Sign up for Firearms Safety courses

April 6, 2015

by Chris Schultz

Firearms safety
classes offered in Winsted

Winsted Sportsmen’s Club is offering firearms safety classes.

Anyone interested, including adults, may sign up at the first meeting Monday, April 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted.

Participants must be 12 years old by Sept. 1, 2015.

The class will run for three weeks.

For more information, call Steve Fiecke after 4 p.m. at (320) 485-2434.

Firearms safety class scheduled for LP Sportsman’s Club

The DNR Firearms Safety Class will be held at the Lester Prairie Sportsman’s Club from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates: April 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 and May 5 & 7. You may register at the first class on April 7 and the cost is $7.00. If you have any questions please contact Doug

Minnick at 320-395-2143 or 320-224-5942.

Firearms safety course coming up
in Mayer

A Firearms Safety Course has been scheduled to be held at the Mayer Community Center in April and May.

Registration is April 23 at 6:30 p.m. Classes will be held Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 on the following dates: April 27 and 30, and May 4, 7, 11, and 14.

Students must be at least 12 years old.

With any questions, call Stan Heldt at 952-657-2169.

LP Sportsman’s Club trapshooting season begins April 15

LESTER PRAIRIE – The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club’s trapshooting season will officially start Wednesday, April 15 and run through Aug. 12. There will also be a practice day Wednesday, April 8. New shooters are always welcome.

The club, which celebrates its 48th anniversary this year, features:

• open Wednesday night shooting from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

• Five “Pat” traps

• High school trap shooting

• A five-person Handicap League (18 weeks by Class AA, A, B, C & D)

• 300-bird, 16-yard Lewis Class

• Doubles and practice

Clubhouse rentals are available for any occasion now through November, whether it’s graduations, family reunions, business meetings or any other gathering. The recently remodeled clubhouse features horseshoes, softball/baseball, and a sand volleyball court, along with limited self-contained campgrounds.

The club is located one mile southwest of Lester Prairie on McLeod Co. Rd. 1.

For more information, contact Ed Mlynar, Club Mentor, at 320-395-2258 or the Club at 320-395-2829, or via email at edmlynar@embarqmail.com.

Fun Fishing Facts
From the DNR

The DNR compiled these Minnesota fishing facts in preparation for the 2015 fishing opener, which is Saturday, May 9.

Anglers and waters
• There are about 1.5 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.
• About 500,000 people are expected to fish on opening day of the walleye and northern pike season, Saturday, May 9.
• Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,400 of which are managed by DNR Fisheries. There are 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.
• Average annual expenditure per angler is about $1,500.*
• Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.

Participation and the economy
• Fishing contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy in direct retail sales, ranking Minnesota fourth in the nation for angler expenditures.
• Fishing supports 35,400 Minnesota jobs.
• Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska.
• Minnesota is the third most-popular inland fishing destination in the country.
• Minnesota ranks sixth among states with the highest number of anglers. The top three states are Florida, Texas and Michigan.

Who goes fishing
• Most resident anglers – 855,000 of them in fact – are from urban areas. The remaining 474,000 resident anglers live in greater Minnesota.
• Men account for 66 percent of resident anglers. Women account for 34 percent.
Fishing habits
• Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes than in rivers and streams.
• The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year, with 84 percent of resident anglers never fishing anywhere else but in Minnesota.
• The most sought-after fish species, in order of preference, are crappie, panfish, walleye and northern pike.

Dayton’s proposals to bolster MN outdoors
From the DNR

Minnesota’s outdoors enthusiasts would see significant improvements to the state’s management of fish and wildlife, and to other outdoor recreation programs, under a budget being proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

The governor’s proposal would improve fisheries population surveys, create more forest wildlife habitat, help landowners improve grassland and prairie habitat, improve monitoring and management of wildlife populations and create more opportunities to help get kids and families into the outdoors.

“Gov. Dayton’s proposal is an investment,” said Ed Boggess, director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Division. “He’s asking the Legislature to allow DNR to improve management of fish and wildlife, and enhance enforcement efforts, by using dollars that hunters and anglers have already paid when they purchased a license.”

