Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

August 28, 2006

Waterfowl regulations supplement available online

From the DNR

The 2006 waterfowl regulations supplement, with information on special goose hunts, waterfowl limits and season dates, is currently available online at

A printed version will be available by late August wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

This year’s supplement also contains color illustrations to help hunters identify ducks on the wing as well as shooting tips, license information and general waterfowl regulations.

“With a number of species specific bag limits and seasons, we feel that it’s important to give waterfowl hunters better information to help them identify ducks on the wing,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “Hunters will also find additional information on waterfowl issues and management.”

The supplement contains waterfowl regulation information not available when the 2006 Hunting Regulations Handbook was printed in late July.

Waterfowl hunters must follow all state and federal regulations listed in the 2006 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Trapshooting Shoot-Offs at LP Sportsmen Club

The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club league handicap shoot-offs are scheduled for Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m.

The following teams have been shooting the past 18 weeks, with the season divided into two halves of nine weeks each.

The first half winner will face the second half winner in a shoot-off, which determines the overall champion for each class.

In Class C there are more shooters, so a third place is given, and there also is some ties that have to have a shoot-off first before the championship.

The public is welcome to watch these shoot-offs – seeing some of the best trapshootersr in the surrounding area.

• Class AA: Cabin Fever, New Germany (1st half winner) vs. Harm’s Bar, NYA (2nd half winner).

• Class A: Juncewski Const., Winsted (1st half winner) vs. Excelsior Post #259, Excelsior (2nd half winner).

• Class B: Dodge House, Lester Prairie (1st half winner) vs. Habisch Outdoors, Winsted or Lake Side Mortgage, Chanhasson (tie 2nd half winner).

• Class C: Habisch Outdoors, Winsted (1st half winner) vs. Wolf Trucking, Mayer (2nd half winner).

• Class C: Waconia Farm Suppley, Waconia vs. Stockman Transfer, Lester Prairie (tie for 2nd place in 1st half) winner faces The Wingers, Glencoe (2nd place, 2nd half).

• Class D: W.C. Services, Lester Prairie (1st half winner) vs. Shot for Brains, Montrose (2nd half winner).

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.

Early Sept. Canada goose huntin season is important management tool
From the DNR

Goose band returns from locally banded Canada geese in northeast Minnesota indicate that nearly 70 percent of the goose harvest occurs during the early season.

“This information indicates how important the early September Canada goose season is for impacting the growth of the local goose population,” states Perry Loegering, area wildlife manager, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Each year since 2002, wildlife managers in Northeastern Minnesota have been capturing and banding 500 locally raised Canada geese.

Hunters that bag banded geese report the band number along with date and location of harvest. The band information is valuable to the DNR for researching goose populations.

The results indicate that for local geese, 23 percent of the adults and 25 percent of the young are harvested each year.

The reports also show 66 percent of the geese were harvested in Minnesota, 27 percent in Illinois, 3 percent in Iowa and less that 1 percent in other states including Wisconsin and New Jersey.

Of the local birds harvested in Minnesota, 69 percent were harvested in the early season, 31 percent were harvested during the regular season, and none were harvested during the late season.

“Legal hunting harvest is the DNR’s number one tool for managing wildlife populations such as local Canada geese. Landowners experiencing problems with local geese should consider this when hunters ask for permission to hunt geese on their land,” said Loegering.
“Early and late Canada goose hunting seasons take place when most migrant geese are not in the state, so hunting will not have a significant impact on those populations, said Loegering. “The early seasons are specifically designed to harvest local geese.”

The early September Canada Goose season starts Saturday, September 2 and ends September 22.

Bag limits are five per day and 10 in possession, with shooting hours one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

For more information, contact: Perry Loegering, DNR Grand Rapids Area Wildlife Manger, (218) 999-7939

2007 State Park Calendar features birds of Minnesota
From the DNR

The recovery of the peregrine falcon and trumpeter swan in Minnesota are two examples of the state’s wildlife success stories.

Both amazing birds are among those featured in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2007 “Birds of Minnesota” State Parks Calendar.

More than 300 species of birds nest in or migrate through Minnesota state parks. From eared grebes to great egrets, from woodcock to warblers, state parks offer diverse habitats that provide great birding throughout the year.

The 2007 Minnesota State Park Calendar includes stunning photographs of many of these winged visitors.

The calendar, which sells for $9.95, will be available at the DNR Nature Store at the Minnesota State Fair, at state park Nature Stores and the Minnesota Bookstore, or by calling the DNR Information Center.

The calendar also can be ordered by phone from Gooseberry Falls State Park, seven days a week, by calling (218) 834-3855, ext. 0.

Proceeds from calendar sales help fund resource management efforts such as bird species inventories and development of bird lists in state parks, and other resource management and outdoor information programs.

“Some of the best places to discover Minnesota’s bird life are in the 72 state parks and state recreation areas,” according to Carrol Henderson, Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor and one of the photographers whose work is featured in the calendar. “Birding is a great hobby and the calendar offers birders, whether novice or expert, a colorful array of bird photos, habitat information, characteristics and tips on where they can be seen.”

Paul Sundberg, manager of Gooseberry Falls State Park, and Roland Jordahl, Minnesota wildlife photographer, also contributed photos for the calendar and, like Henderson, are avid birders.

