DNR reminds parents of ice danger to children

November 22, 2010

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warns parents to caution their children to stay off ponds, streams and other water bodies that now have a thin coating of ice.

“Every season, people fall through ice they thought was safe,” said Tim Smalley, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “It’s especially tragic when these incidents involve children. A quarter of those who die by falling through the ice are nine years old or younger.”

As of Nov. 18, no ice in Minnesota has been reported by DNR conservation officers as consistently four inches thick, the minimum thickness for walking.

Ice safety guidelines also recommend a minimum of five inches of new, clear ice for snowmobiles, and eight to 12 inches for automobiles.

Children are often sent outside to play during the holidays – while meals are prepared and presents wrapped – and they can stray onto unsafe ice.

“Many years, we receive reports of children falling through ice and drowning around the holidays,” Smalley said. “Kids are attracted to ice like a magnet. They just don’t know how much ice it takes to support a person, nor what is or isn’t safe.”

Smalley said children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision, even when conditions improve.

The DNR recommends contacting a local bait shop or resort at the destination lake to find out if ice is safe for the planned activities.

Winter sports enthusiasts can obtain a free packet of ice safety information by calling (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cities area or toll-free 888-646-6367 or e-mail boatandwater.dnr@state.mn.us.

Computer users can view a short video on ice safety on the DNR’s ice safety web page at www.mndnr.gov.

Deer registered at Joe’s Sport Shop

Over the two weekends of the firearms’ deer season, 131 deer were registered at Joe’s Sport Shop in Howard Lake.

Conservation officers reports from area
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) spent the week checking deer hunters. CO Mies also checked trappers.
CO Mies worked on complaints and assisted neighboring officers.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several complaints related to the deer season.
The deer hunting activity slowed down as the week went on and as the weather got cold and wet over the weekend.
The waterfowl hunters in some areas did well with a new push of birds coming though the area.
Enforcement action was taken for transporting a loaded firearm.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the deer opener.
He also checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters having good success.
CO Walter returned many calls on deer hunting questions.

• CO Jackie Glaser(Mound) continued to check deer hunters along the Minnesota River.
She followed up on a waters violation in Chanhassen in which a landowner is blocking a creek.
She also attended a TEP meeting in reference to an ongoing public waters and WCA violation from several years ago.
Several TIP calls were received on dumping complaints.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked firearms and archery deer hunting activity.
Additional time was spent checking pheasant and waterfowl hunting activity.
Hatlestad also checked trapping activity.

• CO Angela Graham (Hutchinson) checked hunters, anglers, ATVs and even a snowmobile.
Calls were also taken on trespassing, car-killed deer, shooting from road, a dead bald eagle, and carcass dumping.
Enforcement action was taken on unplugged gun, tampering with traps, over limit of fish, no license in possession, hunter harassment, insufficient PFD’s, failure to register deer and DWI.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a busy end to the firearms deer season and the beginning of the snowmobile season.
CO Oberg responded to several calls related to shooting from the road, trespass and hunters without enough blaze orange.
Officer Oberg had to give some snowmobilers a refresher course on snowmobile laws.
Enforcement action was taken for deer violations, hunting in a State Game Refuge, no snowmobile registration, no snowmobile safety, and snowmobile fail to stop at stop sign.

Migration report
From Avery Pro Staff

Name: Ben Cade
Date: November 16
Location: Buffalo

Weather: Daytime temps have been in the mid to upper 30s, with overnight lows around 20 degrees.

Snow Cover: Most has melted, but much of the area still has about an inch or two.

Water Conditions: Some of the smaller wetlands have frozen up, however all area lakes and rivers are still open and full.

Feeding Conditions: Nearly all of the area crops are out and there is not enough snow cover to bury food from the birds. Good food sources still exist for any waterfowl in the area.

Species and Numbers: We have a few good bunches of Canada geese in the area; however duck numbers are better off to the west. I have heard several good reports of bunches of mallards hitting area corn fields.

Migrations: There was a good push of birds with the weather system over the weekend. Mallards can be found in good bunches, but scouting is key.

Season Stage: Seventh week of our regular waterfowl season. Hunters are beginning to transition to late season waterfowl hunting.

Hunting Report: Hunting has been excellent for those who have been out scouting and getting on prime spots. A six man limit of greenheads was reported this morning as well as another feed of mallards and geese in the same area.

Gossip: Conditions are excellent for waterfowl hunting with the fresh snow cover.

Lake Mille Lacs walleye regulation to change Dec. 1
From the DNR

Walleye anglers who fish Lake Mille Lacs are reminded that effective Dec. 1, the regulation allows them to keep four walleye up to 18 inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

All walleye between 18-and 28-inches must be immediately released.

One walleye more than 28 inches is allowed in possession.

For more on fishing regulations, go to www.mndnr.gov.

$3.6 million awarded for state conservation projects
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced the award of $3.6 million in 35 grants through the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant program.

The CPL program was recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) to, and approved by the 2010 Minnesota Legislature.

Funding is from the Outdoor Heritage fund, part of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Constitutional Amendment.

CPL grants are intended to restore, enhance, or protect fish, game and wildlife habitat in the state.

Local, state, and federal nonprofit organizations and governmental entities are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $400,000.

DNR received a total of 56 applications totaling $5.9 million during this year’s CPL grant application period, with $4,210,560 available for grants.

A second round of applications for projects under $125,000 will be held to award the remaining $595,439.

In 2009, the first year of the program, 35 projects amounting to $3,740,000 were awarded.

Dave Schad, DNR Fish and Wildlife director, said CPL grants “help small conservation organizations complete on-the-ground habitat work and build their capacity to do more of these projects. It’s a grass-roots effort that really helps advance conservation in Minnesota. These are all good projects with long-term benefits.”