The proposal would use existing funds from the state’s game and fish fund to improve fish and wildlife populations, habitat, user facilities and access to information that supports those activities. Dayton’s budget seeks $5.4 million in fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1, and $5.1 million in fiscal year 2017.

In addition, those investments would include eligible reimbursements of $6.1 million from federal excise taxes paid on certain types of outdoor gear and marine fuels, reducing the state’s two-year, $10.5 million cost to a net of $4.4 million. None of the dollars would come from the state’s general fund.

Dayton has also proposed to increase the ability of DNR conservation officers to protect natural resources and public safety associated with outdoor recreation. “With two dozen vacant stations across the state, the capacity of conservation officers to serve and protect the outdoor public and resources has diminished significantly,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement Division director.

The governor’s proposal includes $1.004 million in fiscal year 2016 and $1.523 million in fiscal year 2017 from the game and fish and natural resources funds. Funding this initiative will partially restore the DNR’s capacity to provide enhanced resource protection and public safety through education, outreach and delivery of law enforcement services. This funding will be used to hire conservation officers to fill the equivalent of 11 of the 24 vacant field stations over the biennium.

Fishing and hunting are important economic drivers for Minnesota. The activities generate $3.2 billion in annual retail expenditures and support 48,000 jobs, according to the most-recent economic survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Minnesota’s high-quality fishing and hunting opportunities attract 1.5 million licensed anglers and 580,000 licensed hunters, including 300,000 non-residents and their families who visit Minnesota each year to fish and hunt.

Increased funding provided by the governor’s fish and wildlife budget proposal would:
• Allow fisheries staff to better manage lakes, streams and rivers by conducting more population and creel surveys that provide necessary data to make wise, science-based management decisions.
• Provide better delivery of services that help landowners in southern and western Minnesota create much-needed grassland and prairie habitat.
• Develop more opportunities and provide skill-building programs for youth, adults and families so they become active anglers and hunters.
• Provide more information about the best way to manage Minnesota’s 5,000 shallow lakes, which are less than 15 feet deep, contain a significant amount of aquatic plants, and provide important wildlife habitat.
• Create improved habitat for moose, grouse, pine marten and other forest wildlife.
• Expand shooting range access and the number of ranges for archery and firearms.
• Improve the quality, availability and usability of information in online and mobile tools such as the DNR’s Fish Minnesota (www.mndnr.gov/fishmn) and Recreation Compass (www.mndnr.gov/mobile/compass).
• Improve aquatic habitat monitoring and management.
• Maintain long-term monitoring of how key lakes change as the climate warms, so that data collected can be used to make future fish and aquatic habitat management decisions in a changing environment.
• Allow wildlife researchers to investigate the impact of contaminants on grouse and pheasants.
• Provide funding for necessary wildlife research on prairie chickens, grouse, waterfowl, pheasants, furbearers, bear, wolf, squirrel, elk, deer and moose.
• Improve facilities such as parking lots and accesses on wildlife and aquatic management areas.
Increased funding provided by the governor’s enforcement budget proposal would:
• Protect habitat (water, air, wetlands, vegetation).
• Ensure sustainable harvest of resources.
• Increase quality of life by ensuring safe and equitable outdoor experiences.

Trout harvest season opens April 18
From the DNR

Got your fly tackle and lures ready? The trout harvest season on inland streams opens Saturday, April 18.

It’s a great time to be a stream trout angler. Opportunities for trout anglers have continued to expand, and at present there are about 3,800 miles of trout streams in Minnesota. With an early snow melt, and barring heavy rains, the streams will be flowing clear, making conditions good for fishing.

The possession limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout, and splake, is five combined, with not more than one longer than 16 inches. In Lake Superior streams, different regulations exist below posted boundaries, and anglers should check for special regulations on the streams where they plan to fish. For more information on trout fishing, see www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.

Tips for introducing kids to fishing

Planning to take a kid fishing this year? Here are some tips from the DNR:
• Fun and safety are the most important considerations, and adults need to practice patience;
• Fish for smaller fish like bluegills that tend to bite frequently, and use live bait, smaller hooks and lighter line;
• Fish from shore so it’s easy to take breaks;
• Keep fishing gear simple, appropriately sized and in working order;
• Pack snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent and first-aid basics;
• If fishing action or weather doesn’t work out, call it quits before it becomes a negative experience and try again another day; and

Catch that? Bass fishing expands

Anglers get more opportunity to fish for bass this year starting on the Saturday, May 9, fishing opener when a new catch-and-release bass season begins in most of the state.

