DNR reminder: fish shelter identification required

December 28, 2009

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota conservation officers want to remind ice anglers and others that all shelters placed on the ice of Minnesota waters must have either the: 1) complete name and address, 2) driver’s license number, or 3) The nine-digit DNR number on the license of the owner plainly and legibly displayed on the outside in letters, and figures at least 2 inches in height.

This includes ice skating warming houses and other traditional structures placed on the ice, either temporarily or overnight.

Other noteworthy shelter regulations include:

• Any shelter (fish houses, dark houses, warming houses, etc.) left on the ice at any time between midnight and one hour prior to sunrise must have a shelter license.

• The Dept. of Public Safety now requires trailers used to haul fish houses or dark houses and enclosed trailers or recreational trailers used for fishing to be registered. See your local Deputy Registrar for trailer registration.

• A tag, furnished with a license, must be attached to the exterior in a readily visible location.

• Shelters left on the ice overnight need to have at least 2 square inches of reflective material on each side of the house.

• A shelter license is not required on border waters with WI, IA, ND, and SD.

• On border waters, shelters must comply with the identification requirements of the state for which the angler is licensed.

• No person may erect a shelter within 10 feet of an existing shelter.

Portable shelters may be used for fishing within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), but must be removed from the ice each night.

The structure must be removed from the BWCAW each time the occupant leaves the BWCAW.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner

Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Thursday, Dec. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Call in your reservation prior to 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 30 to either Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721 or to the Dodge House (320) 395-2877.

Prairie Archers to offer archery lessons

Archery lessons will be offered at Prairie Archers in Lester Prairie at their indoor range (412 Central Ave.).

The lessons will be Tuesday evenings starting Tuesday, Jan. 5, and will include six, 1-hour sessions.

For more information, contact Jim Richardson at (320) 395-2721.

New winter lake trout season dates for 2010
From the DNR

Winter season for lake trout on all lakes located entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), will open Friday, Jan. 1 and close Wednesday, March 31, 2010, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In 2009, winter lake trout season dates were the same for lakes within and outside the BWCAW.

Legislation enacted after the 2009 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet was printed changed the lake trout opener on lakes entirely within the BWCAW to Jan. 1, making the information printed on page 19 and 51 obsolete.

The winter season for lake trout lakes outside and partially outside the BWCAW remains the same.

That season opens Friday, Jan. 15, and closes March 31. Lakes partially outside the BWCAW are Snowbank, Magnetic, Seagull, Clearwater, East Bearskin and Saganaga.

Winter season for stream trout lakes remain unchanged.

That season opens Jan. 15 and closes March 31.

The only exception to this statewide winter season is lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties.
Those lakes are closed to winter stream trout fishing.

Blue Lake in Hubbard County is the only lake within those counties where stream trout can be caught during the winter season.

Up to date winter season dates for lake trout and stream trout in lakes, as well as other corrections and changes, are listed online at www.mndnr.gov/fishregs.

Wild deer disease surveillance continues
From the DNR

With test results for the entire fall sample of hunter-harvested deer in northwestern Minnesota pending, tissue samples from one suspect deer submitted for expedited testing have come back positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

The National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test Dec. 16, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH).

“This deer is just one of more than 1,400 samples we collected from hunters since the opening of the season,” said Dr. Michelle Carstensen, DNR Wildlife health program coordinator. “While it did not have obvious lesions in the lungs or chest cavity that are most indicative clinical signs of bovine TB, it did have an enlarged and abscessed lymph node, which is also associated with TB infection, and is why the sample was submitted for immediate testing.”

Complete results of these tests, along with the test results from the 2,685 samples collected in southeastern Minnesota for CWD testing, are not expected for about two months, she added.

The bovine TB positive deer was a 3 -year-old buck, which was taken within three miles of where previous bovine TB positive deer have been found.

“This finding reinforces the need to remain focused on continuing efforts to accomplish the goal of completely eliminating the disease in Minnesota,” said Carstensen.

This latest result brings the total number of wild deer found positive for bovine TB in Minnesota to 27 since the disease was first found in the state in 2005.

All of the 26 previously infected deer were animals born in 2005 or earlier.

This most recent bovine TB positive deer was born in 2006, but there is still no indication of significant recent infections or that the disease is efficiently spreading in the deer population.

The DNR has conducted surveillance for TB in hunter-harvested deer in the bovine TB area every fall since 2005.

To date, more than 7,500 deer taken by hunters and sharp-shooters have been tested in this area and there has been a decline in the number of positive deer found over the past three years.

In 2007 there were 11 bovine TB positive deer detected, in 2008 there were six and in 2009 there were three.

“This is encouraging given that we have increased surveillance efforts over the past few years and yet have detected fewer positive animals and they were all found in a relatively small geographic area,” Carstensen said

Plans for 2010 bovine TB testing

The surveillance goals for the 2009-2010 fall and winter called for at least 1,500 deer samples from inside the Modified Accredited Zone (a zone established by the Board of Animal Health to help control bovine TB in cattle) and at least 300 deer from outside that zone.

Of the 1,476 samples collected for bovine TB testing this fall, 542 were from outside the Modified Accredited Zone and 934 were from inside the zone.

The DNR’s winter plans call for obtaining additional samples in the Modified Accredited Zone, potentially removing additional positive animals, and helping maintain reduced deer densities in the area where infections have been found:

• Hold a special late-season deer hunt in deer permit area 101 from Saturday, Dec. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 10.

• Conduct an aerial deer population survey in late January or early February in the area where bovine TB positive deer have been found.

• USDA Wildlife Services staff will be contracted to do further deer removal for testing utilizing ground sharpshooting from Feb. to April (no aerial deer shooting is planned this winter – deer were taken by aerial shooting in late winter of 2008 and 2009).

Next fall, hunter-harvested deer surveillance will again be conducted within the larger bovine TB zone, but specific sampling goals have not yet been established.

Wild deer surveillance for bovine TB will continue every year until no positive animals are detected for five consecutive years.

For more on the bovine TB eradication effort in deer, go to www.mndnr.gov/bovineTB.

For more on the state’s overall bovine TB eradication efforts, go to www.bah.state.mn.us/tb/index.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: How thick should the ice be before I venture out on it?

A: Remember that the thicknesses below are only guidelines for new clear solid ice and that many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe such as currents, wind, water chemistry, vegetation and its age.

It’s also important to note that white or milky ice is only about one half as strong as new clear ice.
• 4” of new clear ice is the minimum for travel on foot.
• 5” for ATVs or snowmobiles.
• 8” - 12” for cars or small trucks.

Before any trip on the ice, check with a local resort or bait shop for conditions on the lake where you are heading.

Then check the ice a number of times as you walk out, since ice is seldom a uniform thickness, especially early in the season.