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can use nearly 23,000 acres of Walk-In Access land this fall
- Sep 28, 2015
western and south-central Minnesota can access a total 22,800 acres
through the Walk-In Access program that allows public hunting on
private land, representing an increase of 1,700 acres this year.
is great for those hunting pheasants, upland birds, deer and other
game because hunters gain access to land without having to knock on
doors to seek permission,” said Jesse Roberts, Department of Natural
Resources Walk-In Access coordinator.
signs have been placed on Walk-In Access boundaries. Maps of all sites
are available for viewing at www.mndnr.gov/walkin. Printed atlases of
Walk-In Access sites are being distributed across western and
south-central Minnesota to DNR license agents, area wildlife offices,
and county soil and water conservation district offices. Wildlife
office locations can be found at www.mndnr.gov/contact/locator.html.
The atlases also will be available by calling the DNR Information
Center at 888-646-6367.
The Walk-In Access
program provides public access to private land and pays landowners by
the acre to allow hunting access from Sept. 1 to May 31. Most Walk-In
Access land is also enrolled in private land conservation programs or
has natural cover. Small inclusions of cropland or hay land may be
Hunters must have a
Walk-In Access Validation ($3) on their hunting license to legally
access Walk-In Access land.
The 2015 Minnesota
pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 10, and seasons for several other
small game species are already open.
The Walk-in Access
program is funded from a combination of state appropriations and
federal grant dollars.
In August, a $1.67
million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program will extend the
program through at least the 2017-18 hunting seasons. Over the three
years of the grant, the program has a goal of adding an additional
8,000 acres of Walk-In Access land, making about 30,000 available for
to these lands is vital to keep our hunting traditions thriving in
this part of the state. The DNR has a 2015 Minnesota Pheasant Summit
Action Plan, and in that plan we have made securing permanent funding
for the Walk-In Access program one of the 10 action items,” said Kevin
Lines, pheasant action plan coordinator. “We need a permanent, stable
source for this funding to avoid putting hunting opportunities at
For more about the
Pheasant Summit Action Plan, see www.mndnr.gov/pheasantaction.
seeking input on Leech Lake management plan update
- Sep 28, 2015
Leech Lake – one
of Minnesota’s 10 large walleye lakes – has a new draft management
plan and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking
input through Oct. 9.
The plan outlines the
proposed five-year fish population objectives and fisheries management
actions. It incorporates the recommendations of the 16-member Leech
Lake Fisheries Input Group, which has held six meetings since February
Input is being taken at www.mndnr.gov/leechlake. The Web page includes
a video introduction to each survey section, information considered by
the input group and the group’s final report.
Public comments will
be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9, online at www.mndnr.gov/leechlake.
Paper questionnaires also are available at the DNR’s Walker area
fisheries office, 07316 State 371 NW, Walker. Comments will be
reviewed and considered in October and November. The final Leech Lake
management plan will be completed in December. For more information,
contact the DNR’s Walker area fisheries office at 218-547-1683.
deer-vehicle crashes this fall -
Sep 28, 2015
crashes statewide occur from September through January, according to
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The combination of
fewer daylight hours with the increased movement of deer due to mating
season and hunting season increases the risk of collisions between
deer and vehicles.
Though most people
would expect these crashes to be more likely in rural areas, motorists
in urban areas also need to watch out for these dangerous — and
sometimes deadly — accidents involving deer.
Use these driving
tips to help avoid collisions with deer:
- See the
signs: Deer-crossing signs are posted in high-risk areas. Drive
with caution, especially in the posted areas.
- Deer often
run together: If one deer is near or crossing the road, expect
that others may follow.
- Danger from
dusk to dawn: Watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset.
About 20 percent of these crashes occur in early morning, while
more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
- Safety begins
behind the wheel: Always wear safety belts and drive at safe,
sensible speeds for road conditions.
- Never swerve
to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on
where to run. Swerving also can cause a head-on collision with
oncoming vehicles, take the vehicle off the roadway into a tree or
a ditch and increase the chances of serious injuries.
If a vehicle
strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash by calling local law
enforcement, the sheriff’s department, the Minnesota State Patrol or
the Department of Natural Resources.
Blaze orange clothing required -
Sep 28, 2015
small game hunting season underway, conservation officers (CO) with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources report some hunters not
wearing required blaze orange clothing.
“The blaze orange
requirement is for safety,” said CO Marty Stage of Ely. “One hunter
said that he wasn’t very far from his home, to excuse him from needing
Making a blaze orange
fashion statement this fall might not get you on the best-dressed
list, but it just might save your life.
“Wearing blaze orange
clothing is a safety requirement to hunt or trap during Minnesota’s
small game season or firearms deer season,” said Jon Paurus, DNR
enforcement education program coordinator. “It’s important to be seen
Small game seasons:
At least one visible article of clothing above the waist must be blaze
orange when taking small game, except when hunting migratory birds
from a blind or on the water, wild turkeys, raccoons or predators,
when hunting by falconry, when trapping (outside deer seasons) or when
hunting deer by archery while stationary.
