Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Sept. 3, 2001

Fall hunting season is in the air

Antlerless permit deadline Thursday

Thursday Sept. 6 is the deadline for applying for an antlerless deer permit. The firearms deer hunt in Minnesota opens on Saturday, Nov. 3, and if you don't get your application for an antlerless permit in by Thursday you won't have a chance at getting a permit.

You must purchase a firearms deer license to apply for the permit, and the application can be automatically completed through the Electronic Licensing System at the time your license is purchased.

It's also a good idea to get the job done well before Thursday. The ELS can only move so fast, and local or area license vendors have more customers to serve than just those buying deer hunting licenses.

Avoid the lines and help the vendors by purchasing your license and making your application before Thursday.

Quack, quack it's back

The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Blue Note Ballroom, Winsted. The quacking hour begins at 6 p.m., with feeding at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Blue Note or can be purchased at the door.

Waterfowl and conservation enthusiasts from our area can be proud of the fact the Ducks Unlimited, and the tremendous effort the organization puts out for conservation is well supported locally. Along with the Winsted Chapter, there is also the Crow River Chapter and our current DU state chairman is Ken Durdahl of Howard Lake.

If you wantt to get involved in conservation, becoming a member of Ducks Unlimited and attending a local banquet is a great way to get started.

Conservation programs need support

The following is an editorial from Ken Durdahl, State Chairman Ducks Unlimited, that appeared in the July 24 issue of Outdoor News.

On behalf of 50,000 Minnesota DU members, I am writing to encourage your support for five important conservation features and programs coming up for reauthorization through the 2002 Farm Bill. Swampbuster, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) are programs that help farmers who want to be good stewards of their land fulfill their conservation goals and stay on their farms.

Since 1985, when the first big conservation programs were created with the Farm Bill, millions of acres of excellent wildlife habitat have been created, including 1-2 million in Minnesota.

These programs have largely replaced less desirable "set-aside" programs that created death traps for wildlife in an attempt to stabilize and increase crop prices.

The long-term programs, like CRP and WRP, have the same effect of increasing crop prices (by reducing supply), but provide immense additional benefit, like more wildlife habitat and cleaner surface waters.

Congress has been very busy creating the new Farm Bill, due to be implemented in 2002. The conservation provisions of this bill will be in effect for 10 years, unlike the five-year bills of the past. Hence, it is critical that good conservation programs be incorporated.

The Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives just passed out its first draft of the bill. It will now move to the full House for changes and passage, then a similar bill must pass through the Senate.

The bill proposed by the Agriculture Committee takes significant steps to increase conservation, but still does not take full advantage of the opportunity offered by programs like CRP and WRP.

A parallel bill, developed by Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin (HR 2375), further increases the availability of these programs to address increasing need and demand and maximize agricultural conservation.

This is a much needed improvement, and conservationists should let their representatives know they fully support it.

As of Aug. 17, four Minnesota representatives had signed on this bill (Reps. McCollum, Oberstar, Luther and Sabo). The other four (Reps. Peterson, Kennedy, Gutknecht, and Ramstad) need to know that Minnesota conservationists support this bill and its conservation measures.

With more than 50 percent of this nation's land involved in agricultural production, we must not underestimate agriculture policy as a powerful tool to help improve our quality of life.

Programs like CRP and WRP have improved water quality, reduced soil erosion, restored important wildlife habitat, and helped combat urban sprawl. All Americans, rural and urban, benefit when we stop these problems before they start.

However, most farmers who apply for assistance in conservation are turned away due to insufficient funding. This new Farm Bill must recognize the significant benefits of these programs and address the overwhelming demand for agricultural conservation.

Contact your Congressional representative today to let them know of your support for conservation.

From the DNR website

Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered in Norway Lake near Spicer by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees.

DNR fisheries staff, while working on a resurvey of Norway Lake fish populations, noticed a suspicious looking aquatic plant fragment floating in the lake. The suspicions were based on experience in dealing with a Eurasian watermilfoil infestation in Green Lake in Spicer, where the exotic aquatic plant was discovered last year.

This observation led to an inspection by Chip Welling, coordinator of the DNR's Eurasian Watermilfoil Program, who confirmed that the exotic plant is growing in Norway Lake.

Further inspection on Norway Lake is planned to determine the extend of the infestation. This information is necessary to evaluate management options, according to Welling.

"The problems caused by milfoil can be managed," Welling said, "but eradication is not a realistic goal."

Norway Lake, which is 10 miles northwest of Spicer, is connected to several downstream lakes, including Games, Swan, Henchien and Andrew. Because milfoil spreads primarily by the introduction of plant fragments, which can be carried by water currents, it may appear in lakes downstream from Norway, according to Bruce Gilbertson, a DNR area fisheries supervisor in Spicer. Gilbertson asked that users of those lakes be on the lookout for milfoil.

"In order to prevent the spread of milfoil to lakes that are not connected to Norway," Gilbertson said, "boaters need to be especially careful to remove all aquatic plants from their boats, motors and trailers before leaving an access."

Outdoor notes

­ Sharpen your shooting eye and become familiar with your firearms again by shooting a round of trap at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen's or sighting in your rifle at the new Waverly Sportmen's Club range.

The Lester Prairie Club offers practice trap shooting Wednesday evenings through Sept. 12, located about 2 miles southwest of Lester Prairie on McLeod County 1.

The Waverly range is located just north of Waverly on Wright County 9.

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