From the DNR
Deer hunting licenses are now available for purchase. Hunters who want an either-sex deer or special hunt permit for the coming season must apply by Thursday, Sept. 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Hunters should carefully review the list of lottery areas, because many of these permit areas have not been lottery areas for a significant period of time.
Currently, 58 of the state’s 127 permit areas are lottery areas.
Many of these areas, focused in the northwest, north central and a portion of northeast Minnesota, were designated lottery areas in response to hunter desire to see higher deer populations.
People can purchase a deer license and apply for the lottery or a special hunt at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense.
Lottery winners will be notified in October.
Hunters can apply for lottery deer areas and special hunts using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses.
Although a hunter can be selected for both licenses, successful applicants still can only take one deer.
In the case of special hunts, a person may draw both a firearm and muzzleloader permit, in which case they must adhere to the bag limits established by each special hunt.
Lottery deer areas in 2012 are permit areas 103, 108, 110, 118, 119, 122, 169, 171, 172, 183, 184, 197, 199, 234, 235, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.
DNR encourages hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying.
Current and up-to-date information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.
The Wright County Friends of the NRA will host its 10th annual banquet Aug. 20
The Wright County Friends of the NRA will host their 10th Annual Banquet at the Classic Hall Event Center in Annandale Monday, August 20 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The chapter has been the number one fundraiser in the state for the past two years with all donations used to promote the shooting sports.
Many organizations in Wright County have benefited from these funds to include youth programs and women shooting programs.
The banquet this year will include a silent auction, live auction, and various raffles throughout the evening.
According to Committee Chairman Bruce Bartl, “We have great prizes and auction items this year, including limited edition firearms only available through this banquet. More importantly, funds raised at the banquet will be put to good use promoting shooting sports within Wright County and Minnesota.”
None of the funds raised through Friends of the NRA are used for political purposes.
If you would like more information about attending the banquet or providing a sponsorship contact Bruce Bartl at (763) 682-0653.
Tickets must be purchased in advance of the banquet.
Bird die-offs under investigation, clean-up efforts underway
From the DNR
Hundreds of double-crested cormorants and ring-billed gulls on Pigeon Lake in Meeker County and Minnesota Lake in Faribault County have died from an avian virus suspected to be Newcastle disease, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Final laboratory test results are expected later this month, said Erika Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian.
As of last week, an estimated 700 cormorants, 100 pelicans and a small number of gulls, herons and egrets had been found sick and dead at Pigeon Lake, which is near Litchfield in west-central Minnesota. Fewer than 100 birds were affected at Minnesota Lake.
Newcastle disease is a viral disease that most commonly infects cormorants, but also affects gulls and pelicans.
Clinical signs of infection in wild birds are often neurologic and include droopy head or twisted neck, lack of coordination, inability to fly or dive and complete or partial paralysis. Juveniles are most commonly affected.
Additional bird die-offs have been reported this summer on Leech Lake, Lake Vermilion and the Ontario, Canada, side of Rainy Lake. Test results are pending.
Wherever die-offs occur in the United States, DNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services conduct site clean-ups and collect samples for lab analysis.
Cleanup and incineration of the carcasses at Pigeon and Minnesota Lake began Aug. 6.
Newcastle disease outbreaks in Minnesota occurred during 2008 and 2010, when several thousand birds died across the state.
In 1992, multiple mortality events occurred in double-crested cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes, upper Midwest and Canada, killing an estimated 35,000 birds.
Newcastle rarely affects humans.
Symptoms include conjunctivitis, a relatively mild inflammation of the inner eyelids. It is spread to humans by close contact with sick birds.
Wild birds can be a potential source of the disease if they come into contact with domestic poultry. Owners of domestic poultry, including small flocks, should not come in contact with birds believed to have Newcastle disease.
Area farmers need to practice sound biosecurity procedures, including monitoring their poultry flock for signs of illness and taking steps to prevent wild birds from having contact with their domestic birds.
If domestic birds show sign of sickness, producers should contact their veterinarian or the Minnesota Board of Animal Health at (320) 231-5170.
There are approximately 39 nesting colonies of double-crested cormorants in Minnesota, 87 percent of which occur along with other colonially nesting water birds.
Most active nesting sites have a long history of use, being utilized by the birds since the 1960s and 1970s.