Deer season: The
visible portion of at least one item of a cap and one item of outer
clothing above the waist, excluding sleeves and gloves, must be blaze
orange when hunting or trapping during any open season where deer may
be taken by firearms (including special hunts, early antlerless, youth
seasons and muzzleloader). Blaze orange includes a camouflage pattern
of at least 50 percent blaze orange within each square foot.
to wear to wear blaze orange puts a hunter in jeopardy of not being
seen by someone who does not take the time to properly identify their
target and what’s beyond it,” Paurus said.
faded blaze orange garments be replaced.
clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual
contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover
or woods,” Paurus said. “Any hunter who has ever identified someone
strictly by seeing blaze orange knows its value in keeping track of
other hunters in the field, especially in low light conditions.”
For those who
use ground blinds, Paurus said to remember to place some blaze orange
on the outside of the blind for others to see.
Some safety tips for
- Wear bright
clothing. Choose colors that stand out, like red, orange or green,
and avoid white, blacks, browns, earth-toned greens and
animal-colored clothing. Blaze orange vests and hats are
- Be courteous.
Don’t make unnecessary noise to disturb wildlife. Avoid
- Know the
dates of hunting seasons. Learn about where and when hunting is
waterfowl opener expected this weekend
- Sep 24, 2015
expected to be good when Minnesota’s regular waterfowl season opens a
half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 26.
“This is a great year
to get out into the marsh, especially if you haven’t been duck hunting
in the past few years,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
“There are lots of opportunities to find uncrowded areas to hunt, and
duck numbers look strong compared to our long term average.”
abundance from a continental spring survey that includes Minnesota is
used to determine overall duck season length. This year’s estimate was
11.8 million mallards, which was well above the long-term average.
Since 1997, duck season length has been 60 days each year, and the
mallard population has ranged from 6.8 million to 11.8 million.
seasons and limits
The duck season
structure is similar to recent years, although the DNR adjusted season
dates in the south duck zone based on hunter preferences.
seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in
the Mississippi Flyway. Waterfowl hunting regulations are available
wherever DNR licenses are sold and online at
Duck season will be
open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones:
- In the
north zone, duck season is Saturday, Sept. 26,
through Tuesday, Nov. 24.
- In the
central zone, duck season is Saturday, Sept. 26,
through Sunday, Oct. 4, closes for five days, then reopens
Saturday, Oct. 10, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 29.
- In the
south zone, duck season is Saturday, Sept. 26,
through Sunday, Oct. 4, closes for 10 days, then reopens Thursday,
Oct. 15, and runs through Friday, Dec. 4. The re-opening coincides
with the annual statewide teachers’ conference on Oct. 15-16 when
many schools do not schedule classes.
The only bag limit
change from the 2015 season is for canvasback, which increases from
one to two per day. The daily duck bag limit remains six ducks per
day. The mallard bag limit remains four per day, including two hen
mallards. The daily bag limits remain at three for wood duck and three
The DNR will post a
weekly waterfowl migration report each week during the duck season.
The reports are typically posted on Thursday at
sandhill crane seasons
goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide
on Sept. 26, with a bag limit of three dark geese per day the entire
season. “Dark” geese include Canada geese, white-fronted geese and
brant. Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones
when duck season is closed.
The season for
sandhill cranes remains open through Sunday, Oct. 18, 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.
More information on
duck, goose, sandhill crane and other migratory bird hunting is
available in the 2015 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet
from license vendors and online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
Minnesota state forests for fall color driving tours
- Sep 24, 2015
for a scenic drive to take during peak fall color should consider
visiting a state forest, according to the Minnesota Department of
“State forests are an
excellent place to see fall color,” said Jennifer Teegarden, forestry
outreach specialist for the DNR. “Hilly or rugged areas dominated by
deciduous trees tend to have the best mix of color. And the dark green
needles of conifers accent the yellow, orange and red leaves of
deciduous trees in mixed forests.”
Here are a few state
forests and routes to consider:
Finland State Forest heading northeast along Country Road
7 from Finland.
Hills State Forest along state Highway 34 between Park
Rapids and Detroit Lakes
Croix State Forest along County Road 25 south of Duxbury
to the Mallard Lake Forest Road.
Fork and Bowstring state forests along state Highway 38
between Grand Rapids and Effie.
- Rum River
State Forest along Rum River State Forest Road off of Highway 20.
Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest has two
Zumbro Bottoms Road off state Highway 60 southwest of Wabasha.
state Highway 16 between Interstate 90 and state Highway 26.
about state forests is available on the DNR website at
www.mndnr.gov/stateforests. Entrance into a state forest is free.
State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served
basis for $14 a night.
Visit the Minnesota
state parks and trails Fall Color Finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors
to find areas with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated
every Thursday through the end of October.
Take a Kid
Hunting Weekend is Sept. 26-27 -
Sep 24, 2015
Small game hunting is
the focus of Take a Kid Hunting Weekend this Saturday, Sept. 26, and
Sunday, Sept. 27, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural
During the weekend,
adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a youth under age 16 can hunt
small game without a license, but must comply with open seasons,
limits and other regulations.
“This is an
opportunity to pass on your passion for the outdoors and make some
memories,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator.
“Hunting small game teaches valuable skills that can be a stepping
stone toward big-game hunting.”
