DNR hires new big game program leader

November 12, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has hired Leslie McInenly as big game program leader. She will have the lead responsibility for managing deer, elk and moose seasons and populations.

For the past six years, McInenly has been on the staff of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, a state board charged with providing forest resource policy advice to the governor and Legislature, coordinating cross-ownership landscape-level forest management planning, and developing best management practices for forest management.

Prior to that, she spent four years in Alberta working as a collaborator on the Central East Slopes Elk Study, a project established to evaluate elk translocation efforts and habitat use.

As part of the study, McInenly also worked with provincial biologists to improve elk population estimates in Alberta.

“We are excited to have Leslie join our wildlife management team,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulation program manager. “Her knowledge of Minnesota’s forests and forest management is particularly relevant, as maintaining and strengthening the link between population management and habitat management is a real focus of the section of wildlife.”

The primary responsibilities of the big game program leader are to manage deer, moose, and elk seasons, and work with stakeholders to modify and improve seasons and regulations to address the expectations of a diverse public.

McInenly earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, majoring in wildlife management and biology.

Her master’s degree thesis focused on the influence of changing elk migratory patterns on native prairie biodiversity and nutrient cycling.

She also worked on range of game and nongame species projects in several states before working in Alberta.

Through her experience working in private, public, and nonprofit sectors, McInenly has demonstrated the ability to work and communicate with a diversity of stakeholders, colleagues and clients, Merchant said.

McInenly assumes her new duties on Nov. 15.

She grew up in the St. Croix River Valley and resides with her family in Stillwater.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner

Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Saturday, Nov. 17 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, Nov. 16 before 6 p.m., and be called in to the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877 or to Jim Richardson at (320) 395-2721.

Another top 10 deer harvest at Camp Ripley
From the DNR

Variable weather and a nearly full moon greeted hunters at Camp Ripley on Oct. 27-28 for the second two-day archery deer hunt, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The archers harvested 223 deer, which is the fourth highest harvest for the second hunt.

Those deer, coupled with the 208 taken during the Oct. 18-19 hunt, represent the eighth best harvest ever at Camp Ripley.

Although wet weather impacted hunter participation during each hunt, the four-day total of 431 deer is 35 percent above the long-term average harvest of 320 deer for the two-hunts combined, and represents a 2 percent increase above last year’s total harvest of 422 deer.

“Despite some wet weather during each event, hunters achieved another strong harvest at camp and helped 11 lucky hunters take large bucks that weighed more than 200 pounds,” said Beau Liddell, DNR Little Falls area wildlife manager. “The overall harvest is well above average, and administration of the hunt went well.”

A total of 5,003 permits were issued for both two-day hunts, with 4,205 hunters participating.

Hunter success during both hunts was 10 percent, which is just above the long-term average of 9 percent.

For the ninth year running, hunters at Camp Ripley were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer.

“We’re very pleased with the results the past nine years,” Liddell said. “While Ripley bow hunters are known to be selective for bucks, we have seen increasing proportions of does and fawns taken in recent years to help keep the population in check.”

The proportion of antlerless deer taken at Camp was 5 percent lower than last year, but 4 percent higher than the long-term average (55 percent), with just under 60 percent of this year’s harvest comprised of does and fawns.

The largest buck harvested on the second hunt, taken by Ryan Brenny of Rice, weighed 215 pounds.

Other hunters who harvested large bucks during Oct-27-28 hunt:

• Nathan Zurn, Foreston, 212 pounds.
• Brandon Rademacher, Brainerd, 204 pounds.
• Ryan McClellan, Otsego, 202 pounds.

The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunt with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000 acre reservation.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: With a winter chill in the air, folks are getting ready to ride their snowmobiles.
What are the educational requirements for the legal operation of a snowmobile?

A: Current statute requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1976 to take a safety-training course before operating a snowmobile on public lands or waters.

Two types of youth courses are available for students 11-15 years of age.

The first is the traditional eight-hour course, which meets two or more times for classroom-style training.

The second is a CD-based course that can be completed at home.

Both courses require a field day, which includes content review, a final exam and a hands-on riding performance test.

Those riders who are 16-years-old and older and need snowmobile safety training can study and complete the CD-based course; a hands-on performance test is not required.

Both of these introductory courses are designed for youth or riders with little or no experience.

The courses show students the most common causes of snowmobile accidents in Minnesota, and how to avoid them.

Trained volunteer instructors teach classes across the state.

Information regarding snowmobile safety certification classes can be found on the DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/vehicle/snowmobile.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on tip calls during the past week.
CO Mies checked deer hunters and worked on wetland calls.
CO Mies also checked trappers.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to Monticello Lions Club on duties of a Conservation Officer.
Reller also had a busy start to the firearms deer season with several complaints of trespass and portable deer stands left on WMA overnight.
Reller also had a deer hunter hunting over bait and when having contact with the hunter Reller could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the hunters clothes.
Reller asked if he was in possession of marijuana.
The hunter admitted he did and turned over a still warm pipe and a baggie of marijuana.
Yet he complained about not seeing any deer. Hmmm, wonder why?

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the deer opener with several complaints on trespassing and deer stands facing private property.
He checked duck hunters and trappers.
He also returned calls non-stop on deer regulations.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) spent the week getting ready for the upcoming deer season and followed up with possible wetland violations.
The deer season opener was busy with lots of hunters out and about. Common violations included hunting over bait and trespass.
Also, multiple TIP calls were investigated.
During the weekend, small game hunters were also checked.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a busy opening to the firearms deer season.
The weather was near perfect and hunters were out in force, however, very few deer were checked.
Enforcement action was taken on several baiting cases in the area.
CO Oberg is also following up on a case of hunter harassment.
Trappers in the area continue to do well on water.