Hunters urged to review trespass law, ask landowners first

October 28, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

With Minnesota’s small game, waterfowl, and archery deer seasons underway, and the firearm deer season set to begin Nov. 9, conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind hunters that there is one sure way to avoid landowner concerns associated with trespassing: “Always Ask First.”

“Trespass is the biggest problem landowners have with hunters,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director. “It is critical for hunters to have good relationships with landowners, especially when you consider that in some parts of the state such as southwestern Minnesota about 95 percent of the land is privately owned.”

“If hunters and other outdoor recreationists would just make it a standard practice to always ask for permission before entering any private land, those relationships would improve a lot.”

Soring encourages all hunters and landowners to obtain a copy of the 2013 Hunting and Trapping booklet and review the trespass information beginning on page 6.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to be very familiar with the trespass law.”

Trespass penalties range from a $50 civil fine to a criminal penalty of a several thousand dollars, confiscation of vehicles and hunting equipment, and revocation of hunting privileges for 2 years.

Unlike urban law enforcement agencies, conservation officer response times to trespass calls may be longer, especially during the firearms deer season.

Callers are urged to contact the Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093 to report any alleged wildlife violation, including hunter trespass. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

Information must include precise time and location, along with a full description including a license plate number of any vehicle believed to be involved.

DNR asks pet owners to find ‘forever homes’ for unwanted turtles and other pets
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking pet owners to find “forever homes” for unwanted turtles and other pets.

A forever home means an appropriate environment where the animal will be cared for the rest of its life.

The global trade in wildlife has resulted in a wide variety of animal species being bought and sold for pets at local shops and online.

One of the most common pet-trade turtles is the Red-eared Slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) – a non-native species in Minnesota.

Recently, released and escaped Red-eared Sliders have been documented successfully spending the winter in Minnesota waters.

“Red-eared Sliders are not native to Minnesota,” said Christopher Smith, DNR nongame wildlife biologist. “They may compete with our native turtles, including the state listed Blanding’s turtle, for resources such as food, nesting sites and optimal basking areas.

“Red-eared Sliders are often purchased as cute little hatchling turtles, but they grow quickly in captivity and eventually require a large space to roam - a challenge during Minnesota’s winter months,” Smith said. “People want to do right by the turtle and decide to set it free; however, animals maintained in captivity should not be released back into the wild.”

Unwanted animals should be gifted to educators to use in their classroom(s), or to naturalists at regional or state parks.

Alternatively, animals could be given to local humane or nonprofit societies (e.g., Minnesota Herpetological Society, www.mnherpsoc.org/.

If people have difficulties placing unwanted animals, they should contact the appropriate regional nongame wildlife specialist, www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/index.html.

People shouldn’t release animals (even native species) that have been maintained in captivity.

Disease and invasive species are significant problems facing wild animals.

Animals may appear healthy while cared for in captivity but can harbor disease or parasites that would be fatal to that animal if returned to the wild, or it could put a wild population at significant risk.

The risk of spreading disease to wild animal populations far out-weighs the benefit of releasing one or two animals into the wild.

Moving native species and releasing captive animals is detrimental to their quality of life.

These animals often attempt to migrate back to their former home range (in the case of relocated native species) which often involves crossing busy roads.

Released turtles may also fail to find and capture food in the wild.

Four anglers net nearly $3,000 in fines
From the DNR

Four men recently pled guilty and paid fines of about $740 each following an investigation of sunfish over-limits by conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

State conservation officers Jayson Hansen of Big Fork and Don Bozovsky of Hibbing checked the men and their wives while on patrol of Deer Lake near Effie, Minn.

Searching freezers at various locations during the investigation, the officers found bags of mostly frozen sunfish from Deer, Pickerel, Battle, Larson, and Poplar lakes.

Deer, Pickerel, and Battle lakes have a 10 sunfish per person daily limit.

The daily sunfish limit on most Minnesota lakes is 20 per person.

The sunfish were seized and counted and the men were charged with 84 sunfish over the legal limit.

Among the sunfish were 18 black crappie, 11 northern pike and nine bass.

Those each charged with 21 sunfish over the legal limit included George Stavish, 60, and Roland Mammenga, 62, both of Randall; Curt Atkisson, 52, Staples; and Rae Mammenga 54, Conesville, IA.

Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

World record-size antlers on display at Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener ‘Big Buck’ luncheon
From the DNR

Those who attend the Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener “Big Buck” luncheon on Friday, Nov. 8, at the West Otter Tail County Fairgrounds in Fergus Falls will be able to view the world record-size antlers from a whitetail deer that was illegally taken in Goodhue County in 2009.

The antlers drew national media attention at the time because they had an initial gross score of 190, virtually unheard of for an eight-pointer.

The antlers will be displayed by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers, who will also be bringing their traveling “Wall of Shame” to this event.

This is a taxidermy exhibit that displays trophy-quality animals that were illegally taken by poachers in Minnesota.

Admission to field day activities is free and open to the public.

Tickets to the 12:15 p.m. “Big Buck” Lunch are $15 and include a chance to hear from Minnesota dignitaries including Gov. Mark Dayton, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Explore Minnesota Tourism Director John Edman and MDHA Executive Director Mark Johnson and the chance to mix and mingle with fellow hunting enthusiasts.

Arrive early to take part in various hunting related activities and be awed by the Gould Brothers during their exhibition shooting show performing at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets are available by contacting MDHA at 800-450-DEER, ext. 12, online at www.mngovernorsdeeropener.com or locally at the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce (202 S Court St.).

The Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener is a partnership among the DNR, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Explore Minnesota Tourism and the Fergus Falls community to promote hunting and tourism.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters.
CO Mies worked on a deer complaint.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked waterfowl hunters all week finding mixed success.
Trespass complaints, beaver damage calls and hunting questions were handled.
A firearms safety instructor recognition event was held at the Mayer Community Center for Stan Heldt who has served as a firearms safety instructor for 50 years.
Over 70 people attended with several of them being instructors.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters throughout the week.
She followed up on a TIP call dealing with a possible over-limit of geese.
Enforcement action was taken on a hunter hunting with an unplugged gun.
Mueller spoke at both the DNR and Pheasants Forever mentored youth hunts over the weekend.
The kids got the chance to shoot some pheasants and learn some valuable lessons.
Mueller also spoke at an ATV safety class in Cedar Mills and attended training in St. Paul.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked mainly pheasant and waterfowl enforcement during the week.
Time was also spent responding to and working TIP calls.
Archery hunting enforcement was also worked in the area.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: It seems like you see more and more wild turkeys these days near urban areas. Is this just cyclical, or has their population shifted?

A: Turkeys are another species of wildlife that have adapted to living close to people.

Prohibitions on hunting, the relative lack of predators, and the abundant food sources found in urban and suburban areas contribute to high reproduction and low mortality for turkeys and other wildlife in urban areas.

The preservation of natural areas, including river corridors, wetlands, parks, and backyards provide habitat for many wildlife species that many people feel contribute to a higher urban quality of life.