DNR grants give trap shooting ranges a boost

November 10, 2014

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has approved nearly $400,000 in expedited small range trap shooting grants to expand, improve or upgrade trap shooting ranges across the state.

The grants are the result of a $2.16 million legislative appropriation earlier this year that aims to increase shooting range capacity for youth trap shooters by providing matching funds to recreational shooting clubs open for public use.

“These grants will be a shot in the arm to the trap shooting community and help provide more opportunity for youth trap shooters, whose numbers have swollen since the inception of the Minnesota High School Clay Target League,” said Maj. Roger Tietz, DNR Enforcement Division operations support manager.

The number of clay target league youth shooters jumped from 3,400 in spring 2013 to around 6,100 in spring 2014.

There were 55 grant applications received and 40 approved totaling $389,000.

Grant applications were scored based on project location and need, financial contributions of funding partners and the applicant and the feasibility of the project.

The program provides grants for projects ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. The grants must be matched in a ratio of one-to-one.

Groundwork for a new round of funding for larger and smaller grants will be announced later this year.

• Annandale Conservation Club - $17,500
• Becker County Sportsmen’s Club, Detroit Lakes - $2,907
• Belgrade Sportsman Club - $8,470
• Buffalo Gun Club - $12,064
• Byron Sportsmen’s & Conservation Club - $10,500
• Canby Sportsman’s Club - $9,084
• Caribou Gun Club, Le Sueur - $25,000
• Crookston Gun Club, Inc. - $8,187
• Dumfries Sportsmen’s Club, Wabasha - $2,589
• East Range Sportsman & Cons. Club, Aurora - $5,908
• Fairmont Trap Club, Inc. - $5,811
• Falls Trap Club, Inc., International Falls - $5,400
• Gopher State Sportsmen’s Club, La Crescent - $15,000
• Graceville Gun Club - $7,500
• Grand Rapids Gun Club - $14,707
• Hibbing Trap Club - $3,401
• Kenyon Sportsmen’s Club, Inc. - $4,500
• Kimball Rod & Gun Club - $17,810
• Knob Hill Sportsman’s Club, Wadena - $13,600
• Lake of the Woods Rod & Gun Club - $4,000
• Lakes Area Shooting Center; Fergus Falls - $2,413
• Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club - $6,400
• Monticello Sportsmen’s Club Inc. - $24,975
• Minneapolis Gun Club - $25,000
• Osage Sportsman’s Club - $5,000
• Owatonna Gun Club - $3,200
• Pine Island White Pines Sports Club - $4,848
• Pine River Fish & Game - $8,465
• Proctor Jack Meade Gun Club, Duluth - $12,700
• Red River Valley Sportsmen’s Club, Perly - $6,795
• Redwood Falls Sportsman’s Club - $3,070
• Redwood River Sportsman’s Club, Marshall - $9,816
• Rice Creek Hunting & Rec. Inc., Little Falls - $4,148
• South St. Paul Gun Club - $25,000
• Stewartville Sportsman’s Club - $9,995
• Thief River Falls Trap Club - $10,500
• Truman Gun Club - $17,788
• Wanamingo Sportsmen’s Club, Inc. - $4,500
• Wealthwood Gun Club - $4,350
• Winona Sportsmen’s Club - $3,354
• Winthrop Game Protective League - $2,900
• Total – $389,155

Hunting: the adventure and the responsibility
From the DNR

There will be nearly 500,000 blaze-orange clad hunters afield when Minnesota’s firearms deer season gets underway Saturday, Nov. 8. Whether they bag a buck or not, it’s great just to be outdoors.

While exercising hunting rights in the woods and fields appeals to many people, with it comes some responsibility, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. That includes ethical hunting practices, respecting the resource and passing on core values to preserve Minnesota’s hunting heritage for the next generation.

“The time shared between a youngster and a mentor is invaluable,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement Division director. “There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor.”

A past president and current treasurer of the local Des Moines Valley chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Cody Duroe, Jeffers, Minnesota, is a 47-year-old who has been hunting since he was a teen. His father was not a hunter so he learned through friends. He knows the importance of mentoring.

“My 12-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son take turns sitting with me with a 20-gauge shotgun in one of our deer blinds,” Duroe said. “It’s a great opportunity to teach hunter core values to preserve Minnesota’s hunting heritage for the next generation.”

