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First Camp Ripley bow hunt shows good results

November 8, 2010

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Archery hunters took 287 deer during the first two-day hunt held Oct. 21-22 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls.

It was the third highest recorded harvest for the first two days of the hunt.

The harvest represents a 67 percent increase from last year’s harvest of 172 deer, when hunters experienced poor hunting conditions, and it is 64 percent above the long-term average harvest of 175 deer for the first hunt.

For the seventh year in a row hunters were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest of antlerless deer.

Fawns and does comprised 64 percent of the harvest. Nineteen adult bucks tipped the scales at or more than 200 pounds.

The largest buck weighed 253 pounds, taken by Dan Neimen of Brainerd, MN.

Of adult does weighed, the largest was 134 pounds, taken by Benjamin Sehr of New Ulm, MN.

There were 2,500 permits issued for the first hunt, with 2,132 hunters participating, for a participation rate of 85 percent (up from 81 percent last year).

Hunter success was about 13 percent (3 percent higher than the long-term average), and eight hunters took their bag limit of two deer.

“With twelve consecutive mild winters and strong harvests since 2000, Camp Ripley’s deer herd is in good condition,” said Beau Liddell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Little Falls Area Wildlife manager. “If weather cooperates, the total take for all four days could easily rival the record 516 deer taken for both hunts in 2008.”

The second two-day hunt is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 30-31.

DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.

Conservation officers reports from area
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies also worked on a waters complaint.
CO Mies worked on shining and deer hunting complaints.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several TIP complaints and nuisance animal calls.
Reller also checked waterfowl hunters that found fair success harvesting birds during mid-week but the harvest was very limited over the weekend. Reller also checked anglers and trappers.
Enforcement action was taken for over limit canvasbacks, unplugged shotgun, shooting after legal hunting hours and shooting a non-game migratory bird, and operating a motorized vehicle on a waterfowl production area.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the trapping opener finding many more trappers than past years probably due to high fur prices.
Already had complaints on traps being stolen along road right of ways.
Returned calls all week from hunters trying to figure out the deer regulations.
Several car-kill deer permits were issued.
Several beaver damage complaints were handled giving land owners names of trappers.
Waterfowl hunters were still having great success; pheasant hunters were having average success.
Three black scoter ducks were observed on Lake Waconia the day after the strong west winds, it was the first black scoters the officer had observed during his career.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) continued to check small game, pheasant, duck and deer hunters in Carver County.
She responded to several trespass complaints and TIP calls, and also found garbage dumped at a public access.
After digging through the garbage, a driver’s license and several pieces of mail were found with the violator’s name.
Several fishermen were also enjoying the last days of trout fishing on Courthouse Lake. Lots of trout were being caught as well.

• CO Angela Graham (Hutchinson) checked hunters, anglers, ATV riders, and trappers.
Officer Graham also attended training, worked on TIP calls, assisted with a deer shining detail, issued car-kill deer permits, and took complaints of trespassing.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked waterfowl, pheasant, and archery deer hunting activity.
Additional time was spent checking trapping activity.
Hatlestad also checked angling, boating, and invasive species activity.
Hatlestad also checked ATV activity.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time working night enforcement in the area.
A TIP call was investigated regarding shooting from a vehicle.
CO Oberg also spent time instructing officers on the new 800 MHz radio system.
CO Oberg also spent time checking trappers, archery, waterfowl and small game hunters.

Migration report
From Avery Pro Staff

Name: Ben Cade
Date: November 2
Location: Buffalo, MN
Weather: Cooler with sunshine.
Snow Cover: None.

Water Conditions: Most area lakes and ponds still are at a high water level. There is some sheet water in the fields. We have had a few colder nights that have frozen small wetlands, only to open back up during the day.

Feeding Conditions: Most area fields have been harvested and there is plenty of feeding opportunities for birds in the area. Flooded corn and bean fields continue to provide the best feeding areas for the ducks in the area. Geese have been hitting corn fields morning and night.

Species and Numbers: Mallard numbers are good. We have a few teal, wood ducks and diving ducks in the area. There are a few scattered flocks of Canada geese in the area, but not many large concentrations.

Migrations: We had a good push of birds following the low pressure system last week. A few new birds have arrived since then, but I haven’t seen anything too major as far as bird movement goes.

Season Stage: The regular waterfowl season is in its fifth week.

Hunting Report: Hunter success has been very good the past week or so. Many are reporting mixed bags of ducks including wood ducks, teal, mallards, gadwall and wigeon. Field hunting for ducks has been above average for this time of year. Goose hunting in fields has been very good as well.

Gossip: With the cooler weather and bright clear days, birds have been heading out to feed very late in the evenings. Hunting mornings is the better bet right now unless we get some weather to push birds to feed longer throughout the day.

DU applauds DNR draft shallow lake plan
From Ducks Unlimited

Some of the most critical waterfowl habitat remaining in Minnesota will soon benefit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ shallow lakes program plan, “Managing Minnesota’s Shallow Lakes for Waterfowl and Wildlife.”

MN DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife developed the plan to establish goals for management and protection of shallow lakes to meet the objectives in DNR’s Long Range Duck Recovery Plan (Duck Plan) and the division’s strategic plan.

The shallow lakes plan – which was recently released for public comment – will provide focus to shallow lake management undertaken by the DNR.

“Shallow lakes are the cornerstone of Minnesota’s remaining waterfowl habitat,” said Ryan Heiniger, DU director of conservation programs for Minnesota and Iowa, “and actively managing them to optimize their habitat quality and productivity for wildlife is key to meeting the goals of both DNR’s duck recovery plan and DU’s Living Lakes conservation initiative. The development and pending launch of the department’s shallow lakes plan is a crucial step in focusing our collective efforts on the enhancement, restoration, protection and management of this important wetland resource,” Heiniger said.

