The all new walleye stamp is here

May 25, 2009

by Chris Schultz

When I purchased my 2009 Minnesota Sportsmen’s License, combination hunting and fishing license, a few weeks back, I also purchased Minnesota duck, pheasant, trout, and walleye stamps.

I believe this was the first year for the walleye stamp, I know it was the first I have ever purchased.

I love the printed real version of the stamps, requested them, and got them in the real mail last week. Take a look at them in this week’s column.

The dollars stamp sales generate provide the backbone for fish, wildlife and conservation resources in our state and for $5, I was happy to purchase my first-ever walleye stamp.

Unlike the other stamps, the walleye stamp is not a required part of your license to fish for walleye in Minnesota. It’s simply a new way to make a donation to our fish and wildlife.

Keg’s Bar Fishing League starts Thursday

The Keg’s Bar Fishing League will once again take place every Thursday this summer.

The league begins Thursday, May 28.

For additonal information, contact Woody at Keg’s Bar (320) 485-4250.

Lake Ann to have visioning session in June

There will be a “Visioning/Planning Session,” where the Lake Ann Improvement Association will identify key community concerns, assets, opportunities, and priorities.

Everyone who is interested in, or concerned about Lake Ann is encouraged to gather for a roll and cup of coffee Saturday, June 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, located at 8700 Co. Rd. 6 SW in Howard Lake.

The planning session will be facilitated by John Sumption of Cass County Environmental Services, and is planned for 9 to 11 a.m.

The Lake Ann Improvement Association was invited to participate in the Initiative Foundation’s “Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership” program, along with seven other lake associations in Wright County.

For more information, contact Deb Stenberg at (320) 543-3193 ext. 102, or (612) 619-3070.

Early fishing season cold water danger
From the DNR

Sometimes it’s a canoeist or kayaker who capsizes a watercraft.

Other times it’s an early-season angler who falls overboard or swims to retrieve a boat drifting away from a boat landing.

Or it could be a playful child who tumbles into a lake or stream.

If they aren’t wearing a life vest in cold water, it doesn’t matter how good a person’s swimming skills are, said Tim Smalley, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water safety specialist.

“Even Michael Phelps would have a difficult time making more than a few yards in water colder than 60 degrees,” Smalley said.

Cold water robs body heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature.

He compared it to holding your hand in a cooler of ice and water for more than a couple of minutes.

When a victim’s head submerges after falling overboard from a boat or struggling while swimming in cold water, it causes an involuntary gasp reflex, sometimes called cold water shock.

The person tries to inhale underwater and can drown without coming back to the surface if not wearing a life jacket.

After the gasp, a person immersed in cold water will hyperventilate for about one minute.

They need to try to get control of their breathing quickly in that situation.

Otherwise, they can easily inhale more than a quart of water, ensuring a fatal outcome.

Exposure of the head and chest to cold water causes sudden increases in heart rate and blood pressure that may result in cardiac arrest in victims with heart problems.

Foam insulation in a life vest can help shield the heart, lungs and other vital organs from the debilitating effects of the cold, at least for a while.

“Your hands stiffen up so you can’t zip on a life vest or climb back onto an overturned boat,” Smalley explained. “After 10 minutes all you’ll be able to do is float in your life vest. Even the ability to kick your feet to swim becomes severely hampered.”

People rescued from cold water immersion and all but the mildest hypothermia cases should be treated by medical professionals.

As hypothermia victims start to rewarm, cold blood trapped in the extremities can rush back to the heart, causing cardiac arrest and death unless medical staff is on hand.

Hypothermia victims should be treated gently to avoid cardiac arrhythmia induced by rough handling.

And no alcohol or drinks with caffeine should be given.

Smalley offered these additional safety tips:

• People should always wear a life vest and not get into situations where they might intentionally enter or accidentally fall into cold water without a survival plan.

• People shouldn’t swim after a boat or other object drifting away from shore.

• People should try to get back into or on top of a capsized boat immediately.

• Those wearing a life vest should try to stay as still as possible if they can’t get out of the water, because movement pumps cold water through clothing and over skin.

• Victims should help conserve body heat by folding their arms across their chest, crossing their legs, tucking their knees toward their chest, and floating until help arrives.

• People should always boat near shore and with other boats in the immediate area so if they do get into trouble, their chances of rescue are improved.

For more information about the dangers associated with cold water, request the free booklet “Hypothermia, the Cold Facts” that is available by calling the DNR at (651) 296-6157, toll free 1-888-646-6367 or by e-mail at info@dnr.state.mn.us.

It can also be downloaded from the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/boating, click on “boat and water safety program” then on “publications.”

DNR offers financial assistance for roadside prairie plantings
From the DNR

Landowners with property adjacent to rural roads who are asked to replant vegetation in the right-of-way are encouraged to use native prairie grasses and wildflowers, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“Although native prairie is initially more expensive than brome grass, prairie provides benefits for wildlife and watersheds,” said Carmelita Nelson, Roadsides for Wildlife Program coordinator for the DNR. “Prairie plants do more to improve water quality, help anchor the soil, provide habitat for pollinators and birds, sequester carbon, and can be harvested for hay or cellulosic biofuel.”

The DNR Roadsides for Wildlife Program offers landowners native prairie seeding grants.

In select counties, the DNR’s Working Lands Program has funds through local soil and water conservation districts.

Minnesota law prohibits landowners from fencing, plowing, planting row crops, or dumping rocks and other debris in road right-of-ways.

