Waterfowl season opened up Saturday

September 23, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

With many duck hunters taking to the outdoors for the Sept. 21 Minnesota opener, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding everyone that safety never takes a break, especially during waterfowl season.

Since 2005, five people have died in duck hunting-related boating accidents.

Overloading, swamping and capsizing are the most common causes, while lack of life jacket use is the most common contributing factor.

“The message is simple,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water specialist. “Life jackets save lives.”

A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is required for every person on board all boats, including duck boats.

For boats 16 feet and longer, there must be one U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation seat cushion on board, to throw to someone in distress.

Life jackets are now made with the waterfowler in mind and are available in camouflage colors, including inflatable life jackets and belt-pack vests.

“They have mesh in the upper body that allows you to shoulder a gun,” Owens said. “That way, you don’t have to keep taking the vest off when you shoot.”

The DNR offers these water safety tips for duck hunters:

• Don’t overload boat; take two trips if necessary.
• If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
• Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
• Share trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if traveling party does not return on schedule.
• In case of capsizing or swamping, stay with the boat; even when filled with water, it will still float and is more likely to be seen by potential rescuers.

The DNR has a free “Water Safety for Duck Hunters” publication.

It is available by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

Events added to Waverly Gun Club calendar

Individual Doubles League will start 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 for five weeks at the Waverly Gun Club.

Rifle sight-ins are planned for three consecutive weeks: Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 19 and 20, Oct. 26 and 27, and Nov. 2 and 3. More information available on the club web-site at www.waverlygunclub.org.

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.

Get discount at corn maze with hunting or fishing license
From the DNR

Kids and adults who have a 2013 Minnesota hunting or fishing license can get free and discount admission for the 101 Market Corn Maze in Otsego Saturday, Sept. 21, through Thursday, Oct. 31, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

This year’s theme is “Hunt and Fish Minnesota,” which features a corn maze depicting a deer hunter targeting his buck, a pheasant hunter with his dog and an angler with her catch.

“Just like hunting and fishing, mazes are a fun way to spend time with friends and family in the great outdoors,” said Jenifer Wical, DNR customer enhancement manager. “This partnership is a way to say thank you for purchasing a Minnesota hunting or fishing license.”

To receive this special offer, people should show their 2013 hunting or fishing license at the time of purchase.

Discounts include either free maze entry (a $6 value) or $3 off a $15 dollar unlimited activity package.

All tickets purchased under that license will receive the discount with a limit of six free admissions per license. Additional discounts cannot be used.

Marilyn Nathe Specht, event coordinator at 101 Market, said this new partnership with the DNR made sense.

“Our themed corn maze promotes the great outdoors and for us this offer is a way to express our appreciation for those who have contributed to fish and wildlife conservation through their license purchase.”

The Harvest Corn Maze and Fall Festival at 101 Market will have activities beyond the corn maze like an animal-themed train, corn cannon, corn pit, duck races, jumping pillow, pedal carts, potato slinger, spider web and zoo.

For directions and more information go to www.mndnr.gov/cornmaze.

Minnesota 2013 fishing and hunting licenses can be purchased on a mobile device or online at www.mndnr.gov/BuyALicense.

DNR confirms zebra mussels in Maple Lake in Douglas County
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Maple Lake in Douglas County after responding to a report of zebra mussels attached to the wheel of a boatlift in the lake earlier this month.

DNR staff searched several docks, lifts and near shore areas in Maple Lake and found numerous small zebra mussels attached to several pieces of equipment in the north end of the lake.

Further searches found additional small zebra mussels at the south end of the lake.

While no zebra mussels were found in Lake Reno or Turtle and Long lakes, these lakes will be designated as infested waters.

Water from Maple Lake can flow into Lake Reno, and both Turtle and Long lakes are located downstream from Maple Lake.

Searches will occur on Lake Reno later this fall when docks and boat lifts are pulled from its shores.

These designations will serve as a means to get ahead of an infestation, thus educational and enforcement efforts to limit the spread of invasive species will increase in these waters.

The designations also will mean that boaters can expect an increased presence of decontamination units and crews on these lakes.

“These recent discoveries reinforce the importance of practicing proper aquatic invasive species preventative methods,” said Joe Eisterhold, DNR invasive species specialist at Itasca State Park. “We want to remind folks to inspect all water-related equipment when it is removed from the water at the end of the season and report any suspected zebra mussel discoveries to the local DNR area office.”

Lakeshore owners should also keep in mind that moving docks and boat lifts from one lake to another is a serious issue.

Boat lifts and docks are of particular concern because they sit in the water for extended periods, giving adult zebra mussels a greater opportunity to attach themselves.

State law requires that all boat lifts, docks and swim rafts removed from any lake, river or stream remain out of the water for 21 days before being placed into another water body.

