The 2016-17 winter regulation continues last winter’s one fish limit but moves the harvest slot up slightly from last year’s 18 to 20 inches.

The winter walleye season begins Thursday, Dec. 1, and extends through Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.

Tribal and DNR biologists met Nov. 1 to evaluate the status of the walleye population following the completion of the 2015-2016 fishing season. The key conservation goal of conserving the abundant 2013 year class was achieved, with minimal fishing mortality occurring during the past year and key population benchmarks successfully met. Those factors combined to support a modest winter harvest for Mille Lacs Lake walleye.

“The winter season regulation enables Mille Lacs anglers to catch and keep walleye while providing necessary fish conservation and support to the Mille Lacs area economy,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief.

“This regulation allows continued protection of walleye in Mille Lacs’ abundant 2013 year class, which are the lake’s future spawners,” Pereira said.

Northern pike will provide anglers and darkhouse spearers with additional opportunity to harvest fish on Mille Lacs this winter. Like last winter, ice anglers and spearers can keep up to five fish with one longer than 30 inches. However, in order to keep the one northern pike longer than 30 inches, anglers and spearers must have caught or speared two northern pike shorter than 30 inches and have both smaller fish in immediate possession.

The pike regulation goes into effect on Dec. 1. It continues through Sunday, March 26, 2017, for angling and Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017 for spearing.

For now, bass regulations will remain the same. But on the heels of a very successful Toyota Angler of the Year tournament and the increased attention it has focused on Mille Lacs’ world-class smallmouth, discussions with the Mille Lacs advisory committee will be ongoing to determine if changes may be warranted for the open water bass season.

More information about Mille Lacs Lake management is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #84                                                                                          Nov. 3, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Deer stands not allowed left overnight on wildlife management areas
Turenne wins 2017 walleye stamp contest
Good conditions greet hunters during Camp Ripley hunts

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Capt. Jon Paurus, education programs coordinator, 320-616-2504, jon.paurus@state.mn.us.

Deer stands not allowed left overnight on wildlife management areas

With the Minnesota firearms deer season beginning Saturday, Nov. 5, hunters are reminded that deer stands cannot be left overnight on state wildlife management areas (WMA).

“Leaving stands overnight on these public lands is a fairly common violation,” said Capt. Jon Paurus, education programs coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The reason for this rule is to prevent hunters from pre-empting hunting spots. At the beginning of each day, all locations on these public lands are available to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.

“Hunters who use stands are reminded to always wear a safety harness, check climbing sticks or ladders for damage and always wait until safely in the stand before loading a firearm,” Paurus said.

Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields in hopes of harvesting an animal. Hunters need to be familiar with 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 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.

NOTE: Image of a deer stand on a birch tree, an example of what not to do on WMAs, is available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “11-03-16 deer stand.” The railroad spikes will cause permanent damage to the tree.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Neil Vanderbosch, fisheries program consultant, 651-259-5178, neil.vanderbosch@state.mn.us.

Turenne wins 2017 walleye stamp contest

Richfield artist Timothy Turenne won the 2017 Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest. The painting was selected by judges from among eight entries for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Turenne’s painting of a walleye foraging on minnows will be featured on the 2017 walleye stamp.

This is the second time Turenne has won the walleye stamp contest, his first win being in 2010. What’s more, Turenne has now won all four state stamp contests he’s entered this year – leaving out only the pheasant stamp.

“This is an incredible feat to win all these contests in one year,” said Neil Vanderbosch, fisheries program consultant. “The only reason he did not enter the pheasant stamp contest this year was because he won that contest last year and was ineligible to enter.”

The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5 but is not required to fish for or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers will be mailed the pictorial stamp. A pictorial collectable stamp without the validation is available for $5.75. Walleye stamps are available year-round and need not be purchased at the same time as fishing licenses.

Four entries advanced as finalists and were selected Oct. 27 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.

Revenue from stamp sales is used to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. The 2016 walleye stamp is still available for purchase at all license vendors. More information about stamps is available at www.mndnr.gov/stamps.

NOTE: Image available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “11-03-16 walleye stamp.”

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

Goodconditions greet hunters during Camp Ripley hunts

Archers took 113 deer during this year’s bow hunts at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls.

There were 2,995 permits issued, with 2,270 hunters participating. Participation and harvest declined this year since bonus permits weren’t allowed, and the harvest was heavily dominated by bucks, which comprised 75 percent of the take.

This year, Central Lakes College Natural Resources Program coordinated morning check-in and provided deer registration services at the hunts, which took place Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 29-30.

“We have a strong partnership with Central Lakes College and the event is a good opportunity to train students pursuing a career in wildlife management,” said Beau Liddell, DNR wildlife manager at Little Falls.

Brian Sanoski of Randall took the largest buck registered during the hunts, tipping the scales at 218 pounds. Hunters registering other large bucks included Urban Brady of Bowlus (212 pounds), Matthew Tester of Andover (208 pounds), Jordan Torma of Menahga (207 pounds), Daniel Austad of Staples (198 pounds), Michael Barnes of Little Falls (198 pounds), and Paul Paine of Mound (198 pounds).

Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 148 pounds, taken by Devin Nelson of Watkins, and 124 pounds taken by Richard Reginek of Hutchinson.

The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunts in collaboration with Central Lakes College Natural Resources Department, and the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #83                                                                   Oct. 31, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Deer hunting opener: Top 10 points to know  
Newest state record fish hooked in Vadnais Lake
Reminder: Apply by Nov. 6 to serve on DNR fish work groups  
Question: poached animals  


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Adam Murkowski, big game program leader, 651-259-5198, adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

Deer hunting opener: Top 10 points to know  

In less than a week, excitement over Halloween and pumpkins turns to deer hunting and blaze orange, with the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season set to begin a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 5.

“Deer season is talked about as a major holiday among hunters, and it’s a great time to reconnect with family, friends and nature,” said Adam Murkowski, big game program leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Here are 10 reminders for deer hunters from the DNR:

CWD sampling in southeast
Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota who harvest a deer during the 3A and 3B firearms deer seasons are encouraged to have their deer sampled for chronic wasting disease (CWD) at one of 30 locations.

Due to the expansion of CWD in Iowa and Wisconsin, the DNR will be conducting CWD surveillance in deer areas 339 to 349 during the firearm season, an area that includes nearly all the 300 series permit areas. Locations of deer check stations, information about how hunters can enter to win prizes for participating and more are available at www.mndnr.gov/cwd. Prizes are two muzzleloaders and a bow donated by Bluffland Whitetails and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

Buy license and check regulations
The DNR encourages hunters to purchase their licenses now to avoid long lines and any potential system issues associated with the high sales volume. Locations to purchase are listed at www.mndnr.gov/licenses/agents.html. Hunters also should review regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
 
Register deer
Hunters are reminded to register deer before processing, before antlers are removed and within 48 hours after taking the animal. Deer can be registered by phone, internet or in-person, with details available at www.mndnr.gov/gameregistrationhelp. However, in-person registration will be required in deer permit areas 339 to 349, an area that includes nearly all the 300 series permit areas, during the 3A and 3B firearms deer seasons.

Learn to hunt with a mentor
Do you know somebody who wants to try hunting but doesn’t have a firearms safety certificate?

The potential hunter can use the apprentice hunter validation. The validation is a short-term exception to the requirement for completing hunter firearms safety training and can be purchased where hunting licenses are sold. The validation may be purchased in two license years in a lifetime. Find details at www.mndnr.gov/safety/apprentice.  

Stoke the digital campfire
Have Minnesota deer camp photos or stories to share? Hunters can use #‎DeerCampMN on Twitter or #DeerCampMN on Facebook. Also check out #MNDeerOpener, which will include some activity from the festivities at Breezy Point Resort during the 2016 Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener.

Celebrating tradition at Breezy Point
Each year the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener celebrates the state’s deer hunting tradition – and offers a chance to start some new ones. A deer hunting expo is open to the public, starts 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at Breezy Point Resort, and features a variety of hunting-related booths and activities. More about the event is at www.mngovernorsdeeropener.com.