Wolf lottery applications due Sept. 6
From the DNR
Applications for Minnesota’s first-ever regulated wolf hunting and trapping season are being taken now through Thursday, Sept. 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Individuals may apply for only one license from three available options:
Early season hunting, which runs from Nov. 3 through Nov.18 in all Series 100 areas and Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 in Series 200 areas located within the northwest wolf hunting zone.
Late season hunting, which runs from Nov. 24 through Jan. 31, 2013, in all three wolf zones.
Late season trapping, which runs from Nov. 24 through Jan. 31, 2013, in all three wolf zones.
Target harvests have been established in each of the state’s three wolf hunting zones.
If a target harvest is achieved, hunting and trapping will be closed in that zone.
The statewide target harvest is 400 wolves, which includes all three wolf zones.
The lottery will award 3,600 licenses during the early season and 2,400 during the late season, at least 600 of which will be for trapping.
Application can be made at any DNR license agent, via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense.
There is a $4 application fee.
All applicants must show proof of a current or previous hunting license.
Lottery winners will be notified. Licenses will go on sale by Monday, Oct. 15.
Wolf licenses cost $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.
The statewide bag limit is one wolf.
Lottery winners will receive a wolf hunting booklet with their notification.
Additional information about wolves is available online at www.mndnr.gov/wolves
DNR recommends boat launch improvements for aquatic invasice species prevention
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has developed aquatic invasive species (AIS) best management practices (BMPs) for water accesses.
The BMPs include recommended improvements at boat launches, which would make it easier for boaters to comply with the AIS actions required by state statute.
The BMPs are written for boat launch administrators both public and private and provide the basic background information needed to implement some or all of the elements.
The BMPs include recommendations for the development of a boat cleaning area at the water access site, giving boaters a safe place away from the launch ramp to clean and drain their boat and pull the plug.
The boat cleaning area can also serve as a visible reminder to boaters, especially when watercraft inspectors are not present, that preventing the spread of AIS comes to personal responsibility and it takes cooperation from everyone.
“The AIS BMPs are a part of the DNR’s ongoing effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species,” said Nancy Stewart, public water access program coordinator. “It’s another tool in the prevention toolbox. It will supplement Minnesota’s existing AIS prevention programs that include watercraft inspection and decontamination, public awareness campaigns, and law enforcement.”
The AIS BMPs may be deployed individually or as a set, depending on existing site features and space available. Since every boat launch is different, not all of BMPs can be implemented everywhere.
The BMPs allow flexibility for the site administrator to choose the most appropriate options for the site that will provide the most benefit to the boaters using the access.
The DNR will begin implementing the BMPs at state-owned public water accesses beginning late this summer and into the fall.
High use sites on infested waters will be the priority.
More information on the BMPs and the full document can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/invasives/water_access_bmps.html.
Walk-In Access adds 6,000 acres for huting this fall
From the DNR
Hunters heading to southwestern Minnesota will have access to an additional 6,000 acres of hunting land this fall, as the Walk-In Access (WIA) program grows to more than 15,000 acres, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“Sign crews are out right now marking boundaries on the new Walk-In land,” according to Marybeth Block, WIA coordinator for the DNR. “Hunters will have access to 158 sites across 21 counties, beginning Sept. 1.”
WIA provides public access to private land and pays landowners by the acre to allow hunting access. This is the second year of a three-year WIA pilot program.
“We continue to get feedback that Walk-In is working for both hunters and landowners,” Block said. “We look forward to the success of our first year carrying into 2012.”
She anticipates that maps of all sites will be available for viewing at www.mndnr.gov/walkin by mid-August.
Printed atlases of WIA sites will be distributed across the 21-county pilot area or will be available by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.
Block said the majority of WIA acres are enrolled for multiple years and are also enrolled in a federal or state conservation program designed to maintain cover on the acres.
Many of these conservation programs have been opened to emergency haying and grazing in response to severe drought conditions across the country.
Landowners under WIA contracts will be allowed to remove a portion of the forage from those conservation lands, but their WIA payment will be reduced 25 percent for the year.
The WIA website will list the sites that have been approved for emergency haying or grazing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded the first two years of the program.
The Minnesota Legislature has approved additional funding for WIA.
A $5 surcharge on non-resident hunting licenses has been directed to the program.
Resident hunters have the opportunity to donate $1, $3 or $5 to the program when purchasing a small game or deer license.
“Hunter support is key to this program,” Block said. “Using the land, respecting the land and donating to the Walk-In program will help build future access for hunters.”
