Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

August 27, 2007

People should mind their manners while enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors

From the DNR

Minnesota’s summer season may be coming to a close, but there’s still plenty of time to leave behind the city limits and get into nature.

What shouldn’t get left behind as people tramp through the woods, pitch a tent, go boating or cast a fishing line are manners.

“Most outdoor enthusiasts are simply looking to get away from it all and have some fun, but for some reason there are those who toss common courtesies to the wind, spoiling a day in the fresh air and sunshine with boorish behavior,” said Col. Mike Hamm, Minnesota DNR chief conservation officer.

This is apparent in recent editions of the Conservation Officer Weekly Report. Here are a few examples:

• Boating

CO Darin Fagerman of Grand Marais reported that improper boat ramp etiquette has been evident during the summer.

“One included a man cleaning his fish on the tailgate of his pickup while still on the ramp as others waited,” Fagerman said. “Courtesy should be common sense.”

Minnesotan’s love to go boating on the many lakes, rivers and streams.

People can set the tone for the day even before the boat hits the water by being ready to launch when it’s their turn in line.

Once on the water, people should be aware of other boats; steer clear of driving between boating anglers and the banks they are fishing; avoid rocking other boats when passing; and remember that motorized boats should always yield to nonmotorized vessels such as sailboats, kayaks and canoes.

Those using personal watercrafts – such as jets skis and wave runners – are bound to the same rules as boaters.

Additionally, they should not zig-zag between boats, avoid jumping boat wakes and maintain a safe distance from shoreline areas.

• Fishing

Officer Dan Starr of Tower reminds anglers that wanton waste of game fish is a very poor display of being a sportsman.

“Two separate fish cleaning shacks were found to have wasted jumbo perch and hand-sized bluegills,” Starr said. “The fish were found to be perfectly good, just thrown away. Senseless.”

Also, whether fishing from a boat or from shore, people should be sure to extend common courtesy to other anglers to make for a more enjoyable day.

When fishing on a lake, in a stream or from a bank, anglers should choose a spot that doesn’t crowd others. People should also avoid casting too close to another angler’s line.

The DNR recommends that those fishing from boats imagine a big circle around other boaters and stay outside of that perimeter.

Anglers should always seek permission before fishing on private property, and never leave behind discarded line or litter – both are hazardous to wildlife, unsightly and illegal.

• Trails

This cut up wasn’t funny when CO Gary Sommers of Walker received a complaint of someone littering on the Heartland State Trail.

“The culprit took advertising inserts from the newspaper and cut them into many pieces and spread them at various spots along a four-mile stretch of the trail,” Sommers said. “The Walker Police Chief found the same thing at the city park and along a street. We all scratched our heads on behavior like that.”

Criss-crossing the state are miles and miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, inline skating and more.

While some trails are dedicated to just one type of activity, a majority are multi-use trails.

A basic rule of thumb is, those on bikes should yield to all others and all users should yield to horseback riders.

Bikers should stay on the right when on the trail and alert folks when their passing. People should keep trails clean and beautiful by packing out what they pack in.

• Camping

One of the most popular Minnesota summer activities is camping.

Being a respectful campsite neighbor is as important as remembering to take the fixings for s’mores.

For starters, keep noise levels to a minimum – always.

Officer Neil Freborg of Lake George was called to Itasca State Park recently to assist with the removal of a group of campers from one of the remote walk-in sites.

Apparently, their language and illegal alcohol consumption the previous evening had made the adjacent campers unhappy.

Freborg arrived at the campsite with park rangers just in time to see stringers of fish going into a cooler.

Not only was the group of four removed from the park, they were cited for an over limit of walleyes. Their fines and restitution are nearly $1,700.

“First, drinking is a ‘no-no’ in a state park,” Freborg said. “Second, people must watch their language. In this instance there was a family with young children nearby who heard an explosion of foul language from the errant campers.”

Freborg said the unruly campers were cooperative when confronted.

He had even dealt with them in the past, with no problems.

They told the officer they were embarrassed by their actions and said they were sorry.

Lastly, said Freborg, if the family dog is part of the camping trip, owners must be sure it’s well behaved and remember to clean any messes.

