Walk-In Access program accepting applications

March 18, 2013

by Chris Schultz

Landowners from McLeod County can enroll their land in Walk-In Access, a program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Walk-in lands provide public access to private land. Landowners, in turn, are paid for the access.

The program includes 35 counties in the western half of the state.

“We’ve had many requests to expand the area of our Walk-In pilot program,” explained Marybeth Block, DNR walk-in access coordinator. “As we enter our third year for the program, the time seems right to add some additional counties.”

Walk-in targets privately-owned parcels of 40 acres or more which are enrolled in a conservation program, such as Conservation Reserve Program or Reinvest In Minnesota.

River bottoms, wetlands, and other high-quality habitat can also be considered for the program.

The program pays landowners by the acre to allow hunting access. Bonuses are added if more than 140 contiguous acres are enrolled, if the land is within one-half mile of existing state or federal hunting land, or if a multi-year agreement is signed.

For more information, contact Deb Holtz at (320) 693-7287.

Firearm’s safety training at LP Sportsmen’s Club

The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will be having DNR-certified firearm’s safety training in April, starting Tuesday, April 2.

Registration for the class will be April 2 starting at 6:30 p.m., with the first class to start that same evening.

Classes will continue Thursday, April 4, and will run every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through April, ending Thursday, April 25.

There will then be a range day at the LP Sportsmen’s Club Saturday, April 27 starting at 8 a.m.

Wright County PF chapter to host annual banquet March 25

The Wright County Pheasants Forever chapter will host its 28th annual banquet at the Buffalo Civic Center Monday, March 25 starting at 5:30 p.m.

The chapter has been active since 1984 and has contributed over $1 million to conservation and education projects within Wright County and Minnesota.

The banquet, this year, will include a silent auction, live auction, assorted raffles, and games for all ages.

According to Chapter President Brandon Murphy, “We have great prizes and auction items this year, including a three-day/four-night pheasant hunt in South Dakota.

“More importantly, all of the funds raised at the banquet will be put to good use promoting conservation and education within Wright County and across Minnesota.”

If you would like more information about attending the banquet or providing a sponsorship, contact Bruce Bartl at (76) 682-0653 or visit the website at www.wrightcountypf.org or via facebook at www.facebook.com/wright county pheasants forever chapter #95.

MN permit to carry a handgun classes at Waverly Gub Club

The Waverly Gun Club will be hosting a Minnesota permit to carry a hangun classes (concealed carry) Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27 from 6 to 10 p.m.

For more information, contact Harry at (763) 682-1551 or e-mail him at mn.dot1@hotmail.com.

McLeod PF banquet March 23 at Hutchinson

The 27th annual McLeod County Pheasants Forever spring banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

It all begins at 4 p.m. with the cackling hour, followed by a prime rib dinner at 6 p.m., and then special events at 7 p.m.

There will be multiple gun raffles, along with many drawings for prizes, and special auction items.

For banquet registration or questions on the event, call (320) 587-0052. If no one answers, leave a message and your call will be returned.

US Fish and Wildlife service to host Habitat Day April 13 in Litchfield

The Litchfield Wetland Management District (District) of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will host “Habitat Day 2013” Saturday, April 13, from noon to 4:00 p.m. in Litchfield.

The event has a variety of offerings to those of all ages interested in wildlife and habitat of our area. The event is free-of-charge.

Spring is just around the corner and it won’t be long before wood ducks and bluebirds return to the area in search of nesting sites.

If you have good habitat areas for placing nest boxes for these species, free, pre-cut bird house kits will be available for assembly on site (one of each per family).

Robin nesting shelves, wren houses, and new this year, bird feeders will also be available while supplies last.

All necessary tools to assemble the houses will be provided.

USFWS staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist with construction.

Information will be provided on wood ducks and bluebirds and how best to place the nesting houses.

Design plans will be available to build these houses or feeders on your own.

Come build a house anytime between noon and 4 p.m.

Staff from the University of Minnesota, Raptor Center, St. Paul, MN will be on hand once again with live birds, including a bald eagle.

Meet some of Minnesota’s raptors or birds of prey in person and learn how their role in the environment is important to us all.

An hour-long program will start at 1:00 p.m.

Raptor Center education specialists will be available after the program to answer questions about the birds, with the birds available for viewing.

Coloring books, posters and an assortment of wildlife related materials and displays for kids “of all ages” will be available throughout the afternoon including a staff demonstration of prairie seed cleaning via use of a fanning mill.

Special guests at the event include the Wildlife Wizard who will quiz children and adults on wildlife and habitat of the area as well as the Crow River Organization of Water who will have a staffed booth.

No reservations are necessary but if you would like further information contact us by phone at (320) 693-2849 or by e-mail at litchfieldwetland@fws.gov.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I’ve seen a number of cars with loon license plates on them.

How popular are the plates and how is the money generated by their sales used?

A: The loon plate, since its introduction in 2005, has been the most popular critical habitat plate.

Today in Minnesota, there are 107,059 critical habitat license plates on the roads, 30,867 of which are the loon design.

The money from the sale of these plates goes to buy and manage land that is important for public use.

Sometimes the land is for hunting, hiking, wildlife watching or all of the above.

These lands will be preserved for their unique qualities and for a valuable public purpose.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• Conservation Officer Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on checking lakes for fish houses left after the deadline.
CO Mies also checked anglers and sleds.
CO Mies took part in the career shadow program for Kimball high School.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) continued training with COC Silgjord.
Litter complaints were addressed with enforcement action on area lakes.
Two ATV’ers were located enjoying the use of a state grant in aid snowmobile trail, which is illegal. Snowmobile trails were monitored with a bump in activity due to recent a recent snowfall.
An ice shelter was located on an area lake after the deadline.
The owner was located and enforcement action was taken.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked area lakes for fish house and litter removal.
Anglers were checked all week having good success on crappies.
Snowmobile trails were patrolled and snowmobile trespass calls were responded to.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked area lakes for fish houses left on the ice after the removal deadline.
Time was also spent on predator activity, snowmobile trail enforcement and checking ice anglers.
A game farm inspection was also competed with CO Oberg.
CO Mueller attended a district meeting in New Ulm.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) reports making sure ice house removal went smoothly in the area.
Officer Oberg also focused on commercial enforcement.
Time was also spent working snowmobiling enforcement and scheduling firearms safety classes.
A district meeting was also attended.