From the DNR
Archers formed a long line over the length of an indoor athletic facility to shoot arrows at targets during the 11th state high school archery tournament in Minnesota. Yet this long line of competitors represented only a fraction of everyone in the tournament.
The tournament has grown from 67 archers its first year to 1,313 this year. The growth reflects a booming interest in recreational archery, said Kraig Kiger, who oversees the Archery in the Schools Program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Movie characters helped inspire some of the interest, but not all,” Kiger said. “Being a good archer requires concentration, focus, persistence and determination all attributes that translate into success in other pursuits. Competitors have a great deal of control over developing their own potential. They don’t need to be the biggest, fastest or strongest. It’s all about practice and problem solving.”
The DNR’s archery program is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that aims to train teachers and provide students with the best equipment, training and curriculum available for the lowest price. It’s NASP, rather than the Minnesota State High School League, that sanctions state and national tournaments where students’ scores contribute to individual and team results.
Feeding the growth are clubs like the North Country Bow Hunters Chapter of Safari Club International, which has run and made the state tournament possible for the past six years.
“By insuring, staffing and running the state tournament, we’re happy to provide an opportunity that might not otherwise exist for youth archers,” said Scott Talbot, a member of the chapter’s board of directors. “We enjoy seeing the tremendous growth of the sport through the NASP program here in Minnesota, and we see only growth from here forward.”
In this year’s tournament held March 20-21, St. Croix Preparatory Academy won the team competition, with Grand Rapids High School coming in second.
In overall individual standings, Allison Shorter of New Prague High School had the highest score for girls, with Jenna Amey of White Bear Lake Area High School second. Wesley Joarnt of St. Croix Prep was first overall for boys, and second place went to Mitch Munion of Mahtomedi Public Schools. To see full results, go to www.nasptournaments.org.
In all, nearly 200,000 teacher-reported students in Minnesota participate in archery in the schools programs. Most schools have only an in-school program, but about 10 percent of them have additional after-school archery programs that develop into a competitive team.
“Schools can receive DNR grant money for archery programs,” Kiger said. “Through the grant, we can help match a school’s contribution toward starting an archery program, with the school’s minimum financial contribution set at $1,600.”
The Lake Mary Association hosted an ice-out contest this year. The ice cover was officially off Lake Mary April 2.
There were 23 correct guesses this year, and a random drawing named the first-, second-, and third-place winners.
First place Scott Bayerl of Winsted, $100.
Second place Elly Heimerl of Kimball, $50.
Third place Aidan Young of Howard Lake, $25.
With the help of the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club and the Watertown Rod & Gun Club, 100 percent of the proceeds from the annual contest are used for the sole purpose of bi-annually stocking Lake Mary with 6-inch fingerling walleye.
Upcoming events at Waverly Gun Club
The Waverly Gun Club is offering a variety of opportunities this spring and summer. More information is available online at waverlygunclub.org
Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21 - Conceal and carry class, 6 pm., spring special $75.
Monday, April 27 - Youth trap league, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 3 - Merchandise shoot, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 6 - Handgun league, 5 pm, four weeks
Thursday, May 7 - Summer trap league, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 9 - Youth ATA shoot
Tuesday, May 12 - Ladies only night, 6:30 pm, second Tuesday of the month
Youngster hauls in state record fish
From the DNR
Eleven-year-old Austin Stoll heard the six-pound line scorching off his reel. Nearby, his dad Chris Stoll heard it, too, and both knew Austin had a big fish to battle.
By the time the battle was over March 9, Austin pulled up what is now certified as a new state record tullibee (also known as a cisco) weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces, besting the previous record by 2 ounces that stood for almost 13 years. He caught the fish in Sybil Lake in Otter Tail County.
“Congratulations to Austin on the great catch,” said Mike Kurre, who coordinates the state-record fish program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Austin and his dad did everything right to certify the fish, and they show how it’s possible to catch a state-record fish at any time of the year.”
To certify the tullibee as a record, they took it to be weighed on a certified scale at Essentia Health in Pelican Rapids after trying a local hardware store that was closed. Two impartial observers witnessed the weighing, and Austin and his dad brought the fish to be identified by two fisheries experts at the DNR Fergus Falls fisheries office. They also had the application stamped by a notary public.
“Austin’s fish is one of 62 state records, which are measured by weight,” Kurre said. “Many of these records are attainable at any time of the year because fishing seasons remain open for panfish and other species. In fact, the past several records have all been species that rarely grace the covers of glossy magazines.”
The five most recent records prior to Austin’s tullibee were golden redhorse in 2014, and the following fish in 2012: bowfin (dogfish), burbot (eelpout), river carpsucker and shovelnose sturgeon.
Anglers who wait to go fishing until the May 9 opener can dream about reeling in the record walleye. That claim to fame is a 17-pound, 8-ounce giant pulled from the Seagull River at Saganaga Lake in Cook County in 1979.
“With the open-water fishing season upon us, who knows which record will be next to fall?” Kurre said. “True, most people will never catch a record fish, but anglers break these records more frequently than many might imagine.”
In fact, Austin’s dad Chris hooked into a tullibee that may have tied this new state record only a few days after his son landed his record fish.
“They’re going to have both fish mounted, but Austin’s dad was a good sport and let his son bask in the glory,” Kurre said. “I bet more great fishing is in store for the Stoll family, with their long tradition of fishing for all species. Judging by the family photos of Austin’s catches, he’s no stranger to big bass, sunfish and muskie.”
To certify a fish as a record:
• Take it to a DNR fisheries office for positive identification.
• Fill out a record fish application.
• Locate a state-certified scale (found at most bait shops and butcher shops).
• Weigh the fish with two witnesses present.
• Send a clear, full-length photo of the fish with the application to the address listed on the application form.
