DNR urges ATV enthusiasts to brush up on safety

June 10, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Now that the summer recreation season is officially in full swing, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiasts to brush up on safety.

“The weather warms up, school is out, it’s the time of year that we start seeing an increase in ATV accidents,” said 2nd Lt. Leland Owens, DNR’s recreational vehicle coordinator.

Owens said most ATV-related fatalities are the result of warned-against behaviors, such as driving too fast, driving while impaired and youths riding adult-sized ATVs.

“If you allow a youth to operate an ATV, make sure they are trained, fit the ATV, and are constantly supervised by an adult,” Owens said.

In the last five years, 90 Minnesotans, ages 5 to 94, have died in ATV accidents.

More than 95 percent of those who died had not taken ATV safety training.

State ATV laws require youth ages 12-15 and anyone born after July 1, 1987, who is 16 or older, to take ATV safety training before operating on public lands. A free ATV safety CD is available from the DNR.

Owens said regardless of age or experience, all ATV enthusiasts can further minimize their risk by simply adhering to a few basic ATV safety rules:

• Always wear a helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.

• Slow down. Many accidents involve rollovers caused by excessive speed.

• Except at safe crossings that are permitted by law, never ride on paved roads.

• Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

• Ride an ATV that fits and is age appropriate.

• Always supervise riders younger than 16.

• Complete DNR ATV safety training.

For more information on ATV safety training, trails and regulations: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/index.html.

GND fishing contest in Howard Lake June 22

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 cindydecker29@hotmail.com, or swing in to Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.

Ugly Fish Contest on Howard Lake results

The fourth annual Ugly Fish Contest on Howard Lake took place May 31 through June 1.

The contest removed a total of 1,031 pounds of carp from Howard Lake, and was sponsored by the Howard Lake Watershed Alliance and Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club.

First place went to Zack Sans and Jeremy Scheffler, who won $500.

Cameron Birkholz and Travis Anderson finished second ($250), with Charles Stans and Joseph Hesse coming in third ($150).

Fishing Klinic for Kids set for Saturday

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.

DNR to offer state lands at public auction
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer for sale more than 20 parcels of state lands at two public auctions to be held July 23-24.

A third auction date has been scheduled on July 30 to offer any remaining parcels that did not sell at the initial two auctions.

The majority of the parcels are school trust lands, some of which are lakeshore lots.

Also included in the auction is the former St. Croix Boy’s Camp with 3,000 feet of river frontage along the Tamarack River in Pine County.

“We anticipate strong interest in this sale which includes platted lakeshore lots in northeastern Minnesota,” said Susan Damon, DNR’s lands transactions manager.

These are the remaining lakeshore parcels that were not offered for sale in the 1990s during the lakeshore lease lot sale when school trust lots were sold to longtime leaseholders.

“The DNR manages school trust lands for the citizens of Minnesota,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “The sale of school trust lands is one way the DNR helps generate income for the Permanent School Trust Fund. Interest and dividends from the Fund are distributed twice a year to all public school districts in Minnesota.”

Auction dates and locations:

• Tuesday, July 23, 10 a.m., DNR Northeast Region office, 1201 E. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, Minn. - will include parcels located in Itasca County.

• Wednesday, July 24, 10 a.m., Lake County Law Enforcement Center, 613 Main Ave., Two Harbors, Minn. - will feature lands located in Cook, Lake, Pine, and St. Louis counties.

• Tuesday, July 30, 10 a.m., DNR Central office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, Minn. - will offer any remaining unsold parcels.

Interested parties are encouraged to review the terms and conditions of sale prior to attending the auctions.

Property data sheets are posted on the DNR’s land sale website at www.mndnr.gov/landsale one month prior to the auction dates.

The property data sheets will provide the sale price, legal and site descriptions, acreage and zoning information for each of the parcels.

DNR announces grants for water trail anniversary events
From the DNR

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Minnesota’s state water trails system, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded a total of $15,000 in grants to user groups, communities and outfitters that will plan and implement 50-year anniversary events around the state, throughout the open-water season.

Minnesota has the oldest and largest water trail system in the nation.

State water trails are recreational routes on waterways that are managed by the DNR for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping.

“State water trails thrive on the support of local units of government, paddling clubs, nonprofits and outfitters,” said Erik Wrede, DNR water trail coordinator. “This anniversary year is an ideal opportunity to engage our partners in marketing efforts, designed with the ultimate goal of increasing public awareness and participation.”

The following organizations will receive 50-year anniversary promotional event grants:

• Crow River Organization of Water ($3,500) for their 10th annual “Crow River Clean-up Day.” This Sept. 21 event will engage more than 50 partners throughout the Crow River Watershed and provide an opportunity for citizens to improve water quality while creating community pride and an enduring sense of stewardship for their local waters. Some 300 participants are expected. See www.crowriver.org for more information.

