Mayer’s Stanley Heldt one of three safety instructors honored

May 20, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Three hunter education instructors with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are marking their 50th year of service.

Judith Schultz of Verndale, Stuart Anderson of Deer River, and Stanley Heldt of Mayer have donated thousands of hours and taught thousands of students hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, survival and firearms safety.

“These individuals’ commitment to the future of Minnesota’s outdoor recreation heritage serves as example to the more than 4,700 dedicated volunteer DNR safety education instructors throughout the state,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education program coordinator. “Minnesota’s hunters and motorized recreation enthusiasts owe them a debt of gratitude.”

The agency presented an engraved watch to each instructor to commemorate 50 years of service.

Schultz, Anderson, and Heldt join 611 firearms safety, snowmobile safety, turkey clinic, bow hunter, and advanced hunter education instructors recognized this year for five, 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of service totaling 7,135 years of instruction. DNR’s safety programs train 23,000 students annually.

“Volunteer instructors are the heart and soul of the hunter education program in Minnesota,” Hammer said. “The service of these dedicated men and women has made a significant difference in ensuring safe, ethical, and responsible behavior while enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors. No one knows how many injuries have been prevented and lives saved because of their efforts.”

DNR is always looking for experienced people who want to pass on the tradition of outdoors safety and responsibility to the next generation.

People interested in joining the DNR in this volunteer activity, should call 800-366-8917, ext. 2504 or visit the DNR website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/index.html.

Fishing Klinic for Kids set for June 15

All area youth and their parents are welcome to attend the 16th annual Fishing Klinic For Kids Saturday, June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Sturges Park on Buffalo Lake.

Participants will enjoy fishing, as well as visiting with fishing pros. There will also be demonstrations, vendor booths, food, games, activities, fun, and prizes.

There is something for everyone at this family-friendly event.

This is the largest event of its kind in Minnesota. More than 20,000 youth have participated in this program over the years.

For more information on the organization and events, go to www.fishingklinicforkids.com.

Apply now for Minnesota elk hunt
From the DNR

Hunters have until June 14 to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The licenses will be available in Kittson County’s central and northeast zones. The Grygla area will be closed to enable that area’s elk population to rebuild to goal levels.

“The number of hunting licenses available reflects the goals of the state’s elk management plan,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “That plan aims to balance the interest of hunters, landowners and others.”

McInenly said aerial surveys conducted during the winter in the Grygla area identified 28 elk, slightly below the pre-calving goal range of 30-38 animals. She said this year’s closure is likely to return the herd to goal range.

Hunters interested in applying for a license can find maps of the two hunting zones and other pertinent information on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/elk.

This year’s hunt will provide increased opportunities in Kittson County, with two early seasons and two late seasons.

The first season, which will be held in both zones, runs from Saturday, Sept. 14, to Sunday, Sept. 22 (Season A).

The second, third, and fourth seasons will be held only in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone.

They will run from Saturday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 6 (Season B), Saturday, Dec. 7, to Sunday, Dec. 15 (Season C), and Saturday, Jan. 11, to Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 (Season D).

All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, www.mndnr.gov or by telephone at 888-665-4236.

Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two.

There is a nonrefundable application fee of $4 per hunter.

License cost is $287.

Landowner licenses will be available in each season in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone but are not available in the Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone.

Turtles now crossing roads to reach nests
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking people to leave turtles alone as the turtles cross roads to reach nesting areas.

Each year at this time, many female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas, where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests.

Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles’ wintering areas by roads they cross as they make their way to nests.

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, DNR herpetologist.

People can help reduce turtle road death in these ways:

• Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements. Doing otherwise may cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.

• Avoid excessive handling. Excessive handling can disrupt normal behavior. Prolonged examination of turtles should be limited to only one or two turtles of each species.

• Maintain travel direction. Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.

People who see a turtle or other animal on the road, should slow down, and safely drive around it.

Many people want to help turtles cross the road but the best approach is to let the turtle cross on its own.

There are nine turtle species in the state, some of which are protected.

For more information on Minnesota turtles: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/turtles/index.html.

Keep birds healthy, avoid moldy birdseed
From the DNR

Moldy birdseed and unclean bird feeders can make birds sick, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

In spring and in hot, humid weather it is common for mold to form on wet birdseed.

The mold can cause a fatal avian disease called aspergillosis, which affects the birds’ respiratory systems.

Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the DNR nongame wildlife program, urges people to rake or sweep up any fallen seeds and seed hulls under their feeder to prevent moldy conditions from occurring on the ground. “These seeds can also attract meadow voles, house mice or other rodents, and the growth inhibitor in sunflower hulls can cause problems with grass or flowers near the feeder,” he said.

Salmonella is another disease that affects birds and is associated with unclean feeders.

It is extremely important, Henderson said, to keep a bird feeder clean to minimize the threat of disease.

To clean a feeder, he suggests using a solution of two ounces of bleach with one gallon of water and scrub the entire surface, or 10 parts water to one part bleach.

Always allow the cleaned feeder to dry out in the sun, as the sunlight will help kill bacteria on the feeder.

Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned about every week to 10 days during the summer to keep the sugar water from producing mold.

