Trap shooting club facilities can grow through DNR grant program

August 4, 2014

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota shooting clubs that would like to develop or rehabilitate trap-shooting facilities open for public use can apply for funds through a new Department of Natural Resources grant program.

The Minnesota Legislature authorized more than $2 million for matching grants to recreational shooting clubs for developing or rehabilitating trap shooting sports facilities for public use, with an emphasis on enhancing youth participation opportunities.

As part of that program, the DNR created an expedited small trap range grants program to provide grants from $2,500 to $25,000 for eligible projects, which must be matched 1:1 up to a total project cost of $50,000.

A general grant program for larger projects will be announced later this year.

Applications for the expedited small grants program are now open at the link listed below.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1. Those selected for funding will be notified in September.

“This new program aims to increase opportunities for youth trap shooters, youth trap teams and adult shooters,” said Chuck Niska, DNR shooting range program coordinator. “Ideally we’d like to see many applications submitted this summer, range work completed this fall and expanded opportunities around the state next spring.”

The development of the program follows a significant rise in youth trap shooting, especially by high school students who are part of a statewide league.

“Existing trap ranges sometimes struggle to meet demand,” Niska said. “Our hope is that these grants will enable facilities to add additional trap fields, upgrade equipment or make other improvements that enable more people to participate in this popular activity.”

Each grant recipient is required to equally match the amount of funds the DNR awards them.

A total of $500,000 is available for this first phase of the grants.

In the near future, the DNR will announce details of the general grant program for larger trap shooting facility projects exceeding $50,000.

Grant application packets are available at www.mndnr.gov/grants/recreation.

Friends of Wright County Sportsmen’s to host banquet Aug. 18

Friends of Wright County Sportsmens will host its annual banquet Monday, Aug. 18 at the Classic Hall Event Center in Annandale.

The doors open for the event at 5:30 p.m. with the meal to follow at 7 p.m.

The dinner costs $30, while raffle tickes are also available for gun drawings.

For raffle tickets or meal tickets, contact Jerry Vetsch at (763) 682-5858 or go to the Bison Arms Gun Shop in Buffalo.

Besides the meal and the raffle, there will also be a silent auction.

All of the funds raised at the event will go towards shooting programs in Wright County.

Hunters can target Canada geese in August
From the DNR

Hunters can harvest Canada geese in west-central Minnesota from Saturday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 24, the Department of Natural Resources said.

Individual hunters are allowed to shoot up to 10 Canada geese per day, but there is no limit to the number of Canada geese a hunter can possess.

“The state’s Canada goose population remains high, and more goslings hatched this year than last,” said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the DNR. “In the western portion of the state, large numbers of Canada geese continue to damage crops. The August management action is one way to control goose numbers.”

The August goose harvest will open only in the intensive harvest zone in west-central Minnesota, with shooting hours from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

A small game hunting license, special goose permit and state waterfowl stamp are required.

A federal waterfowl stamp is not needed; however, it is needed to hunt geese and other waterfowl beginning in September.

“This is the second year we have held an August goose management action,” Cordts said. “Last August, hunters harvested about 25,000 Canada geese. Hunter success is dependent on weather, progress of small grain harvest and other factors.”

The DNR in August will announce details of fall waterfowl seasons, including the September Canada goose season that runs from Saturday, Sept. 6, through Monday, Sept. 22, and the regular Canada goose seasons that tentatively begin Saturday, Sept. 27.

Details on the August goose management action can be found at www.mndnr.gov/waterfowl.

Submit designs for Minnesota’s 2015 waterfowl stamp
From the DNR

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2015 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp from Monday, Aug. 18 through 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29.

The Harlequin duck is the only waterfowl species eligible for depiction on the stamp, which is sold along with hunting and fishing licenses or as a collectable.

“We’re grateful for artists who submit entries to the stamp contest and people who buy the stamp,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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

Artists are not allowed to use any photographic product as part of their finished entries.

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

Judging will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul.

Artists who want to submit entries should closely read contest criteria and guidelines for submitting work, available from the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, and online at www.mndnr.gov/contests.

Apply now for mentored upland bird hunts
From the DNR

Families and youth can apply now for an opportunity to hunt with experienced upland bird hunters on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The mentored hunts are being offered through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Pheasants Forever and the Ruffed Grouse Society. The application deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 2.

“Those new to bird hunting can learn techniques, equipment needs and the skills to be safe and successful in the outdoors,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator.

In the youth hunt, youth must be 12-17 years old as of Oct. 18, have earned a firearms safety certificate and possess a small game license if required.

Youth must have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them as a mentor, without a firearm.

The adult must also go with the youth during the pre-hunt orientation.

In the family hunt, all participants can hunt, but they need to be 12 and older, have little to no pheasant hunting experience, and have the appropriate safety certificate, stamp and license.

Applications and more details about the hunt are available online at www.mndnr.gov/discover or by contacting Kurre at 651-259-5193 or michael.kurre@state.mn.us. Successful applicants will be notified via mail or email by the end of September.

St. Croix State Park will pilot archery hunting this fall
From the DNR

St. Croix State Park in Hinckley will pilot an archery hunt for part of the 2014 fall deer season.

