The 26th annual McLeod County Pheasants Forever Spring Banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at the commercial building at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.
The program begins at 4 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m., and special events following at 7 p.m.
The deadline for reservations is Friday, March 16.
There will be $25,000 in prizes given away at the banquet.
All profits raised will be spent in McLeod County.
Cost to attend the banquet ranges from $55 to $100.
To register, or for additional information, either call (320) 587-0052 or visit www.McLeodPF.org.
Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner
Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Saturday, March 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Options for the dinner include steak and shrimp combo ($13), steak ($11), smoked pork chop ($10), six shrimp ($9), and ribeye ($15).
Each meal includes baked potato, tossed salad, bread, dessert, and coffee or milk.
Reservations need to be made by Friday, March 9 before 6 p.m., and be called in to the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877 or to Jim Richardson at (320) 395-2721.
Youth Wood Duck Building Day March 24
The annual Youth Wood Duck Building Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 24.
The event will take place at Burns Excavating Shop, kiddy corner to the southwest of the Hollywood Sports Complex located in Hollywood Township.
There will be a kid’s laser shoot, an archery range, and food and drink.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There are enough kits cut out to build 220 houses this year.
If anyone is interested in helping out, or would like additional information on the event, contact Chip Hentges at email@example.com, or at (952) 200-3176.
Conceal and carry class at Waverly Gun Club
The Waverly Gun Club will be hosting conceal and carry classes Monday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 21.
For additional information, contact Kevin at (763) 242-4553.
Watertown firearms safety training
Watertown firearms safety training is coming up.
Class registration is Saturday, March 10, from 10 am. to noon, at the Watertown Rod and Gun Club.
Class dates are March 13, 15, 22, 23, 27, and 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m..
Field day will be Saturday, March 31, at 8 a.m.
For additional information, contact Cory at (612) 218-3228, or at WatertownFST@yahoo.com.
Wright County PF banquet March 26
The Wright County Pheasants Forever chapter will host its 27th annual banquet at the Buffalo Civic Center Monday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m.
The chapter has been active since 1984 and has contributed over $1 million to conservation and education projects within Wright county and Minnesota.
The banquet this year will include a silent auction, live auction, assorted raffles, and games for all ages.
According to Chapter President Brandon Murhpy, “We have great prizes and auction items this year, including a 3-day/4-night pheasant hunt in South Dakota. More importantly, all of the funds raised at the banquet will be put to good use promoting conservation and education within Wright County and across Minnesota.”
If you would like more information about attending the banquet or providing a sponsorship, contact Bruce Bartl at (763) 682-0653, visit the website at www.wrightcountypf.org, or via facebook at www.facebook.com/wright county pheasants forever chapter #95.
Time to sign up for DNR hunter education class
From the DNR
Now is prime time to sign for a Firearms Safety Hunter Education Class offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator.
“Now is the time for people to register for a class if they want to hunt this fall and need to complete a Firearms Safety Hunter Education class to be eligible to hunt,” Hammer said. “There are lots of dates and locations around the state to choose from this spring.”
Classes are taught by DNR certified volunteers in their local communities, typically in the spring and early fall.
To become certified, students attend both classroom and field instruction sessions.
The course provides students with basic safe firearms handling skills, wildlife identification, outdoor skills, and responsibilities that accompany hunting and firearms use.
To find a class, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/firearms/index.html#calendar or call (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.
Want to help frogs during leap year? Call the MN DNR
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program is looking for volunteers to participate in its ongoing Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey.
The survey is part of the nationwide North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.
“Without the dedication of generous volunteers, this project would not be possible,” explained Rich Baker of the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program. “Many frog and toad species are indicators of habitat quality and provide valuable information on the condition of Minnesota’s wetlands.”
New volunteers receive a kit that includes a CD of calls by Minnesota’s frog and toad species, a poster of Minnesota’s frogs and toads, a map of a predefined route in an area of their choice.
Route availability and past survey results are on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/frogtoad_survey/index.html, as are directions on how to run the route.
A vehicle is required to travel between stops.
Participants will conduct nighttime “listening surveys” on three evenings per year between April and July.
These 10-stop routes are run after dark, in good weather, and in each of the following time periods to capture seasonal variation in calling frog species: April 15 - 30, May 20 - June 5, and June 25 - July 10.
