Friends of Wright County Sportsmen will host its annual banquet Monday, Aug. 18 at the Classic Hall Event Center in Annandale.
The doors open for the event at 5:30 p.m. with the meal to follow at 7 p.m.
The dinner costs $30, while raffle tickes are also available for gun drawings.
For raffle tickets or meal tickets, contact Jerry Vetsch at (763) 682-5858 or go to the Bison Arms Gun Shop in Buffalo.
Besides the meal and the raffle, there will also be a silent auction.
All of the funds raised at the event will go towards shooting programs in Wright County.
Several youth hunting opportunities offered this fall
From the DNR
Youth can hunt with adult mentors during several organized youth hunting opportunities coming up this fall. For some hunts, application deadlines are approaching.
Application forms and more information can be found at www.mndnr.gov/discover, or by calling the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Information Center, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator, 651-259-5193.
Youth waterfowl hunt
For ages 12 to 15.
Orientation is Friday, Sept. 12, hunt is Saturday, Sept. 13.
Hunts near Twin Cities metro, Detroit Lakes, Morris, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Princeton, Sherburn near Windom, and Fergus Falls.
Apply by Monday, Aug. 11.
Youth deer hunts at refuges and state parks
Ages 12 to 15 in 15 firearms hunts, ages 12 to 17 in two archery hunts.
Hunts and orientations held on various dates in October and November.
Locations at specific wildlife refuges and state parks throughout the state.
Apply by Friday, Aug. 15.
Youth and family upland bird hunt
For ages 12 to 17, and family members who want to hunt together.
Hunts and orientations are Saturday, Oct. 18.
Locations throughout Minnesota.
Apply by Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Youth deer season
For ages 10 to 15.
Season is Thursday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 19.
Permit areas in southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area.
Twenty-seven deer permit areas are open to hunt, see hunting regulations book or DNR hunting page at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer for permit areas.
Apply by Aug. 15 for Camp Ripley archery hunts
From the DNR
The deadline for hunters to apply for the 2014 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls is Friday, Aug. 15, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters may pick one season out of two seasons offered: Oct. 15-16 (Wednesday-Thursday, code 668) or Oct. 25-26 (Saturday-Sunday, code 669). A total of 4,000 permits, with 2,000 per two-day hunt, will be made available.
Successful applicants must buy a valid archery license at least two days before their hunt to participate.
Due to military training, the first of this year’s two hunts will begin one day earlier than usual, and hunting will not take place on a Friday.
As a result, the first hunt will not coincide exactly with the annual statewide teachers’ conference when many schools are closed, as it has in the past.
Hunters can apply for the Camp Ripley hunts through DNR’s computerized Electronic Licensing System (ELS) at any one of 1,500 ELS agents located throughout Minnesota, by telephone at 888-665-4236, online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/index.html, or in the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
Application instructions and rules for this year’s hunt are at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
DNR announces fall duck and goose seasons
From the DNR
Minnesota’s waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 27, under a similar season structure to last year, with similar bag limits and with season dates that vary for north, central and southern zones, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway.
“While the season structure is similar to recent years, there is an adjustment in the duck season dates in the south duck zone,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
In the south duck zone, hunting opens for three days from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and then closes. The season then reopens from Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.
In all zones, the daily bag limit remains at six ducks per day.
The mallard bag limit remains at four per day, including two hen mallards.
The wood duck bag limit remains at three per day.
The only bag limit change from the 2013 waterfowl season is the canvasback limit, which decreases from two to one per day.
Minnesota and three other states in the Mississippi Flyway had the option of including two additional blue-winged teal in the daily bag limit (bonus blue-winged teal).
“We thought the risk that green-winged teal might be taken by mistake was too great,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “In addition, we did not get a chance to survey waterfowl hunters or take any form of public input related to bonus teal. We plan to do that within the next year.”
Mallard abundance from a continental spring survey that includes Minnesota is used to set overall duck season length.
This year’s estimate was 11 million mallards, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 10.8 million mallards and well above the long-term average.
In another measure of Minnesota duck populations, a population index of resident breeding mallards was down slightly from last year, but 13 percent above the long-term average.