For more information
on small game hunting and hunting regulations, see
designs for Minnesota’s 2016 walleye stamp
- Sep 24, 2015
Artists can submit
entries for the 2016 Minnesota Walleye Stamp from Monday, Oct. 5,
through Friday, Oct. 16.
The voluntary walleye
stamp validation costs $5 but is not required to fish for or keep
walleye. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers will be mailed the
pictorial stamp. A pictorial collectable stamp without the validation
is available for $5.75. Walleye stamps are available year-round and
are not required to be purchased at the same time as fishing licenses.
people voluntarily buy walleye stamps, the money they pay goes into an
account dedicated to walleye stocking,” said Neil Vanderbosch,
fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources. “We use this money to buy walleye from certified private
The stamp contest
offers no prizes and is open to Minnesota residents only. The walleye
must be the primary focus of the design, though other fish species may
be included in the design if they are used to depict common
interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota
lakes and rivers.
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 2 p.m. Thursday,
Oct. 23, at DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul.
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, by calling
651-296-6157 or at 888-646-6367, or on the DNR website at
2 youths honored by
DNR for their conservation efforts - Sept 21,
Sander Ludeman (left) and Daniel Williamson
were honored for their conservation efforts.
The Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources recently honored two youths for their outstanding conservation
efforts during a ceremony held Sept. 4, at the Minnesota State Fair.
Sander Ludeman from Lake
Crystal, in Blue Earth County, received the 4-H award, and Daniel Williamson
from Spicer, in Kandiyohi County, received the Future Farmers of America (FFA)
award during a ceremony held at the DNR Stage.
The DNR Commissioner’s Youth
Awards are given annually to an FFA student and a 4-H member who have
demonstrated initiative, leadership, creativity and achievement in conservation
and wise use of natural and agricultural resources. This is the 24th year of the
Ludeman has a passion for
the outdoors and loves to swim and fish. He noticed the degraded quality of the
water in Crystal Lake and ask his parents, “What can I do?” He then reached out
to his neighbors and to local partners like the Crystal Waters Project.
His project, titled
“Fighting for Fish,” focused on building and installing floating vegetation
islands to absorb excess nutrients from Crystal Lake, and an adopt-a-drain
program to engage the community in preventing contaminants from entering the
“Sander’s efforts haven’t
stopped there,” Landwehr said. “On Sept. 12, he spoke at a ‘Crystal Concert,’ an
event to help raise funds for clean-up of the lakes around Lake Crystal.”
Sander is the son of Breanna
and Sander Ludeman.
Williamson received the
Commissioner’s FFA Youth Award. He lives in Spicer on a certified organic farm
with his parents – a farm he wants to take over someday. He wondered if the
water running through their farm had chemicals in it, and whether a wetland was
improving water quality.
With encouragement from his
parents, Williamson reached out to his local soil and water conservation
district office and the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District for help in
answering these questions.
“Daniel’s multi-year project
is testing water clarity, nitrate and phosphate levels in a drainage ditch and
the water leaving a wetland,” Landwehr said. “With help from his partners at the
watershed district, Daniel has learned how to collect and prepare water
sampling, and analyze the results. He is in year two of his three-year plan and
has already learned a great deal.”
Daniel is the son of Donnel
and Christa Williamson.
parks report big increase in visitors
- Sep 21, 2015
A post-Labor Day report from
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows a significant increase in
the number of people buying permits and staying overnight at Minnesota state
parks and recreation areas in 2015 compared with 2014. Erika Rivers, director of
the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, expects the upward trend to continue as
fall color spreads across the state.
“We are anticipating a lot of
visitors at parks this fall, enjoying good weather and fall colors,” she said.
The new report shows
that year-to-date (Jan. 1-Sept. 7) sales of one-day permits in 2015 are up 16
percent over the same time period in 2014, and sales of year-round permits are
up 12 percent. Overnight stays also are up by 9 percent compared with last year.
These results continue the trend of steady increases over the past several
data showed that, between fiscal year 2013 (July 1 to June 30) and fiscal year
- Sales of one-day
vehicle permits ($5) increased 24 percent.
- Sales of year-round
vehicle permits ($25) increased 19 percent.
- Overnight stays
increased 13 percent.
“We’re pleased to see such a
significant increase in the number of people making time to get outdoors,” said
Rivers, “and we hope today’s visitors will pass along their love of the outdoors
to the next generation so that the trend continues.”
To appeal to that next
generation, the Parks and Trails Division has added mountain bike trails, yurts
and Wi-Fi at state parks. It also has added kayak and stand-up paddleboard
rentals, free use of fishing kits and GPS units, and a series of I Can! programs
that teach beginners how to camp, fish, rock climb, paddle and more. New
outreach strategies include touch-screen kiosks, social media and a variety of
online trip-planning tools, including virtual tours and ParkFinder, which sorts
parks by desired features, such as whether they have a beach, a bike trail and
“Legacy funding has made many
of these updates possible,” Rivers said. The Parks and Trails Fund, created
after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November
2008, receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that
may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide
For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov, email or call the DNR Information
Center at email@example.com or 651-296-6157, 888-646-6367, between 8 a.m. and
4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Cave announces fall tour schedule
- Sept. 17, 2015
Autumn is a beautiful
time of year to make the scenic drive to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in
the southeastern corner of Minnesota. Fall color typically peaks in early to
mid-October, and cave tours will continue through Nov. 1.
