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Central duck zone reponed Saturday

October 8, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota’s Central Duck Zone reponed Saturday, Oct. 6, and will remain open through Sunday, Nov. 25, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced.

The DNR split the Central Duck Zone season into two parts to provide more opportunity later in the fall.

The zone is bordered on the north by Minnesota Highway 210 and on the south by U.S. Highway 212.

Temporary closures translate into additional hunting opportunity later in fall when late season migrant ducks pass through the state.

The South Duck Zone, which includes all of Minnesota south of Highway 212, remains closed until Saturday, Oct. 13.

The goose season also is closed in this zone when the duck season is closed.

A map of Minnesota’s three duck zones is available on page 22 of 2012 Waterfowl Regulations and online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

Comments sought on rule limiting special northern pike regulations
From the DNR

Comments on rules governing regulations for northern pike and other fishing regulation matters will be accepted until Thursday, Nov. 15, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced.

The proposed rule change makes existing northern pike bag limits and catch-and-release lengths a permanent part of Minnesota’s inland fishing regulations.

Other changes include:

• Clearly defining electronic fish-finding devices as depth finders; fish finders; underwater video or still cameras; sonars; global positioning systems; and temperature, oxygen and pH meters;

• Making rules regarding liberalized fish and seasonal closures consistent on Minnesota-South Dakota border waters;

• Enacting provisions that protect vulnerable fish populations in Otter Tail County’s Annie Battle and Mille Lac County’s Black Bass lakes from overharvest; and

• Enacting changes that are technical in nature to clarify and improve the consistency of regulations.

Comments should be directed to Linda Erickson-Eastwood via postal mail at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020; email at linda.erickson-eastwood@state.mn.us; or by phone at (651) 259-5200.

Complete details are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/rulemaking/nop.

Wolf lottery winners notified, licenses available for purchase
From the DNR

Hunters and trappers who applied to participate in Minnesota’s first-ever wolf season should watch their mailboxes for a lottery winner’s notice, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Notification was mailed to each lottery winner on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Successful early-season applicants have until Wednesday, Oct. 24, to purchase their license from any Minnesota DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at 888-665-4236.

Lottery results and complete wolf hunting regulations also are available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/wolf.

DNR has sold 300 licenses to lottery winners so far.

Additional information about wolf management in Minnesota is available online at www.mndnr.gov/wolves.

DNR responds to wolf lawsuit and petition to adopt new rule stopping 2012-13 seasons
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has responded to recent legal challenges to the state’s inaugural wolf season.

DNR filed a memorandum in opposition to petitioner’s motion for a preliminary injunction on the wolf season on Friday, Sept. 28, with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the DNR formally denied a petition for rulemaking that was delivered to the agency on Aug. 9.

That petition requested that DNR adopt a new rule to stop the 2012-2013 Minnesota wolf hunting and trapping season.

While DNR will not discuss matters of active or potential litigation, the filed documents and petition response are public information and are available for review on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/wolves by clicking the “Lawsuit Documents” tab.

The agency posted the documents on its website in the name of transparency and openness.

DNR Communications Director Chris Niskanen said that “the documents speak for themselves” and that the agency would not be commenting on the case until a court ruling has been issued.

Minnesota’s first-ever wolf season is set to open Nov. 3.

Restrictions on campfires and open burning in our area took effect Sunday
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is adding counties in the central and southeast portions of the state to the burning restrictions already in place in northwestern and north-central Minnesota.

The additional counties will be placed under tighter restrictions beginning at 1 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.

The new counties having limitations placed on campfires and open burning include: Aitkin, Anoka, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Fillmore, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Isanti, Olmsted, Pine, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Wabasha, Washington, Winona, and Wright.

These counties are in addition to the 22 counties that were put under restrictions on Sept. 23.

There are now 43 counties under the Commissioner’s Order, prohibiting open fires other than the types of campfires described below, which can be no more than 3 feet in diameter and height.

Campfires or recreational fires outside municipalities are allowed only in a designated receptacle designed for such use and associated with a residence, staffed campgrounds such as state parks, or resorts.

No burning permits will be issued to the general public and use of fireworks will not be allowed outside of municipalities.

Counties in southwestern Minnesota have also implemented restrictions, but these vary by county.