WIA land is open to hunting from Sept. 1 to May 31 each year.
WIA a partnership among the DNR, soil and water conservation districts, Board of Water and Soil Resources and USDA.
$4.6 million available for state conservation projects
From the DNR
Applications for grants to help fund projects that restore, enhance or protect Minnesota’s prairies, forests and wetlands through the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) program will be accepted beginning Wednesday, Aug. 15.
“In response to requests for an easier application process and quicker review for routine habitat projects, the program now also includes new Expedited Conservation Project grants,” said Ed Boggess, director of Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division. “Proposals for these grants, which are for smaller and more standardized types of projects, will be accepted throughout the year and will provide project dollars more quickly.”
Local, state and national non-profit organizations and governmental entities that want to complete conservation work that benefits habitat for fish, game and wildlife on public or permanently protected lands are eligible for funds.
Three levels of project funding from the $4.6 million program are available this year:
• Project proposals requesting $25,001 - $400,000 in grant funds will use the standard online application.
• Project proposals requesting $5,000 - $25,000 in grant funds will use a simplified online application.
• Project proposals submitted as Expedited Conservation Projects may request $5,000-$50,000 to complete common and accepted restoration and enhancement activities.
All projects, regardless of category or amount requested, require a 10 percent match.
Proposals submitted in the Expedited Conservation Projects category must choose activities from a list of specific standard practices and costs developed from commonly funded projects during the past five rounds of CPL funding.
Applications for these grants are accepted continuously, and awards are made every other month.
The application system will open Wednesday, Aug. 15, and close Wednesday, Sept. 26.
Expedited Conservation Projects grants will be accepted continuously until May 15, 2013.
Information about this year’s grant requirements will be available online beginning Aug. 15 on the CPL website at www.mndnr.gov/grants/habitat/cpl.
During the first three years of the program, 140 grants totaling $10.3 million have been awarded for conservation projects.
Examples of the types of projects funded include:
• Mud Lake Headwaters acquisition, Minnesota Waterfowl Association.
• Rat Root sediment control and spawning enhancement, Rainy Lake Sportfishing Club/Koochiching Soil and Water Conservation District.
• Upper Mississippi Woodcock Improvement Project, Ruffed Grouse Society.
• Wildlife Habitat Enhancement, Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
CO weekley reports
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers.
CO Mies worked on an ATV complaint. CO Mies checked boaters.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked watercraft operators for AIS compliance.
Law enforcement student interns were given the opportunity to ride along and observe what conservation officers do.
Anglers were checked and several telephone calls were fielded relating to hunting season questions.
• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) checked boaters at Carver County public accesses for invasive species violations. Compliance was very good.
She followed up on weedroller permit violations on Lake Minnetonka.
Fishermen on area lakes were also checked.
She also participated on an interview panel for a fisheries specialist position in the west metro area.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports continuing field training with COC Amber Peterson.
Officers spent a day patrolling heavily traveled areas on ATV, spent time along the Minnesota River Valley checking boaters and anglers.
Officers also spent time checking for AIS compliance.
While at a public access, officers met up with DNR Fisheries staff and accompanied them as they brought in some nets on Lake Washington.
An illegal burn was investigated.
Enforcement action taken for various boating violations, including leaving a drain plug in.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: Minnesota has a number of scientific and natural areas (SNA).
What exactly is an SNA and how does it differ from other publicly owned lands?
A: SNAs are special places where anyone can go to see examples of Minnesota’s native plant communities and rare species habitats.
There are currently more than 155 sites scattered throughout Minnesota’s prairie, coniferous and deciduous forest biomes.
The program’s mission is to protect and perpetuate, in an undisturbed natural state, those lands and waters embracing natural features of exceptional scientific and educational value.
SNAs are open to the public for hiking, nature photography, bird watching, snowshoeing and other activities that don’t disturb the natural conditions.
Some SNAs are open to hunting.
SNAs are intended to give people the opportunity to experience undisturbed nature.
Thus, signage and parking facilities may or may not exist at individual sites.
Some sites have interpretive kiosks to help visitors identify key features and processes.
SNAs do not provide restroom or other facilities.
Maintained trails are the exception.
Visitors are encouraged to observe and learn, while protecting the plants, animals, and geological features on the site.
To learn more about Minnesota’s SNAs, visit: mndnr.gov/snas.