Temporary off-highway vehicle trail closures begin in November
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season. Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and registered off-road vehicles (ORVs) such as four-wheel drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.
The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes but not to state forest roads, aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.
Licensed deer hunters may still use these routes in conjunction with their hunting activity:
- Before legal shooting time.
- From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- After legal shooting hours.
Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be:
- Nov. 8 – 23 for the northeastern Minnesota 100 Series deer season.
- Nov. 8 – 16 for the Minnesota 200 Series deer season.
Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Minnesota close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state.
While many recreational OHV riders have voluntarily opted not to ride forest trails during deer hunting and small-game seasons, recreational OHV riding has become a year-round sport for many. DNR officials remind everyone who visits Minnesota’s state forests this fall to put safety first.
For more information, see the 2014 deer season map online at www.mndnr.gov (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/hunting/2014/deer_map.pdf) or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
DNR seeks citizen volunteers to join fish species work groups
Volunteers are being sought to join five citizen-agency work groups that will discuss how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages fish. There will be individual work groups for bass, catfish, panfish and walleye, and one that will focus on both northern pike and muskellunge.
Volunteers may apply to one of the five groups. The application period is open from Wednesday, Oct. 1, to Wednesday, Nov. 19.
“Citizens can nominate themselves,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief. “These groups are about enhancing communication and discussion between citizens and the agency. In recent years these work groups have addressed angler concerns in detail.”
Work groups of 10 to 15 people each include volunteers and DNR staff who meet two to three times per year to discuss new research, population and harvest trends, and fisheries management. Participants will be selected by the DNR and can choose to serve a term of either two or three years. Meetings average four to six hours including travel time. The groups are advisory and do not make decisions on policy or fish management.
“The work groups support effective management of the state’s fisheries,” Pereira said. “We are seeking members who will reflect a range of public interests in fish management including recreation, effects on local economies, water quality, habitat and more.”
For more information or to find an application form, see www.mndnr.gov/fisheries/management.
DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2015 walleye stamp
Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2015 Minnesota walleye stamp from Monday, Oct. 6, through Friday, Oct. 17, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced.
The walleye stamp is sold along with hunting and fishing licenses or as a collectable. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to purchasing fish for stocking.
The 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.
Artists who 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 the Information Center at 651-296-6157or 888-646-6367, and online at www.mndnr.gov/contests/stamps.html.
DNR urges motorists to be alert for deer in the fall
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges motorists to be especially alert this autumn to avoid vehicle/deer accidents.
“Fall is an extremely active time for wildlife, especially deer,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director. “Drivers need to remain alert and drive with particular caution this time of year.”
In the fall, deer population numbers are at a peak. Consequently, the potential for drivers to encounter them on the roadways is greatly increased. In addition, autumn is the breeding season for white-tailed deer and reproductive urges cause the animals to become increasingly mobile throughout October and November.
“When you see deer along the roadside, reduce your speed and be wary of any sudden movement,” said Soring. “If a deer crosses the road, others may follow in its path.”
While deer may be seen crossing roadways at any time of day, they are most active at dawn and dusk. These are the same hours most people are traveling to and from work. Drivers can avoid hitting deer by slowing down during these hours and being particularly alert in areas where deer typically cross.