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Youth wood duck box building day

March 15, 2010

by Chris Schultz

The 11th annual Carver County youth wood duck box building day will take place Saturday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Burns Excavating Shop near Mayer.

One hundred fifty wood duck boxes will be built and given away, free.

Parents are encouraged to bring their children, build a wood duck box, and introduce them to conservation. (A limit of one box per child, or two per family.)

There will be free hot dogs, chips, and pop.

Other activities taking place during the event include laser shoot game, duck indentification, and archery.

For additional information, call (320) 395-2825.

Crow River flooding

It’s never a good idea to try and predict the weather or project the water level in the Crow River in a weekly newspaper column.

Although I have years of experience watching, exploring, and studying the Crow, I have been burned so many times before when writing about the river’s water level, I’m very hesitant to say what water levels may be like next week.

Experience tells me the water level in the river, north or south fork, but more so in the south fork, especially is the spring, can change dramatically in a very short period of time. Typically, the river will rise faster than it will fall.

Last week several reports were issued about the potential for severe flooding on the Crow River in the Delano and Mayer areas.

The potential is definitely there, but at this point in time and unless we get a lot more rain the next two weeks, I don’t believe flooding will be as significant as some have projected.

Only time, weather conditions, and potential ice dams, will tell.

For example, projections for flooding near Mayer were significant and areas west of New Germany up river from Mayer were nowhere near high water points.

Other factors that come into play include the entire watershed itself.

Every year the watershed changes. Some areas will send water even faster to the river while some areas, especially where conservation practices are in place, will slow the pace and reduce the amount of water making it to the river.

Sorry to say, with more development and more intensive farming, the current Crow River Watershed will most likely send more water faster to the river and, like the Red River and Fargo, the Crow River, Delano, and Mayer will have to deal with a greater potential for flooding every spring.

Finally, flooding or not, the river is very dangerous right now, please play it safe and stay away from it.

Ducks Unlimited banquet in Winsted April 13

The 30th annual Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Banquet will be Tuesday, April 13 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for a single, $75 for a couple, and $35 for youths.

Your ticket includes Ducks Unlimited membership, dinner and the opportunity to participate in the auction, silent auction, and numerous drawings.

To purchase tickets contact Bonnie Durdahl (320) 543-3372; Ken Durdahl (612) 790-0227; or April Debner (320) 543-2903.

McLeod County PF banquet April 10

The annual banquet for McLeod County Pheasants Forever will be Saturday, April 10 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

Social hour begins at 4 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m., and some special events at 7 p.m.

The event will take place at the commerical building exhibit hall on the fairgrounds.

The cost is $50 for a single, $65 for a couple, and $75 for a package purchase.

For tickets or additional information, call (320) 587-0052.

Firearms safety training at LP

DNR firearm safety class at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will begin Monday, April 5 and run through Tuesday, May 4.

The class will be Monday and Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m.

To register, contact Gary Godel at (320) 395-2561 or garygodel@mchsi.com.

Firearms safety training in Delano

The Delano Sportsman’s Club is hosting a 10-day firearms safety training course this spring.

The registration date is Monday, March 29, from 7-8 p.m. at the Delano Sportsman’s Club.

The course is for students 11 years old and older. A parent is required to register minors. Adults are welcome and encouraged to take the course. The cost is $8 per person.

Each class is from 7-9 p.m. each night, starting Thursday, April 1. A parent or guardian is requested to attend the April 1 class. The course will end Saturday, May 1, with a field/range day, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The training course will cover hunter responsibility, firearms handling, archery, marksmanship, wildlife identification, game management and care, survival, water safety, and first aid.

Questions, call John McClay at (763) 675-2397 after 6 p.m.

The course dates
Thursday, April 1
Tuesday, April 6
Thursday, April 8
Tuesday, April 13
Thursday, April 15
Monday, April 19
Thursday, April 22
Monday, April 26
Thursday, April 29
Sat., May 1 field/range day

Discussion and input from the folks interested in management of Silver Lake

There will be an opportunity to meet with Lee Sundmark, DNR supervisor for the residents of and near Silver Lake Thursday, March 18 at the 7 p.m. at the Silver Lake Auditorium.