More information about aquatic invasive species is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

DNR seeks applications for OHV grants
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking applications for off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails grants for projects and new trail proposals.

Application forms for projects on existing trails are due to a Parks and Trails area supervisor’s office each year by Nov. 30. New trail proposals are accepted throughout the year.

First authorized in 1984, Minnesota’s OHV trails assistance program is a cost-share program intended to help develop and maintain trails for use by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Known as the OHV grant-in-aid (GIA) program, it helps to establish and maintain recreational trails at the initiative of clubs and other organizations, with the support and participation of local government sponsors.

Organizations can apply for GIA funds through counties, cities or townships.

All aspects of OHV trail development and maintenance are eligible for funding, including project administration, site planning, trail improvements, land acquisition for trail development, and trail maintenance.

Proposals with a focus on maintaining or improving existing trails and trail systems will be assigned a higher priority.

Program and application information is available online at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/gia_ohv.html), or by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 (888-646-6367 toll free) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DNR extends deadline to recruit new conservation officers
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has extended the application deadline for its 2014 Conservation Officer Academy to Friday, Sept. 20.

The original sign-up period was Aug. 26 to Sept. 13 but reports of difficulty accessing the online application caused the extension, said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement director.

“By fixing the glitch and extending the deadline to Sept. 20 we’ll ensure a more complete applicant pool,” Soring said. “We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

Questions can be directed to 651-259-5888.

Conservation officers work to ensure public safety and compliance with state game and fish, recreational vehicle, and natural resource commercial operation laws.

Applicants must have a valid Minnesota peace officer’s license; or be eligible to be licensed by the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (POST) prior to the time conditional offers are made; or complete basic police training and be certified as a full-time peace officer in a state or federal law enforcement agency with which Minnesota has reciprocity and pass the POST Board reciprocity exam by the time conditional job offers are made.

Candidates must pass the general written exam to be admitted to other portions of the exam/selection process.

Other portions of the process will include: oral interviews and completion of a comprehensive background investigation.

Final job offers will be based on passing a medical evaluation, functional capacity exam and psychological evaluation.

The written examination will tentatively be held on Oct. 5 at Bemidji State University; Cloquet Forestry Center; Central Lakes College, Brainerd and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

All communication will be handled electronically.

Applicants must have an updated email address on their resume or they may not be contacted by the DNR.

For more information and instructions on how to appy for the job, go to the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/jobs/hiring.html.

To ensure consideration for this position, both new and returning applicants need to apply directly to posting number 131743000001 by checking the “Apply for this job” box near the bottom of the announcement.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked goose hunters.
CO Mies also checked archery deer and small game hunters on the opener.
CO Mies also assisted neighboring officer with an investigation.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) gave a presentation to a Youth Firearms safety class in Monticello.
Reller also checked anglers, goose hunters, archery deer hunters and small game hunters.
A wetlands complaint of possible illegal tilling was also investigated.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the small game and archery deer opener finding very few hunters.
Goose hunters were checked all week having very good success.
AIS checks were done reminding goose hunters to remove aquatic vegetation and drain plugs from their boats

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked goose and archery deer hunters in Hennepin County finding violations of lead shot, no PFDs, and no HIP certification.
She followed up on several hunting complaints.
She investigated a waters violation in Plymouth and attended court in Minneapolis for a BUI case.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers along with goose and dove hunters throughout the week.
She followed up on a complaint of an ATV driving on the Luce Line trail.
She also investigated a TIP call of shooting before and after hunting hours for geese.
Mueller also spoke at two firearms safety classes, one at Gopher Campfire and one in Sleepy Eye.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the opening of the archery deer and small game seasons.
Oberg checked small game hunters having some success with fox squirrel in the area.
Off-highway vehicle enforcement was worked in the river valley with enforcement action taken for operating in unfrozen waters.
While working the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Oberg located a lost Labrador and was able to reunite him with his owners.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: It appears to be that time of year for tree diseases to surface.
Is there anything homeowners can do to protect their trees from diseases and possible mortality, regardless of tree species?

A: There are a number of things homeowners can do to help keep their trees healthy.

Since many areas of the state are experiencing drought, a good place to start is watering the trees.

Lack of water predisposes drought-stressed trees to insects and pathogens that can attack.

Wherever possible, homeowners should give their trees about one inch of water each week.

In addition to watering, organic mulch, two-to-three inches deep and spread out three to eight feet from the trunk, will guard against lawn mower injury and keep roots moist.

Homeowners should also avoid using weed and feed fertilizer products, which contain herbicide.

While the product makes lawns look good, it does kill tree roots.

Picking up and properly disposing of fallen leaves and tree branches can help prevent the spread of tree diseases now and next spring.

For more information go to DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/index.html.