The ice officially left Howard Lake Thursday, April 1.
I always use, or track, Howard Lake for an official ice out date for our area because of consistent record keeping of ice over and ice out dates dating back to 1950, the water surface is mid to large in size for lakes in our area, and good information provided is by Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.
April 1 Joe’s reported there was a little bit of ice still floating in the bays on Howard Lake, but the main body of water was wide open and a boat could easily travel from one shoreline across the lake to another.
Smaller lakes in the area, like Winsted, opened up earlier in the week. Winsted became ice-free Tuesday, March 30.
With rain expected over the weekend, all of the lakes in the area should be open and free of ice by today (Monday, April 5).
Get out there and enjoy the open water. The crappies will be biting soon, and the expected ice over date is around Nov. 28. That’s only 237 days away.
Hog roast in Winsted Saturday
The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will host its annual hog roast at the Winsted Legion Club Saturday, April 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Advanced tickets are $8, with the cost being $9 at the door.
There will also be a membership drive and a meat raffle taking place.
To purchase advanced tickets, go to Winsted Farmers Co-op, Winsted Floral, Keg’s Bar, or any member of the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club.
The Delano Sportsmen’s Club is hosting a Minnesota bowhunter education seminar in April.
The two-day class is Wednesday, April 21, from 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, April 24, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The seminar will cover bowhunter responsibilities, equipment safety and game laws, techniques, game recovery and care, wildlife conservation, and survival and first aid.
Participants must be 12 years old or older, and students 12-18 years old must have a firearms safety certificate.
The cost is $5. Lunch will be available at an extra cost.
Register by calling Mike Speckel at (763) 477-3619.
The class is limited to the first 25 people registered.
McLeod County PF banquet Saturday
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 commercial 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.
LP Sportsmen’s Club meeting April 12
The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will be having a members meeting Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the club.
The next meeting will then be Monday, May 10, also at 7 p.m.
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.
Firearms safety training at LP
DNR firearms 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 Washington, 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 Association.
Other adult archers with many years of experience will also be on hand to help.
Annual membership fee of $20 is required.
DNR reminds riders of restrictions placed on ATV ditch riding in agricultural zone
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds riders that Minnesota law prohibits the riding of Class 1 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in ditches south of the agriculture line between April 1 and Aug. 1.
This does not apply to ATVs licensed and used for agricultural purposes.
Class 2 ATVs cannot be operated in ditches at any time.
The agricultural line runs roughly from Moorhead to Taylors Falls along Highway 10 and Highway 95.
“With warm weather on the way, many OHV riders are anxious to hit the trails,” said Maj. Roger Tietz, DNR enforcement operations support manager. “Roadsides, especially in southern and western Minnesota, provide nesting sites for birds and animals that nest on the ground or in low vegetation during the spring and summer. This law protects those nesting sites and habitat for animals like pheasants, gray partridge, rabbits, waterfowl and songbirds.”
The DNR will also need to temporarily close some wet state forests roads and trails to highway-licensed vehicles and OHVs.
Riders are advised to check on trail conditions and temporary closures before planning riding trips.
Trail condition information is available on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov under “Current Conditions.”
Trail conditions are also available from the DNR Information Center by calling (651) 2966157 or toll-free 888MINNDNR (6466367).
The DNR posts closure signs at entry points and at parking lots in state forests.
2010 bull moose hunting permit application deadline is May 7
From the DNR
Minnesota residents who wish to participate in the 2010 moose hunt this fall in northeastern Minnesota must apply by Friday, May 7.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will make 213 permits available in 30 zones.
Hunt participants will be selected in a random drawing.
Season dates will be Saturday, Oct. 2, through Sunday, Oct. 17.
Hunters may apply at any DNR license agent or at the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.
“The moose season will continue because the few bulls that are taken annually do not significantly contribute to overall moose mortality,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator. “We allocate moose licenses very conservatively and anticipate only about 100 will be harvested this fall by state hunters.”
Moose hunters must apply in parties of two to four individuals.
An application fee of $3 per individual must be included with the application.
Only Minnesota residents, at least 16 years of age, are eligible for the moose hunt.
Only bull moose may be harvested.
Hunters who received permits for moose hunts in 1991 and later are not eligible. The license fee is $310 per party.