Projected harvest
The DNR is projecting that the 2016 total harvest will be between 165,000 and 185,000 deer. The 2015 total harvest was a little more than 159,000. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Deer plan
The DNR continues to develop the state’s first-ever deer management plan. Overall goals of the deer plan include setting a statewide harvest objective; addressing regional variations in deer habitat and populations; and describing and guiding the DNR’s responsibilities and activities related to deer management. More information will be posted as it becomes available at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan, and people can stay informed by subscribing to the Deer Notes email list at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

No whole deer carcasses allowed to enter Minnesota
Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded that whole deer carcasses are no longer allowed to be brought into Minnesota from anywhere in North America. This new restriction that includes all members of the deer family (deer, elk, moose and caribou) is an effort by the DNR to respond to the increasing prevalence and geographic spread of CWD. More about how hunters can bring deer into the state and a link to a video about how to cape a deer can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deerimports.

Info center expanded hours
To provide better year-round customer service, the DNR Information Center is piloting a permanent move to longer hours and days for phone calls only, starting this Wednesday, Nov. 2. The public will be able to get answers to their natural resources questions by dialing 888-646-6367 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Information Center will take phone calls only during the new hours, not in-person visits or license sale requests. The License Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, as well as 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.Saturday, Nov. 5, for deer opener only, but is otherwise open for calls and in-person visits from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #82                                                                       Oct. 28, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Zebra mussels confirmed in Kimble Lake in Crow Wing County
Trappers and waterfowl hunters reminded to avoid spreading invasive species

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor, heidi.wolf@state.mn.us.

Zebra mussels confirmed in Kimble Lake in Crow Wing County
Invasive species found on boat lifts

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Kimble Lake in Crow Wing County. As with a recent confirmation at another Crow Wing County Lake, zebra mussels were reported on boat lifts that had been removed from the water at the end of the season.

A lake service provider business contacted the DNR after finding an adult zebra mussel on a boat lift in storage on a Kimble Lake beach. DNR invasive species staff surveyed the lake and found one additional zebra mussel on a boat lift out of the water several hundred feet north of the public access.

“We want to remind lake property owners to carefully inspect docks and boat lifts once they’re out of the water for the season,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “Several recent zebra mussel confirmations have been made because vigilant lake property owners, lake service providers and watercraft inspectors are checking docks and lifts.”

Minnesota law requires docks and boat lifts to be out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water. This requirement is an important tool for preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.

Zebra mussels are an invasive (non-native) species that can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

Less than two percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels.

Along with requiring docks and lifts to be out of the water for 21 days before putting them into another body of water, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To further reduce risk of transport, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another body of water, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least 5 days.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

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NOTE: Images available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “10-28-16 zebra mussels.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Allison Gamble, DNR aquatic invasive species specialist, 507-766-3823, allison.gamble@state.mn.us; Tim Plude, DNR aquatic invasive species specialist, 320-234-2550, ext. 238, timothy.plude@state.mn.us.

Trappers and waterfowl hunters reminded to avoid spreading invasive species

With hunting season in progress, it’s time for waterfowl hunters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Without the proper precautions, invasive species such as purple loosestrife, faucet snails, Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels could be transported in waterfowl hunters’ boats, decoys or blind material.

Invasive species can damage habitat for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife, and even cause die-offs of waterfowl.

“After hunting, take a few minutes to clean plants and mud and drain water from duck boats, decoys, decoy lines, waders and push poles,” said Allison Gamble, DNR invasive species specialist. “It’s the key to avoiding the spread of aquatic invasive species in waterfowl habitat.”

The DNR has the following recommendations to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Use elliptical or bulb-shaped or strap decoy anchors.
  • Drain water and remove all plants and animals from boats and equipment.
  • Remove all plants and animals from anchor lines and blind materials.
  • Check compartments or storage in boats or kayaks that aren’t in use the rest of the year.

Waterfowl hunters should also remember that they must cut cattails or other plants above the water line when using them as camouflage for boats or blinds, if they want to move them from lake to lake.

The DNR is also reminding trappers to clean their equipment before moving them to another body of water.

“Trappers of muskrats and other furbearers should also keep the ‘Clean in-Clean out’ mantra in mind,” said DNR invasive species specialist Tim Plude. “All traps, lines, boots, and waders should be cleaned to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.”

To kill or remove invasive species seeds or young zebra mussels that are difficult to see, the DNR recommends that boaters use a high-pressure spray or a hot water rinse before launching into another water body (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds). Air drying can also be effective but may require more time due to cooler weather.

Less than five percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are on the infested waters list, and it’s up to sportsmen and women to help keep it that way.

“If the sporting public can help us by acting as our eyes and ears on the water, it can help us catch a problem before it’s too late,” said Gamble. “And that is invaluable,” she said.

A short video showing what waterfowl hunters can do is available at http://tinyurl.com/jtf8tda. Additional resources on aquatic invasive species are available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Oct. 27, 2016
Media contacts: Barb Naramore, DNR assistant commissioner, 651-259-5033,
barb.naramore@state.mn.us; Eric Durkee, director of public relations, Minnesota United FC,
651-270-8755, eric.d@mnunitedfc.com.

Minnesota United soccer team partners with
DNR to support loons and state parks

Portion of season ticket purchases to benefit Loon Monitoring Program

The Minnesota United, a professional soccer team commonly referred to as “the Loons,” is partnering with the Department of Natural Resources to support loon populations throughout the state by way of the Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program.

The partnership is part of team’s Itasca Society, a program made up of the first 11,842 season ticket holders – one for every lake in Minnesota – which provides exclusive perks and opportunities for fans who become season ticket holders ahead of United’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 2017.

“We are proud to partner with a great organization like the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,” said United President Nick Rogers. “Supporting our state parks and iconic wildlife in Minnesota is something our organization is passionate about. These values are reflected in what the DNR does on a daily basis. This partnership is a perfect way for our organization and our fans to give back to the state we love and to support the mighty loon, our state bird, which is proudly represented on our club crest.”

As part of the partnership, a portion of all Itasca Society members’ season ticket purchases will go to the DNR to support the Loon Monitoring Program. Additionally, all inaugural season ticket holder accounts will receive a complimentary Minnesota State Parks Day Pass.

“We are excited about our partnership with Minnesota United and grateful to the team for their generous support of our Loon Monitoring Program,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.  “We also appreciate their enthusiasm for connecting soccer fans to Minnesota state parks and trails by providing one-day passes for season ticket holders.”

The DNR’s Loon Monitoring Program, in its 23rd year, is the principal tool for monitoring the health of Minnesota’s loon population. Volunteer citizen scientists assist with loon monitoring. Minnesota United’s support will be used to expand loon surveys to lakes throughout Minnesota where there are currently no active volunteers. The contribution will also enhance the DNR’s analysis of the survey data being collected.

There are multiple opportunities for United fans to take part in and support the loon population through the Loon Monitoring Program. Some basic information about loons and their populations throughout Minnesota:

  • The common loon is Minnesota’s state bird and a source of pleasure to thousands of residents and visitors who enjoy its enchanting sights and sounds.
  • Minnesota is the summer home to over 12,000 adult loons, more than in all other states combined, excluding Alaska.
  • Minnesota’s loon populations are currently stable.
  • As a diving bird, loons use sight to hunt prey and therefore thrive in clear lakes and healthy fish populations.
  • The Loon Monitoring Project has over 1,000 volunteers and provides the DNR with information that helps direct loon conservation throughout the state.

For more information about the Loon Monitoring Program, visit: www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/mlmp_state.html.

For more information about the soccer team, which will play home matches at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, call 763-476-2237 or visit www.mnunitedfc.com.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #81                                                                                         Oct. 24, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announces ‘Free Park Friday
Hunters reminded registering deer is important and required
Lifelong interest in fishing and conservation can start small
Question of the week: deer coats


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, Parks and Trails Division outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division public information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announces ‘Free Park Friday

Entry fees at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas to be waived the day after Thanksgiving

Smith and DNR encourage all Minnesotans to get outdoors and explore Minnesota’s parks and trails 

Following the success of last year’s Free Park Friday, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is encouraging all Minnesotans to include outdoor activity as part of their family festivities over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As added incentive, Smith announced that entry fees at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Friday, Nov. 25.

Smith, who has set a goal of visiting all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, said she intends to work another state park visit into her schedule on Free Park Friday.

“In my travels around Minnesota, I visit Minnesota state parks and recreation areas as often as I can,” she said. “We have one of the finest park and trail systems in the country, and spending time in nature is the best way I know to get some exercise, relax and refresh with family and friends. I want as many Minnesotans as possible to enjoy a free day in the parks after Thanksgiving.”

