Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

July 28, 2003

Will bigger and newer be better?

A few weeks ago I wrote about a new boat I had just purchased, a 1750 Crestliner Fish Hawk, from Crystal Pierz Marine.

Although the boat is kind of the standard for many Minnesota anglers, it is a heck of lot more boat than the 14-foot Low Line with a 5.5 horse Johnson outboard on it that my dad had and I still fished with.

The question I raised was, "Will bigger and newer be better?"

For me that is tough question. I have become very attached to that old boat and I have a pile of great memories from it. With dad and many others, we fished like crazy in that boat and it always did the job.

Now, I have this great new boat that my wife and daughters love. Needless to say, they like it just a little bit better than the old one.

Although they love the new boat, the room, the big motor, the stereo and cushy seats, I was still a little torn when I had to pull the old boat out of the garage and take it to storage.

During that process, the memories rolled through my head faster than a big blue gill can spin circles when he's hooked to your line.

It made that entire process of getting a new boat not quite as much fun as I expected.

So far, the new boat has been great and has already created its share of fun and long lasting memories. The first fish I caught while fishing from it was a laugher. My wife Amy laughed long and hard at me­it was a dandy little bullhead.

Another item I won't forget was tearing up the prop, just a little bit, the first day we had the boat in the water.

Finally, my wife doing the splits, you know one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat, it ended with a splash that myself and the kids will never forget.

I still don't know if newer and bigger will better, but I have come to the conclusion that, like most adventures in the outdoors, what, when, and where are not what is important. It's the who that is important.

Who you share those adventures and create those memories with is what is most important and what will always be most important.

The Illusion Trailer - see it at the Wright County Fair

Local outdoor entrepreneurs, Tim Halonen of Cokato and Jeff Sherman of Annandale, are off hiking with their new company, Sportsmans Plus, and their new product, the Illusion Trailer.

The Illusion Trailer is a multipurpose utility trailer that recently won the "Best at Show" award at the Minnesota Inventors Congress.

The Illusion is kind of your standard, well-constructed 5' x 8' two wheel utility trailer at first look. But when you take that second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth look, it's a whole lot more.

To meet the needs of every outdoor enthusiast, the Illusion can turn into with ease, a portable fishhouse, a tent, a ground blind and even a duck boat with transom and blind.

The axle and hitch pivot for easy loading and for dropping the bed of the trailer on to the ground.

All I can say is, it's a really neat deal.

The Illusion is also great tool for physically disabled hunters and is used extensively in the Capable Partners Program.

The entire concept, according to owner Tim Halonen, evolved from trying to get his kids involved in the outdoors. "It all started as a portable deer stand," said Halonen. I was trying to build a portable deer stand that would be big enough for myself and the kids. When I got done, the thing was so big and heavy that I couldn't move it."

Today the trailer, that started as a portable deer stand, and came about from a dad trying to get his kids involved in the outdoors, is selling like hot cakes.

For more info, head out to the Wright County Fair or visit www.sportsmansplus.com

2003 deer seasons set; antlerless deer management system streamlined

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will authorize more hunters than ever to harvest antlerless deer this fall, but relatively few will need to apply for either-sex permits through the lottery-drawing process.

A new system for managing the antlerless deer harvest eliminates the need for hunters to apply to take a deer of either sex in many areas of the state, according to Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's big game program coordinator.

More than three quarters of the firearms deer licenses sold this year will let hunters bypass the lottery drawing by automatically allowing the harvest of an either-sex deer on their regular license, Cornicelli said. The change is part of a streamlining of deer license sales, especially in areas of the state where the number of antlerless tags regularly exceeded the number of hunters seeking them.

"Getting drawn in the lottery had become nothing more than a formality for hunters in parts of the state with large deer populations," Cornicelli said. "The new system makes it easier for hunters to get licensed to take antlerless deer and will improve our capability to manage deer populations within goals."

The annual lottery system for either-sex permits will remain in place only in permit areas and seasons where wildlife managers need to more closely regulate the number of hunters taking antlerless deer.

New antlerless deer system

Under the new system, the state's 128 deer permit areas have been classified into one of three categories: lottery, managed and intensive. All firearms and all-season deer hunters, including those who hunt bucks only, will be required to declare a permit area when they purchase their license.

Firearms licenses will be valid to take a legal buck anywhere in the zone, but the taking of antlerless deer on a regular license will only be authorized in the area selected. Firearms hunters who declare a managed or intensive permit area may take a deer of either sex within that area on a regular license tag. Firearms hunters who declare a lottery deer permit area may take an antlerless deer only if they apply for and receive an either-sex permit in the lottery drawing.

Getting permits to take more than one deer will also be easier. Firearms hunters will no longer need to apply in advance for management permits to take a second deer. Licenses to take additional deer in specified areas will be available over the counter for firearms, archery and muzzleloader hunters.

Muzzleloader and archery licenses will still be valid to harvest a deer of either sex statewide.

Details on permit area classifications and specific licenses follow.