• Littering

Two Douglas County deputies and CO Mike Shelden of Alexandria made 10 littering cases and three minor consumption cases in one afternoon.

“One group of seven individuals took off on their cruise with a case of beer,” Shelden said “When they pulled out of the river several miles later they had consumed all the beer and only had one empty bottle in their cooler. They all admitted to either pitching their bottles up on shore or sinking them in the river. That one group of tubers was responsible for throwing at least 20 bottles into the river.”

Trash discarded at public water accesses and other public lands is also a problem.

“I don’t understand why it doesn’t seem to bother some people to dump garbage at an access site or along a road,” Shelden said. “For whatever reason, it’s happening more often, especially at public water access sites. It’s really kind of discouraging.”

Shelden said anglers who discard monofilament fishing line “are in some ways even more guilty than those who dump cans and other garbage. That line is really bad news for birds.”

“And then there are those who aren’t fishing at all. They just pull into an access site to look around or whatever and then dump their garbage before they leave,” Shelden said.

“This summer, or anytime people are out enjoying their favorite outdoor pastime, they should remember their manners,” said DNR Enforcement Information Officer Rich Sprouse. “It can make all the difference to others also enjoying Minnesota’s natural resources.”

DU banquet in Winsted Tuesday, Sept. 11

Quack, quack, it’s back, the Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted Tuesday evening, Sept. 11.

For tickets or more information, contact the Blue Note.

Friends of the NRA to conduct annual banquet

The annual banquet for the Wright County Friends of the NRA is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 at the VFW in Maple Lake.

This banquet is one of the most successful in the state, commended Al Moy.

Those interested in attending may call Moy at (612) 889-4423.

Military appreciation day at Cedar Mills Gun Club

There will be a Military Appreciation Day Sunday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cedar Mills Gun Club, one-half mile north of the junctions of Hwy 22 and Hwy 7.

It is free to veterans of all branches of the service.

Activities will include free pancake brunch served from 10 a.m. to noon.

The brunch will include pancakes, potato pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, toast, fruit, milk, and coffee.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be activities for the children, a program for the women, plus open shooting range – targets and clays provided.

Lots of nice prizes for veterans and their family members.

A free light lunch will be served in the afternoon, plus other snacks and food.

This is free to all military personal and their families regardless of branch of service.

RSVP’s are appreciated. Let your local armory, local service officer or VFW or Legion know if you are planning on attending, or call Wayne Rusch at (320) 587-5603 or (320) 583-0041.

It’s off to the dump on Pheasants Forever Television
From Pheasants Forever

That old dump doesn’t have to be a waste of space, and the McLeod County (Minnesota) Chapter of Pheasants Forever shows us how on this week’s episode of Pheasants Forever Television (PF TV).

The show will air Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. and again Sunday, Sept. 2 at 11:30 a.m.

First, the PF TV crew loads up for a hunt on the McLeod County landfill.

That’s right! The McLeod County chapter, the first $3 million PF chapter, has worked with Waste Management to turn the landfill from dump to destination for pheasant hunters, that is.

Next, PF TV ventures north near Park Falls, Wisconsin, “The Ruffed Grouse Capital of the World,” for a grouse hunt with Terry Ides Guides.

Famed wildlife artist C.D. Clarke is along for the hunt, hoping to capture that one moment in the grouse woods that could be his next painting.

Finally, PF TV makes its way to Montgomery County in Illinois, where they take a closer look at how Pheasants Forever is working to introduce youth to the outdoors.

Local hotshot Logan Voyles and other youth hone their shooting skills through the Scholastic Sporting Clays Program. And like the young shooters, this episode is can’t miss!

Every episode of PF TV contains informative tip segments, including Shotgun Savvy sponsored by Browning, Habitat Habit sponsored by Scag Power Equipment and Gun Dog Savvy sponsored by Purina.

Find more information, including previews, about Pheasants Forever Television at www.pheasantsforever.org/page/pftv.jsp.

The show airs on VERSUS network Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and again on Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

Pheasants Forever Television’s sponsoring partners include: Browning, Scag Power Equipment, Gander Mountain, Purina Pro Plan, Chevrolet and the South Dakota Department of Tourism.

Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever, are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education.

PF/QF has more than 115,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

High water casts suspicion on illegal netting activity
From the DNR

Early on July 23, Kevin Cook, a DNR Fisheries specialist at the Crystal Springs trout hatchery near Rochester, noticed a van and group of men near the south branch of the Whitewater River.

Recent rains have made the river difficult to fish. Cook contacted Rochester Conservation Officer Mitch Boyum.

“About 200 hundred yards from the road I observed four men standing on the bank of the stream,” Boyum said. “None of them held or possessed a fishing pole. I watched a large net being cast into the stream by one man while three others assisted in pulling in the net and taking fish out. I watched them do this approximately six times.”

Boyum asked Conservation Officer Tom Hemker of Winona to assist.

At about noon, Boyum noticed two of the men walking on the trail toward their vehicle, one carrying a bucket covered with a shirt.

“I approached them and announced myself as a conservation officer and asked to see fishing licenses,” Boyum said. “When the man set the bucket down, part of the shirt moved and I could see the bucket was full of fish. I could only see brown trout. I told them to walk to their vehicle and remain with Officer Hemker.”

Boyum observed the two other men standing in the stream holding the net.

“As I approached them, they saw me and dropped the net and started to walk away. I announced myself as a conservation officer and told them to stay there, but they kept walking out of sight into the woods,” Boyum said. “I cut through the woods and found both of them hiding in tall grass. When I asked them where the net was, they said they did not know and that it was in the stream somewhere.

After the subjects were cited, Boyum returned to the area, searched the bottom of the stream with a pole and located the net. It was then taken as evidence, along with 79 brown trout.

Cited with an over-limit of trout were Carlos M. Bonete, 21, Angel Cardenas, 44, and Carlos Chalco, 47, all of Minneapolis, and Oscar Morocho, 30, Milwaukee, Wis.

The possession limit for stream trout from April 14-Sept. 4 in Olmsted County is five combined (not more than one over 16 inches).

Each man faces a fine/restitution of at least $1,000.

They were also cited for illegal use/possession of a net to take trout.

Bonete was also found to have an active warrant, and was placed under arrest by the Winona County Sheriff’s Department and transported to jail.

A court date for the fishing violations is set for Aug. 31 in Olmsted County District Court.

“We always say the public is a valuable asset in deterring poaching, but in this instance it was a fellow DNR employee,” Boyum said. “My advice is if anyone sees anything suspicious to give us a call or call the Turn-In-Poachers hotline at 1-800-652-9093.”

Canoeists and kayakers should avoid southeastern Minnesota rivers
From the DNR

Rain-swollen rivers have prompted boat and water safety officials to recommend canoeists and kayakers stay off of rivers in southern Minnesota affected by recent flooding.

“High water has made many rivers in Southern Minnesota dangerous to anyone in a watercraft, especially canoes and kayaks,” said Tim Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. “Fast currents and debris in the water and along river banks are making conditions hazardous for paddlers.”

Safety concerns come from high current flow, plus debris that is washed into the water by rain and higher river levels.

The debris includes tree branches and man-made items that have been swept in by the high water and some of the debris floats at or just below the surface.

High river current flows can be attractive to some canoe and kayak enthusiasts who like the thrill of running rapids. It can be quite dangerous now, especially for paddlers.

“Debris hidden along stream banks and just under the surface can capsize a canoe or kayak and then the fast current can pin a victim underwater,” said Smalley. “While wearing a life jacket is always a smart thing to do, even a life jacket might not save you from being trapped under a fallen tree limb.”

Accesses and canoe campsites on certain rivers are currently closed due to flooding.

Check the DNR Web site for more information. River level readings are updated each Thursday on the DNR Web site.

Canoeists, kayakers and boaters can find out how high the water flow is for a number of rivers in Minnesota at www.mndnr.gov.

Goose hunting application deadline for Lac qui Parle controlled hunt
From the DNR

Hunters wishing to reserve a date to go goose hunting in the controlled hunting zone at Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area are reminded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to submit an application by Sept. 12.

This year’s goose season begins Thursday, Oct. 18, and ends Monday, Nov. 26.