Duroe’s children receive several lessons while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of fall.

“Ethics and sportsmanship go beyond obeying the game laws,” Duroe said. “It’s about fair chase and not throwing lead in the air to knock something down. And it’s about how you treat people in the field whether it’s landowners or other hunters. Be courteous and respectful.”

Respecting the resource and landowners goes hand-in-hand.

“Never go on private property without permission and remember that cooperation and respect are the keys to getting permission to hunt,” said Soring, “and if given permission, respect the landowner’s property as if it were your own.”

Hunters should also know where the boundaries, houses, roads, fences and livestock are located on the property, he said.

“The future of hunting belongs to those who are willing to accept full responsibility for not only their actions, but also for perpetuating wildlife and maintaining a high caliber of sportsmanship,” Soring said.

Conserving natural resources

Fundamental to all hunting is the concept of conservation of natural resources.

Hunting in today’s world involves the regulated harvest of individual animals in a manner that conserves, protects and perpetuates the hunted population.

“Rules and regulations are a cornerstone of wildlife management,” said C.B. Bylander, DNR Fish and Wildlife outreach section chief. “They are the tools wildlife managers use to protect species when needed, ensure harvests are within sustainable levels, manage experiences for a half-million hunters, and more.”

He added that seasons, bag limits, shooting hours and other regulations are at the heart of why Minnesota can continually offer hunting and trapping seasons for more than 50 different species.

Minnesota hunters play a major role in habitat and species conservation through their hunting license purchases.

License revenue pays for the vast majority of the DNR’s research, monitoring and management of the state’s game species, as well as maintaining quality wildlife habitat on the state’s 1.3 million acre wildlife management area system.

License revenue helps fund DNR conservation officers who enforce laws designed to protect species.

Many hunters are also members of hunting organizations that help purchase habitat or provide stakeholder support to conservation initiatives.

Duroe is a strong advocate of self-initiated conservation efforts.

“I live 6 miles straight east of Jeffers on the Little Cottonwood River where a buddy and I have planted about 35,000 trees in three plots located in three different sections of land,” Duroe said. “We maintain a couple of food plots totaling maybe five acres.”

The DNR’s Bylander and Soring applaud Duroe. Bylander said the best way to help Minnesota wildlife is to ensure species have the space, food and shelter they need.

Minnesota’s relationship to the land and its wildlife is part of the state’s natural heritage.

In 1998, voters amended the state constitution to affirm that hunting is a valued part of the state’s heritage that is forever to be preserved.

In 2008, voters again amended the state constitution, this time agreeing to tax themselves for 25 years in the name of large-scale habitat projects, clean water and other projects.

Meanwhile, the DNR has reduced barriers to hunting participation.

This includes free or reduced-price licenses for youth, special youth seasons and hunts, mentoring opportunities, family outdoor skill-building events and more, including customer-friendly online firearms safety training and apprentice programs that provide for certain limited exemptions from firearms safety training requirements.

MN state parks offer benefits to military personnel and disabled veterans
From the DNR

Although Minnesota state offices will be closed in observance of Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, Minnesota state parks and recreations areas will be open, and free vehicle permits are available to many active military personnel and disabled veterans.

Free one-day Minnesota state park vehicle permits are available to:

• Active military service personnel stationed outside of Minnesota within the past 90 days who bring their current military orders and military ID.
• Military personnel or their dependents who have a federal government access pass and military ID.
• Minnesota resident veterans with any level of service-connected disability who bring a copy of their determination letter or Veterans Affairs Healthcare ID indicating a service-connected disability and a photo ID.
• Veterans who have a permanent and total service–connected disability can get a free year-round Minnesota state park permit for their vehicle by presenting a copy of their determination letter indicating a total and permanent service-connected disability to the park attendant. If the vehicle transporting the veteran is owned by someone else, the veteran can still get a free one-day permit.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed the DNR as a Yellow Ribbon company in June.

The Yellow Ribbon Recognition Program pays tribute to organizations with an exceptional record of caring, commitment and compassion for military members and families through various policies, procedures and public works.

The DNR asks military personnel and disabled veterans to check in at Minnesota state park offices when they arrive to obtain their free permit.

For more information about these and other military benefits (including hunting and fishing license waivers), visit www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/military/index.html#parks) or 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.