“The law protects the safety of motorists, enhances water quality, provides good drainage and allows for proper maintenance of the right-of-ways,” said Paul Walvatne, roadside vegetation supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT).

Safety is an important factor in roadside vegetation. Row crops too close to roads limit visibility for those entering the roads and for highway drivers looking for deer or oncoming traffic.

Rocks and debris in roadsides are dangerous for highway workers and their equipment, and are a potential hazard for errant vehicles that need a safe recovery zone in the road ditch.

All violations are subject to misdemeanor prosecution under statewide law.

If row crops are planted within the rights-of-way, the local road authority may take action to remove the crops.

DNR seeks comments on temporary hunting rules
From the DNR

Minnesotans have until Friday, June 26 to submit written comments or requests for public hearings on a number of temporary regulations that are proposed to become permanent.

The proposals relate to a variety of areas pertaining to individual wildlife management areas and game refuges, deer hunting regulations, bear hunting regulations, upland game birds, migratory game birds, prairie chickens, and waterfowl.

“Nearly all of the rule changes included in this package are in effect as temporary rules and received support previously in past public input meetings,” said Jason Abraham, season setting specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “This final comment opportunity is part of a required public process before we can make these rules permanent.”

The only new rule included in this package would prohibit the use of bait for turkey hunting.

A copy of the proposed rules and additional information about the rules process will be available online after Tuesday, May 26.

Comments may be submitted to: Jason Abraham, Box 20, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020 or by e-mail at Jason.Abraham@dnr.state.mn.us.

Input also will be accepted via the DNR’s Web site at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildliferules/index.html.

Provisions, currently in effect through temporary rules that would become permanent include:

• Special provisions for some Wildlife Management Areas, State Game and Waterfowl Refuges, waterfowl Controlled Hunting Zones, and migratory feeding and resting areas;

• Definitions for terms used in special deer hunts;

• Rules pertaining to national wildlife refuges and federal waterfowl production areas;

• Deer zone and date options, deer tagging procedure and deer license validation procedures;

• Bag limits for deer in intensive, managed, lottery, early season deer areas, and metro and bovine tuberculosis deer management zones;

• Seasons for taking deer by firearms in the metro deer management zone;

• Muzzleloader deer seasons and areas;

• Bag limit for bears outside quota areas;

• License procedures for taking bear outside quota areas;

• Seasons for taking ruffed and spruce grouse, pheasants and gray partridge;

• Seasons for taking sora and Virginia rails and common snipe;

• Provisions for the harvest of prairie chickens;

• Youth waterfowl hunting date; and season and bag limit for taking geese in the northwest goose zone.

DNR wants boaters to “Pull the Plug” on invasive species
From the DNR

Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers will join forces with other law enforcement agencies to prevent the transportation of aquatic invasive species from the Brainerd, Lake Mille Lacs and Prior Lake areas.

The DNR wants boaters to “Pull the Plug” on aquatic hitchhikers such as zebra mussels.

The increasing zebra mussel populations at Lake Mille Lacs and Rice Lake near Brainerd, and the new zebra mussel infestation at Prior Lake in Scott County are a particular concern.

Minnesota’s water resources are threatened by numerous aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and purple loosestrife.

These species could be easily spread within the state if citizens, businesses and visitors don’t take the necessary steps to contain them.

“Invasive species can be easily transported from one lake to another, so by taking some simple precautions citizens can minimize the risk,” said Capt. John Hunt, DNR water resource enforcement manager.

Hunt offered boaters these suggestions:

• Draining bait buckets, bilges and live wells before leaving any water access is a good habit to develop.

• Removing aquatic plants from boats and trailers to prevent the spread of invasive species is required by law.

• Draining all water, including pulling the drain plug, as required by law when leaving waters that have been designated as infested with spiny water flea or zebra mussels.

The coordinated enforcement effort will include an increased presence at public water accesses where officers will look closely for violators who could face fines of up to $500.

Officers will also give out informational cards on transporting infested waters to all boaters.

Billboards and newspaper ads are being used in the Mille Lacs and Brainerd areas to encourage boaters to “Pull the Plug” on aquatic hitchhikers.

DNR watercraft inspectors and creel census clerks will also be checking boats and informing boaters to inspect, remove and drain before leaving water accesses. Informational materials have also been provided to Mille Lacs area businesses.

Tribal authorities, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, Minnesota State Patrol and local sheriffs’ departments will assist conservation officers in this effort.

Question of the Week
From the DNR

Q: It is recommended that public and private landowners refrain from mowing in roadside ditches until Saturday, Aug. 1. Why?

A: Roadside ditches, which make up approximately half-million acres of the state’s total land area, are highly productive nesting sites for more than 40 kinds of birds and animals that nest on the ground or in low vegetative cover.

Wildlife that nest in these areas include pheasants, gray partridge, rabbits, waterfowl and songbirds.

Because each species has its own nesting habits – when and how many times per year they rear young – this habitat type receives continuous use from spring until late summer.

Unfortunately, thousands of nest and nest sites are destroyed annually in southern and western Minnesota due to mowing, off-highway vehicle traffic, agriculture encroachment and blanket spraying.

These disturbances can occur at any time, but they have the most impact during the month of June when hens are on the nest raising young.

Planting native vegetation would help alleviate nest disturbances because a ditch would not need to be hayed until crops are harvested at the end of the nesting season.

Native plants once established reduce the presence of weeds and are better suited for producing wildlife.