Sundmark will lay out fisheries management options for Silver Lake and what to realistically expect from each option. He would also like to talk about some of the pros and cons of each option, as well as the financial and logistical considerations of each.

All options would involve some investment of money or manpower by local citizens and/or DNR.

Options might include:
• walleye production-type management with boom-and-bust fishing opportunity (the current approach);
• wanagement for fishing with aeration (no guarantee against winterkill);
• management for boom-and-bust fishing opportunity without aeration;
• waterfowl management including fish predators (walleye or northern pike); and
• waterfowl management with no fish component.

Other considerations Lee intends to talk about during discussions of the options listed above are:
• past management history;
• water quality improvement and watershed best management practices;
• aeration – expectations for success, sponsor need and obligations, cost, waterfowl implications;
• fish habitat and species worthy of consideration; and
• chemical reclamation with rotenone.

The Big Little Hunting & Fishing Expo & Auction in Silver Lake

The Christian Deer Hunters Association will be hosting the 2010 Big Little Hunting & Fishing Expo & Auction Saturday, March 20 in Silver Lake.

The event will take place at 308 West Main St. in Silver Lake, with the doors opening at 9 a.m.

Auctions will take place at selected times during the day, and food will also be available.

There will also be plenty of seminars taking place throughout the day.

To become an exhibitor for the event call (320) 327-2266.

For additional details on all of the seminars and the exhibitors that will be there, go to www.christiandeerhunters.org.

Archery Venture Crew open house

An Archery Venture Crew open house will take place Wednesday, April 17 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

The open house will be at the Dassel Rod and Gun Club fieldhouse at Lake Waschington, one mile west of Dassel, south of Hwy. 12.

There will be pizza, pop, and archery at the open house.

There is also an archery club for teens (guys and girls) ages 14 to 20 every Wednesday after school from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

There will be outdoor archery training and practice, and the club will provide equipment or you are welcome to bring your own.

Instruction will come from William Bull, a Level II NAA instructor and a member of the National Archery Assosciation.

Other adult archers with many years of experience will also be on hand to help.

Annual membership fee of $20 is required.

DNR says this could be last week of snowmobile trail grooming
From the DNR

While a few good riding spots remain, warm weather across the state has eroded snowmobile trails in many parts of Minnesota.

Local clubs have put up “Trail Closed” signs on many of the grant-in-aid trails, and this will probably be the last week that state trails are groomed, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The best trail conditions are in northern Minnesota.

“The snow is still waist deep in the woods along the North Shore State Trail, which runs from Duluth to Grand Marais,” said Ron Potter, Parks and Trails Recreation manager. “That’s currently the most reliable place to find good riding conditions.”

Good conditions still exist in center of the Arrowhead Region as well, according to Potter.

“The lake trail system will be excellent for several more weeks,” he said.

These systems provide hundreds of mile of riding opportunities on Vermilion, Lake of Woods, Rainy, Namekan, Kabetogama, Crane, Burntside and other lakes.

Snow depth and trail conditions are updated every Thursday at www.mndnr.gov/news.

The reports are also available by calling the DNR Information Center, 888-MINNDNR, or the local clubs (listed online) that groom the grant-in-aid trails.

Comments on bullheads as bait due April 1
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for public comment on a proposed rule that would allow anglers to use bullheads up to 10 inches long as live bait.

The fish could not be transported north of Minnesota Highway 210, to prevent non-native bullhead populations from establishing themselves in any more northern Minnesota lakes.

Current law allows anglers to use bullheads up to seven inches long as bait.

Those fish can be captured from non-infested waters via dip net, angling or non-commercial seine and transported anywhere in Minnesota.

An additional change would allow live transportation and possession of white suckers 12 inches and longer for up to 96 hours.

Those possessing and transporting the fish would be required to purchase them from a licensed commercial vendor and retain a receipt showing the date and time of purchase.

These proposed changes would not affect commercial bait dealers.

Public comments on the proposed rule, including requests for public hearings, will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1, by Linda Erickson-Eastwood, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

Comments may be faxed to (651) 297-4916 or e-mailed to linda.erickson-eastwood@state.mn.us.