Keep the feed dry by using a hopper-type feeder or a fly-through feeder and always scrape out old seed that accumulates in the corners.

Tray feeders with a screen bottom will allow seeds to dry out from above and below after a rain shower.

“Remember not to put out too many seeds at once because if the seeds are several inches thick, they can still become moldy in the center of a feeder with a screen bottom,” Henderson said.

More information on attracting and feeding birds is available in “Wild about Birds: The DNR Bird Feeding Guide” and “Landscaping for Wildlife.”

Both books are for sale at Minnesota’s Bookstore in St. Paul.

These books were made possible by the donations to the nongame wildlife fund.

DNR asks for volunteers to help MN’s loon population
From the DNR

Volunteers can help Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists discover the major cause of death of the common loon by collecting dead loon specimens for testing.

This statewide study to find answers about loon mortality is being conducted by the DNR’s nongame wildlife program.

“Small studies have been conducted in the past, but they were limited to looking for high mercury concentrations,” said Kevin Woizschke, DNR nongame wildlife specialist and loon watcher coordinator. “This new statewide effort will help answer the big question of what kills our loons. Minnesota’s loon population is about 12,000 birds and the numbers appear stable, but there are still questions about loon mortality.”

The nongame program is asking for help in collecting loons that recently died with no signs of decomposition or obvious predator trauma.

Visibly rotten loons should not be collected.

To collect a specimen for testing, use disposable gloves to put the dead loon in a plastic bag.

To reduce disease risk, try to avoid bare-handed contact when handling dead animals.

If gloves are not available, turn a plastic shopping bag inside out and scoop up the specimen with the bag.

Place the specimen in a freezer as soon as possible.

If a freezer is not available place the specimen in a cooler, surrounded by ice.

It is important to deliver the specimen as soon as possible to a local DNR office.

All loons need to be labeled with the name of the county, lake, nearest town where it was found and along with person’s name, address and telephone number.

For more information or to locate the nearest DNR officer, call DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367 or Kevin Woizeschke, (218) 833-8729.

Grass carp near Sartell is northernmost find for Asian carp
From the DNR

An angler bowfishing on the Mississippi River north of Sartell last week shot a 25-pound grass carp, an exotic species that previously has been found only much further south in Minnesota, including lower portions of the Mississippi, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Because DNR fisheries biologists believe the fish could not have gotten past the dams at Coon Rapids, St. Cloud and Sartell, it likely escaped via flood waters from a private pond, or was released intentionally.

Possession of grass carp is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

It is legal for reporting purposes to possess specimens, as the angler did.

There are state regulations in place to prevent the importation of these species and transfers between lakes.

As a result, the DNR has not seen a lot of invasive fish spread though overland transfer compared to other animals and plants.

“Minnesota has strong laws against introducing exotic species into our public waters because it’s a serious matter,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Waters Division. “Invasive species like this can pose a significant threat to our native fisheries, recreational opportunities, and ecosystems.”

While the problems caused by bighead and silver carp are raised more frequently, grass carp is another species that can cause environmental harm.

They are voracious consumers of aquatic vegetation, can grow to 70 pounds, and can cause water quality problems.

Brought to the U.S. from Russia and China in the 1960s to control unwanted vegetation in reservoirs and aquaculture farms, they escaped and are now reproducing in some southern states.

Grass carp previously have been found in southeastern Minnesota, but they are not known to reproduce in Minnesota.

A preliminary examination of the 36-inch female grass carp arrowed near Sartell, however, found what appeared to be viable eggs.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers.
CO Mies testified in court on a deer case.
CO Mies gave fur and trapping class at Ney Park.
CO Mies worked on a waters case.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a couple hundred 5th graders from Wright County attending a Conservation Day at Ney Park.
Reller also gave a presentation at a Firearms Safety class in Rockford.
Several over limit cases were made with the largest for 70 pan fish over the limit.
Other enforcement action was taken for angling without a license, angling with extra lines and possession of marijuana.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) gave a presentation to the Carver County Rotary Club.
Turkey hunters were checked having good luck.
The fishing opener was worked with CO Vang Lee, finding very few fish caught due to the cold and 30 mph wind.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) patrolled Lake Minnetonka and various Carver County lakes for the fishing opener.
She attended an AIS workshop with Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
She participated in a TEP meeting in Stillwater and investigated three separate waters violations in Chanhassen.
Numerous civil citations were issued to boaters transporting zebra mussels and failing to remove drain plugs.
She also met with sheriff’s deputies to discuss the upcoming boating season and enforcement projects.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked the Hutchinson area lakes on the fishing opener.
Strong winds slowed some of the activity on the lakes but anglers had some luck catching walleyes. 100% compliance was found on AIS issues.
Mueller and a neighboring officer responded to an ATV trespassing complaint in McLeod County.
She also spoke Hector HS for a career class.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a very windy fishing opener.
High winds kept down the number of anglers venturing out on area lakes.
Despite the wind anglers were able to land a few fish.
Oberg and CO Mueller checked several nice crappies on an area lake, and several groups of anglers checked managed at least one walleye.
Overall it was the slowest opener Oberg has worked.
Oberg also spent time working ATV and trapping violations.