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Last Updated: Oct - Nov 2012
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been informed that a petition for review was filed today with the Minnesota Court of Appeals in an attempt to stop the state’s upcoming wolf hunting and trapping season. The agency and the Office of the Attorney General have not been served with or reviewed the petition and have no comment on this legal proceeding.
However, the DNR has stated in the past that the current season poses no biological or conservation threat to the wolf population.
“The DNR recognizes there is a wide range of opinions toward wolf hunting and trapping, but all Minnesotans should know the DNR’s primary wolf management goal is to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “The DNR’s conservative approach to this first season is based on sound conservation science and principles.”
While recently removed from the federal threatened list, Minnesota’s wolf population has been recovered since the 1990s and stable for more than a decade.
The state’s wolf population of about 3,000 is thriving and can sustain a hunting and trapping season consistent with the mission of the DNR for the participation of those interested in hunting and trapping opportunities similar to other managed wildlife.
The agency is taking a conservative approach to its inaugural season, with a quota of 400 wolves. The agency developed the wolf hunting and trapping season using data and research collected and developed over decades by top wolf experts and wildlife managers.
In addition to receiving public input on the season, the DNR received strong direction from the Minnesota Legislature, which held hearings on the proposed season.
“The Legislature, which represents all Minnesotans, had a wide-ranging discussion of the wolf season,” Landwehr said. “It is our job to implement the season in a manner that sustains the population for the long term.”
To learn more about wolf management and read Frequently Ask Questions about the season, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mgmt.html.
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) needs the help and cooperation of the general public statewide to help prevent and minimize fire danger, which is at a seasonal all-time high in much of Minnesota since automated local records have been kept.
“We have a unique and dangerous combination of fires that are not yet well contained up north, and a serious fire risk in the south that will continue to challenge local emergency response resources if additional fires should start,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.
The two large fires and several smaller ones centered in the Karlstad and Baudette areas have consumed more than 40,000 acres so far, resulting in evacuations, lost homes and burned structures. Fortunately, there are no known injuries at this time. The extremely high winds on Tuesday intensified widespread drought conditions, dry vegetation and persistent low humidity, which even grounded some aerial firefighting resources.
Under such conditions, Landwehr urges all Minnesotans to take certain precautions that include:
• Exercise caution in all agricultural operations and avoid operations in fields and roadsides until fire danger improves – particularly the mowing of dry fields and lawns. Sparks from mowers can easily ignite dry grass. Monitor weather conditions and conduct fall operations during periods of higher humidity and low winds.
• Avoid target shooting, particularly the use of the popular new “exploding targets.” Firing guns and hitting exploding targets present a high risk for wildfires.
• If possible, do not run motor vehicles or other heavy equipment in dry fields. The heat of the engine and exhaust system can cause fires especially in tall grass.
• Follow all burning restrictions. Campfires and other open burning are prohibited in several areas of the state. Check the DNR website for current information.
• Carry a fire extinguisher when operating machinery in dry areas.
• Have a family and business emergency response plan ready in case fire threatens an area near you.
• Immediately call 911 if a fire is ignited and move to a safe location. Attempting to extinguish fires under our current conditions can be extremely hazardous without proper personal protection.
DNR officials thank the public for supporting wild fire safety and natural resources.
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Parks where some areas will be open only to hunters with special permits but other areas will remain open to all visitors (hunt dates in parentheses):
Parks that will remain open to all visitors during special hunts (hunt dates in parentheses) and parks with a portion of land open to hunters during hunting season:
Parks that are wholly or partially open to hunting (all seasons) by legislation (plus “special” hunts, where indicated):
Parks where no hunting will take place:
Bear Head Lake State Park, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Blue Mounds State Park, Camden State Park, Carley State Park, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Father Hennepin State Park, Fort Ridgely State Park, Fort Snelling State Park, Franz Jevne State Park, Glendalough State Park, Grand Portage State Park, Hill Annex Mine State Park, Interstate State Park, Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area, Jay Cooke State Park, John A. Latsch State Park, Kilen Woods State Park, Lac qui Parle State Park, Lake Maria State Park, McCarthy Beach State Park, Minneopa State Park, Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Monson Lake State Park, Moose Lake State Park, Myre-Big Island State Park, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Red River State Recreation Area, Sakatah Lake State Park, Split Rock Creek State Park, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Whitewater State Park.
State Conservation Officer Scott Staples of Carlton and his K-9 partner “Schody” responded to a Sept. 7 request by the Cloquet Police Department to help locate a man that had fled into the woods after allegedly stealing a black pellet gun from the local Wal-Mart. Cloquet police shortly apprehended the suspect but officers were unable to locate the gun.
The DNR K-9 team returned to the search area the following day and observed a woman associated with the subject standing in the woods talking on a cell phone.
“When I asked her what she was doing she didn’t say anything and just looked at me,” Staples said. “I then asked if she was just hanging out back in the wooded area. She stated she was and immediately left the area.”
Staples noted the license plate number of the vehicle the woman was driving and ran a records check. A driver’s license photo identified her as the woman he saw in the woods.
