Sign up now for a firearms safety hunter education class

April 4, 2011

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Now is the time for people to sign up for a firearms safety hunting education class offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Instructors from throughout the state are calling in right now to set up spring classes, so this is the time to get your son or daughter registered before the fall hunting seasons begin,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education coordinator..

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979 must take a DNR safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before purchasing a license for big or small game.

“Every year we have hopeful hunters who wait until the last minute to take a hunter safety class only to find out they have missed their opportunity to do so,” Hammer said. “Usually we are able to work them into a class somewhere, but every year there are a few who simply cannot hunt because they do not have hunter safety certification.”

Also, hunters frequently encounter problems when they hunt states where more stringent hunter education requirements are required.

For example, Colorado requires a hunter education certificate for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1949, and neighboring states such as North Dakota and Iowa have requirements for those born after 1961 and 1967.

Hunters who have lost their certificate or have questions about certification for other states, should get a firearms safety certificate in hand now so they won’t miss the opportunity to hunt in Minnesota or take that trip of a lifetime to another state this fall, Hammer said.

Spring classes are currently available around the state but fill-up fast.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov, call (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

45 years of trapshooting

Along with extensive remodeling of the interior of the clubhouse, and a grand opening event scheduled for sometime very soon, the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will also be celebrating it’s 45th year of trapshooting in 2011.

Thinking about it, that’s a pretty big deal.

Just consider all the changes that have occurred in the market area – more houses, less space, fewer hunters, just to name a few.

Then consider all the hours of volunteer help that keep a non-profit trapshooting operation running for 40-plus years.

With that in mind, I’d like to take this space to congratulate the Lester Club and all of our local sportsmen’s clubs for the work they have done and the opportunities they have provided to make the quality of our lives in Minnesota’s great outdoors better.

If your interested in trapshooting at the Lester Prairie club call (320) 395-2258.

Firearms safety classes in Winsted

The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will be offering firearms’ safety classes starting Monday, April 11.

The classes will run from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at the Blue Note in Winsted, and is for anyone 12-years-old or older by Sept. 1, 2011. Adults are welcome.

The class will run for three weeks, and you sign up at the first meeting April 11.

The cost is $10 with checks made payable to the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club.

If you have questions, contact Steve Fiecke at (320) 485-2434 anytime after 4 p.m.

Youth trapshooting registration at the Buffalo Gun Club

The Buffalo Gun Club Youth Trapshooting Program (BGCYP) is getting ready to start.

BGCYP registration will take place Tuesday, April 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Gun Club (located on Hwy 55 E just past Target).

Created in 2007, the BGCYP provides youth shooters an opportunity to learn the sport of trapshooting in a safe, positive learning environment.

The program is headed by Coach Mark Stevens, an ATA/NRA Certified Shotgun Coach, and co-recipient of the Amateur Trapshooting Association’s 2008 Coach of the Year award.

Together with BGC President Wally Shelstad and a group of dedicated volunteers, including several ATA/NRA registered coaches, more than 135 youth shooters have attended the program since its inception.

This year the BGCYP is once again proud to partner with AIM, the official youth program of the Amateur Trapshooting Association.

The purpose of AIM is to provide a safe and positive experience with firearms and registered trapshooting for youth, elementary school through college age.

AIM encourages good sportsmanship and personal responsibility through competition while establishing the foundation to make trapshooting a lifelong avocation.

A limited number of spots are available for youth shooters and attendance at the registration night is mandatory.
Minimum age to participate is 11 years old.

Thanks to a generous donation by the Wright County Friends of the NRA, BLESS (Brandon Lanie Ethical Sportsmen Society), as well as individual donors, the cost to participate is only $150/youth shooter.

This includes 10 weeks of instruction with two rounds of trap per week, twenty boxes of shotgun shells, instruction both in and out of the classroom, and more.

The program is held each Tuesday, beginning April 26, 2011 with a mandatory gun safety and trapshooting education class.

Many other voluntary opportunities for competition are available, including participation at the Minnesota State Shoot in July and five youth-specific trapshooting competitions.

For more information please check out the website at www.buffalogunclubyouth.org or call Coach Stevens at (612) 703-6155.

Wavery Gun Club upcoming events

The Waverly Gun Club will be hosting Ladies Night along with a conceal and carry training.

For more information or to register, call Kevin at (763) 242-4553.

