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Conservation deer season set; hunting licenses go on sale August 1

July 28, 2014

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Hunters can expect a conservative 2014 deer season designed to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“Hunters should check the 2014 hunting regulations closely because only one deer can be harvested in 95 percent of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “To shoot a doe, hunters may have to apply for a permit in areas where they haven’t in the past and, in some places, no antlerless harvest will be allowed.”

In 69 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer.

Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in seven permit areas and for some special hunts.

“Many hunters voiced concerns about current deer densities and their hunting experiences in recent years. We heard from hunters at the listening sessions we conducted, in the online comments we solicited and by contacting us directly,” McInenly said. “This past winter only added to those concerns so this year’s conservative approach will protect more antlerless deer, reduce the statewide harvest and allow the population to rebound.”

Northeastern Minnesota hunters will feel the greatest impact from a bucks-only season. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses. McInenly said that most of these areas are now below goal and that this year’s conservative approach is consistent with the DNR’s long-term commitment to manage deer populations at established goal levels.

Hunters can enter the lottery for antlerless permits beginning Friday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Sept. 4.

Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer.

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available 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.

Permit area breakdown

• Bucks-only deer areas in 2014 are deer permit areas 108, 117, 118, 119, 122, 126, 127, 169, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181 and 199.

• Lottery deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 101, 103, 105, 110, 111, 152, 155, 156, 159, 171, 172, 173, 179, 183, 184, 197, 203, 208, 213, 229, 234, 237, 238, 242, 246, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

• Hunter choice deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 157, 201, 209, 210, 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 230, 232, 233, 235, 236, 239, 240, 241, 248, 249, 254, 255, 256, 257, 292, 293, 338, 339, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347 and 348.

• Managed deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 114, 287 and 343.

• Intensive deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 182, 346 and 349.

The DNR strongly advises 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.

Information about deer management and upcoming deer population goal setting during the next two years is available at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

DNR announces 2014 wolf season, survey shows stable population
From the DNR

Hunters and trappers can apply for the 2014 wolf season beginning Friday, Aug. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.

A total of 3,800 hunting and trapping licenses will be available, 500 more licenses than last year’s seasons. The statewide target harvest of wolves is 250, 30 more than last year.

The early season begins Saturday, Nov. 8.

The latest population survey results estimate that 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota’s wolf range this past winter, 212 more wolves than estimated on the survey conducted in winter 2013.

“Estimates show a stable population with no significant change from the 2013 estimate of 2,211 wolves,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “We will continue to evaluate the wolf population annually to ensure the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota.”

The DNR’s goal for wolf management is to ensure the long term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing conflicts between wolves and humans.

Hunting information

Starting Friday, Aug. 1, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,300 early-season and 1,500 late-season licenses. The deadline to apply for the hunting and trapping license lottery is Thursday, Sept. 4.

To apply, applicants need to pay a $4 fee, show proof of a current or previous hunting license and choose one of three available license options, using the season’s letter designation when buying:

Early season hunting (Season A) is open at the same time the firearms deer season is open unless a wolf zone closes earlier because the target harvest is met. The early season runs from Saturday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 23, in all Series 100 deer permit areas, and Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 16, in Series 200 deer permit areas. In the east-central zone, the early season is scheduled to be a two-day hunt this year, concluding when legal shooting hours end on Sunday, Nov. 9.

Late season hunting (Season B) runs from Saturday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first. If the east-central zone’s target harvest is met during the early season, the late east-central season will not open.

Late season trapping (Season C) runs from Nov. 29 through Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first.

The statewide bag limit is one wolf and licenses are not zone-specific. Lottery winners will receive a wolf hunting booklet with their notification.

Wolf license fees are $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. The early season purchase deadline is Friday, Oct. 31, with surplus licenses going on sale at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 5. The late season purchase deadline is Friday, Nov. 21, with surplus licenses going on sale at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Information on wolf hunting is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/wolf. Wolf management information is available at www.mndnr.gov/wolves.

Free DNR decontamination training for businesses
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering training this summer for lake service provider businesses interested in learning hot-water/high-pressure decontamination methods to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Participants will receive hands-on practice cleaning boats using the specialized equipment.

“This is our second year offering decontamination training to lake service providers,” said April Rust, DNR invasive species training coordinator. “The class helps businesses gain the skills they need – and learn the tricks of the trade – to provide AIS decontamination services to their customers.”

Businesses that complete the training will be included on the DNR’s online list of lake service providers trained to use hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.

Space in the class is still open. Preregistration is required. The training is scheduled on:

• Aug. 6 (1-4:30 p.m.), Tonka Bay Marine, Tonka.

The registration deadline is July 31. The class will be cancelled if the registration minimum is not reached.

To register, or get more information about decontamination training, contact April Rust, AIS training coordinator, at april.rust@state.mn.us or call 651-259-5706 or 888-646-6367.

Bighead and silver carp discovered in Pool 2 of Mississippi River
From the DNR

Commercial fishermen under contract by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources netted two adult invasive carp in Pool 2 of the Mississippi River in the Cottage Grove area on Thursday, July 17.