Lottery Deer Permit Area

Firearms hunters must apply for an either-sex permit through the lottery by Sept. 4 to legally harvest an antlerless deer. Deer management and intensive harvest permits are not available.

  • Regular Firearms: Must apply for an either-sex permit through the lottery system. The application and lottery process follows the same procedure as in previous years. The application deadline is Sept. 4. Lottery winners will receive their permits via U.S. mail. If successful in the lottery, the bag limit is one deer of either sex.
  • Archery/Muzzleloader: May take one deer of either sex without applying in the lottery.
  • All-Season Deer: If hunting with a bow or muzzleloader, a hunter can use the antlerless portion of the license to take an antlerless deer without applying in the lottery. Firearms hunters must apply for the lottery. Successful applicants may use the antlerless portion of their license to tag the deer. There is a two-deer limit in lottery areas for All-Season Deer License holders.
  • Multi-Zone Buck: May not apply for an either-sex permit in any permit area or special hunt.

Managed Deer Permit Area

These deer permit areas have a two-deer limit, with all permits available over the counter. There is no lottery procedure or application. Hunters who purchase a firearms license for a managed deer permit area will automatically receive an either-sex license.

  • Regular Firearms: Firearms hunters will be issued an either-sex license at the time of purchase. The license will be valid for a buck anywhere in the zone or a deer of either-sex in the selected permit area. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing a deer management permit for one-half the cost of the regular license. That permit will be for antlerless deer only and valid only in the selected permit area.
  • Archery/Muzzleloader: These license holders won't have to declare a permit area and will be able to take a deer of either sex in a managed permit area. Also, archers and muzzleloader hunters can purchase one intensive harvest permit to use in a managed area. The archery and muzzleloader deer management permits have been discontinued and replaced by the intensive harvest permits. Hunters cannot use more than one intensive harvest permit in managed permit areas during the year.
  • All-Season Deer: May take one legal buck statewide (except Zone 3B) and use the antlerless portion of the regular license to take an antlerless deer; may also purchase one additional deer management permit for use in the selected permit area.
  • Multi-Zone Buck: May not purchase deer management permits.

Intensive Deer Permit Area

These permit areas have a five-deer limit, with all permits available over the counter. There is no lottery procedure or application. Permits may be purchased throughout the season and are valid at the same time as the regular license.

  • Regular Firearms: Firearms hunters will be issued an either-sex license at the time of purchase. The license will be valid for a buck anywhere in the zone or a deer of either-sex in the permit area they selected. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing up to four intensive harvest permits for one-half the cost of the regular license. That permit will be for antlerless deer only and valid in any intensive deer permit area for which the hunter has a valid license.
  • Archery/Muzzleloader: These license holders won't have to declare a permit area and will be able to take a deer of either sex in an intensive deer permit area. Archers and muzzleloader hunters may also purchase up to four intensive harvest permits for one-half the cost of the regular license. That permit will be for antlerless deer only and valid in any intensive deer permit area for which the hunter has a valid license.
  • All-Season Deer: May take one legal buck statewide (except 3B) and use the antlerless portion of the regular license to take an antlerless deer. May also purchase up to three intensive harvest permits for one-half the cost of the regular license. That permit will be antlerless only and valid in any intensive deer permit area, except during the Zone 3B season.
  • Multi-Zone Buck: May take a buck during any firearms season (except Zone 3B) and purchase up to four intensive harvest permits for one-half the cost of the regular license. That permit will be for antlerless deer only and valid in any intensive deer permit area, except during the Zone 3B season.

Zone 3 deer season changes

The Zone 3 (southeast Minnesota and southwest metro) deer season has been changed. The Zone 3A season has been shortened by two days (Nov. 8 through 15) and the Zone 3B season has been lengthened two days (Nov. 22-30). The early season in Zone 3 was formerly bucks only, but this year there will be some either-sex deer permits available through the lottery for the Zone 3A season.

"This represents a significant departure in management strategy for Zone 3 that is designed to increase antlerless deer harvest and perhaps reduce the harvest of bucks," Cornicelli said.

Youth hunters and hunters with disabilities will also be able to take a deer of either sex in the Zone 3A season without a permit.

Deer licenses and regulations will be available at license agents after Aug. 1.

2003 Minnesota hunting and trapping seasons

Small game hunting

Cottontail rabbit, jackrabbit, snowshoe hare, Sept. 13 - Feb. 29; gray and fox squirrel, Sept. 13 - Feb. 29; ruffed and spruce grouse, Sept. 13 - Dec. 31; sharp-tailed grouse, Sept. 13 - Nov. 30; gray (Hungarian) partridge, Sept. 13 - Dec. 31; Take-a-Kid Hunting Weekend, Sept. 20 - Sept. 21; ring-necked pheasant, Oct. 11 - Dec. 14.

Waterfowl and migatory bird hunting

Early Canada goose (statewide, except Northwest), Sept. 6 - Sept. 22; early Canada goose (Northwest Zone), Sept. 6 - Sept. 15; waterfowl opener, Sept. 27 or Oct. 4 (to be announced); youth waterfowl hunt, Sept. 20; common snipe (Wilson's of Jacksnipe), Sept. 1 - Nov. 4; sora and Virginia rails, Sept. 1 - Nov. 4; woodcock, Sept. 20 - Nov. 3; crow, March 1-31 and July 15 - Oct. 15.

