Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

Feb. 27, 2006

Great time to think about the Crow

Many of us dream about that great outdoor trip, hunting, fishing, or camping to Alaska, Canada or the BWCA and never realize there are great outdoor experiences that can be had right in our own back yards.

A great example is the Crow river; all three forks – the north, middle and south. For most people reading this column, the Crow is not more than a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Here are just a few ideas:

• During the right season, fish the dam in Hutchinson. The fishing is simple and more often then not, you’ll catch a variety of fish.

• Now, and finally with the ice being solid, take a walk, snowshoe or cross country ski down a stretch of the river.

I promise you the experience will be quiet and peaceful.

If you like a faster pace, get on your ATV or snowmobile and give riding the Crow a try. Last week, I did notice snowmobile tracks on both forks of the Crow.

• Get yourself a good map and plan a canoe trip for this summer or fall on the Crow.

For an afternoon, a day, or a long weekend, the Crow is a great canoeing and fishing experience.

You’ll be surprised how wild it can be, the amount of wildlife you can come eye-to-eye with, and how fun it is to camp and fish from a small sandbar.

I’ve canoed several parts of the north fork and almost the entire stretch of the south and found out that checking out the huge boulders that pop up from the Crow every few miles was a great experience.

Several of the boulders have Native American writings on them.

The best time to canoe the river is in mid-fall when the water is low and bugs aren’t much of an issue.

• Grab your kids, or a friend, and join the Crow River Organization of Waters and participate in the stream monitoring program.

Checking out the water and the health of the river on a regular basis is a great way to get connected to the outdoors and our natural environment. It’s also a great way to get kids involved in the outdoors.

• Late this spring or early summer, I’m planning another canoe trip down the Crow.

This time, my two daughters Abbi, 7, and Emmi, 6, will be joining me.

For more information on the Crow River give me a call at (320) 282-7865, or go to www.herald-journal.com and do a key word search for Crow River.

Prairie Archers will host Steak/shrimp dinner

Prairie Archers will host a steak/shrimp dinner Saturday, March 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie.

Dinner includes baked potato, tossed salad, bread, dessert, coffee or milk and a complimentary drink.

Tickets are $10 for both or $8 for only steak or shrimp.
Call (320) 395-2721 or (320) 395-2877 for reservations by 6 p.m. Friday, March 3.

DNR seeks comment on hunting, trapping issues
From the DNR

A deer hunting zone realignment and expansion of otter trapping are among topics the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to discuss with hunters at this year’s annual public input meetings.

Each year, the DNR holds a series of public meetings across the state to gauge hunter opinions about regulations, seasons and other wildlife management issues.

Additional topics will include extending spring turkey shooting hours, the use of non-toxic shot for small game, and additional waterfowl feeding and resting areas.

People who cannot attend the meetings can e-mail comments to wildlife@dnr.state.mn.us.

“Input gathered at these meetings is extremely valuable as we consider potential regulation changes,” said Mike DonCarlos, DNR wildlife program manager. “We’ll outline other issues as information becomes available.”

BIG GAME - DEER ZONE REALIGNMENT

Seven Zone 4 permit areas south of U.S. Highway 10 (410, 411, 413, 414, 415, 419 and 429) would become part of Zone 2 under this proposal.

This would create one continuous nine-day season instead of the current split seasons in these areas. Boundaries will remain the same.

In addition, permit areas 417 and 418 north of Minnesota Highway 55 would become part of Zone 2.

Portions south of Highway 55 will be combined into a single permit area but remain in Zone 4.

Similarly, permit area 412 north of Interstate 94 would become part of Zone 2 with the south portion remaining in Zone 4.

FURBEARERS - OTTER TRAPPING ZONE EXPANSION

As a result of research on otter distribution, habitat and population dynamics in southern Minnesota, the DNR is considering expanding the otter trapping zone.

This would open portions of southern Minnesota, particularly along the Mississippi river, to otter trapping.

TURKEY - SPRING TURKEY SEASON SHOOTING HOURS

Legislation, supported by the National Wild Turkey Federation, may be introduced this year to change spring turkey shooting hours to one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Currently, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 5 pm. DNR agreed to collect public comments on this proposal.

NON-TOXIC SHOT FOR SMALL GAME

The DNR is considering non-toxic shot requirements for small game hunting, to reduce lead toxicity in wildlife and reduce environmental lead accumulation.

An advisory committee that includes hunting stakeholders will investigate options and develop proposals.

It is likely that DNR will restrict the use of lead shot on managed mourning dove fields on state wildlife management areas this fall, but further restrictions are not anticipated this year.

WATERFOWL FEEDING AND RESTING AREAS

Mud and Goose lakes in Itasca County have been proposed by petitions for designation as waterfowl feeding and resting areas.

This designation would prohibit the use of motorized watercraft during the waterfowl hunting season.

MEETING DATES AND LOCATIONS

All public input meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., except Northome, which will be 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The meeting in St. Paul will be “open house” style, where participants can come at any time during the two hours to discuss issues and offer comments.

DATE TOWN MEETING LOCATION

• Feb. 28, St. Cloud, Civic Center, Stockinger Suite.

• March 1, Virginia, Mesabi Community College, Room C175.

• March 2, St. Paul, DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road.

• March 6, Altura, Whitewater State Park Visitors Center.

• March 8, Willmar, Willmar Senior Citizens Center.

• March 8, Northome, Northome School Library.

• March 9, Fergus Falls, Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.

Written comments may be submitted to wildlife@dnr.state.mn.us or to Hunting and Trapping Season Comments, DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4007.

Outdoor notes

• The fishing season for walleye, northern, bass and muskie on lakes in our area closed Sunday.

• Fish houses on lakes in our area need to be removed by midnight Tuesday, Feb. 28.

• Now is a good time to remove litter and pick up all the garbage on our area lakes.

• Surplus wild turkey licenses may be applied for beginning at 5 p.m. March 13.

• As the days get longer look for late ice action for sunfish to pick up soon. Be mobile and don’t shy away from shallow water.

• Now is the time to sign up for a DNR certified firearms safety training class.

For more information on a class in your area contact your local community education office.

• To get involved with the Crow River Organization of Waters call 763-628-1933 ext. 3. or visit www.crowriver.org.

• The days are getting longer in a big hurry. Today the sun will rise at 6:57 a.m. and set at 5:58 p.m.

• Experience the outdoors with a kid, he or she will have fun and so will you.

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