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Firearms class to begin at Watertown Rod and Gun Club

June 27, 2011

by Chris Schultz

Registration is set from 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, July 30 at the Watertown Rod and Gun Club for firearms safety training.

Class dates are Aug. 1, 2, 4 and 5 with class from 6 to 9 p.m. each day. Field day will be Saturday, Aug. 6 at 8 a.m.

For more information, contact Patrick at (612) 709-1243 or Cory at (763) 218-3228.

Wavery Gun Club upcoming events

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

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

For more information, contact Al Moy (612) 889-4423; Ken Reinert (612) 308-9259; or Russ Johnson (763) 218-7376.

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

• Youth trap league

The youth trap league is open to the public, and has begun.

It runs every Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. until Monday, July 9.

Shotguns, ammo, and targets are provided.

• Summer trap league

The summer trap league has started, and individuals and teams are still welcome.

For additional information, visit the website www.waverlygunclub.org.

• Ladies only night

The ladies only night is open to the public, and no membership is required.

It takes place the second Tuesday of every month through October, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Ammo, targets, .22 cal pistols, and rifles are provided at no charge.

You may bring your own center fire handgun and ammunition, if you prefer.

A NRA-certified range safety officer will be present on the shooting line, and instruction is available upon request.

Rain or shine, shoot from the comfort of a shelter.

Handguns at seven to 25 yards, and rifles at 50 yards.

Minnesota’s Operation Dry Water part of nationwide effort to curb drunk boating
From the DNR

Looking forward to relaxing on the boat this weekend with that ice chest full of cold beer? Better think again. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers and county sheriff’s deputies will be participating in Operation Dry Water on June 24-26.

It is part of a national weekend of boating-under-the-influence (BUI) detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities. A goal is to foster a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.

The enforcement push will include boater education, and increased patrols looking for boat operators whose blood alcohol concentration exceeds the .08 limit.

“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. “But we’d much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they’re never coming back.”

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can also increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion, which are “stressors” common to the boating environment, intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Thirty-percent of Minnesota boating fatalities in 2010 involved the use of alcohol. Impaired boaters who are caught can expect severe penalties, including heavy fines, loss of boat operating privileges and even jail time. Convictions go on a person’s auto driving record and insurance policy.

“We want people to have fun while boating,” Konrad said. “But BUI is a leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents. We recommend that people avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while boating. We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on Minnesota waters.”

Curbing the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating. Last summer, agencies and organizations from all 50 states and six U.S. territories participated in the Operation Dry Water weekend. During that three-day weekend there were 66,472 boaters contacted by law enforcement, 322 BUI arrests, and 4,171 citations and 7,522 warnings issued for safety violations. This included six BUI arrests in Minnesota.

This year, all states are expected to participate. In Minnesota, Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the Minnesota DNR, Minnesota county sheriffs’ offices, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard.

OPERATION DRY WATER 2011 FACT SHEET

* Operation Dry Water was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the United States Coast Guard. It has been a highly successful effort to draw public attention to the hazards of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) of alcohol and drugs. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has taken part in the program since its inception.

* Held in June just prior to the 4th of July holiday, Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of BUI detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities, and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.

* Operation Dry Water is coordinated by NASBLA, in partnership with the states, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies.

* In 2010, all 50 States and six U.S. Territories participated in Operation Dry Water. Over that three-day weekend there were 40,127 vessels and 66,472 boaters contacted by law enforcement, 322 BUI arrests made, and 4,171 citations and 7,522 warnings issued for safety violations. This includes six BUI arrests made in Minnesota.

About BUI:

* In Minnesota, about 30 percent of fatal boating accidents have some alcohol involvement.

* Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher is against both federal and Minnesota law.

* Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.

* Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion – “stressors” common to the boating environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

* Alcohol consumption can result in an inner ear disturbance that can make it impossible for a person suddenly immersed in water to distinguish up from down.

* Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than for drivers, since most boaters have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car. Minnesota boaters average only about 60 hours of boating per year.

* A three-year field evaluation by the Southern California Research Institute recently validated a battery of tests for marine use that are now the basis for efforts to implement a National Marine Field Sobriety Test standard.

* Combined with chemical tests using blood, breath and urine samples, these validated ashore and afloat tests give marine law enforcement officers an impressive arsenal in their ongoing efforts to enforce BUI laws.

* Persons found to be Boating Under the Influence can expect to incur severe penalties. If a boat operator is BUI, the voyage may be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be arrested. Penalties can include fines, jail time, loss of motorboat operating privileges, and under some circumstances, the forfeiture of the boat and trailer.

* In addition to the above penalties, persons who refuse testing will also be subject to a separate and more severe criminal charge for refusal and loss of their motorboat operating privileges for one year.

* Alcohol is also dangerous for passengers. Intoxication can lead to slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents.

* It is illegal in every state and territory to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Other Boating Safety Facts:

* Almost three-fourths of those who die in boating accidents drown; most of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket.

Watch roadways in June and July for swans
From the DNR

People who encounter a white, four-foot-tall bird walking down a road are asked to give it the right-of-way, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Trumpeter swan families with newly hatched young will sometimes cross highways or rest on the shoulders of highways that border their nesting marshes. They are at risk of being hit by vehicles, so people are asked to be on the lookout for the swans.

Once nearly extinct, trumpeter swans are making a comeback in Minnesota. In the 1930s, there were only 69 birds in existence. Today, through the work of many agencies and organizations, and generous donations from Minnesota taxpayers to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund, there are nearly 5,500 trumpeter swans in Minnesota alone.

During June and July, however, the birds are particularly vulnerable. Adults temporarily lose their primary wing feathers in a process called molting, and the young, called cygnets, have not grown flight feathers. It may not be unusual to see a family of swans walking, quite simply, because they cannot fly. By September the swan families will be able to take to the air.

The trumpeter swan is easy to identify. The large, white, long-necked birds have black bills and feet, and necks that are nearly as long as their bodies. Adults stand four feet tall, can weigh 30 pounds and have a wingspan up to eight feet across. Cygnets are silvery gray and have pinkish and gray bills.

Watch for trumpeter swans, especially on roadways that go through marshes and swampy areas. Drivers who see trumpeter swans or other animals on the road are asked to slow down and when safety permits, drive around them.

People should not try to assist or chase them, or to pick-up or hold cygnets, according to the DNR.

People who happen upon a trumpeter swan that is dead or obviously injured should contact a local DNR conservation officer or Lori Naumann at DNR, 651-259-5148. More information on trumpeter swans is available online.

Ruffed grouse counts still high; sharp-tail count decreases slightly
From the DNR

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were higher than last year across most of the bird’s range, according to a report released by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The grouse population is probably still near the high end of the 10-year cycle because drumming counts this spring were between the values observed during 2009 and 2010,” said Mike Larson, DNR research scientist and grouse biologist.

“Drum counts from the last three years haven’t followed the same smooth pattern as during the previous two peaks in the cycle, but relatively small changes in the index may be due to factors other than the density of grouse.”

Those factors could include weather, habitat conditions, observer ability and grouse behavior.

Ruffed grouse populations, which tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions.

This year observers recorded 1.7 drums per stop statewide. The averages during 2009 and 2010 were 2.0 and 1.5 drums per stop, respectively. Counts vary from about 0.8 drums per stop during years of low grouse abundance to about 1.9 during years of high abundance.

Changes in drumming counts compared to those during 2010 were not statistically significant. The averages, however, increased 18 percent in the northeast survey region, the core and bulk of grouse range in Minnesota, to 1.9 drums per stop. They also increased 16 percent to 2.1 drums per stop in the northwest and 32 percent to 0.4 drums per stop in the southeast. Grouse counts decreased 17 percent to 0.8 drums per stop in the central hardwoods region.