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Minnesota state parks and trails system. The celebration has brought record crowds out to explore Minnesota’s most beautiful locations. Through the end of September, one-day parks and trails permit sales were up 6 percent, year-round permit sales were up 8 percent and overnight stays were up 6 percent over last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“As a way to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails, we’re encouraging visitors to see if they can go a total of 125 miles by bike, boot or boat by the end of 2016,” said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Free Park Friday will provide an opportunity to add to your mileage, whether you’re near the end of the challenge or just getting started.”

Those who log 125 miles will receive a limited-edition sticker and can post their photo in an online Finishers Gallery at www.dnr.state.mn.us/125/125mile_finishers.html.

Minnesota state parks are open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and feature more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails through the state’s hardwoods, prairies and pinelands.

In addition to hiking a favorite park, visitors and families can participate in naturalist-led programs, search for wildlife and even participate in the DNR’s “Call of the Wildflowers” geocaching adventure.

To learn more about Minnesota’s 75 state parks and trails and to plan your “Free Park Friday” trip, visit: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/index.html.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/freeparkfriday.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Adam Murkowski, big game program leader, 651-259-5198, adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

Hunters reminded registering deer is important and required

Hunters are reminded to register deer before processing, before antlers are removed and within 48 hours after taking the animal, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Every hunter who registers their deer is providing important information and playing a critical role in our ability to scientifically manage deer populations,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “Deer can be registered with a phone call, online or in person, with the exception of southeastern Minnesota during the firearms seasons, where in-person registration will be required.”

Before registering a deer, hunters must validate their site tag. The validated tag must be attached to the deer when the deer is placed on a motor vehicle or an ATV, a vehicle or a trailer being towed by an ATV or brought into a camp, yard or other place of habitation.

Phone registration
Register deer via phone by calling 888-706-6367. Directions are printed on each deer hunting license. Have a pen or permanent marker 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.

In-person 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.

In-person registration will be required in deer permit areas 339 to 349, an area that includes nearly all the 300 series permit areas, during the 3A and 3B firearms deer seasons while the DNR samples deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD). More information on CWD sampling and registration locations is at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

In all areas, hunters are allowed to transport deer out of the permit area where the deer were taken before registering the deer. However, during registration, the hunter must use the permit area number where the deer was harvested; using the wrong deer permit area for registration is illegal. Registration instructions for all methods are available at www.mndnr.gov/gameregistrationhelp.

Through registration, hunters provide important information on deer, an animal that is significant not only ecologically, but also socially and economically in Minnesota. Hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impact in the state.

Although deer populations vary in density from place to place and year to year and are influenced by the severity of winter weather, the DNR strives to manage deer for the benefit of everyone through habitat management, regulated hunting seasons, research and planning. Deer registration is one of many ways that citizens help.  
 
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment, retention and education supervisor, 651-259-5247, jeff.ledermann@state.mn.us.  

Lifelong interest in fishing and conservation can start small

Fishing and curiosity have always gone hand in hand, and when it comes to cleaning fish, some anglers have memories of examining the stomach of a catch – perhaps finding minnows, crawfish or the occasional oddity on the cutting board.

So when a group of Boy Scouts got a chance over the summer to analyze the stomach contents of fish – led by Ariel Johnson, MinnAqua program intern for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – one might say the tradition continued with high interest.

MinnAqua is a state aquatic resources and fishing education program of the DNR. The program teaches people about fishing and aquatic habitats.

After the Boy Scouts event, Johnson answered some questions about what exactly the Scouts were learning.

Q: So, where did you get the fish for this lesson?
A: These fish were given to me by Duluth area fisheries staff for the sake of the MinnAqua program of the DNR. As an intern for the program, I was teaching the scouts how to analyze the fish – you might call it organized gutting – and how to pull scales and otoliths, or ear bones, which help us determine the age of fish. These brave Scouts were on a mission to meet requirements for their Fish and Wildlife Merit Badge.

Q: What is the importance of lessons like this?
A: Our lessons got at real-world topics including how to how to count fish populations in a lake, how to identify invasive species and learning about DNR jobs in conservation. Through the MinnAqua program the Scouts were able to address the majority of the requirements for the merit badge, requirements that focused on recognizing the role that they had in conservation and what some threats are to natural resources in Minnesota. The Scouts even had some time to fish.

Q: So were the guts just a great attention getter?
A: The purpose of fish guts, interesting as they are, weren’t only about keeping the attention of a group of Scouts. Much can be learned by examining fish in general. When I worked as an intern for the Lake Superior fisheries office, we examined lake trout for sea lamprey wounds, diet, fin clippings that can show if a fish was stocked by the DNR, and we pulled aging structures, which are scales and ear bones.

On those lake trout, we found very few wounds from sea lampreys, a good sign that efforts are successful to reduce sea lamprey populations. Another great sign was that not many fish caught had any fin clippings, meaning that the fish we had were naturally reoccurring and populations appeared to be more stable.

Perhaps the most interesting thing found during my fisheries internship was one of the larger lake trout had eaten a bird’s foot. It was hard to tell exactly how this happened with the evidence at hand. But it got us wondering: How long has a fish of this size been around? That’s where the scales and otoliths come in – aging structures provide more information about the year class and their survival.

Q: The idea that seemingly small experiences can lead to big things is also a theme in MinnAqua. How does learning about fish lead to anything beyond a fun day at camp?
A: Sparking an interest in fishing can perhaps lead to a lifelong hobby and, in the process, development of a sense of responsibility for protecting natural resources. So they get an awareness of the value of the natural resources that exist and what can be done to protect these resources.

Q: Do these kids give you any hope for the future, or should we just pack up and play virtual reality fishing instead?
A: Well, I believe in the real thing, that’s for sure. This MinnAqua internship has shown me that environmental education is definitely what I want to pursue as a career. I find hope for the future of conservation every time a child says, “This was my first time ever fishing in my life. I want to go fishing again!”

Learn more about MinnAqua at www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua.

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NOTE TO MEDIA: Images are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named 10-24-16 MinnAqua.”

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: The 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.

A deer’s winter coat is comprised of two layers. The 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

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #80                                                                                          Oct. 20, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Minnesota state parks and trails specialty license plates to go on sale
DNR designates Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area
DNR updates Wildlife Action Plan to address emerging conservation concerns
DNR coordinating new starry stonewort treatment method in West Lake Sylvia
DNR launches updated performance and accountability webpage

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, DNR Parks and Trails Division, communications and outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, DNR Parks and Trails Division, information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

Minnesota state parks and trails specialty license plates to go on sale

 

A specialty license plate benefitting Minnesota state parks and trails will be available starting Thursday, Dec. 1, at Driver and Vehicle Services offices statewide.

The plates provide their owners with unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for the year, replacing the need for a vehicle permit (a $25 value). Proceeds from license plate sales will benefit Minnesota state parks and trails.

The cost of the new plates will start at $60, plus tax. This total includes a one-time $10 fee for the plate itself and a minimum $50 contribution (renewable annually).

“Purchasing the new license plates will be a great way to show everyone on the road that you ‘go the extra mile’ to support Minnesota state parks and trails,” said DNR Parks and Trails Division Director Erika Rivers.

The plate features an image of a canoe on the water, surrounded by Minnesota’s four seasons. Designed by Michelle Vesaas of Coon Rapids, it was chosen from among 80 entries as the winning entry in a contest that took place earlier this year in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the DNR unveiled the winning design on July 6.

This plate is one of several specialty license plates available from the DNR. There are also nine critical habitat license plates that Minnesotans can purchase – including a loon, moose, deer, and more – to support conservation.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/plates or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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NOTE: Image available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “10-20-16 specialty plate.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Mark Hauck, DNR community assistance specialist, 320-223-7846, mark.hauck@state.mn.us.

DNR designates Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area

The Department of Natural Resources this week designated the state’s second groundwater management area. Designation of the central Minnesota Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies will be adequate to meet human needs while protecting lakes, streams and wetlands.

The DNR also approved a management plan for the area, designed to ensure adequate supplies of groundwater. The designated area includes parts of Stearns, Pope, and Kandiyohi counties along with smaller parts of Douglas, Meeker, Swift and Todd counties.

The Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area Plan lays out five broad objectives and describes specific actions the DNR will take. The plan was developed over two years by DNR staff and an advisory team of nearly two dozen representatives of local government, industry, and other agencies.

“Here in the land of 10,000 lakes and hundreds of streams and rivers, it’s easy to take water for granted,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “But in some parts of Minnesota, such as the Bonanza Valley, growing demands on groundwater could place our aquifers and other resources at risk if we’re not careful. This plan explains how the DNR will work to make sure our use of groundwater remains sustainable.”

The plan provides a framework within which the DNR will work with major water users, including municipalities and farmers. This cooperative effort will promote conservation, protect surface waters and water quality, improve the groundwater appropriations permitting process, and resolve any conflicts that might arise among users.

The Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area is one of three groundwater management areas under development around Minnesota. The North and East Twin Cities Metropolitan Area was designated in November 2015 and the Straight River near Park Rapids in north-central Minnesota is yet to be designated.

More information, including plans and maps for the Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area, can be found on the project webpage www.dnr.state.mn.us/gwmp/area-bv.html.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Faith Balch, Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan coordinator, 651-259-5074, faith.balch@state.mn.us.

DNR updates Wildlife Action Plan to address emerging conservation concerns

The Department of Natural Resources and numerous partners have updated the Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan to better reflect conservation of the state’s native wildlife species in a changing climate.

“The plan addresses the primary causes of species population declines in Minnesota,” said the plan’s coordinator, Faith Balch. “Those causes include habitat loss and degradation, low reproduction and other biological issues, and the impacts of climate change. Along with the agencies and organizations that will implement the plan, we encourage anyone concerned about our state’s wildlife to review it and get involved.”

The plan outlines three goals:

 

  • Ensure that Minnesota’s wildlife remains healthy and viable, with a focus on Species in Greatest Conservation Need. About 16 percent of Minnesota’s known native wildlife species are identified as Species in Greatest Conservation Need because they are rare, declining or vulnerable to decline.
  • Enhance opportunities for people to watch wildlife and participate in conservation.
  • Acquire the resources necessary to successfully implement the plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the revised Minnesota Wildlife Action Plan earlier this year.

The 2005 plan goals were updated to better reflect wildlife conservation needs and approaches in a changing climate. The updated plan identifies 346 Species in Greatest Conservation Need, compared to 292 in the previous plan. Among the changes are the addition of the monarch butterfly and five native species of bees.

The plan, a list of Species in Greatest Conservation Need, and related resources are available at www.mndnr.gov/mnwap.

In developing the plan, the DNR collaborated with more than 40 conservation partners representing a diverse group of agencies, organizations and individuals. Partners include the DNR’s divisions of Fish and Wildlife, Forestry, Parks and Trails, and Ecological and Water Resources, as well as representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of Minnesota, Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Zoo, The Nature Conservancy, The Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and Audubon Minnesota. More than seventy agencies and organizations including 10 tribes were contacted and invited to review and submit comments on the final draft of the plan.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Dan Lais, DNR EWR central-north district manager, Sauk Rapids,
320-223-7848, dan.lais@state.mn.us.

DNR coordinating new starry stonewort treatment method in West Lake Sylvia
Public access closed during treatment

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Greater Lake Sylvia Association on an aggressive new treatment method for the invasive algae starry stonewort in West Lake Sylvia in Wright County. This week’s treatment is the first time the diver-assisted suction harvest, or DASH, method has been used in Minnesota.

Earlier this month, DNR invasive species staff confirmed a half-acre of sparse to moderate growth of starry stonewort at the public access to West Lake Sylvia. The public access, which also provides access to adjoining East Lake Sylvia, will be closed for about a month during the treatment. An alternative public access site has been made available at Camp Chi-Rho, located on a peninsula directly east of the temporarily closed public access. The DNR is working with the Greater Lake Sylvia Association to provide signs and directions to the temporary access.

The lake association is sharing in the cost of the effort to remove the half-acre of starry stonewort from the lake.

Diver assisted suction harvest is a manual control method that combines hand pulling with machine suction to physically remove starry stonewort while sparing native vegetation, followed by application of a selective herbicide.

“We’re hoping for effective treatment of the relatively small area where starry stonewort is present,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “While no treatment method has eradicated starry stonewort from any lake in the United States, this aggressive treatment will at least remove enough of the algae to minimize the risk of spread to other parts of the lake and to other lakes.”

Starry stonewort are grass-like algae that may produce dense mats, which could interfere with use of the lake. The invasive algae also may choke out native plants.

The algae is typically spread by lake users who transport fragments of the plant from an infested body of water. Lake users must follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, whether or not a lake has invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To prevent their spread, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another body  of water, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

More information about aquatic invasive species and how to report them is available at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

                                          -30-

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Linda Bylander, outreach program coordinator, 218-203-4347, linda.bylander@state.mn.us; David Schueller, information officer, 651-259-5708, david.schueller@state.mn.us.

For first-time deer hunter, big buck is only the beginning  

 

 

Teresa Head (right) with her mentor Naomi Walker and the buck Head shot at a Becoming an Outdoors Woman hunt.

Teresa Head always has loved hiking and being outside, even doing organized trail work when she lived in Alaska. The one-time vegetarian never had hunted or even held a gun until a few weeks ago.

So the Duluth-area resident was in for several surprises the first time she went deer hunting Saturday, Oct. 15.

Chief among them was her harvest of a 17-point buck in the waning daylight of that first day hunting. Many would consider her harvest the deer of a lifetime – it weighed 235 pounds field dressed and its antlers sprouted a 20-inch spread.

“I’ve never experienced being outside like we were that Saturday, where it’s so different than hiking,” Head said. “I’ve never sat still and quiet in the outdoors for eight hours. It was kind of an amazing experience.”

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources organized the hunt as part of its four-part program about how to hunt deer. Participants learn about deer biology, hunting safety, ethics and outdoor skills. They practice at a rifle range and meet with a DNR conservation officer, who answers questions and shares personal insights. The program culminates with an actual hunt in which participants are paired with a trained mentor.

“The program was just amazing and perfect,” Head said.

Head and her mentor sat in a ground blind for the whole day at Itasca State Park, located halfway between Park Rapids to the south and Bemidji to the north. She watched a mouse and saw individual leaves fall as finches and chickadees flitted from branch to branch.

“I saw all the little things that I’ve never in my whole life taken the time to look at. I thought, hunters – they’ve really got it figured out. They really know what they’re doing here,” Head said.

With daylight fading, mentor Naomi Walker was the first to spot the wiggling ears of a deer. The deer seemed to sense them but kept moving forward, finally stopping to browse. When it did, Head squeezed off a perfect shot from 40 yards, and the deer died quickly.

“I honestly felt like the way that animal went down was more humane than the way you buy beef and chicken in the grocery store,” Head said.

Head used a copper bullet, which prevented eagles or other wildlife from eating lead bullet fragments that can remain in the environment.

Walker, the leader of the learn-to-deer-hunt sessions, was honored to be a part of the hunt with Head. Walker herself learned to hunt through the BOW program.

“She definitely took her time to set up the shot,” Walker said. “She definitely paid attention to her firearms safety training and did everything by the book.”

Eight women participated in the weekend hunt in controlled areas of the state park and nearby La Salle Lake State Recreation Area. Only Head fired a shot. The state park also hosted a controlled deer hunt this fall for 75 youth.

Linda Bylander, BOW coordinator, said the stories generated by participants in the learn-to-deer-hunt program often inspire others to give hunting a try or become a mentor themselves.

“Female participation in hunting is on the rise in Minnesota,” Bylander said. “Many women, like Teresa, are going afield to harvest their own food, enjoy nature in a new way or spend time with their family.”

Bylander said BOW provides a valuable role in the process of becoming a hunter.

“Ongoing social support is at the heart of becoming and continuing to be a hunter,” she said. “We offer a friendly, safe and supportive environment, and that’s valuable because hunting isn’t an activity you normally adopt based on a single experience.”

For Head, other unexpected experiences from the hunt include a trip to the taxidermist and finding wall space for a mount. And she is excited about the new connections she formed during the program.

“I never in a million years imagined I’d have a mount in my house,” she said, adding that she appreciates the beauty of the animal and what she saw that day. “For me, it was just about feeding my family.”

