Early Antlerless Season Open In SE, Deer Goal Setting Volunteers Needed, Youth Deer Hunting Info, and more

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Early antlerless deer season to open in limited areas in southeast

Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless season from Thursday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 19, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“The early antlerless season addresses high deer densities in localized areas,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader. “Hunters should be aware that there is little public land within the early antlerless hunt areas, which consist of parts of deer permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston and Filmore counties.”

Areas open during the season are identified on the fold-out map that accompanies the DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. The map is also available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunters are encouraged to review the maps and rules to identify opportunities prior to the season.”

“This is the second year we have implemented an early antlerless season in specific portions of southeastern Minnesota,” McInenly said. “We are continuing to evaluate the approach as an additional tool to manage deer at a geographic scale below that of the deer permit area.”

This year, the early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season.

In the early antlerless hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during the regular season. Early antlerless permits cost $7.50 for residents and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.

All deer harvested during this season must be tagged with an early antlerless permit. Hunters must also have a valid archery, firearms, or muzzleloader license. Legal firearms or archery gear may be used as long as the appropriate parent license is in possession.

Whitefish and tullibee sport netting opens Oct. 10

Recreational netting for whitefish and tullibee opens Friday, Oct. 10, on designated lakes in northern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Lakes known as Schedule II lakes are open to recreational netting as follows:

  • Schedule II A lakes open Friday, Oct. 10, and close Sunday, Dec. 7.
  • Schedule II B lakes open Friday, Nov. 7, and close Sunday, Dec. 14.
  • Schedule II C lakes open Friday, Nov. 14, and close Sunday, Dec. 14.

Schedule II lakes are not overly susceptible to sudden changes that affect water temperature. Recreational netting for Schedule I Lakes (more susceptible to factors that impact water temperatures) will be opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses and other public places. However, Schedule I lakes that are infested with invasive species may not open, or may open later than in the past.

Invasive species considerations
New this year, nets used for whitefish and tullibee in all waters designated as infested with invasive species may not be used in any other water body unless they have been frozen for at least two days, or dried for at least 10 days. For a list of infested waters, visit www.mndnr.gov/invasives/ais/infested.html.

Before leaving any water access, licensees must: clean all plants off their nets, trailers and other equipment; inspect nets and other gear for prohibited invasive species like zebra mussels, and remove them; and drain water from boats and livewells.

About 700 people obtain special permits to net for whitefish and tullibee each year. The DNR bases netting schedules on expected water temperatures. As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water and whitefish and tullibee come to shallow water for fall spawning. Netting is allowed when there is little chance that game fish populations would be harmed by recreational netting in shallow water.

A complete list of all Schedule I and II lakes, status of the seasonal or invasive-species related openings and closures, as well as detailed netting sport netting regulations are available online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing or by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.


DNR seeks volunteers to join deer goal setting teams  

People interested in helping the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources establish deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota can apply online at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Volunteers are being sought to join five advisory teams that will develop deer population goals in various regions of the state. Each team will focus on deer goals for a specific region, or goal-setting block, of the state. Goal-setting blocks consist of multiple deer permit areas that have been grouped by habitat type.

“The advisory teams provide a great opportunity for DNR staff to work directly with citizens who are interested in deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “By bringing in diverse, local interests, the DNR aims to collectively identify deer population goals that are ecologically sustainable and socially acceptable.”

Individuals can serve on one team. They nominate themselves by completing an online application. The application period is now open and ends Monday, Nov. 17.

Participants will be selected to represent the wide range of public interests in deer management including hunting, recreation, farming, forestry, public health and safety. They also will be chosen to achieve geographic representation within a goal-setting block.