After walleye stamp contest, Hamrick has won them all
From the DNR

Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville has won the 2015 walleye stamp contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, becoming only the second person to win all five DNR stamp contests.

Hamrick’s art graced the waterfowl stamp in 2012; the pheasant stamp in 2003; the turkey stamp in 2004 and 2014; and the trout and salmon stamp in 1986, 1992 and 2004. His artwork from earlier this year also will appear on the 2015 trout and salmon stamp.

A panel of five judges on Oct. 23 chose Hamrick’s painting of a walleye as the winner from among seven entries.

Hamrick has now won nine stamp contests and joins John House as the only two people to win all stamp contests sponsored by the DNR.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work, which is usually done as limited edition prints.

The walleye stamp is sold along with hunting and fishing licenses or as a collectable, and adds $5 to the cost of an angling license for those who choose to purchase it, although it is not required to legally fish for walleye.

For an additional 75 cents, buyers can choose to have the pictorial stamp mailed to them.

Revenue from stamp sales is used to purchase walleyes for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes.

The 2014 walleye stamp is still available for purchase at all license vendors.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: How can I tell when a lake has turned over in the fall, and do most fish go deeper after turnover?

A: A lake has turned over when water temperatures are the same from the surface to the bottom.

The process can take days or even months to complete, depending on lake shape and depth, and air and water temperatures.

The only way to conclusively know when a lake has turned over is to measure the temperature at the surface of the lake and at the bottom; if they are roughly the same temperature (within a few degrees), the lake has turned over.

During the process of turnover water clarity may decrease, decaying organic material can be seen suspended in the water and there can be a sulfurous odor.

Before lakes turn over in the fall, temperature and oxygen may vary across depths.

In these lakes, the waters below a certain depth may become oxygen-deficient during the summer.

When this happens, fish cannot use this habitat and are squeezed into waters near the surface.

After the lakes turn over, the oxygen levels are consistent from the surface to the bottom, and fish can use depths that were uninhabitable during the summer.

Studies of walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and cisco that were tagged with depth sensors have verified that these species use deeper depths after turnover.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers.
CO Mies also checked trappers along with waterfowl hunters.
CO Mies worked on wetland complaints.

• CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters and issues summons and written warnings for taking non-game migratory birds (grebes) and unsigned federal waterfowl stamp.
He followed up on a TIP call of a lend and borrow.
He took enforcement action on a number of deer hunting violations charges pending.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) completed Step 4 of FTO with a COC.
Areas worked this past week included angling, waterfowl, small game and archery deer.
Calls for service included a bear cub on the loose in Clearwater.
An individual reported that while he was enjoying a milk shake in fast food parking lot, a bear cub came up and swiped it from him.
Upon arrival, it was discovered that the bear cub was not a Black Bear as thought but rather a Syrian European Brown Bear cub.
The cub was apprehended without incident and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility until the owner could be located.
The owner later realized the cub had escaped and made attempts to locate it.
Turns out the bear couldn’t ignore the restaurant’s sweet aromas and busted out of his crate and transport trailer to indulge while the owner was sampling some for himself.
The owner produced the proper documentation and was reunited with his cub.
Steps will be taken to minimize the possibility of another escape in the future.
Enforcement action was taken for failure to sign federal duck stamp, no federal duck stamp, untagged traps and illegally setting water traps.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked TIP calls on deer and turkey baiting.
The trapping opener was worked finding a lot of trappers after muskrats.
Waterfowl hunters were checked all week having good success on some days and seeing nothing on other days.
Telephone calls were returned every day on hunting and trapping questions.

• CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) spent the week monitoring hunting activity and finding many waterfowl hunters frustrated with this year’s delayed migration.
CO Grewe assisted a neighboring officer with a lend and borrow case and continued investigating other complaints received. Violations included license issues.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) along with CO Nelson worked the water trapping opener on Swan Lake in Nicollet County.
One trapper was found to be setting traps before the start at 9 a.m.
Duck and pheasant hunters were also checked during the week. Mueller also investigated some illegal fires.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) concentrated on AIS enforcement.
Waterfowl hunters and trappers were reminded to drain water and remove aquatic vegetation.
Oberg reports both duck and duck hunter numbers were down in the area.
Time was also spent checking walleye anglers on rivers.