A working group of the DNR’s citizen Water Trails Advisory Committee reviewed grant proposals and made funding recommendations to the DNR.

Proposals were rated on clarity of program description and goals, experience coordinating similar events, number and diversity of partners and participants, safety plan, promotion plan, in-kind contributions and cost-effectiveness.

In 1963, the Minnesota Legislature designated the Big Fork, Little Fork, St. Croix and Minnesota rivers as the state’s first “canoe and boating routes” (now known as Minnesota state water trails). Since then, the system has grown to include 33 state water trails, with more than 4,500 miles of mapped routes and more than 1,400 facilities (public water accesses, campsites and rest areas).

There is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota, and the popularity of paddling is growing, as indicated by increasing canoe and kayak registrations.

Kayak registrations in Minnesota have increased 56 percent in the last five years.

The DNR provides free maps, camping, river-level reporting and trip-planning resources – all of which can be found at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.

To request printed maps and a free 44-page Guide to Minnesota Water Trails, call the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Woman sustains non-life-threatening injuries in bear attack
From the DNR

An Aitkin County woman was injured in a black bear attack Monday evening, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The 72-year-old McGregor woman was bitten and clawed by a sow bear before the animal and her three yearlings left the woman’s property.

The woman’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

The bears had been seen on the property prior to Monday’s incident.

A conservation officer later killed the 190-pound female, or sow, bear, after the animal ran at the officer as well.

“Like any wild animal, bears can be unpredictable,” said Rodmen Smith, acting director of the DNR’s Division of Enforcement. “This situation was clearly unusual bear behavior and presented a public safety risk.”

Black bears are rarely aggressive and attacks on people are rare.

Until this incident, the DNR has documented only four bear attacks on people involving serious injuries in the state since 1987. None have been fatal.

The most recent attack requiring hospitalization was in 2005.

The documented attacks show no clear pattern.

Each year in North America there are thousands of interactions between people and black bears without incident.

According to the DNR, the incident on Monday began when the woman let her dog outside after checking to make sure the bears, which had been seen on the property for several days, weren’t around.

When the three yearlings unexpectedly ran from under the deck, her golden retriever ran off the deck and gave chase.

When the woman reached the bottom of her deck stairs, she saw the sow nearby.

The sow initially ran toward the dog, but when the woman yelled for the dog to return, the sow changed direction and came at her, striking her left arm and side with its claws and knocking her to the ground.

The bear retreated, and then attacked a second time, biting her on the right arm and leg, leaving puncture wounds.

The sow bear ran in the direction of the three yearlings. The woman called 911 around 7 p.m.

An Aitkin County Sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene but was unable to locate the bears.

A DNR conservation officer arrived and found the bears about 200 yards from where the incident occurred.

When the sow ran toward him, he shot and killed it.

Under DNR policy and state law, conservation officers and other enforcement agencies may kill a bear if it is considered a threat to public safety.

The sow has been taken to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul for necropsy.

The yearlings, which appeared healthy and would naturally become independent of their mother by early June, were left in the area.

Black bears are normally wary of humans, but they can be provoked by unusual circumstances.

Bears that feel comfortable living near people may become more unpredictable when faced with a stressful situation, such as a dog in chase of their offspring.

Typically, mothers with cubs or yearlings are no more dangerous than solitary bears.

Homeowners should strive not to attract bears to their property.

Removing sources of food such as bird feeders, feeding pets indoors, storing trash in bear-proof containers and keeping barbeque grills clean can help avoid attracting bears.

For more information about human-black bear interactions, visit the DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/livingwith_wildlife/bears/index.html.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies had two reports of carp dumped from bow fishermen on the side of the road.
One of the dumpings was near Clearwater Lake and one by Cokato Lake.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers on area lakes and rivers.
Several more complaints were investigated on bow fishermen dumping carp on private property, ditches and public lake access sites.
Animal nuisance complaints were handled all week.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) checked fishing activity on numerous lakes in Hennepin County.
She followed up on TIP calls about fishermen taking over-limits of fish.
She also worked AIS enforcement on Lake Minnetonka.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) monitored angling and ATV activity along the Minnesota River area on Memorial Day and throughout the week.
Enforcement action was taken on license violations, an ATV registration violation and a violation for allowing the illegal operation of an ATV by a juvenile.
A littering complaint of carp that were taken by bow was also investigated.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time working ATV, angling, and boating enforcement.
He also followed up on a couple WCA issues.
Additional time was spent following up on a trapping case.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license.