“Continental breeding duck numbers were good this year, and following heavy rains in the spring, wetland conditions in the major waterfowl breeding areas were favorable,” Cordts said.
Additional details on the duck, goose, sandhill crane, and other migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2014 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August in booklet form and online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
In the north duck zone (north of Highway 210), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Tuesday, Nov. 25.
In the central duck zone, the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 30.
In the south duck zone (south of Highway 212), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.
Youth waterfowl day
Youth Waterfowl Day will be Saturday, Sept. 13.
Hunters ages 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by an adult age 18 or older.
The accompanying adult can’t hunt that day and does not need a license.
Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m.
Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect.
Five geese may be taken statewide.
Canada goose hunting
Canada goose hunting is open in the three duck zones, and also in an intensive harvest zone.
For a map of the intensive zone and other information, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
The August Canada goose management harvest will open Saturday, Aug. 9, and run through Sunday, Aug. 24, in the Intensive Harvest Zone only. The bag limit is 10 per day. A $4 permit is required.
This is the second year Canada goose harvest has been allowed during August due to high populations of Canada geese and agricultural crop depredation.
The early September Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 6, and run through Monday, Sept. 22.
Bag limits for Canada geese are 10 per day in the Intensive Harvest Zone and five per day in the remainder of the state.
A $4 permit is required to hunt Canada geese during September season.
The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest Goose Zone, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, Ocheda Lake Game Refuge, and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County.
Early season goose hunters should consult the 2014 Waterfowl Supplement for zone maps and additional details.
Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 27, with a bag limit of three Canada geese per day the entire season.
Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.
In the north duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Thursday, Dec. 25.
In the central duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Tuesday, Dec. 30.
In the south duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.
Sandhill crane season
The season for sandhill cranes will run from Saturday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 19, in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only.
The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day.
A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.
“We reduced the bag limit from two per day to one per day this year in response to declines in our sandhill crane breeding population in northwestern Minnesota,” Cordts said.
Groundwater sampling planned for Renville County
From the DNR
Water samples from about 90 wells in Renville County will be collected and analyzed for water chemistry over the next two months by hydrogeologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Samples will also be tested to learn how long the water has been underground.
The data are being collected for the Renville County Geologic Atlas, an effort involving staff from the Minnesota Geological Survey, the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division and Renville County.
DNR staff will contact residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well.
The selection of wells for sampling will be based on geology, location, well depth and well construction.
The samples will come from wells drawing water from aquifers at varying depths.
Owners of wells that are sampled will receive a report of the laboratory results for their well.
Preserving the long-term quality of the region’s surface water and groundwater requires that policy makers have access to accurate information based on sound scientific principles.
A county geologic atlas is a valuable tool used by county planners, resource managers, and other local government staff when making general planning, land use management, and water resource protection decisions.
The Minnesota Geological Survey has already published Part A of the atlas, which illustrates details of each county’s geology.
In 2016, the DNR Ecological and Water Resource Division will publish the groundwater portion of the atlas (Part B).
The Part B reports will include maps and descriptions of the hydrogeology, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of groundwater in the county.
The DNR County Geologic Atlas Program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, approved by voters in November 2008.
A full description of this DNR program and status reports for atlas products can be viewed at www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/groundwater_section/mapping/index.html.
Smokey Bear celebrates 70th birthday; encourages fire safety
From the DNR
Smokey Bear’s message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago when Smokey first became a champion of wildfire prevention. Smokey’s 70th birthday is Aug. 9.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources joins Smokey in celebrating fire safety successes and urging all Minnesotans to be careful with fire.Smokey Bear is one of the most well-known symbols in the United States.
An amazing 96 percent of U.S. adults recognize Smokey Bear and 70 percent are able to recall Smokey’s tagline without prompting.
Smokey has many educational materials available, especially for kids kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center is home to the National Symbols Cache, the place where all Smokey Bear educational materials are stored and sent out nationwide.
Since 1944, Smokey has told kids and adults that they can make a difference in preventing wildfires.
