The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club will be hosting its 67th annual fishing derby Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.
Prior to the derby, The Country Store in Howard Lake will have free heat factory hand warmers, coffee, cocoa, and cookies from 10 a.m. to noon. There is a limited supply, and they will be serving until it is gone.
Also, there will be a store door prize drawings at 11:30 a.m.
Additionally, at the derby, there will be drawings for a Ice Castle V-front fishhouse on wheels, a portable fishhouse, framed prints, along with other prizes in the raffle drawing.
For additional information, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.
Firearms safety class in Mayer
Minnesota Firearms Safety Hunter Education will take place at the Mayer Community Center Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 a.m. for all persons 12 years of age and older (youth must be 12 years old by the next hunting season. Adults also welcomed.)
Parental consent is required and there is a small fee charged.
This course is sponsored by the Mayer - New Germany Sportsman’s Club.
For more information, call Beth Schrupp at (952) 442-4443 (days), or Doug at (612) 718-7188.
Mayer Community Center is located at 413 Bluejay Avenue in Mayer.
Waverly Gun Club safety class registration today
The Waverly Gun Club is offering the Minnesota firearm safety training class for anyone at least 11 years old by Jan. 1, 2013.
Students who complete all the requirements receive a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Firearm Safety Certificate.
Registration for this class is Monday, Feb. 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Waverly Gun Club.
A parent or guardian must attend registration for minors to participate.
Proof of birth date is required.
The local fee is $7, and an additional $7.50 DNR fee will be paid directly to the DNR online.
Class begins Monday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m., and will continue for eight weeks.
For more information, contact Tracey at (612) 910-2198.
Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club fishing contest
The Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club is having its annual free fishing contest Sunday, Feb. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Brooks Lake in Cokato.
Raffle tickets can be purchased from club members in advance or at the contest for $1 each for a chance at cash and merchandise prizes.
There is a junior and senior class for the fishing contest and there will be a lunch wagon on site to satisfy your hunger needs.
They will have some free minnows and can drill your holes for you.
Bring out the whole family for some Minnesota fun and excitement.
Brooks Lake is located North of Hwy 12 on Johnson Ave N in Cokato.
Contact Dave (612) 670-1916 or Tim (320) 980-0460.
Conceal and carry class at Waverly Gun Club in February
The Waverly Gun Club will be having a conceal and carry class Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22 at Waverly Gun Club, Waverly.
Call Harry at (763) 682-1576 to register.
MN deer harvest declines 4 percent in 2012
From the DNR
Minnesota hunters harvested 184,649 deer during the 2012 season, down 4 percent from 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The decline reflects the fact that hunters had fewer chances to harvest antlerless deer because the 2012 season was designed to help stabilize and increase populations, said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “We expected the reduction,” she said.
Firearms hunters harvested 155,599 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,556 and 7,494 deer, respectively.
The statewide archery harvest was up 5 percent, muzzleloader harvest increased 1 percent and firearm harvest was down 5 percent from last year.
The DNR will conduct aerial surveys over portions of the state later this winter.
Population modeling, coupled with select aerial surveys, will be used to determine deer density.
Management designations for 2013 deer permit areas will be determined once the new density estimates are compared to established population goals.
“Hunters should pay close attention to the hunting synopsis, which comes out in mid-July, to see if they need to apply for a lottery either-sex permit,” McInenly said.
The final deer harvest number is calculated using information provided by hunters when they register their deer.
A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online in the coming weeks at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
For the 2013 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Thursday, Sept. 5.
Archery deer hunting begins Saturday, Sept. 14.
Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 9.
Muzzleloader season opens Saturday, Nov. 30.
Because of dedicated volunteers, the DNR reports safe hunting year in Minnesota
From the DNR
Minnesota hunters played it safe in 2012 with only one fatality and 19 injuries reported, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR safety officials credit the state’s long-running hunter education program as the primary reason.
“While one injury or one fatality is too many, having a year with so few incidents is tremendous,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR enforcement education program coordinator.
Hammer sees the safe hunting year as a culmination of Minnesota’s volunteer-driven hunter education program.
Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, needs a firearms certificate to hunt game with a firearm.
“We had 4,300 dedicated volunteers offer 1,300 classes to 23,000 students last year, which has been the annual average,” said Hammer.
More than a million students have been certified since the program began in 1955.
Female’s make-up over 30 percent of the students certified each year.
Along with dedicated volunteers and traditional and online safety courses, Hammer points to the low number of hunting incidents in 2012 as an indication that hunters overall are paying attention.
“We now see hunting incidents become news because there are so few,” Hammer said. “We know that hunters are making the proper choices out there, as to when and when not to pull the trigger.”
“Hunting is part of our heritage and an important tradition,” he said. “It is a safe activity and is getting safer because of our dedicated volunteer instructors around the state.”
The DNR is always in need of more volunteer instructors to mentor and train youths, Hammer noted.
“We encourage men, women, Southeast Asians, Hispanics, and others who have experience with hunting and the outdoors to come forward and join our team of instructor mentors,” Hammer said. “Volunteers from all backgrounds are essential to make this program work. Without volunteers this program would not be successful.”
Information on becoming a firearms safety instructor can be found on the DNR web page at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/firearms/index.html.
DNR, NWTF mentored youth turkey applications due Feb. 19
From the DNR
First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 have the chance to go afield this spring and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer.
“Youth turkey hunters and their guardians will learn life-long outdoor skills and how to be a responsible hunter,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The outdoor coaches of the NWTF are helping create the next generation of hunters.”
Applications, maps and general information for the wild turkey hunt are available online at www.mndnr.gov/youthturkey.
Application deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 19.
Participants will be selected through a random lottery.
This is the 11th consecutive year the DNR and the NWTF have cooperated to mentor first-time youth turkey hunters.
Nearly 2,000 youth have been introduced to this hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.
Most hunts will be Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season.
Nearly all youth will hunt on private land due to permission of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained the permission.
To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before Saturday, April 20; have a valid firearms safety certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The program is for first-time turkey hunters only.
Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is not eligible.
Hunters and their mentors will be assigned a NWTF volunteer coach, who must accompany both the youth and parent/guardian throughout the entire hunt.
Participation in the hunts is restricted by the number volunteers and private land available.
If anyone is interested in providing quality turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts, contact a NWTF chapter online at http://www.nwtf.org/in_your_state/lists.php?STATE=MN.
Despite extreme cold, DNR successfully launches moose research project
From the DNR
The North Shore’s penchant for dishing out harsh winter weather hasn’t deterred Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife researchers from fitting high-tech GPS collars on 31 moose to help answer why Minnesota’s moose population continues to decline.
“We started the project last week near Grand Marais during a four-day stretch of extreme cold,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “Flight safety guidelines dictate no work can be performed below 20 degrees below zero. So despite the fact the helicopter was grounded for most of the first three days, we successfully collared and now are tracking nearly a third of the moose we plan to study.”
Capture and ground support crews wrestled with daytime wind chills that plummeted to as cold as 54 below zero on Monday, Jan. 21, and air temperatures that didn’t rise above zero until Thursday, Jan. 24.
“By this date when temperatures warmed, the helicopter capture crew was fully trained, allowing them to collar at least five to six moose a day,” said Erika Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian.
Capturing and collaring adult moose is the first phase of a multiple-year project to attempt to determine why moose are dying at unusually high rates in northeastern Minnesota.
The DNR intends to put collars on 100 adult moose in the Grand Marias, Ely and Two Harbors areas in the weeks ahead as part of the most sophisticated moose research project ever conducted.
Even among veteran researchers, the massive and majestic animals continue to be a source of awe. The possibility of their disappearance from Minnesota remains troubling.
“When you watch a collared moose disappear back into the brush, you hope the data will help unravel the mortality mystery that is puzzling wildlife managers,” Butler said. “The technology we helped develop for this project will be of use to other researchers.”
The DNR study is primarily about better understanding the causes of moose mortality.
Annual population estimates show that Minnesota’s northeastern moose population has declined significantly since 2008.
