No hunting on federal lands during shutdown

October 7, 2013

by Chris Schultz

Although I have not been able to obtain an official notification regarding hunting and access on Federal Waterfowl Production Areas, there have been indications that no hunting or access is allowed on any federal wildlife lands during the government shutdown.

With the waterfowl season in full swing, archery deer season open and the Minnesota pheasant opener coming Saturday, Oct. 12, thousands of hunters across Minnesota could be impacted by the shutdown.

The greatest impact will come from no activity allowed on lands managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which includes the thousands of acres of Federal Waterfowl Production Areas in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

These lands provide a very large portion of pheasant hunting access and activity across Minnesota and the midwest, and will put many hunters in the position of having no place to hunt until the shutdown is over.

Federal Wildlife Refuges, like Big Stone in far western Minnesota are also included.

Wildlife officials did note the shutdown would hamper their ability to manage and enforce laws on federal public lands and therefore access would not be allowed.

The shutdown occurred when Congress failed to agree and pass bills to fund the federal government in the new fiscal year, which began October 1.

DNR urges people to watch for aquatic invasive species during cabin close-up
From the DNR

With winter just around the corner many Minnesotans are pulling in their boats and closing up cabins for the season.

It’s the time of year when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks every cabin and lakeshore owner to watch for aquatic invasive species (AIS) when removing docks, boat lifts, swim rafts and other equipment from the water.

“The end of the season offers an important opportunity to monitor for AIS,” said Ann Pierce, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “Carefully inspect everything you remove from the water to see if there are invasive species attached. Your observations will provide invaluable information to the DNR in tracking the distribution of AIS – and give us a chance to rapidly respond if new infestations are found.”

Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.

In newly infested waters, adult zebra mussels may not be abundant and there may only be a few mussels on a piece of equipment.

On a smooth surface, juvenile mussels feel gritty, like sandpaper.

If a new infestation of zebra mussels, faucet snails or other aquatic invasive species is suspected, the exact location should be noted, a photo taken and a specimen should be kept.

Call 888-646-6367 or contact a local DNR AIS specialist (www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/ais/contacts.html), or a fisheries office (www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/index.html).

Responding quickly to new AIS infestations is critical to help curb the spread into other waterbodies.

There are also specific legal requirements that cabin owners and boaters must follow when removing and storing watercraft and equipment for the winter – or hiring someone to handle it:

Transporting and storing watercraft

• When hauling boats or other watercraft to a storage facility away from the shoreline property, make sure there are no invasive species attached. It is illegal to transport watercraft with invasive species attached.

• However, if the watercraft is contaminated with AIS and it needs to be transported to another location for cleaning and winter storage, the DNR provides an authorization form to transport watercraft http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/invasives/ais-auth-form-boats.pdf. The form should be downloaded, completed, signed and kept in possession during transport. Zebra mussels and other invasive plants and animals must be removed before transporting the watercraft back to a lake or other waterbody.

Transporting and storing docks, lifts and equipment

• It is legal to remove a dock, boat lift, dock, weed roller, swim raft, or irrigation equipment from infested waters and place it on the adjacent shoreline property – even if there are zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species attached. A permit is not required to place equipment on the shoreline. Contact a DNR AIS specialist if an invasive plant or animal is found that has not been sighted on the lake before.

• However, if someone wants to transport equipment from infested waters to another location for storage, cleaning or repair, they must have an authorization form to transport equipment to legally move it to another location.

• If the equipment is to be installed in another waterbody, all aquatic plants and animals such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, must be removed – and the equipment must be dried for 21 days before placing in other waters.
Hiring a business or individual to remove boats and equipment from any waterbody

• Any business or individual in Minnesota receiving payment to decontaminate, install, or remove boats, docks or water-related equipment is required by law to complete AIS training and obtain a permit before working in waters of the state.

• Anyone hired to remove a boat or dock must have a current DNR permitted service provider sticker on their windshield. If they work for a lake service provider business, ask to see an employee certificate.

• A list of permitted lake services providers is on the DNR website (webapps8.dnr.state.mn.us/aquatic_invasive_species_training/lake_service_provider_permits/public_website_list).

Learn more about Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species rules and regulations, and the DNR’s lake service provider program at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

Events added to Waverly Gun Club calendar

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, at the Waverly Gun Club. More information available on the club website at www.waverlygunclub.org.

No surplus either-sex deer permits available for 2013
From the DNR

For the first time since surplus permits were offered in 2007, no leftover either-sex deer permits are available for purchase after the lottery deadline, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

The DNR offered 38,850 either-sex permits in 58 deer permit areas this year.

Every permit area received applications for at least 100 percent of the permits available.

In lottery deer areas, firearm and muzzleloader license holders who intend to take an antlerless deer must have an either-sex permit; otherwise, they are restricted to hunting bucks.

The total bag limit for deer in lottery areas is one deer per year.

Availability of leftover permits has declined since the development of the hunter choice management designation, which was first used in 2011.

Similar to lottery areas, hunter choice-designated areas have a bag limit of one deer; however, no limit is placed on the number of available either-sex permits and lottery applications are not required.

MN’s nongame wildlife program debuts Facebook page
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is expanding its use of social media with the recent launch of a Facebook page for its nongame wildlife program www.facebook.com/minnesotanongamewildlifeprogram.

The DNR now has nine Facebook pages and four Twitter accounts.

The nongame Facebook page highlights success stories, emerging issues and photographs pertaining to the program’s work to help more than 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive.

“We are excited about the use of social media outlets like Facebook,” said Carrol Henderson, nongame wildlife program supervisor. “Social media is a great way to get younger, and more tech savvy, Minnesotans interested in our native wildlife species, DNR projects and volunteer opportunities.”

