From the DNR
The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League (MSHSCTL) will host more than 8,600 registered student athletes representing 243 trap shooting and 25 skeet shooting high school teams for the 2015 spring season.
Led by the support of their schools and more than 2,400 volunteer coaches, thousands of student athletes will participate in shooting sports weekly April through June at more than 150 shooting ranges throughout Minnesota.
“Last year, 6,100 student athletes participated in the spring league,” said Jim Sable, Executive Director of the MSHSCTL. “With the addition of 83 new teams, the expansion of existing teams, the increased capacity of shooting facilities, and the addition of the new spring skeet league are some of the factors attributing to the continued success as Minnesota’s fastest-growing high school sport since 2008.”
The clay target league is also the safest sport in high school. Since 2001, the MSHSCTL has no reported injuries or gun-free zone violations at school.
Upon completion of the spring league, all trap shooting teams are invited to participate in individual and team competitions at the 2015 MSHSCTL Trap Shooting Championship at the Alexandria Shooting Park in Alexandria, Minnesota scheduled for June 11-16. “With an expected 20,000 attendees including more than 5,000 student athletes, this tournament will be the largest shooting sport event in the world” Sable said.
The spring league culminates with the State Tournament that includes the Minnesota State High School League as a presenting partner. This State Tournament provides the opportunity for the highest qualifying individual and team achievers from the clay target league to compete for the ultimate recognition as state champions from the Minnesota State High School League. In 2014, the Minnesota State High School League became the first state high school interscholastic athletic association in America to provide support and recognition for trap shooting as a high school sport.
The USA High School Clay Target League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and operates the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League as the independent provider of shooting sports as an extra curricular co-ed and adapted activity for high schools and students in grades six through 12 who have earned their firearms safety certification. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun and marksmanship in that order.
For more information visit http://mnclaytarget.com.
Hutchinson man named Youth ATV Safety Volunteer Instructor of the Year
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Paul Kruse the 2014 Youth ATV Safety Volunteer Instructor of the Year.
Since 2006, Kruse has held 16 classes and certified 168 students.
“According to his fellow instructors, he is always well-prepared for class and brings a great attitude and enthusiasm that makes the learning atmosphere great for the kids,” said Acting Capt. Jon Paurus, DNR hunter education coordinator.
As president of the Crow River Wheelers, Kruse was instrumental in developing the Meeker/McLeod county area’s first ATV park, established last year. He helped secure initial grant applications, attended all the meetings when the project started, and helped design the layout of the park’s training area.
“In my experience working with Paul, he is always eager to promote the sport in a safe and responsible manner and is willing to assist in any way he can,” said Jeremy Losinski, DNR Parks and Trails Division supervisor in Spicer.
DNR conservation officers work closely with more than 1,000 ATV volunteer safety instructors. Through the efforts of these volunteer instructors, about 3,000 riders have graduated from ATV safety education courses annually since 1985.
Minnesota law requires anyone born after July 1, 1987, to have a certificate if they are 11 years or older and want to ride on public land, trails, and frozen waters. The course is also available for adults.
Minnesota has nearly 350,000 registered ATVs.
classes offered in Winsted
Winsted Sportsmen’s Club is offering firearms safety classes.
Anyone interested, including adults, may sign up at the first meeting Monday, April 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted.
Participants must be 12 years old by Sept. 1, 2015.
The class will run for three weeks.
For more information, call Steve Fiecke after 4 p.m. at (320) 485-2434.
Firearms safety class scheduled for LP Sportsman’s Club
The DNR Firearms Safety Class will be held at the Lester Prairie Sportsman’s Club from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates: April 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 and May 5 & 7. You may register at the first class on April 7 and the cost is $7.00. If you have any questions please contact Doug Minnick at 320-395-2143 or 320-224-5942.
Firearms safety course coming up
A Firearms Safety Course has been scheduled to be held at the Mayer Community Center in April and May.
Registration is April 23 at 6:30 p.m. Classes will be held Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 on the following dates: April 27 and 30, and May 4, 7, 11, and 14.
Students must be at least 12 years old.
With any questions, call Stan Heldt at 952-657-2169.
LP Sportsman’s Club trapshooting season begins April 15
LESTER PRAIRIE The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club’s trapshooting season will officially start Wednesday, April 15 and run through Aug. 12. There will also be a practice day Wednesday, April 8. New shooters are always welcome.
