Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

July 10, 2000

Getting the outdoors scoop

A few years ago, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was a wealth of up-to-date information on many of Minnesota's outdoor issues.

News on current laws and regulations, funding, hunting, fishing, boat and water safety, trails and waterways, and a host of environmental issues coming from the DNR was common.

There was always something going on and the DNR seemed to be doing a good job of letting us know about it.

For me and this column, weekly DNR press releases and informative media booklets on fishing, firearms safety, ethics, and hunting seasons were the standard, and always put out in a timely fashion.

The information was put out to media across the state to help them get the word out and keep the public, especially those interested in the outdoors and DNR, informed.

It's true that because of the Internet, forms of communication have changed dramatically over the past few years. But it just seems there either isn't as much going on in the DNR and outdoors, or the DNR isn't telling anybody about it.

For example: electronic licensing. The DNR has submitted news releases to media across the state, and does have the same information about it, plus a little more, on its Web site.

However, there still is a big question about the use of stamps when an electronic license is issued.

Does the DNR still have a few bugs to work out in the system or does it just want to leave a large group of the hunting and fishing public, plus a long list of license vendors, in a state of mild confusion.

In either case, I sure wish they would let us know, and do a little better job of clarifying the situation and getting the word out.

As far as news about the outdoors, hunting, fishing, etc. goes, there is still plenty of it out there and it's easily available.

The Outdoor News, a weekly newspaper mostly about hunting and fishing, does a good job of covering the legislature and the DNR, as well as where the fish are biting and what's happening with wildlife populations.

Then, there is a game bag or stinger full of specialty publications, magazines, TV and radio shows, and Web sites on just about any outdoor activity or topic you can think of.

Many of these sources are excellent and do a super job on the subject they are covering. However, they all serve a very targeted audience and are not concerned about answering to, and in fact don't answer to, the general public.

For the DNR, convincing hunters and anglers that the outdoors and the department are important pieces of our society and culture is easy. Convincing those who sit on the bubble and are not hunters or anglers that the outdoors and the department are important is not.

To do that, the DNR needs to get back on the media and information bandwagon - get its news out to the mass media and do its best at keeping everybody informed.

Outdoor notes

  • The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet Tuesday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Mary Clubhouse.
  • Reports on fishing from the area have been mixed. Anglers and bait shops continue to report that bass and northern pike are still hitting at good clip, but panfish action has been slow.
  • Plan your fall hunting trips now.
  • Big catfish have been biting on a few lakes in the area and on both forks of the Crow River.
  • Pay special attention to your dog when the weather is hot. Make sure it has shade and a good supply of fresh water. It's also a good idea not to work or exercise your dog on very hot days or during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you haven't noticed, the days are getting shorter.

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