“For each species of fish in the recordbook, there are stories of close calls and fish that got away or were released,” Kurre said. “Anglers must legally harvest a fish to certify it as a record. For some species like muskie, a catch-and-release ethic can trump the angler’s desire to harvest large fish. Sometimes it’s OK and expected to take only photos. Other times, records can hang on the wall and bring back great memories.”
Mayer firearms safety registration April 23 in Mayer
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. 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.
Time to try for trout: opener on Saturday
From the DNR
Conditions are ripe to give trout fishing a try anywhere on Minnesota’s 3,800 miles of trout streams after fishing opens Saturday, April 18, on inland trout streams statewide.
“It’s a great time to be a stream trout angler,” said Brian Nerbonne, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stream habitat consultant. “Access to trout streams has increased in recent years thanks in large part to increased funding that has allowed the DNR to improve trout stream access and trout habitat.”
The DNR has purchased more than 38 miles of angling easements since 2009 that grant public access to fishing. In total, the DNR owns 515 miles of trout stream easements, and another 1,228 miles flow through public land such as county, state, or federal forests and parks.
Stream conditions should be ideal for fishing this spring.
“We had an early snowmelt, so streams are running clear. Barring heavy rains close to opening day, we should have great conditions for the opener,” Nerbonne said. “For fly anglers, there have been reports of insect hatches in southeastern Minnesota during the early catch-and-release season. And trout abundance in southeastern Minnesota streams remains high, with numbers that are twice what they were in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Trout populations have increased for a number of reasons, including habitat improvements made by the DNR, local governments and agencies, conservation partners like Trout Unlimited, and conservation-minded people.
The increase in funding to create access and habitat improvements comes in large measure from the Outdoor Heritage Fund as recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and approved by the state Legislature. The Outdoor Heritage Fund is one of several created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the state constitution in 2008.
The possession limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout, and splake, is five combined, with not more than one longer than 16 inches. In Lake Superior streams, different regulations exist below posted boundaries, and anglers should check for special regulations on the streams where they plan to fish.
For more information on trout fishing, see www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout. For information about southeastern Minnesota streams, call the Lanesboro area fisheries office at 507-467-2442, and for information about streams in the rest of the state, call Nerbonne at 651-259-5205.
Applications for bear hunt due May 1
From the DNR
Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 1, at any Department of Natural Resources license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 3,700 licenses are available in 11 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $45 for residents and $231 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, and closes Sunday, Oct. 18.
Notification to successful lottery winners will be made in mid- to late May. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available to those eligible starting at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for no-quota areas in east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in a no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.
By offering the same number of licenses as last year, the DNR continues to work toward its goal of gradually increasing Minnesota’s bear population. The state’s bear population was estimated at 17,000 in 2008. Trends since then suggest that today’s population is 10,000 to 15,000. Reducing the number of bear licenses results in hunters harvesting fewer bears, allowing the population to gradually increase.
Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.
Comments being taken on proposed MN deer goals
From the DNR
Comments on proposed deer population goalss recommended by citizen advisory teams in 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas are being accepted through Wednesday, April 15, on the Department of Natural Resources website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
Specific population goal recommendations are posted online, along with the factors advisory team members cited when making recommendations. People should review this supporting information online before submitting comments.
Revisiting deer population goals began in 2012, when similar area teams helped set new goals for some permit areas in the Windom, Floodwood and Tower areas. Last year, new goals were set for southeastern Minnesota. The DNR plans to have new goals in place for all Minnesota deer permit areas before the 2016 firearms deer season.
More information on the process is available on the DNR’s deer management Web page at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
Free contamination trainings for lake service providers
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering two trainings in June 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 third year offering free 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 in the DNR’s online list of lake service providers trained to use hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.
The two trainings have limited space and require pre-registration. They are scheduled on:
• June 16 (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Northland Arboretum, Brainerd.
• June 25 (10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Tonka Bay Marine, Tonka Bay.
The registration deadline is one week prior to each training. Classes 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 651-259-5706 or 888-646-6367.
From the DNR
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past weekend. CO Mies gave a law talk at the St. Augusta firearms safety class. CO Mies worked fire activity.
CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reported most lakes in the area are had ice out or near ice Angling activity has increased, but the weather has been cool for good pre-spawn angling. Several nuisance animal calls were handled and enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines.
CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers having some success on crappies. State trails and parks were patrolled. Nuisance animal calls were handled.
CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) started the week with responding to a call about an eagle in the ditch. During the week a call about a deer stuck in the ice was also responded to and dealt with. Other activity for the week involved commercial checks and working with another officer checking creeks and minnow traps.
CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) followed up on a snare left out past the season. The trapper stated he couldn’t get to it before he left on a fishing trip due to the snow. As the weather warmed up, she answered questions regarding regulations on lake shore line changes. She also spent time at Camp Ripley armoring shotguns during RMS training and continued working on a background investigation.
CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked WMA enforcement issues this past week. Time was also spent investigating an OHV complaint in the area. Oberg also handled calls related to night bow fishing on area lakes. Division training was also completed.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: I heard the DNR is gathering a list of springs across the state. How will I know a spring when I see one, and how can I report its location?
A: A spring is a focused natural discharge of flowing groundwater. Some telltale clues are: they usually remain unfrozen in winter, they are unusually cold in summer, and they are often associated with plants such as watercress and willows. Some springs appear to “boil” the surface of lakes and streams.
Historically, springs were important sources of drinking water. They also provide critical habitat for trout streams by regulating water temperature and providing base flows to streams throughout the year. An inventory of Minnesota’s springs is being prepared by combing through old records, and more will be added by searching likely areas of the state. To learn more about springs, or to share the location of a spring near you, visit the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/groundwater_section/pilot/springshed.html.