For more information about BOW and its outdoor skills classes visit www.mndnr.gov/bow.

                                              -30-

NOTE: Images and fact sheet are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “10-20-16 BOW.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Peter Holt, conservation measures analyst, 651-259-5565, peter.holt@state.mn.us.

DNR launches updated performance and accountability webpage

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources launched a new version of its performance and accountability reporting webpage. The webpage on the DNR’s website tracks the DNR’s progress toward achieving conservation results through 88 performance measures and targets.

The DNR has been setting targets and tracking progress toward most of these measures for over a decade. Measurements on the website span all aspects of the agency’s work, from river and stream restoration projects and moose abundance to parks and trails management and facility energy use. The 2016 update includes many new performance measures to track progress in areas critical for better natural resources conservation, customer service, and related priorities.

Some examples of significant results over the last five years of data collected include:

  • An average of 8.77 million visitors and overnights guests visited state parks and recreation areas each year.
  • The number of watercraft users contacted about invasive species increased 353 percent, from 76,000 to 344,000. Much of this increase is a result of state funding provided to counties beginning in 2014 for aquatic invasive species prevention.
  • Approximately 34,000 additional acres have been acquired for wildlife management areas since 2010, one of many DNR programs to protect wildlife habitat and provide public access for outdoor recreation.
  • The number of long-term groundwater level monitoring wells in Minnesota increased 59 percent as part of an effort to expand and overhaul Minnesota’s groundwater level monitoring network.
  • Maintained an average of over 4.96 million acres of state-administered lands approved for forest certification.
  • Income from state mineral leases generated an average of $50.2 million dollars per year primarily benefiting public education.

The DNR will update the performance and accountability webpage annually and will work with stakeholders, the public, and elected officials to provide context for these measures as well as strategic advice on how to best achieve Minnesota’s conservation goals and targets.

Explore the performance and accountability reporting webpage: https://webapps8.dnr.state.mn.us/outcomes_reporting/conservation_agenda/.

View the Conservation Agenda: DNR’s 10-year Strategic Plan: www.mndnr.gov/conservationagenda.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #79                                                                                         Oct. 17, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Deer hunters encouraged to buy license early
Minnesota deer facts
Minnesota DNR celebrates National Forest Products Week
Zebra mussels confirmed in Lower Cullen Lake
  and nearby Lake Hubert in Crow Wing County
Reminder: Youth deer season is Oct. 20-23

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 2016 Minnesota firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 5.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to buy a deer license. There can be long lines of people waiting to buy licenses in the days before deer opener. Last year we sold more than 145,000 licenses the Thursday and Friday before opener,” said Steve Michaels, DNR licensing program director. “Buy early and you can spend more time getting ready to hunt and enjoying time with family and friends.”

Deer licenses can be purchased 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. Deer licenses and tags ordered by phone and internet take three to five business days to arrive, so hunters who choose these options should allow enough time for delivery. Hunters must have a valid deer license and tag in their possession when hunting deer.

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.

Maintaining quality habitat to support an appropriate population level is good for deer, deer hunters and the habitats that sustain them. Deer populations, which vary in density from place to place and year to year are influenced by the severity of winter weather. Deer are ecologically, socially and economically important in a state where hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impact.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Adam Murkowski, big game program leader, 651-259-5198, adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

Minnesota deer facts

Deer: The animal

  • Adult female white-tailed deer weigh about 145 lbs., and males weigh about 170 lbs.
  • The biggest white-tailed deer recorded in Minnesota was a 500-pound buck.
  • A whitetail’s home range is about 1 square mile.

Deer hunting

  • There are nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in Minnesota.
  • Last year, 30 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters successfully harvested a deer. About 63 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.
  • Hunters can register their deer via internet, phone or at walk-in big-game registration stations, except in southeastern Minnesota permit areas 339 to 349 during the firearms season while the DNR samples deer for chronic wasting disease.
  • The largest typical whitetail buck taken in Minnesota had a Boone & Crockett score of 202, shot by John Breen in 1918 near Funkley.
  • Minnesota’s No. 1 nontypical whitetail buck had 43 points, shot by 17-year-old Mitch Vakoch in 1974.

Deer licenses

  • In total, about 606,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2015.
  • 97 percent of Minnesota deer licenses are sold to state residents.
  • The DNR Information Center remained open 3 1/2 hours later on the day before last year’s deer opener to answer more than 1,600 telephone inquiries, most of them related to the firearms opener.

Hunting economics*

  • All hunting-related expenditures in Minnesota totaled $725 million.
  • Trip-related expenses such as food and lodging, transportation were $235 million.
  • Hunters spent $400 million on equipment.
  • Hunters spent $90 million on other items such as magazines, membership dues, licenses, permits, land leasing and ownership.

* From the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (www.census.gov/prod/www/fishing.html).

Deer management in Minnesota

  • The DNR is entrusted to manage the deer herd on behalf of, and for, the benefit of all Minnesotans.
  • Deer are the number one hunted species in Minnesota and deer hunters along with other hunters and wildlife watchers together contribute more than $1.3 billion to the economy.
  • The DNR is beginning the planning process to write a statewide deer management plan and the agency is interested in your thoughts about deer management. The public will have multiple ways to provide input into the planning process including membership on the Deer Plan Advisory Committee, public meetings, focus group meetings, and online public comments.

More information on deer and deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Kristen Bergstrand, DNR forest utilization and marketing coordinator,
218-322-2511, kristen.bergstrand@state.mn.us.

Minnesota DNR celebrates National Forest Products Week

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, along with the nation, celebrates National Forest Products Week, Oct.16-22, by bringing attention to the vast array of products forests provide.

“Every day we use Minnesota forest products in our lives — like paper, lumber or energy generated from forest biomass,” said Kristen Bergstrand, coordinator of the DNR’s Forest Utilization and Marketing Program. “National Forest Products Week celebrates America’s forests, the products they provide and the local economies they help support.”

Everything from the trunk and limbs to sap, leaves and needles of a tree are used to make consumer products. When a tree is harvested, another tree or two is grown in its place. When people use tree products — such as lumber, paper, mulch, cosmetics, energy and even Christmas trees — they encourage sustainability by choosing products made from a renewable resource that also supports the local economy, Bergstrand said.

Minnesota is home to 17.3 million acres of forests. Purchasing wood products made in Minnesota supports jobs and family forest owners by bringing money into rural areas. Nearly 300 Minnesota cities sell goods and services to the forest products industry. Statewide forest products manufacturing facilities sustain and enrich local communities by providing jobs, taxes and infrastructure. The forest products industry is Minnesota’s fifth largest manufacturing sector by employment. It provides over $16 billion in economic impact and creates 62,800 jobs.

Thirty percent of all wood fiber in Minnesota comes from DNR-administered forest lands. This wood fiber is used primarily to make paper, pulp, engineered wood products, lumber, pallets, animal bedding, biomass energy and specialized cellulose for products like clothing.

“This week, please join in celebrating the many benefits of forest products in Minnesota — choose products made from trees,” Bergstrand said. “It is good for the environment. It is good for Minnesotans. It is good for the nation.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     
Media contact: Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor, heidi.wolf@state.mn.us.

Zebra mussels confirmed in Lower Cullen Lake
and nearby Lake Hubert in Crow Wing County

Invasive species found on boat, boat lift

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Lower Cullen Lake and nearby Lake Hubert in Crow Wing County.

A resort owner contacted the DNR after finding several zebra mussels on a boat moored at the resort on Lower Cullen Lake. DNR invasive species staff found no other zebra mussels during inspections of adjacent docks and a nearby stream.

A county watercraft inspector and a lake service provider business, both trained by the DNR, spotted adult zebra mussels on a boat lift as it was removed from Lake Hubert. DNR invasive species staff found and removed more zebra mussels on an adjacent dock and at a three-foot depth in the water.

“Several recent zebra mussel confirmations are thanks to vigilant lake property owners, lake service providers and watercraft inspectors checking docks and lifts coming out of the water this time of year,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “Minnesota law requires docks and boat lifts to be out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water. This requirement is an important tool for preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.”

Zebra mussels are an invasive (non-native) species that can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

Less than two percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels. Along with requiring docks and lifts to be out of the water for 21 days before putting them into another body of water, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To prevent their spread, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least 5 days.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator, 651-259-5193; michael.kurre@state.mn.us.

