Hunters register 111,000 deer through third weekend

December 1, 2014

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota hunters registered 111,000 deer through the third and last weekend of firearms deer season, down 31,000 from the same period in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

So far this year during special hunts and the archery, early antlerless and firearms seasons, hunters have harvested 127,000 deer, down from the 2013 to-date harvest total of 144,000.

This year’s lower harvest is by design because regulations were implemented to place more deer – particularly does – off limits to increase Minnesota’s deer population.

The DNR’s ongoing deer management work also includes upcoming revisions to the deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota.

This is part of a multi-year goal-setting process for the entire state.

People interested in helping set these deer population goals can get more information on the process and opportunities for involvement at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Additional deer will be harvested during the late southeastern season, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 30, and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 29, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 14. The archery season also runs through Wednesday, Dec. 31.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner Sat., Dec. 6

Prairie Archers will have a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Saturday, Dec. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Reservations need to be called in before 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 to either Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721 or the Dodge House (320) 395-2877.

The steak and shrimp combo costs $13; steak only is $11; pork chop is $10; six shrimp is $9; or a ribeye is $15.

Each meal includes baked potato, tossed salad, bread, dessert, and coffee or milk.

Carver Co. PF annual banquet Jan. 17

The Carver County Pheasants Forever Chapter will host its 29th annual banquet Saturday, Jan. 17.

The banquet will take place at the Hamburg Community Hall starting at 5 p.m. for social hour. The dinner will begin at 7 p.m.

To get tickets to the event, or for more information, contact Randy Wendland or go to https://pheasantsforeverevents.org/event/1117.

Still time to register for MN’s first pheasant summit
From the DNR

There’s still time to register for the first Minnesota Pheasant Summit and contribute to strategies that aim to enhance habitat for this important species.

Gov. Mark Dayton is inviting Minnesotans to register for the summit, which takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at Southwest Minnesota State University, 1501 State St., in Marshall. Click the “Join us for the event” button at www.mndnr.gov/pheasantsummit to register.

The summit is free and open to all Minnesotans interested in preserving the state’s pheasant population.

It will focus on why the pheasant population has declined in the state, and possible collaborative efforts to improve pheasant habitat statewide.

The meeting will bring together hunters, farmers, conservationists, policymakers, key members of the governor’s cabinet, and others.

Participants will discuss strategies to increase the state’s pheasant population, improve pheasant habitat, and ensure that future generations of Minnesotans have opportunities to enjoy one of the state’s most popular and iconic game birds.

Can’t make it? A survey is available so anyone can share thoughts about what can be done to improve pheasant numbers and habitat, and what should be discussed at the summit.

The survey is available by clicking the “Can’t make the event” button at www.mndnr.gov/pheasantsummit/survey.html.

The state’s pheasant population index is up 6 percent over 2013, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Despite this slight increase, the state’s pheasant population is still 58 percent below the 10-year average, and 71 percent below the long-term average.

More about pheasants, pheasant habitat in Minnesota, and the summit can be found at www.mndnr.gov/pheasantsummit.
DNR reminds parents of ice danger to children
From the DNR

A mix of warm and cold weather across Minnesota has created inconsistent ice on lakes, rivers and ponds.

The Department of Natural Resources is warning parents to keep an eye on their children.

Last winter season (November to April), three people died after falling through the ice.

“Kids are adventurous and want to go out and play while mom and dad are cooking or visiting with friends. Right now, a thin coating of ice has formed on many lakes and ponds. An inch or two of ice is not safe,” said Capt. Todd Kanieski, DNR regional enforcement manager.

He added, children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision, even when conditions improve.

“Parents should also tell their children to stay away from any frozen water bodies around the home and that no ice is ever 100 percent safe,” Kanieski said.

The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort – ask about ice conditions – and measure the ice.

DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

4 inches for walking.
5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.
8-12 inches for a car.
12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

Get Wild hockey discounts with a hunting or fishing license
From the DNR

Minnesota hunting or fishing license holders can order discounted tickets to Minnesota Wild hockey games at www.mndnr.gov/wildhockey.

The promotion includes home games on Wednesday, Dec. 3, against the Montreal Canadiens; Tuesday, Dec. 9, against the New York Islanders; Tuesday, Jan. 6, against the San Jose Sharks; Monday, Jan. 19, against the Columbus Blue Jackets; Monday, Feb. 9, against the Vancouver Canucks; Thursday, Feb. 12, against the Florida Panthers; Tuesday, Feb. 24, against the Edmonton Oilers; and Tuesday, March 3, against the Ottawa Senators.

“Hockey, hunting and fishing are all big parts of Minnesota culture and traditions,” said Jenifer Wical, with the outreach section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This is a great deal for those who love hockey and the great outdoors.”

There are three ticketing options: lower level corner seats are $55; upper level sides are $46; and upper level ends are $26.

For the Minnesota Wild, a team with its very identity based in wilderness enjoyed by hunters, anglers and many others, the partnership with the DNR makes sense, said Lindsay Weier, group sales account executive with the Wild.

“We’re thrilled to team with the DNR as a way to say thank you to hunting and fishing license buyers and enjoying the state of hockey together,” Weier said.

A limited number of tickets are available for each game and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

The offer is available online only and is available to hunting or fishing license holders for 2014 or 2015.

Fishing and hunting licenses can be purchased on a mobile device or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) station checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies worked on follow up deer cases.
CO Mies checked sleds and worked on complaints.

• CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked waterfowl hunters on the Mississippi River.
He followed up on a Big Game investigation with charges pending.
He answered a number of hunting questions.
He checked on some trapping complaints and followed up on a couple TIP calls.
He assisted with an injured swan in Monticello.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the 3B deer opener finding very few deer taken.
Goose hunters were checked having very good success field hunting.
A few anglers were venturing out on the ice but it was not very safe.
Enforcement action was taken for no blaze orange clothing during firearms deer season, no small game license, unsigned federal duck stamps, no federal duck stamps and over limit of geese.

• CO Brent Grewe (Minnetonka) monitored hunting activity and ice conditions.
CO Grewe did an ice safety presentation and asks anglers to prepare and beware of ice conditions before travelling out on to Minnesota waters.

• CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent time during the week checking pheasant hunters and ice fishermen.
Pheasant hunters are having some luck in this cold weather and seeing a few more birds moving around.
Ice fishermen have to check the ice before going out and have to stay off of a few lakes due to the lack of ice.
The lakes they are able to get on they are catching fish.
There were even some deer left from the firearms deer season that were checked.
The hunter hung them in a tree in his yard and they froze in the cold weather.
The hunter had them tagged and registered.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked anglers taking advantage of the early ice.
Anglers should be cautious as ice is still very thin in spots.
She spoke at two probation groups meetings in Glencoe.
She discussed hunting rules and regulations and answered a variety of questions.
Mueller also answered questions on coyote hunting.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) followed up on some deer issues from the firearms season.
Oberg also worked snowmobile enforcement in the area with a few sleds trying to get out before the snow melts.
A work detail was also worked in the area.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I noticed the DNR eagle cam is back online.

Do bald eagles in Minnesota migrate for the winter, or do they stay on their summer nests?

A: Many Minnesota bald eagles do not migrate.

As long as they have access to open water, they can and do stay here all year.

In fact, with the installation of the eagle cam, we have learned that eagle nests are rarely vacant.

Eagles are bonded to their nesting territories, and staying around ensures that it will not be taken over by another eagle or pair of eagles.

The eagles along the Mississippi River and Hawk Ridge near Lake Superior during spring and fall are mostly migrating eagles.

Most of the eagles come from Canada and use the Mississippi flyway to travel south to their wintering grounds.