Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

July 16, 2007

Lake Ann annual meeting Saturday

For all of those interested in getting involved with Lake Ann, here is your chance.

The Lake Ann annual meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m. at the Victor Township Hall.

Agenda includes planning for the future of the lake and hotdogs following the meeting.

Waverly Daze Fishing Derby 2007 winners

Winners at the 2007 Waverly Daze fishing derby July 7 were:
• Marty Erickson, 10.14 pound northern pike.
• Mark Decker, 4.9 pound bass.
• Tom Fink, 4.9 pound walleye.
• Chase Newton, 8 ounce pan fish.

New waterfowl association in Wright County

In June, the Pelican Lake Wright County Chapter of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association was formed.

The group’s president is Adam Benker, and the vice president is Brian Swenson.

The association will host a golf tournament to raise funds Thursday, Aug. 2 at Wild Marsh Golf Course.

For more information on the golf tournament or to register, call Dave Carothers at (612) 963-5074.

For information on the association’s events, including the golf tournament in August, go to http://pelicanlakemwa.com.

Waterfowl hunters party

The Crow River chapter of Ducks Unlimited will be hosting a waterfowl hunters’ party Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Montrose Community Center.

There will be over 60 dozen Greenhead Gear decoys, Avery blinds, and shotguns.

Wear a camo shirt or pants to be eligible to win a Benelli Nova 12-gauge Max-4 Camo Shotgun.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Advance tickets only (no tickets sold at the door). Call Mark Linder at (612) 308-5275 for tickets, which are $25.

Keg’s Bar fishing league

The Keg’s Bar fishing league was at Lake Sylvia last week, its seventh week of competition.

Below are the overall standings after seven weeks of fishing:

1. Troy Gille and Scott Czanstkowski; 90 points
2. Jason Kieser; 73 points.
3. Tom Schoenfeld and Tonia Radtke; 72 points.
3. Tim Thul and Russ Chapek; 72 points.
5. Mike Moy and Kim Moy; 65 points.
6. Woody Langenfeld and Dave Fiecke; 63 points.
7. Mark Kieser; 61 points.
8. Gus Schoenfeld; 46 points.
9. Brian H.; 34 points.
10. Cory Zitzloff and Marcus Halverson; 33 points.
11. Mike Rathmaner; 30 points.
12. Justin Johnson; 29 points.
13. Jon Lambrecht; 25 points.
14. Mike Lambrecht and Brian; 16 points.
15. Joe Detlefsen; 14 points.
16. Dan Kieser; 12 points.
17. Bill Fiske and Tom Schlafer; 9 points.
18. Charlie Radtke; 1 point.

Breeding mallards increase, total breeding ducks down slightly
From the DNR

Minnesota’s breeding mallard numbers increased from last year, but the total duck population estimate declined by about 6 percent, according to results of the annual May waterfowl survey released by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The mallard breeding population was estimated at 242,000, 51 percent above last year.

This year’s mallard population estimate was nine percent above the long-term average of 222,000 but 23 percent below the 10-year average of 315,000.

The state’s total estimated breeding duck population fell to 489,000, 6 percent lower than last year and 22 percent below the long-term average.

“While it’s good to see improvement in breeding mallard numbers, we continue to be concerned about Minnesota’s overall duck population,” said Dave Schad, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “We need to continue to focus on the significant, long-term effort it’s going to take to restore the 2 million acres of additional habitat that are required to boost our breeding population to 1 million birds, the goal we identified in our Duck Recovery Plan.”

Blue-winged teal numbers decreased 29 percent from last year to 124,000 and were 46 percent below the long-term average.

However, Minnesota’s teal count may have been skewed by earlier teal migration this year, caused by warm weather and strong southerly winds in April and early May, said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl biologist. Preliminary estimates from continental surveys completed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated blue-winged teal counts were up 14 percent to 6.7 million, the third highest count on record.

“Minnesota’s teal counts are generally much more variable than mallard counts because they migrate through the state later in the spring than mallards,” Cordts said. “In many years, we will likely end up counting fair numbers of migrant teal that are going to nest north of Minnesota. This year, it appears that teal migrated through the state early.”

The combined populations of other ducks, such as wood ducks, redheads and ring-necked ducks, decreased to 115,000, about 35 percent below the long-term average.

Only 7,000 scaup were estimated during the survey - the lowest recorded since 1968, when the survey began.

“Few scaup nest in Minnesota, so this isn’t a real concern,” Cordts said. “But, it does point to how early the spring was this year and that the vast majority of migrant ducks had already moved through the state before the survey started.”

Wetland habitat conditions were slightly improved from last year and similar to the long-term average.

The estimated number of wetlands was 262,000, up from 211,000 last year.

“There were a few spotty areas with very good conditions and extensive sheet water, but overall conditions were about average,” Cordt said. “The one exception was in the forested portion of the state where wetlands and shallow lakes remained very dry. We have seen some improved conditions in portions of the state from June rain events that should boost duck production and improve brood-rearing conditions.”

In each of the five years since the DNR first approved a plan to restore waterfowl hunting, more than 4,500 acres have been added to the state’s wildlife management area system.

In addition, each year more than 50 to 100 acres of wetland has been restored and some 10,000 to 20,000 acres of grasslands have been planted.

A waterfowl biologist and a conservation officer pilot who count all waterfowl and wetlands along the same routes each year from a low flying, single-engine airplane conduct the breeding duck survey.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides ground crews that also count waterfowl along a portion of the same survey routes to correct for birds not seen by the aerial crew.

The survey was designed to provide an index of breeding duck abundance in about 40 percent of the state that includes much of the best remaining duck breeding habitat in Minnesota.

Data on breeding duck populations across other regions of North America is not yet available, but preliminary reports suggest generally fair to good wetland habitat conditions in the Dakotas and the parklands of Canada.

• Canada geese

Since 2001, the DNR has conducted a helicopter survey of nesting Canada geese during April.

This year’s estimate was 262,000 Canada geese, 27 percent lower than last years estimate of 358,000.

The survey, which includes most of the state except for the Twin Cities metropolitan area, counts Canada geese on randomly selected plots located in prairie, transition and forested areas.

“The number of geese in the prairie zones of the state were similar to last year but we saw fairly large declines in both the transition and forest regions,” said DNR biologist Dave Rave. “In addition, we had a fairly significant drop in production this year. Extremely cold temperatures in early April froze some goose eggs. Other anecdotal reports indicate fewer goose broods in many areas of the state as well. The goose population is still in very good shape, but the drop in production could influence hunting success this fall as fewer young geese will be available.”

The report can be viewed at: www.dnr.state.mn.us.

The DNR will announce waterfowl hunting regulations for this fall in early August.

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