Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

July 17, 2006

Plan now to share the outdoors

Ruffed grouse numbers are on their way up, the upcoming pheasant hunting season could be the best ever locally and in Minnesota, not to say the pheasant-rich Dakotas.

Although duck numbers in Minnesota are dismal, continental duck numbers and numbers in the pothole regions of the Dakotas and southern Canada are up.

Whitetail deer hunting locally and in most regions of Minnesota should also be excellent.

Adding that all up and then taking a look at the calendar means now is the time get all of those fall hunting plans finalized and in place.

Call the landowners, get new updated public hunting land maps, book motel reservations, buy your licenses and stamps; those are just a few of the things that need to get done to ensure a safe and successful hunting trip this fall.

Lastly, and aside from safety, whom you will hunt with and share the outdoors with is the most critical and important part of pre-season planning.

Oftentimes, hunters get very selfish about that special spot, leased land, or even who else will be hunting on the public land they have been on for years.

Many times, it seems the competition for space becomes the focal point of the entire hunting experience.

It’s that competition that makes hunters unwilling to invite or allow others to share the hunting experience with them.

With that in mind, now is the time to call your buddies, relatives, and hunting partners and get your plans in place.

It’s also the time to discuss getting new people involved in hunting and your willingness to share the outdoor experience.

Think back to how you got started in hunting. I’m sure you remember whom it was with and I’m also sure those are some pretty good memories, memories that are worth sharing with someone new.

Keg’s Bar Fishing League

Bass & Walleye
Week 8 - Lake Mary
Results
1. Jon Lambrecht and Brian Hamkomp
2 bass 6 lbs., 4 oz.
2. Gus and Tom Schoenfeld
2 bass 5 lbs., 11 oz.
3. Woody Langenfeld and Dave Fiecke
2 bass 5 lbs., 9 oz.
4. Marcus and Alex Halverson
2 bass, 2 walleyes 5 lbs., 8 oz.
5. Mike and Kim Moy
2 bass, 1 walleye 5 lbs., 3 oz.
6. Mark and Jason Kieser
1 bass 5 lbs.
7. Gaylen and Bonnie Schoenfeld
2 bass 2 lbs., 15 oz.
8. Brad Gebhardt and Al Quast
1 bass 2 lbs., 12 oz.
9. Tim Thul and Russ c.
1 bass 2 lbs., 1 oz.
10. Dave Groff and Todd Prudent
1 bass 12 oz.

Week 8
Name Pts PtsTotal
Woody Langenfeld 14 103
Dave Fiecke 14 83
Gus Schuenfeld 16 87
Thomas Schuenfeld 16 76
Jason Kieser 10 53.5
Mark Kieser 10 53.5
Corey Zitzloff DNF 43
Mike Moy 11 110
Kim Moy 11 110
John Lambrecht 20 81.5
Brian Hankomp 20 77.5
Tim Thul 7 35
Russ C. 7 22
Dave Groff 6 53
Todd Prudent 6 52
Kyle Kulinski DNF 19
Gaylen Schoenfeld 9 17
Steve Sherman DNF 14
Neil Syvertson DNF 14
Bonnie Schoenfeld 9 28
Brad Gebhardt 8 9
Al Quast 8 8
Alex Halverson 12 12

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.

Pheasant harvest highest in 40 years
From the DNR

Favorable weather and nearly two million acres of grassland protected under farm conservation programs made 2005 one of the best pheasant hunting seasons in 40 years.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), hunters harvested 585,000 pheasants last fall – the highest harvest since 1964 – well above the 2004 harvest of 420,000 birds. Individually, hunters also harvested more doves and ducks.

“Landowners and conservationists have put together all the habitat elements for excellent pheasant production and in the last few years it has all come together.” said Dave Schad, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Severe winters in the mid-1990s and cool, wet springs more recently have limited pheasant production in the past 15 years. But in the last several years, the weather has been favorable and grassland habitat is abundant, thanks in large part to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM).”

The number of active pheasant hunters increased to 111,000 in 2005 from 104,000 in 2004.

Hunters averaged 5.3 birds each for 2005, compared with four birds per hunter in 2004.

Last year marks only the fourth time the pheasant harvest topped 500,000 birds since 1964, when Minnesota saw the last large-scale land retirement program expire.

