Buy a walleye stamp, support stocking

April 25, 2011

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Anglers who want to support Minnesota’s walleye stocking program can do so by simply purchasing a walleye stamp wherever Minnesota fishing licenses are sold.

More than 32,000 anglers bought the stamp in 2010.

Stamp sale proceeds were used to purchase 200,000 walleye fingerlings from the private sector for stocking and improve an important walleye rearing pond.

“When you purchase a stamp, your voluntary contribution goes into a dedicated account for walleye stocking,” said C.B. Bylander, outreach section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The account is used to support the state’s rearing and transportation of walleye and the purchase of walleye from certified private producers.”

Legendary walleye angler Al Lindner is helping the DNR promote the 2011 walleye stamp, reminding anglers, “Hook a Minnesota walleye stamp. It’s a great catch!”

A walleye stamp validation costs $5.

For $2 more, the DNR will mail the actual stamp to anglers as a collector’s item.

This year’s stamp was created by artist Stuart Nelson of Cloquet, who painted a walleye about to strike a leech and jig.

A walleye stamp is not required to fish for or keep walleye.

“It’s never too late to snag a walleye stamp,” Bylander said. “They are available year-round and can be purchased days, weeks or even months after you’ve bought your fishing license.”

LP firearms safety classes coming up

Firearm Safety Class will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Tuesday, April 26 in Lester Prairie.

The class is open to ages 11 and up and will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club.

If you have any questions or want to sign up, call Doug Minnick at (320) 395-2143 or (320) 224-5942.

Wavery Gun Club upcoming events

The Waverly Gun Club will be hosting a number of classes and evnets in the upcoming weeks and months.

A complete list of the upcoming action at the Waverly Cub Club is listed below.

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

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

• Youth trap league

Open to the public, youth trap league begins today (Monday), and will be every Monday at 6:30 p.m. until July 9.

Shotguns, ammo, and targets are provided.

• Merchandise shoot

Merchandise shot will be Sunday, May 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Summer trap league

The summer trap league will begin Thursday, May 5 with individuals nad teams welcome.

Visit the web site www.waverliygunclub.org for more information.

• Handgun league

The handgun league is open to the public and will take place all four Wednesdays in May starting May 4 and ending May 25.

The league runs from 5 to 8 p.m., and there are five classes – you may shoot in as many as you like.

The cost is $15 per gun per class, which covers all four nights.

You must supply your own ammo with 30 rounds needed per gun.

League shooting is at 25 yards, and any leagal handgun is allowed.

For additional information, contact Russ Johnson at (763) 218-7376.

• Youth ATA shoot

The youth ATA shoot will be Saturday, May 14 starting at 9 a.m.

It is open to any youth, a 12-gauge shotgun will be used, and costs do apply.

• 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.

For additional information on ladies night contact Al Moy (612) 889-4423, Ken Reinert (612) 308-9259, or Russ Johnson (612) 218-7376.

DNR adds more counties to burning restrictions list
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that 16 more counties will be placed under burning restrictions, beginning on April 22 at 8 a.m.

These restrictions are put in place each spring to reduce the occurrence of wildfires, which can damage homes and other personal property.

The counties include: Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass in its entirety, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk east of Highway 6 and south of Highway 92, Roseau, and St Louis south of a line between townships 55 and 56 North. This line runs west/east from the towns of Silica to Central Lakes to Brimson.

Last week, 19 other counties in the central part of the state began burning restrictions. With the warmer weather, extremely fast snow melt continues throughout much of central and northern Minnesota.

It is anticipated that the five remaining northernmost counties will go under restrictions prior to the end of April.

Restrictions will remain in effect until the threat of wildfires decreases.

“Until the growth of new grass appears, humidity begins to climb to summertime levels and we receive adequate precipitation, restrictions will remain in place,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor. “This could take six weeks or more. Many small fires have already popped up due to the dead vegetation that is everywhere this time of year.”

