Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

June 4, 2007

Think twice before rescuing fawns or other baby animals

From the DNR

During the spring when people begin to spend more time outdoors, they occasionally come across baby animals.

White-tailed deer fawns, bear cubs, and other baby animals are cute and appealing.

But what should people do if they find an animal curled up in the woods or a field all by itself? Has it been abandoned?

Almost certainly not, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

A doe’s method of rearing her offspring is nothing like a human’s, especially for the first few weeks.

Within hours of its birth, the fawn is led to a secluded spot and the doe lets it nurse.

With a full stomach, the fawn is content to lie down and rest.

If the doe has twins, it will hide the second fawn up to 200 feet away.

Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot.

In four or five hours, she will return to feed her young and take them to a new hiding place.

They follow this pattern for about two to three weeks, and only then, when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators, do the young travel much with their mother.

Deer have evolved a number of special adaptations that make this approach to fawn-rearing successful.

Fawns have almost no odor, so predators cannot smell them.

Their white-spotted coats provide excellent camouflage when they are lying on the forest floor.

For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their protective coloration.

Older fawns remain motionless until they think they have been discovered, and then jump and bound away.

A deer’s primary protection from predators is its great speed.

Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators, so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection.

Although these adaptations work well against predators, they don’t work very well with people.

For the first few weeks, a fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon the fawn.

The doe’s absence can lead people to believe that the fawn has been abandoned.

So what’s the right way to handle an encounter with a fawn?

Never try to catch it. If it’s hiding, admire it for a moment and then quietly walk away.

Enjoy the memory, but don’t describe the location to others.

If the fawn tries to follow, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down, and then walk away.

That’s what its mother does when she doesn’t want the fawn to follow.

The same is true for other wildlife such as rabbits and snowshoe hares.

They will likely never join their mother except to nurse.

If young are found, it is far better to leave them alone.

You can get so close to them simply because their best survival strategy is to remain hidden.

In the case of birds, the young of most species leave the nest (fledge) before they can fly.

They are fed by their parents either on the ground or from low bushes that they can flutter or climb into.

Unless it is apparent that they have blown from the nest they should be left alone.

If they are blown from the nest, the best strategy is to return them to the nest if it can be found and is still intact.

And, what should people do if they find an injured animal?

Again, it is best to leave it be. The DNR does not accept injured animals.

The DNR will, however, make arrangements for care of injured, threatened or endangered species.

Removing deer or other native animals from the wild and raising and keeping them in captivity is against the law.

The unnatural conditions of life in captivity can lead to malnutrition, injury and stress, even at the hands of a well-meaning captor.

Wild animals that become accustomed to humans can pose a threat to themselves and to people.

People should leave the baby animals where they found them to give them the best chance for survival.

Howard Lake GND Fishing contest June 23

The annual Good Neighbor Day’s fishing contest on Howard Lake is set for Saturday, June 23.

To register, stop at Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake, or contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

Waverly Gun Club to start ladies only shooting for summer

Ladies Only shooting practice will begin in June sponsored by the Waverly Gun Club, taking place once a month on the second Tuesday of every month.

The program runs from June to October with the first practice taking place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at the Waverly Gun Club shooting range.

Those interested may bring their own gun and ammo, or it will be provided for them.

A league is being set up as well. Those with questions may call Allan Moy at (763) 658-4636.

Keg’s Bar fishing league

• Week 2

1) Jason Keiser and Mark Keiser, three walleyes, 4.7 ounces, 21 points

2) Troy Gille and Scott, two walleyes, 4.5 ounces, 16 points

3) Tim Thul and Russ Chapek, 3 walleyes, 3.15 ounces, 14 points

4) Mike Moy and Kim Moy, 3 walleyes, 2.14 ounces, 12 points

5) Tom Schoenfeld and Tanya Radtke, two walleyes, 2.7 ounces, 2.7 ounces, 11 points

6) Gus Schoenfeld, two walleyes, 2.2 ounces, 10 points

7) Woody Langenfeld and Dave Fiecke, one walleye, 1.7 ounces, nine points

8) Mike Rathmaner, two walleyes, 1.1 ounces, one point

8) Justin Johnson, two walleyes, 1.1 ounces, one point.

Fire restrictions lifted in the remainder of Minnesota
From the DNR

Recent rainfall has decreased fire danger across Minnesota and, as a result, the Department of Natural Resources is lifting the fire restrictions at noon May 31 in Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties.

Those counties will return to issuing open burning permits and there will be no restrictions on campfires.

The Superior National Forest will continue to have some campfire restrictions within the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

The specifics of those restrictions can be found on the Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior.

Rainfall accumulations for the past week at Seagull were just over an inch; Orr had about three inches and Ely over 1.5 inches.

“Everyone needs to keep in mind we need rainfall every four to five days to keep the fire danger down,” said Ron Stoffel, Wildfire Suppression Supervisor. “Northern Minnesota is still in a severe drought and above normal rainfall for several months will be needed to reverse those conditions.”

