Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Aug. 13, 2001

It's time to change gears

At this time of year, it seems outdoor enthusiasts always start shifting their gears a bit.

Days start getting shorter. The Game Fair and Minnesota State Fair roll around, and the fishing becomes slow.

All of the sudden, coffee shop talk has switched from angling to the upcoming hunting seasons.

This column is really no different. The fishing has been slow and the writer is tired of hot and humid weather, and by all means, is more than ready to at least start talking about fall and the upcoming hunting seasons.

Which, by the way, are just around the corner, with the September Canada goose season kicking off Sept. 1.

Soon, many of us will have shifted into high gear for the hunting seasons, and with that in mind here's some information on the subject for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Deer licenses, regulations, permit applications now available

From the DNR

The "2001 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook," along with deer licenses and applications for deer antlerless and special hunt permits, are now available at more than 1,800 Electronic License System (ELS) agents and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.

The 2001 season opener for firearms deer is Saturday, Nov. 3, the opener for archery deer is Saturday, Sept. 15, and for muzzleloader deer is Saturday, Nov. 24.

A total of 284,210 antlerless permits are available this fall, which is a 22 percent increase from last year and the second highest number ever offered. Most of the permit increases are in zones 1 and 2, which reflects an increased deer population despite the slightly harsher than average winter.

Antlerless permits are available in all areas except permit area 116 in the area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. In addition, permit area 203 (Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding area) will be restricted to a limited number of antlerless permits available only to youth under age 16 during the firearms season; all other hunters in this permit area will be restricted to bucks-only hunting.

A total of 33 special hunts will also be held in parks and refuges where hunting is not normally allowed and where the number of hunters must be limited for safety purposes. The regulation handbook includes a complete listing of the hunts and application instructions.

ANTLERLESS AND SPECIAL HUNT PERMIT APPLICATION

The general application deadline for antlerless permits and special hunts is the Thursday after Labor Day (Sept. 6). Applications for the Camp Ripley archery hunt, which are now made through the ELS system, must be made by Friday, Aug. 17. The deadline for the New Ulm archery hunt is Saturday, Sept. 1.

Deer hunters are reminded to check their license at the time of purchase to verify that they have the correct zone on the license and the correct antlerless permit area on the license receipt. The deer zone is printed along the side of the deer license. The antlerless permit area applied for will appear only on the license receipt.

Hunters who have recently moved should request the license agent to update their address when they purchase their licenses. Also, hunters who have changed driver's license numbers due to a name change should contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cities metro area or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

New in 2001: Lake Bemidji State Park will hold its first special hunt Nov. 5-6. Thirty-five antlerless only permits are available for the special hunt in the state park, which is designated as special permit area 911.

Also, the Bemidji State Game Refuge in Beltrami County is open for archery deer hunting through Dec. 31, not Dec. 2 as stated on page 114 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. This state game refuge formerly closed to hunting on the first Sunday in December.

GENERAL LICENSE INFORMATION AND PAST DEER HARVEST DATA

Regular deer hunting licenses cost $26 for residents and $126 for nonresidents, including the $1 agent's issuing fee.

There are also several additional deer licensing options, including $51 for resident multi-zone buck licenses that allow hunters to tag bucks-only in more than one zone, and $67 for an all-season buck license that allows a resident to hunt the archery, firearms and muzzleloader seasons and take one buck.

A $6.50 youth firearms deer license, without a tag, is available for residents 12 to 15 years of age. This license requires that the youth be accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 18 years of age who possesses a valid tag, and that any deer taken by the youth hunter be tagged by another member of the party.

In 2000, approximately 450,000 firearms hunters harvested 191,400 deer during the firearms season. An additional 4,500 deer were harvested during the muzzleloader season, and 70,000 archery hunters harvested 15,700 deer.

Sept.Canada goose seasons, youth waterfowl hunt set

From the DNR

The 2001 September Canada goose seasons and the one-day youth waterfowl hunt will be the same as last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The early Canada goose hunt is intended to provide opportunities for hunters to harvest Minnesota-breeding Canada geese before the arrival of migrating geese from Canada. The early September goose season will be Sept. 1-22 statewide except in the Northwest Goose Zone, where the season will be Sept. 1-15.

