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Montrose Ducks Unlimited to host fundraising event December 4

November 24, 2008

by Chris Schultz

The newly formed Montrose Ducks Unlimited chapter will host its first annual fundraising event Thursday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Montrose Community Center, located at 200 Center Avenue South in Montrose.

Every 10 minutes, an acre of wetlands is lost in the United States. In Minnesota, 80 percent of the wetlands have been lost.

Citizens can help protect and restore those valuable wetlands by attending a local Ducks Unlimited (DU) fundraising event.

DU has full time staff on the ground in Minnesota conducting the much needed wetland conservation work. All monies raised goes into habitat work.

More than 80 percent of the dollars raised through local fundraising events goes into conservation programs throughout Minnesota and North America.

Since 1937 DU has restored, enhanced, or protected nearly 12 million acres of habitat in North America. More than 200,000 acres of habitat have been directly impacted in Minnesota through DU conservation programs. In 2007 alone, DU conserved 24,000 acres in Minnesota.

The “Living Lakes Initiative” will restore and protect 300 shallow lakes in Minnesota over the next 10 years. This initiative will help preserve Minnesota’s rich water fowling heritage and fulfill some specific conservation needs.

For more information on the Montrose DU event, contact Ronald Carlson at (763) 221-4985 or go to mn.ducks.org.

“More habitat on the ground = more ducks in the sky.”

Lost hunters urged to STOP for survival
From the DNR

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers responded to several calls about lost hunters during the opening weekend of the Minnesota firearm deer season. Fortunately, in each instance the hunter was rescued.
Becoming lost in the woods can happen to even the best hunters according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Education Program coordinator.

“If you are lost, just STOP,” added Hammer.

STOP stands for:
• sit down, do not panic
• think about your problem
• observe area
• plan what to do

“Hunters who have completed a DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Education course know about STOP,” Hammer said.

Other tips:
• Admit you are lost

This is critical. If a person continues to assume they will find a familiar landmark over the next hill or around the next comer, they will just heighten their sense of panic.

That sense of panic could even cause a person to discard clothing or hide from would-be rescuers.

• Stay where you are

Make plans to stay in one spot until you are rescued. Find a good spot to use as shelter.

There should be shelter materials, water, and firewood close by. Sometimes there are “shelter helpers” you can use.

A natural shelter such as a cave or rock overhang is great, but sometimes a large downed tree, a boulder, cliff base, or rock wall will do.

Gather wood and start a fire. This will give you warmth and also act as a signal for searchers.

Build a shelter with the top closest to the fire to reflect the heat. Use sticks, branches, and pine boughs if available.

Gather plenty of firewood. You can estimate that it will take one hour to build a fire and three hours to build a shelter, depending on the shelter type and what you have to work with.

Plan so that smoke and sparks don’t blow into the shelter.

• Stay dry

Hypothermia is the main factor in making bad decisions in the outdoors.

If you can stay dry, you will have a much better chance of staying warm.

The head and neck need to be kept warm and dry since a lot of body heat is lost in this area.

If the blood gets cooled because of no protection on your head and neck, it cools the body core and you become hypothermic.

If the body loses one degree of temperature a person’s ability to think clearly is affected.

If you get wet, fire and getting dry is a must.

• Have a plan for survival

Being lost in the woods does not have to be life threatening.

Plan for it by having a cell phone, matches in a waterproof container, a compass, a knife, a small candle, a whistle, a pocket survival blanket, high-energy snacks, and a water container.

A person can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water.

Hammer said these few items can be carried in one small fanny pack and just may save a life.

He also recommended telling someone where you will be going and when you will return.

“Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan to be out of the woods before a storm changes familiar surroundings into something that you no longer recognize,” said Hammer. “Survival is an attitude, but you need to plan and be able to think clearly for that to happen.”

DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warns ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems.

”Open water areas created by aeration systems can shift or change shapes depending on weather conditions,” said Marilyn Danks, DNR aquatic biologist. “Leaks may develop in air lines creating other areas of weak ice or open water.”
About 280 Minnesota lakes will have aeration systems operating this winter.

Private hatchery operators also use aeration systems, usually on small lakes without public accesses.

Aeration systems are generally operated from the time lakes freeze until ice break-up in the spring.

They help prevent winterkill of fish, but they also create areas of open water and thin ice, which are significant hazards.

Two types of signs are used to post aerated lakes; “Thin Ice” and Warning” signs.

The permittee is to maintain “Warning” signs at all commonly used access points to the lake.

This sign warns people approaching the lake that an aeration system is in operation and to use extreme caution. “Thin Ice” signs are used to mark the perimeter of the thin ice and open water area.

