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Howard Lake GND fishing contest this weekend

June 21, 2010

by Chris Schultz

The 28th annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days’ Fishing Contest will be Saturday, June 26 on Howard Lake.

Registration will take place from 7 to 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. The contest ends at noon.

Entries will be limited to the first 200, with the cost being $30 if entry forms are received by Sunday, June 20, and $35 for entries received after that date.

For an entry form, go to www.howardlakegoodneighbordays.webs.com.

For additional information, call Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

Walleye size regulations change for Upper Red Lake
From the DNR

Anglers who fish Upper Red Lake may keep larger walleye beginning on June 15, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The current protected slot limit requiring all walleye from 17 to 26 inches to be immediately released has been in effect for the early season, when angler catch rates were high.

Beginning June 15 and for the remainder of the open water season, the protected slot will be adjusted to require that all walleye from 20 to 26 inches be immediately released.

Throughout the open water season, the four-fish bag limit remains in effect; only one fish longer than 26 inches is allowed.

The walleye size limit will revert back to the 17- to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1.

The winter adjustment is necessary because winter angling pressure has been consistently higher than open water pressure.

When the lake first reopened to fishing in 2006, anglers could only keep two walleye.

Bag limits and protected size ranges have been gradually relaxed to allow additional harvest.

For more information on Minnesota’s walleye, fishing and fishing regulations, visit www.mndnr.gov/fishing.

No CWD detected in MN’s wild deer; bovine TB results pending
From the DNR

All of the samples from wild deer taken last fall by hunters in southeastern Minnesota that were tested for the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) have come back negative for the disease.

“This is good news for Minnesota,” said Dr. Erika Butler, wildlife veterinarian for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Extensive tests on wild deer in southeastern Minnesota and additional targeted tests of sick animals statewide all have been CWD negative.”

DNR conducted tests on 2,685 deer that hunters harvested last fall in southeastern Minnesota.

An additional 28 deer from other parts of the state were sampled because they displayed clinical signs of an illness.

None tested positive for CWD.

CWD naturally occurs in cervids, which include North American deer, Rocky Mountain Elk and moose.

The disease belongs to a group of infectious diseases known as “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies” (TSEs).

It is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion, which affects the animal’s brain and is invariably fatal.

Usually, months to years pass from the time an animal is infected to when it shows signs of the disease.

CWD infected captive elk were discovered on a farm near Pine Island in 2009.

As a result, the Board of Animal Health (BAH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) depopulated the farm’s elk and DNR conducted extensive testing for CWD in southeastern Minnesota wild deer during last fall’s firearms deer hunting season.

A high proportion of the samples were obtained within a 15-mile radius of the CWD-positive captive elk farm, as well as along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border where Minnesota deer are in closest proximity to an area of Wisconsin where CWD infection is established in wild deer.

“DNR has collected more than 33,000 samples in statewide surveillance efforts since CWD testing began in 2002 and all tests have been negative,” Butler said. “However, periodic surveillance in the vicinity of previous cases of CWD in captive cervids and along the Wisconsin border remains prudent.”

Surveillance efforts within a 15-mile radius of the CWD-infected cervid farm in Olmsted County will be repeated during 2010 firearm hunting season.

Targeted surveillance of suspect deer will continue throughout the state.

Typical signs of CWD include drooping head or ears, poor body condition, tremors, stumbling, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, or excessive thirst or urination.

The disease was first discovered in Colorado and Wyoming, and has since been detected in wild or captive animals in Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

The World Health Organization and the U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found no scientific evidence to date that CWD can be transmitted to humans.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) results pending

One of 1,488 deer harvested by hunters during the fall of 2009 in northwestern Minnesota tested positive for bovine TB.

From February to April of 2010, an additional 450 deer were removed by ground sharpshooting from a smaller area around where all previously bovine TB positive deer have been found.

None showed clinical signs of the disease. Final lab results are pending.

As of June 10, 2010, bovine TB had been confirmed in 27 of 8,144 free-ranging deer tested over the course of six years.

To date, all infected deer have been animals born during or before 2006 and taken within 10 miles of Skime, where a cluster of four bovine TB-infected cattle farms were found.

Aggressive population management utilizing liberalized hunting seasons will continue during 2010 in Deer Permit Area 101 as DNR continues to work with BAH and Agriculture Department officials to eradicate bovine TB in Minnesota.

The DNR will continue to conduct fall disease surveillance annually until five consecutive years with no bovine TB-positive wild deer identified

Delay mowing roadsides, protect wildlife nesting habitat
From the DNR

From April to August, there’s a wildlife population boom along greater Minnesota’s roadsides.

Few passersby are aware of what the tall grass hides.

And untimely mowing along rural roads and highways can turn that boom into a bust.

“This is the most important time for nesting wildlife,” said Carmelita Nelson, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) roadsides for wildlife coordinator. “That’s why we urge owners of land along Minnesota roads and highways to avoid mowing or otherwise disturbing the vegetation until after Aug. 1, when most species have completed their nesting season.”

In Minnesota, roadside habitat provides hatching ground for about 25 percent of each year’s pheasant brood.

Roadsides also are important habitat for teal, mallards, gray partridge, many grassland songbirds, frogs and turtles.

“State law prohibits road authorities from mowing an entire right-of-way until July 31,” Nelson said. “Private landowners may mow or hay the roadside adjacent to their property at any time, but they can help wildlife by waiting.”
Nesting pheasants

A nesting pheasant hen lays eggs at a rate of about one per day, resulting in nests that contain an average of 12 eggs.

The incubation period of 23 days starts after all eggs have been laid.

The hen remains on the nest during incubation, leaving only briefly to feed.

If the nest is destroyed, the hen will repeatedly nest until she is successful in hatching a clutch, although re-nesting clutches have fewer eggs.

The pheasant hatch peaks about the third week of June, when about 60 percent of the eggs hatch.

Depending on weather, many birds continue nesting into early July.

Hens make from one to four attempts at nesting during the spring nesting season, but only hatch one brood per year.

The chicks need to be at least two to three weeks old to have any chance of escape from mowers.

The reproductive season is over by Aug. 1 for most pheasants, with the exception of a few birds attempting late re-nesting.

Roadsides also should be protected from burning, crop tillage, grazing, blanket spraying of herbicides and vehicle encroachment during these months.

The DNR recommends that landowners use spot mowing or spraying to treat noxious weeds.

Roadsides provide more than 500,000 acres of nesting areas in the pheasant range of southern and western Minnesota.

Roadside habitat is especially important in intensively row-cropped regions where there is little other grassland available.

For more information about the Roadsides for Wildlife program, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/roadsidesforwildlife or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Questions of the week
From the DNR

Q: Minnesota derives great benefit from having healthy, productive forests.

What role does logging play in maintaining or improving forest health?

A: Minnesota’s forests are a renewable resource, and the timber industry plays a key role in maintaining and improving forest health.

Loggers harvest mature or over-mature trees, which become increasingly susceptible to a host of insects and diseases.

Loggers also harvest in areas that suffer catastrophic affects from wind and fire.

By quickly removing these affected trees from forests, the impacts to adjacent forests are minimized or reduced.

In addition, loggers thin dense stands of younger trees in order to maintain good tree growth and health.

Through well-timed harvests, new vigorous trees and forests are established and maintained.