The archery hunt will be Sept. 29 through Nov. 7, with the exception of Saturday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 2, when the park will close for a youth firearms hunt.

One hundred archery tags will be available; the deadline to apply for them is Aug. 15.

After a 2011 storm downed trees and dramatically changed the landscape, the number of rifle hunters allowed in the park was reduced for safety reasons.

The archery hunt is being added to help safely maintain a healthy deer herd while allowing the park’s pine trees to regenerate.

Deer like to browse on the buds of immature pine saplings, which damages trees and stunts their growth.

Consequently, when there are too many deer in an area, pine trees often struggle to reach maturity.

“We used to allow roughly 550 rifle hunters for our four-day deer hunt, but we decided to reduce rifle hunting until the vegetation has a chance to come back,” said Karl Sieve, assistant park manager. “In order to keep our deer herd in check, an archery hunt seemed like a great alternative for us.”

To apply for the fall archery hunt, hunters should write their name, street address, email address and telephone number on a postcard and send it to St. Croix State Park, 30065 St. Croix Park Road, Hinckley, MN 55037.

Hunting parties of up to four people can apply together by putting each applicant’s contact information all on one card.

The park plans to allow one additional antlerless tag per hunter for the archery hunt, as well as the normal either-sex archery tag.

Successful applicants will be notified by Aug. 22.

Any questions regarding the hunt can be directed to the park headquarters at 320-384-6591.

Celebrate outdoor traditions at DNR exhibit at 2014 MN State Fair
From the DNR

A wide range of free educational exhibits and presentations, including several new activities and displays, along with music and entertainment, will be part of the Department of Natural Resources’ exhibit at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 21-Sept. 1.

“The DNR building and surrounding park area is often the traditional first stop for many fairgoers,” explained Renee Vail, who helps coordinate the DNR exhibit. “Minnesotans are passionate about our natural resources and this is an effective and entertaining way for us to help everyone celebrate our outdoor traditions.”

Featured topics include state parks, ATVs, fishing, hunting, birds, bees, DNR K-9 unit, campfires, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, forestry, lands and minerals, moose, boat and water safety, laser fire extinguishing, prairies, biking and wildlife.

Highlights of the DNR exhibit include:

Historic DNR building

The DNR’s historic State Fair building is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

The log structure is the centerpiece of the DNR’s exhibit and also serves as a landmark, a meeting place and a must-visit educational and entertainment destination, where generations of fairgoers have created life-long memories.

Displays inside the building cover a wide range of natural resource topics including fish, watersheds, aquatic invasive species, rocks and minerals, state lands, forests, trails and parks.

DNR fish aquariums

The indoor fish exhibit underwent a major renovation in 2013 and now features five large aquariums inside the main DNR building.

Each tank shows fish in their native Minnesota habitat: trout of southeastern Minnesota; fish of the St. Croix River; and species of central, southern and northern Minnesota lakes.

The aquariums are built lower to the ground, making it easier for more guests to see the fish, turtles and other species.

DNR outdoor fish pond

The outdoor fish pond, on the south side of the DNR building, is stocked with about 45 different species of fish ranging from sunfish to paddlefish, walleye to bass.

Call of the Moose Minnesota

Moose in Minnesota are in trouble. A 50 percent decline in the moose population since 2010 has left the iconic Minnesota animal in real danger of disappearing.

The Call of the Moose Minnesota campaign aims to advance awareness of the plight of the moose and to raise funds for moose research and management.

Finalists of the Let Loose Your Minnesota Moose – Moose Calling Contest will perform their calls on the DNR Volunteer

Outdoor Stage on Friday, Aug. 29.

Adopt-a-River sculpture

This is the 21st consecutive year an Adopt-a-River sculpture has been on display.

The sculpture will be created from trash and scrap collected by an artist in mid-July at an Adopt-a-River cleanup in St. Paul.

The sculpture is a tribute to more than 90,000 volunteers who have removed more than 6 million pounds of trash from public waters at more than 3,200 cleanups.

The sculpture is located in DNR Park, south of the DNR fish pond.

Invasive species exhibit

Visitors should be on the lookout for emerald ash borers, purple loosestrife, zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil as they walk along a recreated prairie trail, conduct a watercraft inspection or visit an imaginary state forest campsite in a display inside the DNR building.

People can practice using a boot brush to remove invasive plants, learn where zebra mussels might hide on a boat, and find out why they shouldn’t move firewood.

Through interactive activities and an informational video, people will learn how invasive species threaten the natural resources and recreational activities, and how to prevent their spread.

DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

A variety of groups will offer demonstrations and music on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.

DNR conservation officers will demonstrate how their patrol dogs detect wild game and fish hidden out of sight, apprehend people, and conduct a special demo on finding the invasive species zebra mussels on items.

Explore the history of wilderness ethics with Bigfoot and Leave No Trace Minnesota when a fur trader meets modern backpacker on the DNR stage.

The Raptor Center at University of Minnesota will educate people about raptors they see in their own back yards.

Last Chance Forever – The Bird of Prey Conservancy of San Antonio, Texas – will have live bird demonstrations.

