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Howard Lake GND Fishing Contest coming up June 23

May 28, 2012

by Chris Schultz

The 30th annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days Fishing Contest is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 at Howard Lake.

Registration will take place the 23rd from 7 to 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m., and it will end at noon.

Entries will be limited to the first 200 received.

Entry fee is $30 if received by Saturday, June 16, and will go up to $35 after June 16.

Entry forms and additional information is available at www.howardlakegoodneighbordays.webs.com.

For more information, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

Graduation time often brings water accidents
From the DNR

During this time of year there are often reports of young people involved in high school graduation festivities, who either drown or are seriously injured in water accidents, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Unfortunately, most accidents could have been predicted and prevented with adult guidance and supervision, said Tim Smalley, DNR boat and water safety specialist.

“Parents should ensure their grads are adequately supervised, and that the responsible adult at the gathering understands that teens should not consume alcohol,” Smalley said. “And no one should be allowed near any kind of boat, canoe or personal watercraft without wearing a life jacket.”

A common scenario is a dozen 17- and 18-year-olds are getting ready to go to a parent’s lakeshore cabin.

A wink and a nod are given when the question is asked, “There won’t be any beer, will there?” The stage is set for a tragedy.

For example, a teenager dives off the end of a dock without checking the depth beforehand.

The water is only three feet deep, so the youth hits bottom, fractures the cervical spine, and drowns.

In another scenario, three people grab a canoe out of a shed and head out on a moonlight cruise without life vests.

Several hundred yards from shore, the alcohol-impaired paddlers capsize the canoe and only one of the three makes it back to shore.

To help avoid such scenarios, Smalley offers safety tips for graduation celebrations taking place on the water:

• Don’t dive head-first from docks and swim rafts.
• Provide adult supervision to ensure that there is no alcohol consumption by underage attendees.
• Ensure that life jackets are worn by passengers and operators of any kind of watercraft.

With animals nesting, DNR urging landowners to delay roadside mowing
From the DNR

Landowners along Minnesota roads and highways are being urged by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to delay mowing or otherwise disturbing vegetation until after Aug. 1.

“This is the critical nesting season for wildlife that thrives along Minnesota roads,” said Carmelita Nelson, the DNR prairie habitat coordinator. “Unfortunately, we have already had reports of pheasant hens and nests being mowed over this spring.”

Motorists pass a nest every four to eight seconds.

Roadside habitat provides hatching grounds for about 25 percent of each year’s pheasant brood.

Roadsides also are important habitat for teal, mallards, gray partridge, many grassland songbirds, frogs and turtles.

Mowing and haying ditch bottoms and back-slopes from May-July destroys 40-70 percent of roadside nests.

By Aug. 1, approximately 90 percent of the bird eggs have hatched.

“State law prohibits road authorities from mowing an entire right-of-way until July 31, although they may mow the first eight feet for safety and visibility,” Nelson said. “Private landowners may mow or hay the roadside adjacent to their property at any time, but they can help wildlife by waiting. Early mowing destroys many nests and kills incubating hens who will often sit tight on a nest instead of flying away from a mower.”

Nesting pheasants

A nesting pheasant hen lays eggs at a rate of about one per day, resulting in nests that contain an average of 12 eggs.

The incubation period of 23 days starts after all eggs have been laid.

The hen remains on the nest during incubation, leaving only briefly to feed.

If the nest is destroyed, the hen will repeatedly nest until she is successful in hatching a clutch, although re-nesting clutches have fewer eggs.

The pheasant hatch peaks about the third week of June, when about 60 percent of the eggs hatch.

Depending on weather, many birds continue nesting into early July.

Hens make from one to four attempts at nesting during the spring nesting season, but only hatch one brood per year.

The chicks need to be at least two to three weeks old to have any chance of escape from mowers.

The reproductive season is over by Aug. 1 for most pheasants, with the exception of a few birds attempting late re-nesting.

Roadsides also should be protected from burning, crop tillage, blanket spraying of herbicides and vehicle encroachment during these months.

The DNR recommends that landowners use spot mowing or spraying to treat noxious weeds.

Roadsides provide more than 500,000 acres of nesting areas in the pheasant range of southern and western Minnesota.

Roadside habitat is especially important in intensively row-cropped regions where there is little other grassland available.

For more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/roadsidesforwildlife or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers.
CO Mies gave trapping talks at Nye Park.
CO Mies gave a talk at the Annandale firearms safety education class.
CO Mies worked on some TIP calls; arrests were made.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) assisted at the academy this week, and checked anglers and boaters on area lakes and rivers. Several complaints were called in of bow fishermen throwing carp on shore to rot.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license and possession of marijuana.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked an AIS detail on Lake Minnetonka.
Turkey hunters were checked all week and are still having pretty good luck.
Anglers were also checked all week having very good success but violation rates were high.
Enforcement action was taken for failure to remove drain plugs from watercraft, failure to display watercraft registration, no angling licenses or trout stamps in possession, angling with extra lines and angling without first procuring licenses.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked invasive species enforcement near Lake Minnetonka finding numerous violations.
She checked fishing activity on Courthouse Lake and Chanhassen Lakes.
She worked on a background investigation and attended court in Hennepin County for a BUI case.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling, boating, and AIS activity.
Time was also spent checking turkey hunting and ATV activity.
Hatlestad also continued work on a pre-employment background check.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) continued working Aquatic Invasive Species laws in the area.
Officer Oberg also worked an AIS detail in the Alexandria area where several educational contacts were made.
Time was also spent working TIP calls.
Enforcement action was taken for operate ATV in road right of way without DL, no ATV registration, and transport watercraft with plug in.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: With our relatively mild winter behind us, and up and down spring weather, what is the outlook for this year’s pheasant population?

A: Overwinter survival of hens should have been excellent given the lack of snow.

So far, spring weather has also been very good.

If favorable weather continues, great progress should be made toward recovery from last year’s brutal winter and cold, wet spring.

We will have a much better idea of pheasant abundance in early September after surveys are completed in August.