Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

Feb. 20, 2006

2006 Howard Lake Ice Fishing winners

The annual Howard Lake Fishing contest was Saturday, Feb. 11, and the winners are listed below.

First northern: first, 6 lb. 4 oz., Jayben Braatz;
First walleye, 5 lb. 4 oz, Devin DeMars;
No other fish caught.
Chisel, Bob Gruenhagen, first; Lanny Lachermeier, second.
Hand auger, Dan Zachman, first; Pat (Rocky) Jergens, second.
Gas auger, Dave Ostreich, first; Pat (Rocky) Jergens, second.
Electric auger, Dan Zachman, first; Jesse Pettit, second.
Oldest person, Felix Bickman, 88.
Paul Kunze, fish house
Steve Sale, ice auger.
Ron Gilbert, print.
Keith Parcham, print.

DNR encourages hunters to complete firearms saftey training now
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to sign up for a firearms safety hunter education class now if they plan to hunt this fall.

Hunters can’t buy a hunting license in Minnesota and many other states unless they have completed the training.

“Instructors from throughout the state are gearing up for the spring rush,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education coordinator. “So now is the time to start planning for the fall by registering for a spring class today.”

In Minnesota, hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must complete a DNR firearms safety training course or equivalent course from another state before purchasing a license for big or small game.

“Every year we have hopeful hunters who wait until the last minute when courses are no longer available,” Hammer said. “Usually we are able to get them into a class somewhere, but every year there are a few who simply cannot hunt because they didn’t start planning early.”

The vast majority of volunteer instructors are also hunters, Hammer said. Their goal is to have most of the courses completed prior to the small game opener. They also want their students to enjoy a full season of hunting opportunities.

Hunters who don’t start planning now frequently encounter problems when they hunt out of state.

Many states have more stringent requirements than Minnesota when it comes to mandatory hunter education requirements.

Colorado requires a hunter education certificate for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1949. Neighboring states such as North Dakota and Iowa have requirements for those born after 1961 and 1967.

“If you have lost your certificate or have questions about certification from other states, now is the time to get a certificate in your hand so you won’t miss the opportunity to hunt in Minnesota or takethat trip of a lifetime to Colorado this fall,” Hammer said.

Spring classes are now available, but fill up fast. For more information, log on to, or call (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

DNR reminds anglers to pick up litter as ice fishing shelter removal dates approach
From the DNR

Minnesota’s ice fishing shelter removal dates are fast approaching.

Dark houses, fish houses and shelters must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight Feb. 28 in the southern two-thirds of the state and March 15 in the northern third, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR also reminds anglers to keep waterways clean by picking up litter around their shelters.

Litter on lakes tarnishes nature’s beauty, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation. Litter is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.

The Feb. 28 removal deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 15 deadline applies to waters north of that line.

For border waters, the ice shelter removal deadlines are:
• Minnesota - Iowa, Feb. 20
• Minnesota -Wisconsin, March 1
• Minnesota - North and South Dakota, March 5
• Minnesota - Canada, March 31.

If houses or shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted and the structure may be confiscated and removed or destroyed by a conservation officer.

Contents of the structure may be seized and held for 60 days; if not claimed by the owner within that time, the items become property of the state of Minnesota.

After the date when ice or fish houses or shelters must be removed, portable shelters may be placed on the ice and used from one hour before sunrise to midnight, but only if there is an open fishing season on the lake.

Storing or leaving fish houses or dark houses on a public access is prohibited.

Anglers are encouraged to monitor ice conditions on lakes and make arrangements to remove their houses before travel on the ice is dangerous.

The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of solid ice for ice fishing; at least five inches for snowmobiles or ATVs; eight to 12 inches for a car or small pickup; and 12-15 inches for a medium truck.

Ice conditions can vary greatly, so anglers should know about the different types and characteristics of ice.

Slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign.

If ice at the shoreline is cracked or soft, people should stay off.

People should not go on the ice during thaws and should avoid honeycombed ice and dark ice.

Ice is generally weaker where there is moving water, such as near inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and objects that protrude through the ice.

Surplus spring turkey licenses available March 13
From the DNR

Applicants who were unsuccessful in the 2006 spring wild turkey lottery may apply for surplus licenses starting at 5 p.m. March 13.

Permits will be available on a first-come, first-sold basis wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold or online at

Because hunting access in many zones with surplus permits is limited, hunters should obtain landowner permission before the purchase deadline.