The catch-and-release season runs until the regular harvest season opens Saturday, May 23. All largemouth and smallmouth bass caught during this two-week period must immediately be released.

Meanwhile, anglers in northeast Minnesota can continue to catch and keep bass during these two weeks starting May 9. Northeast Minnesota is defined as essentially north and east of U.S. Highway 53. In past years, anglers could not fish for bass until Memorial Day weekend outside northeastern Minnesota.

In another bass season change, the fall closure on harvest of smallmouth bass has been lifted in the northeast.

Women can learn how to catch bass, muskie from a pro
From the DNR

Women who want to take their fishing beyond the basics can learn from pro angler Mandy Uhrich in a class called Learn to Sport Fish, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at Cabela’s in Rogers.

“This class for women, taught by women, is a great way to learn how to catch more than panfish this year,” said Linda Bylander, coordinator of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’ll focus on techniques and gear selection for bass, muskellunge and other gamefish.”

The class is free and registration is requested. Women who attend have the opportunity to register for a guided bass fishing trip in the Brainerd lakes area, or a guided muskie fishing trip in the Twin Cities metro area. Those trips are in mid- to late summer, and women must attend the April 11 class to register for the guided trips.

To register for the April 11 class or for more information, contact Linda Bylander at 218-833-8628, linda.bylander@state.mn.us. For more information on BOW, see www.mndnr.gov/bow.

CO Report
From the DNR
CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers. CO Mies also worked on checking trappers in Wright County. CO Mies worked on a waters complaint, along with some wetland work.

CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) spent most of the week instructing at the Conservation Officer Waterfowl School held in Whitewater State Park. Reller also followed up on several wildlife calls relating to otter, pheasant and protected birds. Contact was also made with Firearms Safety instructors.

CO Steve Walter (Waconia) spent most of the week teaching waterfowl school to newConservation Officers. Coyote and crow hunters were checked having mixed success. State trails and parks were patrolled for snowmobile and ATV activity. Spring fish run was monitored finding very low water in most streams.

CO Vang Lee (ELCOP) worked fishing activity in the Mound station and responded to animal complaints. He patrolled WMAs, state parks, and state trails in the metro area. He also worked with the DNR Southeast Asian Outreach Program on preparing upcoming firearms safety classes and general hunting fishing issues.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) spent most of the week at duck school. Time was spent learning about all kinds of ducks and how to work waterfowl hunters. After duck school, time was spent following up with calls from the week and checking beaver traps. Fur that was collected do to accidental catches was sold. Anglers fishing from shore were also checked. Bow fishermen were also warned that they cannot bow fish from shore yet only from a boat.

CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) took a report of a poached deer at the Morton city public access. The two back legs had been removed and a small amount of meat from the back quarters. The deer was dumped in the Minnesota River. She also took a report of an illegal trap set. Mueller assisted McLeod County on a 911 hang-up in the city of Stewart. She also spent time at Camp Ripley armoring shotguns.

CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked ATV and angling enforcement on area rivers. Oberg also spoke at local firearm safety and bow hunter classes. Oberg also followed up on a TIP call. Armoring of division shotguns was also done.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I want to go on a paddling trip this spring, but don’t have time to go to the Boundary Waters. Any suggestions?

A: The DNR manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation. Water trails are recreational routes on waterways that are managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.

The DNR and its partners manage more than 4,500 miles of routes and more than 1,500 facilities (public water accesses, campsites, portages, and rest areas) on 32 rivers and the North Shore of Lake Superior. Most of the campsites are free, unless otherwise noted on the maps. Check out www.mndnr.gov/watertrails to find free paper maps, an interactive online map, river level reports, safety tips, outfitters, and a list of organizations and paddling clubs that sponsor paddling events.

Spring is a great time to get out paddling, but the water temperatures may still be cold even on a warm day. Be sure to wear your life jacket, and bring an extra set of clothes in a waterproof bag. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be off the water.