Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

Aug. 23, 2004

First dove season since 1946

At one half hour before sunrise on Wednesday, September 1, Minnesota hunters will get their first crack at morning dove hunting since 1946.

For many of us it will be a first time adventure.

We’ll be in the blind, or the field, someplace with shotgun in hand, but we won’t be quite sure what to expect.

Will decoying be the best bet, or will flushing, and jump shooting be better?

Even with good scouting, will there be any birds around, especially after the first shot gets fired?

The first try at just about anything can, let’s say, be a real shot in the dark.

Although I am by no means a dove hunting expert, and like most of you, this season will be my first crack at it, here are a few things we should take note of before we hit the field.

First of all; safety, safety, safety, for most hunters it will be the first crack at gun handling, and shooting, in the field for the season.

Review the basics of handling a shotgun, and the ten commandments of firearms safety.

Also, make sure you get some trap shooting, and practice shooting, in before you hit the field.

Know the regulations and rules, here are the basics: The season opens Wednesday, Sept. 1, and runs through Oct. 30.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except on the opening day of the waterfowl season when shooting hours begin at 9 a.m.

The daily bag limit is 15, and the possession limit is 30.

Just like waterfowl hunting, three shells in the gun is the maximum.

If your shotgun can hold more than three shells a plug is required.

Remember that mourning doves are migratory birds, and the federal regulations that apply to hunting migratory birds do apply to mourning doves.

For example, party hunting for mourning doves is not allowed.

More regulations for hunting doves in Minnesota are listed on pages 51 and 52 of the 2004 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Here are a few more pointers:

• Doves like very small bodies of water, like small potholes and livestock watering areas. Decoying near them can provide good hunting.

• Always get permission to hunt on private land.

• Shooting doves from power lines, or even while perched in trees, is unethical.

• Be prepared for warm weather and bugs. In the field bring with plenty of water and repellent. Also, because of potentially warm weather be prepared to take care of game quickly after it has been harvested.

In our area, I actually thing dove hunting will be somewhat better towards the middle of September.

At that time there will most likely be more birds in the area than on, or near the September 1 opener.

Also, doves like to hang around chopped cornfields.

Finally, remember that a hunt, or a day in the field, is not judged by taking home a limit.

It should be judged by time spent in the outdoors by yourself, or with family and friends, the ethics, and conservation practices used, and the overall quality of the experience.

Good luck on your first ever Minnesota dove hunt.

Waverly Gun Club to host black powder shoot

The Waverly Gun Club will host a black powder shoot Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28 and 29.

The public is welcome to attend.

For more details, call Ed Marketon at (763) 658-4231, Phil Marketon at (320) 543-3155, or Bonnie Driver at (763) 675-3727.

Deer population remains high

From the DNR

While last year’s record harvest helped hold Minnesota’s deer numbers in check, the population remains high thanks to abundant habitat, readily available food and another relatively mild winter.

Statewide, deer populations have been reduced locally by the advent of over-the-counter antlerless permits.

“We observed increases in the percentage of antlerless harvest in managed and intensive permit areas,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game/season program coordinator. “In some areas, as many as two-thirds of all harvested deer were antlerless.”

In those permit areas, deer populations were either stabilized or reduced; however, in lottery permit areas, the intent is generally not to decrease deer populations.

Additionally, research biologists recently refined the deer model so previous estimates are not directly comparable to previous years.

Using the new model, the statewide deer population is estimated at 1.2 million deer.

The firearms deer season will open Nov. 6, archery deer season will begin Sept. 18, and muzzleloader deer season will start Nov. 27.

There will also be more opportunities for youth deer hunters this fall.

Youth under age 18 may purchase a half-price archery or firearm deer license and may take deer of either sex statewide.

Youth deer hunts have been expanded and now include a special season in northwest Minnesota.

The 2004 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, including regulations, quotas and special hunt information, is available at license agents throughout the state.

Deer hunters interested in obtaining lottery, either-sex or special area permits, are encouraged to apply early.

Hunters in management or intensive permit area may purchase their permits over the counter.

The application deadline for either-sex and special hunt permits is Thursday, Sept. 9.

Hunters interested in these permits may apply at any of the 1,800 Electronic Licensing System license agents throughout Minnesota.

Hunters may also apply over the Internet at or by ELS-Telephone by calling 1-888-665-4236 and paying an added $3.50 convenience fee.

Goose hunting station application period begins for Lac qui Parle controlled hunt

From the DNR

Hunters wishing to reserve a date for goose hunting in the controlled hunting zone at Lac qui Parle wildlife management area are reminded to submit their application postmarked between Aug. 23 and Sept. 15.

Applications postmarked prior to Aug. 23 will be rejected.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

Proposed goose season dates at Lac qui Parle will be Thursday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 14.

The proposed season is 25-days in length.

Hunters must apply on a standard 31⁄2-by-51⁄2-inch postcard bearing the applicant’s full name and address, and listing first, second, and third choice of hunting dates.

Only one postcard per hunter may be submitted. Those submitting more than one application will have all of their applications rejected.

Applications should be sent to: Controlled Hunt, Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, 14047 20th Street NW, Watson, MN 56295.

Successful applicants will receive reservations by mail designating the date of their hunt.

Only successful applicants will be notified. Goose hunting stations will be assigned through a drawing held on the morning of the hunt.

Reservation holders may be accompanied by one or two guests.

All hunters using hunting stations in the Lac qui Parle controlled hunt zone who are 18 years of age or older will be charged a $3 fee on the day of their hunt to partially cover controlled hunt expenses.

The reservation system will be in effect for the entire goose season.

For information, call the Lac qui Parle headquarters at (320) 734-4451.

DNR Question of the Week

From the DNR

Q: It appears to be that time of year for tree diseases to surface.

In recent weeks a number of outbreaks have been reported.

Is there anything homeowners can do to protect their trees from diseases and possible mortality, regardless of tree species?

A: There are a number of things that homeowners can do on their own to help keep their trees healthy.

Since many areas of the state are experiencing some type of drought conditions, a good place to start is watering your trees.

The lack of water is causing trees all over the state to die off or become infected with diseases.

So, wherever possible, homeowners should give their trees about one inch of water each week.

In addition to watering, organic mulch, two-to-three inches deep, around the base of the trees will guard against lawn mower injury and keep the roots moist.

Homeowners should also avoid using weed and feed fertilizer products, which contain herbicide.

While the product makes lawns look good, it does kill tree roots.

Picking up and properly disposing of fallen leaves and tree branches can also help prevent the spread of tree diseases now and next spring.

For more information, log onto the DNR’s Web site at

Outdoor notes

• The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold it’s annual banquet Tuesday, September 14 at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted.

Tickets are available at the Blue Note. Look for more info in next week’s column.

• Now is a great time to get familiar with your firearm again by shooting a round of trap.

The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club is open for practice shooting every Wednesday evening through early September.

• Get yourself, and your dog, in shape for the upcoming hunting seasons.

• The September Canada goose season opens Saturday, Sept 4.

More details on the hunt can be found on pages 97 – 99 of the 2004 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

• The 2004 Minnesota Waterfowl Supplement Regulations Booklet is out and available at area license vendors.

• The youth waterfowl hunting day in Minnesota is set for Saturday, Sept. 18.

• Don’t forget about fishing, now is one of the best times of the year to go after trophy northern pike.

Troll with Daredevils and work the weed lines hard.

• Get your gear ready for another season of hunting in Minnesota, it’s just about here.

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