Wright County Pheasants Forever (PF) was recognized at the Minnesota PF State Convention this past weekend for having spent $1 million on habitat and conservation education projects.
Those chapter dollars completed 943 habitat projects benefiting over 4,565 acres within Wright County.
Under the PF model, local chapter leaders determine how best to spend 100 percent of funds raised locally.
Public land acquisition has been a high priority for the Wright County PF chapter, who has participated in five acquisitions totaling 298 acres.
These acquisitions become open to public hunting as Minnesota DNR Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) or U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs).
“The Wright County PF Chapter does it all,” stated Eran Sandquist, PF regional wildlife biologist for northern MN, “they throw a great fundraising banquet and put those dollars into the ground locally, but they also have helped other PF chapters in need and contribute to promoting conservation in the federal farm bill and it all starts with their dedicated committee members.”
Since becoming the 95th PF chapter in the nation in 1984, the chapter has planted 15,500 trees in 15 wintering areas and created nearly 2,563 acres of associated food plots.
The chapter has also worked to improve 1,612 acres of nesting habitat on 139 different projects.
In addition to habitat projects, the chapter also plays a key role in a Youth Conservation Day held at Ney Park, participating in Youth Mentor Hunts and by sponsoring a hunter safety course.
“These are great accomplishments and I think it speaks to PF’s ability to leverage our locally earned dollars to get additional projects done,” reported Bob Peterson, president of the chapter. Couple that with our passionate group of committee members and supporters we are seeing a real difference on the Wright County landscape.”
The chapter will hold its 26th annual habitat fundraising banquet Monday, March 28th at the Buffalo Civic Center.
All are welcome to attend and celebrate past accomplishments and future goals.
For more information on tickets, or to get involved with Wright County PF, call Bob Peterson at (612) 965-0351.
PF was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1982 and is still home to the organization’s national headquarters.
Of the organization’s 132,000 members, Minnesota accounts for 25,000 of them.
There are 75 chapters across the state, covering most counties within Minnesota’s pheasant range.
For information on PF in Minnesota, or on how you can get involved, check out the state website at www.minnesotapf.org.
64th annual Howard Lake fishing derby
The 64th annual Howard Lake ice fishing derby is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.
Check in next week’s Herald Journal for much more information on the fishing derby.
Da Shiver Ice Fishing Tournament Feb. 5
The Da Shiver Ice Fishing Tournament is back for a fifth year. The event that includes ice fishing, skating, raffles, contests and many activities and events is Saturday, Feb. 5, from noon-3 p.m. at the west end of Lake Sarah.
The anglers who land the 10 biggest fish will receive top-10 prizes. The pile of prizes includes a Polaris Sportsman 500.
Also to be given away in a raffle is an Ice Castle Fish Houses fish house.
The games include minnow races, musical buckets and hole drilling races. A portion of the lake will be cleaned off for skating, bellies will be filled at the cookout. For those who get cold, dancing to the music of Dean-o-Mite Entertainment will warm them up, or then can take the chill off by the bonfire.
The cost is $40. To register, log on to www.dashiver.com.
With questions contact Doug Lawman at email@example.com.
Young artists sought for Junior Duck Stamp contest
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently accepting entries for the 2011 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp contest, which is administered by Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge).
Entries must be postmarked by Tuesday, March 15.
A downloadable entry form and information on contest rules and regulations for teachers and supervising adults can be found online at http://www.fws.gov/jrduck.
For additional information about the contest, or regarding a student’s or school’s participation in the Junior Duck Stamp contest, contact the Junior Duck Stamp state coordinator Mara Koenig at (952) 858-0710, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries and reference forms should be postmarked by Tuesday, March 15, and mailed to Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington, MN 55425.
Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club annual ice fishing contest is Feb. 13
The Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club is hosting its annual Ice Fishing Contest and raffle Sunday, Feb. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Brooks Lake in Cokato.
The fishing contest is free, along with free minnows and hole drilling.
There are both junior and senior divisions for the fishing.
Raffle tickets are $1 each for a chance at the $300 top cash prize, along with many other merchandise and cash prizes.
There will be a lunch wagon on site with hot pork sandwiches, hot dogs, and beverages.
Bring out the whole family for some winter fun and relaxation.
For more information, contact Tim at (320) 980-0460 or Dave at (612) 670-1916.
Waverly Gun Club to offer firearms safety training classes
The Waverly Gun Club, located one mile north of Waverly on Co. Rd. 9 to Desota Avenue will be offering firearms safety training classes.
Registration begins Tuesday, Feb. 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
For more information, contact Mike D. at (320) 543-3515 or Jim W. at (763) 658-4272.
St. Michael 13th annual ice fishing contest Feb. 5
The annual St. Michael Lions Club Ice Fishing Contest is a go this year.
The contest will take place at Beebe Lake Saturday, Feb. 5, from noon to 3 p.m. they will have an expanded area.
The contest is open to all. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for children 16 and under.