“Stalactites, stalagmites, and
flowstones await those who traverse the passageways at Mystery Cave,” said
interpretive naturalist Bob Storlie. “On a guided tour, you will learn how water
has transformed the limestone, see underground pools and view fossils that are
over 450 million years old.”
The popular one-hour Scenic
Cave Tour will take place during the following times this fall:
- Weekdays — Wednesday
through Friday, Sept. 9 to Oct. 2, tours daily at 1:30 p.m.
- Weekends (and during
the Education Minnesota break Oct. 15-18) — Saturday and Sunday, September
through Nov. 1, tours on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tours are $12 per person age
13 and over, $7 for children ages 5-12, free for children age 4 and under.
Discounted rates are available for school groups (10 or more) who contact the
park at least one week in advance. A state park vehicle permit ($5/one-day or
$25/year-round) is also required.
For more information, visit
www.mndnr.gov/mysterycave or call 507-937-3251. To make tour reservations, visit
www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757.
public involvement in northeastern Minnesota forest plan
- Sept. 17, 2015
Department of Natural Resources invites the public to view a recorded
presentation and weigh in on a forest management plan being prepared for a large
section of northeastern Minnesota.
The presentation is at
www.mndnr.gov/forestry/subsection/active.html. After viewing, the public can
provide input through a survey available through Oct 17.
The recording, NSU Alternative
Harvest Scenarios, reviews alternative harvest scenarios for DNR forest lands in
the northern Superior uplands (NSU) section. It outlines forest issues such as
maintaining a sustainable harvest level, amounts of lowland conifers reserved
from harvest, and amounts of young and old forest maintained in the planning
asked to rate the relative importance of these forest management issues, and
provide other comments on the forest planning process. The DNR will use survey
responses and comments to determine future harvest management on
This is the second of three
presentations the DNR is using to seek public input as forest management plans
are prepared. The three presentations are:
- Introduction and
Background on the Subsection Forest Resource Management Planning Process
(posted June 2014).
- NSU Alternative Harvest
- Review of the Draft NSU
plan (scheduled for early 2016).
Before reviewing the current
webinar, the DNR recommends people review the first presentation, which explains
changes to the planning process since the first generation of plans were
implemented. The first presentation can be found at
The current presentation and
survey will be available for public review and input through Oct. 17. Background
on the DNR’s forestry planning process, goals and objectives can be viewed at
hunting is a great way to enjoy fall; season opens Sept. 19 -
Fall color begins
to show, an occasional crisp morning arrives – both are telltale signs
that the hunting season opener for grouse, Minnesota’s most popular
game bird, is right around the corner.
“Here in Minnesota
we have some of the best grouse hunting opportunities in the nation,”
said Ted Dick, forest game bird coordinator with the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources. “Our state has an extensive system of
nonmotorized hunter walking trails, and much of our 17 million acres
of forest land is open to public hunting.”
The season for
ruffed and spruce grouse runs from Saturday, Sept. 19, through Sunday,
Jan. 3, 2015; and for sharp-tailed grouse from Sept. 19 through
Sunday, Nov. 30.
improve for grouse hunters as leaves drop, and enjoying the fall
colors is part of the experience – even if the vegetation makes
shooting more difficult,” Dick said. “Grouse season is really best
during September and October, so many hunters like to get out as early
and as often as they can in those months. Many hunters can’t wait to
get out on the opener.”
The grouse season
looks promising this year. Weather was favorable for grouse
reproduction and chick survival in spring and summer, and there are
stable numbers of adult grouse that survived the winter.
“We’ve heard from
people that they’ve been seeing some good-sized broods of grouse and
well-developed broods,” Dick said. “Anecdotally, we’re expecting lots
of young grouse in the fall.”
Grouse hunting does
not require lots of up-front investment. Grouse hunters need a
blaze-orange hat or vest, a shotgun, a good pair of boots and a valid
usually well-concealed until they explode from the brush in a
startling flush, making them one of the more challenging game birds to
hunt,” Dick said. “Despite the challenge, because of their high
numbers in this state and grouse hunters’ ability to hunt with
friends, family and dogs, they can make for a good introduction to
upland bird hunting. And grouse make great table fare.”
Grouse hunters can use just about any
gauge shotgun, with 28-, 20-, 16- and 12-guages being the most
commonly used, usually with No. 7-1/2 target or field loads. The daily
limit for ruffed and spruce grouse is five combined with a possession
limit of 10. The daily limit for sharp-tailed grouse is three with a
possession limit of six.
Last year, more
hunters added grouse hunting trips to their calendars. Minnesota
ruffed grouse hunter numbers were estimated at 83,020 in 2014, an
increase of 11 percent from 2013, according to the DNR’s annual small
numbers for this season
populations, which tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, are
surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming
on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions.
Drumming is a low
sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in
increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory.
Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin
nesting. Based on drumming survey results, grouse numbers held steady
from 2013 to 2014. For hunters, however, there may be other reasons
for optimism this year.
