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Hunters urged to STOP for survival

November 9, 2009

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Getting lost in the woods can happen to even the best hunter, according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. He encourages lost individuals to remain calm and just STOP.

SIT: When you realize that you are lost, take the time to sit down and collect your thoughts. You aren’t lost. You have lost track of your camp, vehicle and everyone else.

THINK: What do I have at my disposal, both physical and mental, that can help me in this situation? Take an inventory of your survival kit items and how you will use them. Take an inventory of your mind; remember what you always thought you would do if you got lost.
Most of all remain positive; you will survive.

OBSERVE: Look around. Is there shelter, water, high ground, an open area so searchers can see you? You will be easier to find if you stay in a location that allows you to build a fire and provide shelter. Set out signals that can be seen at a distance or from an aircraft.

PLAN: Now create your plan of action. Be positive and take care of yourself. If it’s late in the day, build a fire for heat and signaling, find or make a shelter, and remain positive that you have the ability to survive.

Hammer said people who have completed a DNR Firearms Safety Training course or an Adult Hunter Education course should know about STOP.

He said the best way to survive an extended period out-of-doors in Minnesota is to not let it happen in the first place.

But plan for the possibility by having matches in a waterproof container, a compass, a knife, a small candle, a whistel, a pocket survival blanket, high energy snacks, and a water container.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner

Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie.

The dinner will run from 5 to 8 p.m.

Reservations need to be made before 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 by calling Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721 or the Dodge House (320) 395-2877.

Migration reports
From Avery Pro-Staff

• Name: Ben Cade

Date: November 3, 2009

Location: Buffalo, MN

Weather: Cool and clear with light and variable winds.

Snow Cover: None.

Water Conditions: All area wetlands are full. The fields have just dried enough for harvest to move forward once again. Last night, many area farmers were working late trying to get crops off.

Feeding Conditions: Improving. Geese and ducks are hitting the few available corn fields in the area. Birds have been feeding most of the day when it has been rainy. They sit tight on days following aggressive feeding making morning hunts difficult. We experienced one full day of loafing on Saturday Oct. 31. The feeding flights picked up the following day. Since then, birds have been feeding twice per day, but heavier in the evenings.

Species and Numbers: We are building good numbers of Canada geese. We have had a steady migration going on the past three to four days. Strong north-west winds on Monday, Nov. 2 brought many new birds to our area. We still have teal, wood ducks and plenty of mallards around as well as a few diving ducks.

Migrations: Many new birds in our area, however we do not yet have the fields down to hold good numbers of birds. Many flocks have been resting on area lakes, but have been unable to develop a feeding pattern making hunting difficult.

Season Stage: We are in mid season.

Hunting Report: Hunting has been heating up for groups targeting Canada geese and ducks in the fields. Wood ducks, mallards have been hitting fields mostly in the evenings providing a good bonus to guys looking for geese.

Gossip: It might be a good idea to wear blaze orange into the fields during the deer hunting season!

• Name: Levi Fry

Date: October 30, 2009

Location: St Michael, MN

Weather: Rain

Snow Cover: N/A

Water Conditions: All water is open.

Feeding Conditions: flooded grain fields and grassy areas.

Species and Numbers: Mallards, wood ducks, and teal are spread out due to warm weather. Geese are building number in metro areas.

Migrations: More geese showing up, ducks are sparse.

Season Stage: We are four weeks into our duck season.

Hunting Report: Geese are keying on what crops are cut. Ducks are still in flooded areas of standing crop.

Gossip: Wet fields and standing crops are adversely affecting results.

Pipeline construciton continues during deer season
From the DNR

Hunters can expect roadway changes and construction crews and equipment along a pipeline project in northern Minnesota this firearms deer season.

The Enbridge Energy project stretches from the North Dakota border through Thief River Falls, Clearbrook, Bemidji, and Grand Rapids to Superior, Wis., including the Chippewa National Forest.

“With Minnesota’s Firearms Deer Season opening on Nov. 7, the company is concerned that hunters may encounter many right-of-ways that have been changed or closed due to the construction project,” said Jeff Wiklund, senior compliance specialist, Enbridge Energy. “We are also asking hunters to be careful and cautious around our employees, construction traffic and periodic congestion on roadways.”

Maps of the construction area are available at many sports and retail outlets frequented by hunters.

Enbridge will also be informing landowners along the pipeline corridor that work will continue during the deer season.

Nominees sought for 17th annual MN Deer Hunter Ethics Award
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) and Turn In Poachers (TIP) are asking hunters to share stories of exemplary hunting behavior by nominating hunters for the 17th Annual Minnesota Deer Hunter Ethics Award.

The award will honor a deer hunter who has exhibited conduct during the 2009 season that can serve as a positive example to all hunters.

Awards for youth and adult divisions will be presented to the selected recipients at an upcoming MDHA event held in their vicinity.

