By Chris Schultz
Jan. 10, 2005
Cougar tracks found in Winsted
In November, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were reporting several cougar sightings in the Pierz area.
One report even noted that a cougar had attacked, and dragged away, a life-size archery target of a deer.
Also, this fall a local archery deer hunter took a plaster cast of cougar tracks in an area he was hunting about two miles north of Winsted.
Lat week, Charlie Millerbernd of Winsted reported cougar tracks in the fresh snow, only yards away from his home on McLeod County Highway 1 in Winsted.
The tracks basically circled his home, came from the west, and then exited to the west.
Although the tracks could be something other than a cougar, the tracks sure seem to have been made by a cougar.
Adding to the evidence of possibility cougars in our area, are recent sightings in the Cokato area, and more sightings of a cougar in the area just north of the Twin Cities.
Just in case you see one, here’s more info on the cougar, or mountain lion.
The cougar looks like a tan house cat, but is larger than a big dog, and has a long rope like tail that hangs nearly to the ground when not curled up.
Including the tail, adult cougars are six to nine feet long. Adult animals weigh 100 to 200 pounds and are usually described as “tawny” in color which is tan to tan-orange.
Cougars mate in late winter, once every two or three years, and produce litters of one to six kittens. According to the DNR only a few cougar kittens have ever been seen in Minnesota.
A cougars range is wide, a 30-plus mile circle is not uncommon, and they eat a wide variety of medium to large sized prey, including rabbits and deer.
HL Sportsmen’s Club fishing derby
The 59th annual fishing derby sponsored by the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club is Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Howard Lake.
Grand prize is a 6 1/2’ x 16’ Delux fish house on wheels, first prize is a gas powered ice auger, and second and third prize are framed prints, plus there is an additional list of prizes available upon request.
Wright County Pheasants Forever
The Wright County chapter of Pheasants Forever will have a corn give-away for pheasants and wildlife Saturday, Jan. 15 from 8 to 11 a.m. The event will be at Lampi’s Auction, located at Hwy. 55 and Wright Co. 6.
Participants are asked to bring their own containers for corn. Quantities may be limited due to demand.
For additional information, please call (320) 274-2676. If you would like to volunteer to assist with this event or any other events, please contact Bruce Bartl at (763) 682-0653.
Waverly Ice Festival and Fishing Derby
The Montrose-Waverly Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the first ever Ice Festival and Fishing Derby Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Waverly American Legion Waterfront Park.
Food and beverages will be served by the Waverly Lions. The Montrose-Waverly Ambassadors will serve coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts.
Games and entertainment are planned, including golf on ice, sponsored by the Montrose Lions; sleigh rides, sponsored by St. Mary’s Church; ice skating, sponsored by the City of Waverly; sled dog rides, sponsored by the Waverly Lake Association; Wellness Van, sponsored by the Waverly Lions; the KRWC road show; Wright County water rescue demonstration; and a bonfire, sponsored by the Waverly and Montrose fire departments.
There will be a general raffle for the grand prize of $500 in community bucks, and other donated prizes.
Tickets are available at the event or from the sponsors. A ticket for $15 includes the fishing derby entry, one meal and one beverage, one general raffle entry, participation in all events, and one commemorative stocking cap. A ticket for $10 includes all but the fishing derby.
Prizes will be awarded for top walleye, northern, and pan fish with first place prize of $75, second place of $50, and third place of $25.
For more information, contact Kent at (763) 658-4417 ext. 35, or Jim at (763) 675-3121.
Prairie Archers/Porthole steak/shrimp dinner
The Prairie Archers/Porthole steak and shrimp dinner is set for Saturday, Jan. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Porthole Bar and Cafe in Lester Prairie.
Ticket prices are $9 steak and shrimp, $7 steak only, and $7 shrimp only.
Make reservations by 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14 by calling Jim (320) 395-2721, or the Porthole (320)395-2086.
Opening dates announced for 2005 MN hunting seasons
From the DNR
Opening dates for many of the 2005 Minnesota hunting seasons were announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The dates are being announced now for the benefit of those who must establish vacation or hunting plans well in advance.
Although these dates are tentative, pending final approval in June, it is unlikely they will change.