Minnesota frequently is the nation’s top ruffed grouse producer. On average, 115,000 hunters harvest 545,000 ruffed grouse in Minnesota each year, making it the state’s most popular game bird.

During the peak years of 1971 and 1989, hunters harvested more than 1 million ruffed grouse. Michigan and Wisconsin, which frequently field more hunters than Minnesota, round out the top three states in ruffed grouse harvest.

One reason for the Minnesota’s status as a top grouse producer is an abundance of aspen and other ruffed grouse habitat, much of it located on county, state and national forests, where public hunting is allowed. An estimated 11.5 million of the state’s 16.3 million acres of forest are grouse habitat.

For the past 62 years, DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations. This year,
DNR staff and cooperators from 15 organizations surveyed 125 routes across the state.

Sharp-tailed grouse counts decrease slightly

Sharp-tailed grouse counts in the northwest survey region decreased approximately 16 percent between 2010 and 2011, Larson said. Counts in the east-central region declined approximately 18 percent.

Observers look for male sharp-tails displaying on traditional mating areas, called leks or dancing grounds.

This year’s statewide average of 10.2 grouse counted per dancing ground was similar to the long-term average since 1980. Last year’s average of 10.7 grouse per dancing ground was down from the 2009 average of 13.6, which was as high as during any year since 1980.

During the last 25 years, the sharp-tailed grouse index has been as low as seven birds counted per dancing ground.

Warm weather brings out fawns, bears and beavers; DNR urges people to leave them alone
From the DNR

With the arrival of warm weather when wildlife is active, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to leave fawns and other wildlife alone. The DNR offers tips for dealing with nuisance wildlife.

DEER

A doe’s method of rearing offspring is different from a human’s, especially for the first few weeks. Within hours of birth, the fawn is led to a secluded spot and the doe lets it nurse.

With a full stomach, the fawn is content to lie down and rest. If the doe has twins, it will hide the second fawn up to 200 feet away. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot. In four or five hours, she will return to feed her young and take them to a new hiding place. They follow this pattern for two to three weeks, and only then, when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators, do the young travel much with their mother.

Deer have evolved a number of special adaptations that make this approach to fawn rearing successful. Fawns have almost no odor, so predators cannot smell them. Their white spotted coats provide excellent camouflage when they are lying on the forest floor. For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their protective coloration.

Older fawns remain motionless until they think they have been discovered, and then jump and bound away. A deer’s primary protection from predators is its great speed. Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators, so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection.

Although these adaptations work well against predators, they don’t work very well with people. For the first few weeks, a fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon on it.

What’s the right way to handle an encounter with a fawn? Never try to catch it. If it’s hiding, admire it for a moment and then quietly walk away. Enjoy the memory, but don’t describe the location to others. If the fawn tries to follow, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down, and then walk away. That’s what its mother does when she doesn’t want the fawn to follow.

Leaving fawns alone gives them the best chance for survival.

BEARS

Black bear sows are raising young and are hungry. Hungry bears are not averse to taking advantage of food found in bird feeders, garbage containers and barbecues. If a bear becomes a problem at a home, the first approach should be to remove the source of food such as bird feeders and put garbage inside secure garages.

People who see a bear should stay indoors. Bears are generally afraid of humans, but can be unpredictable. Landowners who are troubled by nuisance bears should remove the attractant. If the bear remains in the area for more than a day or two, contact the local area wildlife office for additional suggestions.

BEAVER

Landowners have the authority to remove from their property beavers that are causing damage. With a permit from a conservation officer, beaver trappers can also remove nuisance beavers outside of the beaver season. Before contacting the local conservation officer, consider wrapping shoreline trees in chicken wire fence. The beaver will not chew through the fence, thus preserving the tree.

If a beaver dam structure affects property, DNR authorization is required to remove it. A device called a Clemson Leveler could be installed to maintain water flow through the dam. A lake association or watershed district should work with the DNR to ensure usefulness and proper installation.