www.herald-journal.com
Howard Lake GND Fishing Contest coming up this Saturday

June 18, 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 $35.

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

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

PF utilizes Legacy Funding to protect many acres
From Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever announces the completion of 12 land purchase projects in eight Minnesota counties with the help of grants recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

The properties, totaling 1,820 acres, are now permanently protected for wildlife, and will be turned over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and opened to public hunting and outdoor recreation as either state Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) or federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA).

The 12 acquisitions include seven WMA projects and five WPA projects.

“It’s a great day for Minnesota conservation,” says Joe Pavelko, Pheasants Forever’s Minnesota Director of Conservation, “These projects span different regions of the state, but all share the common theme of conserving wildlife habitat forever. And all these outstanding projects were made possible with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.”

Pavelko also notes, “In addition to recognizing the benefits of these 12 acquisitions for Minnesota wildlife, it is just as important to recognize the benefits for every Minnesotan who appreciates the outdoors. These lands are now indefinitely protected, open for a variety of outdoor recreational activities and are available for the public to enjoy.”

• Clay County, New 295-Acre WPA. This new Waterfowl Production Area will provide significant grassland and wetland protection. It also builds on existing investments, as it is very close in proximity to Pheasants Forever’s first WPA acquisition project from Legacy funding and is near other public and private grassland areas.

• Jackson County, 145-Acre Addition, Christiania WPA. This purchase adds 145 acres to the existing 160-acre Christiania WPA, creating a 305-acre area that provides high quality wetland and upland habitats.

• Lac qui Parle County, 54-Acre Addition, Wild Wings WMA. The upland acres will be extremely valuable habitat to this wildlife area, as the current area has a low percentage of nesting cover for pheasants.

Boundary management will also improve the area for outdoor recreational users as the area increases to 167 acres.

This project was completed with the help of a $75,000 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.

• Lac qui Parle County, New 109-Acre Corners WMA. This parcel contains a 24-acre wetland, with the balance enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.

This piece of land lies within a major deer wintering area, and pheasants, ducks and geese are common.

This project was completed with the help of a $75,000 NAWCA grant.

• Lac qui Parle County, New 64-Acre Striker WMA. This property, which contains a natural wetland, is already bordered by wildlife areas on three sides, and will now expand grassland/wetland protection and recreational opportunities.

This project was completed with the help of a $75,000 NAWCA grant.

• Morrison County, 202-Acre Addition, Ereaux WMA. This large acquisition adds much-needed upland nesting cover acreage to the existing WMA, increasing its overall size to more than 700 acres.

The Morrison County Pheasants Forever chapter contributed $5,000 to this project, and the Mille Lacs/Benton County Pheasants Forever chapter contributed $10,000 to its completion.

• Otter Tail County, 32-Acre Addition, Putnam WPA. A pair of tracts deemed high-priority areas for wildlife habitat protection are now permanently conserved as part of the Putnam WPA.

The area consists of wetlands, has upland habitat restoration potential and buffers against encroaching development.

• Otter Tail County, 66-Acre Addition, Mondt WPA. This purchase conserves upland nesting cover vital to both upland birds and waterfowl, including sandhill cranes.

• Otter Tail County, 80-Acre Addition, Grefsrud WPA. This acquisition provides high quality wildlife habitat and improves the wildlife management ability of the overall unit.

The Pelican River Pheasants Forever chapter also contributed $1,000 to this project.

• Pope County, 74-Acre Addition, Little Joe WMA. This purchase protects a unique landscape featuring oak savanna and remnant native prairie, home to white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

The area also provides winter cover for pheasants.

The purchase increases the size of the WMA to more than 300 acres.

• Redwood County, New 640-Acre Voosen WMA. This project, Pheasants Forever’s largest single acquisition in southwest Minnesota, will add to an existing habitat complex that totals more than 1,200 acres.

The project will permanently convert approximately 400 acres of bare farmland back to native upland prairie.

