Small game hunter survey results released

September 1, 2014

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Fewer game bird hunters took to Minnesota’s fields and forests in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annual small game survey.

In 2013, the number of pheasant hunters was 62,100, representing a decrease of 19 percent from 2012.

An estimated 77,900 people hunted ducks, a decrease of 5 percent from 2012.

Ruffed grouse hunter numbers were estimated at 81,100, a decrease of 11 percent from 2012.

Statewide estimates show small game hunters harvested about 169,100 pheasants, 782,800 ducks, and 288,400 ruffed grouse in 2013, with margins of error in the results of between five and six percent.

Individual hunter success rates were comparable to 2012. Pheasant hunters harvested an average of 2.7 pheasants in 2013 compared to 3.3 pheasants in 2012.

Duck hunters harvested an average of 10.2 ducks in 2013 compared to 9.1 in 2012.

Ruffed grouse hunters harvested an average of 3.6 grouse in 2013 compared to 3.7 in 2012.

The DNR annually surveys small game hunters to make estimates of both hunter numbers and harvest trends.

For the 2013 season, 7,000 small game license buyers were surveyed of which 3,589 surveys were returned and usable.

The complete report is on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/publications/wildlife.

Apply for deer and wolf lotteries by Thursday, Sept. 4
From the DNR

Those who want to harvest antlerless deer throughout much of Minnesota this hunting season must apply by Thursday, Sept. 4, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery. Many deer hunting permit areas that have not been in the lottery classification in recent years are in that classification this year.

Deer hunters should review the hunting and trapping regulation book to see if their hunt requires entering a lottery to harvest antlerless deer.

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts need to apply for permits that are issued by lottery; the application deadline is Sept. 4.

More information on deer permit areas and special hunts is in the DNR hunting regulations handbook, at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

Wolf licenses are also issued by lottery. Wolf hunters and trappers must apply by Sept. 4.

Information on wolf hunting is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/wolf.

Wolf management information is available at www.mndnr.gov/wolves.

DNR asks hunters not to shoot radio-collared bears
From the DNR

Hunters participating in Minnesota’s bear season, which opens Monday, Sept. 1, are asked to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears, some of which are marked with large colorful ear tags.

Many of the collars have global positioning units that collect and store data that are downloaded by Department of Natural Resources researchers when they visit the bears in their dens.

“We’re asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. “Long-term records of individual bears have been the cornerstone of information that helps the DNR monitor and manage the bear population.”

DNR researchers are monitoring about 20 radio-collared black bears in areas including northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge.

Additional radio-collared bears that may be the subject of non-DNR research reside in and around the Chippewa National Forest, Camp Ripley, Cloquet Forestry Station, Voyageurs National Park and the Tower area in northeastern Minnesota.

“Hunters near these areas should be especially watchful for these radio-collared bears,” Garshelis said. “Researchers have invested an enormous amount of time and expense in these individuals.”

Photos of some collared research bears are available on the DNR’s bear Web page at www.mndnr.gov/bear.

DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations. For this reason, taking a bear with a radio collar is legal.

Hunters who shoot a collared bear should call the DNR wildlife research office in Grand Rapids at 218-327-4146 or 218-327-4133.

2014 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations book available
From the DNR

Minnesota’s 2014 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations handbook is available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations and in Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife offices across the state.
Hunters should familiarize themselves with the regulations book before the hunting season begins.

This year, Minnesota’s waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 27, under a similar season structure to last year, with similar bag limits and with season dates that vary for north, central and southern zones.

Duck seasons

In the north duck zone (north of Highway 210), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Tuesday, Nov. 25.

In the central duck zone, the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 30.

In the south duck zone (south of Highway 212), the duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.

Canada goose hunting

Canada goose hunting is open in the three duck zones, and also in an intensive harvest zone.

For a map of the intensive zone and other information, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

Hunting dates and information:

The early September Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 6, and run through Monday, Sept. 22.
Bag limits for Canada geese are 10 per day in the Intensive Harvest Zone and five per day in the remainder of the state.

A $4 permit is required to hunt Canada geese during September season.

The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest Goose Zone, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, Ocheda Lake Game Refuge, and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County.

Early season goose hunters should consult the 2014 Waterfowl Supplement for zone maps and additional details.

Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 27, with a bag limit of three Canada geese per day the entire season.

Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.

In the north duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Thursday, Dec. 25. In the central duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Tuesday, Dec. 30.

In the south duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 11, through Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

Sandhill crane season

The season for sandhill cranes will run from Saturday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 19, in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only.

The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day.

A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.

For more information on waterfowl hunting, see www.mndnr.gov/waterfowl.

Roadside wildlife counts to be released Sept. 8
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will release its annual roadside wildlife survey on Monday, Sept. 8.

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.

DNR seeks applications for parks and trail grants
From the DNR

The Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program is seeking applications by Friday, Sept. 26, for park and trail projects across Minnesota.

Eligible projects include acquisition, development, improvement and restoration of park- or trail-related facilities of regional or statewide significance outside the metropolitan area, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, Section 473.121.

Counties, cities and townships are eligible to apply.

There is $3.91 million available for the grant program through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, approved by voters in 2008.

Program and application information is on the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/pt_legacy.html).

For more information, contact the grants staff listed online, call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or send questions via email to info.dnr@state.mn.us.

DNR designates new wildlife lands for public use
From the DNR

Hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife populations now have 4,254 more acres of state wildlife management areas (WMA) available in an expansion that includes 31 existing WMAs and eight new ones in 24 counties.

“These jewels of Minnesota’s landscape can be found in more than 1,500 different WMAs in 86 of the 87 counties in the state,” said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Adding more acreage to the WMA system would not be possible without the work of conservation-minded individuals and groups that partner with the DNR to acquire land for future generations to enjoy.”

Landwehr noted that more than 2,900 acres of the new WMA land was acquired through partners including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trust for Public Land,

The Nature Conservancy, and numerous other individuals, groups and government organizations.

The total area managed as WMAs is more than 1.3 million acres in Minnesota. Nearly all WMAs are open to public hunting and trapping, as well as other uses such as hiking, wildlife watching and cross country skiing.

“Most of the newly added tracts of WMA land represent additions to existing WMAs, which complements our previous investment in wildlife habitat,” said Ed Boggess, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “The newly designated land will expand outdoor opportunities. Many of these additions help meet the DNR’s priority to protect the remaining native prairie lands in the state.”

One example is the newly added 615-acre Minnesota Veterans WMA in Wright and Stearns counties, which received support from a long list of donors.

“This amazing property is large and diverse, with many outstanding natural features,” said DNR Area Wildlife Manager Fred Bengtson. “It includes restored prairie, mature oak forest, planted oaks, sedge meadow, emergent marsh, over a half-mile of the Clearwater River, and a small lake.”

Public funding

Statewide, more than 2,600 of the 4,254 new acres were purchased with funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, one of four funds created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota citizens in 2008.

The Outdoor Heritage Fund receives one-third of the money raised by the sales tax increase that resulted from passage of the amendment.

Other major funding sources include appropriations from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, the $6.50 surcharge on each small game hunting license sold, and the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Matching Program that equally matches private donations of cash or lands.

The RIM matching dollars come from the sale of the critical habitat license plates.

The $30 per year charge for each of these colorful plates generates over $3 million a year that can be used to equally match private donations.

The RIM matching dollars are used to acquire or develop critical habitat in the state.

WMA locations

Those looking to find existing public hunting, fishing and trail access can use the DNR Recreation Compass feature online at www.mndnr.gov/maps/compass.html, or can purchase DNR Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM) from the DNR gift shop, Minnesota’s Bookstore, or several sporting goods and map stores around the state.

PRIM maps may also be purchased online at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/mnbookstore.asp?page=mnprim.

Maps of the newly dedicated WMA lands are not currently available, as managers will be posting and developing parking lots and accesses on the lands over the next several months.

The newly designated WMA lands will be added to the Recreation Compass and the PRIM maps in the future.

New WMAs

Hog Island WMA, 11.7 acres, Blue Earth County.
Coal Mine Creek WMA, 142 acres, Brown County.
Pat’s Pasture WMA, 182 acres, Cottonwood County.
State Line Lake WMA, 44.9 acres, Freeborn County.
Thoen Lake WMA, 100.3 acres, Meeker County.
Prairie Creek WMA, 460 acres, Rice County.
Minnesota Veterans WMA, 615 acres, Wright and Stearns counties.
Dennis Haaland WMA, 80 acres, Yellow Medicine County.

