Don’t let either-sex deer permit deadline sneak up on you

August 3, 2009

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota hunters who hope to harvest an antlerless deer this fall will want to review 2009 regulations prior to Sept. 10, the deadline to apply for an either-sex permit.

That’s because over-the-counter, either-sex permits will be valid in significantly fewer areas this hunting season, especially in portions of northern and southwestern Minnesota.

Therefore, hunters who typically did not need to apply for an either-sex permit will need to do so for this hunting season.

Nearly half of Minnesota’s 127 deer permit areas are designated as “lottery” this year, according to Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) big game program coordinator.

“We encourage all deer hunters, no matter if they hunt with a firearm or muzzleloader, to determine the status of their hunting area now so that it doesn’t come as a surprise to them after the Sept. 10 permit application deadline.”

Archery hunters may harvest an antlerless deer in lottery areas without applying for an either-sex permit.

The DNR has reduced the number of deer permit areas where over-the-counter, either-sex permits are valid.

In some parts of Minnesota, the deer population is now within management goals as a result of several years of abundant harvest coupled with a moderate to severe winter in northern Minnesota.

In other areas, where the deer population is below population goals, the restriction is an effort to increase deer numbers.

Hunters who are selected to receive an either-sex permit in a lottery area can harvest a buck or antlerless deer.

Those who are not selected can harvest a buck only.

Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief, said hunters younger than 18 who want to harvest an antlerless deer in a significant portion of southwestern Minnesota must apply for an either-sex permit by Thursday, Sept. 10.

Only youth hunters selected by lottery will be allowed to harvest an antlerless deer in these areas.

“We made commitments through our goal-setting process to increase southwestern deer populations,” said Simon. “To accomplish this, we need to restrict antlerless deer harvest.”

Permit areas affected by the change are 234, 237, 274, 275, 282, 283, 284, 286, 288, 289, 294. (see accompanying deer permit area map).

“We’ve been lowering lottery permits in these areas for several years, but that hasn’t increased local deer populations,” said Simon. “The next logical step is to allow only hunters younger than 18 who participate in a lottery for either-sex permits to harvest antlerless deer.”

The other significant change is that muzzleloader hunters must apply for an either-sex permit if they want to harvest an antlerless deer in a lottery area.

Unlike previous years, there is no exemption for a person who only hunts the muzzleloader season.

Hunters who choose to hunt in a lottery area and want the option of taking an antlerless deer must decide by Sept. 10 if they will hunt with a regular firearm or muzzleloader, stipulating that choice on the lottery application.

If selected in the lottery, the permit will be valid only for the season the hunter specified on the application.

Hunters who are not selected only may harvest a buck in lottery areas during the regular firearms and muzzleloader seasons.

Detailed information about deer season licenses and permit requirements is in the 2009 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations and on the DNR web site at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Conservation Stewardship Program
From the DNR

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:

Undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

CSP is available on private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land in all 50 States.

The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

Program description

Through CSP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.

Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest lands and other private agricultural land (including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed.

Participation in the program is voluntary.

CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land.

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and local work groups, will focus program impacts on natural resources that are of specific concern for a state, or the specific geographic areas within a state.

Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns to facilitate a competitive ranking process among applicants within a state who face similar resource challenges.

The entire agricultural operation must be enrolled and must include all agricultural land that will be under the applicant’s control for the term of the proposed contract that is operated substantially separate from other operations.

Enhancement Activity

“Enhancement” means a type of conservation activity used to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance.

Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity that exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern, and those directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.

Enhancements are available in the following areas: air quality, animal, energy, plant, soil erosion, soil quality, water quality and water quantity.

A few examples would be:

• Continuous No-till with high residue
• Split Nitrogen applications 50 percent after crop emergence
• Recycle 100 percent farm lubricants
• Renovation of a windbreak or shelterbelt for wildlife habitat
• Harvesting crops using a stripper header – leaving 18” high standing residue
• Apply phosphorus fertilizer below the soil surface

Sign-Up will start Monday, Aug. 10.

Please attend one of the upcoming Public Information Meetings.

• Friday, Aug. 7 – McLeod County Fairgrounds, Hutchinson; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
• Friday, Aug. 7 – REA Buildings, Sleepy Eye; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 11 – Atwater Community Center, Atwater; 10 a.m. to noon.
• Tues., Aug. 11 – Gaylord Courthouse, Gaylord; 2 to 4 p.m.
• Wed., Aug. 12 – Southern Experiment Station, Waseca; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
• Wed., Aug. 12 – Winnebago City Hall, Winnebago; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

DNR adds wildlife management designation for two lakes
From the DNR

Jennie Lake in Douglas County and Smith Lake in Wright County have become Minnesota’s newest Designated Wildlife Management Lakes, boosting the number of designated lakes to 42.

