FROM THE DNR: Spring Turkey Deadline, Turkey Stamp Contest, and more..


Hunting early? Apply now!
Minnesota hunters hoping to harvest a wild turkey during one of the first three seasons (time periods A-C) must apply by Friday, Jan. 10, for a spring turkey permit. Permits for all other time periods (seasons D-H) are unlimited and available over-the-counter.

Hunters who are successful in the drawing and choose not to buy a tag will lose the current year’s preference point for future drawings but not accumulated preference points from past years. Hunters who are not successful in the drawing will be eligible to purchase surplus turkey permits, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis in mid-March.

Archery spring turkey licenses are good for the last five time periods in their entirety.

Youth in turkey bling

Teens can meet toms anytime
Hunters younger than 18 must purchase their licenses over-the-counter and need not apply for any season. All youth turkey permits are valid for all eight seasons of the spring hunt.

MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #94                                                                                Dec. 16, 2013
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr.

Turkey stamp contest entries accepted through Dec. 27
People should think twice before reporting swans that appear in trouble
15 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees
Get a Great Minnesota Ski Pass for access to more than 2,000 miles 
   of cross-country ski trails
Question of the week: balsam fir boughs



Turkey stamp contest entries accepted through Dec. 27

Artists wishing to enter the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2015 wild turkey stamp contest may submit their entries now through 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27.

The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) must be the primary focus of the design.

A panel consisting of members with expertise in art, ornithology, hunting, conservation and printing will judge all entries. Judging will take place on Friday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Minnesota DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to wild turkey habitat and management. Extirpated from Minnesota around 1900, wild turkeys now thrive throughout the non-boreal forest portion of the state.

The stamp art contest is open only to Minnesota residents and offers no prizes. Winning artists may issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain the proceeds. A reproduction rights agreement, granting the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other purposes, must be signed and submitted with the design to be considered eligible.

Complete contest rules are available online. Information also is available by contacting the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4040. People can also call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646 6367.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         Dec. 16, 2013

People should think twice before reporting swans that appear in trouble

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  is asking citizens to consider the situation carefully before reporting swans (or other waterfowl) that appear to be trapped in ice or rapidly freezing water.

Just like people, animals behave differently during various seasons and some wildlife enthusiasts are not prepared to see changes in behavior. It is easy for people to mistake an animal doing something they’ve never seen before for an animal in distress. Careful observation over a short period of time (a few days to a week) may reveal a healthy animal that is just behaving differently than expected. People should stop and closely observe before attempting to find help.

“Trumpeter swans are a classic example of this,” said Erica Hoaglund, central region nongame wildlife specialist. “Citizens see them this time of year resting on frozen water or swimming about in small pockets of open water within ice. People assume they are trapped when most of the time they are not and move on in either a few days or a few weeks; it is frequently not the emergency it can first appear to be.”

Here are reminders for people concerned about the fate of swans they see in or near water during the early parts of winter.

  • Often birds that seem trapped in ice or in a shrinking area of open water turn out to be fine, not trapped and just hanging out in the area. When it’s cold, animals move around less just like people.
  • On the rare occasion that an animal is actually in distress, it is often physically impossible to reach them safely across thin ice and open frigid water. Often the animals have been unable to leave the area for some underlying reason such as illness or injury and it is impossible to rehabilitate the animal even after its rescue. Do not risk a human life to safe a wild animal.
  • In the case of swans in Minnesota, the DNR nongame wildlife program is happy to report that after years of restoration efforts, swan populations in the state are now stable and large enough that occasional mortality, while sometimes sad, is not cause for alarm for an entire population.
  • Animals that die outside in the winter are an important part of the food chain. Their carcasses will provide crucial winter food sources to a wide range of wildlife, including invertebrates, mice and even bald eagles.




DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Dec. 16, 2013

15 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees

Fifteen Minnesotans have been appointed to the citizen oversight committees that monitor the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ fish and wildlife spending.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr appointed each to a three-year term. Appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, preparing reports on their findings.

Citizens re-appointed or newly appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee are: Marj Hart, St. Michael; John Hastings, Park Rapids; Michael Hehner, Brainerd; Valerie Holthus, Andover; Jeff Johnson, New London; John Lenczewski, Eden Prairie; Douglas Odegard, Pine City and Ed Tausk, Buyck.

New appointments and re-appointments to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are: Jason Dinsmore, Mantorville; David Guzzi, Burnsville; Chuck Kartak, North Branch; Gregory Kraemer, Roosevelt; Diane Smith, Apple Valley; Paul Spyhalski, Austin and Robert Theobald, Owatonna.

A list of all committee members is available on the DNR website at Committees will resume work after the December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2013.

“We look forward to working with these volunteers,” said Erika Rivers, DNR assistant commissioner. “The appointments continue our commitment to share detailed budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”

The Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee continue a citizen oversight function created in 1994. More than 60 people applied for oversight committee positions. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity and a mix of experienced and new participants.

In the weeks ahead, committee chairs and four members will be selected by each committee to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee chaired by another appointee, John E. Hunt. This committee will develop an overall report on DNR’s annual expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations will be delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.

Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core fish and wildlife management functions. More than $90 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue, including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment. Dollars that flow into this fund pay for fish, wildlife, enforcement and ecological management that support 48,000 jobs in Minnesota’s hunting, fishing and related hospitality businesses.

Past Game and Fish Fund reports and oversight reports are available at


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     Dec. 16, 2013

Get a Great Minnesota Ski Pass for access to more than 2,000 miles of cross-country ski trails

Now that winter has unofficially arrived along with lots of fresh snow, the Department of Natural Resources encourages people to dust off their cross-country skis and purchase the Great Minnesota Ski Pass. The ski pass is a ticket to more than 2,000 miles of grant-in-aid and state-designated cross-country ski trails. Many of these trails are in state parks and state forests.

“Skiing is a great way to experience nature and the outdoors during the winter,” said Andrew Korsberg, state trail coordinator for the DNR. “The money collected from the ski pass goes directly to support grooming and maintenance of ski trails statewide.”

State law requires skiers 16 years of age and older to purchase and possess a daily ($6), annual ($20) or three-year ($55) ski pass before using any grant-in-aid or state-designated cross-country ski trails.

A map of locations where the Great Minnesota Ski Pass can be used and a statewide snow depth map (updated everyThursday) are available on the DNR website at

Skiers may purchase passes at any one of about 1,500 electronic licensing agents throughout Minnesota and at most state parks that have ski trails. Annual and three-year passes may also be bought online at or by calling 888-665-4236.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at or call 651-296-6157 or toll-free888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.





Q: Where does the balsam fir boughs used to make holiday wreaths and garland come from?

A: The specialty forest products industry uses many of the natural resources found in Minnesota’s forests, such as pinecones, mosses and birch twigs, to make everything from decorative items to medicinal and herbal products. One of the most important specialty products is the balsam bough. About 1,700 tons of boughs are harvested annually from Minnesota forests, and each ton makes roughly 400 wreathes. However, the number made per ton varies depending on the size of each item. The main products, which consist of wreathes, garlands, and swags are 95 percent balsam fir based. Pine and white cedar are also used to create holiday decorations.

Most of the boughs used by Minnesota’s special forest products industry are harvested from public and private lands across the northern part of the state. Itasca, St. Louis, Aitkin and Cass counties support more than one-half of the bough harvest in Minnesota. The state’s balsam bough industry has annual retail sales topping $30 million. When the 9 million pine cones and other decorative items are added in, the economic impact is much bigger.

– Steve Vongroven, DNR forest utilization and marketing program coordinator

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