www.herald-journal.com
DNR reminds hunters to not throw away unused either-sex deer permits

December 3, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Hunters who failed to tag a deer or use their either-sex permit during the firearms season may still have a chance to put some venison in the freezer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“An either-sex permit from the firearms season remains valid for the muzzleloader season if you have the appropriate license,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “The either-sex permit is valid for either season, in the same area, provided you have a license for that season.”

The provision applies only to the lottery areas.

McInenly reminds hunters in the lottery areas that they are only allowed to tag one deer during the 2012 hunting season.

They may not use bonus tags.

They may be able to harvest additional deer in managed, intensive or special hunt areas.

Hunters who wish to take advantage of this change must have a license for the muzzleloader season.

Licenses can be purchased at any of the 1,500 license agent locations in the state, via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/licenses.

A convenience fee is added to telephone and Internet license purchases.

The Minnesota muzzleloader season runs Saturday, Nov. 24 until Sunday, Dec. 9.

Winter league begins at Waverly Gun Club

Winter league will begin 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Waverly Gun Club. For more information, www.waverlygunclub.org.

Snowmobile safety class to be offered by the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club

The Winsted Sportsman’s Club will be giving a snowmobile safety class Sunday, Jan. 6 – the location is still to be determined.

This is a four-hour CD course, and the CD will need to be completed before the class.

For additional information, contact Harvey at (952) 393-5933 and leave a message, or e-mail him at hnowak3738@hotmail.com.

Despite snow, snowmobile trails not ready for riding
From the DNR

Despite the recent snowfall throughout much of northern Minnesota, snowmobile trails are not yet ready for riding, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Minnesota’s snowmobile trails officially open Dec. 1; however, several conditions must be met before trails are open and ready for travel:

• The ground must be frozen to allow for crossing of wet areas.
• Adequate snow cover – about 12 inches – must be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.
• Landowner permits that allow trails on private land must be in place.
• Trails must be cleared of dead falls, signs must be in place and gates must be opened; snowmobile clubs volunteers and DNR staff are currently working on these tasks.

“Although we have had a few cold days and many northern Minnesota lakes are forming ice, the ice is not yet thick enough on most lakes to support foot travel or snowmobiles,” noted Bob Moore, Grand Rapids area supervisor. “Ice thickness can vary greatly from one lake to another, and from different areas of the same lake.”

The DNR recommends a minimum of 5 inches of new clear ice for snowmobiles.

Snowmobile clubs and trails crews are preparing trails, but it could be a few weeks before those trails are ready.

Work in many wet or swampy areas cannot begin until those areas freeze.

Many snowmobile trails cross private land. Landowners give permission for snowmobile use on the trails beginning Dec. 1.

That permission is only for snowmobile use. Other uses are trespasses.

When the trails open, the DNR urges early season riders to use caution. Early season trails may have fallen trees or other debris across the trails, unfrozen areas, rocks or ruts, or standing crops and closed gates.

Also, road ditches have obstacles to watch for under grass and snow, such as culverts, signposts and rocks.

Minnesota has more than 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails; more than 21,000 miles of them are maintained by local snowmobile club volunteers.

Maintenance costs are partially funded through snowmobile registrations, trail pass sales, and the un-refunded gas tax attributed to snowmobile use.

Donations and volunteer work by trail clubs make up the remainder of the costs and efforts to operate these trails.

Trail users are encouraged to call in advance or research online to get local conditions for the area they plan to ride.

State trail conditions are posted each Thursday on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov.

Trail information and local contacts are on the same website and on the back of the Minnesota DNR Snowmobile Trails quadrant maps. The maps are also available online.

Local trail conditions are often posted online by local tourist associations, chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs.

To find the nearest club, visit the Minnesota United Snowmobiler’s Association website at www.mnsnowmobiler.org.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked hunters and trappers.
CO Mies worked on a trapping complaint.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) started field training with COC Silgjord.
CO Reller checked the last of the duck hunters with the area closing on the 25th.
Most area lakes were hard to access with the ice along most accesses getting too thick to break through.
Some hunters did make it out but didn’t have very good success.
Reller followed up on several deer hunting complaints and also checked pheasant hunters in the area.
Enforcement action was taken for failure to wear blaze orange during the firearm deer season, possession of marijuana, operate ATV on roadway without a driver license and allow youth under 14 to deer hunt without an adult present.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the muzzleloader deer opener and the last days of the late southeast (B) deer season.
The last days of the central waterfowl zone were worked.
Most lakes were frozen but the hunters who found open water or busted ice had good luck.
Deer carcasses dumped on private property and in ditches continue to be a problem with some landowners saying they will no longer let hunters on their property.
Calls were returned daily on hunting questions, most of them on deer regulations.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) was assisted by the Winsted Fire Department on a rescue of a deer that had fallen through the ice on Winsted Lake.
The deer was brought to shore by rescue personnel and was able to run off.
Time was spent during the week investigating two possible wetland violations.
Small game, waterfowl hunters and trappers where also checked.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the opening weekend of the muzzleloader season but found very few hunters out.
A few hunters were out enjoying the last day of the central waterfowl zone.
CO Oberg also followed up on calls from the firearms deer season.
A WCA violation was investigated and a cease and desist order was issued.
Interviews were also completed on active cases.
Several phone calls were answered and messages returned regarding deer hunting issues.