The 31st annual Good Neighbor Day’s Fishing Contest in Howard Lake will be taking place Saturday, June 22 with a shotgun start at 8 a.m.
Registration will take place from 7 to 8 a.m. with the weigh-in at noon.
The contest is limited to the first 200 entries.
The entry fee is $25 per person if received by Friday, June 14, and is $30 per person after.
Registration forms are available at www.HowardLakeGoodNeighborDays.webs.com.
For additional information, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992, e-mail him at email@example.com, or swing in to Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.
Fishing Klinic for Kids set for June 15
The 16th annual Fishing Klinic for Kids will take place Saturday, June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sturges Park on Buffalo Lake.
The family-friendly event will include more than 1,200 gifts for the kids, live music, pontoon rides, games, a casting competition, food, fishing, informational booths, demonstrations, and more.
Participants include: fishing pros Simply Outdoor Experiences, Live Blue Gill Pond, MinnAqua Department of Natural Resources, fishing songwriter John Kurowsky, Happy Hookers Bass Club, DJ Dave Larcom, B.L.E.S.S., Jiggin’ Jim’s Taxidermy, fly fisherman Sandy Sanderson, Wright County Whitetail Association, master gardeners, Cabela’s, Let’s Go Fishing, Evinrude/Ranger boats, Test Rides, Buffalo Police Department, Buffalo Fire Department, Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Allina Ambulance, Raptor Center, Women Anglers of Minnesota, Buffalo Rotary, Huikko’s Bowling Alley, Buffalo 4-H, Eco-Jig Lures, Nelson Masonic Lodge 135, Wright-Hennepin Electric, Buffalo Parks and Recreation, and more.
Fishing Klinic for Kids is a non-profit that provides outdoor education for children, by teaching the joys of fishing, basic fishing skills, and about preserving our natural resources and waterways.
It was started in 1995, as a seminar that had 12 kids and their parents, and has grown to be the largest event of its kind in Minnesota. About 20,000 kids have participated over the years.
For more information on the event, sponsors, and the organization, go to www.fishingklinicforkids.com.
Appeals Court upholds DNR rulemaking on wolf season
From the DNR
A court decision issued today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) authority to set wolf seasons.
The following is a statement from DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr:
“This decision affirms that the DNR, as directed by the Legislature, set the correct and proper course in establishing last year’s wolf season. Furthermore, the recent Legislature clarified the rulemaking process for setting future seasons, affirming the DNR is using the correct season-setting process.”
The DNR used the same rulemaking process for the wolf season as it does for dozens of other game species.
Landwehr said the DNR is committed to the long-term sustainability of the state’s wolf population, the largest in the lower 48 states, and the agency took a conservative approach to the inaugural season.
Plans are underway for a 2013 wolf season. The DNR will set the season this summer after analyzing data from the previous season and a wolf population estimate is completed.
Visit the DNR website www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mgmt.html.
Thanks to those who enroll land in CRP
By Tom Landwehr, the DNR Commissioner
If you own private land in the agricultural part of the state, the future of wildlife and water quality depends on you.
This is true because grasslands, wetlands and other forms of cover are critical for providing pheasants, ducks and a myriad of nongame species with the nesting sites, food and shelter they need. That cover is found primarily on private lands.
For this reason I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have enrolled land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). You have been a friend to wildlife, soil, clean water and the Minnesotans who value them. Your efforts are appreciated. Hopefully, others will follow your example before the sign-up closes June 14.
Preserving grassland is one of the great environmental challenges we face. Long ago, tallgrass prairie covered about one-third of Minnesota and totaled some 18 million acres. Today, less than 2 percent remains. What remains is further threatened by the current combination of low interest rates, high corn and soybean prices and ever-increasing yields per acre that make it economically attractive to convert even marginal grassland that was never before deemed tillable.
Since 2007, conversion of idle lands to cropland has been accelerating. In fact, grassland-to-cropland conversions in the Corn Belt have not been this high since the 1920s and 1930s, the era of rapid mechanization of America’s agriculture.
The National Agriculture Statistics Service reports that grassland conversion to corn and soybeans (1 to 5.4 percent annually) across a significant portion of the Western Corn Belt is comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Since its beginning in 1985, CRP has contributed to improving Minnesota’s water quality and done more for grassland wildlife than any other conservation program. At one point, there were 1.9 million acres of CRP in Minnesota; today that amount is about 1.4 million acres. Since 2007, however, Minnesota has lost 425,000 acres of CRP. Another 625,000 acres of CRP in the state is scheduled to expire over the next five years. Together, that’s a land mass roughly the size of Rhode Island.