Burning restrictions reduce dramatically the number of human-caused wildfires, which account for more than 98 percent of all wildfires requiring a DNR response.

Lightning fires account for less than two percent and normally occur during drought conditions – usually during the summer and fall – when thunderstorms are more prevalent.

Campfires are still allowed and never require a burning permit.

These fires must be kept to 3 feet in diameter, be no higher than 3 feet tall, and must be attended at all times.

World’s largest fisheries organization recognizes MN’s aquatic education
From the DNR

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) has selected MinnAqua, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) aquatic education program, for its 2010 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project Award in the aquatic education program category.

MinnAqua is part of the outreach section of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division. The program received the award for its “Fishing: Get In The Habitat!” curriculum and the accompanying quarterly newsletter, “MinnAqua Moments”, which helps educators implement the curriculum in their classrooms.

The award draws national attention to the importance and effectiveness of the Sport Fish Restoration program, and acknowledges excellence in fisheries management, research and education.

“The curriculum and newsletter are tools that help us accomplish our mission with help from others,” said Jenifer Wical, MinnAqua program supervisor. “Our users say it best.”

“Please know that I greatly appreciate this piece of work as a teacher and as a teacher of teachers,” said Randee Edmundson, program development manager for Eco Education. This St. Paul-based organization fosters within young people the appreciation, knowledge, values and skills necessary to inspire ecologically sound decisions and actions. “It has such depth and flexibility, making it a grand resource that is timeless.”

AFS is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science and conserving fisheries resources.

Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Sport Fish Restoration program in Minnesota reimburses state dollars with excise tax revenue from fishing equipment and motor boat fuel sales.

Information about MinnAqua and its activities are available online at mndnr.gov/minnaqua.

Uppper Red Lake’s mid-season slot adjustment remains for 2011
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that regulations allowing Upper Red Lake anglers to keep larger walleye after June 15 will be in effect again for the 2011 open water season.

From Saturday, May 14, through Tuesday, June 14, anglers must release all walleye 17-to 26-inches long.

Effective Wednesday, June 15, anglers may keep walleye up to 20 inches and must immediately release all walleye 20-to 26-inches long.

During both time periods, anglers can possess no more than four fish and only one of those fish can be longer than 26 inches.

The walleye size limit is programmed to revert back to the 17- to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1 for the winter angling season. The possession limit will remain at four fish.

“This will be the third open water season with the same mid-season slot adjustment and anglers are becoming accustomed to it,” said Gary Barnard, DNR Bemidji Area Fisheries supervisor.
“That factored heavily into the Upper Red Lake Citizens Advisory Committee recommendation for this option.”

The more restrictive size limit remains necessary for the early season when angler catch rates are high and mature spawning walleye are extremely vulnerable.

During the first month of the season, anglers must sort for smaller “keeper” size males and immature walleye.

As the open water season progresses, catch rates and fishing pressure decline, reducing the impact of harvesting larger walleye.

The adjustment back to a more restrictive size limit in winter is necessary due to consistently higher ice fishing pressure than open water periods.

“This regulation package, which has been very popular with anglers and local businesses, has been effective in managing walleye harvest within established safe harvest levels,” Barnard said.

Volunteers ad $8.1 million in value to DNR
From the DNR

Nearly 30,000 citizens donated services valued at $8.1 million during 2010 to assist the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in accomplishing its conservation mission through a variety of projects and programs.

That’s the equivalent of an extra 186 full-time staff.

DNR managers, professionals and technicians work alongside volunteers to help manage the state’s diverse natural resources.

“We’re fortunate to have so many dedicated Minnesotans who are willing to donate their time and talents for conservation projects,” said Renée Vail, DNR volunteer programs administrator. “We’re extremely grateful for their efforts. Many of our projects would not be possible without their help.”

Volunteer positions can range from specialist jobs requiring extensive skill and experience to work requiring little or no previous experience.