“Hunters know that
while the number of adults that survive the winter is an important
factor in how good the hunting will be, another important factor is
the production and survival of young birds,” Dick said.
Cold, wet weather
in June makes it difficult for grouse chicks to survive and can affect
the number of birds a hunter will run across in the fall. The good
news this year was Minnesota had a relatively dry June, and anecdotal
evidence suggests that grouse chick survival was good, according to
survival can really make a difference in how enjoyable a person’s fall
hunting trip will be, so I’m optimistic about the prospects based on
what I’ve seen and heard,” Dick said.
about where to hunt
Coming this fall, the
DNR will have a new Web page that will allow hunters to easily access
information on the state’s 50 ruffed grouse management areas.
this page will provide easy-access maps and downloadable digital
information in a variety of formats,” Dick said. “While Minnesota has
an abundance of public land suitable for grouse hunting, these areas
will help new hunters find a place to try grouse hunting, or help the
seasoned hunter find a starting place in an unfamiliar area they want
to check out.”
There are 528
wildlife management areas in the ruffed grouse range that cover nearly
1 million acres, 50 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600
miles of hunter walking trails.
Search for hunter
walking trails online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hwt. State forests, two
national forests and county forest lands also offer many additional
acres of public land for grouse hunting. Find public land on which to
hunt by using the DNR’s Recreation Compass at
samples for studies
and prairie chicken hunters can voluntarily submit samples from birds
they harvest in Minnesota for two DNR studies. One study aims to
better understand how these birds move through the landscape. The
other is assessing prairie grouse exposure to chemicals called
neonicotinoids through consumption of treated seeds and other means.
Hunters can choose to submit samples for either study or both.
information on grouse hunting and submitting samples for the DNR
studies, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse.
Whitefish and tullibee sport-netting to open on
northern lakes - Sept 14
for whitefish and tullibee opens Friday, Oct. 9, on designated lakes
that are less susceptible to sudden changes that impact water
temperature, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural
These lakes, known
as Schedule II lakes, offer recreational netting on the following
- Schedule II A
lakes open Friday, Oct. 9, and close Sunday, Dec. 6.
- Schedule II B
lakes open Friday, Nov. 6 and close Sunday, Dec. 13.
- Schedule II C
lakes open Friday, Nov. 13, and close Sunday Dec. 13.
Schedule I Lakes,
which are more susceptible to factors that impact water temperatures,
will be opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses,
other public places and the DNR website.
The DNR recommends
drying nets for 10 days or freezing for two days before moving a net
to a new lake, or netting only one lake in a season. Netting in
infested waters may be restricted or closed to sport netting of
whitefish and tullibee. See fishing regulations for list of infested
waters or online at www.mndnr.gov/invasives/ais/infested.html.
A complete list of
all Schedule I and II lakes, status of the seasonal openings and
closures, as well as detailed netting regulations are available online
at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing or by calling the DNR Information
in the Twin Cities metro area or toll-free at
in greater Minnesota.
About 700 people
obtain permits to net for whitefish and tullibee each year. DNR bases
netting schedules on expected water temperatures. As the water
temperature cools, most game fish head to deeper water while whitefish
and tullibee come to shallow water for fall spawning. Netting is
allowed when there is little chance that game fish populations would
be negatively impacted by recreational netting in shallow water.
restricts the size of the net and its openings; requires that netting
be done in water not deeper than six feet unless specifically
authorized; stipulates that netted fish cannot be sold; and requires
that any game fish caught must be immediately returned to the lake.
State law also limits net size to 100 feet long and 3 feet deep;
allows one person to use no more than one net; and forbids
recreational netters from possessing angling equipment when netting
whitefish and tullibee. Whitefish and tullibee harvested during the
sport gillnetting season cannot be used for bait.
Regional meetings to explore
improving spring wild turkey season -
to increase hunter opportunity and satisfaction during the spring wild
turkey season will be the focus of four public discussion meetings
hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in late
September and October.
Spring turkey hunting
in Minnesota has grown from 400 hunters harvesting 94 turkeys in 1978
to 47,000 hunters harvesting 11,734 birds in 2015. The record harvest
occurred in 2010 when 46,500 hunters took nearly 13,500 turkeys.
unlimited license availability, expanded youth and archery
opportunities and an increasing turkey range, the number of people who
turkey hunt appears to be plateauing. Anyone can register to attend
one of the four regional turkey hunting meetings that will take place
in St. Paul on Tuesday, Sept. 29; New Ulm on Wednesday, Sept. 30;
Winona on Tuesday, Oct. 6; or Alexandria on Thursday, Oct. 8. All
meetings will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and include
requested because space is limited to 36 participants per meeting.
People can register between Thursday, Sept. 3, and Friday, Sept. 25,
on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/turkey or by calling
There is no registration fee.
