Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

August 25, 2003

Antlerless permit application deadline is Sept. 4

From the DNR

Applications for either-sex permits in lottery deer permit areas and for firearms special deer hunts are due at Electronic License Sales (ELS) vendors by Thursday, Sept. 4, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Unlike past years, most deer hunters will be able to purchase a license over the counter, valid for a deer of either sex. However, there are still a number of permit areas where hunters need to apply for an either-sex permit, Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator, said.

In every zone except 3B there are at least some lottery permit areas where hunters will need to apply for an either-sex permit, he said. Most lottery permit areas are concentrated in southern Minnesota.

Also, either-sex permits are available for the first time in lottery permit areas in Zone 3A.

Applications for either-sex permits in lottery deer permit areas will be electronically processed at more than 1,800 ELS agents statewide through Sept. 4.

In addition, applications are being taken until Sept. 4 for a special youth firearms deer hunt in the Whitewater Game Refuge in Winona County. This new youth hunt is a collaborative effort of Bluffland Whitetails Association, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, and DNR. The special hunt will be open for up to 50 hunters, ages 12 to 17.

Applications must be made separately for this hunt and application forms are available at www.blufflandwhitetails.org, www.mndeerhunters.com, and www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/index.html. Youth hunters must have either a Zone 3A, Zone 3B, or all-season deer license to apply.

Deer hunting regulations clarified

From the DNR

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) clarified some of the most common questions hunters are raising with the new deer permit area system and noted a correction in the lists of areas where archery and muzzleloader hunters can use intensive harvest permits to take additional deer.

Intensive permit areas for archery and muzzleloader hunting. The lists of permit areas where archery and muzzleloader hunters may use intensive harvest tags on pages 76 and 81 of the 2003 Hunting Regulations Handbook are confusing because they incorrectly reference the early and late firearms season permit areas.

"The letters "A" and "B" following the permit area numbers should have been omitted because archery and muzzleloader hunters may use intensive harvest permits throughout the respective archery and muzzleloader seasons in those permit areas," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator.

The exception is permit area 224 (Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge) that was incorrectly listed on page 76 as a managed permit area for muzzleloaders, but is actually closed during the muzzleloader season as listed on pages 75 and 126.

Cornicelli said a number of questions have also been raised about use of Intensive Harvest Permits under various types of licenses, use of the all-season deer license for archery and muzzleloader during the Zone 3B firearms season, and overall bag limits for deer in each of the three types of deer permit areas.

These are addressed below:

· Use of firearms Intensive Harvest Permits ­ Intensive Harvest Permits are available for half the cost of a regular license and allow hunters to take up to a total of five deer in intensive deer permit areas.

Deer hunters may purchase and use Intensive Harvest Permits for any intensive deer permit area in the zone and time period(s) they are licensed for.
Intensive Harvest Permits are not specific to one particular permit area or license type, but are good for firearms, archery, or muzzleloader in any intensive deer permit area for which a hunter has a valid regular license.

Firearms deer hunters are restricted to their selected permit area for taking antlerless deer on a regular or management tag, but can purchase and use intensive harvest permits anywhere in the zone(s) where they are licensed to hunt.

All-season deer licenses in Zone 3B and muzzleloader season. All-season deer licenses are valid for any regular firearms season, except the late regular firearms season in Zone 3B. All-season deer licenses are also valid for the entire archery and muzzleloader seasons in all open areas statewide.

This means that a person with an all-season license can hunt by archery during the Zone 3B firearms season. The person can also hunt the opening weekend of the muzzleloader season, which overlaps with the last weekend of the Zone 3B regular firearms season, as long as the person uses a muzzleloader legal for the muzzleloader season.

· Deer bag limits ­ Some confusion has arisen over how many total deer can be taken by all methods (archery, firearms, muzzleloader) in the various categories of deer permit areas. The limits listed below are the general rule for regular licenses.

An additional deer can be taken by a landowner with a free landowner license in managed or intensive deer permit areas:

· Lottery deer permit area ­ Maximum season bag limit is one deer by all methods, except all-season deer license holders can take two deer. Antlerless deer can be taken by firearms only with an either-sex permit.

· Managed deer permit area. ­ Maximum season bag limit is two deer by all methods, except all-season deer license holders could take up to three deer. A person may take only one deer in addition to the deer authorized on the regular license, whether by archery, firearms, or muzzleloader.

Archery and muzzleloader hunters using Intensive Harvest Permits may not harvest antlerless deer in more than one managed deer permit area.

· Intensive deer permit area ­ Maximum season bag limit is five deer by all methods, including all-season deer license holders. Antlerless deer can be taken by firearms on the regular license and by Intensive Harvest Permit.

The all-season deer license is a two-deer license. All other licenses are valid for only one deer. A person may not tag one deer on a regular firearms license and one deer on a regular archery license, except in the northwestern five counties of the state that have been specially designated a two-deer area by law.