Reminder: Youth deer season is Oct. 20-23

Youth, ages 10-15, can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 20, to Sunday, Oct. 23, in 27 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349 and 601. Blaze orange requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth deer season.

More information can be found on page 34 of the 2016 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook under the heading Special Youth Deer Season and online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

Maintaining quality habitat to support an appropriate population level is good for deer, deer hunters and the habitats that sustain them. Deer populations, which vary in density from place to place and year to year are influenced by the severity of winter weather. Deer are ecologically, socially and economically important in a state where hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impact.

DNR NEWS                                                                                                                    Oct. 14, 2016
Media contacts: Scott W. Roemhildt, MN DNR grassland programs coordinator, 507-995-9832; Lisa Havelka, Explore Minnesota southern regional manager, 507-837-9042.

Marshall named host community
of 2017 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener

The city of Marshall has been selected as the host community for the 2017 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

“I thank the people of Marshall for graciously hosting the 2017 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “This will be the second time the Marshall community has hosted this unique Minnesota tradition, and I look forward to celebrating the beginning of this great season there again next year.”

The announcement was made during the Community Banquet of this year’s pheasant opener event, hosted by the Montevideo area community.

Marshall was selected through an application process that considered hunting land in the area, event facilities and community support. The city lies near the 34,000-acre Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, and actively promotes hunting and outdoor recreation. Marshall has a population of 13,680 and is located in southwestern Minnesota, 150 miles west of the Twin Cities.

The 2017 event in Marshall will mark the seventh annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, initiated by Dayton in 2011. The event highlights the many hunting, recreational, travel and local opportunities that host communities have to offer visitors.

Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will assist local partners in planning the event.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #78                                                                                            Oct. 13, 2016
Media contact: Julie Forster, DNR information officer, 651-259-5356, julie.forster@state.mn.us.
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
DNR creates new online tool for finding public hunting land
Deer hunts will take place at several Minnesota state parks this fall

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Steve Benson, DNR Wildlife MNIT coordinator, 218-328-8932, steve.benson@state.mn.us

DNR creates new online tool for finding public hunting land

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has created an improved search tool that makes it easier for people to find places to hunt or enjoy the outdoors at wildlife management areas (WMA).

The tool is at www.mndnr.gov/wmas.

“We’ve built a WMA finder application that replaces a web app that was over a decade old,” said Steve Benson, DNR Wildlife MNIT coordinator. “People can now search for WMAs anywhere in the state based on features important to them.”

Acreage in WMAs totals 1.3 million acres, spread among 1,500 WMAs located in 86 of the state’s 87 counties. Using the WMA finder, users can search by:

  • Name of WMA (or partial name).
  • County.
  • Game species.
  • Wheelchair accessibility.

Once users have found a WMA, interactive maps are available that allow zooming in and toggling between maps and aerial photography, as well as toggling the view to full screen to see other public lands nearby.

“Another important feature with the new WMA finder is providing users with more information about WMAs, contact information for DNR area wildlife offices, and specific rules if they apply to a WMA,” Benson said.

WMA information can now be updated daily, including special announcements if conditions change, such as an access road under construction. In the future, users will also be able to find more information about aquatic management areas in similar formats to the WMA pages.

Funding for the work behind this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The trust fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by Minnesotans to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife and other natural resources.

There are other types of public land available for hunting or other recreation use. Those types of land are displayed both through the WMA finder maps, and through the interactive Recreation Compass tool available on desktop computers at www.mndnr.gov/maps/compass.html and on mobile devices through www.mndnr.gov/mobile.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, Parks and Trails Division, communications and outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division, public information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

Deer hunts will take place at several Minnesota state parks this fall
Park visitors advised to wear blaze orange or bright colors at parks that remain open during special hunts

Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources will take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks, and access to the parks will vary during these hunts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public). The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts—which include firearms, muzzleloader and archery options—have passed.

“An overpopulation of deer can be hard on the natural resources at the parks, so we allow occasional hunts as a way to protect the trees and native plant communities,” said Ed Quinn, natural resource program supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “We do our best to minimize the disruption to park visitors, but in some cases safety concerns require us to close—or partially close—the parks where these hunts take place.”

The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and the end of December to go online or call ahead to check whether a hunt is planned and whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises wearing blaze orange when visiting parks where hunts are taking place. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.

For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2016 hunting season, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.Monday through Friday.

Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park web pages at www.mndnr.gov.

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                                           Oct. 14, 2016
Media contacts: Dan Ruiter, DNR information officer, 507-359-6014, dan.ruiter@state.mn.us; Scott W. Roemhildt, DNR grassland programs coordinator, 507-995-9832, scott.roemhildt@state.mn.us.

Images available of Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Montevideo

Photos from the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Montevideo this weekend will be posted for the media on Saturday afternoon.

Images will be posted by 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, and may be downloaded at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us/Photo%20library/.

This event marks the sixth annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011. Montevideo also hosted the inaugural event. The weekend activities highlight the many hunting, recreational, travel and local opportunities that host communities have to offer visitors.

Montevideo has a population of 5,500 and is located 130 miles west of the Twin Cities at the intersections of U.S. highways 212 and 59, and Minnesota Highway 7. The city actively promotes hunting and outdoor recreation. Within 25 miles of Montevideo, there are 25 Walk-In Access areas totaling 3,335 acres, 16 waterfowl production areas totaling 4,366 acres and 76 wildlife management areas totaling 47,004 acres. All are open to public hunting.

Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are assisting the Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce with the event. More information and updates on the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener can be found at www.mngpho2016.com.

 

Citizens who have a strong interest in the state’s native prairies, forests, and wetlands and the plants and animals in them are invited to apply to be part of a key advisory board with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is seeking people to fill four vacancies on the commissioner’s advisory committee on natural heritage. Appointees will be responsible for advising the DNR on issues related to sustaining the state’s natural heritage and biological diversity.

Since 1966, the committee has made recommendations and given support to state scientific and natural areas. The committee also now advises other programs within the department’s Ecological and Water Resources Division, including nongame wildlife, Minnesota Biological Survey, prairie protection, rare resources, wetland monitoring and terrestrial invasive species.

Any Minnesota resident with interest or expertise in sustaining our state’s natural heritage may apply online until Friday, Nov. 18 at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html.

Applicants should have knowledge, demonstrated dedication or experience related to natural area systems, conservation biology, ecology, geology, environmental education, natural resource management, protection of Minnesota’s rare species, or marketing, communication or promotions focused on natural resources.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will appoint committee members for terms of up to five years starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Interested applicants can learn more by visiting the committee’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #77                                                                                          Oct. 10, 2016
Media contact: Steve Carroll, media unit supervisor, 651-259-5342, steve.carroll@state.mn.us. All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Early antlerless-only deer season to open in 2 southeastern permit areas

Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith in Montevideo this weekend for pheasant hunting Opener

Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota encouraged to submit harvested deer for CWD sampling


Minneopa bison range hours changing for winter

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Adam Murkowski, Big Game Program leader, 651-259-5198, adam.murkowski@state.mn.us.

Early antlerless-only deer season to open in 2 southeastern permit areas

Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless-only season from Thursday, Oct. 20, to Sunday, Oct. 23, in deer permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston and Fillmore counties, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

These areas have high deer densities and private landowners have experienced deer damage to agricultural crops. Hunters should be aware that public land is limited in the early antlerless hunt areas, and hunters need to ask permission to hunt private lands.

In the early antlerless deer hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during the regular season. Early antlerless deer permits cost $7.50 for residents and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold. Bonus permits may not be used for the early antlerless season.

All deer harvested during this season must be tagged with an early antlerless permit. Hunters also must have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader deer license. The early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season. More information can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

The DNR works to protect and maintain Minnesota’s white-tailed deer. The deer population, which varies in density from place to place and year to year, is dependent on adequate habitat and influenced by the severity of winter weather. Deer are ecologically, socially and economically important in a state where hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impacts.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Angela Steinbach, city of Montevideo, 320-269-6575, cdd@montevideomn.org; Scott W. Roemhildt, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 507-995-9832, scott.roemhildt@state.mn.us

Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith in Montevideo
this weekend for pheasant hunting opener

Pheasants will be the focus in Montevideo this weekend, as the community hosts the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will lead the festivities, which highlight the many hunting, recreational and community opportunities that the greater Montevideo area has to offer visitors.

