Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

August 21, 2006

Permits available for special deer hunts

From the DNR

This year, 29 Minnesota state parks will be open to archery, firearm, or muzzleloader deer hunting.

In addition, bonus permits and other special hunting incentives will be in place to attract more participants to apply for special hunts.

Prior to making application for a special hunt, applicants must first purchase a deer license that is valid for the park they want to hunt. Hunters can apply at any of 1,800 ELS agents.

The application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 7. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Parks and Recreation annually holds a number of deer hunts in order to manage park resources, including the deer population.

While this effort has been relatively successful overall, there are some parks where a combination of factors, such as mild winters and undersubscribed hunts, has allowed deer populations to expand beyond acceptable levels.

“Deer are part of the natural communities that we seek to preserve or restore in state parks,” said Ed Quinn, resource management coordinator for Minnesota state parks. “When deer populations in an area become too high, however, they can have significant negative impacts on native plant and animal communities.”

The special hunts in state parks include regular firearms and muzzleloader options and archery hunts.

All of the regular firearms hunts in state parks include an opportunity that allows hunters to purchase up to four bonus permits to take additional antlerless deer.

Muzzleloader hunters with special hunt permits for Jay Cooke, Crow Wing, Lake Shetek and Interstate state parks may purchase and use up to four bonus permits. Special hunt permit holders at Rice Lake State Park may use one bonus permit.

No bonus permits are available for the muzzleloader hunt at Sibley State Park.

The DNR Parks and Recreation and Fish and Wildlifeare in the second year of collaboration on a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative harvest regulations on deer populations.

The purpose of these regulations is to increase the harvest of antlerless deer.

One of the regulations being tested is an “earn-a-buck” option where hunters earn-a-buck by harvesting an antlerless deer prior to taking a legal buck. The antlerless deer and the buck must be harvested in the same park.

The six earn-a-buck parks include Frontenac southeast of Red Wing, Great River Bluffs in the Winona area, Lake Louise in LeRoy, Maplewood in Pelican Rapids, St. Croix in Hinckley and Wild River near Center City.

The other regulation being tested is an antler-point restriction where a deer must have a minimum of either three or four points on one side in order to be taken.

For example, at Itasca and Savanna Portage state parks, a buck must have at least three antler points on one side to be taken. At Forestville State Park, the requirement is at least four antler points on one side.

• Youth hunts scheduled for three state parks

Lake Bemidji, Savanna Portage and St. Croix state parks are hosting a youth deer hunt in addition to the regular deer hunt in the park.

The youth hunts are scheduled for October, outside the regular deer season time frame, in order to harvest more deer. A non-hunting adult must accompany the youth hunter. The application deadline for special youth hunts is Aug. 18.

• Accommodations for disabled hunters

A special deer hunt for hunters with disabilities is scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Lake Bemidji State Park. During the regular firearms hunt at Wild River State Park from Nov. 4-7, accessible elevated platforms will be available for disabled hunters.

• Special hunts as a resource management tool

Heavy deer browsing on seedling trees during the winter can nearly eliminate regeneration of some tree species, such as pine.

Deer can also greatly reduce the numbers and variety of wildflowers and other herbaceous plants that grow on the forest floor.

“Techniques, such as bud-capping and exclosures, are used to control the amount of deer browsing,” Quinn said. “Our overall goal is to manage the deer population in the parks so their numbers are at a level that does not negatively affect the other natural resources. In some cases, that is best accomplished through special hunts.”

Flandrau State Park, will be open to public use during the city of New Ulm archery deer hunt.

• Archery

Flandrau State Park (part of New Ulm city hunt, Oct. 14-Dec. 31)

• Regular firearms

Beaver Creek Valley State Park (Nov. 4-5)

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Nov. 18- 20, 24-26)

Frontenac State Park (Nov. 18-20)

Glacial Lakes State Park (Nov. 11-14)

Gooseberry Falls State Park (Nov. 4-19)

Great River Bluffs State Park (Nov. 18-20 and 24-26)

Hayes Lake State Park (Nov. 4-19)

Buffalo River State Park (Nov. 4-5)

Itasca State Park (Nov. 4-12)

Lake Bemidji State Park (Nov. 4-7)

Lake Bemidji, hunt dates for hunters with disabilities (Nov. 6-7)

Lake Bronson State Park (Nov. 4-12)

Lake Louise State Park (Nov. 11-12)

Maplewood State Park (Nov. 4-12)

Old Mill State Park (Nov. 4-7)

St. Croix State Park (Nov. 11-14)

Savanna Portage State Park (Nov. 11-19)

Scenic State Park (Nov. 4-19)

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Nov. 4-19)

Tettegouche State Park (Nov. 4-19)

Wild River State Park (Nov. 4-7) (Accessible elevated platforms for disabled hunters available.)