TTY users may call the DNR at (651) 296-5484 or 800-657-3929.

The DNR may adopt the rule without a public hearing if it receives fewer than 25 public hearing requests by the deadline.

If a public hearing is necessary, it will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, in the sixth-floor conference room at the DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.

Find out if a public hearing will be held by contacting Erickson-Eastwood after Thursday, April 1, and before Tuesday, April 13.

DNR seeks public comment on Meeker County ATV/OHM Trail proposal by April 15
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites public comment on a pending all-terrain vehicle (ATV) /Off-Highway Motorcycle (OHM) trail proposal to designate five miles of off-road trails, located southeast of Litchfield in Meeker County, as state grant-in-aid (GIA) trails.

This recreational trail proposal was submitted by the Crow River Wheelers ATV Club. The trails – which have been in use the past eight years – are located on a 43-acre parcel of land owned by the club in Ellsworth Township, about seven miles south of Highway 12 near Darwin, Minn.

Grant-in-aid trail status will make it easier for the Crow River Wheelers to monitor and maintain these existing routes using volunteer labor, tools and equipment suited to the task.

The proposal calls for improvements to the access road, along with the addition of a shelter/kiosk, maps and signage, parking facility, portable toilets, perimeter fencing, an ATV youth training area, a mud pit, and new trails connecting these amenities.

The club’s GIA trail proposal has undergone a rigorous intergovernmental review and is endorsed by township and county officials.

Now the DNR wants to hear from the public.

Copies of the GIA proposal and accompanying project maps are available online at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Comments may be sent to Gregg Soupir, Area Parks and Trails supervisor, by e-mail gregg.souir@state.mn.us, by phone at (320) 796-6281 or toll-free at 1-888-646-6367, or by mail (c/o P.O. Box 457, Spicer, MN 56288).

Comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 16.

Surplus spring turkey permits on sale to lottery participants today (Monday)
From the DNR

Turkey hunters who were unsuccessful in this year’s spring hunting season lottery may apply for surplus permits starting at 5 p.m. today (Monday).

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) makes surplus permits available at all license agents and online at www.mndnr.gov/news.

Online information also includes details on surplus license availability and the status of lottery applications.

Hunters who did not enter the lottery will be able to purchase any remaining surplus licenses beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, March 22.

Because hunting access in many zones is limited, hunters should obtain landowner permission before purchasing a surplus permit.

Hunters who purchase a surplus permit do not lose any existing preference for future lottery drawings.

Springtime tradition of making maple syrup at MN state parks
From the DNR

Families can have sweet fun participating in the spring ritual of making maple syrup during programs being offered at several Minnesota state parks this month.

Participants of all ages will learn how to tap trees, collect and cook sap, and even taste a sample of pure, sweet maple syrup.

Some events are demonstrations only; others provide hands-on opportunities to participate in each step of the process, from drilling holes in the trees to boiling the sap until most of the water content evaporates.

It usually takes 30-40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of pure maple syrup.

Maple sap runs best when daytime temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s and overnight temperatures are below freezing.

This cycle of above-freezing days and below-freezing nights needs to continue for several days.

Some sap may flow as early as January or as late as May, but the typical time for a “good” sap run in Minnesota is from about March 15 to April 20.

The maple syrup programs are free, but a vehicle permit ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit) is required to enter the parks, and registration is required for some programs.

A schedule of maple syrup programs at Minnesota state parks is available at mnstateparks.info.

For more information, call (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-MINNDNR.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Last year, the Minnesota Legislature passed the “Bird Safe” law. What is this law about?

A: Research has shown that each year large numbers of migrating birds are killed when they crash into windows.

Most birds migrate at night and can become disoriented by night lighting in buildings.

The “Bird Safe” law pertains to state-owned or state-leased buildings and is designed to help migrating birds avoid collisions with buildings.

These buildings must now turn their lights out nightly between midnight and dawn during bird migration periods.

Non-state building owners and managers may voluntarily choose to participate as well.

They can sign up at www.mn.audubon.org/birds-science-educatoin/bird-safe-lights-out.