About 20 percent of adult moose die annually, although the exact causes of that mortality are not well understood.
Previous research has demonstrated that hunting and predation by wolves are not the primary causes of adult deaths, and multiple signs indicate the causes are likely health- and stress-related factors.
Butler said that pending good weather and no serious operational problems, the DNR will be tracking 75 cow and 25 bull moose by mid-February.
“Signals sent from the 31 moose we have collared as of Monday afternoon are already providing us with their precise location,” she said. “Sensors are recording the air temperature around them and, in some cases, their internal body temperature and whether their heart is beating. If a moose dies, we will receive a text message so that researchers stationed in the field can get there within 24 hours to allow for a necropsy and other tests to better understand the cause of death.”
The body conditions of moose collared so far have varied, but many have been on the thin side, Butler said.
Bulls tend to fare worse than cows in winter because bulls have less body fat after the fall breeding season depletes their nutritional reserves.
These reserves are difficult to build following the breeding season with the sparse browse available in winter.
One bull moose was euthanized shortly after being collared and released.
The animal was in poor physical condition.
Although the necropsy has not been finalized, initial findings indicate that the young bull was in too poor of shape to recover from being immobilized.
Butler said it’s not unusual to encounter unhealthy animals as part of a large research study, and that’s especially true for studies focusing on a species in decline.
DNR’s research project is funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
This is a permanent fund constitutionally established by Minnesotans to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife and other natural resources.
This $1.2 million project was recommended for funding by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
It will build on research that is ongoing or planned by other agencies and universities.
A second phase of the project will examine moose calf mortality.
After calving in spring, the locations of cows collared this winter will be used so their calves can be located, captured and fitted with collars that will provide data similar to that being collected from adults.
Data from calves will provide much-needed information about calf survival and causes of mortality.
Cornicelli said it’s premature to speculate on how the research information may be used.
America’s successful wildlife management system, he said, is based on research that provides previously unknown insights that can then be applied to management.
“In this stage, we are collecting data,” he said. “As that data is accumulated, we will evaluate it. Only then will we know what, if anything, can be done to stop or reverse the moose population decline.”
Partners in the project include the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, 1854 Treaty Authority (Bois Forte and Grand Portage Bands); the University of Tennessee, the Smithsonian, and the University of Minnesota.
Research project updates and additional information about moose management and research are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/moose.
Questions of the week
From the DNR
Q: Do I still need an open burning permit for my brush pile even though it is winter?
A: The snow and cold of a Minnesota winter generally make this time of the year a better and safer time to burn brush piles.
When there is less than three inches of snow cover, open burning permits are required by law.
In communities that regulate open burning, permits are generally required year-round regardless of the weather conditions.
Property owners should contact local DNR Forestry offices to ask about the need for a permit before burning any brush pile.
For more information about burning permits, go to www.mndnr.gov/forestry/fire/questions.html.
CO weekley reports
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) attended training.
CO Mies checked anglers. CO Mies worked on TIP calls.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several investigations.
Reller also checked anglers on area lakes and found activity had slowed down due to the cold weather.
Enforcement action was taken for angling with angling extra lines and possession of marijuana.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers all week on special regulation lakes.
The vintage snowmobile event on Lake Waconia was worked with district officers but with no snow it was very uneventful.
Officers Glaser and Walter assisted Carver County Sheriff’s Department with a call in Carver Park.
• CO Jackie Glaser (Metro Water Resource Enforcement Officer) attended taser training at Fort Snelling State Park.
She followed up on several public waters complaints involving snowmobile and ATV trails being made through emergent vegetation.
She assisted other law enforcement agencies with a call in a local park.
• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) noticed the cold weather slowed down the activity on the lakes a bit; however, time was spent both during the day and at night checking anglers.
Violations included having unattended lines and failure to have fishing license in possession.
Aeration inspections were completed on area lakes.
Trespassing complaints with coyote hunters were investigated.
CO Mueller also assisted with a snowmobile safety class in Olivia.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) checked anglers and trappers.
CO Oberg also completed aeration inspections and conducted follow up work on a few cases.