By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.
Oct. 29, 2001
Deer season opens Nov. 3; mix-up in anterless permits noted
The 2001 version of Minnesota's firearms deer hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 3.
On that day, thousands of hunters across the state will head into the woods, fields, and marshes in search of whitetail deer.
For many, it will be the only time during the year they actually get into the woods and experience nature up close. It also will be the only time during the year they are actually in pursuit of game with a firearm in hand.
For those people, deer hunting is extremely special, and carries with it much more than the hunt itself. It's a time of tradition, getting back to nature and reflection.
For those who only hunt deer, and for the rest of us who participate in other hunting seasons, the joy and experience of the hunt can only be ruined by tragedy.
To ensure a quality experience, we must all put safety first, be responsible, and practice, as well as advocate, a very high level of ethics. We can't forget our privilege to hunt is always in jeopardy and that there is typically no one out there watching us, making sure we our doing things right, but ourselves and other hunters.
In the midst of the hunt and the preparation that goes into it, we, without question, must always put safety first.
Regarding safety, in today's column I have included an item from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on deer hunting and hunter safety. Please read it, and take the info into the woods with you.
Moving on, deer hunting across the state is expected to be very good this year. In east-central Minnesota and a few other parts of the state harvest numbers could hit record highs this season.
Locally, deer numbers are also very good. However, the late crop harvest will definitely affect hunting and hunter success. Regarding crops, many farmers who do allow hunting on their property are sensitive about hunting in standing crops, especially corn.
Aside from damage that may be done to the crops, hunting in standing corn can be very dangerous, and anyone or group hunting in standing corn must institute specific safety measures and be very cautious.
I'll be hunting in the Cross Lake area again this fall, and was lucky enough to be drawn for an antlerless permit. I was also one of the unlucky hunters who did not receive their antlerless permit in the mail because of a mailing mix-up.
Due to a mistake in the mail preparation process, some 3,500 antlerless permit lottery winners did not receive their permit in the mail. Those permits were mistakenly stuffed into other envelopes, and some hunters who did get their permit may gotten someone else's in addition to theirs in the envelope.
When I heard about the mix-up, I went right to the DNR's web site and checked to see if I was supposed to get a permit. When the site told me I was a lucky winner, I immediately faxed to the DNR my name, date of birth, drivers license number, correct mailing address, and phone number. The DNR stated it would then send me out a new permit.
If you applied for a permit this year and didn't receive one, I would recommend that you go to the DNR's web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us and check to see if you were chosen to receive one.
If you were chosen and didn't get it in the mail yet, don't wait around. The DNR doesn't know if you got it or not. You need to contact the DNR and provide it with the right information to get a new one.
The DNR can be reached at (651) 296-6157 by phone, or by fax at (651) 297-3618.
Remember to put safety first and good luck hunting.
Remember to wear blaze orange during the deer hunting season. Blaze orange is not just required of deer hunters but all those in the outdoors during the firearms deer hunting season.
Specific requirements can be found in the 2001 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.
When taking photos of your game this fall, make sure the game is well presented, clean, and not bloody. Take time to set a nice shot with a good background, and make sure those in the photo are also in good appearance. You will appreciate the extra effort when you get the photos back, and they will be much more presentable when you show them to people who don't hunt.
Local duck hunters reported a surge of northern birds and divers during last week's storm and have said that after a small lull, the hunting has picked up again. In general, local duck hunting this season has been much better than expected.
Pheasant hunters across Minnesota have been reporting hit-and-miss hunting and are still waiting for a majority of the crops to get off the fields. So far, I'd say pheasant numbers in the far west and in pockets of southwestern Minnesota have been a bit higher than the DNR expected. Reports from the New London and Spicer areas have also been very good.
Properly store you firearms and ammunition. They should be securely locked in separate locations and completely unaccessible by children. This is especially true during the hunting season when interest by kids can be much higher.
Learn the fundamentals of sport archery, including form, techniques, and basic equipment used. Classes will be at Prairie Archery Club, 412 Central Avenue North, Lester Prairie. Classes are directed to people of all ages. Equipment and targets will be furnished, however you may bring your own equipment if you prefer. Times are from 7 to 9 p.m., Nov. 13, 15, 20, 27 and 29. There is a $30 fee and the registration deadline is Oct. 31. Please register by calling Jim Richardson at (320) 395-2721, Mike Wendolek at (320) 395-2792, or Rick Picotta at (320) 395-2147. Class sizes are limited.
Take proper care of the game you harvest this fall. The extra time it takes to clean, wash, and properly store your game is more than well worth it.
Fall fishing has been good on many of our area lakes. The few anglers who are heading out have been nabbing lunker walleyes and largemouth bass and those anglers heading to right spots on the Crow River have also been doing well.
If you're traveling with your dog this fall, make sure you keep the dog on the same diet during the trip that the dog has at home. It's a bad idea to change the diet or make a switch from dry food to canned food because of convenience.
The season on canvasbacks in Minnesota closes Nov. 1.
In next week's column look for some info on my recent hunting trip to the prairie's of southwest Manitoba.
Take a kid hunting or fishing; you will have fun, and so will he or she.
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
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