Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 17, 2006

Hunt safely this turkey season


From the DNR
Minnesota’s spring wild turkey hunt is underway.

Turkey hunters who will take to the woods for the 2006 spring turkey hunting season should remember two things – be sure to have permission to hunt on the land and hunt safely.

“Don’t assume that if you had permission to hunt a piece of land last year, that permission is granted this year,” said Col. Mike Hamm, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement chief. “Talk to the landowner to find out if anyone else will be on the property and if they are restricted to any particular area.”

Last year, there were no hunting incidents during the spring turkey hunting season.

“That’s really good; our goal each year is to have no hunting incidents,” Hamm said.

A key is firearms safety. “Hunters must identify the beard on the turkey before they shoot and know what is behind the target,” Hamm noted.

Hamm said there are a number of things hunters need to think about before going into the woods. File a hunting plan someplace so people know what you’re doing and where you are.

“Leave a note on the refrigerator saying this is when I will be home and this is exactly where I will be – plan your hunt and hunt your plan,” he said.

Be considerate to farmers. “Hunters should remember that farmers will be doing field work, so they should not block any field access points,” Hamm said.

Hamm offered some turkey hunting tips:

• avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white and blue – because they are predominant colors in turkeys

• wear blaze orange going to and from the hunting location

• be sure of the target

• never stalk a gobble; it may be coming from another hunter

• register birds; every person who takes a turkey must personally present it for registration

• leave the feathers, head and feet on the wild turkey until it is registered; after registration, the fully feathered head, an intact wing, or one leg and foot must remain attached during transport

• do not possess an unregistered wild turkey outside the permit area where it was taken unless it is being transported in a direct route to a registration station

• obey and support all wildlife laws and report any observed violations.

“Turkey hunters can keep their sport honorable by promptly reporting violations,” Hamm said. Violations can be called in to Turn In Poachers at 1-800-652-9093.

Trapshooting at Lester Prairie Sportsmen club

Practice rounds for the upcoming 2006 trapshooting season begins Wed., April 19 from 6:15 p.m. to 9 .m.

League competition begins Wed., April 26 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For additional information contact Ed Mlynar at (320) 395-2258.

Gun safety training to begin April 24 in Winsted

Gun safety training is planned to begin Monday, April 24 in the lower level of Distinctive Dental Services, Winsted.

The course will run Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for 3 to 4 weeks.

Cost for materials is $10.

For more information, call Steve Fiecke at (320) 485-2434.

Bear hunt application deadline approaching
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will accept applications for the 2006 Minnesota black bear hunting season through May 5.

This year, 14,850 licenses will be available in 11 permit areas in northern and central Minnesota. The season will run from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15.

Applications can be made through the Electronic Licensing System agents throughout the state, and the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Applications can also be made by calling 1-888-MNLICEN (665-4236) or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Licenses for the no-quota area, which is the area outside of the 11 permit areas, can be purchased directly at any agent beginning July 1.

No previous application is necessary to buy a no-quota area license.

In 2005, there were 16,153 applicants for the available 15,950 permit area licenses. Seven of the 11 permit areas were under-subscribed.

Hunters harvested a total of 3,340 bears - 2,759 in the permit areas and 581 in the no-quota area. Bear licenses cost $39 for residents and $196 for nonresidents.

The bag limit will remain at two bears in the no-quota area, and one bear in all-quota permit areas.

DNR offers great discoveries this summer
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages state park visitors to discover great camping opportunities as well as save money by staying overnight at any of 18 “Discovery” parks.

“Minnesota has 73 state parks and recreation areas that offer great outdoor experiences in spectacular settings,” said Courtland Nelson, director, DNR Division of Parks and Recreation. “While campgrounds in many of our state parks are booked to capacity on weekends, in a number of other parks, the campgrounds are underutilized. At these parks, except for holidays, campsites are available on weekends as well as midweek throughout the summer and fall.

“When a $3 fee increase was approved for semi-modern campsites,” Nelson added, “we decided to keep camping fees at the old $15 level at 18 parks that have a lower occupancy rate as an incentive to the public to ‘discover’ a park they might not have visited before.”

The Discovery parks offer semi-modern camping with modern sanitation facilities and showers.

Although campsites at most of these parks can be reserved in advance, up to 30 percent of the sites are kept available on a first-come, first-served basis.

