Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

November 6, 2006

Taking care of your venison

By Lou Ann Jopp, University of Minnesota Extension Service

Thousands of deer hunters enjoy the yearly ritual. But to keep it enjoyable and reduce the risk of foodborne illness, hunters need to pay attention to how they field dress, transport, process and prepare the venison.

When the weather is warm, the quality of the venison can be impacted quickly if it’s not handled properly.

Harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, can be found on raw or undercooked game.

E. coli 0157:H7 is the strain that can produce a potent toxin that can cause severe illness, serious complications, and even death.

Here are some food safety guidelines.

Field dressing/transporting/processing:
• Wear disposable plastic gloves to reduce risk of disease exposure.
• Remove entrails immediately.
• Avoid cutting paunch and intestines; bacteria associated with foodborne illness may be found in these organs.
• Remove dirt, feces, hair, and bloodshot areas.
• Clean your knife frequently with clean water, pre-moistened wipes, or alcohol swabs; avoid dragging bacteria into the meat.
• Wipe out the cavity with paper towels; aid air circulation by propping it open with a clean stick.
• If you wash the cavity with water, dry it quickly to prevent spoilage.
• Cool quickly to 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit; bacteria multiply rapidly between 40-140 F.
• Ice/snow sealed in plastic bags and packed into the cavity aid cooling. • Keep the carcass out of direct sunlight.
• Skinning helps cool the carcass faster.
• When deboning, discard the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes.

Care in the kitchen:

• Store meat in a refrigerator; use within two to three days.
• Cross-contamination occurs if raw meat or its juices come in contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
• Freezing does not kill bacteria, but cooking to 160 F destroys most harmful bacteria and parasites.
• USDA’s recommendation for making jerky: before dehydrating, heat meat to 160 F, maintain dehydrator temperature at 130-140 F.
• Cook ground venison to internal temperatures of at least 160 F; and venison soups, stews and casseroles to 165 F.

Freeze game properly:

• Freeze no more than four pounds/cubic foot of freezer space within 24 hours.
• Use food grade containers/wraps – no garbage bags.
• Never thaw meat at room temperature.

Canning:

• Meat is a low acid food and must be canned by a pressure canner for a safe product.

Visit Extension’s Web site at http://www.extension.umn.edu and click on “living” for information on the safe home canning of fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Youth snowmobile safety training class

There will be a youth snowmobile safety training class in Winsted Monday, Nov. 20 and Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.

Youth must be 11 years of age before class start date in order to be eligible to take the class.

The class will take place at the Distinctive Dental Building, in the community room, located at 131 W. Main Ave. in Winsted.

OHV rules, exemptions for deer season, trapping on state lands
From the DNR

While rules for ATV use for game retrieval are relaxed during the big game hunting season, others remain in place.

Knowing where people can and cannot ride an off-highway vehicle (OHV) will help make the hunt more enjoyable.

Because OHV (including all-terrain vehicles) laws and rules vary by location, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters and OHV riders to know who owns the land where they hunt and ride, and to become familiar with the rules for that area.

Cross-country travel, which is travel off roads and trails, is prohibited on all state lands with three exceptions for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in state forests classified as managed or limited.

In these forests, hunters may use their ATVs cross country to retrieve big game (September through December) and to construct stands (October through December).

Trappers may use ATVs cross-country during the open season. (This exemption does not apply to off road motorcycles and trucks or ATVs larger than 800 cc and over 900 pounds.)

To reduce disturbance during prime hunting times, during firearm deer hunting season, hunters may only use ATVs prior to the legal shooting time (one-half hour before sunrise), from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and after legal shooting time (one-half hour after sunset). This applies to all public lands.

Private landowners or people authorized by the landowner may use ATVs on their property at any time.

Additional OHV laws and regulations:

• All public and private lands and waters:

- OHV travel is not allowed on designated non motorized trails (like cross-country ski trails) or in areas posted and designated as closed to OHV use

- OHV travel is not allowed on unfrozen public waters (lakes, rivers, streams) or in a manner that would carelessly damage the natural and ecological balance of a wetland

- it is unlawful to transport an uncased firearm on an OHV

- it is illegal to shoot at a wild animal from an OHV.

• State wildlife management areas:

- OHVs are generally prohibited on wildlife management areas (WMA) with the exception of Carlos Avery, Hubbel Pond, Mille Lacs, Red Lake, Roseau River and Thief Lake, where highway-licensed motor vehicles may be operated on established roads at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

• State forest lands:

- OHV use that causes erosion or rutting, or that damages trees, growing crops, roads or natural resources is prohibited

- OHV riders must travel at reasonable speeds on state forest roads and they must obey posted speed limits and traffic laws

- cross country travel is prohibited, except for big game retrieval, trapping and constructing stands during certain times (see above).

• State forest classification:

In addition, where people can ride an OHV in a state forest depends on the forest’s classification.

MANAGED: In state forests classified as managed, motor vehicles may operate on forest roads and forest trails, unless they are posted or designated closed.

LIMITED: In state forests classified as limited, there is a distinction between forest roads and forest trails. Motor vehicles, including OHVs may ride on forest roads, unless the road has signs saying it is closed.

The opposite is true of trails. Motor vehicles, including OHVs, may not operate on trails unless the trail is posted (signed) open. State forests classified as limited are: Chengwatana, D.A.R., General C.C. Andrews, R.J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood, Foothills, Nemadji, Rum River, St. Croix, Snake River, Solana, and Wealthwood.

