Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

July 30, 2007

Black powder shoot at Waverly

The annual Black Powder Shoot will be at the Waverly Gun Club Sat., Aug. 11 and Sun., Aug. 12.

Individual shooting will begin Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. This includes mens’ and ladies’ rifle, pistol, and carbines.

There is also shooting for youth 16-and-under, and for those who are 60 years-old or older, or physically challenged.

At 4 p.m. Aug. 11 there will be the miniature cannon and ladies team competition.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 12 with the men’s carbine team followed by men’s musket team at 11 a.m.

All interested shooters and spectators are welcome to attend.

The gun club is located about two miles north of Waverly just off County Road 9.

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 to be given away.

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.

PF supports conservation title in Farm Bill passed by House Ag Comittee
From Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever (PF) strongly supports the Conservation Title in the Farm Bill passed last week by the U.S. House Ag Committee.

PF views the bill as a strong starting point favorable to America’s farmers, ranchers, hunters and anglers.

The bill (H.R. 2419) extends and improves significant conservation programs including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP), and it improves hunter access and wildlife habitat through the “Open Fields” provision.

“This bill provides a solid foundation for conservation,” said Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs, “Many critical conservation priorities have been addressed, and the bill provides a strong revenue stream for America‚s farmers and ranchers, thus ensuring we can be successful implementing the many voluntary incentive-based conservation programs.”

“The House Ag Committee has shown it considers the Farm Bill’s Conservation Title to be extremely important not only to this country’s wildlife and natural resources, but to all of America’s farmers and ranchers that have enrolled in conservation programs and the sportsmen and women who’ve experienced the results each fall across America's pheasant fields,” Nomsen said, “We thank House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking Minority Member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) for their commitment to this crucial legislation.”

Major conservation provisions in the bill include:

• The reauthorization of CRP at its current level of 39.2 million acres.
Maintaining CRP - the most successful conservation program in U.S. history is crucial for the continued success of pheasant, quail and other wildlife populations.

• New provisions for “Open Fields” that would provide $20 million to help fund and augment state-managed, voluntary sportsmen’s access initiatives, often called walk-in programs.

Walk-in programs are great not just because they provide for improved public access to private lands, but also because in most cases they require those lands be managed to optimize their value to fish and wildlife

• It provides $1.6 billion to re-establish WRP, and the expansion of WRP to a new nationwide cap of 3.6 million acres.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary has the authority to enroll 250,000 acres per year.

• A new baseline for GRP – up to 1 million acres.

• A new Regional Watershed Enhancement Program (RWEP) that allows Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to administer conservation practices.

• New provisions disallowing crop insurance on newly converted native prairies – Sod Saver.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Farm Bill before the end of July.

Now is the time for America’s conservationists to act.

The 2007 Farm Bill will address land management decisions on over 50 million acres and the bill going to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives would ensure the creation and protection of wildlife habitat, soil resources, water quality, and our outdoor hunting heritage.

Pheasants Forever strongly encourages you to contact your U.S. Representatives (http://www.pheasantsforever.org/page/LegislativeAction) immediately and urge them to pass the Farm Bill (H.R. 2419). Help Pheasants Forever and future generations by being an active supporter of this country’s wildlife and natural resources and relay your support of this bill.

Pen-raised turkeys should remain confined
From the DNR

Landowners interested in attracting wild turkeys are encouraged to seek information about habitat improvement projects rather than introducing pen-raised or game farm turkeys on their property.

Wild turkeys found throughout much of the southern and central part of the state were trapped from healthy wild populations in the southeast and released by Department of Natural Resources (DNR) personnel at carefully chosen sites.

Only DNR personnel are authorized to release wild turkeys. “We truly do appreciate the good intentions of people who want to help us out, but they need to do it in the right way,” said Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader. “The best way for landowners to attract turkeys to their property is to provide the right habitat conditions. Local DNR wildlife staff will be happy to provide information for any landowner interested in habitat projects.”

Pen-raised turkeys, which include any turkey that can be purchased from a game farm, farm supply store or catalog, could threaten Minnesota’s wild turkey population through loss of reproductive capacity, and the transmission of disease and inferior genetics.

Generally, Penning said, pen-raised turkeys lack wild behavior, tolerate humans in close proximity, and will seek handouts in barnyards and at bird feeders.

Pen-raised turkeys tend to roost near, on or inside buildings and often have become a nuisance.