DNR predicts spectacular fall color season
- Sept 10
updates to online fall color finder begin Sept. 10
To help travelers
plan their fall hikes, bike rides, paddling trips and scenic drives to
coincide as closely as possible with peak color, staff at Minnesota
state parks and recreation areas will update an online fall color
finder at www.mndnr.gov/fallcolor every Thursday, starting Sept. 10.
trip-planning tool includes a map showing where to find peak color
across the state, a link to fall color programs and special events, a
slideshow and a photo uploader that provides an easy way for people to
share their favorite fall color images.
conditions indicate we’re on track for a great fall color year,” said
Patricia Arndt, communications and outreach manager for the Department
of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “With the exception of
dry weather in northeastern Minnesota, most of the state has had close
to or above-average precipitation, making for healthy, green trees
going into fall. If we continue to have adequate rainfall as nights
become longer, the autumn display should be spectacular.”
A “Colors of the
Prairie” program at Afton State Park (Sept. 12), a “Million Shades of
Autumn” geocaching event at William O’Brien State Park (Sept. 19), a
lantern-lit hike at Itasca State Park (Sept. 26), and a guided bike
ride along the Luce Line State Trail (Oct. 10) are just some of the
many upcoming programs naturalists have planned.
These and other
family-oriented fall color programs are listed in the 2015 “Fall
Sampler” brochure available at Minnesota state parks and recreation
areas, at Twin Cities libraries and at metro area outdoor retail
stores. The DNR Information Center will also mail the brochure to
anyone who requests it. Fall programs can also be found online at
peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of
Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central
third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern
third (which includes the Twin Cities). Peak fall color typically
lasts about two weeks, but that can vary widely, depending on
location, elevation and weather. Trees at higher elevations are the
earliest to show color change.
For smart phone and
tablet users, the DNR offers fall colors “to go” on a mobile fall
color finder integrated with Google maps. To access the mobile
version, scan the QR code at http://mndnr.gov/mobile or visit
www.mndnr.gov/mobile/fall_colors and bookmark the site.
information, contact the DNR Information Center by sending an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling
DNR seeks applications for Mille Lacs Fisheries
Advisory Committee -
People interested in
being more actively involved in fisheries management on Mille Lacs
Lake can apply to serve on a newly formed Mille Lacs Fisheries
Committee members will be appointed by the
Department of Natural Resources commissioner and will advise the DNR
on fisheries management programs and related issues for Mille Lacs
“This committee will play an important role in furthering the dialogue
about Mille Lacs Lake and focusing on issues relevant to the state’s
management of the lake,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “We want
committee members and the public to have a more structured and
participative process to provide meaningful input, with a goal of
reaching a shared understanding with the DNR about issues and
potential solutions affecting the Mille Lacs Lake fishery.”
will be appointed to serve terms of at least two years on the
committee. Membership on the committee will include a diversity of
angling interests; local business and tourism interests; tribal and
academic representation; and local county officials. To improve
openness and transparency of technical discussions, two committee
members will also be asked to attend meetings of the state and tribal
fisheries technical committee as observers.
The new committee
will replace the Mille Lacs Fisheries Input Group, which was formed in
1997 and consisted of citizens and business owners from the Mille Lacs
People who want to
apply have until Thursday, Sept. 24 to submit applications.
Information about the committee structure, functions, expectations of
appointed members, and how to apply are available on the DNR website
at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake or by calling
Maplewood State Park to celebrate prairie restoration
- Sept 10
Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division will
celebrate the importance of Legacy Amendment funding to prairie
restoration in state parks, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 26
at Maplewood State Park in Pelican Rapids. The event is in conjunction
with the annual Friends of Maplewood State Park Leaf Days celebration.
Amendment event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a self-guided
prairie restoration tour and demonstrations.
The 10 a.m.
ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at a new prairie restoration
site adjacent to the Josh Hanson Memorial Picnic Shelter. It will
include remarks by Parks and Trails Division restoration staff and Don
DelGreco, Maplewood State Park manager.
ribbon-cutting, visitors can take a self-guided prairie restoration
tour while they enjoy a scenic fall color drive through the park.
There will be demonstrations at various sites along the way, and site
hosts will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to answer questions.
Prairie restoration in Minnesota state parks is made possible by the
Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water,
Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund
receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue
that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or
Since the initiation
of Legacy funding in 2009, the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division has
restored over 6,000 acres of prairies and forest at a cost of about $9
funding has been a key factor in supporting prairie restoration in
Minnesota state parks,” said Erika Rivers, Parks and Trails Division
director. “Come see how five years of Legacy funding has allowed us to
restore native prairie plant, wildlife and pollinator habitat in
Maplewood State Park.”
The tallgrass prairie
once covered about one-third of Minnesota (about 18 million acres),
according to the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, a 25-year
strategy for accelerating conservation of native prairie, other
grasslands, wetlands and shallow lakes in the state.
the last 150 years, much of Minnesota’s prairie land has been
converted to agricultural use. As a result, bison, elk, badgers and
other key species that depend on prairie habitat for survival have
declined, or in some cases, disappeared from the state.
Less than 2
percent of Minnesota’s native prairie land remains (approximately
235,076 acres in 71 counties). Northwestern Minnesota holds areas with
at least some of features of a functioning prairie system.
“In the northwest
region, Legacy funding has helped restoration and enhancement of
several thousand acres of prairie, as well as buffering and improving
some of the best remnants of native prairie in the state,” said Cindy
Lueth, Parks and Trails Division northwest region resource specialist.