If you are enrolled in CRP please consider re-enrolling. If you have land that could be enrolled, please consider it. You might also consider enrolling your grassland in the Walk-In Access program. This program provides financial incentives for landowners to keep land in CRP by allowing public hunting on that land. Now entering its third year, the walk-in program has expanded to 35 counties in western Minnesota, with a goal of enrolling 25,000 acres. This program has proven successful for both landowners and hunters.
Your local Farm Service Agency office can provide more information on CRP and the Walk-In Access program. At many locations you will meet specialized consultants funded by the Farm Bill Partnership and supported by the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Pheasants Forever and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
So stop by. Ask questions. Get answers. And know that if you do enroll, you will make a positive impact on our environment for years to come, and for that, I and all Minnesotans thank you.
DNR lifts burning restrictions
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lifted restrictions on open burning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28.
A statewide green up, combined with the recent precipitation have eased the critical fire danger.
Permits for open burning will generally be available throughout the state.
However, a few areas in the extreme northern parts of the state plan to continue local restrictions until more moisture is received.
The DNR reminds everyone that, although the statewide restrictions are now lifted, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations.
Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before any open burning.
The DNR advises people to follow open burning laws and regulations, keep their burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out.
If a fire escapes the homeowner is responsible for damage and suppression costs.
Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices and township fire wardens.
A $5 annual permit is available online at http://webapps1.dnr.state.mn.us/burning_permits/.
Weather increases importance of delayed roadside mowing
From the DNR
Delayed mowing of roadsides will be more important than normal this year as the cool, wet weather impacts bird nesting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
More than 40 bird species, including pheasants, use roadsides for nesting from April to August.
“The late spring will likely impact pheasant nesting in one of two ways,” said Nicole Davros, DNR research scientist and pheasant specialist. “Some hens may have delayed nest initiation due to cooler temps and snow cover at the start of the nesting season. Other hens that did start nesting may have abandoned their first attempt due to the weather.”
It takes six weeks for a hen pheasant to lay eggs and hatch chicks, Davros said. If a nest fails due to weather, predators or human disturbance, the hen will attempt to renest until successful in hatching a clutch, although renesting clutches will have fewer eggs. A pheasant hen will only hatch one brood per year and will not renest if she loses her chicks.
The peak hatch for pheasants is typically the third week in June, but this year there will probably be a lot of birds still nesting in July, Davros said. Chicks need to be two to three weeks old to escape mowers or other farm equipment.
By delaying roadside disturbances until Aug. 1, most nests can hatch successfully.
If landowners are worried about safety, mowing a narrow strip adjacent to their mailbox or driveway shouldn’t affect nesting hens too much, Davros said.
Most pheasant hens place their nests either in the ditch bottom or along the back slope, away from the road.
At sites where noxious weeds are a problem, Davros recommends spot mowing or spot spraying for treatment.
Roadsides provide more than 500,000 acres of nesting area in the pheasant range of southern and western Minnesota.
Roadside habitat influences local wildlife populations, including pheasants, teal, mallards and songbirds, especially in intensively row-cropped regions where there is little other grassland available.
For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/roadsidesforwildlife/index.html or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.
CO weekley reports
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) gave a law talk at an ATV class in South Haven.
CO Mies checked anglers and boaters.
CO Mies worked on TIP calls and a fire call.
CO Mies worked an AIS detail.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked boaters and anglers in Wright County.
Several TIP calls were checked on, but were unfounded on over limit calls.
Reller also assisted another CO from out state.
Reller found AIS compliance to be very good this spring.
Enforcement action was taken for expired watercraft registration, no PFD on board watercraft and no angling license.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked AIS details on Lakes Waconia, Medicine and Minnetonka.
Several complaints were investigated on bow fishermen dumping piles of carp on private property.
A call was investigated on several gold fish in a pond near St. Bonifacius.
• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked Aquatic Invasive Species enforcement around Hennepin and Carver counties.
She cited several boaters for transporting watercraft with zebra mussels attached as well as not removing their drain plugs and not completing lake service provider training.
She also responded to several calls about fishermen taking bass out of season.
Other violations included possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, no fishing license, angling with extra lines, and no valid boat registration.
She also had a DNR intern ride along during several shifts to learn the job of a CO.
• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated a wanton waste and littering case near Phare Lake.
Throughout the week time was spent on angling, boating and AIS enforcement.
Boaters were reminded to remove drain plugs and drain all water related equipment.
CO Mueller and a neighboring CO assisted State Patrol, Glencoe Police Department and the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office with a call in Glencoe.
Mueller also spoke at a 4H meeting.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time working aquatic invasive species and angling enforcement this week.
Oberg checked some limits of walleye and some nice northern pike in the bag.
Enforcement action was taken for over limit of walleye, angling with extra lines, PFD, ATV and AIS violations.
Oberg also dealt with a couple of nuisance beaver issues.
A fur buyer inspection was also completed.