William O’Brien State Park (Nov. 4-5)

Zippel Bay State Park (Nov. 4-19)

• Mussleloader

Interstate State Park (Nov. 25-29)

Sibley State Park (Dec. 2-3)

Crow Wing State Park (Dec. 1-3)

Jay Cooke State Park (Nov. 25-29)

Lake Shetek State Park (Dec. 2-5)

Rice Lake State Park (Nov. 25-27)

• Youth firearms

Lake Bemidji State Park (Oct. 21-22)

St. Croix State Park (Oct. 28-29)

Savanna Portage State Park (Oct. 28-29)

For more information on special hunts, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or visit the state park pages on the DNR Web site at

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.

DNR’s state fair exhibit designed to educate, entertain
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer a wide range of free educational exhibits, presentations and entertainment options at the 2006 Minnesota State Fair Aug. 24 - Sept. 4.

A full program of educational and wildlife presentations along with music, dance and theatrical performances are scheduled for the outdoor and garden stages and the fish pond demonstration area.

Highlights include demonstrations by the DNR’s MinnAqua Program, the DNR’s Enforcement K9 unit, The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, and Last Chance Forever - The Bird of Prey Conservancy.

The DNR Division of Enforcement will sponsor an interactive LaserShot shooting range for youth and adults.

The range gives participants a chance to test their skills at one of four shooting simulation stations. It’s a free, safe, educational event that’s become a family favorite.

The laser range will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the DNR theater.

The found-objects sculpture will be on display on the south end of DNR Park.

It’s a tribute to 66,000 volunteers who have removed 4.8 million pounds of rubbish from Minnesota’s public waters since 1989. This year’s artist is Paul Byer. He said his dragonfly sculpture will serve as a face and voice for the local river environment.

Displays inside the main DNR building cover a wide range of natural resource topics: watersheds, aquatic invasive species, rocks and minerals, state lands, forests, trails and parks.

A display provides information to property owners about how to keep their homes and cabins safe from wildfires. Brochures with safety tips will be available.

Smokey Bear, celebrating his 62nd birthday this year, reminds children and their parents about the dangers of wildfires.

In conjunction with the Governor’s Fire Prevention Day on Friday, Aug. 25, the DNR’s Division of Forestry will host a variety of special activities and events throughout the day, including a fire prevention quiz, beanbag toss and temporary tattoos.

Smokey’s birthday celebration events will take place on the DNR outdoor stage at noon and 3 p.m. with a trivia game for prizes. Smokey Bear makes daily appearances at DNR Park at 11 a.m., and 1 p.m.
Inside the DNR Wildlife....forever Wing, fairgoers can learn about Minnesota’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons as visitors walk through the display.

Free printed materials including hunting and trapping regulations, state parks and recreation guides are available at the information booth on the north side of the building.

Staff will be available to answer questions from the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Outside the main building, the DNR Nature Store will carry a wide range of merchandise including gift items, clothing, jewelry, educational toys, games, posters, calendars and books.

Many of the items are designed for outdoor enthusiasts and are available for sale only during the State Fair.

The Nature Store also sells hunting licenses for deer, small game and waterfowl and the complete line of Public Recreation Information Maps.

Proceeds from the sale of merchandise help fund communication and education efforts at the State Fair.

Goose hunting station application period begins for Lac qui Parle controlled hunt
From the DNR

Hunters who wish to reserve a date to go goose hunting in the controlled hunting zone at Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area are reminded to submit their application postmarked between Aug. 21 and Sept. 13.

Applications postmarked prior to Aug. 21 will be rejected. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

Proposed regular goose season dates at Lac qui Parle are Thursday, Oct. 19, through Monday, Nov. 27. The proposed season is 40 days long.

Hunters must apply on a standard 3.5- by 5.5-inch postcard bearing the applicant’s full name and address, and listing the applicant’s first and second choice of hunting dates.

Only one postcard per hunter may be submitted. Those submitting more than one application will have all of their applications rejected.
Applications should be sent to: Controlled Hunt, Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, 14047 20th St. N.W., Watson, MN 56295.

Successful applicants will receive reservations by mail designating the date of their hunt. Only successful applicants will be notified.

Goose hunting stations will be assigned through a drawing held on the morning of the hunt. Reservation holders may be accompanied by one or two guests.

All hunters using hunting stations in the Lac qui Parle controlled hunt zone who are 18 years of age or older will be charged a $3 fee on the day of their hunt to partially cover controlled hunt expenses. The reservation system will be in effect for the entire goose season.

For more information, call the Lac qui Parle headquarters at (320) 734-4451.

Outdoor notes

• 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 Friday, 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.

• 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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