• Small game
Sept. 17 - General small game, including grouse, gray partridge, rabbits and squirrels
Oct. 15 - Pheasant
Oct. 22 - Prairie chicken opener
April 13 - Spring wild turkey (first season)
Oct. 12 - Fall wild turkey (first season)
• Big game
Sept. 1 - Bear
Sept. 17 - Deer - archery
Nov. 5 - Deer - firearms
Nov. 26 - Deer - muzzleloader
Oct. 1 - Moose - northeast zone
TBA - Fox, raccoon, badger, opossum
Oct. 29 - Mink, muskrat, beaver, otter (North Zone)
Oct. 29 - Mink, muskrat, beaver, otter (South Zone)
Nov. 26 - Fisher, marten, bobcat
• Migratory birds
Sept. 3 (tentative) Early Canada goose
Sept. 1. - Mourning doves
TBA - Youth Waterfowl Day
TBA - General duck and goose
Sept. 1 - Rails, snipe
Sept. 24 - Woodcock
March 1-31; July 15-Oct. 15 - Crow
The waterfowl season opener will not be finalized until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes proposed migratory bird hunting frameworks this summer.
The DNR will be taking comments on wildlife hunting and trapping seasons during February and March at meetings across the state.
Details and meeting dates will be announced in late January.
Additional details on season lengths, quotas and bag limits will be announced this summer, after the 2005 seasons are finalized.
Fish houses, dark houses, and portable shelters placed on the ice must have proper identification
From the DNR
It’s a sign of the season, fish houses, dark houses and portable shelters dotting Minnesota waters as anxious anglers ready for another ice fishing season.
“Ice fishing is among the most popular Minnesota winter activities, with about 140,000 ice fishing shelter licenses sold last year,” said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm, “but with this opportunity comes some responsibility.”
Hamm said all shelters, which include dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters, placed on the ice of Minnesota waters must have the complete name and address, driver’s license number or MDNR number that’s issued to the individual through the Electronic Licensing System(ELS) system plainly and legibly displayed in readily visible locations on the outside in letters and figures at least two inches in height.
Dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters placed on the ice for shelter while fishing must be licensed, except that a license is not required on border waters with Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota.
The tag, furnished with the license, must be attached to the exterior in a readily visible location.
Hamm also urged snowmobilers and ATV riders to be aware of fish houses partially or completely hidden by snow.
“Night riders should be very alert and slow down, you may hit one of these before you ever see it. So drive at a speed which will allow you time to see potential hazards and avoid them,” Hamm said.
The following regulations apply to fish houses, dark houses, and portable shelters used on all Minnesota waters, unless noted in the 2004 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook.
• Dark houses, fish houses, and portable shelters must have a door that can be opened from the outside at any time when in use.
• No person may erect a dark house, fish house, or shelter within 10 feet of an existing dark house, fish house, or shelter.
• Fish houses left on the ice overnight need to have at least two square inches of reflective material on each side of the house.
• Portable dark houses, fish houses, and shelters may be used for fishing within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), but must be removed from the ice each night. The structure must be removed from the BWCAW each time the occupant leaves the BWCAW.
• With a solid 12 or more inches of ice on our area lakes, the ice fishing season is now in full swing.
Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake reported: Anglers on Howard are catching walleye and northern pike, and the crappie bite is expected to take off very soon.
Angling activity on Lake Ann has been good although the fishing has been hit and miss.
The best action has been coming off Big Waverly, where the walleye bite has been good, and fast action on fair sized crappies just started.
Other reports from around the area have sunfish biting on Emma, Waconia giving up good numbers of pan fish, and the best action coming off Minnetonka, and Black Lake.
On Minnetonka and Black the sunfish bite as been super.
• Several spear anglers have reported cloudy water conditions on many area lakes this winter.
Before you cut a spear hole talk to a few of the other anglers on your chosen lake to check water clarity.
• The lack of snow continues to damper the spirits of many outdoor enthusiasts.
At this point in time, we are experiencing the least amount of snowfall in a winter in our area.
Weather reports for the week aren’t saying much about snow either.
• Have some fun this winter by taking part in an ice fishing contest.
• Sharpen the blades on your auger, and change the line on your ice fishing rods and jiggle sticks.
• Take a kid fishing, he or she will have fun, and so will you.
• In next weeks column look for a report from the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club, and the many things they accomplished in the past year.
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