Hunters must apply on a standard 3.5 -inch by 5.5 -inch postcard bearing the applicant’s full name and address, and listing a first and second choice of hunting dates.

Applications should be sent to: Controlled Hunt, Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, 14047 20th St. NW, Watson, MN 56295.

For more information, call the Lac qui Parle headquarters at (320) 734-4451.

Fire restrictions eased in some Minnesota counties
From the DNR

Recent rainfall has eased severe fire conditions in some counties of southern and central Minnesota.

Effective immediately the fire restrictions in the following counties will be lifted: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington, and Wright.

Fire restrictions have also been lifted in Brown County. The county sheriff imposed Brown County restrictions.

“Current rainfall has only lessened the fire hazard in these counties,” said Fire Suppression Supervisor Ron Stoffel. “If periodic rainfall is not received restrictions could be reinstated.”

Rainfall recorded in Mora exceeded 1.7 inches, Carlos Avery Game Refuge by Forest Lake received .9 inches and Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge 1.7 inches.

Restrictions remain in effect for the following counties: Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Ottertail, Pine, Pope, St. Louis, Stevens, Todd and Wadena.

“Very little rainfall has been received across the northern third of the state,” said Stoffel. “Grand Portage has only had 11 inches of rainfall for the year. That is half of their normal precipitation.”

Bear hunting is less than two weeks away. Hunters who are in the woods setting up bait stations are asked to be very careful with fires.

When they return to establish hunting camps they should check on restrictions in their hunting area.

DNR offers late summer water safety tips
From the DNR

People are heading to the beaches, lakes and pools around Minnesota to enjoy the last bit of summer vacation before school begins.

Unfortunately, as cool and refreshing as it may look, water can be a killer, said Tim Smalley, DNR boat and water safety specialist.

“I think everyone wants to have a little more fun in the water, so they are heading to the lake, beach or pool a few more times,” Smalley said. “But people need to remember that even though water is fun, it can be deadly to the careless, clueless or just plain unlucky.”

DNR records indicate 16 non-boat related drownings so far this year, compared with a five-year average of 27 by Aug. 14.

The DNR offers these tips to help make it a safer summer in Minnesota:

• Take swimming lessons and make sure your children do too.

Many local parks and recreation departments, community schools and the American Red Cross offer swimming lessons.

• Wear your life jacket when boating. Most boat-related drownings happen to people who can swim, but aren’t wearing life vests at the time of the accident.

• Swim with a buddy. Adults can get into trouble in the water and if no one is there to help, drowning can be the outcome.

• Swim in a designated swimming area with lifeguards when ever possible.

Do not swim outside designated swimming area markers, and keep an eye on your kids at all times.

• Don’t swim from a boat anchored in deep water without a life vest no matter how good of a swimmer you think you are.

• Drowning is often silent, and it occurs within minutes. It often happenswhen help is nearby but non one recognizes the signs of drowning.

• Watch your children carefully at the beach, pool or anytime they are near the water.

Children can slip away without you noticing and they are unable to cry out for help while they are drowning.

If you are reading a book or chatting with friends, you may not be watching closely enough.

• Don’t rely on plastic arm “floaties,” or water toys to save your child’s life.

Those items may deflate and can slip off the wearer.

The only flotation device your child should be using is a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest.

Recently-approved child’s models include bathing suits with built-in life vests.

• Know how to rescue a drowning person without putting yourself at risk.

Throw a floating object or extend something like a paddle, towel or other item to the victim, so if they start to pull you in, you can release it to try another form of rescue.

Only attempt a swimming rescue if you are properly trained in lifesaving techniques.

• Call 911 in an emergency. You can always cancel your call if it turns out to be a false alarm.

If a person has been totally submerged in water and then recovered, insist they seek medical attention.

A small amount of inhaled impure water can cause severe lung infections and even death if untreated.

• Learn child and adult CPR.

• Alcohol and water don’t mix. Booze and beer are two of the greatest dangers while swimming or boating.

Never drink alcohol while supervising children.

For more tips on boat and water safety, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).
Computer users can go to www.mndnr.gov on the Internet.

Outdoors Columns Menu

Outdoors: Home | Honor Roll | Library | Links

Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Search | Home Page