Big game hunting

Deer - Archery

Northeast Border Zone (permit areas 116 and 127), Sept. 13 - Nov. 23; remainder of state, Sept. 13 - Dec. 31.

Deer - Firearms

Zone 1 (northeastern Minnesota), Nov. 8 - Nov. 23; Zone 2 (Lake of the Woods to Twin Cities), Nov. 8 - Nov. 16; Zone 3A (southeastern Minnesota), Nov. 8 - Nov. 14; Zone 3B (southeastern Minnesota), Nov. 22 - Nov. 30; Zone 4A (southern and western Minnesota), Nov. 8 - Nov. 9; Zone 4B (southern and western Minnesota), Nov. 15 - Nov. 18; deer - muzzleloader, Nov. 29 - Dec. 14.

Black bear, Sept. 1 - Oct. 12.

Moose (northeast zone), Sept. 27 - Oct. 12; moose (northwest zone), closed. Elk, closed.

2003 deer seasons outlook

From the DNR

After mild winters five out of the past six years, Minnesota's deer population has continued to increase, particularly in northern-forested areas hit the hardest by the back-to-back severe winters of 1995-1996 and 1996-1997. The pre-hunt population of deer this fall is estimated at 1.14 million, up nearly 50,000 from last year.

The firearms deer season will open Nov. 8, archery deer Sept. 13, and muzzleloader deer Nov. 29.

There will also be more opportunities for youth deer hunters this fall. A new half-price youth deer license with a tag replaces the old youth license that came without a tag. The new youth license, for hunters age 12 through 15, lets the youth take and tag their own deer, rather than having an adult tag the deer for them. In addition, special youth deer hunts are being offered at Camp Ripley, Arden Hills, and the Whitewater State Game Refuge.

The 2003 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, including regulations, quotas and special hunt information, will be available at license agents by Aug. 1. Deer hunters interested in obtaining either-sex or special area permits are encouraged to apply early.

The application deadline for either-sex and special hunt permits is Thursday, Sept. 4. Hunters interested in these permits may apply at any of the 1,800 Electronic Licensing System license agents throughout Minnesota, beginning in early August. They may also apply over the Internet at www.dnr.state.mn.us or by ELS-Telephone by calling 1-888-665-4236 and paying an added $3.50 convenience fee.

Social Security number requirement for hunters, anglers begins Aug. 1

From the DNR

Minnesotans will need to provide their Social Security number to purchase a Minnesota hunting or fishing license beginning Aug. 1.

Recent legislation requires the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to collect a customer's Social Security number as part of an application for a non-commercial game and fish license. This legislation was passed to meet the federal requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which assists states in enforcement of child support programs.

Tom Keefe, DNR Electronic Licensing System program manager, said that the requirement will be implemented when the fall deer licenses go on sale Aug. 1. The requirement to provide a Social Security number is for all game and fish licenses and all customers regardless of age.

"The DNR understands that customers will have concerns with this requirement and has taken several steps to reduce customer concerns and still meet the federal requirements for collection of the customer's Social Security number," Keefe said.

Those steps:

  • Social Security numbers will not be printed on any license material
  • Social Security number information will be held in a secure database with very limited access
  • collection of the Social Security number is required only once.

In addition, the DNR is incorporating existing Social Security number records from the Minnesota Driver's License file to its Electronic Licensing System database in an effort to reduce the need for customers to provide a Social Security number at the time of purchase.

"Once we have a Social Security number on the customer's file, they will not be asked for it again," Keefe said. "By adding the existing driver's license data, we anticipate the majority of our resident customers will never be asked for a Social Security number."

Remaining residents, and all non-residents or young customers without a driver's license will, however, have to provide a Social Security number as part of the license transaction.

Customers who have a Social Security number but fail to provide it will be denied a hunting and fishing license. Residents of the United States who have not had a Social Security number issued to them must complete a certification form prior to purchasing a license. These customers may contact the DNR for further information about this certification form.

Posters and pamphlets providing additional information on this new requirement will be available at Electronic Licensing System agent locations by Aug. 1.

Outdoor notes:

­ Lake Washington in Wright County is currently being treated for milfoil infestation.

­ Please note that Howard Lake has been infested with milfoil. Anytime you are leaving the lake with your boat, remember to remove all aquatic plants.

­ Cottontail rabbits are out in big numbers. The cottontails must have had a great nesting season, because I can't remember ever seeing more of them during a summer.

­ The northern pike and sunfish action has been very good on several lakes in our area. Try Waconia for northerns, and Mud and Parley for panfish. Small leaches have been the hot bait.

­ Now is the time to start getting your dog in shape for the fall.

­ Plan your fall hunting trips now. For season information and start dates, go to the outdoors section of this newspaper's web site at www.herald-journal.com/outdoors.

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

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