Participants will record their information on datasheets provided in their volunteer kit.
Help is needed statewide, but especially in southwestern Minnesota.
Those interested should choose a route and then call Heidi Cyr, survey volunteer coordinator, at (651) 259-5107, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the continued support of Minnesotans who volunteer their time and donate to the Wildlife Checkoff on their state income tax returns, the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program will be able to perform more than 60 surveys and research studies this year that will help keep Minnesota a state rich in wildlife resources.
Apply now for summer jobs with Conservation Corps Minnesota
From the DNR
High school youth may apply until April 20 for one of 130 positions available with the Conservation Corps Minnesota summer conservation work program.
“Participants can expect to work hard on projects such as trail construction, erosion control, bridge and boardwalk building, and invasive exotic plant removal,” said Eric Antonson, youth programs director for Conservation Corps Minnesota.
Youth ages 15-18 will be based for four weeks at a residential program site in central Minnesota.
They will travel in crews led by staff members to various state and federal lands to camp out and work on conservation projects.
The majority of projects occur in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The outdoor residential nature of the Summer Youth Corps provides a unique opportunity for youth to develop and strengthen leadership skills, work ethic, camping skills, and an understanding and appreciation for the natural environment, Antonson said.
Weekend activities include canoe trips, wilderness hikes and high-adventure challenges.
The first four-week session runs June 16 through July 14.
The second session runs July 21 through Aug. 17.
Participants earn a stipend of $185 per week, with room and board provided.
Applicants should enjoy working and living in a rustic outdoor environment.
The Summer Youth Corps, which hires an equal number of males and females, encourages minority youth to apply.
Up to 20 deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, who will work with deaf staff and trained sign language interpreters, will also be hired.
To apply, contact Nina Eagin at email@example.com or call (651) 209-9900.
Conservation Corps Minnesota was created in 1981 by the Minnesota Legislature to do two things: engage youth and young adults in enhancing natural resources, and provide opportunities for training and life skills development.
The program operated as part of the DNR until becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2003.
CO Weekly Reports
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers last week. CO Mies also worked on an investigation. CO Mies checked aeration systems.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several TIP calls.
Reller also checked area lakes for anglers and fish house litter problems.
Enforcement action was taken trespass, and OHM violations.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) handled several nuisance coyote complaints.
State trails and public lake access sites were patrolled.
Commercial fishermen were checked seining carp on area lakes.
Anglers were observed and checked all week mainly on the Crow River where fishing has been excellent, a little too good for some anglers who couldn’t help but take to many fish and receive the appropriate paper work.
• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) continued to mark fish houses for the upcoming removal date. Fishermen and snowmobilers were checked on area lakes.
Violations included no spearing license, no fishing license, no shelter identification or license, allowing illegal operation by a juvenile, and no snowmobile or ATV registration.
She also attended an ice fishing event on Lake Minnetonka.
• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and spearing activity.
Time was also spent checking fish houses for litter and removal issues.
Hatlestad also enforced ATV and snowmobile laws, and checked trapping activity.
Additional time was spent assisting with a commercial license check.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked on game farm and other commercial inspections. WCA complaints were investigated.
CO Oberg also spent time armoring division firearms.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: Minnesota has a number of species on the state’s list of endangered, threatened and special concern species.
How far have we come in helping to protect and re-establish these populations?
Are we close to removing any from these lists?
A: Minnesota has a total of 96 endangered, 101 threatened and 242 special concern species.
The management and recovery of Minnesota’s listed species is a major responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Recovery over the past decade of high-profile species such as the gray wolf, trumpeter swan, peregrine falcon and bald eagle are testimony to the effectiveness of the endangered species laws and the DNR’s species management efforts.
Additional populations of some listed species, such as the threatened Blanding’s turtle, have been discovered.
The endangered Higgins eye pearly mussel has a brighter future thanks to captive breeding and subsequent release into restored habitats.
Active management programs are also underway for recovery of the Karner blue butterfly, timber rattlesnake, Topeka shiner (minnow), and many other plant and animal species.
As some species rebound, others, such as the piping plover, continue to decline due to a loss of habitat.
Federal funds and private landowners are key to the success of many programs.
Donations to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff on state tax forms are used to match federal wildlife grant and endangered species funds to protect Minnesota’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.