The spring turkey hunt consists of six five-day seasons and two seven-day seasons that run consecutively from April 12 through May 25.

There are 2,382 surplus permits available in the following areas:
SEASON A – April 12-16; 456-3 permits;
SEASON B – April 17-21; 456-1; 429-4; 458-1;
SEASON D – April 27-May 1; 456-3; 458-3;
SEASON E – May 2-6; 225-20; 228-15; 236-4; 244-5; 337-17; 338-3; 341-23; 342-25; 345-102; 346-150; 347-21; 348-13; 349-101; 411-16; 419-6; 425-13; 426-3; 427-5; 429-15; 440-27; 449-2; 456-3; 457-2; 458-3; 462-6; 463-4; 464-1; 465-25; 466-5; 467-5;
SEASON F – May 7-11; 342-19; 345-107; 346-122; 347-49; 349-11; 429-4; 440-7; 456-4; 457-2; 465-14;
SEASON G – May 12-18; 345-74; 346-54; 429-19; 465-13;
SEASON H – May 19-25; 223-2; 225-27; 228-11; 236-9; 244-4; 337-11; 338-15; 339-19; 341-33; 342-151; 344-25; 345-170; 346-272; 347-49; 348-72; 349-195; 414-2; 420-3; 429-19; 440-36; 443-36; 456-3; 459-11; 461-3; 462-9; 464-13; 465-15; 466-13.

Applicants who were unsuccessful in the spring 2006 turkey hunt lottery may purchase a surplus license through March 19.

Surplus permits become available to all hunters otherwise eligible to purchase a turkey license and stamps on March 20.

Purchasing a surplus permit does not affect preference points for future lottery drawings.

There is no additional application fee, but regular turkey hunting license and stamp fees apply.

Unsuccessful party applicants must apply individually to purchase these licenses. All license sales are final; there will be no refunds.

Hunters may check the availability of leftover licenses or the status of their lottery applications online at .

2005 Minnesota deer harvest is the third highest on record
From the DNR

Record harvests by archery and muzzleloader hunters pushed the deer harvest during 2005 above 255,500.

The statewide firearms harvest was down six percent, but the archery harvest increased 11 percent and muzzleloader harvest increased 50 percent.

Firearms hunters harvested 216,700 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 23,200 and 14,000 deer, respectively.

Hunters who participated in the early antlerless season Oct. 15-16 harvested 1,600 deer.

“Minnesota deer hunters enjoyed yet another great deer season,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. “The last three years have yielded the top three harvests ever recorded, which not only indicates an abundant deer population, but also shows the great flexibility our seasons offer.”

Use of the all-season license, which allows hunters to harvest deer during the archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons, has increased dramatically in recent years.

The 59,000 hunters who purchased an all-season license this year likely contributed to the record archery and muzzleloader harvest.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in muzzleloader hunters over the past few years,” Cornicelli said. “I think people are really grabbing on to the fact they can extend their time in the field by getting into muzzleloader hunting, which overall isn’t very expensive.”

Given this year’s record mild winter weather in much of the state, DNR wildlife officials expect ample deer harvest opportunities for hunters again this fall. “We will continue to promote antlerless deer harvest as a population management tool,” Cornicelli said.

The final deer harvest number is computed using information provided by hunters when they register their deer.

A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online in the coming weeks.

For the 2006 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Sept. 7. Archery deer hunting begins Sept. 16. The statewide firearms deer-hunting season opens Nov. 4. The muzzleloader season opens Nov. 25.

DNR questions of the week
From the DNR

Q: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently unveiled, and is accepting comments on, its draft plan for recovering duck populations in Minnesota, thereby improving duck hunting.

What are the most important factors that will drive success and restore ducks?

A: The plan identifies challenges and suggests strategies that the DNR feels will move Minnesota in the right direction; however, any effort must be viewed as another step in what will be a long journey.

High-quality habitat is essential to the success of any plan, but the most important factors differ by area of the state.

For example, ducks, and hunters, in the prairie landscape will benefit most by the restoration and protection of wetland and grassland habitat complexes, including shallow lakes.

In the forested areas, management of wild rice lakes, shoreland protection, and trees large enough to support cavity-nesting ducks are important.

The entire draft plan is available at

Public comments will be accepted until March 1, and can be e-mailed to

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