Jennie Lake, a 316-acre lake south of Evansville, and Smith Lake, a 330-acre lake just west of Howard Lake, are important waterfowl lakes in their respective parts of the state.

Their new designation gives the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authority to manage water levels to benefit habitat, waterfowl and wildlife.

“While all lakes support wildlife needs, it is the shallow water zone that provides the most important wildlife habitat,” said Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief. “Adding these two lakes as Designated Wildlife Management Lakes allows us to improve water quality and restore habitat so these areas attract waterfowl, wildlife and people who enjoy outdoor activities.”

Minnesota has more than 5,000 shallow lakes larger than 50 acres.

These lakes are typically less than 15 feet deep and dominated by wetland habitat.

Habitat improvement projects on Jennie and Smith lakes are among the first year of projects recommended for funding by the Lessard-Sams Outdoors Heritage Council.

Ducks Unlimited, working closely with DNR, will oversee projects on both lakes as part of its effort to structurally enhance 18 shallow lakes totaling about 12,000 acres of wetlands.

Local organizations contributing to the projects include the Chippewa River Watershed Project, Evansville Area Sportsmen and Viking Sportsmen.

A $75,000 grant to DU from funding made available by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act also will help fund the Jennie Lake project.

“We’re glad to partner with the DNR to improve and enhance habitat and the wildlife these lakes can support,” said Ryan Heiniger, Duck Unlimited director of conservation programs in Minnesota and Iowa. “Designated wildlife management lakes remain a critical habitat component for Minnesota waterfowl and wildlife.”

Brad Nylin, executive director of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, offered similar sentiments.

“Healthy shallow lakes are the crux of holding and raising ducks,” said Nylin. “We’re excited to see two more lakes added to a list of 40 lakes that provide 50,000 acres of critical habitat for Minnesota waterfowl.”

Nylin and Heinger noted that both lakes currently have poor water quality and poor waterfowl habitat.

This status is typically the result of altered watersheds, intensive agriculture and the introduction of exotic species.

In the years ahead, project partners will install new water control structures at the lake outlets.

Once the outlet structures are in place and conditions allow, lake levels will be temporarily lowered.

These draw-downs, which mimic past natural drought cycles on these lakes, increase the likelihood of winterkill of undesirable fish and promote the re-establishment of aquatic vegetation, greatly enhancing wildlife and waterfowl habitat.

Active management of these shallow lakes is an integral part of several conservation and management plans, including Minnesota’s Long Range Duck Recovery Plan and Ducks Unlimited’s Living Lakes Initiative.

Habitat and management work conducted as part of these plans is designed to enhance waterfowl habitat, increase waterfowl populations, and provide more opportunities for waterfowl hunters and birders.

Muzzleloader hunters must apply for either-sex permit
From the DNR

All muzzleloader deer hunters must apply for an either-sex permit by Thursday, Sept. 10, if they want to harvest an antlerless deer in a lottery permit area.

“This is a significant change for muzzleloader hunters,” said Lou Cornicelli, big game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “In previous years, muzzleloader hunters who did not purchase a regular firearms license could take an antlerless deer in a lottery area without a permit. This year, even people who only hunt the muzzleloader season must apply for an either-sex permit.”

Hunters who specify that they want a muzzleloader either-sex permit are not eligible to receive a regular firearms either-sex permit.

Unsuccessful lottery applicants may harvest only a buck in lottery areas during the muzzleloader season.

Detailed information about deer season licenses and permit requirements is available in the 2009 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Booklet and on the DNR web site at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Question of the Week
From the DNR

Q: Flowering rush was recently found in the Twin Cities metro area. What is this invasive plant?

A: Flowering rush is a non-native, invasive species that grows along lake and river shores as an emergent plant.

Flowering rush may also grow as a non-flowering, submersed plant with limp, ribbon-like leaves.

Flowering rush was first reported in Minnesota in 1968 and is now known to be present in 21 lakes and two rivers in Minnesota.

Most recently, flowering rush was discovered in Lake Minnetonka.

Like other invasive aquatic plants, where flowering rush becomes abundant it can interfere with use of lakes and displace native plants.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Invasive Species Program monitors the distribution of flowering rush, works to prevent further spread, and supports management of the problems caused by the plant.