The Waverly Gub Club is at 4465 DeSota Ave. SW, Waverly.

• Ladies Night begins Tuesday, May 10, and will continue the second Tuesday of every month.

It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and will go on rain or shine. You may shoot from the comfort of a shelter.

You may bring your own center fire handgun and ammunition, if you prefer, otherwise .22 cal. pistols, rifles, targets, and ammuntion are provided at no charge.

A NRA-Certified Range Safety Officer will be present on the shooting line, with instruction available upon request.

Targets for hanguns will be from 7 to 25 yards out, with rifle targets at 50 yards.

• Conceal and carry training will be Monday, April 18 and Wednesday, April 20.

Both nights will run from 6 to 10 p.m., with the class taking a total of eight hours.

This course fulfills the required training to apply for a Minnesota handgun “permit to carry.”

The cost of the class is $100 for the eight total hours, and will conclude with a range instruction/practice/skills test, and a written test.

The course will go over firearm safety, firearms and the law, an introduction to defensive shooting, and basic defensive handgun skills.

Habitat Day in Litchfield April 9

Everyone is welcome to attend Habitat Day, a free event in Litchfield, Saturday, April 9 from noon to 4 p.m.

Participants may build a birdhouse or wood duck box at the event.

The Raptor Center in St. Paul will present, with live birds from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session from 3 to 4 p.m.

The Wildlife Wizard will be on hand to quiz children and adults on wildlife and habitat of the area.

Crow River Organization of Water (CROW) will staff a booth at the event. There will be several other booths displaying items, as well.

The event will take place at Litchfield Wetland Management, located at 22274 615th Avenue in Litchfield.

This event is sponsored by Litchfield Wetland Management, CRWO, Litchfield Civic Arena, and David Johnson (the Branding Man).

Bear hunt applications open April 1, new rule sets purchasing deadline
From the DNR

Applications for this fall’s bear hunt will be accepted beginning Friday, April 1, at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) license agent and online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

New this year is a requirement that hunters who are selected in the annual lottery purchase their licenses by Friday, July 29.

The remaining licenses can be made available to other hunters.

Applications for this year’s bear hunt, which runs from Thursday, Sept. 1, to Sunday, Oct. 16, will be accepted through Friday, May 6.

Applications also are available at the DNR License Center in St. Paul or by phone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 7,050 licenses are available in 11 permit areas.

Although almost 2,500 fewer bear licenses are available this year over last year’s total of 9,500, the drop isn’t as dramatic as it appears, said Dan Stark, DNR wildlife specialist.

Until this year, DNR adjusted the number of licenses available upward because about 30 percent of successful applicants did not purchase a license.

By implementing the purchasing deadline and allowing unclaimed licenses to be sold, the number of licenses is expected to better reflect the actual number of bear hunters.

“Historically, unclaimed licenses went unused because only successful lottery applicants could buy them,” Stark said.
In 2010, 7,086 hunters actually purchased a license.

Those hunters were chosen from a pool of 18,647 applicants for the available 9,500 permit area licenses.

Hunters harvested a total of 2,699 bears.

Following the July 29 deadline, anyone who applied for a license but was not selected may purchase any remaining licenses starting at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

If licenses still remain, any hunters who did not participate in the lottery may purchase a license starting at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Bear licenses cost $38 for residents and $200 for nonresidents.

The bag limit is two bears in the no-quota area and one bear in all quota permit areas.

Stark said bear harvest goals remain essentially unchanged from the 2010 season, with the exception of permit area 24.

In this area, hunter numbers will be reduced to allow the black bear population to increase.

Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Now is the time for Minnesota residents to contribute to the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund.

What is this money used for and how does it help wildlife?

A: Donations made to this fund are used by the DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program for a number of comprehensive statewide efforts to help protect and manage the state’s “nongame” wildlife species.

These species include more than 800 kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies and select invertebrates that are not traditionally hunted or harvested.

Funds are also used to implement conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species; to acquire land and easements to protect habitat, manage prairies, forests and wetlands and create buffer zones along lakeshores; to support educational programs; and to assist private landowners and local governments with habitat management.

The specific species that have benefited from these efforts to date are loons, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, eastern bluebirds, Blanding’s turtles, bats, timber rattlesnakes, great blue herons and other colonial water birds like egrets and grebes.

Contribute to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund on your 2010 Minnesota tax form, or go online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/checkoff.html.