“MDHA is pleased to again co-sponsor this award along with TIP and the DNR,” said MDHA Executive Director Mark Johnson. “This is an important award that highlights the ethical behavior of our deer hunters and singles out the types of ethical hunters we hope all hunters aspire to be: hunters who care about our hunting heritage, care about fairness and care about the image we as hunters portray.”

Patsy Bernhjelm, TIP Board president, added that it recognizes hunters who go the extra mile. “This award encourages ethics above and beyond legal hunting and TIP is proud to be a part of it again this year.”

Anyone may nominate a hunter by writing a letter or e-mail explaining the actions of the nominee and why that person is worthy of this recognition.

Both youth and adults are eligible, but nominees must be Minnesota residents.

The incidents for which hunters are nominated must have occurred during any of the 2009 Minnesota deer hunting seasons (archery, firearm or muzzleloader).

Nominations will be accepted for the Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Ethics Award until Friday,Jan. 22.

Nomination letters should be sent to Ethical Hunter Award, MDHA, 460 Peterson Road, Grand Rapids, MN 55744-8413, or faxed to 218-327-1349, or e-mailed to kimhanson@mndeerhunters.com.

More information is available on MDHA’s web site at www.mndeerhunters.com.

DNR offers survival tips for lost hunters
From the DNR

Even experience hunters can get lost, so people should be prepared for that possibility before heading out for their hunt, according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator.

“Survival is an attitude, but you need to be able to think clearly for that to happen,” Hammer noted.

Hammer offered tips for those heading outdoors.

• Tell people were you are going

Always let someone know where you will be going and when you plan to return. Be aware of changing weather conditions.
Plan to be out of the woods before a storm changes familiar surroundings into something no longer recognizable.

• Have a survival plan

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

Plan for the possibility by bringing 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.

These life-saving items can be carried in one small fanny pack.

• Admit you’re lost

If you get lost, don’t pretend otherwise.

Admitting you’re lost is critical.

A person who continues to assume that they will find a familiar landmark over the next hill or around the next comer will just heighten their sense of panic if that doesn’t happen.

Panic could cause a person to discard clothing or hide from would-be rescuers.

• Stay where you are

Plan to stay in one spot until rescued.

Find a good spot to use as shelter.

There should be shelter materials, water and firewood nearby.

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

Gather wood and start a fire for warmth, companionship and as a signal for searchers.

Build a shelter with the top closest to the fire to reflect heat, but safely away from sparks and smoke.

Use sticks, branches and pine boughs if available.

Gather plenty of firewood. It will take about one hour to build a fire and up to three hours to build a shelter, depending on materials available.

• Stay Dry

Hypothermia is the main factor in making bad decisions outdoors.

Stay dry to improve the chance of staying warm.

Keep the head and neck warm and dry to retain body heat.

If the blood gets cooled due to lack of head and neck protection, the body core is cooled and hypothermia can set in.

A person’s ability to think clearly can be affected by even one degree of core temperature loss.

MN State Forest Rec. Guide now available
From the DNR

People looking for new outdoor adventures can explore the 4 million acres in Minnesota’s 58 state forests for free.

Minnesota’s state forests, located across the state, can be visited with no admission fee or vehicle permit.

The 2009 Minnesota State Forest Recreation Guide is now available to help plan state forest adventures.

It features descriptions of the 58 state forests, including recreational activities that can be pursued in each one, and a map showing state forest locations, according to Keith Simar, a recreation specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The guide shows that Minnesota’s 58 state forests offer an array of recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting, mountain biking, off-highway vehicle riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, bird watching and camping.

“Minnesota’s state forests offer people a diversity of ways to connect with the out-of-doors,” Simar said. “They serve as a great starting point for visiting various state parks, and state land or water trails.”

The State Forest Recreation Guide is available at DNR Forestry region and area offices, DNR Parks and Trails area offices, and at most state parks.

It is also available from the DNR Information Center at info@dnr.state.mn.us or by calling (651) 296-6157 or toll free 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

As a companion to the State Forest Recreation Guide, the DNR state forest Web site has been updated and redesigned.

Visit www.mndnr.gov/state_forests to find where state forests are located, view activities offered in state forests, receive helpful trip planning information, discover special features found in state forests and download some printable state forests maps.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: The fur coat of a deer changes colors depending on the time of year – a reddish color in the spring and brown in the fall. Why does this happen?

A: The deer’s coat is designed to provide both a means for thermoregulation and camouflage.

Summer coats appear reddish and are thin, allowing deer to better cope with heat stress.

In the fall, deer begin a process of molting, which is triggered by hormonal changes that reflect the changing seasons.

The reddish summer coat turns into a faded gray or brown color as the new winter coat begins to grow.

The new coat comprises two layers.

The outer guard hairs are hollow, stiff and grow about two inches longer than the undercoat.

The inner layer is soft and dense which insulates deer from the cold weather and snow.

Coat color, regardless of the season, tends to be darker in forested areas and lighter in agricultural areas where deer are exposed to more direct sunlight.