Staples and Schody then moved back into the wooded area and started to do a search where the woman had been standing. After a short search they moved to two separate areas that had not been searched the previous night. At the first location they found nothing. They hit pay dirt at the second location when they K-9 began digging into a thick grassy area beneath some small pine trees.
“I walked over to where he was and he came out of the thick grass with a black pellet gun in his mouth,” Staples said. “Given the amount of time that had elapsed since the incident occurred it’s just amazing that he found it in that dense vegetation.” He gave the dog commands to ‘stay’ and ‘hold.’
Staples snapped a picture of the dog with his cell phone and had the K-9 drop the gun into his hands. Cloquet Police were notified that he had located the pellet gun in the wooded area where the suspect had run into the night before. Cloquet Police arrived on scene and took possession of the pellet gun. The man, recently released from prison, remains in jail awaiting charges.
DNR’s three K-9 teams provide specialized resources to assist conservation officers, allied agencies, and the citizens of the state with specialized capabilities in support of the Department’s mission, through utilization during daily patrols and resource inspections, or in targeted enforcement efforts, such as detecting concealed wildlife or fish, searches for missing persons, and tracking violators.Back to Top
Drought conditions in northwestern Minnesota have created extremely low water conditions in many shallow lakes and wetland basins that are popular for waterfowl hunting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR). Despite these conditions, duck hunters can expect good numbers of ducks, especially in the northwest region where lower water conditions have created an excellent wild rice crop, which is good forage for ducks.
"Duck numbers are very good right now and duck hunters can have great success during dry years such as this," said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl research specialist. "Dabbling ducks prefer shallow water, seek out areas where rice exists and may stick around longer than usual."
Duck hunters in the northwest region may find conditions much different than they have been in recent years. Some seasonal basins are completely dry and other, more permanent basins are 1.5 feet or more below normal levels for this time of year.
Periodic droughts are natural occurrences for wetlands. Some wetlands will also be low or dry this fall due to intentional drawdowns by the DNR, which are intended to improve wetland health and attract waterfowl.
Periods of low water encourage vegetation growth important for food and protective cover for waterfowl and other species of wildlife. They also induce winter-kill that helps eliminate certain rough fish such as carp, black bullheads and fathead minnows. High populations of these fish can contribute to poor water clarity that inhibits beneficial vegetative growth.
"These wet and dry cycles are a natural part of wetland health and in the long-term, encourage waterfowl use," said Tom Carlson, northwest region waterfowl habitat specialist. "They can, however, make access a challenge in the interim."
DNR expects that significant rainfall will be needed between now and the regular waterfowl season opener to measurably improve access in many areas. Hunters should plan accordingly and visit areas they wish to hunt prior to opening weekend.
"Hunters simply need to take into account the drier conditions, do some scouting and not be surprised on opening morning if conditions on their favorite lake are significantly different from past years," said Cordts.
Find an area wildlife office at www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/index.html to get more information about local conditions.
The following are descriptions of northwest regions by county of the key waterfowl areas that may be difficult to access.
Thief Lake – Lake is currently 20 inches below target and water is well away from all of the boat launches. Hunters may not drive trucks into the basin of the wetland, but are allowed to hand-back trailers to the water's edge at the Maanum's boat launch. Access will be difficult with a boat and motor. Best access may be via canoe or small boat that can be carried to the water's edge. The Moose River access has sufficient water for boats, but the delta where the river enters the lake is very shallow and overgrown with vegetation.
Nereson WMA – The south impoundment at Nereson is in drawdown, and currently water is only found in the borrow ditch. The north pool is still holding water, but is one foot below normal for this time of year. Access to this impoundment's backwaters may be difficult.
Roseau Lake – Roseau Lake is completely dry.
Roseau River WMA – All pools are 6-10 inches below normal. Access via boat and outboard motor will be possible in most of the huntable area of the pools, but travel will be slowed by the shallow water conditions. The Roseau River is very low; navigation with boat and motor will be difficult throughout its reaches. The best watercraft for the main channel would be a canoe with paddles, no outboard.
Grant and Douglas counties
Lake Christina – Due to a current water level management project being conducted to increase submerged aquatic plants, using electric water pumps, Lake Christina is about two feet lower than its normal water level. Mud flats extend a few hundred feet out from the public access. Dragging or poling a boat out to the water's edge will be extremely difficult.
Western Becker, Norman and Mahnomen counties
Water levels in temporary and seasonal wetlands and area lakes, rivers and streams are very low. Many of the temporary and seasonal wetlands in these areas are extremely low to dry. However, the wild rice crop is good to excellent throughout the northwest. Waterfowl hunters that focus their hunting efforts in locations where good stands of wild rice are located will enjoy success.
Eastern Becker, Southern Hubbard, Wadena and Cass counties
Temporary and seasonal wetlands are extremely low to dry. Cass County is the exception due to June rain showers. Some lakes, rivers and streams are low, but should not cause access issues. Drier conditions have contributed to a very robust wild rice crop throughout most of these areas and early season migrants such as blue-winged teal and wood ducks are starting to congregate in these areas to ake advantage of the abundant food opportunities.
