From the DNR
Those who want to harvest antlerless deer throughout much of Minnesota this hunting season are reminded they must apply by Thursday, Sept. 4.
Antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery. Many deer hunting permit areas that have not been in the lottery classification in recent years are in that classification this year.
“The message to deer hunters is to review the hunting and trapping regulation book now,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “That way, you’ll know whether where you hunt requires entering a lottery to harvest antlerless deer.”
Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts need to apply for permits that are issued by lottery, and the application deadline is Sept. 4.
More information on deer permit areas and special hunts is in the DNR hunting regulations handbook, found online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
Wolf licenses are also issued by lottery.
Wolf hunters and trappers must apply by Sept. 4.
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.
Friends of Wright County Sportsmen to host banquet tonight (Mon., Aug. 18)
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.
Kouba moose on new critical habitat license plate
From the DNR
Minnesota motorists can support conservation with a new critical habitat license plate featuring moose art by renowned wildlife artist Les Kouba.
“Moose are synonymous with Minnesota’s north woods and its outdoor heritage,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Nothing captures the essence of being up north better than a bull moose feeding in the shallows of a boreal lake, and that’s exactly what this new license plate depicts.”
The new moose plate, which displays a never-before-published painting by Kouba, is the eighth critical habitat plate offered.
Other plates display the loon, pheasant, chickadee, showy lady’s slipper, a fishing scene and white-tailed deer.
New moose critical habitat plate
The Minnesota Legislature created the critical habitat license plate program in 1995 to provide additional opportunity for Minnesotans to contribute toward conservation.
Motorists who purchase a critical habitat plate make a minimum annual contribution of $30 to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program.
Every dollar generated through the sale of the license plate is matched with private donations of cash or land.
Critical habitat license plate revenue has generated more than $25 million toward the purchase of 7,700 acres of critical habitat and helped fund non-game wildlife research and surveys, habitat enhancement and educational programs.
Information about the program is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/plates.
Revenue from the sale of the new moose plate will go directly to RIM Critical Habitat and not be used for moose research and management.
Kouba research partnership
The DNR worked with Les Kouba Outdoors to design the license plate using previously unpublished art.
The two organizations also signed a partnership agreement that will use some of the proceeds from the sale of Kouba’s moose imagery to help fund research and management projects.
“This is a unique public-private partnership formed to help pay for wildlife research and habitat work that we hope keeps moose on Minnesota’s landscape,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.
The partnership offers Kouba’s moose imagery as incentives for individuals and organizations to join Call of The Moose Minnesota as a member, sponsor, or licensee.
Les Kouba Outdoors will direct a significant portion of the proceeds to Minnesota’s moose research and management.
Information about the partnership is available online at www.callofthemoose.com.
“Les Kouba, the man and his wildlife art, have long epitomized the love of nature and wildlife conservation,” said Greg Meyer, Les Kouba Outdoors president. “We are all challenged to conserve, restore and manage our precious natural resources so that generations to come can enjoy Minnesota’s bountiful outdoors to the greatest extent possible.”
The new license plates are now available at deputy registrar offices statewide.
For questions about ordering critical habitat license plates, call the Department of Public Safety-Driver and Vehicle Services at (651) 297-3304.
Dove season opens Monday, Sept. 1
From the DNR
Minnesota’s mourning dove hunting season begins Monday, Sept. 1, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 9, with hunters allowed to shoot 15 doves each day, and have 45 in possession.
This is the 11th season of dove hunting in Minnesota, where about 13,000 hunters harvest about 100,000 doves each year.
Nationwide, there are about 350 million mourning doves.
“Dove hunting is a great way to introduce youngsters to hunting,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife population and regulation program manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “It doesn’t require much more than a box of shells, shotgun, earth-tone clothing, a hunting spot and a bucket to sit on, which makes it easy for mentors to work with inexperienced hunters under very safe conditions.”
While not required, nontoxic shot is recommended for hunting mourning doves.
A small game license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are required for hunters 16 and older.
Hunters younger than 16 must obtain a free small-game hunting license and HIP certification.
More information on HIP certification can be found at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hip.
Other migratory bird seasons that start on Sept. 1 include snipe, sora and Virginia rails.
Wild rice harvesting season opened Friday; most areas not yet ready
From the DNR
Minnesota’s wild rice harvesting season is open from Friday, Aug. 15, to Tuesday, Sept. 30.