Daily bag limits will be five Canada geese except in the Northwest Goose Zone and the Southeast Goose Zone (which now lies east of the deer hunting Zone 3 boundary), where the daily limit will be two Canada geese. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset each day.

Hunters, except those under age 18 or over age 65, will be required to obtain a $4 permit, available from Electronic Licensing System locations and from the DNR License Bureau at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. This $4 permit is also valid for hunters participating in late December Canada goose seasons that will be announced at a later date. Hunters must also possess federal and state duck stamps and a valid small game license, and be Harvest Information Program (HIP) certified.

HIP certification is required nationwide to hunt migratory birds. This cooperative program between the state and federal governments is designed to improve hunter surveys to provide better estimates of migratory bird harvest, thus helping ensure the future of migratory bird hunting.

All licensed waterfowl hunters and other migratory bird hunters must be HIP certified by answering yes to the question of whether they intend to hunt migratory birds when they purchase their small game license.

Although hunters in the early goose hunt are generally restricted from hunting within at least 100 yards of any surface water, over-water hunting is allowed in the West Goose Zone (south of Interstate 94, west of U.S. Highway 71 and State Highway 60) for the entire Sept. 1-22 early season. According to Tim Bremicker, director of the DNR's Wildlife Division, the intent of the expansion of the open water hunting in the West Goose Zone is to provide additional opportunity for hunters to take geese in that area of the state, where damage to agricultural crops from geese has been severe.

The Youth Waterfowl Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15. Hunting will be allowed from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

Although final waterfowl regulations will not be available from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service until early September, it is expected that duck bag limits for youth waterfowl hunters will be six ducks, and may not include more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be hens), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one pintail, one black duck and one canvasback.

Youth hunters can also take one Canada goose, except in the West Goose Zone where they can take five Canada geese. The September Canada goose season, with open-water Canada goose hunting in the West Goose Zone, will be open at the time the Youth Waterfowl Hunt is scheduled.

Details on the September Canada goose seasons are available now in the 2001 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. Details about the Youth Waterfowl Hunt will be in the 2001 Waterfowl Regulations Supplement, which will be available in early September.

Outdoor notes

­ Abbi and the little birds: If you're not familiar with this story, you're going to have to wait until next week. Otherwise, after the latest bird incident, Abbi would not let me touch her hair for about four days.

­ Ducks Unlimited recently reported that the US Fish and Wildlife Service's annual report on breeding duck numbers and May habitat conditions revealed a population decrease in nine of the 10 most common duck species. Across North America, the total number of breeding ducks declined by about 14 percent, falling from 42 million birds in 2000 to 36.1 million in 2001.

­ The application deadline for the Camp Ripley bow hunt is Friday, Aug. 17.

­ When you purchase your hunting license through ELS, or if you already purchased a sportsman's license this spring, don't forget to purchase your stamps also through ELS. State duck and pheasant stamps, as well as other required state stamps, are purchased through ELS. Don't forget about them and make sure the endorsements are indicated on your ELS license.

­ Plan your fall hunting trips now.

­ Now is the time to start getting your dog in shape for the fall. Start your dog off slow and easy, do some reminder training, and you may want to consider changing your dog's diet. Moving your dog on to more of a high protein and high energy diet should be done gradually and well in advance of the hunting seasons.

­ The days will start getting shorter in a big hurry. Today, the sun will set sometime around 8:30 p.m. On Sept. 1, the sun will set at 7:49 p.m.

­ The second weekend of the Game Fair will be Aug. 18 and 19 at Armstrong Ranch and Kennels in Anoka.

­ County fairs and the state fair are great places to pick up information on our great outdoors. Local conservation organizations often have information booths at our county fairs and the DNR building at the state fair is super.

­ On a good fishing note, some of the best action of the season on big northern pike is just around the corner. In the last week of August and into early September, big pike love to hit spoons trolled just on the outside edge of weedlines.

­ Take a kid fishing; he or she will have fun and so will you.

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