“The challenge of hunting a truly wild bird is what makes turkey hunting so exciting,” said Dave Mahlke, national board member of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) from Minnesota. “NWTF strongly supports the DNR’s efforts to protect our wild turkey population.”

Blood testing of Minnesota pen-raised birds has shown that a high percentage carry poultry diseases that can devastate a population of true wild turkeys.

Any free roaming pen-raised birds should be recaptured by enclosing in a pen or building and kept permanently confined.

Landowners who are interested in learning more about wild turkey populations and habitat requirements may explore the DNR Web page www.mndnr.gove or contact their local DNR Wildlife office.

Pheasant harvest increases for second consecutive year
From the DNR

Reported harvests from last fall by Minnesota pheasant hunters were the highest since 1964, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The harvest of 588,000 pheasants marked an increase of 3,000 birds from the previous season and was well above the 10-year average of 401,000.

DNR wildlife managers credit abundant habitat, excellent nesting conditions and hunters’ continued support for programs to expand and enhance the state’s grasslands.

“We’re very pleased with the success that Minnesota’s pheasant hunters enjoyed this past season,” said Dave Schad, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Much of the credit goes to hunters and conservation organizations who have supported federal farm programs that benefit grassland habitat as well as support for federal and state habitat acquisition programs.”

An estimated 129,500 pheasant hunters, the most since 2003, took to the field last fall, bagging an average of 4.9 birds each, according to the DNR report, based on a mail survey to 6,000 hunters who purchased a small game licenses in 2006-2007.

“Our estimated per-hunter harvest declined slightly from the 5.3 birds hunters bagged in 2005-2006,” said Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader. “That could be explained by the increase in hunters in the field, however.”

One key to increased pheasant populations is abundant grassland habitat, Penning said.

Within the state’s pheasant range, protected grasslands account for about 6 percent of the landscape, the highest number since the mid 1990s.

Farm programs make up the largest portion of protected grasslands in the state roughly 1,000,000 acres in the pheasant range.

About 610,000 acres of grassland habitat are protected in wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas in the pheasant range.

Habitat and weather are the two factors that most affect pheasant populations, Kurt Haroldson, Minnesota DNR pheasant research biologist, noted. “There’s nothing we can do about the weather, but there is a lot that can - and should - be done to improve habitat conditions. Thanks in large part to continuous support form hunters and organized conservation groups like Pheasants Forever, Minnesota’s grassland habitat has been in pretty good shape in recent years, however we must remain vigilant, as the current Farm Bill is set to expire in 2007.”

“If Minnesota is to avoid a drastic decline in pheasant and other farmland wildlife populations, hunters, landowners, wildlife watchers and conservations must make the case for farm programs,” Penning said. “CRP, RIM and CREP have provided great benefits for those who enjoy upland bird hunting in the agricultural regions of the state.”

The DNR has accelerated acquisition of wildlife management and public hunting areas and is working through the Farm Bill Assistance Program to expand the habitat base by marketing farm bill conservation programs to landowners, in partnership with Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), Pheasants Forever, and county Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

In recent years there has also been increased emphasis on grassland-wetland complexes through the “Working Lands Initiative” with BWSR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and many other private conservation and agricultural organization partners.

Outdoor notes

• Every week I plan on getting my series of articles on Lake Ann actually off and rolling.

However, although my intent is sincere, every week it seems something comes up and I don’t find the time to provide the content you deserve.

Hopefully, my schedule will slow down a bit, and I will finally give Lake Ann the attention I promised.

• It could be a tremendous year of local pheasant hunting.

Many readers have reported seeing large numbers of pheasant chicks – many more than previous years.

Reports have also indicated a late hatch occurred.

• A black Lab named Maude gave birth to nine pups roughly seven weeks ago.

Now, in itself, a Lab giving birth to pups isn’t much for news, but Maude is not just any black Lab.

Maude’s papa was Moose, a black Lab that appeared on ESPN 2 participating in the water long jump at the Great Outdoor Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 2002.

With that kind of bloodline, Maude’s pups have been very popular, with one getting auctioned off at the North America Conservation Officers’ annual convention, which was in St. Paul last week.

A CO from Kansas had the winning bid for that pup.

Besides, Kansas, Maude’s offspring have landed all over the country, from Florida to Alaska.

Maude’s owners are Brett and Kyle Mlynar, whose father Bob is a MN DNR conservation officer based out of Aitkin. Ed and Florence Mlynar of Lester Prairie are Brett and Kyle’s grandparents.

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

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