CLOSED: In closed state forests, motor vehicles are not allowed, except that vehicles licensed for highway use may use forest roads that are not posted closed or gated. State forests classified as closed are: Birch Lakes, Insula, Lake Isabella, Sand Dunes, Pillsbury and Whiteface.

For information on OHV laws and rules in national forests, check the nearest national forest office. OHV regulations on county lands generally follow those of state forest lands.

As always, owner permission is needed for using an OHV or hunting on private land.

For more specific information on state OHV laws and rules, see the 2006 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, or visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Record 514 deer taken during Camp Ripley bow hunts
From the DNR

Hunters at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls completed another successful hunt this past weekend and helped set a record harvest for 2006.

Archers harvested 243 deer during the weekend hunt and took at least six bucks weighing 200 pounds or more.

There were 271 deer taken during the previous hunt (at least 10 bucks more than 200 pounds), for a total of 514 deer harvested in 2005.

“This represents an eight percent increase over last year’s take of 477 deer and is six percent higher than the previous record harvest of 484 deer set in 2004,” said Beau Liddell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Little Falls area wildlife manager.

A combined total of 5,009 permits were issued for both two-day hunts, with 4,351 hunters participating.

Hunter success over both hunts was slightly more than 11 percent, similar to last year and about three percent higher than the long-term average of eight percent.

For the third consecutive year, hunters were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer.

“We’re very pleased with the results this year,” Liddell said. “Although Ripley bow hunters are usually very selective for bucks, we have seen an encouraging increase in the proportion of does and fawns taken, particularly during the first hunt. In addition, 20 hunters took advantage of the increased bag limit and harvested two animals this year.”

In the end, the proportion of deer taken that were antlerless was much higher than the long-term average (53 percent), with about 68 percent of this year’s harvest comprised of does or fawns.

The largest buck taken during the weekend hunt weighed 220 pounds, taken by James Schuett of Pillager. Other hunters who harvested large bucks were: Jeffrey Koltes, Sartell, 217 pounds; John Kahl, Pierz, 213 pounds; Gregory Hauser, St. Paul, 211 pounds; Derek Hines, Pillager, 205 pounds; and Jason Seifert, New Ulm, 202 pounds.

Wayne Kasper of Annandale harvested the largest doe, weighing 145 pounds. Mark Meyer of Bear Creek, Wis., took the largest bodied buck registered over both hunts on Oct. 19, weighing 244 pounds.

The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunt with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000 acre reservation.

Hunters should ask first before hunting on private land
From the DNR

Respect private property; ask first.

That’s the message to hunters from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Hunters must receive permission to hunt on agricultural lands, and are strongly encouraged by the DNR to ask before hunting on any private property.

“With the Minnesota firearms deer season opening Nov. 4, hunters must remember that their actions reflect on all other hunters,” noted Wayne Edgerton, the DNR agricultural policy director.

“Trespassing on private lands is a serious issue. Hunters are responsible for knowing where they are and having permission to be there. Hunting on someone else’s property is a privilege that must be earned and can be taken away by a careless act; hunters need to demonstrate their appreciation.”

Edgerton added, “Most hunters respect private property rights and appreciate a landowner’s point of view. The few who don’t make it difficult for everyone.”

Edgerton offered several guidelines to help hunters maintain good landowner relations:

• respect the landowner’s property as if it were your own

• don’t litter; carry away litter left by others

• find out where you may drive and park your vehicle

• know the boundaries of the property you have permission to hunt

• keep your hunting party small and let the landowner know who is in your party

• think before you shoot; know your target and what is beyond it

• don’t walk through unharvested crops or hunt near livestock or buildings

• leave gates as you found them

• don’t build fires, mark trees or alter the landscape without specific permission

• give the landowner your name, address, phone number, vehicle model and license

• if you have permission to return, ask if there are times and places you should avoid

• even if you have permission to return, always attempt to let the landowner know where and when you will be hunting on that property

• let the landowner know when you are done hunting and if animals were harvested

• after the hunt, offer to share a portion of your cleaned game or send a gift or card.

A brochure entitled “Hunting Private Land: It’s A Privilege” is available by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-64367), or on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Natural resources violations can now be reported online
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in conjunction with Turn in Poachers Inc. (TIP), has launched a new online service to report “non-time sensitive” natural resources violations.

Non-time sensitive means the nature of the complaint is informational and does not require an immediate response from an officer.

DNR Enforcement Chief Mike Hamm said reporting violations online is appropriate when someone wants to provide information about a violation that has already occurred or a situation that occurs annually, rather than situations that require immediate attention.

The online form, available at www.dnr.state.mn.us is designed for people to report possible inappropriate behavior on public or private lands or waters, illegal hunting or fishing and other natural resources violations.

The online service is only for violations that have occurred within Minnesota. The reports will be monitored Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

To report a violation online, people should fill out the form as completely as possible. The more information provided, the easier it will be for a conservation officer to investigate.

“Location is especially important, so people should include county and nearest town to the violation,” Col. Hamm said. “These are key pieces of information. If they know the identity of the individual committing the violation, they should indicate the name on the form.”

Online reporting will augment the TIP hotline that is in its 25th year of operation.

If the violation is ongoing or needs a time sensitive response, people should not report it online; they should call the 24-hour TIP hotline at 1-800-652-9093 immediately or #TIP on their cell phone.

“Poachers need to know that the law-abiding sportsmen and sportswomen now have one more tool to report illegal activity,” Hamm said.

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