Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

Aug. 28, 2000

Electronic licensing and stamp system in place

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' new electronic licensing system (ELS) started in March with the 2000 license year.

As with anything new, there have been a pile of questions and things to figure out - both for the DNR and the average license holder.

With the 2000 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook out and quite a bit of information on ELS in it (page 14), I think the DNR has finally got a handle on its end of the deal and is making a better attempt at getting that information out to the prospective license buyer.

On the other end, for the typical Minnesota hunter, there are still a few questions - the biggest one being the issue of state stamps for trout, salmon, waterfowl, pheasant, and wild turkey.

The hunting and trapping regulations handbook says this: "Stamp validations printed on the license (ELS only) are valid for hunting 30 days after issuance. The DNR will mail the pictorial stamp to the customer. At that time, the customer must sign the face of the pictorial stamp and carry both the signed pictorial stamp and the stamp validation (on ELS license) when engaged in that license activity as required by law."

Basically, that means the stamp validation on your ELS license, or the part of your ELS license that indicates which stamps you purchased, is good for only 30 days.

After 30 days from the purchase of your ELS license and stamp, you must carry both the ELS stamp validation and the signed pictorial stamp. The signed pictorial stamp just has to be carried with; it does not have to be affixed to the printed out ELS license.

The problem or question comes in when an ELS stamp buyer does not receive a pictorial stamp from the DNR within 30 days of the purchase of an ELS license and stamp validation.

Some buyers have said it has taken over two months for them to get their stamps. A few others noted they purchased a sportsmen's combination hunting and angling license with stamps back in March and still haven't received their pictorial state waterfowl and pheasant stamps.

In my case, I purchased my ELS sportsmen's license with all stamps except wild turkey, and I received my pictorial stamps in the mail from the DNR about two months later. For me, no problem. I don't need a pictorial stamp until the start of the early goose season Sept. 2.

If you're an ELS license buyer who hasn't received your stamp or stamps yet and may not meet the 30-day requirement for hunting, there are no guarantees, but don't worry too much.

According to several sources from the DNR and a few ELS license vendors like Dave Groff from Lil' Angie's Bait and Tackle, the stamp validation on your ELS will get you by if you're past the 30 days and haven't received your pictorial stamps yet.

If you purchased an ELS license without stamps, and now want to purchase a stamp, let's say for Minnesota pheasant hunting, just go back to an ELS license agent, roll out the dough for the pheasant stamp, and the agent will get on the ELS terminal and get you a stamp validation.

On a final note, the DNR is also asking ELS license buyers not to remove the adhesive backing from their printed ELS licenses.

For more information on ELS licensing, refer to pages 14 and 15 of the 2000 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook or call the DNR at 1-888-646-6367.

DNR completes survey of North Fork Crow River

By Eric Altena, DNR Fisheries, Montrose, in the CROW newsletter

Between April and June of this year, the DNR Fisheries office in Montrose conducted three separate surveys of the north fork of the Crow River in Wright County.

Prior to this year's work, the most recent survey of this stretch of the River had been completed in 1985. The DNR used Global Positioning System (GPS) to mark locations of interest such as tributaries, riffles, and erosion sites.

Electrofishing, a specialized technique that temporarily stuns fish, was used to get a picture of the fish community within the Crow River.

Overall, the 2000 electrofishing survey had more game fish than the 1985 survey, with walleye up to 8.5 pounds, small mouth bass up to four pounds, and an increase in channel catfish.

A trot line survey, which is a series of 10 hooks baited with cut bait set overnight, was used within the same areas that were electrofished. There were 212 channel catfish, averaging 19.5 inches, caught using trot lines.

The DNR Fisheries office indicated that overall, it appears that the fishery has improved in the north fork of the Crow River.

Crow River citizen stream monitoring network

From the CROW newsletter

The Crow River Organization of Water (CROW) has been working in cooperation with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and area citizens to develop a citizen stream monitoring network in the Crow River watershed.

Once a week, the volunteers visit an established spot on a nearby stream and measure transparency, appearance, recreational suitability, and stream stage. Daily precipitation is also measured.

Using a grant received from the Metropolitan Council, the CROW is able to provide the volunteers with the necessary equipment.

To date, approximately 20 people have volunteered for the program. Additional volunteers are still needed, especially on the tributaries to the Crow River.

For more information, contact Jenny Lee of CROW at (763) 682-1933, ext. 3, or jenny.lee@mn.usda.

Outdoor notes

  • The application deadline for 2000 antlerless deer permits is Thursday, Sept. 7. This year, antlerless permit applications must be made through the ELS.
  • If you're planning an out-of-state hunting trip this fall, go to the outdoors section of this newspaper's Web site at www.herald-journal.com. There you will find links to other sites like North Dakota's Game and Fish Department and a whole lot more that can help you in planning your trip.
  • Now is the time to get your dog in shape for the upcoming hunting seasons. When more intense training and conditioning begins, remember to check your dog's health often, paying special attention to paws, belly, eyes and ears.
  • The early September Canada goose hunting season in our area opens Saturday, Sept. 2.
  • The federal waterfowl stamp is not part of Minnesota's ELS system; that stamp must be purchased separately. Federal waterfowl stamps are available at post offices and certain license vendors.
  • Take a kid fishing - you will have fun and so will he or she.

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