Musical acts include: Ali V, Bill and Kate Isles, Bitter Ridge, BLT Band (Bill Lommel and Troop), Darlene and the Boys, Ecuador Manta, Joe Meyer Band, Overland Band, Peter Neuman and the Real Deal, Roxxy Hall Band, The Red Rock Swing Band, The Roe Family Singers. Ring of Fire: The life and music of Johnny Cash – Plymouth Playhouse.

For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/events/statefair/index.html.

DNR State Fair exhibit face sheet
From the DNR

DNR Building

• Historic DNR building at State Fair is celebrating 80th anniversary this year.
• The building opened Sept. 1, 1934, and is 186 feet long by 66 feet wide and 40 feet high.
• About 500,000 people visit the DNR building and surrounding park area each year.
• Building cost $73,000 (almost 10 times the net profit of 1934 State Fair).
• Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents. Today, a regular adult admission ticket costs $13. Funding came from federal and state emergency relief administration and State Fair funds.
• Civilian Conservation Corps erected the building in less than six months using machined logs.
• DNR building open daily during State Fair from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

DNR Aquariums

• DNR completely renovated its indoor fish exhibit last year, installing five large aquariums inside the main DNR building.
• Each tank shows fish in their native Minnesota habitat: trout of southeastern Minnesota; fish of the St. Croix River; and species of central, southern and northern Minnesota lakes.
• Aquariums are built lower to the ground, making it easier for more guests to see the turtles, fish and other species.
• Combined aquarium capacity of more than 5,000 gallons of water, the same amount of water the average family of four uses in a month.
• When full, tanks weigh about 118,000 pounds or about the weight of a juvenile Right whale.
• Project cost about $460,000, using funds from the legislative bonding bill appropriated to the DNR to maintain facilities and assure they are safe and accessible.

DNR Fish Pond

• The DNR’s live fish exhibit is one of the State Fair’s most popular attractions.
• Outdoor fish pond holds about 50,000 gallons of water.
• Outdoor pond is kidney-shaped and is about 100 feet by 50 feet.
• This year’s exhibit is expected to display about 45 species of fish that call Minnesota home.
• One of the most popular fish with fairgoers is the paddlefish. Characterized by its long, paddle-like bill, the paddlefish is found in the lower Mississippi River below Minneapolis. Paddlefish grow to be quite large, with fish up to 200 pounds being recorded. The paddlefish is a state threatened species.
• The largest fish in the exhibit is the lake sturgeon, which exceeds 50 inches. A State Fair veteran, this specimen was the gift of an angler who harvested it legally from the St. Croix River several years ago. Lake sturgeon in Minnesota are found in the Mississippi, St. Croix and Rainy river systems.
• Fish pond talks by MinneAqua program specialists take place at quarter to the half daily, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

State Park Camper Cabin

• A state park camper cabin model is on display, it’s 24 feet by 12 feet.
• Cabins are built to provide a “camping out” experience within the comfort of four walls.
• Cabin has two sets of bunks allowing accessibility for a wheelchair.
• Camper cabin includes a picnic table and a fire ring with grill.
• There are more than 80 camper cabins available to rent in state parks and recreational areas located throughout the state.
• Most cabins are available to rent year-round. Most have heat and electricity. Cabins rent for about $50 per night.
• Camper cabin display model open during the State Fair from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily. Located in DNR Park, near southwest corner of DNR building.

DNR Fire Tower

• Was specifically built for State Fair to provide a wildfire prevention message to visitors.
• Fire tower opened in 1966 and was closed in 1978 because of safety concerns.
• Fire tower was repaired and reopened in 2006.
• Fire tower is 65 feet tall.
• There are 84 steps from bottom to top.
• There is no charge for people to climb to fire tower stairs to get birds-eye view of fair.
• Tower open daily during fair from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting.

DNR Wildlife...Forever Wing

• Fairgoers can learn about Minnesota species and wildlife habitat.
• Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons, as visitors walk through the display.
• Display located in DNR building and is open daily during State Fair from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Adopt-a-River Sculpture
• This is the 21th consecutive year that an Adopt-a-River sculpture has been on display.
• Each year, a new sculpture is made from trash and scrap collected by an artist at Adopt-a-River cleanups on Minnesota waterways.
• Sculpture is a tribute to more than 90,000 volunteers who have removed more than 6 million pounds of trash from public waters at more than 3,200 cleanups.
• Sculpture is located in DNR Park, south of the DNR fish pond.

Smokey Bear

• Smokey Bear is celebrating 70 years of reminding children and their parents about the dangers of wildfires.
• Smokey Bear makes daily appearances at DNR Park at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: If I purchase a hunting or fishing license on the DNR website, do I need to keep a printed copy with me out in the field?

A: If you’re using a home computer, you can print most licenses and need to keep a copy with you when participating in the activity.

In cases where the license has a tag, the license will be mailed to you, and you must have the license in possession.

Licenses purchased on a mobile device are issued in electronic format, and you can choose to receive an email and/or text message that serves as your license.

In that case, you must carry your mobile device or a printed copy of this email or text message to show proof of license.