Expanded WMAs

Carlos Avery WMA, 80 acres, Anoka County.
Ogema Springs WMA, 84.4 acres, Becker County.
Lac qui Parle WMA, 25 acres, Big Stone County.
Rosenau-Lambrecht WMA, 156.5 acres, Brown County.
Farhagen WMA, 105 acres, Cottonwood County.
Save the Wetlands WMA, 25 acres, Faribault.
Magaksica WMA, 58 acres, Freeborn County.
Heron Lake-W. Heron supplement, 237 acres, Jackson County.
Minneota WMA, 40 acres, Jackson County.
Sweetwater WMA, 65.5 acres, Lac qui Parle County.
Diamond Lake WMA, 46.1 acres, Le Sueur County.
Kvernmo WMA, 104.15 acres, Lincoln County.
Caron WMA, 14.5 acres, Martin County.
Teal Scurry WMA, 68.8 acres, Meeker County.
Swan Lake WMA, 130.9 acres, Nicollet County.
Neal WMA, 160 acres, Norman County.
Syre WMA, 157.1 acres, Norman County.
Waukon RIM WMA, 64.6 acres, Redwood County.
Boyd Sartell WMA, 146 acres, Rice County.
Severance Lake WMA, 85 acres, Sibley County.
Sibley WMA, 5.6 acres, Sibley County.
Anchor Lake WMA, 0.85 acres, St. Louis County.
Femroy WMA, 12.8 acres, St. Louis County.
Stearns Prairie Heritage WMA, 291.8 acres, Stearns County.
Everglade Marshes WMA, 80 acres, Stevens County.
Selk WMA, 41 acres, Stevens County.
Clair Rollings WMA, 134 acres, Swift County.
Danvers WMA, 40 acres, Swift County.
Osakas WMA, 0.5 acres, Todd County.
Pelican Lake WMA, 44.8 acres, Wright County.
St. Michael Meadows, WMA, 33.1 acres, Wright County.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: What are the hottest and coldest temperatures on record for the Minnesota State Fair?

A: The hottest day in the history of the Minnesota State Fair was on Sept. 10, 1931, with 104 degrees.

The hottest average temperature for the duration of any State Fair back to 1885 is also 1931 with 92.6 degrees.

Note that the Minnesota State Fair in 1931 ran eight days from September 5 to 12.

Last year was the third warmest fair on record with an average of 88.2 degrees, and it also had the most 90-degree high temperatures on record with six days.

The coolest Minnesota State Fair was during the six-day run of the fair from Sept. 5 to 10, 1898, with an average maximum temperature of 64.2 degrees.

The coldest maximum temperature for the fair was 52 degrees on Sept. 7, 1911, and the coldest minimum temperature is 33 degrees on Sept. 13, 1890.

The coolest fair morning in recent years was a chilly 36 degrees on Sept. 1, 1974.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers during the past week
The Officer also worked on a tip call along with checking goose hunters.

• CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked fishermen on area lakes and river taking enforcement action on a number of violations.
He followed up a public waters violation with charges pending.
He assisted with a number of animal complaints, everything from nuisance beaver to sand hill cranes tearing off the screens of a Big Lake residence.
CO Sladek assisted with a AIS road check in Chisago City with enforcement action taken for a few violations, but overall, a high percentage of boats were clean of aquatic vegetation and the boats were dry and plugs out.
He also assisted with a law presentation to a Firearms Safety class in Big Lake to approximately 70-80 kids.
CO Sladek wants to thank his Big Lake Firearms Safety Class instructors for doing such a great job.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) inspected game farms and shooting preserves.
He worked boat and water safety details on Lake Minnetonka with CO Grewe.
Goose hunters were checked all week having poor success.

• CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week checking anglers and monitoring boating activity on Lake Minnetonka.
CO Grewe responded to various calls and spoke at a firearms safety class.
Violations included angling with extra lines, no fishing license and boat registration issues.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers and boaters during the week, along with August goose hunters.
She continued to work AIS compliance.
Mueller also followed up on a trespassing complaint in Sibley County.
She issued a nuisance beaver permit.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked a booth at Youth Conservation Day at Gopher Campfire.
Oberg’s talk centered on the importance of PFDs, understanding AIS laws, and hunter ethics.
Oberg focused on water patrol while working from his patrol boat and kayak.