Under the Soil Bank program, which began in the mid 1950s, pheasant harvests of more than 1 million birds were common. In two out of the last three years, Minnesota’s pheasant harvest has topped the 500,000 mark.

“These are good times for pheasant hunters,” Schad said, “but CRP contracts that cover some 1 million acres are set to expire from 2007-2009. If CRP is drastically altered, landowners will no longer have financial incentive to protect their most environmentally sensitive lands. Pheasants and other grassland bird species will decline.”

In the immediate future, pheasant hunting should be very good again, Schad said. “Nesting conditions have been very favorable this year and habitat continues to be abundant. We will have more information on this fall’s prospects when annual roadside wildlife counts are completed in late August.”

The 2006 pheasant hunting season begins Oct. 14.

• Mourning Doves

Although fewer Minnesotans pursued mourning doves in 2005 than in 2004, those who did had better results.

The estimated harvest per hunter rose from 6.2 birds in 2004 to 7 birds this past fall.

According to the DNR, about 5,000 fewer dove hunters took to the field last year, harvesting a total of 78,000 birds.

In 2004, hunters harvested 107,000 doves.

“It’s not uncommon for hunter numbers to fall after the first year of a new season,” said Bill Penning, farmland wildlife habitat leader. “We’re creating a new dove hunting tradition in Minnesota. We expect those numbers to slowly build in the coming years.”

To help encourage more dove hunting, the DNR this summer began managing 14 three- to five-acre public fields to attract doves.

The fields were planted this summer with small grains, sunflowers or other crops known to attract doves.

The fields, located on wildlife management areas across southern and central Minnesota, will be posted with signs. Hunters must use nontoxic shot.

Because the fields are considered baited under federal regulations, waterfowl hunting will not be allowed.

A complete list of public fields managed for dove hunting appears in the 2006 Hunting Regulations Handbook.

It will be available later this month wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

• Ducks

Overall, the duck harvest declined as hunters took 677,000 ducks in Minnesota – 50,000 fewer ducks than in 2004, a year many duck hunters felt was one of the slowest in recent memory.

However, the average harvest per duck hunter increased in 2005 to 7.3 birds, compared with 6.9 birds in 2004.

Part of the reason for the lower overall harvest is duck hunter numbers, which declined from 105,000 in 2004 to 92,000 last season.

The harvest numbers also reflect the long-term decline in the quantity and quality of waterfowl habitat in Minnesota.

To help improve Minnesota duck hunting, the DNR recently updated its duck plan with a new long-term goal of restoring more than 2 million acres of wetland and grassland habitat in Minnesota.

Apply now for special youth deer hunts
From the DNR

Hunters who wish to participate in a special youth deer hunt this fall may apply now wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, or at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Aug. 18. Successful applicants will be notified in early September.

There is no fee to apply, although successful applicants must purchase the appropriate deer hunting license prior to their hunt.

The youth individual firearms and youth individual archery license, which cost only $14, are available to residents age 12 to 17.

There will be four archery and five firearms special youth hunts in October.

Eligible youth may apply for one archery hunt and one firearms hunt.
Youths ages 12 to 15 are eligible for the firearms hunts, and youths age 12 to 17 are eligible for the archery hunts.

Youths who applied unsuccessfully in the past will have preference.
There is a mandatory orientation session for each hunt.

Youth hunters must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or an adult authorized by the parent.

All youth hunters must possess a valid Firearms Safety Certificate.

Archery hunts will be held at Camp Ripley, Oct. 6-8, 150 permits; Lake Alexander TNC Preserve in Morrison County, Oct. 6-8, 20 permits; Arden Hills Army Training Site A, Oct. 19-20; Arden Hills Army Training Site B, Oct. 21-22.

Firearms hunts will be held at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge, Oct. 19-22, 50 permits (participants may hunt by archery or firearms); Lake Bemidji State Park, Oct. 21-22, 25 antlerless permits; St. Croix State Park, Oct. 28-29, 100 permits; Savanna Portage State Park, Oct. 28-29, 15 permits; Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, Oct. 21-22, 20 permits.

All of the hunts have a bag limit of one deer of either sex, with the exception of Lake Bemidji State Park, which has a bag limit of five antlerless deer.

There is no party hunting, so youths must tag their own deer. However, they may purchase and use bonus permits for antlerless deer. Deer harvested during the special youth hunt count against the yearly state bag limit of five deer.