“More and more visitors at Gooseberry Falls and other state parks across Minnesota are interested in birding,” said Sundberg. “Among the guides they find most helpful are the bird checklists we have for 57 of our state parks and state recreation areas. They either pick the lists up at the park or download them from the DNR Web site and then check with park staff for suggestions where they are most likely to see specific birds.”

State park bird checklists include the species of birds that have been documented for that park and the season of the year when they can be seen.

Some state parks offer a birding kit that visitors can use for free while in the park.

Birding kits include binoculars, a copy of the bird checklist and field guides that include color photos of birds to help visitors identify different species.

For more information on checklists and birding kits, the public can contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or look on the web at

In addition to the bird photos and information, the calendar contains notes on the natural wonders that occur in each season.

The notes include such information as when wildflowers bloom and green frogs “sing,” when the birds migrate and nest in the spring, and when the maple sap is likely to begin flowing.

Park naturalists have compiled a week-by-week list of these plus the dates for special events and programs in state parks.

Also included in the calendar is a list of all state parks addresses and phone numbers plus a map of the state showing the location of each state park and state recreation area.

State Fair fire tower to reopen
From the DNR

A familiar landmark at the Minnesota State Fair, the DNR fire tower, will reopen to the public this fair season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The fire tower located on the DNR Building grounds at the State Fair was closed in 1978 due to safety concerns,” said Olin Phillips, DNR Fire Management Section manager. “For more than a year, the DNR has been working to restore the tower so it meets state and OSHA safety standards and can once again be available for public access.”

Although the tower will open to the public this 2006 fair season, Phillips reminds everyone that it is the “shakedown” year where logistics are put to the test and evaluated.” A “grand opening” celebration for the tower will occur at the 2007 State Fair.

Approximately 300 people will have the opportunity to climb the tower each day of the State Fair.

Free tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, telling people what time of the day they can climb it. The tower will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..

“By having a ticket system like this in place, we hope to eliminate the need for people to wait in a long line,” said Phillips. “For safety reasons we have to be somewhat restrictive and can allow no more than 25 on the tower at one time.”

Safety is the first priority, according to Phillips.

So there will be other safety rules for the tower, which will include:

• Children under 6 are not allowed on the tower.

• Children between 6 and 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

• The tower will be closed during thunder and lightning storms.

• No food or beverages will be allowed on the tower people need to be sure they are up to the physical exertion of climbing the tower since it can be a significant challenge.

For people unable to access the fire tower, a live video view of the tower will be available in the DNR Building display area so they can have the experience of being in the tower while remaining on the ground.

The 65-foot State Fair fire tower was constructed in 1966. It was specifically built for the fair to provide a wildfire prevention message to visitors.

Although this tower was never used for actual fire detection, there were at one time more than 100 active fire towers in Minnesota that were the primary tool used for fire detection.

Today, aircraft detection and citizen reports have replaced the need for all but a few of the fire towers that were once used.

See Minnesota fall colors on DNR web site beginning today (Monday)
From the DNR

Recent warm, sunny days and cool nighttime temperatures have jumpstarted the appearance of fall colors in some areas around the state.
To find out what is changing where, people can follow the progress of the fall color season beginning Monday, Aug. 28 by checking out the “Fall Color Reports 2006” on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Web site at

The color reports on this site are gathered from information provided by color observers in state parks across Minnesota.

Because the colorful fall show in Minnesota includes more than leaf color, these reports contain some extras such as changing fall colors among the native grasses and wildflowers, notes on birds, butterflies and other wildlife that are migrating or preparing for winter, and a listing of the berries, nuts and fruits that are ripe for harvesting.

The site also features highlights about autumn events in Minnesota and photos of the changing fall colors.

• Web site photos illustrated current fall color status

Fall color information can be accessed from the DNR home page by selecting “2006 Fall Colors.”

Click on a region of the fall leaf color map to be linked to detailed reports from state parks in that region.

Fall color photos contributed by the public are included in these reports.
For those who can’t get away to see the fall colors in person, these photo galleries will provide a first-hand look at the autumn scene in parks across the state.

The public is invited to share their current fall color photos online by following instructions listed on the site.

Typically, colors peak in along the Canadian border in mid to late September. Peak colors arrive in the northern third of Minnesota the last week in September or early October.

The following weekend peak colors usually arrive in central Minnesota including the Twin Cities area.

The southern and southeastern part of the state should have good color through the third week in October.

“The fall color season always brings visitors out to enjoy the scenic beauty of our state parks,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Since all 72 state parks and recreation areas are open to the public year-round, people have the opportunity for recreation and relaxation in all seasons. Our outdoor education programs and the opportunity to witness seasonal events such as bird migration, fall colors and wildlife activities, also help bring visitors out to enjoy picnicking, camping and other recreational activities.”
Nelson cited another major factor that helps boost visitation – fewer bugs and mosquitoes.

“Campers especially appreciate the lower bug levels in fall,” Nelson said. “If the string of good weather continues, I expect our campgrounds will continue to see good business this fall.”
Nelson also recommends a midweek visit to state parks this fall. “On weekends, our parks are usually pretty busy in the fall,” Nelson said. “During the week, camping is more available and reservations are likely not necessary.”

Those without Internet access may get fall color reports by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

For an audio report of fall color status, call Explore Minnesota Tourism toll free at 1-888-868-7476.

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