Hovland and Kroening WMAs – both are currently dry. Significant precipitation will still be needed to bring most marsh levels up to "average."
Drought conditions in southern Minnesota have created extremely low water conditions in many shallow lakes and wetland basins that are popular for waterfowl hunting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR).
Duck hunters in the southern region may find conditions much different than they have in recent years. Some seasonal basins are completely dry and other, more permanent basins are 1.5 feet or more below normal levels for this time of year.
"Duck numbers are very good right now and duck hunters can have great success during dry years such as this," said Ken Varland, southern region wildlife manager. "Dabbling ducks prefer shallow water and may stick around longer than usual."
Varland added, "Hunters simply need to take into account the drier conditions, do some scouting and not be surprised on opening morning if conditions on their favorite lake are significantly different from past year."
Periodic droughts are natural occurrences for wetlands. Some wetlands will also be dry this fall due to intentional drawdowns by the DNR.
Periods of low water encourage vegetation growth important for food and protective cover for waterfowl and other species of wildlife. They also induce winter kill and help eliminate certain rough fish such as carp, black bullheads and fathead minnows. High populations of these fish can contribute to poor water clarity.
"These wet and dry cycles are a natural part of wetland health," said Tom Carlson, Fergus Falls waterfowl habitat specialist. "They can, however, make access a challenge in the interim."
DNR expects that significant rainfall in the southern region between now and the regular season opener for waterfowl will be needed to measurably improve access in the basins listed above, as well as in many other areas. Hunters should plan accordingly and visit areas they wish to hunt prior to opening weekend.
Find an area wildlife office at www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/index.html to get more information about local conditions.
The following is a breakdown of the southern region by county of key waterfowl areas that may be difficult to access.
Big Stone County
Steen Wildlife Management Area (WMA) – drawdown, completely dry.
Blue Earth County
Gilfillan Lake on Gilfillan WMA.
Minnesota Lake, Rice Lake.
Manchester Marsh WMA – lots of mud flat.
Upper and Lower Twin lakes - Ann and Leo Donahue WMA, Upper Twin WMA and Twin lakes. WPA – Upper Twin is mostly mud flat, Lower Twin as a little water, but not enough to float most boats for some distance out.
Bear Lake (and WMA) - public access is dry, but the lake still has some water.
Magaksica WMA – Mud Lake is mostly mud.
Carex WMA – dry.
Panicum Prairie – dry except the ditches.
Heron Lake – mudflats between vegetation, but water around most of the main lakes.
Anderson Lake (Anderson Lake WMA), Rost WMA – in drawdown.
Welsand's Slough (Coon Creek WMA) – in drawdown.
Lac Qui Parle County
Hamlin WMA (Cory Lake), Haydenville WMA – in drawdown, dry.
Fritsche Creek WMA.
Moonan Marsh WMA – dry.
Buffalo Lake - public access is dry, but the lake still has some water.
Teal Marsh WMA – mostly mud flat.
Goose Lake – state access is mud, but the lake has water. Yellow Medicine County
Curtis Lake – in drawdown.
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Minnesota small game hunting seasons are an ideal way for friends and families to get outdoors and discover the opportunities Minnesota has to offer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Small game hunting starts on Saturday, Sept. 15, when the seasons for ruffed grouse, rabbit and squirrel begin.
“Small game season is a forgotten pleasure,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “With nothing more than a small caliber rifle or shotgun, a bit of patience and some blaze orange, Minnesota’s fields and forests are there to be explored and enjoyed.”
Small game hunting is inexpensive. Youth licenses (age 15 and under) are free and those for 16 and 17 year olds are just $12.50, a discount from the standard license price of $19.
Hunters must meet firearms safety requirements or obtain an apprentice hunter validation and go afield with a licensed hunter. Minnesota’s apprentice hunter validation program enables those who need but have not completed firearms safety training to hunt under prescribed conditions designed to ensure a safe hunt.
“Once you’re in the field, careful observation of wildlife habits and a bit of stealth will begin to give small game hunters the experience they need,” Kurre said.
Minnesota offers public hunting on more than 1.4 million acres of wildlife management areas, 15,000 acres of Walk-In Access lands in southern Minnesota, and millions of acres of state forests.
Grouse hunters have access to 528 designated hunting areas in the ruffed grouse range covering nearly 1 million acres, 43 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails.
Lingering summer foliage early in the season makes harvesting grouse challenging, said Ted Dick, DNR grouse coordinator. But, he said, learning where and when grouse can be flushed is beneficial knowledge that hunters can use as colors change in the woods and leaves drop.
“Flush rates and total harvest probably will decline because we’re on the downward side of the 10-year grouse population cycle,” Dick said. “But Minnesota offers some of the best grouse hunting in the country and, even in down years, has flush rates that hunters in other states envy.” In northwestern Minnesota, the sandhill crane season also begins Sept. 15. Waterfowl season opens statewide on Saturday, Sept. 22, as does the season on woodcock, a woodland migratory bird. Pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 13.Complete information about Minnesota hunting seasons is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting.
For a map and information on CWD endemic areas established by BAH, visit www.bah.state.mn.us/bah/rules/import-regulations.html and click the cervidae link.
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