Additional Deer Season Information Harvest information for the 2002 deer season is now posted on the DNR web site. It also includes an interactive map with a variety of harvest information by permit area. It is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/index.html.

To help guide hunters through the new licensing process, the DNR has also posted the 2003 deer permit area color maps, a list of frequently asked questions, and a guide to buying a deer license.

This information should help hunters better understand their options and the changes for intensive, managed and lottery deer permit areas. The guide simply walks hunters through the buying process for the most common types of licenses and seasons.

Licenses can be purchased at over 1,800 ELS agents, over the Internet at www.dnr.state.mn.us, or by phone at 888-665-4236.

Dry weather prompts DNR warning about new ATV law

From the DNR

The weeks-long lack of rain in most places has caused lakes, rivers, wetlands and streams to shrink significantly beneath the hot rays of the sun. As these water bodies shrink in width and depth, more shoreline is exposed, and that extra shoreline quickly becomes a tempting and convenient place for ATV operators to ride their machines.

The problem is, it's illegal. In 2003, the Minnesota legislature passed a package of new ATV regulations. Included in that package is a provision that makes it illegal to operate a vehicle anywhere below the ordinary high water mark of unfrozen lakes and rivers listed in the state's Public Water Inventory.

Types 3, 4, 5, and 8 wetlands are also included. (The ordinary high water mark is evident by the change in habitat between the area typically under water and that which is seldom under water. Usually this is distinguished by a rather clear line or mark on the landscape.)

Basically, the law covers most of the state's water bodies and the adjacent shorelines, said Capt. Randy Evans, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Southern Region Enforcement Supervisor at New Ulm.

Riding on these areas can cause a lot of damage, damage that might not be evident to the untrained eye. Damage can be in the form of destroyed vegetation that won't return once water levels rise or it can cause run-off into the water body.

In both cases, fish and wildlife habitat is diminished. Gary Teipel, Flandrau State Park Manager at New Ulm, said illegal ATV riding along the Cottonwood River adjacent to the Park has increased dramatically during the past couple of weeks.

On a few occasions, they've even driven their machines right up near the sand swimming area at the Park, Teipel said. Catching riders driving illegally is a difficult proposition at best, Teipel acknowledged. Usually they're gone by the time we get there, Teipel said.

Teipel added that it is possible some riders are not aware of the law change and for that reason we want to spread the message as wide as possible and then hope riders will abide by it willingly.

According to Evans, DNR enforcement officers in southern Minnesota are in the same predicament they were in when snowmobiles first hit the stage in the 1960s. Back then, there were few trails for them to ride and they were pretty much all over the place. But with education and the steady addition of trails, much of the problem went away.

We're seeing the same thing now with ATVs as they become increasingly more popular. DNR officers do enforce the law, however, and are being especially watchful now that water levels are so low. We know these areas along rivers and lakes are particularly inviting places to ride, Evans said.

Still, it is illegal and people need to know that. Evans noted that the majority of ATV riders are responsible and would not intentionally damage private property or public natural resources. But as is always the case, there are those few who just don't seem to care.

Ducks Unlimited banquet Sept. 9

Winsted Chapter Ducks Unlimited banquet will be Tuesday, Sept. 9 at the Blue Note of Winsted.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Menu includes chicken, ribs, and roast beef buffet.

The banquet will also include door prizes, wildlife art prints, raffle prizes, and auction items.

Tickets are available at the Blue Note, or by phone at (320) 485-3885.

Outdoor notes

­ The hunting season is just about here. The early Canada goose hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 6. The seasons for rabbit, squirrel, ruffed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 13.

The archery deer season also opens Saturday, Sept. 13, and if you didn't catch it in the headline of this week's column, the application deadline for antlerless permits is Thursday, Sept. 4.

­ Get your hunting gear out and make sure it's in good shape. Things to look for on items that have been stored for some time include, mold, mice, and rust. Getting those items fixed and cleaned up now can save you some big headaches later this fall.

­ If you're going on a hunting trip this fall, make your final plans now. Pay special attention to out-of-state licensing requirements and appropriate paper work for your dog.

­ The duck hunting season around here could be an interesting one. Dry conditions could make getting around sloughs tricky and the lack of water could concentrate ducks, as well as hunters.

­ Look for the action on northern pike on lakes in the area to pick up very soon. As fall approaches, the northern pike action heats up.

­ Now is the time to get yourself and your dog in shape. In any case, the best training tool for a hunting dog is time, and a lot of it.

­ Check out the DNR building at the Minnesota State Fair.

­ The days are getting shorter in a big hurry and soon fall will definitely be here.

­ Take some time to share the outdoors with someone else. He or she will enjoy it, and so will you.

­ In next week's column I'll get back into the great geographic diversity that Minnesota has to offer. From Gooseberry Falls to Plum Creek, Minnesota is truly a great place.

­ To find those great places in Minnesota, go to the DNR's web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/prim.html. and look for the PRIM map that you need. PRIM maps are the best set of maps available on Minnesota's great outdoor resources.

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