The club, which celebrates its 48th anniversary this year, features:
• open Wednesday night shooting from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
• Five “Pat” traps
• High school trap shooting
• A five-person Handicap League (18 weeks by Class AA, A, B, C & D)
• 300-bird, 16-yard Lewis Class
• Doubles and practice
Clubhouse rentals are available for any occasion now through November, whether it’s graduations, family reunions, business meetings or any other gathering. The recently remodeled clubhouse features horseshoes, softball/baseball, and a sand volleyball court, along with limited self-contained campgrounds.
The club is located one mile southwest of Lester Prairie on McLeod Co. Rd. 1.
For more information, contact Ed Mlynar, Club Mentor, at 320-395-2258 or the Club at 320-395-2829, or via email at email@example.com.
DNR seeks volunteers for frog and toad calling survey
From the DNR
The Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program is seeking volunteers to participate in the Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey to help track population changes in the state’s 14 frog and toad species. Frogs and toads are one of the best indicators of wetland health.
New volunteers receive a kit that includes a CD containing calls of Minnesota’s frog and toad species, a poster of the state’s frogs and toads, a map of a pre-defined route in an area of their choice, and directions on how to run the route. A vehicle is required to travel between stops.
Participants will then conduct nighttime “listening surveys” on three nights between April and July to capture seasonal variations in frog and toad species (early spring, late spring, and summer). These 10-stop routes are run after dark and in good weather. Participants will record their information on datasheets provided in their volunteer kit.
“Without the dedication of generous volunteers, this project would not be possible,” said Heidi Cyr, volunteer coordinator for the Nongame Wildlife Program. “Many frog and toad species are indicators of habitat quality and provide valuable information on the condition of Minnesota’s wetlands. The volunteers’ reports also help us track the health of the state’s frog and toad populations.”
Help is needed statewide, but especially outside of the metro area. Anyone interested in learning frog and toad calls and participating in this survey should check the route availability map at https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/naamp/, choose a route, and then email Cyr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/frogtoad_survey/index.html.
Elk deaths under investigation
From the DNR
Two bull elk were illegally shot and killed near Grygla in an area that holds Minnesota’s smallest elk herd and has been closed to hunting since 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Our investigation found that these elk had been shot and left,” said Lt. Pat Znajda, a supervisor with the DNR’s Enforcement Division. “The illegal killing of these bulls chips away at the outdoor heritage valued by law-abiding people in this state.”
Wildlife officials spotted the dead elk in late February on state land while conducting an aerial elk survey. An onsite visit revealed a dead bull and a younger dead bull with spike antlers that were found in thick willow cover. Both animals were frozen and had been dead for some time. DNR conservation officers were called to investigate.
“The discovery of two dead bull elk is disturbing,” said John Williams, DNR northwest region wildlife manager. “These bulls represented about 10 percent of the known Grygla herd. Due to the decline of this herd, the causes of which are unknown, there has not been a hunting season since fall of 2012.”
There are three distinct elk herds in northwestern Minnesota, which comprise the state’s entire elk population. The Grygla herd has declined in recent years and is currently estimated at 18 elk, down from the 20 counted last year and 28 counted in 2013.
“This herd had already been in decline before this incident, and there is no indication the decline has been caused by disease,” Williams said. “From 2006 to 2009, wildlife managers counted more than 50 elk in this herd. In 2009, the population goal range for this herd was set at 30 to 38 animals, and hunting had brought the herd within that range following the last hunting season in 2012.”
Elk are managed to maintain a free-ranging, wild population in far northwestern Minnesota. These herds afford recreational and economic opportunities, including wildlife watching and hunting seasons when their populations can sustain a hunt.
The DNR is in the process of updating a strategic management plan for elk, which will include a public input process before it is finalized. The plan will address population goals, landowner concerns about crop damage, and opportunities to hunt and view elk.
Anyone with information about the illegal shooting of the two bulls or the suspicious death of a bull elk in the Grygla area in fall of 2013 is urged to call the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP. They can also contact Znajda at 218-242-1383.
From the DNR
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week. CO Mies also gave a law talk to a youth turkey clinic in Kimball. CO Mies took part in the Kimball High School shadow program. CO Mies investigated a shoreline violation TIP.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) had training at Camp Ripley. Reller also followed up on several complaints from illegal sand blankets to nuisance animals.
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked on RMS computer training. A firearms safety class presentation was given to students in Waconia. He picked up a dead bald eagle