“For 60 years, I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in Minnesota,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “Over the past six years, we have held terrific Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener events across Minnesota. I thank our wonderful hosts in Montevideo and the surrounding area for all of their hard work and gracious hospitality. I invite all Minnesotans to join us for this unique Minnesota tradition.”

On Friday afternoon, a dedication of the Mills Creek Gun Range will take place at 3 p.m. The range was the vision of the Tri-County Sportsmen’s Club to involve more area people in shooting sports. It has been a community project, built with countless donations by local citizens and businesses. The range is home to the Montevideo High School trap and skeet teams and features two combined trap and skeet fields, pistol range and 200-yard rifle range and state-of-the-art equipment. It is located 1.5 miles north of Montevideo on state Highway 29.

Friday evening, the public is invited to join the governor at a community banquet at the Montevideo American Legion. The event will run from 5-8 p.m., with social hour, dinner and a program featuring Dayton and other notable speakers. Tickets are $15 each and available until sold out, at the Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce, city hall or by calling 320-269-5527.

On Saturday, hunters will take to the field to enjoy the outdoors and pursue ring-necked pheasants, one of the state’s most popular upland game birds.

The 2016 event in Montevideo will mark the sixth annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. The event was initiated by Gov. Dayton in 2011. Montevideo also hosted the inaugural event.

Montevideo has a population of 5,500 and is located 130 miles west of the Twin Cities at the intersections of U.S. highways 212 and 59, and Minnesota Highway 7. The city actively promotes hunting and outdoor recreation. Within 25 miles of Montevideo, there are 25 Walk-In Access areas totaling 3,335 acres, 16 waterfowl production areas totaling 4,366 acres and 76 wildlife management areas totaling 47,004 acres. All are open to public hunting.

Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are assisting the Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce in planning the event.

More information and updates on the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener can be found at www.mngpho2016.com.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager, 651-259-5202, lou.cornicelli@state.mn.us

Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota encouraged
to submit harvested deer for CWD sampling

Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota who harvest a deer during the 3A and 3B firearms deer seasons are encouraged to have their deer sampled for chronic wasting disease (CWD) at one of 30 locations that will be staffed.

Due to the expansion of CWD in Iowa and Wisconsin, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be conducting CWD surveillance in deer areas 339 to 349 throughout the firearm season, an area that includes nearly all the 300 series permit areas. The goal is to collect 3,600 samples.

“Working with hunters to sample deer for evidence of CWD is our best opportunity for early detection of the disease in Minnesota,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager. “Early detection is important from the perspective of limiting disease spread, and we will make the process as quick as possible to get hunters on their way.”

CWD is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion that affects the animal’s brain. The disease is always fatal, and can spread from one animal to another. Months to years pass from the time an animal is infected to when it shows signs of the disease. There is no known treatment for the disease, and the prions can persist and remain infectious in the environment.

Recent research has demonstrated that long-term CWD infections in wild deer have led to measurable reductions in deer populations.

“We take these actions because our only real opportunity to reduce or eliminate disease is to find it right away,” Cornicelli said. “If a disease like CWD becomes established, it will be a problem for future generations.”

The DNR’s CWD management plan calls for surveillance when risk increases. That risk includes positive domestic animals or when the disease is found in adjacent states.

“Much of the southeast has not been extensively sampled since 2009 and because of the Iowa and Wisconsin infections, it is important to aggressively conduct surveillance,” Cornicelli said.

To further reduce the risk of CWD entering Minnesota, whole deer carcasses are no longer allowed to be imported into Minnesota from anywhere in North America. This is a new restriction this year in Minnesota. There are no restrictions on carcass movement for deer harvested in Minnesota and moved within the state.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health agencies have concluded there is no known link between CWD and any neurological disease in humans. However, both the CDC and the World Health Organization recommend that no part of a known positive animal should be consumed by humans. Additionally, there is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to species other ungulates.

Reminders for hunters, and chances to win
Hunters in the permit areas where sampling is taking place are reminded that they will not be able to register deer by phone or internet during the surveillance period. Deer must be registered in person at a walk-in registration station and hunters are strongly encouraged to allow sampling of their deer.

Deer must be present at the time of registration. When surveillance quotas are met, the electronic system will be turned back on. Hunters will not be notified of individual results, unless their deer is positive. The DNR will release details after deer season that explain overall surveillance results.

CWD sampling only takes a few minutes and is done while the hunter registers their deer. To help encourage samples, Bluffland Whitetails Association has donated a compound bow and a muzzleloader and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has donated a muzzleloader. Hunters who submit a sample for testing will be entered into a random drawing for one of those items. Also, every hunter who donates a sample will be given a DNR cooperator patch as a small token of appreciation.

DNR staff will be working at 30 sampling sites from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Nov. 7. A smaller number of stations will be open the second weekend, Saturday, Nov. 12, to Sunday, Nov. 13.

Sampling goals will likely not be met during the opening 3A season that runs from Nov. 5 to Nov. 13, so stations will be staffed during the 3B season, which runs from Saturday, Nov. 19 to Sunday, Nov. 27.

Deer check stations where CWD surveillance is occurring are listed on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/cwd, and hunters are encouraged to check the site for new information. They are:

  • Bissen’s Tavern, 202 S. Third, Brownsville.
  • Caledonia True Value, 520 Old Highway Drive, Calendonia.*
  • Rhino’s Archery, 31821 64th Ave., Cannon Falls.
  • Magnum Sports, 21 First St., Chatfield.*
  • Elba Valley Express, 1105 S. Main St., Elba.*
  • Mauer Brother’s Tavern, 1200 S. Main St., Elba.
  • Holiday Station Store #3563, 1500 Vermillion St., Hastings.
  • Main Street Saloon, 56 Main St., Hokah.
  • Houston Amoco Food Shop, Highway 16 E., Houston.*
  • Kasson Hardware Hank, 11 Fourth St. SE., Kasson.
  • Prairie Bait Shop, 705 Dodge St., Kellogg.
  • Pump for Less/Southside Corner, 101 Kistler Drive, La Crescent.
  • BP Gas, 100 Sheridan W., Lanesboro.*
  • Lewiston Hardware Hank, 400 Debra Drive, Lewiston.
  • Mabel BP, MN-44, Mabel.
  • Becklund’s Auto Repair and Towing, 500 Bridge St., Millville.
  • Eagle View Bar and Grill, 208 Bennett Ave., Minneiska.
  • Greenway Cooperative, 100 North Main St., Pine Island.
  • Kreofsky Building Supply, 865 Enterprise Drive SW., Plainview.
  • 4 Season’s Sport Shop, 2301 W Main St., Red Wing.*
  • Gander Mountain-Rochester, 3470 55th St. NW., Rochester.
  • Archery Headquarters, 3440 Northern Valley Place NE., Rochester.
  • Rollingstone Mini Mart, 555 MN-248, Rollingston.
  • Pam’s Corner Convience, 105 State Highway 16, Rushford.*
  • Good Sport Liquor/Bar N Grill, 149 E. Sixth St., St. Charles.
  • River Valley Outfitters, 1023 Hiawatha Drive W., Wabasha.
  • Mills Fleet Farm, 920 US-61, Winona.*
  • Witoka Tavern, 27999 County Road 9, Witoka*.
  • Gas and Goodies, 104 E. Front St. Box 155, Wykoff.
  • Neptune Bar and Grill, 468 MN-60, Zumbro Falls.

*These stations will be open the entire week of the 3A season.

Additionally, the DNR is working with area taxidermists to help collect CWD samples. There are currently eight taxidermists helping and hunters are asked to work with them as well.

They are:

The DNR works to protect and maintain Minnesota’s white-tailed deer. The deer population, which varies in density from place to place and year to year, is dependent on adequate habitat and influenced by the severity of winter weather. Deer are ecologically, socially and economically important in a state where hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impacts.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Craig Beckman, area supervisor DNR Parks and Trails, 507-359-6067, Craig.Beckman@state.mn.us

Minneopa bison range hours changing for winter

Hours for the bison range road at Minneopa State Park in Mankato will change for the winter due to decreasing daylight hours, according the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Starting Oct. 16, the range road will be open Thursday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The road will be closed on Wednesdays for regular maintenance.