The state’s duck plan and draft shallow lakes plan call for the management and protection of 1,800 shallow lakes throughout Minnesota during the next 45 years.

The draft shallow lakes program plan calls for aggressively working to meet this goal by assessing 200 lakes per year and all 1,992 shallow lakes on or adjacent to public land.

In 2004, DU’s Living Lakes initiative established an initial 10-year goal of enhancing, restoring and protecting 400 shallow lakes in Minnesota and Iowa.

Shallow lake enhancement, restoration and protection are also key components of the Minnesota Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan developed for the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources as well as the habitat priorities identified by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council in 2010.

Shallow lakes also provide important habitat for more than 20 “Species of Greatest Conservation Need.”

DU works with MN DNR to assess, enhance, restore, manage and protect shallow lakes throughout the state.

In the northern forest, DU and DNR cooperatively work to keep the outlets of about 100 wild rice lakes free flowing and free of beaver dams and other obstructions.

In the forest-prairie transition and prairie regions of Minnesota, invasive fish degrade water quality and habitat for ducks.

DU bio-engineering staff helps DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service install water control structures, pumps and fish barriers to give managers the ability to periodically conduct temporary water level draw-downs that rejuvenate aquatic habitat and enhance aquatic plant and invertebrates sought by both migrating and breeding ducks.

Several grants recommended to the legislature for funding from both the LCCMR and LSOHC in recent years have helped DU and DNR accelerate their cooperative shallow lakes work, including a $2.5 million grant in 2009 and a $6.5 million grant in 2010.

2010 NE Minnesota moose hunt results
From the DNR

Minnesota hunters in search of a once-in-a-lifetime bull moose found more success during this fall’s season in northeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Of the 213 hunting parties that received a permit to harvest a bull moose, 109 were successful.

This year’s success rate of 51 percent was slightly higher than 2009, when 46 percent of eligible hunting parties harvested a bull moose.

Moose hunting is limited to bulls-only, reflecting the DNR’s conservative approach to the moose harvest.

The northeast population of moose has been declining for several years, which was reflected in this year’s decision to issue 12 fewer permits than last year.

The season, which opened Oct. 2 and closed Oct. 17 across Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties, got off to a slow start with sunny and unseasonably warm weather conditions during the first 10 days.

While leaf watchers and ruffed grouse hunters enjoyed the nice weather, warm temperatures suppressed the rut and kept moose movement generally limited to early and late in the day.

As temperatures cooled, hunters reported good moose rutting activity as bulls pursued cows.

The breeding period normally kicks into gear in late September and continues for three to four weeks.

Minnesota’s peak rutting occurs the first two weeks of October.

Many successful hunters utilized calling to bring their moose within range.

The northeast moose population is estimated at 5,500 animals and the allowable harvest is set at approximately 5 percent of the population, which is divided among state and tribal hunters.

Firewood restrictions in effect on state land
From the DNR

As the 2010 deer hunting opener is upon us, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters that only firewood purchased at a state park or from a DNR-approved vendor may be brought onto any DNR-administered lands.

State park and state forest visitors with DNR-approved firewood must retain the sales receipt, bundle label or DNR-approved vendor tickets as proof of purchase.

Visitors bringing unapproved firewood onto DNR-administered lands will be asked to surrender the wood, and may receive a $100 fine.

People camping on state forest land outside a designated campground may gather dead wood on the ground for campfire use on site.

In state parks and designated campgrounds in state forests, people are prohibited from scavenging dead wood.

After the 2009 discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) in a St. Paul neighborhood, DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten issued a revised order concerning the use of firewood.

The new order specifies that firewood originating from a quarantined county in Minnesota will be approved for use only in that county.

Firewood from counties bordering quarantined counties in Minnesota will be approved for use only in those counties.

Currently, there are quarantines on firewood, ash trees and ash products in Hennepin, Houston and Ramsey counties.

EAB is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees when its larvae tunnel into the wood and cut off the tree’s supply of water and nutrients.

Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed more than 50 million ash trees in 15 states and in Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

With more than 900 million ash trees, Minnesota is a prime target for EAB.

“EAB spreads slowly on its own but can spread quickly by hitching a ride to new areas when people transport firewood or other wood products infested with the insect,” said Sue Burks, DNR Forestry’s Invasive Species Program coordinator.

To slow the spread of EAB, the quarantine prohibits the movement of the following items out of quarantined counties unless accompanied by a compliance agreement from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA):

• Firewood from hardwood (non-coniferous) species.
• Entire ash trees.
• Ash limbs and branches.
• Ash logs or untreated ash lumber with bark attached.
• Uncomposted ash chips and uncomposted ash bark chips greater than one inch in two of the three dimensions.

Evidence of another invasive insect, the gypsy moth, was found on firewood in Stillwater this fall.

Surveyors from the MDA were responding to high numbers of male gypsy moths caught in traps in the Stillwater area this summer.

Hundreds of gypsy moth egg masses were found as a result of a September survey of the area surrounding the traps.

Additional egg masses were found by surveyors in Hopkins and Coon Rapids.

Officials urge Minnesotans to take the following steps to protect state lands and keep EAB and other forest pests from spreading:

• Buy Minnesota grown and harvested firewood.
• Buy local or certified wood from an approved vendor, and burn the wood (or leave it at the campsite) rather than take it home.
• Comply with all state and federal regulations regarding the movement of firewood.

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 is comprised of 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.