For example, following his love for the outdoors and fishing, Guy Schmidt of Lino Lakes contacted DNR Fisheries several years ago to volunteer his services.

For the past two years, this Centennial High School student has assisted the DNR in a variety of traditional activities working at least one day a week from early April to late August.

In the spring, Schmidt performed fish culture duties.

That job includes hatching eggs, disinfecting hatchery rearing units and equipment, weighing and applying dry diet for juvenile fish, and calculating fish growth rates.

The DNR is encouraged that there are young individuals like Schmidt who not only possess a real passion for natural resources, but who are willing to give of themselves and participate in conservation activities.

See Schmidt in action on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/volunteering/meet.html.

• Variety of opportunities

Volunteer opportunities are available at state parks, state forest campgrounds, wildlife management areas, fisheries and hatcheries, as well as at DNR area, regional and headquarters offices.

Special event sites offer great volunteer experiences too.

More than 700 volunteers assisted the DNR at the Minnesota State Fair last August.

They acted as Smokey Bear, helped at the laser shot booth and archery range, dispensed lake data reports and provided entertainment and environmental education presentations on the DNR volunteer outdoor stage.

Elsewhere around the state, volunteers helped with firearms safety instruction, wildlife habitat improvement, river cleanups, state park campground hosting, loon monitoring, trail clearing, precipitation observing, issuing burning permits and doing wildlife research.

For more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov and click on the word “volunteering,” or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367.

State conservation officers honored
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Enforcement has named Greg Abraham its 2010 conservation officer (CO) of the year.

The 30-year DNR employee who works out of the New Ulm station, is a proven leader, distinguished marksman, exceptionally skilled investigator and standout officer, said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement director.

“He’s among one of the most hard-working, motivated self-starters I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and he deserves this award,” said Konrad.

Abraham’s career is filled with accomplishments that meet and exceed the expectations of a CO.

“Considering the very high caliber of officers in this outfit, and the storied history of previous recipients, this comes as an unexpected and humbling honor,” said Abraham.

Other conservation officers honored for 2010 activities included:

• COs Gary Nordseth of Worthington and Alex Gutierrez of Forest Lake received the Education Achievement Award for their work with in conducting a Hispanic Firearms Safety program in the Worthington area.

The award recognizes an officer based on overall career performance with emphasis on involvement in the division’s education programs; support and involvement with volunteer instructors; and educational efforts through the media and special presentations.

• CO Rick Reller of Buffalo received the Waterfowl Enforcement Achievement Award.

The annual award is presented to a conservation officer dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s natural resources, serving the public and preserving our waterfowl heritage.

• CO David Schottenbauer of Princeton received the Willard Munger Wetland Achievement Award.

The award is named after the long-time legislator who died in 1999 leaving a 43-year record of extraordinary environmental activism to the people of Minnesota.

• CO Jackie Glaser of Mound received the Boat and Water Safety Achievement Award.

The honor is based on demonstrated leadership abilities and outstanding achievements in boating safety education, Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) enforcement, and service to other law enforcement agencies.

These annual awards recognize the work conservation officers perform while enforcing natural resources and recreational laws designed to protect Minnesota’s water supply, to promote personal safety and to ensure healthy game and fish populations.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Woodpeckers can be seen mistaking the side of a house for a tree occasionally. Why is this? Is there anything homeowners can do to keep the birds from drilling a hole in their homes?

A: Woodpeckers drill holes in the side of homes for several reasons.

Sometimes they are after insects and larvae found in and under the home’s siding.

Other times woodpeckers are pecking to attract a mate, make a hole for a nesting spot or to establish a territory.

There are some effective techniques for discouraging woodpeckers.

Bird scare tape or bird scare balloons are two helpful products, and can be purchased at stores that sell bird feed.

The DNR also has a packet containing helpful tips and other information for homeowners with woodpecker problems.

To obtain a copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Woodpecker Packet, Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.