Hiking trails around the bison range provide additional bison viewing opportunities. Trails are open daily year round during regular park hours.

There is no charge to view the bison, but a vehicle permit ($5 daily or $25 year-round) is required to enter the park.

Minneopa’s bison herd arrived in September of 2015 and has been a popular attraction.

For more information, call 507-389-5464 or visit www.mndnr.gov/minneopa.

For information on the Minneopa State Park bison herd, see
www.mndnr.gov/minneopa-bison.

Resources on bison can be found at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/bison.html

 

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #76                                                                                                  Oct. 6, 2016
Media contact: Steve Carroll, media unit supervisor, 651-259-5342, steve.carroll@state.mn.us. All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news. Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinnesotaDNR.

IN THIS ISSUE
Boat lifts focus of 2 new zebra mussel reports

Starry stonewort confirmed in West Lake Sylvia

Youth can hunt with mentors for youth deer season Oct. 20-23


Get Wild hockey discounts with hunting or fishing license


DNR seeks applications for advisory committee on natural heritage


Temporary off-highway vehicle trail closures begin in November

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor, 651-259-5152, heidi.wolf@state.mn.us.

Boat lifts focus of 2 new zebra mussel reports
Docks and boat lifts must be out of water 21 days before use in another lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Sybil Lake in Otter Tail County and Maud Lake in adjacent Becker County in northwest Minnesota. In both cases, the zebra mussels were found on boat lifts when they were removed from the water.

According to the DNR, both incidents serve as good reminders for citizens to check equipment as they remove it each season.

DNR invasive species staff confirmed live zebra mussels on a boat lift removed from Sybil Lake. The DNR appreciates the assistance of the property owner who made the initial report and the lake service provider business that removed the boat lift from the lake in late September. DNR invasive species staff did not find any other zebra mussels in the lake or on other nearby equipment. They will conduct more extensive follow-up searches.

A vigilant lake service provider business reported finding two zebra mussels attached to a boat lift they were removing from Maud Lake. In a follow-up search, DNR invasive species staff found and removed one additional zebra mussel about a half-mile from the area where the boat lift was removed.

“Minnesota law requires docks and boat lifts to be out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “This requirement is one of the most important tools for preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. Lake service provider businesses receive specific training about this law, but it’s essential for everyone to follow it, even when the lake a dock or lift comes out of is not listed as infested.”

Zebra mussels are an invasive (nonnative) species that can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

Less than 2 percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels. Along with the 21-day dry law before putting a dock or lift into another body of water, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Heidi Wolf, invasive species unit supervisor, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 651-259-5152, heidi.wolf@state.mn.us.

Starry stonewort confirmed in West Lake Sylvia

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the invasive algae starry stonewort in West Lake Sylvia in Wright County.

DNR invasive species staff confirmed sparse to moderate growth of starry stonewort among a heavy population of native plants at the southwest public access on the lake. A wider search indicated the invasive species has apparently not spread beyond the immediate access area. Potential treatment options are being pursued this fall.

Starry stonewort are grass-like algae that may produce dense mats, which could interfere with use of the lake. The invasive algae also may choke out native plants.

Starry stonewort is typically spread by lake users who transport fragments of the plant from an infested body of water. This new infestation reminds boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To further reduce the risk of spread, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days

More information about aquatic invasive species and how to report them is available at www.mndnrgov/ais.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator, 651-259-5193; michael.kurre@state.mn.us.

Youth can hunt with mentors for youth deer season Oct. 20-23

Youth, ages 10-15, can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 20, to Sunday, Oct. 23, in 27 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“Youth can hunt with adult mentors during youth deer season,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “The season is a way to focus on young hunters so they have good experiences and learn valuable skills. You might be showing youth how to hunt now, but as their interest in the outdoors grows, pretty soon they might be teaching you a lesson or two.”

Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349 and 601. Blaze orange requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth deer season.

Youth must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase a license and use the appropriate firearm for the permit area in which they are hunting. Youth may take a deer of either sex and may only take one deer during the youth season.

An adult mentor must accompany the youth but may not hunt or carry a firearm and does not need a license. However, in certain portions of permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston and Fillmore counties, the adult can participate in the early antlerless hunt while being a mentor if in possession of an early antlerless permit and a regular firearm license.

Public land is open, and private land is also open provided the hunters have landowner permission.

Participating in the youth deer season does not affect eligibility of youth to participate in the regular firearms deer season but any deer harvested does count against the youth’s season bag limit.

More information can be found on page 34 of the 2016 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook under the heading Special Youth Deer Season and online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

The DNR works to protect and maintain Minnesota’s white-tailed deer. The deer population, which varies in density from place to place and year to year, is dependent on adequate habitat and influenced by the severity of winter weather. Deer are ecologically, socially and economically important in a state where hunting and wildlife watching generate more than $1.3 billion in annual economic impacts.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Jenifer Wical, DNR outreach section, 651-259-5217, jenifer.wical@state.mn.us.

Get Wild hockey discounts with hunting or fishing license

Hunting or fishing license holders can order discounted tickets to select Minnesota Wild hockey games, as the Wild and the Department of Natural Resources again team up for this special ticket offer.

New this season, one game will include a free blaze orange hockey logo hat courtesy of the Wild.

The promotion includes these home games:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, vs. Los Angeles Kings.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 23, vs. Winnipeg Jets (includes blaze orange logo hat giveaway).
  • Sunday, Dec. 11, vs. St. Louis Blues.

“Hunt, fish and hockey – they all fit well together in Minnesota,” said Jenifer Wical, with the outreach section of the DNR. “We play hockey on ice, auger through ice to fish, and in November deer hunters often cheer a good dusting of snow before firearms season opens.”

A limited number of tickets are available for each game and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket prices vary based on game and seating options. The offer is available only through advance online purchase at www.mndnr.gov/wildhockey, to hunting or fishing license holders for 2016 or 2017. The discount is not available at the Xcel Energy Center box office.

Buy fishing and hunting licenses anywhere DNR licenses are sold, online with a mobile or desktop device at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Peggy Booth, SNA program supervisor, 651-259-5088, peggy.booth@state.mn.us; Ann Pierce, section manager, 651-259-5119, ann.pierce@state.mn.us.

DNR seeks applications for advisory committee on natural heritage

Citizens who have a strong interest in the state’s native prairies, forests, and wetlands and the plants and animals in them are invited to apply to be part of a key advisory board with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is seeking people to fill four vacancies on the commissioner’s advisory committee on natural heritage. Appointees will be responsible for advising the DNR on issues related to sustaining the state’s natural heritage and biological diversity.

Since 1966, the committee has made recommendations and given support to state scientific and natural areas. The committee also now advises other programs within the department’s Ecological and Water Resources Division, including nongame wildlife, Minnesota Biological Survey, prairie protection, rare resources, wetland monitoring and terrestrial invasive species.

Any Minnesota resident with interest or expertise in sustaining our state’s natural heritage may apply online until Friday, Nov. 18 at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html.

Applicants should have knowledge, demonstrated dedication or experience related to natural area systems, conservation biology, ecology, geology, environmental education, natural resource management, protection of Minnesota’s rare species, or marketing, communication or promotions focused on natural resources.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will appoint committee members for terms of up to five years starting Jan. 1, 2017.
Interested applicants can learn more by visiting the committee’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/cac.html.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, Parks and Trails Division outreach manager, 651-259-5578, patricia.arndt@state.mn.us; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division public information officer, 651-259-5627, amy.barrett@state.mn.us.

Temporary off-highway vehicle trail closures begin in November

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season. Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) off-road vehicles (ORVs) and snowmobiles that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.

The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes but not to state forest roads, aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.

Licensed deer hunters may only use an OHV or snowmobile in restricted areas during the legal hunting season:

  • Before legal shooting time.
  • From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • After legal shooting hours.

Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be:

  • Nov. 5-Nov. 20 for the northeastern Minnesota 100 series deer season.
  • Nov. 5-Nov. 13 for the Minnesota 200 series deer season.

Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Minnesota close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state.

While many recreational OHV riders have voluntarily opted not to ride forest trails during deer hunting and small-game seasons, recreational OHV riding has become a year-round sport for many. DNR officials remind everyone who visits Minnesota’s state forests this fall to put safety first.

For more information, see the 2016 deer season map online at www.mndnr.gov or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.