Roadside wildlife counts to be released today (Mon.)

September 9, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will release its annual roadside wildlife survey on Monday, Sept. 9.

The report summarizes roadside counts of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits and other wildlife observed in the early morning hours during the first two weeks of August.

The observations take place throughout the farmland region of Minnesota.

Observers surveyed 171 25-mile routes, 152 of which were located in the ring-necked pheasant range.

The results from the South Dakota counts were recently released, and the pheasant index was down 64 percent from last year, and down 76 percent from the 10-year average.

Friends of Wright County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club annual banquet Sept. 23

The Friends of Wright County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs will hold its annual fundraising banquet Monday, Sept. 23, at the Classic Hall Event Center in Annandale.

Activities for the evening include a banquet meal, silent auction, and other games and activities.

Prizes and auction merchandise include limited edition firearms, knives, prints, and general outdoor gear.

The funds raised at the banquet will directly support local organizations whose events and activities are critical to the continuation of the shooting sports.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to attend the banquet contact Bruce Bartl at (763) 682-0653.

Wild rice harvesting season open; rice nearing maturity
From the DNR

Minnesota’s wild rice harvesting season is open annually from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 but despite the season dates, harvesters must first ensure the rice is ripe before launching their canoes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Minnesota’s green rice law does not allow the harvesting of unripe rice.

More than 700 lakes and rivers in 31 counties contain significant stands of wild rice, with concentrations of rice being the highest in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca and St. Louis counties.

“The rice isn’t ripening as early as we’ve observed in some other years, but there should be good picking in early to mid-September as long as the weather stays mild,” said David Kanz, acting Brainerd area wildlife manager. “Wild rice is highly dependent on stable water levels through the year. Then, as rice ripens, we need mild weather so rice doesn’t fall from the stalk before harvest time.”

Wild rice is the edible seed of an aquatic grass and is the only cereal grain native to North America.

When properly processed and stored, the nutritious grain can be stored for extended periods.

One cup of cooked wild rice provides 7 grams of protein; is rich in potassium, zinc and riboflavin; and has nearly twice the fiber of brown rice.

In addition to being a traditional food source for Minnesota’s early people and an important part of Native American culture, wild rice is an important food staple for migrating waterfowl each fall and the growing plants provide important habitat for fish.

Because of the grain’s importance, harvesting wild rice is regulated in Minnesota.

Some guidelines to consider before deciding to harvest wild rice include:

• Harvest takes place from a nonmotorized canoe, 18 feet or less, using only a push pole or paddles for power.

• Rice is collected by using two sticks, or flails, to knock mature seeds into the canoe. Flails can be no longer than 30 inches, and must weigh less than one pound each.

• Harvesting licenses cost $25 per season, or $15 per day, per person for Minnesota residents.

• There is no limit to number of pounds people may harvest with a permit.

• Processing is necessary to finish the rice into its final food product.

• The gathering process is labor-intensive.

Like other forms of gathering, allowing ample scouting time will lead to greater success.

Some wild rice waters were hurt by large amounts of rainfall in the spring and early summer, but lakes that didn’t experience such rain have much better rice stands.

Accessing some lakes can be difficult, and low water in some parts of the state will make launching canoes more challenging.

Some lakes and rivers within tribal boundaries are not open to public harvest.

Finding a mentor who is willing to share the skills and knowledge can greatly improve success.

More information about wild rice management, a list of wild rice buyers and processors, and a partial list of lakes containing wild rice stands is available on the DNR website.

The 1854 Treaty Authority website also provides updates on some lakes within the 1854 ceded territory in northeastern Minnesota.

Harvesting licenses can be purchased online via desktop browser and smartphone at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense (see wildlife hunting licenses) or any DNR license agent.

Wolf believed to have bitten teen tests negative for rabies
From the DNR

A gray wolf that wildlife experts suspect bit a 16-year-old boy during the early hours of Aug. 24 at the U.S. Forest Service West Winnie Campground at Lake Winnibigoshish has tested negative for rabies.

The confirmation was made Wednesday, Aug. 28 by the Minnesota Department of Health laboratory, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The wolf that was tested had been trapped Monday at the campground and sent to the lab for rabies testing.

The agency also reported:

• It is premature to say with 100 percent confidence that the wolf that tested negative for rabies is the wolf that inflicted the bites. That won’t be known – or may never be known – until DNA testing is complete. The youth’s shirt (a potential source of wolf saliva DNA) and wolf muscle tissue have been sent to a laboratory at the University of California – Davis for forensic analysis. The analysis expected to take several weeks. The DNR will release the results when they are available.

• The U.S. Forest Service has reopened the West Winnie Campground, which had been closed since Saturday.

• The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has conducted an initial examination of the wolf. The results of additional tests will take several weeks at which time a final necropsy report will be issued.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers.
CO Mies checked goose and dove hunters and boaters.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) was busy with several hunting openers taking place over the weekend.
Early goose hunters found getting geese to decoy was much harder after the August season in Wright County very few birds were seen in the bag, but some did add the bonus mourning dove as that season opened also.
Reller also assisted in Kanabec County checking ATV and bear hunters.
Enforcement action was taken for unplugged shotgun, operating motor vehicle on WMA, angling with extra lines and using game fish for bait.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) assisted with a firearms safety field day at the Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge in Carver.
He did an AIS inspection detail at Lake Waconia finding very good compliance, only one violation for failure to remove drain plug from watercraft.
He worked the dove and goose opener with Officer Sladek finding a few goose hunters having very poor luck and no dove hunters.

• CO Jackie Glaser(Mound) provided medical assistance to a juvenile who was injured in a tubing accident on Lake Minnetonka.
The juvenile’s father was later arrested for BUI.
She worked a DNR career booth at the State Fair and attended Emergency Vehicle Operations training at Camp Ripley.
She also worked AIS enforcement and worked the early goose opener in Carver and Scott counties.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked area lakes and the MN River for fishing and AIS activity.
Violations included angling with an extra line and failure to remove the drain plug.
The weather cooled off just in time for the early goose and mourning dove season.
Hunters were found to be in good compliance with the regulations and were seen having some success.
She also spoke at a firearms safety class in Willmar.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the opening of the early goose and dove season.
Oberg observed some nice limits of Canada geese.
Dove hunters were able to put a few birds in the bag.
Enforcement action was taken for license violations.