At two of the Discovery parks, Lake Louise and Monson Lake, all campsites are first-come, first-served.

In most cases, reservations are not needed for midweek camping at any Discovery park.

The Discovery parks include: Beaver Creek Valley, Caledonia; Big Stone Lake, Ortonville; Camden, Lynd; Fort Ridgely, Fairfax; Glacial Lakes, Starbuck; Hayes Lake, Roseau; Kilen Woods, Lakefield; Lac qui Parle, Montevideo; Lake Bronson, Lake Bronson; Lake Louise, LeRoy; Minneopa, Mankato; Monson Lake, Sunburg; Myre-Big Island, Albert Lea; Old Mill, Argyle; Red River, East Grand Forks; Split Rock Creek, Jasper; Upper Sioux Agency, Granite Falls; and Zippel Bay, Williams.

Nelson urges the public to explore any or all of the 18 Discovery parks that are often overlooked by other visitors.

“We hope the public will take advantage of the opportunities that this incentive offers as well as other summer camping promotions we plan to offer this year,” said Nelson. “We know that visitors will enjoy the rare landscapes, scenic beauty, recreation and relaxation these parks offer. Chances are, they’ll also discover a new ‘favorite’ park in the process.”

For a complete list of camping rates at all state parks, visit. www.mnstateparks.info and select fees from the menu.

On the fees page, select any of the underlined campsite types in blue for a list of parks in that category.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center, toll free, at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

DNR announces deer zone boundary changes
From the DNR

Deer zones in central Minnesota will better reflect habitat and deer population goals under a boundary realignment announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The boundary changes were proposed and discussed at seven public meetings held throughout the state this winter. The DNR also took written comments on the changes.

“We received great input from our deer hunters,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. “These changes will help us improve management of Minnesota’s deer population.”

The last time zones were changed in central Minnesota was 1978 and deer habitat and populations have changed significantly.

Changes for 2006 are:

Shift permit areas 410, 411, 413, 414, 415, 419 and 429 into Zone 2. Firearms hunters in these areas will now be able to harvest a deer of either sex throughout the nine-day season with a regular Zone 2 firearms license.

Previously, many hunters in this area purchased multi-zone buck and bonus permits to hunt the entire Zone 4 season structure.

Those same hunters will now be able to hunt the whole season for just the price of a regular deer license.

The following boundary changes were made to align zones between the agricultural and forested portions of the state.

• Permit areas 417 and 418 will be split along Highway 55. The northern portion will be placed in Zone 2 and the southern portion will remain in Zone 4.

• Permit area 412 will be split along I-94. The northern portion will become part of the new permit area 413 and be placed in zone 2. The southern portion will remain in zone 4.

Deer season changes will be included in the 2006 Hunting Regulations, available this summer wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

DNR hosts podcast show on turkey hunting
From the DNR

Minnesota’s woodlands aren’t the only place to hear wild turkeys this year. Turkey calls, tips on tactics, habitat and safety are the subject of a new podcast, now available on the Department of Natural Resources’ Web site.

Podcasts are similar to a radio show only instead of tuning into the radio, they’re downloaded from the DNR Web site and transferred to a player like an Apple iPod, Dell DJ or Creative Zen.

The DNR began making podcasts available this winter with a four-part series on fishing.

“Turkey hunting, with its emphasis on calling, seemed like a natural subject for a DNR podcast,” said Steve Carroll, who hosts DNR podcasts. “By putting turkey hunting information in an easy-to-access format on the Web we hope to encourage turkey hunting and help hunters be successful and safe while they hunt.”

“Turkey hunting tips” features two 30-minute interviews with Mark Strand, a Minnesota-based outdoor writer and turkey hunting guru, and Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader.

Topics covered include the importance of camouflage, an equipment rundown, calling tips, safety reminders and a discussion about hunting habitat.

“We were lucky to get Mark to help us with this project,” said Carroll. “He is not just an expert turkey hunter, but he is a gifted teacher. His experiences in the field will help hunters get the most out of their turkey hunts.”

People don’t even need an MP3 player to hear the show. All listeners need is a computer, Internet access and audio software that will play MP3 files.

The “Turkey Hunting Tips” podcast is available on the DNR Web site by going to www.dnr.state.mn.us.

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