Attendance at an orientation is mandatory for all hunters.
The Moose Advisory Committee, which the DNR convened to make recommendations regarding research and management of Minnesota’s moose population, recommended that declines in long-term harvest success rates and the bull-cow ratio be considered before eliminating the bulls-only moose hunting season.
Neither factor has declined to a level that falls outside the committee’s recommendations.
DNR wildlife researchers estimate that there are about 5,500 moose in northeastern Minnesota.
Data collected during the 2010 aerial survey suggests that there is approximately one bull to every cow, creating a population ratio that results in a high percentage of cows being bred each fall.
In 2009, there were 225 state bull-moose permits issued.
Licensed hunters harvested 103 bull moose for a party success rate of 46 percent.
MN DNR habitat stamp contest dates set
From the DNR
Entry deadlines and contest dates to select the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fish and wildlife 2011 habitat stamps have been established for the 2010 calendar year.
All entries must be submitted to DNR, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 20, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.
The contest entry dates and details:
• Trout and Salmon Stamp entries will be accepted Monday, July 19, through 4 p.m. Friday, July 30. Judging will occur Thursday, Aug. 5. Brook trout designs are not eligible this year.
• Walleye Habitat Stamp entries will be accepted Monday, Oct. 11, through 4 p.m. Friday Oct. 22. Judging will occur Thursday, Oct. 28.
• Migratory Waterfowl Stamp entries will be accepted Monday, Aug. 23, through 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3. Judging will occur Thursday, Sept. 9. The Red-Breasted Merganser is the only eligible species for depiction on the 2011 Minnesota waterfowl stamp.
• Pheasant Habitat Stamp entries will be accepted Monday, Sept. 13, through 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. Judging will occur Thursday, Sept. 30.
• Turkey Habitat Stamp entries will be accepted Monday, Dec. 13, through 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30. Judging will occur Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.
All contest entries must be accompanied by the appropriate application materials.
Contest application packages, which include all entry forms and specifications, are available by contacting the DNR Information Center at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4040, or by calling (651) 296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).
Contest applications and information also are available on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov/news.
All stamp contests will have a judging panel consisting of members with expertise in art, ornithology, hunting, fishing, conservation or printing.
Judging will take place at the DNR headquarters.
Revenues from stamp sales are dedicated to the development, restoration, maintenance and preservation of Minnesota’s wildlife habitat.
Stamp art contests, which are open only to Minnesota residents, offer no prizes.
Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints and retain the proceeds.
A reproduction rights agreement, granting the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other purposes, must be signed and submitted for an entry to be eligible.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: After a long winter, Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, ditches, ravines, ponds and wetlands are in need of a good cleaning to remove accumulated garbage. Does the Department of Natural Resources have a program where people can volunteer to help clean public waters, and if so, what does it involve?
A: The DNR’s Adopt-a-River Program helps volunteers organize their own cleanup by providing a free “how-to” kit, bags and gloves, recognition for their effort, and other assistance as needed.
An annual cleanup is required, but many people decide to do cleanups several times per year.
Although adopting does not give property rights to those who adopt stretches of a shoreline, it does help develop a sense of responsibility and participation in the welfare of their community and public waters.
Since 1989, there have been nearly 2,900 cleanups involving more than 80,000 volunteers.
They have removed 5.8 million pounds of rubbish on almost 10,000 miles of shoreline.
For more information visit the DNR’s Web site at www.mndnr.gov/adoptriver/index.html.
• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club reported its annual lake cleanup project went well this year, with very little garbage to pick up on our area lakes.
Lake accesses and landings the club maintains are in good shape and ready to go for the boating and open water fishing season, and the club recently donated enough material to local schools to build 50 wood duck houses.
Look for announcements and dates for firearms safety training sponsored by the Winsted Club, coming up soon.
• Water levels on our area lakes are high, and boaters should pay extra attention for submerged material that would typically be visible during normal water levels.
• Wood ducks are back in the area, and I saw several buffalo head last week.
• Good luck to all the area wild turkey hunters.
• Take some time to watch spring happen; before you know it, the trees will be full of leaves and the grass green and growing.
• The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club is getting ready for another season of trapshooting.
The club opens Wednesday, April, 14 for practice shooting. The league season begins Wednesday, April 21.
For more information, call (320) 395-2258.