By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.
Dec. 1, 2003
A year of pheasant dreams for hunters
Back in August, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and similar agencies in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas all reported huge increases in pheasant numbers.
Some even noted it could be a banner year for pheasant hunters, potentially the best of the best.
Those reports had myself and thousands of other pheasant hunters waking up in the morning after a night of pleasant dreams about roosters, all kinds of them, busting from cover well within gun range.
Actually, as the pheasant season approached I had never seen such a high level of excitement from hunters, especially Minnesota hunters.
The reports and the level of excitement they created also put more hunters in field this year then I have seen in quite some time.
Now, with the seasons in most states beginning to wind down, and a few pheasant hunting excursions in Minnesota and South Dakota, including one in progress, under my belt, I'm just about ready to let you know how the hunting was and how bird numbers stacked up in 2003.
In next week's column I'll begin the adventure.
In this column, I leave you with this note. Any dreams about pheasant hunting should always include acres of Conservation Reserve Program, grassy draws, brush filled fence lines and cattail sloughs. Because, no matter how easy the winters are or how good the nesting conditions are in the spring, pheasants, like all other wildlife, need quality habitat and lots of it.
Until next week, pleasant dreams.
Turkey applications due Dec. 5
From the DNR
All resident Minnesota wild turkey hunters interested in hunting in the spring 2004 season must apply electronically no later than Friday, Dec. 5, through the Department of Natural Resources computerized Electronic Licensing System (ELS).
Applications are being accepted at any of the 1,800 ELS point-of-sale agents. A nonrefundable $3 application fee must be paid at the time of application at an ELS agent. Applications can also be made on the ELS telephone licensing system by calling toll free 1-888-665-4236 or on the Internet at www.dnr.state.mn.us. An additional fee of $3.50 per transaction is charged for the telephone or Internet service.
The 2004 spring wild turkey hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons between April 14 and May 27 in 60 wild turkey permit areas. A total of 27,600 permits will be available for the 2004 spring wild turkey hunt.
All wild turkey hunters seeking to hunt in spring 2004 must obtain an application booklet at one of the ELS agents or an application worksheet on the DNR web site under wild turkey hunting at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting. The application booklet contains maps of open wild turkey permit areas, permit quotas, dates and an application worksheet.
The application worksheet should be filled out in advance to ease completion of the application process at an ELS agent. Turkey hunting licenses are made available by a preference system drawing.
A special landowner-tenant preference drawing for up to 20 percent of the permits is also a part of this system. Successful applicants in the drawing will be mailed the 2004 Spring Wild Turkey Hunt Book and landowner list as their winning notification by Feb. 15.
Lake Mille Lacs fish (gun) tale
From the DNR
Minnesota DNR conservation officers come across all sorts of fishing gear when plying Minnesota's waterways. There's everything from the latest fish finder to locate a hot spot to fluorescent lures to help you catch more fish.
But when conservation officers Brent Speldrich of McGregor and Bob Mylar of Aitkin left Lake Mille Lacs last May they had a fish tale that would have shocked the heartiest angler.
The officers were approximately two miles west of the Wealthwood public access and approximately two miles out from shore, down wind of a watercraft that contained three men. Both officers detected the smell of marijuana. The only boat in the area that was upwind from them was the watercraft with the three occupants. As they approached the boat, Speldrich was using night vision to watch the occupants.
"When we were approximately 20 feet from the watercraft, Officer Mylar turned on the spotlight and lit up the boat," Speldrich said. "I observed the front seat occupant quickly place a silver colored object under a garment on the front seat."
After identifying themselves as conservation officers they pulled up along side the anchored craft. Speldrich fixed his attention on the front seat occupant. He asked the man what he had placed under the garment on the front seat. Nothing. He then asked if he could take a look at it. Go ahead. Speldrich found a silver colored metal container with a small amount of marijuana inside. Did he have any other drugs? No.
Scott Allen Snow, 37, Little Falls had an angling license. A further search of the other two occupants of the watercraft, Kevin Dale Snow, 41, and Timothy Hugh Harper, 47, both of Little Falls, resulted in each also possessing a small amount of marijuana.
In most law enforcement work this would have been an effective, if minor "pinch." But instinct told Speldrich there was more. He asked Scott Snow to consent to a search. He agreed.
During the search, Speldrich found a fully loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Did Snow have a permit to carry the pistol? No. Speldrich asked for and was granted consent to look inside the black duffle bag sitting in front of Snow.
"Upon opening the bag, I found that it contained a 9mm semi-automatic assault weapon," Speldrich said. "The chamber was empty, but the magazine in the weapon contained 20 rounds of ammunition.
The bag also contained a silencer that fit the assault weapon. I asked Snow why he was in possession of the firearms.
He stated that he didn't want to leave them in the truck while they were fishing." Further search of the boat provided no other weapons. Scott Snow was arrested for possessing the prohibited silencer and for carrying the concealed firearms without a permit.
Kevin Snow and Timothy Harper received a summons for possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Scott Snow recently pled guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of carrying a weapon without a permit. He will pay $975 in court fees, $500 to the DNR Enforcement Resource Fund and forfeit all firearms and ammo from the case valued at approximately $1,200.
DU banquet Friday
The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual sponsor banquet at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted on Friday, Dec. 5.
Don't miss this opportunity to support a great cause and have a good time with good friends.
For ticket information please call Heidi Driver at (763)-675-7234.
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