One was a bighead carp that weighed approximately 40 pounds. The other was a silver carp – silver carp are the ones that leap from the water when disturbed – that weighed about 20 pounds.

Pool 2 is the portion of the Mississippi River above the dam at Hastings and extends upstream to the Ford Dam.

Backwater lakes included are Baldwin Lake, River Lake, Spring Lake, Mooers Lake and Grey Cloud Slough.

Bighead and silver carp had not been found this far north in the Mississippi River. Until now, bighead carp had not been detected above the mouth of the St. Croix River near Prescott, Wis.; silver carp had not been detected above Pool 5A near Winona.

“The fish were caught as part of our invasive carp detection program,” said Brad Parsons, DNR regional fisheries manager. “This is disappointing but not entirely unexpected.” Parsons said while it’s unknown how long these fish were in Pool 2 it is known that invasive carp migrate upstream during high water conditions. “Such conditions existed for many weeks this year,” he said.

Parsons said the discovery of these fish does not necessarily mean a breeding population of invasive carp exists within Pool 2. Still, he said both fish were females that contained eggs. “That’s concerning,” he said. “Invasive carp pose a threat to our native fisheries, water recreation and ecosystems.”

The DNR will continue its invasive carp sampling efforts next week in an effort to determine if more or smaller invasive carp are in the Grey Cloud Slough area.

They will do this by setting additional gill nets and trap nets that are designed to catch smaller fish. The sampling nets used by commercial fisherman catch larger fish.

The DNR has been intensively sampling the Minnesota, St. Croix and Mississippi rivers for more than two years to assess the presence of all life stages of invasive carp. It is increasing sampling efforts in extreme southern Minnesota later this year (Pools 6 and 8).

Silver and bighead carp are two of four species of invasive carp threatening the Mississippi River and other native ecosystems. They can grow to 60 pounds, and they impact the base of the food chain by consuming large amounts of plankton that native fish also rely on.

Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of Pool 16 in Iowa. Bighead carp have been found in Lake Pepin and the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, and as far north as the mouth of the St. Croix in Prescott, Wis. But there is no indication bighead or silver carp are reproducing in the Minnesota waters of the Mississippi or St. Croix rivers.

The DNR continues to take a multi-pronged approach to managing Asian carp including:

• Monitoring for invasive carp by using targeted surveying and contracted commercial fishing.

• Partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, which is researching ways to prevent the spread and to manage populations of invasive carp.

• Improvements to the Coon Rapids Dam to make it a better fish barrier.

This discovery of invasive carp highlights the importance of recently passed federal legislation that will close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock by June 2015.

The agency maintains that this is the best approach to keeping invasive carp out of the upper Mississippi River watershed. Gov. Mark Dayton has been a strong supporter of closing the lock.

For more information on invasive carp in Minnesota, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasive-carp/index.html.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: How old do muskie get, and how long does it take to grow a 50 incher?

A: The oldest muskellunge I have aged was 22 years, and muskellunge in Canadian waters have been aged up to 30 years old.

In both cases, ages were assessed using the cleithrum, a calcified structure that requires lethal sampling and is collected from harvested fish anglers bring into taxidermy shops.

Traditional aging methods used scales because they were easy to sample and fish didn’t have to be sacrificed. Various studies have since found the scale aging method underestimates age, particularly for larger fish.

Growth and ultimate size can vary among bodies of water, depending on factors such as lake productivity, forage and genetics. Depending on the body of water, muskellunge in Minnesota could take 13 to 21 years to reach 50 inches.

CO weekly report
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) station checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies gave a law talk at the Kimball firearms safety class.
CO Mies also worked on complaints and equipment.

• CO Mitch Sladek (Big lake) worked fishermen on area lakes and river.
He followed up on a number of nuisance animal complaints.
He worked AIS detail at a number of lake accesses.
He made contact with a number of boaters doing a great job of checking trailers for weeds draining all water and transporting boats without plugs in the boat.
He handed out a number of DQ Panda awards to young children for wearing the appropriate life jackets while in the boat.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) started Field Training process with a COC.
Anglers were checked on area lakes with very slow bite in the area.
Some boating activity was observed as water levels on area lakes has started to drop, but several lakes still have no wake restrictions in place.
Enforcement action was taken for several watercraft operation laws, ATV illegal operation and minor consumption of alcohol.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked security at the St. Croix River bridge project.
Several fawn deer calls were responded to. A CO Prep candidate was given a ride along for a day.
Anglers were checked on area lakes and rivers for fish limits, boating safety equipment and illegal transportation of invasive species.

• CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week following up with complaints and checking anglers.
CO Grewe provided a ride along to an individual interested in being a CO, did access enforcement and did bike patrol with a local agency.
Violations included no fishing license.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) assisted the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office with a search of an area and lake after what appeared to be a “human” hand was found in a glove.
The hand was later determined to be a bear paw.
She dealt with an injured fawn during the week.
Mueller also took a report dock section that was floating in the middle of a lake.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports investigating a potential cougar sighting in New Auburn.
Oberg also took calls relating to the upcoming waterfowl season as well as injured animal concerns.
Time was also spent checking anglers, boaters and recreational vehicle operators.