“These restorations are important to increase habitat for native
pollinators, as well as grassland-loving species of birds and
Leaf Days activities
at Maplewood State Park will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday,
Sept. 27; Saturday, Oct. 3; and Sunday, Oct. 4.
For more information
on the Legacy Amendment projects and funding, visit
For more information
on Maplewood State Park, visit www.mndnr.gov/state_parks.
To view the
Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan, visit www.mndnr.gov/prairieplan.
permits available for Camp Ripley archery hunts
- Sept 10
Hunters who missed
the lottery deadline for the Camp Ripley archery hunt can purchase
surplus permits on a first-come first-served basis beginning 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 18.
A total of 656
permits remain for the first hunt which runs Thursday, Oct. 15 and
Friday, Oct. 16, while 123 permits remain for the second hunt which
runs Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1. A person may only purchase
a permit for one of the hunts.
Hunters can purchase
a surplus permit at any DNR license agent or online at
www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Permits will remain on-sale as long as they
are available, or until Friday, Oct. 2. Individuals who purchase a
surplus permit will retain their accumulated preference for future
Camp Ripley hunts. The cost of the permit is $12.
Hunters will need to
use code 677 and then choose from one of the two hunt dates: Oct.
15-16 (Thursday and Friday, code 668) or Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 (Saturday
and Sunday, code 669). Successful applicants will receive a hunt
packet in the mail, which includes a notice that is required to enter
the gates at Camp Ripley.
The bag limit for
this year’s hunt is one deer, and bonus permits may be used to take
antlerless deer. Additional rules and instructions are available at
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources deer hunting Web page at
The archery hunt at
Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunt with the
Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military
Roseville artist wins 2016 duck stamp contest
Edward DuRose won the 2016 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp contest
with a painting of an American wigeon. The painting was selected by
judges from among 15 submissions for the annual contest that started
in 1977, the Department of Natural Resources said.
will be featured on the 2016 duck stamp. His artwork was previously
featured on the duck stamp after he won the contest in 1994 with his
image of a ring-necked duck.
stamp validation costs $7.50 and is required for waterfowl hunters
ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the
validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. A pictorial
collectable stamp without the validation is available for $8.25 but is
not valid for hunting. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to
waterfowl management and habitat work.
Four entries advanced
as finalists and were selected Sept. 3 at DNR headquarters in St.
Paul. Other finalists were Nicholas Markell, second place; Kurt Kegler
and Tyler Maddaus, tied for third place; and Timothy Turenne, fifth
The DNR offers no
prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains
the right to reproduce the work. Each year the entries are limited to
a predetermined species that breeds or migrates through Minnesota. The
eligible species for the 2017 stamp design will be the redhead.
Twins offer free hat through partnership with DNR
Anyone with a 2015
Minnesota hunting or fishing license can receive a free camouflage
Twins logo baseball cap by being among the first 500 to buy Minnesota
Twins tickets through a special offer online at www.mndnr.gov/twins.
The offer is good
for these upcoming Twins home games:
Sept. 19, vs. Los Angeles Angels.
Oct. 3, vs. Kansas City Royals.
New this year:
Tickets are available in upper and lower decks with varying prices by
location and game. Ticket buyers pick up their cap at the game.
at www.mndnr.gov/twins and enter the transaction number, which is
printed on the hunting or fishing license. The offer is available only
through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Twins Web page.
Minnesota 2015 fishing and hunting licenses can be purchased and
printed online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or at any DNR license
State pheasant index rebounds 33 percent; habitat loss
conditions led to a 33 percent increase in the number of Minnesota
pheasants compared to last year at this time. However, the 2015
pheasant index is 39 percent below the 10-year average and 59 percent
below the long-term average. Habitat loss continues to be the main
factor in a long-term decline of the state’s pheasant population,
according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
still poses serious threats to pheasant populations and other
grassland wildlife,” said Nicole Davros, a DNR research scientist.
“The short-term increase is good news that results from a mild winter
and relatively favorable weather during the nesting season –
conditions that led to increases in the roadside index for many
farmland wildlife game species.”
pheasant season begins Saturday, Oct. 10, and ends Sunday, Jan. 3.
The DNR’s August
roadside survey for pheasants showed a 33 percent increase in the
overall pheasant index from 2014. This year’s statewide pheasant index
was 40.7 birds per 100 miles of roadside driven.
habitat are the two main factors that drive Minnesota’s pheasant
population trends. Weather causes annual fluctuations in roadside
indices. Undisturbed grassland habitat for nesting and brood-rearing
drives the longer-term pattern.
All regions showed
increases in the roadside pheasant index compared to 2014 except for
the south-central region, which stayed the same as last year. The
highest pheasant counts by number of pheasants were in the southwest,
west-central and east-central regions, where observers reported 46 to
76 birds per 100 miles driven. Looking at percentage increases from
2014, the highest were in the central, east-central, and southeast
regions with increases of 44 percent, 126 percent and 138 percent,
respectively. Hunters will find good harvest opportunities in these
populations: short-term gains, long-term loss
“The relatively mild
winter and good nesting season conditions have really helped our
pheasant population across their range this year. It just goes to show
you how resilient these birds can be if given the right conditions,”
said Davros, who oversees the August roadside survey.
