Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

June 12, 2006

DNR asks landowners to give wildlife a break

From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will kick off an advertising campaign asking rural landowners to give ground nesting birds a break by holding off on mowing ditches until after Aug. 1.

Advertisements and public service announcements will appear in select rural newspapers throughout the state’s pheasant range. The DNR’s Roadsides for Wildlife Program is coordinating the effort.

“Wherever we can avoid disturbing grassland, we improve cover for pheasants and other ground nesting birds,” said Tom Keefe, DNR Roadside for Wildlife Program coordinator. “This is an effort to let landowners know what they can do to help wildlife.”

Roadside grasslands also benefit mourning doves, bobolinks, meadowlarks and dozens of other wildlife species. Researchers in the Midwest have found more than 40 kinds of birds and mammals nesting on the ground or in low vegetation on roadsides.

In addition, roadside grasslands can also retain and filter runoff water when they are planted with native grasses and wildflowers. With their extensive root systems, native plant species improve water filtration, reduce the need for long-term weed control, and anchor soil more effectively than nonnative grass species.

“While the DNR’s 1,382 wildlife management areas are first priority for wildlife funding, it is encouraging to see renewed interest in capturing the potential of roadside habitats for small game birds and other wildlife,” Keefe said. “This is an area where we can have significant progress.”

Landowners who are interested in roadside management can get further information about roadsides on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Roadsides for Wildlife signs are available for landowners and road authorities to post along roads to prevent nesting disturbance. To order a sign, contact Keefe at (651) 259-5014.

Keg’s Bar Fishing League
Bass & Walleye
Week 3 - Granite Lake
Results
1 Woody Langenfeld & Dick Fiecke
2 bass 6 lbs. 1 oz.
2. Marcus Halverson & Corey Zitzloff
2 bass 4 lbs. 11 oz.
3. Gus Schuenfeld
2 bass 4 lbs. 1 oz.
Week 3
Name Pts PtsTotal
Woody Langenfeld 20 60
Dave Fiecke 20 40
Gus Schoenfeld 14 29
Marcus Halverson 16 16
Corey Zitzloff 16 16
Dick Langenfeld DNF 20
Mike Moy 10 42
Kim Moy 10 42
Tom Schoenfeld 9 24
Eric S. (Gus) 1 15
Mark Kieser 1 13.5
Jason Kieser 1 13.5
John Lambrecht 11 22.5
Brian Hankomp 11 22.5
Tim Thul 12 14
Russ C. 12 14
Kyle Kulinski 9 9
Gaylen Schoenfeld 8 8
Bonnie Schoenfeld 8 8
Todd Prudent DNF 1
Dave Groff DNF 2

To participate, stop in at Keg’s Bar in Winsted, or call (320) 485-4250.

Tournament runs Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Lake is chosen at 3 p.m. on day of fishing. Twelve weeks total with different lake each week.

Surplus bear licenses on sale Aug. 7
From the DNR

Minnesota bear hunters who were unsuccessful in this year’s lottery may purchase a surplus bear license starting at noon on Monday, Aug. 7.

Surplus licenses are available in six permit areas where the number of available bear licenses exceeded the number of applicants. For the 2006 season, 14,850 licenses were offered in 11 permit areas and a total of 15,722 applications were received.

Surplus licenses are available at any of more than 1,800 statewide Electronic License System vendors or at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul. Beginning at noon on Monday, Aug. 14, any eligible person will be able to purchase the remaining bear permits.

The bear season will run Sept. 1 to Oct. 15. Licenses for the no-quota area (outside the 11 lottery permit areas) can be purchased directly at any Electronic Licensing System vendor beginning July 1.

This year, hunters, whether they were successful in the lottery or not, will be able to purchase permits in both quota and no-quota areas.

However, they will be restricted to hunting only those areas where their permit is valid.

A total of 1,558 surplus licenses will be available for the bear season.

In area 22, 58 licenses are available, while 113 are available in permit area 25, 120 in area 13, 360 in area 24, 573 in area 45, and 531 in area 51.

A map showing the location of these bear permit areas can be found on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Bear licenses cost $39 for residents and $196 for nonresidents.

DNR to consider duck season zoning and splitting options
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will make a regulatory decision in July that will have implications for duck hunters during the five-year period of 2006-2010 if the duck season is less than 40 days.

The DNR, as required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, must decide whether to zone the state for duck hunting, meaning different season dates in different zones, or to split the season into three segments. The latter would mean the same open duck season dates statewide, according to Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl staff specialist

“We need to make this decision because every five years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires states to select a zoning or splitting regulatory framework for the next five-year period,” Cordts said. “The decision -- meaning to zone or split -- becomes meaningful only if duck seasons are significantly reduced from the 60-day seasons offered in recent years. If season length is substantially reduced, we would fall back on our zoning or splitting decision to best manage the season so that hunters would have both early- and late-season hunting opportunities.”