This year’s raffle prizes include a gas-powered ice auger, Vexilar FL20 Ultra, fishing equipment, and various gift certificates.
Tickets can be purchased at Dehmer’s Meats, Hardware Hank, from Lions members, as well as at other local businesses in St. Michael.
The Lions and Boy Scouts will be offering food, coffee, and sodas.
This will be an excellent opportunity to bring the whole family for an afternoon of fun conversation and fishing.
For more information, call Kent Johnson at (763) 497-5376 or check out the website at www.stm-lions.org.
Kingston Lions ice fishing contest
The Kingston Lions are hosting its 23rd annual ice fishing contest Saturday, Feb. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the northwest side of Lake Francis.
The cost to enter is $4 per person for fishing.
Concessions will be available at the contest by the Kingston Lions Club.
Cash prizes will be given out for the three biggest walleye, northern, or bass caught during the tournament.
First place gets $100, second place gets $50, and third place gets $30.
The biggest crappie and biggest sunfish will also win a cash prize of $25.
There will also be several prize drawings throughout the tournament, including five cash prizes.
The first-place prize is an 8-inch ice auger, or $250 cash. Second and third prizes are $100 cash each, and the fourth and fifth prizes are $50 cash each.
The cost to enter the drawings is $1 for one chance, or $15 for 25 chances.
Minnesota Deer Hunter’s banquet
The Minnesota River Valley Chapter of the MDHA is having their 28th annual banquet Saturday, Feb. 19. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Social hour starts at 5 p.m., dinner is at 7 p.m., and the program starts at 8 p.m.
Cost for the banquet is $25 for adults and $15 for youth.
It will be held at the KC Hall in Shakopee, which is located at 1760 East 4th Avenue.
For tickets or more details, please contact Barb Breeggemann at (952) 445-4396.
Conservation officers reports from area
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week.
CO Mies worked on sled complaints.
CO Mies checked hunters and trappers.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave two presentations to Youth Snowmobile classes in Buffalo and Rockford.
Reller also hosted a work crew in Wright County.
Enforcement action was taken for over limit sunfish, taking smallmouth bass out of season, angling without a license and snowmobile violations.
• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked a busy trout opener on Courthouse Lake in Chaska.
Most fishermen left the ice with a few fish.
Violations included using live minnows, extra lines, no fishing license and no trout stamp.
She worked other Hennepin County lakes continuing to check fishermen and their shelters.
Snowmobiling activity was also monitored in the area.
• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and spearing activity.
Additional time was spent checking ATV and snowmobile activity.
Hatlestad also attended required training, and spoke at a snowmobile class in Watkins.
• CO Angela Graham (Hutchinson) worked snowmobile enforcement, and reports that trail conditions are fair.
Officer Graham also reports checking anglers and monitored spearing on local lakes, as well as checking coyote hunters.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent the week following up on TIP information regarding over limits and double tripping.
Officer Oberg also spent time monitoring angling and snowmobile activity in the area.
Time was also spent returning phone calls and scheduling Snowmobile Safety Classes.
Hunter safety instructors/mentors needed for next generation of hunters
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for people who would like to pass on to others their passion for hunting by serving as volunteer instructor/mentors for the DNR’s Firearms Safety Hunter Education Program.
The goal is to have 10 instructors/mentors in every community across the state.
“You can make an amazing difference in the lives of young people by volunteering to serve,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. “And don’t be concerned if you don’t have any experience teaching young people. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to be a good instructor/mentor.”
Instructors/mentors work with a group of three or four students ages 11 and older during a 5-6 hour Range and Field Day.
The field day allows the youth to complete their certification process after taking the HunterExam online course.
“Volunteers facilitate, mentor and evaluate students as they complete the scenario-based ‘Hunters Trail’ course,” Hammer said.
Activities on the Hunters Trail include outdoor survival, shoot/don’t shoot, tree stand safety, firearms transportation, common action types, blaze orange, big game, small game, and turkey hunting.
Instructors must either join an existing training team or find a suitable site that includes a range, a classroom, and ample outdoor space to create a Hunters Trail.
They can collect a fee from students to defray any costs.
Instructor/mentor requirements include an understanding of the basic principles of mentorship; of facilitating scenarios; of various types of hunting activities; and of the principles of safe, responsible and ethical hunting.
Applicants must be 18 yrs or older and pass a background check.
They must also complete the instructor prerequisites listed on the DNR website along with additional All Day Range and Field Day training by a DNR trainer and receive instructor certification.
Range and Field Days are usually held on Saturdays and vary depending on the time of year.
For more information, contact the DNR Enforcement Education Program Staff at Camp Ripley,15011 Highway 115, Little Falls, MN 56345. Call 800-366-8917, or e-mail email@example.com
Instructor prerequisites are available at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/adrfd/index.html.
MN deer harvest climbs 8 percent in 2010
From the DNR
Ideal hunting weather during the opening weekend of Minnesota’s firearms deer season helped hunters harvest 207,000 deer during the 2010 season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
This is an 8 percent increase from the 2009 harvest of 194,186 and the 13th largest harvest on record.
