Spring light goose hunting begins March 1

Feb. 21, 2011

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Interested participants are reminded that harvest of snow geese, including blue-phased snow geese and the smaller Ross’ geese, will be allowed from Tuesday, March 1, to Sunday, April 30.

The harvest will occur under a federal conservation order that permits 24 states, including Minnesota, to allow harvest of light geese after the close of hunting seasons.

A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained through any DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.

Customers using the telephone will receive a temporary authorization number in lieu of the permit until it can be mailed to the applicant.

Customers using the Internet will be able to print their own permit when completing the transaction, and will not receive a permit by mail.

Although the permits are free, there is a $3.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit.

No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate. Permits will be available after Friday, Feb. 18.

Most regulations that apply to fall goose hunting seasons also will apply during the spring light goose season, including nontoxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations.

In addition, all refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons are also closed during the spring conservation action.

Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day.

No daily or possession limits apply.

Use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed.

The conservation order is part of an international effort to reduce by 50 percent the populations of lesser snow geese and Ross’ geese that breed in Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area.

The goal is to reduce habitat damage on the breeding grounds caused by high populations of the birds.

Minnesota has participated in the conservation order since 2000.

Minnesota’s harvest of light geese during this effort has varied dramatically from a few hundred to 6,000, depending on weather conditions.

“Minnesota is at the extreme eastern edge of the spring migration through the Midwest,” said Ray Norrgard, DNR wetland wildlife program leader. “March weather, particularly snow and ice conditions, can have a tremendous effect on the migration routes of light geese.”

A summary of regulations will be available from license vendors, online at www.mndnr.gov/waterfowl, at DNR wildlife offices, or by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

Wright County PF corn giveaway Feb. 19

The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Centra Sota have partnered to provide a corn giveaway for pheasants and wildlife Saturday, Feb. 19, from 8 to 11 a.m. at Lampi’s Auction, located at Hwy. 55 and Wright Cty. 6.

Please bring your own containers. Quantities will be limited due to demand.

For additional information, call (320) 274-CORN (2676).

If you would like to volunteer to assist with this event or any other events, contact Bruce Bartl at (763) 682-0653.

Watertown firearms safety training

Registration for Watertown firearms safety training will be Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Watertown Rod and Gun Club.

Classes will be March 24, 25, 29, 31, and April 4 and 7, with a field day being Saturday, April 9 at 8 a.m.

All classes will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For additional information, go to www.watertownFST@yahoo.com, or contact Cory (763) 218-3228 or Patrick (612) 709-1243.

Conservation officers reports from area
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers in Stearns and Wright counties.
CO Mies checked sleds and ATVs.
CO Mies helped neighboring officers with investigation.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers and snowmobile activity in Wright and Sherburne counties.
The past week started out slow with the below zero temps but the activity on area lakes and trail was high over the weekend.
Enforcement activity was taken for snowmobile trail sticker and registration violations and snowmobile speed.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) set up several firearms safety presentations.
Injured turkey and deer calls were handled.
Snowmobile trails were patrolled and areas of snowmobilers trespassing on private property continue to be a big problem. Anglers were checked all week with the best fishing on the Minnesota River for walleye and sauger.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) checked snowmobile and fishing activity on area lakes and trails.
Violations included angling with extra lines on a designated trout lake, shelter violations, no snowmobile safety training, failing to display snowmobile registration, failing to stop at road crossings, and no state trail sticker.
She also concluded a fishing license investigation where a license vendor was found to be using a shelter license of one of its customer’s without authorization.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and spearing activity.
Additional time was spent checking predator hunting, small game hunting, and trapping activity.
Hatlestad also check snowmobile and ATV activity. Time was also spent handling various big game issues.

• CO Angela Graham (Hutchinson) reports a busy week of angling and snowmobiling in the area with the warmer weather conditions.
Officer Graham was called to snowmobile and hunting trespassing complaints.
Enforcement action was taken on: angling with extra lines, no state trail sticker, and failure to display valid snowmobile registration.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a very busy week of snowmobile enforcement.
Extremely warm weather brought several snowmobilers out.
However, CO Oberg observed good compliance overall.
Enforcement action was taken for operate on inside slope of the ditch, trespass, and illegal muffler modifications.
CO Oberg also spent time checking small game hunters out enjoying the warm weather.
A call was taken regarding predator hunters driving around in packs and trespassing.
If this behavior is observed please call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.

DNR accepting comments on hunting rules
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments through March 31 on a proposal to make permanent a number of temporary hunting rules that have been in place for at least one hunting season.

The proposals cover a variety of areas pertaining to registration of game, hunter selection, and descriptions of various hunting area boundaries such as goose zones and deer area boundaries.

“Hunters have been pursuing game under many of these rules for the past several seasons,” said Jason Abraham, DNR season setting specialist. “One new rule would establish a deadline for the purchase of bear licenses by hunters who were successful in the bear license lottery.”