The DNR has already received public input on this topic and will continue to consider additional comments received prior to making a decision in July.

Background

Zones and split seasons for duck hunting are special regulations used to provide different season timing to satisfy different duck hunter preferences. These regulations are not intended to substantially alter the distribution or species composition of harvest within a state, but are often used by states to provide additional flexibility for timing duck hunting seasons.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a long-term strategy in 1991 for the use of zones and split seasons to limit the number of options and frequency of changes made by states. At five-year intervals, states are allowed to select one of the following three options for duck seasons:

1) establishment of three zones, with no split seasons in any zone;

2) establishment of two zones, each of which can be split into up to two segments; or

3) no zones, but the season can be split into up to three segments.

“Since 1991, Minnesota has always selected the option of splitting the season into three segments to get later season hunting opportunity and to gain weekend hunting days in years when the season framework was less than 40 days,” said Cordts. “Minnesota has never selected a zoning option.”

While Minnesota is required to declare its selection every five years, the splitting or zoning option is only used in years when the duck season framework is relatively short compared with the 60-day framework that has been in effect in recent years. Past policy has been to use the option of splitting the duck season only when the federally authorized season length is less than 40 days. The last time the Minnesota duck season was split was in 1993. From 1991-1993, duck seasons were 30 days and the Minnesota season was split into three segments.

Hunter satisfation

While zones or split seasons offer flexibility to distribute hunting opportunity during the season, they also add complexity to the regulations that may impact hunter satisfaction. In addition, Minnesota duck hunters may prefer different options based on the region where they live or hunt and the timing of freeze-up and migration. For example, in years of short duck seasons, hunters in northern Minnesota tend to prefer maximum opportunity during October before freeze-up and do not tend to favor splitting the season. Hunters in southern Minnesota tend to prefer a split with some closed days in October in exchange for some open hunting days later in the season.

Establishment of zones can also be controversial. There is debate about where zone lines should be located, particularly in areas near zone boundaries. Also, hunters shifting from zone to zone to take advantage of open duck hunting days can increase competition among hunters for limited hunting locations.

Previous input

Questions about zoning or splitting were asked in a statistically valid survey of 2005 licensed waterfowl hunters. Preliminary results from that survey indicate that hunters either preferred a zone option or a straight season, with less support for a statewide season split into three segments. When asked where a zone line should be located, there was less agreement.

Duck season zoning and splitting was also a topic at 18 public waterfowl meetings conducted around the state in April 2005.

Attendees at those meetings were asked to complete a survey that included preferences for duck hunting zones or split seasons. Those attendees also tended to favor the option of zoning rather than splitting the season into three segments.

Decision for 2006-2010

If there is a short duck season during 2006 through 2010, the availability of a zoning or splitting option will ensure that season timing can be adjusted so that Minnesota duck hunters will be able to hunt the early part of the season, when most duck harvest occurs, and still be provided some opportunity for hunting later in the season.

Minnesota will make the selection of zoning or splitting options in July.

The DNR will continue to consider additional comments received before the final decision is made. Comments can be e-mailed to waterfowl@dnr.state.mn.us.

Outdoor notes

• The sunfish are biting and the spawn is in full swing. The next two weeks are the best time of year to wet a line for sunfish.

The fish are in shallow water and on spawning beds right now, and are biting like crazy on most lakes in our area.

Ramsey, Granite, Waconia, Big Waverly and few others have been big producers.

• Look for ticks, if your’ve in the woods or in the outdoors take the time check yourself and kids for wood and deer ticks.

• Get your dog checked for heart worm, and on a heart worm preventative medication.

• The fish are biting on the Crow River. The water level has dropped and the current has slowed on both forks of the Crow River and the fishing, especially for northern pike, has been pretty good in the last week or so.

At this time of year, very windy days provide the best opportunity to fish the river. The wind doesn’t make the fish bite any faster, but it does a great job at keeping the bugs away. Use a floating jig head tipped with a fathead minnow.

• The application deadline for the 2006 Minnesota moose hunting season is June 16.

• Conditions this spring for nesting pheasants have been almost ideal. If dry, warm weather patterns continue we could have a bumper crop of pheasants this fall.

• Take a kid fishing, he or she will have fun and so will you.

• Today, June 12, the sun will rise at 5:26 a.m. and will set at 9:00 p.m.
• The first official day of summer, the one we have been waiting so long for, is Wednesday, June 21.

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