These signs are diamond shaped with an orange border and white background with the warning “Thin Ice” in bold print.

It is the permittees’ responsibility to post and maintain “Thin Ice” signs at 100-foot intervals.

Some municipalities may have ordinances, which prohibit entering into the thin ice marked area and/or prohibit the night use of motorized vehicles on lakes with aeration systems in operation.

These local regulations are often posted at accesses where they apply.

Aeration systems are inspected for safety and compliance with regulations by permittees and DNR personnel.

For more information call a regional fisheries office or the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

The following is a list of lakes that will likely have aeration systems in operation this winter.

When there are lakes in the county with the same name as the aerated lake, the nearest town is shown in brackets.

Names in parentheses are alternate lake names.

Those names followed by an asterisk are newly aerated lakes.

SIBLEY: Silver [Henderson].

MCLEOD: Marion, Swan [Silver Lake], Winsted.

MEEKER: Star, Thompson.

WRIGHT: Augusta, Crawford, Dean, Little Waverly, Louisa, Mink, Somers.

CARVER: Eagle, Oak, Susan.

Migration Reports
From Avery Pro-Staff

Name: Ben Cade

Date: November 19, 2008

Location: Buffalo, MN.

Weather: Temps are below average.

Snow Cover: None.

Water Conditions: Small ponds and even mid sized lakes are beginning to ice over. On a drive this morning, I noticed Dean Lake was still mostly open with the exception of windless areas.

Feeding Conditions: Most of the corn is out. Birds are hitting chisel plowed corn fields throughout the area.

Species and Numbers: We are starting to get larger concentrations of Canada geese. Look for the birds to bunch up again on lakes that tend to freeze later as well as the local rivers. We have some small groups of mallards around as well. Diver numbers are about normal for this time of year.

Migrations: Many of the birds we had from the last major weather event have left the area due to freeze up of some of the small roosts. We will need some colder weather to freeze up the lakes north of us to bring new birds.

Season Stage: We are two weeks away from the close of our regular waterfowl season. Late season goose hunting begins on December 13.

Hunting Report: Hunting has been hit or miss recently in our area. Those willing to due some scouting have been having success. Fields with up to two hundred geese are fairly common.

Gossip: I am actually hoping for these colder temps to stick around so that some of these area lakes begin to freeze up. The late season can get very good when the birds are concentrated to only small areas of open water.

First-ever PF/DNR Mentor Youth Hunt a Success
From Pheasants Forever

The results are in from Minnesota’s most highly-anticipated autumn event, and we’re not talking about the U.S. Senate race.

The first-ever Pheasants Forever (PF) special mentored youth hunt, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR), allowed 200 youth the opportunity to experience a safe, high-quality outdoor experience.

The mentored youth hunt took place on October 25th.

The DNR set up the structure for the hunt and promoted it, while PF chapter members served as mentors and organized the individual events.

Forty Minnesota PF chapters participated in the event.

Youth with valid firearms safety certificates, ages 12-17, applied and were selected through an earlier drawing.

Mentors from PF chapters throughout Minnesota were paired with youth hunters and their guardians.

After scouting places to hunt and securing landowner permission when necessary, mentors and participants took to the field.

Jake Anderson, who hunted with the Dodge County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, echoed the comments of many youths saying, “Pheasants are big and look slow, but they are really, really fast.” He added, “I had a great time!”

“Though not every youngster bagged a bird, they did bag proper techniques and tactics, and most importantly, a safe experience,” said Scott Roemhildt, PF Regional Representative in Southern Minnesota, “Our goal is to build on this first statewide mentored youth hunt. In fact, we hope some of the 200 youth become mentors in future events to continue the tradition.”

“All I can say is ‘Wow!’” said Mike Kurre, Hunting & Angling Mentoring Program Coordinator with the DNR, “What a great job of introducing youth to the outdoors.”

Kurre, who was with the Stearns County Chapter of PF during the hunt, saw first-hand the impact the hunt had on everyone involved.

“What a great group of dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable pheasant hunters, mentors and landowners,” he said of the chapter, “It was truly a great day for everybody.” He added, “We hope to have another hunt next year that is even better than our 2008 hunt!”

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: The red pine is the Minnesota state tree. How did it earn this distinction?

A: The legislature felt it was important to adopt a state tree as a symbol of the history and physical characteristics of the state and did so in 1953.

The red pine, or Norway pine, is native to Minnesota and is found in pure stands in many parts of the state.

In the early history of Minnesota, red pine timber played an important part in the state economy. Most importantly, the red pine is a sturdy and majestic tree.