Funded projects include grassland restorations; wetlands, prairies, and northern forest acquisitions; and wetland and forest enhancements.

A complete list of the successful grant applications can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/habitat/cpl/index.html.

Roadsides for Wildlife kick-off event is Dec. 1
From the DNR

The importance of roadsides for wildlife habitat is the topic of a special event to be held at the Farmington Public Library from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The free event is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Minnesota has more than 135,000 miles of roads.

“Maintaining roadsides is an important issue for all levels of government,” said Carmelita Nelson, DNR Roadsides for Wildlife coordinator. “A healthy roadside environment provides greater erosion control, improves water quality, enhances groundwater recharge, reduces maintenance costs, is visually pleasing, and provides habitat for wildlife populations.”

Guest speakers will outline the value of roadsides in the southern Metro area.

Nancy Braker, arboretum director, will discuss prairie restoration at Carleton College.

Clarence Lehman, associate dean of research and graduate education at the University of Minnesota, will discuss bioenergy harvesting to benefit wildlife.

The agenda includes other topics and speakers, a panel discussion and legislative updates.

Representatives from local and state government, conservation and sportsmen’s groups, media and private citizens will be in attendance at the workshop.

The Roadsides for Wildlife program promotes vegetation management practices that enhance wildlife habitat and environmental benefits on roadsides, according to Nelson.

Leaving roadsides undisturbed, especially during the spring and early summer nesting season, can boost grassland bird nesting success.

“The adjacent roadside lands are important for they can provide permanent grassland habitat for birds, small animals, and other types of nature, including butterflies, frogs, and flowers,” Nelson said.

Directions to the Farmington Public Library are: From I-35, County Rd. 23 (Cedar Ave.), County Rd. 31 (Pilot Knob Rd.), Highway 3 or U.S. Highway 52, take County Road 50 into downtown Farmington. Go south onto Third St. for two blocks. Turn right into the library parking lot.

Those planning to attend are asked to call (651) 259-5014 or send an e-mail to carmelita.nelson@dnr.state.mn.us.

Nominees sought for 18th annual MN Deer Hunter Ethics Award
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) and Turn In Poachers (TIP) are asking hunters to share stories of exemplary hunting behavior by nominating hunters for the 18th Annual Minnesota Deer Hunter Ethics Award.

The award will honor a deer hunter who has exhibited conduct during the 2010 season that can serve as a positive example to all hunters.

Awards for youth and adult divisions will be presented to the selected recipients at an upcoming MDHA event held in their vicinity.

“MDHA is pleased to again co-sponsor this award along with TIP and the DNR,” said MDHA Executive Director Mark Johnson. “This is an important award that highlights the ethical behavior of our deer hunters and singles out the types of ethical hunters we hope all hunters aspire to be: hunters who care about our hunting heritage, care about fairness and care about the image we as hunters portray.”

Patsy Bernhjelm, TIP Board president, added that it recognizes hunters who go the extra mile. “This award encourages ethics above and beyond legal hunting and TIP is proud to be a part of it again this year.”

Anyone may nominate a hunter by writing a letter or e-mail explaining the actions of the nominee and why that person is worthy of this recognition.

Both youth and adults are eligible, but nominees must be Minnesota residents.

The incidents for which hunters are nominated must have occurred during any of the 2010 Minnesota deer hunting seasons (archery, firearm or muzzleloader).

“We want to hear about deer hunters who have gone out of their way or beyond normal courtesy for others,” said Johnson. “This isn’t about not filling a doe tag or not taking a marginal shot. It is about hunters who show genuine concern for others, and the sport of deer hunting, through their thoughtfulness and actions.”

Nominations will be accepted for the Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Ethics Award until Friday, Jan. 21.

Nomination letters should be sent to Ethical Hunter Award, MDHA, 460 Peterson Road, Grand Rapids, MN 55744-8413, or faxed to (218) 327-1349, or e-mailed to kimhanson@mndeerhunters.com

More information is available on MDHA’s Web site at www.mndeerhunters.com.

Lake Maria State Park closed Dec. 4-6
News release

Lake Maria State Park will be closed to the public Saturday, Dec. 4 through Monday, Dec. 6 due to a special-permit hunt to better manage the deer population within park boundaries.

According to Park Manager Mark Crawford, all park facilities will be closed during these dates, and the entrance will be blocked.

The park will re-open Tuesday, December 7.

“The objective of the hunt is to reduce deer density to an acceptable level to minimize damage to park vegetation and decrease intrusion on adjacent cropland, orchards and gardens,” says Crawford. “Mild winters and less hunting pressure outside the park has led to a larger than normal herd. In addition, the hunt will serve as an evaluation of alternative strategies to control deer population.”

Only muzzle-loading firearms will be used in the hunt, and 25 special permits were issued to highly skilled hunters last September.

For more information, call the park at (763) 878-2325 or visit its web site at www.mnstateparks.info.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Now is the time of year when most property owners are considering pruning their trees.

However removing unwanted branches improperly and at the wrong time of the year can stress and damage the tree.

When and how should trees be trimmed?

A: The best time of the year to prune your trees is in the fall after the leaves have fallen from the tree.

Most of the energy that the tree has produced over the year has been sent down to the roots for storage, so removal of unwanted branches will have a lesser impact on the health of the tree.

When removing a branch, you want to make sure that you don’t cut into the branch collar of the tree (tissues where the branch meets the trunk), and don’t remove more than one-third of the live crown of the tree.

The USDA Forest Service has a pamphlet that describes proper pruning techniques.

It is available on their website at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_prune/prun001.htm.