His fire safety lessons have helped reduce forest fires.
The average number of acres lost to wildfire nationwide has decreased from 22 million acres in 1944 to an average of 6.7 million acres today.
Yet, wildfires still harm public health and safety, destroy homes and property, and cost millions of dollars annually in firefighting.
Minnesota wildland firefighters extinguish an average of 1,400 fires that burn 31,000 acres each year.
Most of these wildfires, 98 percent, are caused by people and can be prevented.
Help Smokey celebrate 70 years of fire prevention by being careful with fire at all times.
Here are eight of Smokey’s tips for fire safety.
• Don’t play with matches.
• Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is cold to the touch before leaving.
• Use grills, camp stoves and lanterns away from materials that can catch fire.
• Be careful with fireworks. Put used fireworks in a bucket of water.
• Make sure outdoor vehicles and equipment are in good working order. Sparks from vehicles and equipment can start fires.
• Watch the weather. Hot, dry, windy weather can increase chances of wildfire.
• Put out cigarettes in a safe place.
• People who see a wildfire, should call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on prevention and safety, wildfire emergencies and Smokey Bear education materials, visit Minnesota’s wildfire prevention webpage at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wildfire/prevention/index.html.
Start planning for 2015 fishing tournaments
From the DNR
Anglers and others who want to host fishing tournaments in 2015 can apply now, and will find an application form at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/tournaments, the Department of Natural Resources said.
Applicants should consider:
• The application period opened Friday, Aug. 1, and preference is given to applications received by Friday, Sept. 26.
• Permits are required for most tournaments with more than 25 boats, or an entry fee more than $25, or ice fishing contests exceeding 150 participants.
• A fee is required to apply, due at time of application, with fees typically ranging from $60 to $200.• Permits are not required for certain types of contests, including youth tournaments.
• A lottery is used to allocate permits if the number of applications exceeds monthly limits.
The DNR limits the size and frequency of tournaments on most waters based on lake size, and also keeps two weekends each month free of permitted tournaments.
“By limiting the number of contests held on a monthly basis, we are addressing the concerns that fishing tournaments might disturb the fishing, swimming, boating and other water recreation of lake users,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant.
The application fee is designed to recover administrative costs and free up dollars for fish management programs.
For detailed tournament regulations, call the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367; online at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/tournaments.
Invasive species reported in two Kandiyohi County lakes
From the DNR
New finds of aquatic invasive species have been reported in Green Lake near Spicer and Games Lake near Sunburg, both in Kandiyohi County, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
During the week of July 14, a new infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil was reported to DNR Invasive Species Specialist Nicholas Brown, by a lakeshore owner on Games Lake, about 7 miles east of Sunburg.
The report was confirmed when the plant was found growing in the lake near the outlet from Norway Lake. Norway Lake is also infested with Eurasian watermilfoil.
On Monday, July 21, a suspected zebra mussel specimen was brought into the Spicer DNR office for positive identification.
The property owner said he found the zebra mussel attached to a dock post in about 4 feet of water in Green Lake, but was unable to find another.
The specimen was confirmed as an adult zebra mussel by Brown, though it was dead at the time of inspection.
DNR personnel conducted additional searches on Green Lake, July 22 and July 24, but no additional zebra mussels were found.
Green Lake will be designated as infested with zebra mussels.
The DNR will work with local partners to continue monitoring for the presence of zebra mussels.
If no additional evidence of a zebra mussel population is found in Green Lake for the next five years, the DNR may revisit the decision to list the lake as infested with zebra mussels.
As a precaution, Lake Calhoun in Kandiyohi County will also be designated as infested because it is directly downstream from Green Lake.
“These newest reports emphasize the need for everyone to be on the lookout for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species,” Brown said. “Lakeshore owners should take extra time to examine docks, boat lifts and rafts, especially when removing them this fall.”Zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations and interfere with recreation.
Minnesota currently has more than 175 water bodies designated as infested with zebra mussels.
Designation does not mean each body of water is confirmed to be infested, but that zebra mussels have been detected in a lake accessible by boat, and spread is likely between connected waters.