The nongame wildlife program is the same program as the donation check-box on Minnesota income and property tax forms.

The program’s Facebook page tells more about how donation money is spent.

Temporary OHV trail closures begin in November
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will restrict recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season.

Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and registered off-road vehicles (ORVs) such as four-wheel drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.

The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes but not to state forest roads, aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.

Licensed deer hunters may still use these routes in conjunction with their hunting activity:

• Before legal shooting time.
• From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• After legal shooting hours.

Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be:
• Nov. 9 – 24 for the northeastern Minnesota 100 Series deer season.
• Nov. 9 – 17 for the Minnesota 200 Series deer season.

Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Minnesota close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state.

While many recreational OHV riders have voluntarily opted not to ride forest trails during deer hunting and small game seasons, recreational OHV riding has become a year-round sport for many.

DNR officials remind everyone who visits Minnesota’s state forests this fall to put safety first.

For more information, see the 2013 deer season map online at www.mndnr.gov (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/hunting/2013/deermap.pdf) or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DNR to limit access at some MN state parks during hunting season
From the DNR

Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources will take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks, and access to the parks will vary during these hunts, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public).

The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts – which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options – have passed.

For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2013 hunting season, visit www.mndnr.gov (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html) or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157, toll-free 888-646-6367, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or at info.dnr@state.mn.us.

Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts also are included in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park Web pages at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks).

The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and the end of December to look online or call ahead to find out whether a hunt is planned and confirm whether the park will be open.

The DNR also advises visitors to parks where hunts are planned to wear blaze orange, even if they will not be hunting.

Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.

“These annual resource management hunts help control the deer population at state parks,” said Ed Quinn, resource management consultant for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Too many deer in one area can negatively affect native plants and the health of the ecosystem. In managing natural resources, we’re always striving for a sustainable balance.”

DNR seeks designs for MN’s 2014 walleye stamp
From the DNR

Wildlife artists can submit entries for Minnesota’s walleye stamp from Monday, Oct. 7 through Friday, Oct. 18, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Designs should be securely wrapped and enclosed in an envelope or other container.

The words “Walleye Stamp” should be clearly marked on outside of the container. Late entries will not be accepted.

Entries must be sent or delivered to 2014 Walleye Stamp Contest, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

The walleye (Sander vitreus) must be the primary focus of the design.

Other fish species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries.

Any entry that contains photographic products will be disqualified.

The contest, which offers no prizes, is open to Minnesota residents only.

Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to walleye stocking.

A contest entry form and reproduction rights agreement, which grants the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other promotional, educational, and informational purposes related to walleye, must be signed and submitted with the design.

Judging will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.

Contest judges will have expertise in art, ichthyology, fishing, aquatic habitats and/or printing.

For complete contest criteria and information contact the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

Information also is available by calling the Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367, or on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/contests/stamps.html.

Early anterless deer hunting opens in three SE MN areas
From the DNR

Three small areas of Winona and Houston counties that have high deer densities will be open to an early antlerless deer hunt Thursday, Oct. 17 through Sunday, Oct. 20, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Two portions of deer permit area 346 will be open as well as one portion of permit area 345.

Hunt areas are detailed online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and on the large, fold-out deer map included in the 2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

“While the overall deer permit areas are at or near established population goals, there continue to be localized areas where deer densities need to be reduced to desired levels,” said Leslie McInenly, the DNR’s big game program leader.

“This year’s more limited early antlerless season will be evaluated as an additional management tool to reduce deer densities on a local level.”

Only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits.

Deer harvested during the special season do not contribute a hunter’s statewide limit during the regular season.

Early antlerless permits cost $7.50 for residents and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.

All deer harvested during this season must be tagged with an early antlerless permit.

Hunters must also have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader license and harvest a deer using the method for which they are licensed.

The antlerless hunt coincides with the four-day special youth deer season.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) gave a law talk at the South Haven firearms class.
CO Mies checked waterfowl hunters along with archery deer hunters.
CO Mies gave a fur/trapping talk to several schools at Ney Park in Wright County.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked on several complaints related to trespass and closed out several cases from earlier this summer.
Reller also attended annual in-service at Camp Ripley.
Waterfowl hunting has slowed with a lack of new birds into the area.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked waterfowl hunters all week having good success.
A trumpeter swan was shot on Patterson Lake.
Any information on who shot the swan would be appreciated.
Wildlife management areas and State Trails were patrolled.
Calls were returned all week on hunting questions.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) attended division training at Camp Ripley.
She checked waterfowl hunters in Carver and Hennepin counties and encountered one group with 10 geese over their limit.
She also participated in an AIS hearing for a drain plug violation.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) followed up on a public waters violation.
She spoke at a FAS class in Olivia.
Mueller also worked on two trespass complaints with the landowners and advised them on how to properly post their land. She assisted with training all week at Camp Ripley for fall in-service.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time training officers at Camp Ripley during fall in-service.
Classroom training instruction covered firearms maintenance and manipulation, while range work dealt with live firing exercises.
Oberg also followed up on waterfowl enforcement related calls.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Someone told me that for the sake of birds, rice shouldn’t be thrown outside after a wedding. Is this true? And is there a substitute for rice?

A: Instant rice is bad for a bird because it expands in its crop (throat) and can kill it.

Some rice might be harmless to birds, but polluting sidewalks with rice is not recommended.

Instead, use wild bird seed to throw at weddings.

The seed will be cleaned up, naturally, within a few days and will also provide food for our feathered friends.