Temporary hunting rules to become permanent

January 26, 2009

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments through Feb. 25 on a number of hunting regulations, including many temporary rules that would added to state game and fish laws this year.

The proposals cover a variety of areas pertaining to deer registration; deer licenses, deer zone descriptions, deer hunter selection, bear hunter selection and prairie chicken area designation.

“The majority of these rule changes are technical and have been in effect as temporary rules for the past several hunting seasons,” said Jason Abraham, DNR season setting specialist. “We are completing a process to make these rules permanent.”

A copy of the proposed rules will be published in the State Register and available online at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/state_register.asp after Jan. 20.

A copy of the proposed rules is also available on the DNR Web site at http://mndnr.gov.

Many of the rule changes were a result of simplifying deer hunting regulations.

Those scheduled to be made permanent are:
• deer licenses for military personnel
• seasons and zones for taking deer by firearms
• zone descriptions for deer
• special hunt procedures
• either-sex permits and preference drawings
• taking deer by firearms or archery with early antlerless permits
• youth deer hunts
• youth special deer seasons
• bear permit procedures
• allow bear hunters second choice on application
• registration blocks
• prairie chicken permit area descriptions

Comments may be submitted to: Jason Abraham, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020 or by e-mailing Jason.Abraham@dnr.state.mn.us.

Shimanski appointed to house commission

State representative Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake has been appointed to the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.

Shimanski joins Larry Howes from Walker as newly appointed members to the commission.

That leaves one opening left on the commission for Gov. Tim Pawlenty to fill.

63rd annual Howard Lake Fishing Derby

The 63rd annual Howard Lake Fishing Derby will take place Saturday, Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.

Prior to the derby stop by The Country Store in Howard Lake for a University of Minnesota Raptor Center presentation from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a Minnesota cultivated wild rice recipe tasting from 11 a.m. to noon.

There will also be store door prize drawings at 11:30 a.m. at The Country Store (must be present to win).

For additional information on the derby, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

Minnesota Deer Hunter banquet

The Minnesota River Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association will be hosting their annual banquet Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Shakopee.

Social hour begins at 5 p.m., and tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 16 and under.

To purchase tickets, call Barb Breeggemann at (952) 445-4396.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Proceeds from this event are used for youth hunter education, deer habitat improvement, and maintaining the Shakopee Archery Range.

MDHA state habitat 22nd banquet

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is proud to announce their 22nd Annual State Habitat Banquet to take place Sat., Feb. 28, at the Minneapolis Gateway Hotel, formerly the Four Points Sheraton, in Minneapolis.

Designed specifically to raise matching grant dollars for state-wide wildlife habitat projects, festivities will begin with a social hour and raffle ticket sales at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6 p.m.

MDHA will be giving away prizes to include the 2009 MDHA Gun of the Year, a Remington Model 700 30.06; the 2009 MDHA Print of the Year, “Something is in the Air” by Scot Storm; and many, many more.

Tickets to the State Habitat Banquet are available from the MDHA State Headquarters for $45.

To order your tickets, call 800-450-DEER ext. 12 or fax a ticket order form, found at www.mndeerhunters.com, to (218) 327-1349.

There will be no tickets sold at the door, so be sure to get yours early as there are a limited number of tickets available.

MDHA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization composed of approximately 20,000 members and 63 chapters throughout Minnesota “working for tomorrow’s wildlife and hunters today through education, habitat and legislation.”
Join the fun, attend the banquet and help us ensure a positive future for our outdoor heritage.

Watertown Rod & Gun Club to host annual sportsman banquet

The Watertown Rod & Gun Club will be hosting its 13th annual Family Sportsman Banquet Saturday, March 7.

Look for additional information in the weeks to come.

MN boating fatality rate lowest on record
From the DNR

The state’s 2008 boating fatality rate was the lowest since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started keeping records in 1961.

The 12 boating fatalities last year equal 1.38 deaths per 100,000 registered boats.

The DNR attributed the drop in boating deaths to several factors including increased life jacket use, more boaters taking boating safety classes, strong alcohol laws and enforcement, and larger, more stable boats.

“We’re encouraged that water fatality rates continue to fall, but there are still too many people losing their lives,” said Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist. “We still have room for improvement.”

Of the 12 fatal watercraft accidents, 11 were single-boat accidents.

There were five falls overboard, four boat capsizings, one swamping, and one collision with a submerged object.

There was also one fatal collision between two personal watercraft, also called PWCs or water scooters.

“In most cases, we aren’t talking about fiery collisions between high-powered speed boats when it comes to boating deaths,” Smalley said. “They are often one-boat accidents in which the craft capsizes or the victim falls overboard. The victims often have some swimming ability, but they inhale cold water and drown because they aren’t wearing a life jacket.”

Half of the boats involved were non-motorized canoes or paddleboats.

Three of the other accidents involved anchored motorboats or boats next to a dock.

Ten of the 12 victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Alcohol was a factor in five of the accidents.

Cold water was a factor in five of the deaths.

All victims were males ranging in age from 14 to 78.

• Drownings fifth lowest

In 2008, there were 33 non-boat related swimming and other drownings in Minnesota, which was the fifth lowest on record.

Nineteen drownings occurred in a lake or river, 12 in a pool or tub, and two in a mine pit.

Alcohol was a factor in nine drownings. Victim ages ranged from 13 months to 78, with six under the age of 7.

Twenty-six victims were male and seven were female.

DNR water safety experts encourage people to wear their life jackets, take a boating course, watch out for other boats, take swimming lessons, and carefully watch their children while near the water.

Water safety information and accident statistics are available on the DNR’s web site at www.mndnr.gov/safety/boatwater.

Deer do not need supplemental feeding
From the DNR

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers are urging people not to feed deer this winter even though it may appear they need help to make it through the cold and snowy conditions.

“Deer have evolved several strategies to help them survive Minnesota winters,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR Northeast Region wildlife manager, who added the DNR has received an increase in the amount of calls about deer feeding in the past few weeks.

Even though individual deer may die in severe winters, deer populations recover quickly.

“The deer have insulating hollow hair that helps them retain body heat, their metabolism slows down, and they live on browse and body fat reserves,” Lightfoot said. “When it’s cold and the snow is deep, they move to traditional wintering areas that have areas with extensive conifer cover, which moderates temperatures and intercepts snow. When people feed deer, they often interrupt these natural movements to wintering areas, keeping deer in areas without adequate conifer cover or natural food.”

Deer do not normally feed in close contact with each other.

Deer feeding changes normal behavior increasing the likelihood of disease and parasite transmission.

Deer that become accustomed to eating from feeders become tamer, and their ability to survive in the wild is compromised.

“The strongest deer usually eat first at a feeder and chase away younger, older, and weaker deer,” Lightfoot said.
Too many deer in a small area can quickly over-browse their surroundings.

Deer that are artificially fed are likely to eat trees, gardens, flowers and shrubs in neighborhoods, making people less tolerant of deer.

Deer feeding can also create hazards by drawing deer across roadways.

Nationally, about 29,000 people are injured and 200 people die from deer-vehicle collisions each year.