Open burning restrictions in the rest of Minnesota will also be lifted this week.

Itasca and Cass County restrictions are lifted immediately and Crow Wing, and Aitkin counties will be lifting their open burning restrictions Friday, June 1.

Changing weather patterns could quickly elevate fire danger in portions of northern Minnesota.

Daily fire danger is posted on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire.

Annual timber harvest plan available for review
From the DNR

The annual timber harvest plan for state-administered forest land, prepared by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is available for public review.

The annual timber harvest plan is for fiscal year 2008, which begins July 1, 2007, and ends June 30, 2008.

Comments will be accepted during a 45-day public comment period that runs from June 1 through July 16.

The public has two options for reviewing harvest plans, said Dave Epperly, DNR director of Forestry.

Proposed harvest locations, preliminary management prescriptions and forest inventory information can be viewed on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Comments regarding a proposed harvest site can be submitted to the DNR using this Web site.

For those without Internet access or who prefer to review and discuss annual harvest information directly with a forester, a second option is available.

They may contact or visit their local DNR area forestry office to discuss the harvest plan or to obtain a comment form and a copy of the annual harvest plan report for that administrative area.

People should contact the local area forestry office prior to a visit to ensure that the appropriate forestry staff will be available.

For statewide information, contact Gaylord Paulson, DNR Forestry, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4044; (651) 259-5280; gaylord.paulson@dnr.state.mn.us.

The DNR administers 4.8 million acres of forest lands that have been certified as being well-managed under two separate third-party auditing systems.

Annual harvest plans are derived from multi-year forest management plans developed for these DNR lands by interdisciplinary DNR planning teams with public input, and based on long-term forest resource management goals.

DNR staff will complete field evaluations on the 66,000 acres identified on the fiscal year 2008 annual harvest plan for possible timber sales.

It is estimated that approximately 43,000 of these acres will be suitable for timber sales and the timber will be appraised and offered for sale in the upcoming fiscal year.

In fiscal year 2008, at least 90 percent of the timber volume offered for sale from DNR lands will be sold through public auction sales.

During fiscal year 2006, the DNR sold 774,000 cords of timber from 38,000 acres of forest land.

The total sale value of the 946 timber sales sold was $31 million.

Ninety-eight percent of the timber was sold on timber auction sales.

Open bunring permits available on the Internet
From the DNR

The Department of Natural Resources announces the initiation of a new Internet based burning permit system.

Beginning on Friday, June 1, 2007 individuals in selected counties will be able to get a yearlong burning permit over the Internet.

After completing initial testing, the system will be rolled out statewide.

The new on-line permits are being piloted in just three counties this spring: Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Lyon counties will be the first to experience the new system.

Individuals within these counties will be able to obtain their burning permit on-line, in addition to still being able to obtain a traditional paper permit from their local Fire Warden as they have in the past.

Larry Himanga, Wildfire Prevention Coordinator for the Division of Forestry is excited about the online permits.

“This new system gives people an additional option for securing a permit,” Himanga said, “They can get a permit to burn without leaving their home.”

A major benefit of the electronic permits is to public safety.

DNR fire managers and local emergency dispatchers will be able to view the system and check the locations of active burning permits in real time, giving them the ability to see at a glance whether a reported fire is likely a permit burn, as opposed to an unauthorized wildfire.

The new permit will cost five dollars ($5.00) annually, compared to the free paper permits of the past, and the permit will be valid for an entire calendar year.

Individuals can get their permit at the start of the year and, by the use of a telephone or Internet-based activation system, can burn at that location throughout the year.

“We wanted a method of issuing permits that allowed us to know exactly when and where people are burning, while at the same time using the power of the Internet to offer convenience to citizens,” Himanga stated, “and this system allows us to do that.”

As part of this new system, all permitees within the county will have to activate their permits each day they are going to burn.

This includes the paper issued permits as well as the Internet issued ones.

Activating the Internet permit may be done on-line or over the phone while those with paper issued permits must call a toll free number.

After providing permit information, permittees will receive a message informing them of current burning regulations and, if they are allowed to burn that day.

A confirmation number issued by the system is used to validate daily burning and will be recorded on their permit.

The new system allows DNR fire managers to regulate burning on a day-to-day basis by easily changing the status or restrictions on those days when fire danger is high.

“There have been many “red flag” fire danger days in the past when we wished we could have shut down open burning just for a day or two,” Himanga explained “but the only way to do it was to send everyone a notice in the mail. That is not very responsive to daily weather conditions.”

“While only the three pilot counties will have the ability to use the Internet for obtaining permits this spring, additional counties will be added as the system is tested and refined.” Himanga stated “We want to get the bugs worked out before relying on it for the entire state.”

Outdoor notes

• If there’s anybody out there that could provide me with some historical information on Lake Ann, specifically how the lake got its name, I would sure appreciate it. I can be reached at (320) 485-2535.

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

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