Minnesota’s deer harvests have moderated in recent years because the deer herd is at or near population goals across much of Minnesota.
Due to varying local population differences, some areas of the state may have experienced a lower harvest rate.
“We didn’t see a dramatic change in harvest this year because half of our deer permit areas were in the lottery designation, which allows for the harvest of only one deer annually,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator.
Firearms hunters harvested 176,200 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,500 and 9,300 deer, respectively.
Archery hunters harvested 4 percent more deer in 2010.
The muzzleloader harvest increased 12 percent from 2009.
Good weather during the opening weekend of firearms deer season likely resulted in hunters remaining in the field longer, which increased their chances of harvesting a deer.
Also, most crops had been harvested, which reduced the amount of standing cover available to deer.
Once final population estimates are completed this spring, DNR will evaluate them against established population goals to determine the antlerless permit areas for 2011.
“Hunters should pay close attention to the hunting synopsis, which comes out in late July, to see if they need to apply for a lottery either-sex permit,” Cornicelli said.
The final deer harvest number is calculated using information provided by hunters when they register their deer. Historical harvest information is available online at mndnr.gov/deer.
For the 2011 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application will be Thursday, Sept. 8.
Archery deer hunting will begin on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The statewide firearms deer hunting season will open on Saturday, Nov. 5, while muzzleloader season opens on Saturday, Nov. 26.
DNR, NWTF mentored youth turkey applications due Mon., Feb. 14
From the DNR
First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 have the chance to go afield this spring and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer.
Applications, maps and general information for the wild turkey hunt are available online at www.mndnr.gov/youthturkey.
Application deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 14. Participants will be selected through a random lottery.
“Mentored hunts are an excellent way to match a youth and their parent with an expert hunter to learn a life-long skill,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Not only do these hunts provide an opportunity for mentors to pass on their knowledge, they are quality family time afield.”
This is the ninth consecutive year that the DNR and the NWTF have cooperated to provide opportunities for first-time youth turkey hunters.
More than 1,000 youth have been introduced to this unique hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.
Hunts will occur on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season.
Nearly all youth will hunt on private land, thanks to the generosity of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained permissions.
To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before Saturday, April 16; have a valid firearms safety certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The program is for first-time turkey hunters only.
Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is not eligible.
Hunters and their mentors will be assigned a NWTF volunteer guide, who must accompany both the youth and parent/guardian throughout the entire hunt.
Those who would like to participate as a mentor, or volunteer their land for the youth mentored hunts, should contact their local NWTF chapter online at www.nwtfchapter.org/minnesotastatechapter.
Click “In Your State” on the left-hand side of the page to locate the nearest chapter.
MN trumpeter swan population tops 5,000
From the DNR
A statewide aerial survey conducted Jan. 5 8 revealed that the population of trumpeter swans in Minnesota has more than doubled in the last five years, according Larry Gillette, wildlife manager for Three Rivers Park District, which organized the survey.
The survey was coordinated by Three Rivers Park District in conjunction with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program and The Trumpeter Swan Society.
It is conducted every five years as part of a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) effort to determine the number of trumpeter swans in North America.
The funding for the aerial portion of the survey was provided by USFWS.
“The results are actually higher than almost everyone expected,” said Gillette. “Conditions were ideal for the survey this winter, because deep snow kept swans out of agricultural fields where they would be hard to see, and cold weather reduced the number of areas with open water.”
The final count in Minnesota was 5,362 trumpeter swans found at 20 locations in 14 counties.
In addition, some trumpeters that nest in Minnesota migrate to Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Kansas for the winter.
The estimate is that around 600 trumpeters migrate from Minnesota.
Adding these migrant swans to the number counted in Minnesota adds up to almost 6,000 birds.
However, some Minnesota swans have spilled over the border and are now nesting in the Kenora District of western Ontario.
These birds migrate back to Minnesota for the winter and are counted in the survey.
Therefore, the actual number of trumpeter swans present in Minnesota in September, 2010 is estimated at 5,500.
The population estimate in 2005 was slightly more than 2,000 trumpeters, so the population has been growing at more than 20 percent per year.
Trumpeter swans are the largest North American waterfowl.
They once nested across Minnesota but were hunted to extinction in Minnesota for their meat and feathers by the 1880s.
In 1979, Three Rivers Park District (then Hennepin County Park Reserve District) began releasing trumpeter swans in park reserves just west of Minneapolis in the first effort to restore this species to Minnesota.
The DNR Nongame Wildlife Program joined the restoration effort in the mid-1980s. DNR biologists collected eggs in Alaska, raised the chicks in captivity and released the swans at two years of age in western Minnesota.
This joint effort resulted in a spectacular wildlife restoration success story.
Trumpeter swans now nest across almost all of Minnesota and have expanded their range northward into western Ontario, Canada.