The loss of
nesting habitat, especially Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres,
is the primary reason there has been a steady decline in Minnesota’s
pheasant harvest since the mid-2000s.
Minnesota has lost
153,492 acres of CRP since last year and greater than 247,000 acres of
CRP since 2007. Many more acres – likely more than 495,000 acres –
could expire by 2018 if contracts are not renewed or new acres are not
enrolled into the program.
“The future trend
for pheasants, and all grassland-dependent wildlife, does not look
good unless we can find ways to keep habitat on the ground,” Davros
conditions and survival
conditions led to higher overwinter survival of hens, which were up 32
percent from last year. Higher winter hen survival means more pheasant
nests in the spring.
indicator of annual reproduction is the number of broods observed per
100 miles. The 2015 brood index increased 35 percent from last year.
The number of broods per 100 hens increased 2 percent from 2014.
The average number
of chicks per brood was similar to last year and the 10-year average
but was 14 percent below the long-term average. The median hatch date
of nests was June 9, which was three days earlier than the 10-year
average and seven days earlier than last year. Some areas of the state
received above-average rainfall amounts in May, which may have delayed
or interrupted nesting attempts. However, near-normal temperatures and
precipitation in June and July were beneficial to nesting birds and
pheasant population trends is part of the DNR’s annual August roadside
wildlife survey, which began in 1955. DNR wildlife managers and
conservation officers in the farmland region of Minnesota conduct the
survey during the first half of August. This year’s survey consisted
of 170 25-mile-long routes, with 151 routes located in the ring-necked
each route in early morning and record the number and species of
wildlife they see. The data provide an index of relative abundance and
are used to monitor annual changes and long-term population trends of
pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, eastern cottontail rabbits,
white-tailed jackrabbits, mourning doves and other wildlife.
The 2015 August
Roadside Survey report and a map of pheasant hunting prospects can be
viewed and downloaded from www.mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant. Also
recorded in this year’s survey:
- The mourning
dove index increased 14 percent from 2014 but remained below the
10-year average and long-term average.
- The gray
partridge index increased 150 percent from 2014 but remained well
below the 10-year and long-term averages.
cottontail rabbit index increased 36 percent from 2014 and was 34
percent above the 10-year average and 20 percent above the
white-tailed jackrabbit index was similar to last year and remains
at an historic low.
white-tailed deer index was similar to 2014 and was 33 percent
above the 10-year average and 98 percent above the long-term
During the 2015
pheasant season that runs from Oct. 10 to Jan. 3, the daily bag limit
is two roosters through November, and it increases to three roosters
on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The possession limit is six roosters (increasing
to nine roosters on Dec. 1). Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset.
are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant.
lottery application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 10
muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer throughout
much of Minnesota this hunting season are reminded they must purchase
their license and apply for an antlerless permit by Thursday, Sept.
10, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
permits are issued by lottery in designated permit areas. Some areas
that have not been in the lottery classification in recent years are
in that classification this year, primarily as a result of new deer
review the hunting and trapping regulation book now,” said Leslie
McInenly, big game program leader with the DNR. “The lottery applies
to over half of the state permit areas this year, and it’s important
to start planning for the season.”
Hunters who want
to participate in special firearm deer hunts also need to apply for
permits that are issued by lottery, and the application deadline is
Sept. 10. More information on deer permit areas and special hunts is
in the DNR hunting regulations handbook, found online at
seeking citizen input on Leech Lake management plan update
Leech Lake – one of Minnesota’s 10 large walleye lakes – has a new
draft management plan and the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources is seeking input on the plan beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The plan outlines
the proposed five-year fish population objectives and fisheries
management actions. It incorporates the recommendations of the
16-member Leech Lake Fisheries Input Group, which has held six
meetings since February 2015.
Input is being
taken at www.mndnr.gov/leechlake. The Web page includes a video
introduction to each survey section, information considered by the
input group and the group’s final report.
on Leech Lake is very important to the Walker community and
surrounding area,” said Doug Schultz, Walker area fisheries
supervisor. “The diverse Leech Lake fishery is also a significant
statewide resource that all Minnesotans can enjoy.”
walleye population has recovered to historic levels, once again
making the lake one of the premier walleye fishing destinations in
will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 9, online at
www.mndnr.gov/leechlake. Paper questionnaires also are available at
the DNR’s Walker area fisheries office, 07316 State 371 NW, Walker,
MN. Comments will be reviewed and considered in October and November.
The final Leech Lake management plan will be completed in December.
information on the Leech Lake draft management plan and the public
input process, contact the DNR’s Walker area fisheries office at
Youth Waterfowl Day is Saturday
15 and younger can go waterfowl hunting this Saturday, Sept. 12, on
Youth Waterfowl Day, when accompanied by an adult who isn’t hunting
Day is a chance for young people to hunt with an adult who’s giving
all their attention to making sure the youth walks away with a
positive hunting experience,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program
coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Waterfowl Day, hunters ages 15 and under may take regular season bag
limits when accompanied by a nonhunting adult (18 or older), and youth
do not need a license or stamps to participate. The accompanying adult
may not hunt and does not need a license. Ducks, Canada geese,
mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before
sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Five
geese may be taken statewide. For more information on waterfowl
hunting, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
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