For more information about the 2006 Minnesota special youth deer hunts, visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

2006 hunting seasons, opening and closing dates, application deadlines
From the DNR

• 07/15/06 - 10/15/06: Crow hunt - second season.

• 07/28/06: Wild turkey hunt - fall application deadline.

• 07/28/06: Prairie chicken hunt - application deadline.

• 08/01/06: Deer hunt - licenses on sale.

• 08/18/06: Deer hunt - Camp Ripley archery hunt - application deadline.

• 08/18/06: Deer hunt - special youth hunt application deadline.

• 08/21/06: Waterfowl hunt - first day to submit Lac qui Parle controlled hunt zone applications.

• 09/01/06: Snipe & rail hunt - opener.

• 09/01/06 - 10/30/06: Mourning dove - season.

• 09/01/06: Bear hunt - opener.

• 09/02/06: Waterfowl hunt - early goose opener (tentative).

• 09/02/06 - 09/22/06: Early Canada Goose.

• 09/07/06: Deer hunt - either-sex permit application deadline.

• 09/07/06: Deer hunt - antlerless application deadline.

• 09/13/06: Waterfowl hunt - last day to submit Lac qui Parle controlled hunt zone applications.

• 09/16/06 - 01/01/07: Ruffed & spruce grouse hunt - season.

• 09/16/06 - 11/30/06: Sharp-tailed grouse hunt - season.

• 09/16/06 - 12/31/06: Small game hunt - season.

• 09/16/06: Deer hunt - archery opener.

• 09/23/06 - 11/06/06: Woodcock hunt - season (tentative).

• 09/30/06: Waterfowl hunt - opener (tentative).

• 09/30/06 - 10/15/06: Moose hunt - northeast season.

• 10/14/06 - 12/31/06: Pheasant hunt - season.

• 10/14/06 - 10/15/06: Permit areas 209, 210, 225, 227, 236, 252, 256, 257; Deer hunt - Early Antlerless Deer Season.

• 10/18/06 - 10/22/06: Wild turkey hunt - 1st fall season.

• 10/19/06 - 10/20/06: Camp Ripley; Deer hunt - Camp Ripley archery hunt - 1st season.

• 10/21/06 - 10/25/06: Prairie chicken hunt - season.

• 10/21/06 - 03/15/07: Furbearer - Raccoon, Badger, Opossum,

• 10/25/06 - 10/29/06: Wild turkey hunt - 2nd fall season.

• 10/28/06 - 01/07/07: Furbearer - Otter (north zone).

• 10/28/06 - 01/07/06: Furbearer - Otter (south zone).

• 10/28/06 - 10/29/06: Camp Ripley; Deer hunt - Camp Ripley archery hunt - 2nd season.

• 10/28/06 - 05/15/07: Furbearer - Beaver (north zone).

• 10/28/06 - 05/15/07: Furbearer - Beaver (south zone).

• 10/28/06 - 02/08/07: Furbearer - Mink, Muskrat (north zone).

• 10/28/06 - 02/28/07: Furbearer - Mink, Muskrat (south zone).

• 11/03/06: Deer hunt - last day to upgrade firearms deer license.

• 11/04/06: Deer hunt - firearms opener.

• 11/25/06 - 01/07/07: Furbearer - Bobcat.

• 11/25/06 - 12/10/06: Furbearer - Fisher & Marten.

• 11/25/06: Deer hunt - muzzleloader opener.

• 12/01/06: Wild turkey hunt - 2007 spring application deadline.

Outdoor notes

• Pan fish, largemouth bass and northern pike are biting on several lakes in our area.

Howard and Waconia have been giving up good numbers of bass to anglers casting plastic worms.

Granite, Ramsey and Mud have been providing good sunfish action in 8 to 10 feet of water and according to reports, the northern pike action on Francis has been great.

• Start getting your dogs in shape for the fall hunting seasons. Work them in the morning and evening when it’s not as hot, and gradually switch their diet to provide more protein and energy.

• The dry weather has created low water levels on many of our area lakes, and both forks of the Crow River have dropped dramatically in the past few weeks.

• The application deadline for Minnesota’s 2006 fall turkey hunting season is Friday, July 28.

• The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club is open every Wednesday evening until early September for practice trap shooting.

• The Crow hunting season in Minnesota opened Sat., July 15.

• For some adventure, take a river canoeing trip down the St. Croix, the Minnesota or the Crow.

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

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