Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

November 19, 2007

Local deer hunt slower than normal

While many hunters from our area that headed to Minnesota’s North Woods reported good hunting, those that stuck around home to hunt and put their name in the lottery for a much lower number of antlerless permits than issued in previous years, reported extremely poor action and very few deer seen compared to recent years.

Deer registration numbers from Joe’s Sport Shop in Howard Lake, All Season Sports in Delano and Ron’s BP in Dassel indicate the same.

Although I haven’t tallied any total numbers, so far, the numbers are down significantly from last year.

The other standard from most reports has been a high number of coyotes seen in local wood lots, fields, and sloughs, with several parties harvesting a coyote or two during the deer hunt.

Although the coyote population has been expanding in our area, I never remember local deer hunters reporting much activity regarding coyotes in previous years.

Locally, the firearms deer hunting season ended Nov. 13

The archery season is still underway, and the muzzleloader season is set to start Saturday, Nov. 24.

As the DNR tabulates deer registration numbers from our area and across the state, we’ll get a complete picture of how Minnesota deer hunters fared this season.

As of Nov. 9, firearms deer hunters had harvested a total of 123,805, compared to 131,700 through the same time period a year ago.

Youth snowmobile training hosted by Winsted Sportsman club

The Winsted Sportsman Club will be sponsoring a youth snowmobile training class starting Monday, Dec. 3.

The three classes will be Monday, Dec. 3; Wednesday, Dec. 5; and Monday, Dec. 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each night.

The course will be at the Holy Trinity High School cafeteria in Winsted – enter on the south side of the building.

A driving test will follow later, when it snows.

For additional information, or to sign up, contact Harvey at (952) 393-5933 and leave a message.

Wright County/West Metro Whitetails announce Hides-for-Habitat drop sites
Press Release

At the following locations you will find Wright County/West Metro Whitetails Hides-for-Habitat boxes.

• Annandale – Lampi Auction, Hwy 55.

• Buffalo – Wal-Mart, Hwy 25 North, Buffalo Gun Club, Hwy 55 East.

• Cokato – Cenex station, Hwy 12.

• Corcoran – Sur Station, Cty Rd 10 & 115.

• Delano – Ault Marine, Hwy 12, All Season Sports, Hwy 12.

• Hamel – Hamel Lumber & Supply – Hwy 55.

• Howard Lake – Joe’s Sports Shop, Hwy 12.

• Maple Lake – H & H Sports, Hwy 55.

• Monticello – Red’s Marathon, Hwy 75, Monticello Sportsmen’s Club, Hwy 25 S.

• Rockford – Ace Hardware, Hwy 55 E.

• Rogers – Alford’s Station, Hwy 101, Cabela’s – 20200 Rogers Drive.

• St Michael – St Michael Hardware, Hwy 241.

Funds raised from the hides are used to purchase and upgrade public hunting land in Minnesota. As well as Youth Hunter Education.

Local conservation groups receive $476,000 for wildlife habitat projects
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will grant nine conservation clubs a total of $476,000 to improve prairies, grasslands, brushlands and wetlands on state wildlife management areas.

The grant dollars are provided through the Heritage Enhancement Grants to Local Outdoors Clubs program, which is funded from a portion of the sales tax generated by Minnesota State Lottery sales.

This is the seventh year grants will be awarded through the program.

“We’re really pleased with the partnerships the Heritage Enhancement Grant Program has generated,” said Dennis Simon, wildlife management section chief. “The clubs are great to work with and have helped to get a lot of habitat work done. ”

Projects for which grants were approved range from brush shearing and native grass seeding to fish barriers and tree plantings.

This year’s grant recipients and their projects include:

• Ducks Unlimited, Inc., wetland habitat improvements, $90,000

• Hiawatha Land Pheasants Forever, woody cover development, $1,975

• Minnesota Sharp-Tailed Grouse Association, brushland management, $123,900

• Minnesota Waterfowl Association, wild rice seeding, $6,500

• Padua Conservation Club, prescribed burns, $10,000

• Pheasants Forever, prairie/grassland management and prescribed burns, $181,625

• Ruffed Grouse Society, woodcock openings, $15,000

• St. Paul Audubon Society, prairie/grassland management, $10,000

• The Nature Conservancy, prescribed burns, $37,000

The DNR received 29 grant applications seeking a total of $848,538.

DNR staff reviewed each application then awarded grants based on dollars available, project value, location and other factors.

“The focus of this year’s funds will be on grasslands, wetlands and brushlands,” said Simon. “In doing so, we are continuing our commitment to enhance habitat for waterfowl, pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and woodcock.”

Simon said the projects are good for both hunters and habitat conservation.

“These dollars go right into the ground,” he explained. “They pay for seeding, burning, shearing and other types of management that improve the quantity and quality of our state’s habitat.”

Outdoor notes

• Take a good look at the deer photos in this week’s column. Although total harvest numbers are down, there were a few dandy bucks taken.

• Fall fishing on the Crow River – both forks, the north and south, continues to be hot. Anglers at several locations have landed some good-sized walleye and a few northern pike.

• Pheasant hunting has been tremendous across the Midwest pheasant range this fall, I know it’s the best I have ever experienced.

However, as grain prices rise, the economics of farming and federal farm programs change and CRP acres get put back into row crop production.

Look for the pheasant boom of the past four to five years to take a downhill slide fast.

I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, but all indications are that it will happen over the course of the next two years.

With that said, I made sure I took my 9-year old daughter out to the vast amounts of CRP grasslands and small sloughs in North Dakota so she could see what it was like before they’re gone, along with the big pheasant numbers and good waterfowl numbers.

• Now is a good time to give your hunting dog a good check-over.

Take a hard look at the paws and pads, ears, eyes, and underbelly.

• Although my 6-month old Lab, Copper, hasn’t quite figured it out yet, his hunting skills are getting better every day he spends in the field.
At this point in time, he is a huge, clumsy dog that manages to knock over just about everything in the garage when he lumbers through.

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

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