A copy of the proposed rules will be published in the Feb. 14 State Register and online at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/mnbookstore.asp?page=register.

A copy of the proposed rules is also available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildliferules/expedited.html

Many of the rule changes were a result of efforts to streamline regulations, reduce paperwork and modify zone boundaries to better match habitat conditions.

The rules are summarized below:

• Make a minor modification to the Lac qui Parle Controlled Hunting Zone boundary.

• Provide for registration of multiple deer in intensive and managed deer areas and allow deer registration by telephone.

• Restrict registration of antlerless deer in youth-only antlerless deer areas.

• Modify licensing procedures for bear hunting.

• Modify elk zone boundaries and establish a separate license drawing for landowners.

• Amend registration block boundaries.

• Modify otter zone boundaries and fur registration procedures.

• Modify turkey permit procedures.

• Repeal obsolete goose zone boundaries and establish the boundary of a migratory waterfowl feeding and resting area on Upper Twin Lake in Freeborn County.

Comments may be submitted to: Jason Abraham, Box 20, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55115-4020, or by e-mailing jason.abraham@state.mn.us.

DNR Commissioner outlines 25-year legacy plan for parks and trails in MN
From the DNR

With the goal of providing the next generation of Minnesotans with world-class parks and trails that connect everyone to the outdoors, a mandated 25-year strategic legacy plan was presented to the State Legislature today by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

The long-range plan outlines how funds generated from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Act (the “Legacy Amendment”) as well as other traditional funding sources should be spent for parks and trails of state and regional significance.

The vision for the plan states that in 2035, Minnesota parks and trails will create experiences that inspire a legacy of stewardship for the natural world and provide fun outdoor recreational opportunities that strengthen friendships, families, health and spirit, now and into the future.

Minnesotans will also experience the full range of benefits that outdoor recreation provides, reinforcing our state’s identity as an outdoor culture.

• Creating the plan

The DNR, working with the Citizens League, used extensive public outreach efforts over an 18-month period to develop the plan.

The efforts included a kick-off summit with recreation and conservation leaders, 17 listening workshops throughout Minnesota, outreach to more than 1,000 youth and young adults, extensive web-based input, targeted meetings with diverse racial and ethnic groups, and four final public review workshops, along with additional web-based review of the draft plan.

Seven DNR-led teams of recreation and conservation professionals used this public input and developed 10-year strategies.

Four areas, which are grounded in what DNR officials heard from the public, serve as the heart of the plan.

They are:
• Connect people and the outdoors – better develop Minnesota’s stewards of tomorrow through connection strategies that increase life-long participation in parks and trails.
• Acquire land, create opportunities – create new and expanded park and trail opportunities to satisfy current customers as well as to reach out to new ones.
• Take care of what we have – provide safe, high-quality park and trail experiences by regular re-investment in park and trail infrastructure.
• Coordinate among partners – enhance coordination across the large and complex network of public, private, and nonprofit partners that support Minnesota’s parks and trails to ensure seamless, enjoyable park and trail experiences for Minnesotans.

The plan also establishes guidelines for making future parks and trails legacy plan funding decisions, which include:

• Achieve big, tangible outcomes that make a long-term difference.
• Take a balanced approach to supporting a range of parks and trails needs – from acquisition, to development, to taking care of what we have, to restoration, to programming and marketing.
• Understand regional differences – the needs, priorities, resources and existing infrastructure vary greatly across Minnesota.

The DNR worked with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Changing Landscapes, which developed a parks and trails inventory and framework to support and inform this plan.

The inventory and framework are posted at http://ccl.design.umn.edu/mnpat.html.

In 2008, Minnesotans passed the Clean Water Land and Legacy Act (the “Legacy Amendment”).

It is funded by a 3/8 percent increase in the state sales tax.

State and regional parks and trails receive 14.25 percent of the funds generated from the Legacy Amendment.

The 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan is available at www.legacy.leg.mn/funds/parks-trails-fund/plan.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Not every bird species migrates from Minnesota to warmer climates down south before winter sets in; some stay behind.

Is there anything that can be done to help these brave birds survive winter?

A: An easy plan for winter bird feeding is to provide three main choices of food: large seeds, small seeds and suet.

Black-oil sunflower seeds and cardinal mixes have the greatest appeal to the broadest variety of winter birds and contain a high-energy content.

Water is a critical ingredient of a winter-feeding program.

There are excellent birdbaths with heating elements and thermostats available from bird feeding supply stores.

The heated water is primarily for drinking.

Don’t worry about birds freezing if they bathe on a cold winter day because native song birds seem smart enough not to bathe when the wind chill is 40 below.

For more information on winter bird feeding, check out the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov/birdfeeding/winter/index.html