Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Aug. 12, 2002

DNR makes right decision on duck opener

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) listened to flocks of waterfowlers and made the right decision by opening the 2002 duck hunting season on the traditional day this year Sat., Sept. 28.

The DNR had considered opening the season a week earlier Sat., Sept. 21.

Minnesota could have taken advantage of an expanded season framework offered this year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and opened the duck hunting season a week earlier than the traditional opener which is the Saturday closest to Oct. 1.

However, after much public comment from Minnesota waterfowl hunters, the DNR decided to stay with tradition.

Waterfowl hunters, especially ones that I spoke with, were not divided in their opinion. Issues, like duck management, healthy waterfowl populations, losing late season hunting opportunities, and the long tradition of the opener being near Oct. 1 all weighed in.

Along with a traditional starting date, much of Minnesota's waterfowl tradition is based on a strong conservation ethic, and opening the season a week earlier imposed upon that strong conservation ethic held by waterfowlers.

In my years of hunting, outdoor banquets, and work done on wetland restoration and conservation projects, I can clearly say that no other group has the same commitment to tradition, is as closely tied to the outdoors, or has the same level of outdoor ethics as waterfowlers.

They lead the way in conservation efforts and putting duck populations at greater risk by opening the season a week earlier was simply not acceptable to them. Myself included.

The following is a press release from the DNR regarding the duck opener issue and outline the upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons.

Outdoor notes

­ The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Mary clubhouse.

­ The final weekend of Game Fair located in Anoka is set for Aug 16, 17, and 18.

­ The application deadline for the 2002 Camp Ripley archery hunt is Aug. 16.

­ The Minnesota youth waterfowl hunting day is set for Sat., Sept. 14, two weeks before the regular opener. Spinning wing decoys are not allowed.

­ The 2002 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook should out and available at area license vendors very soon. Make sure you get a copy and take the time to read it.

­ Take some time to watch the sunset and note the time and location of each sunset you watch.

If you did that on various days for the next month, you would notice the sun is traveling south at a fast pace, and our days are getting shorter in a big hurry.

­ The sunfish bite has apparently hit on several bays of Lake Minnetonka in 10 to 12 feet of water on small leeches.

­ The early Canada goose season is only a few short weeks away.

­ Make you fall hunting plans now.

­ When you have the opportunity, make sure you voice your opinions on outdoor issues. The duck opener issue proves that your voice and opinion does make difference in the decision making process.

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