Check the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov for counties that have stricter regulations in place. Contact local sheriff’s offices for exact regulations.

The severe drought and windy weather has brought wildfire conditions to the point that fires start easily from sparks or windblown embers and spread extremely fast.

Presently, without the ability to use water to drown campfires, it will be difficult to properly extinguish them.

The DNR and other wildfire agencies in the state have brought in additional resources and placed them on a Level 5 alert, the highest planning level.

The Minnesota Incident Command System agencies are concerned that prolonged lack of rainfall has allowed even the large woody debris and standing conifer trees to ignite easily as well as areas with peat soils.

Both lead to difficult demands on firefighting resources to protect life and property.

According to the DNR, fall weekends bring many people outdoors to recreate, including hunters, campers, and others who want to have campfires.

The DNR urges everyone to use extreme caution where campfires are allowed.

Charcoal fires are not limited at this time, but they should not be left unattended.

Make sure fires are completely out before leaving.

Dry ground can burn. People are responsible for costs to extinguish a fire if it gets away.

Recreationists should also pay attention to parking locations in the woods.

Hot engines and catalytic converters can ignite fires, particularly in these dry conditions.

Check that spark arrestors on recreational vehicles are working properly.

Fire conditions change quickly. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.

Fire danger hits record high; public assistance needed
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) needs the help and cooperation of the general public statewide to help prevent and minimize fire danger, which is at a seasonal all-time high in much of Minnesota since automated local records have been kept.

“We have a unique and dangerous combination of fires that are not yet well contained up north, and a serious fire risk in the south that will continue to challenge local emergency response resources if additional fires should start,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

The two large fires and several smaller ones centered in the Karlstad and Baudette areas have consumed more than 40,000 acres so far, resulting in evacuations, lost homes and burned structures.

Fortunately, there are no known injuries at this time.

The extremely high winds on Tuesday intensified widespread drought conditions, dry vegetation and persistent low humidity, which even grounded some aerial firefighting resources.

Under such conditions, Landwehr urges all Minnesotans to take certain precautions that include:

• Exercise caution in all agricultural operations and avoid operations in fields and roadsides until fire danger improves – particularly the mowing of dry fields and lawns. Sparks from mowers can easily ignite dry grass. Monitor weather conditions and conduct fall operations during periods of higher humidity and low winds.

• Avoid target shooting, particularly the use of the popular new “exploding targets.” Firing guns and hitting exploding targets present a high risk for wildfires.

• If possible, do not run motor vehicles or other heavy equipment in dry fields. The heat of the engine and exhaust system can cause fires especially in tall grass.

• Follow all burning restrictions. Campfires and other open burning are prohibited in several areas of the state. Check the DNR website for current information.

• Carry a fire extinguisher when operating machinery in dry areas.

• Have a family and business emergency response plan ready in case fire threatens an area near you.

• Immediately call 911 if a fire is ignited and move to a safe location. Attempting to extinguish fires under our current conditions can be extremely hazardous without proper personal protection.

DNR officials thank the public for supporting wild fire safety and natural resources.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers.
CO Mies gave fur and trapping talks at Ney Park.
CO Brian Mies worked on deer hunting complaints along with a wetland restoration.
CO Mies also checked waterfowl hunters.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) had a busy week with waterfowl season in full swing and archery deer hunters out taking advantage of the nice fall weather.
Waterfowl hunting in the area has been good with blue wing teal still hanging around with the nice weather and still a good number of wood ducks along area rivers.
Enforcement action was taken for using a gun capable of holding more than three rounds, no state migratory waterfowl stamp, no PFD in watercraft, possession of marijuana, and litter.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) handled several TIP calls including injured swan, shooting cormorants, spinning wing decoys, shooting after hours and taking over limits of ducks.
Waterfowl, dove and deer hunters were checked all week having poor success.
Telephone calls were returned daily on hunting questions.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Where can I find current information about fall colors in Minnesota?

A: Colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third (which includes the Twin Cities).

For a map showing where colors are peaking across the state this week, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The DNR website and Information Center can also provide information about free, family-oriented programs designed to enhance enjoyment of this colorful season at Minnesota state parks, trails and water trails (including hiking, paddling, biking and ATV excursions).