Preventing the spread of invasive species takes personal responsibility.
Before leaving a lake, boaters must remove all aquatic vegetation and animals including zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species, drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
“We want to stress that lake users be diligent in following the laws, including inspecting, cleaning, and draining boats and dumping all unwanted bait in the trash,” Brown said. “Following these steps will slow the spread of all invasive species.”
More information about aquatic invasive species, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.
Sign up to receive Mille Lacs Lakes news
From the DNR
Those interested in Mille Lacs Lake can view a Department of Natural Resources quarterly newsletter that will keep readers up to date on research, fish population assessments and general information.
Access the “Hooked on Mille Lacs Lake” newsletter by subscribing at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslakenews.
“We want people to be aware of what’s going on and stay connected,” said Rick Bruesewitz, DNR Aitkin area fisheries supervisor.
The newest issue of the newsletter touches on topics, including a tagging study involving 14,000 walleye and 3,600 northern pike, a muskellunge assessment, predator diets, and other fish and lake facts.
Subscribers will receive an announcement about the quarterly newsletter via email, as well as periodic email updates about Mille Lacs.
The Aitkin area fisheries office produces the newsletter.
In addition to the newsletter, anyone interested in learning more about Mille Lacs Lake management can visit www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake, and can see current and previous editions of the newsletter and other information at the Aitkin area fisheries page at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/aitkin.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: I heard about the DNR’s youth waterfowl hunt. How does the program work?
A: Experienced mentors take youth ages 12 to 15 out hunting on Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Day on Saturday, Sept. 13.
Youth learn about waterfowl habitat and how to hunt safely and have fun.
We’ve found that mentors can have a profoundly positive experience on youth who show an interest in hunting.
Early positive experiences help keep youth going back into the duck blind, field or deer woods year after year as they grow up and as adults.
For the youth waterfowl hunt, the application deadline is Monday, Aug. 11.
When a youth applies, their name is placed in a lottery in case there are too many who want to hunt, but preference is given to new hunters.
Once chosen for a hunt, the youth and a parent or guardian go to an orientation that includes waterfowl identification, calling techniques, decoy arrangements, ethics and more on Friday, Sept. 12.
The hunts take place on the following day in several areas around the state and in the Twin Cities metro area.
Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. National Wildlife Service, Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have teamed up to offer the hunts.
Find more information and the application form at www.mndnr.gov/discover.
CO weekly report
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies worked on several calls dealing with PWC, wetland, boating and fishing.
CO Mies helped out by working at the Stillwater Bridge.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) continued the Field Training process with a COC.
Regulatory checks were conducted on shore anglers throughout local area lakes and rivers.
Fishing activity has decreased over the past week; shore anglers were sparse and those present reported an extremely slow bite.
Boating activity was also slow throughout the week, this included both fishing and recreational.
Although some wake restrictions still remain, most have been lifted.
CO Reller and the COC responded to a TIP call on Clear Lake where three males were suspected to be taking an over-limit of fish.
The boat and the suspects were gone on arrival.
A wetlands violation was reported and addressed; this is in-process and will continue to be monitored.
Throughout the week, several questions from the public were fielded concerning current regulations on fishing.
Enforcement action was taken for watercraft operation and angling, with citations being issued for angling w/o a license, taking wild animals while license privileges are revoked and failure to display valid registration on a watercraft.
Also, CO Reller and the COC assisted Wright County with a warrant arrest which resulted in a citation being issued for driving after suspension.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked security at the St .Croix River bridge project.
Several nuisance and injured animal calls were handled.
Anglers and boaters were checked on area lakes and rivers.
• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked on area lakes, checking boaters and anglers.
She responded to a TIP call resulting in an over limit of bass and an over limit of sunfish.
She and a neighboring officer investigated a TIP call of an injured Canada goose.
She also assisted Eco/Waters with a shoreline issue.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time working ATV and boating enforcement in the area this week.
Officer found several recreational boaters and jet skis out enjoying the warm temperatures.
CO Oberg advised boaters on AIS laws.
CO Oberg also assisted DNR Waters with an issue on a local lake.