Despite the season dates, harvesters must first ensure the rice is ripe before launching their canoes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota’s green rice law does not allow the harvesting of unripe rice, and the late spring means some rice stands may be slow to mature.
More than 1,200 lakes and rivers in 54 counties contain wild rice, with concentrations of rice being the highest in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca and St. Louis counties.
Rice is ripening similarly to last year.
Peak harvesting dates are estimated to be in early to mid-September as long as weather remains mild.
“Some areas had exceptional rice harvests last year,” said David Kanz, Aitkin area assistant wildlife manager. “Early and sustained high water levels this year have hurt some rice beds, so as water levels continue to come down, we’ll have to watch how the rice responds and see if there is enough growing season left for it to recover.”
Some beds that held rice last year may have no harvestable rice, Kanz added.
Scouting will be particularly important this year to find decent stands of harvestable rice.
Wild rice is the edible seed of an aquatic grass and is the only cereal grain native to North America.
When properly processed and stored, the nutritious grain can be stored for extended periods.
In addition to being a traditional food source for Minnesota’s early inhabitants and an important part of Native American culture, wild rice is an important food staple for migrating waterfowl each fall and the growing plants provide important habitat for fish and invertebrates.
Because of the grain’s importance, harvesting wild rice is regulated in Minnesota.
Some guidelines to consider before deciding to harvest wild rice include:
• Harvest takes place from a non-motorized canoe, 18 feet or less in length, utilizing only a push pole or paddles for power.
• Rice is collected by using two sticks, or flails, to knock mature seeds into the canoe. Flails can be no longer than 30 inches, and must weigh less than one pound each.
• Harvesting licenses cost $25 per season, or $15 per day, per person for Minnesota residents.
• There is no limit to the number of pounds people may harvest with a permit.
• Processing is necessary to finish the rice into its final food product.
• The gathering process is labor-intensive.
Like other forms of gathering, allowing ample scouting time will lead to greater success.
Accessing some lakes can be difficult and some lakes and rivers within tribal boundaries are not open to public harvest.
Finding a mentor who is willing to share their skills and knowledge can greatly improve success.
More information about wild rice management, a list of wild rice buyers and processors, and a list of lakes and rivers containing wild rice is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/wildlife/shallowlakes/wildrice.html.
The 1854 Treaty Authority website also provides updates from ground and aerial surveys on some lakes within the 1854 ceded territory in northeastern Minnesota.
The aerial surveys are tentatively scheduled for late August; the results will be posted soon after.
Those interested in harvesting wild rice are reminded that it is unlawful for any person to take wild rice grain from any of the waters within the original boundaries at the White Earth, Leech Lake, Nett Lake, Vermilion Lake, Grand Portage, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs reservations except for Native Americans or residents of the reservations listed.
In addition, all nontribal members wishing to harvest or buy wild rice within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Reservation must have Leech Lake Reservation permits.
For wild rice harvesting regulations, see www.mndnr.gov/regulations/wildrice.
Aquatic invasive species are a serious threat to Minnesota waters.
Like any other water users, rice harvesters should follow cleaning protocols to avoid spreading invasive plants and animals.
Harvesting licenses can be purchased online via desktop browser and smartphone at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or any DNR license agent.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: I hear a lot about invasive insects like emerald ash borer and gypsy moths, but what are some of the good bugs that help keep our forests healthy?
A: There are many more beneficial insects than insect pests; we just don’t hear about them as often.
One beneficial insect, the friendly fly, is named for its habit of repeatedly landing on people without biting.
The larvae of this fly feed on forest tent caterpillars inside their cocoons.
During the third or fourth year of a caterpillar outbreak in Minnesota, the friendly fly can kill nearly 90 percent of the cocoons.
Parasitic wasps also keep insect populations in check.
Most parasitic wasps are extremely small, which is why we don’t usually see them at work.
There are thousands of different species, none of which sting people, but nearly every insect species is attacked by parasitic wasps during at least one life stage.
Beneficial wasps feed on pests such as spruce budworm, gypsy moth, fall webworm and emerald ash borer.
Many types of beetles, the largest and most diverse group of insects, are predacious and feed on aphids, scale insects, caterpillars, other beetles and more.
The larvae of one beetle family called checkered beetles feed on harmful wood-boring insects such as bark beetles, potentially preventing an outbreak.