The Redwood County Pheasants Forever chapter contributed $15,000 to this project.

• Wright County, 59-Acre Addition, Pelican Lake WMA. Pelican Lake has been identified as a high priority area for restoration and lakeshore acquisition by the Minnesota DNR and the USFWS.

This parcel, which adds to the existing 500-acre Pelican Lake WMA, will help facilitate lake water management on Pelican Lake.

The Wright County Pheasants Forever chapter also contributed $10,000 to this project.

Spring turkey harvest up in 2012
From the DNR

Preliminary harvest numbers show that the 2012 spring turkey harvest of 11,324 is the third-highest ever, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Minnesota’s turkey population largely has rebounded from the severe winter of 2010-2011 and last year’s cold, wet spring,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program and populations manager. “These resilient and productive birds provided hunters with more opportunity.”

Hunters purchased 42,563 licenses this year, down from the 45,923 purchased in 2011.

The 2010 spring turkey harvest was the highest on record. That year also had an early spring.

Last year, spring season hunters harvested 10,060 turkeys, down significantly from the 2010 spring harvest of 13,468.

“I suspect license sales were down this year partly because of last year’s poor spring season,” Merchant said.
Turkey zone consolidation from 80 zones to 12 gave hunters more options to hunt.

The 2012 hunter success rate was 27 percent.

Wild turkeys were extirpated from Minnesota around 1900. Re-introduction efforts have been incredibly successful and wild turkeys thrive throughout the non-boreal forest portion of Minnesota.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on a TIP call on an aquatic vegetation violation.
CO Mies checked anglers and boaters.
CO Mies gave a talk at Fairhaven to a lake association.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several nuisance animal complaints with most relating to young raccoons and deer.
Reller checked Wright County lakes for angling activity and found some areas with good crappie and sunfish bites.
A boating detail was conducted in Wright County with several violations related to PWC activity.
Enforcement action was taken for operating PWC at high speed within 150 feet on shore or swimmers, PWC not properly registered.
Other violation such as angling without a license, angling with extra line, no trout stamp, taking muskrat out of season, no weed roller permit, transport watercraft with drain plug in, and take snapping turtles out of season.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) met with watercraft inspectors and checked watercraft for AIS violations.
Anglers were checked on special regulation lakes with success being fair.
A boat and water safety detail was worked on Lake Minnetonka with CO Le, violations found were no personal flotation devices, riding on transom and gunwale, slow no wake violations, no watercraft registration, underage consumption of alcohol, several personal watercraft violations resulting in parent/child lessons on the laws, angling without licenses in possession and angling without first procuring licenses.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked on a background investigation for a CO candidate.
She responded to several TIP calls in the area for fishermen using too many lines.
Boaters were checked for invasive species. She also followed up on a littering case.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) attended armorer training at the St. Paul Police Department.
CO Oberg also responded to nuisance animal calls.
CO Oberg also investigated shots fired in a state game refuge.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling, boating, and AIS activity.
Additional time was spent checking ATV activity, and handling various small and big game issues.
Hatlestad also assisted with training at the CO academy, and continued work on a pre-employment background investigation.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I’ve seen Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) watercraft inspectors using big pressure washers. What are they doing?

A: To protect Minnesota lakes and rivers, the Legislature gave the DNR greater authority to inspect and decontaminate watercraft and other water-related equipment that is at risk of carrying aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels.

Watercraft inspectors have been trained to implement the new inspection rules and operate 23 decontamination (boat washing) units.

These portable decontamination units are capable of spraying 160-degree water at high pressure.

The equipment will be used to remove zebra mussels from boat hulls and treat livewells and other areas that can harbor invasive species.

Most boats won’t need to be decontaminated with the high-pressure wash, only those that do not pass an inspection.
People can help by:

• Removing visible aquatic plants and zebra mussels from boats and trailers.

• Draining water from boat, livewell, bilge and impellor by removing drain plugs and opening water draining devices.

• Draining portable bait containers.

For more information, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives.