Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

October 15, 2007

Conceal/carry classes this week at the Waverly Gun Club

Conceal/carry classes will take place at the Waverly Gun Club Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 6 to 10 p.m.

For further information, call Russ Johnson at (763) 675-3527.

• The Waverly Gun Club range will be open to the public for sight-in Saturday, Oct. 20, Sunday, Oct. 21, Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $7 per gun.

For more information about the gun club, visit its web site at www.geocities.com/waverlygunclub or call (763) 658-4644.

Pheasants Forever encourages safe hunting practices this season
From Pheasants Forever

With many state’s hunting seasons now open or opening soon, Pheasants Forever (PF) urges hunters to avoid the railroad’s right of way this hunting season.

Often a nostalgic feature in wildlife prints, areas along railroad tracks have long been a favorite of pheasant, turkey, and whitetail deer hunters.

But hunting near railroad tracks isn’t only hazardous, it’s also illegal.

“Last year, 517 people have died while trespassing on railroad property,” said Dennis Jenson, assistant vice president-chief of police for Union Pacific. “As hunters head outdoors this year, we want to remind them that walking along the railroad’s right of way is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along. It is also against the law.”

Trespassers on the railroad’s right of way are subject to arrest for violating trespassing laws and can face jail time and a fine.

“Safety is a priority. We issue citations and/or arrest trespassers because we are trying to protect people from getting hurt or killed,” Jenson said.
Through August 2007, 26,461 people have been caught trespassing on railroad property.

Trespassers on the railroad’s right of way are subject to arrest for violating trespassing laws and can face jail time and a fine.

“The 2007 pheasant hunting season should be one of the best in recent memory,” said Howard Vincent, PF President and Chief Executive Officer, “But in all the excitement, we must never compromise safety in the field. Pheasants Forever members have long led by example, but with the annual arrival of season openers, it bears repeating: Be a hunter that’s knowledgeable in the laws, ethics, and conservation values of our sport. And remember, a safe hunt is always a successful hunt, empty game bag or not.”

Here are some helpful hunter safety tips:

• Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

• Always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

• Know your target and what is beyond.

• Wear hunter orange.

• Always use non-toxic shot for migratory birds.

• Always ask permission before going onto private land.

• Become familiar with your state’s signage system. Know what signs indicate a state wildlife management area or federal waterfowl production area open to public hunting.

• PF’s orange “Habitat” signs DO NOT indicate public property.

• Always consult state agencies for hunting rules and regulations before taking to the field.

To find your state’s wildlife agency, log onto www.pheasantsforever.org/page/StateAgencies.jsp.

Hunters reminded to check the 2007 hunting handbook for changes to the baiting statute
From the DNR

With Minnesota’s archery deer season already underway, and the firearms deer season set to get underway on Nov. 4, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to review deer baiting rules before heading into the field.

During the 2007 Legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers made some changes to the baiting statute. DNR’s Chief Conservation Officer, Col. Mike Hamm, said those changes are generating some questions from hunters, so a review of the 2007 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook is important.

“Flip to page 72 and you’ll see the law is quite clear: a person may not hunt deer with the aid of bait, period,” Hamm said. “You will also notice there’s new language regarding people hunting on their own property when they have not participated in, been involved with, or agreed to feeding wildlife on adjacent land owned by another person.”

Before the revision, Hamm said lawful hunting opportunities were being lost because a person who owned land was being restricted from taking deer on their own property, even though they weren’t involved with the feeding or baiting of deer on adjacent land.

In turn, conservation officers received reports from disgruntled hunters that their neighbor’s were illegally baiting.

“On the one hand, you had legal hunters trying to hunt who were being told they were hunting in baited areas due to their neighbor’s choice to feed wildlife. On the other hand you had landowners who were reluctant to suspend feeding activity during the open deer seasons because they enjoy watching wildlife. It created some real ethical dilemmas between those who hunted deer and those who enjoyed feeding deer,” Hamm said.

With the new legislation, Hamm says that’s no longer the case.

“The new language allows a hunter to hunt on private property when the person has not been involved with, or agreed to feeding wildlife on adjacent land owned by another person,” Hamm said.

He said conservation officers will continue to respond and investigate reports of illegal baiting activity, one of the top three violations among deer hunters in the past few years.

The others are trespassing and transporting an uncased firearm.

The base fine for illegal baiting has jumped from $100 to $300.

A hunter can be charged an additional $500 in restitution if a deer is shot over bait.

Add in the court surcharge and local law library fee and taking a deer over bait could easily top $900.

Here’s a summary of the deer baiting law.

A person may not hunt deer:

• with the aid or use of bait

• in the vicinity of bait if the person knows or has reason to know that bait is present

• in the vicinity of where the person has placed bait or caused bait to be placed within the previous 10 days.

This restriction does not apply to:

• food resulting from normal or accepted farming, forest management, wildlife food plantings, orchard management, or other similar land management activities

• a person hunting on the person’s own property, when the person has not participated in, been involved with, or agreed to feeding wildlife on adjacent land owned by another person.

Hunters encouraged to harvest antlerless deer on lands managed by Clearwater County
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hopes hunters will take advantage of the liberal deer hunting seasons in Clearwater County this fall.

Bag limits for the five deer areas within the county have been increased to two to seven deer for 2007.

Hunters in deer areas 184, 209 and 210 can tag up to five antlerless deer during the regular seasons and can also participate in an early antlerless deer season (Oct. 13-14), which allows the taking of two additional deer.

Hunters can harvest up to five antlerless deer in deer area 287 during the general firearms season and up to two antlerless deer in deer area 298.

According to Blane Klemek, assistant wildlife manager, in recent years, the Clearwater County Land and Forestry Department has noted increasing deer damage on many of the conifer plantations it manages.

“In an effort to reduce this damage, the DNR is encouraging hunters to harvest additional antlerless deer on these county-managed lands this fall, as seasons and regulations allow.”

The increased bag limits should mean an abundance of venison. The DNR wants to remind hunters that they now have an opportunity to participate in a new venison donation program.

The program, which provides venison to Minnesota food shelves and feeding programs, was developed to provide hunters an avenue to donate, at no cost to them, the extra deer they harvest, while benefiting those in need.

For more information on the venison donation program or for a copy of the 2007 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us. or telephone the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

People may also contact the Clearwater County Land and Forestry Department at (218) 694-6227 for additional information on hunting locations.

DNR Question of the Week
From the DNR

Q: The fur coat of a deer changes colors depending on the time of year – a reddish color in the spring and brown in the fall. Why does this happen?

A: The deer’s coat is designed to provide both a means for thermoregulation and camouflage.

Summer coats appear reddish and are thin, allowing deer to better cope with heat stress.

In the fall, deer begin a process of molting, which is triggered by hormonal changes that reflect the changing seasons.

The reddish summer coat turns into a faded gray or brown color as the new winter coat begins to grow.

The new coat is comprised of two layers. The outer guard hairs are hollow, stiff and grow about two inches longer than the undercoat.

The inner layer is soft and dense which insulates deer from the cold weather and snow.

Coat color, regardless of the season, tends to be darker in forested areas and lighter in agricultural areas where deer are exposed to more direct sunlight.

Outdoor notes

• The 2007 Minnesota firearms’ deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 3.

• The 2007 Minnesota pheasant season opened Saturday, Oct. 13.

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