Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

August 14, 2006

Sowing oats – from planting to harvest

It all started back on April 14, Easter weekend, when a small 13-acre field next to the south fork of the Crow River was tilled and seeded with oats.

In early May, as small plants sprouted from the field, every week in this column, we began the process of running a photo of the field and charting the growth of the plants.

Over the course of the spring and summer the oat field was amazing to watch and was a picture of slow steady growth.

Planted April 14; small plants sprouted from the ground about May 9; on May 25 the plants had grown to height of about 12 inches; seed heads developed beginning June 16; by June 29 the plants had grown to over 36 inches in height; the field turned to a beautiful golden brown color by July 21; the oats were harvested on July 28 and 29 and the straw was bailed Aug. 1.

This week’s column includes a photo recap of the oat field and I hope you enjoyed the adventure of watching the oats grow as much as I did.

Finally, today, the field is just stubble, but harboring as many as 150 Canada geese. I’ll let you know how the hunting was sometime in early September.

Become a Crow River volunteer

On Sat., Sept. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon you and your family and friends have the opportunity to help clean up the Crow River and its tributaries.

Over the past two years this project has been a great success, having removed over 15 tons of garbage from the river.

Stoves, engines, tires, and trash of all kinds has been removed through the help of volunteers like you.

For information about starting up or participating in a clean up in your community contact Diane Sander at (763) 682-1933, ext. 3.

Keg’s Bar Fishing League

Bass & Walleye
Week 12 (Final Week) - Lake Washington
Top 20 will fish in tournament on September 9.
1. Marcus and Corey
2 bass 5 lbs. 7 oz.
2. Jon Lambrecht and Brian Hankomp
2 bass 4 lbs. 2 oz.
3. Gus Schoenfeld
2 bass 3 lbs. 4 oz.
4. Mike and Kim Moy
2 bass, 1 northern 3 lbs. 2 oz.
5. Jason and Andrew K
1 bass 1 lbs. 6 oz.
6. Woody and Dave Langenfeld
1 bass 1 lbs. 5 oz.

Name Pts PtsTotal
Mike Moy 12 170
Kim Moy 12 170
Woody Langenfeld 10 146
Jon Lambrecht 16 124.5
Marcus H. 20 121
Gus Schoenfeld 14 115
Corey Zitloff 20 110
Brian Hankomp 16 107.5
Dave Fiecke 10 106
Thomas Schoenfeld 1 91
Jason K. 11 89.5
Mark K. DNF 74.5
Tim T. DNF 56
Dave G. DNF 53
Todd P. DNF 52
Russ H. 1 43
Bonnie S. DNF 28
Brad G. 1 22
Al Q. 1 21
Dick L. DNF 20
Kyle K. DNF 19
Gaylen DNF 17
Keil DNF 14
Steve DNF 14
Carrie L. DNF 12
Alek DNF 12
Andrew 11 11
Mike L. DNF 1

The top four lakes of the year were Howard Lake, Lake Mary, Waverly Lake, and Waconia Lake.

Minnesota maintains conservative duck limit
From the DNR

Like last year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has established a 60-day duck hunting bag limit that is more conservative than the regulatory structure allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Today’s announcement of a four-duck limit that allows only one hen is identical to last year’s regulation but less than the six-duck, two-hen limit the federal government allows under the so called “liberal” hunting framework.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Dave Schad, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. “In the end, however, we agreed to this approach because we have been hearing loud and clear from duck hunters to take a conservative approach. That input, as well as increasing concern for local breeding duck populations and implications of a severe drought, were the key elements in our decision making.”

Schad said recent DNR hunter survey data indicates about 85 percent of duck hunters supported the four-bird limit or an even more restrictive regulation last year.

Based on an increase in breeding waterfowl populations and pond numbers across Canada and the northern plains, states in the Mississippi Flyway, including Minnesota, were offered a 60-day season that could include a six-duck limit with two hen mallards.

However, this spring’s breeding duck numbers in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin were down - Minnesota’s were the lowest in 20 years.

As a result, Minnesota will stay with the conservative limit introduced last year.

“The four-duck bag limit was well accepted by Minnesota duck hunters last year,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “Given what we know about Minnesota’s breeding duck numbers this year, it seems prudent to take a conservative approach to duck limits again this year.”

The daily bag limit for both canvasbacks and pintails will be one for the entire season. “Both species responded well to improved habitat conditions in southern Canada this spring,” Cordts said.

Bag limits for all other species will be the same as last season except the bag limit for hooded mergansers will be increased from one to two.

• Duck season

The regular waterfowl season will open Saturday, Sept. 30, at 9 a.m. and continue through Tuesday, Nov. 28. The four duck bag may include no more than one hen mallard, one black duck, one pintail, one canvasback, two wood ducks, two redheads and two scaup. Possession limits remain at twice the daily bag limits.

Except for opening day, when shooting hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., shooting hours will be from one half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. daily through Friday, Oct. 6, and from one half hour before sunrise to sunset thereafter.

Motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used from the opening day of duck season through Saturday, Oct. 7.

Motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used at any time during the season on water bodies and lands fully contained within state wildlife management area boundaries.

Additional details on the duck, goose and migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2006 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting

Regulations, available in late August.

• Youth waterfowl day

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 16.
Hunters age 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by a non-hunting adult (age 18 and older, no license required).

Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from one half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m.

Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Five geese may be taken, except in the Metro, Southeast and Northwest goose zones and Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and Swan Lake area, where the bag limit is one.

There are no license requirements, except hunters age 13 to 15 must have a firearms safety certificate in their possession. All other migratory bird hunting regulations apply.

• Goose seasons

Minnesota goose hunters will have additional opportunities to harvest geese this season, particularly in western Minnesota.

The daily bag limit has been raised to two Canada geese statewide this year. The former Northwest Goose Zone has been merged with the remainder of the state. In addition, the season length in the West Goose Zone has been extended through Nov. 28.

“We’re attempting to provide additional hunting opportunity aimed at resident giant Canada geese while minimizing impacts to the migrant Eastern Prairie Population of Canada geese that migrate through the state later in the fall,” Cordts said.

Resident Canada goose numbers remain high and well above our statewide goal. The Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese have been relatively stable over time.

“We have not had a two Canada goose bag limit around the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area since the late 1960s, so we will be carefully monitoring the effects of this expanded opportunity,” Cordts said.

Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with duck season on Saturday, Sept. 30, except for the Canada goose season in the West-Central Goose Zone, which will open on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The regular goose season will close on Nov. 27 in the West Central Zone, Nov. 28 in the West Zone, and Dec. 8 in the remainder of the state. Possession limits remain at twice the daily bag limit.

• Early September goose season

The early Canada goose season will open statewide Saturday, Sept. 2.

The September season is designed to maintain high harvest pressure on Minnesota-breeding Canada geese.

The early season is open through Sept. 22, except in the Northwest Zone where it is open through Sept. 15.

Bag limits for Canada geese will be five per day, except in the Southeast Zone, where the bag limit will be two.

A $4 permit, valid for both early and late season goose hunting is required. Permits are available wherever hunting and angling licenses are sold.

The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest, Southeast and Metro goose zones, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County.

Early season goose hunters should consult the 2006 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Supplement for details.

• Late goose seasons

December Canada goose seasons will be offered statewide except in the West-Central Goose Zone. Late season hunters must have a $4 permit, which is valid for both early and late special goose seasons.

The late season will be open Dec. 9 to Dec. 18, except in the Southeast Goose Zone, where the season will be open Dec. 15 to Dec. 24.
Bag limits for Canada geese during the late season will be five per day, except in the Southeast Goose Zone, where the bag limit will be two.

The season for light geese (snow, blue and Ross’ geese), white-fronted geese, and brant will be Sept. 30 to Dec. 24. The daily limit will be 20 light geese, one white fronted goose and one brant goose.

DNR Question of the Week

Q: The DNR is in the process of determining pheasant population in the state’s pheasant range. How is this number determined?

A: Every year during the first two weeks of August, the Minnesota DNR uses roadside surveys to estimate pheasant abundance.

These surveys entail counting all pheasants observed while driving each of 152 survey routes – one to four routes per county – in Minnesota’s pheasant range. DNR wildlife staff survey these routes in the early mornings on days with clear skies, light winds and heavy dew.

Because pheasants are difficult to count, techniques used to determine population estimates for other wildlife species does not work with pheasants.

Thus, the annual August roadside surveys do not provide a total census, but rather an index of relative abundance.

This information is then used to monitor changes in the pheasant population over time.

In 2005, for example, 890 pheasants were counted on 800 survey miles in south-central Minnesota. That yielded a population index of 111 pheasants per 100 miles.

This value was 51 percent higher than the 2004 index for the same area.

The results of the survey are reported in early September and provide a good forecast for the upcoming pheasant hunting season.

Outdoor notes

• Purchase your hunting licenses and appropriate stamps for the upcoming fall hunting seasons now.

• The September Canada goose season in our area opens Sat. Sept. 2 and closes Sept. 22. Pre-season scouting is a must to ensure a safe and successful local goose hunt.

• The morning dove hunting season opens Sept. 1.

• Minnesota’s annual waterfowl youth hunting day is set for Sat. Sept. 16.

• The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its 23rd annual banquet Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted. For more information contact the Blue Note or Dale Gatz at (320) 485-4274.

• Now is the time to start getting yourself, and your dog, in shape for the upcoming hunting seasons. Also begin to gradually change your dogs’ diet with a food higher in energy and protein.

• Read and review the 2006 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

• Reports from the Dakotas are saying that conditions are extremely dry and that most potholes are completely dry.

• The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is now conducting August roadside counts for pheasants. We can expect extremely good pheasant numbers.

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

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