Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Sept. 16, 2002

Fall colors expected in mid-October

Minnesotans can follow the changing fall colors online this autumn on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

The color reports on this site are gathered from information provided by state park staff throughout Minnesota.

Because the colorful fall show in Minnesota is the result of more than leaf color, these reports include some extras.

In addition to leaf color, the reports include information about the changing fall colors among the native grasses and wildflowers, notes on "critters" that are migrating or preparing for winter, and a listing of the berries, nuts, and fruits that are ripe for harvesting. The site also features highlights about autumn events in Minnesota.

The fall color site will also include photos from parks and other locations that will give web site visitors a first-hand look at fall colors. The public can contribute current fall color photos by uploading them to the DNR web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors/photoupload.html.

Fall color information can be accessed from the DNR home page by selecting "2002 Fall Colors."

Click on a region of the color report map to be linked to complete reports from state parks in that region. Color reports for individual state parks also appear at the top of the state park home page. These reports are updated twice a week throughout the fall color season.

Typically, colors peak along the Canadian border in mid- to late-September. Peak colors come to the northern third of Minnesota the last week in September or early October.

By mid-October, peak colors reach the Twin Cities/central Minnesota area. The southern and southeastern part of the state should have good color through the second and third week in October.

For an audio report of fall color status, call the Minnesota Office of Tourism leaf hotline at (651) 296-5029 in the Twin Cities metro area, or toll-free 800-657-3700.

DNR requests help from Canada goose hunters

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking Canada goose hunters who participate in the final week (Sept. 16-22) of the September season to help with collection of goose "parts," as part of an evaluation of the September hunt.

Steve Maxson, DNR goose specialist in Bemidji, said hunters who harvest geese during the last week of the September season are asked to contact their local DNR area wildlife manager for details on how to collect and preserve body parts of individual geese.

The parts needed are the head and the tail area, including the vent, although measurements can also be taken from full-bodied geese.

"It is important that parts from each goose are kept separate from those of other geese," Maxson said. Measurements will be used to determine age, sex, and subspecies of each goose. This information will be part of a four-year evaluation of the experimental extension of the Canada goose season.

"This experimental season (Sept. 16-22) is intended to increase harvest levels on our expanding population of giant Canada geese," Maxson explained.

As part of the experiment, the DNR is required by the Mississippi Flyway Council and US Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor the harvest. In some areas of Minnesota, DNR wildlife managers have had difficulty obtaining a sufficient sample of parts during the past three years.

"We need to increase the number of parts collected in certain portions of the state or we risk losing this season in those areas," Maxson said.

The areas of the state that are at risk include the northeast, east-central, and southeast. Also at risk are the counties surrounding Lac qui Parle in west-central Minnesota and that portion of the state in the vicinity of Detroit Lakes, Mahnomen, Crookston, and Fosston.

"Typically, we harvest about 20,000 Canada geese during the Sept. 16-22 period," Maxson said. "It would be a shame to lose this hunting opportunity because we were unable to collect enough parts to adequately evaluate this experimental hunt. We really need hunters to give us a helping hand."

Hunters may contact a local DNR area wildlife office for information about how to collect and deliver goose parts.

For location of the nearest DNR wildlife office, call a DNR regional office in Bemidji, (218) 755-3958; Grand Rapids, (218) 327-4413; New Ulm, (507) 359-6030; or Forest Lake, (651) 296-3450.

DU conducts annual banquet

The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited conducted its 19th annual banquet Tuesday evening at the Blue Note of Winsted.

The event raises dollars for a wide array of conservation efforts and as was noted in the event program, "Our dollars today insure the return of ducks tomorrow and the preservation of our waterfowl heritage."

Ducks Unlimited is the nations leader of conservation efforts and has played an instrumental role in numerous wetland enhancement and restoration projects across Minnesota and in our local area.

Ken Durdahl of Howard Lake was recently interviewed by Ron Shara, host of the TV show Minnesota Bound. The interview featuring Durdahl will air on KARE11 TV Channel 11 during the Minnesota Bound program sometime in October.

Outdoor notes

­ Autumn begins Monday, Sept. 23.

­ The Minnesota waterfowl hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 28 at noon. Canvasbacks are not legal game this season, and spinning wing decoys are not allowed on public waters the first week of the season.

­ Now is the time to get your decoys ready for the upcoming duck season. Untangle the lines, re-tie knots, and fix the BB holes.

­ Don't forget to purchase all appropriate stamps for the season. State stamp purchases will appear on your ELS license, with the actual stamps mailed to you a short time later. The federal waterfowl stamp needs to be purchased separately from your state stamps, and is available at most area license vendors.

­ Make sure your dog is in good shape and good health for the upcoming seasons. Check ears, teeth, and pads, and schedule an appointment with your vet to get appropriate vaccinations and certifications done.

Also, if you are changing your dogs diet or food to something that has a higher protein level, do it slowly by gradually mixing it in with the dog's current food.

­ Look for the fishing to pick up in a big way very soon on our area lakes. As fall moves on, the fishing gets better. Plan on fishing during the October full moon.

­ The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Saturday, Oct 12. Prospects for hunting in southern and western Minnesota are very good this year.

­ For those deer hunters who purchased the new all-season deer license and were a bit confused about the opportunity to harvest an antlerless deer with a firearm: the license does not allow the taking of an antlerless deer with a firearm without an antlerless permit or other special permit.

You can take an antlerless deer with bow or muzzleloader, but with a firearm, an antlerless permit or other special permit is required, just like for all other firearms deer hunters who purchased the regular license.

Specific information can be found on pages 54 and 55 of the 2002 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

­ For the past few weeks, I have run an ad in the classified section of this newspaper wanting to buy used decoys and hunting equipment.

My goal is to build an inventory of decoys and equipment to borrow out to youth hunters and those that are just getting started.

The response to the ad has been great and I'm sorry if I haven't been able to get back to all of those who have responded. If you're one of the many that have called and I haven't called back yet, please be patient and try reaching me again.

The ad has my phone numbers in it and is running again this week.

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