Deer population goals will be set for 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas during the upcoming process, which concludes in May 2015 with the announcement of final goals. Areas selected for goal setting in 2015 are:

  • Area 1 – Superior Uplands Arrowhead, which includes permit areas 117, 122, 126, 127, 180.
  • Area 2 – North Central Plains Moraines, which includes permit areas 169, 172, 184, 197, 210, 298.
  • Area 3 – Pine Moraines, which includes permit areas 241, 242, 246, 248, 251, 258, 259, 287.
  • Area 4 – East Central Uplands, which includes permit areas 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 183, 221, 222, 225, 247, 259.
  • Area 5 – Sand Plain-Big Woods, which includes permit areas 223, 224, 227, 229, 235, 236, 249, 285, 338, 339.

Teams of 15 to 20 people will participate in one or two public meetings and two to three team meetings in their goal block. All meetings will take place between February and March of 2015.

Once selected, each team will review biological and social data as well as public input collected at meetings and through online and written questionnaires. After considering and discussing this information, each team will recommend a deer population goal for each of the permit areas within its goal-setting block.

DNR staff will review the data for each goal block as well as advisory team goal recommendations and final public comments on team recommendations before making final goal decisions.

This is the third year the DNR has worked with citizens to reassess and re-establish deer population goals in Minnesota. Goals for southwestern and a portion of northern Minnesota were set in 2012. Goals for southeastern Minnesota were set last year. Goals for the deer permit areas not part of the 2015 process will be set in 2016.

People don’t have to be advisory team members to provide input on deer population goals. There will be a number of opportunities for public input and comments this coming winter. Information about the goal-setting process and opportunities for input and involvement is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Share a passion for deer hunting during youth deer season Oct. 16-19

Youth ages 10-15 can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 19, in 27 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including the 601 Twin Cities metro permit area.

“Youth can hunt with a mentor in a special season that’s all about putting the attention on the youth during the whole hunting experience,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349 and 601. In certain portions of permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston, and Filmore counties, there will also be an early antlerless season for all licensed hunters who purchase early antlerless permits.

Youth must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase a license and use the appropriate firearm for the permit area in which they are hunting. Youth may take a deer of either sex and may only take one deer during the youth season.

An adult mentor must accompany the youth but may not hunt or carry a firearm and does not need a license. However, in the early antlerless sub-permit areas of 346 and 349, the adult can participate in the early antlerless hunt while being a mentor. Hunters and mentors must meet blaze orange requirements.

Public land is open as is private land, provided the youth hunter has landowner permission.

Participating in the youth deer season does not affect eligibility of youth to participate in the regular firearms deer season but any deer harvested do count against the youth’s season bag limit. For more information, see the page 34 of the DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook under the heading Special Youth Deer Season, found online atwww.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.


DNR enforcement names new chief pilot

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division has named Conservation Officer/Pilot Tom Buker its chief pilot. He had been the acting chief pilot since October 2013. Buker will assume the permanent position and be promoted to captain Oct. 8.

“Officer Buker brings strong leadership skills, experience, and a high standard of professionalism with him to serve the pilots of the DNR,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director.

Buker, based in New Ulm, joined the DNR in 2004. As chief pilot, he will oversee four full-time and two part-time pilots based from airports in Bemidji, Brainerd, Grand Rapids and New Ulm. The DNR owns and operates six fixed-wing aircraft and three helicopters.

A licensed pilot since 1997, Buker has 17 years flying experience, amassed more than 4,500 hours flight time, and is an instrument rated single and multi-engine (land) flight instructor with tail wheel and ski plane endorsement.

Prior to joining the DNR, Buker was a patrol officer, special weapons and tactics team member, deputy coroner and K-9 search and rescue officer with the Douglas County (Nevada) Sheriff’s Department from 1989-1996. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Aviation from the University of North Dakota. He also worked as a patrol office and investigator with the Mahnomen County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Department and served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army.

The DNR Enforcement Aviation Section flew 1,940 hours in fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014) for the DNR divisions of enforcement (306.6), wildlife (1,004), fisheries (158.9), forestry (108.8), pilot training (285.1), and others (4.6). Flights included wetland flights, waterfowl and large animal surveys, wolf telemetry, fingerling drops, creel surveys and search and rescue missions.

The DNR’s aviation program started in 1947 with a plane based in Baudette that covered the whole state. A second aircraft, a float plane, was added in 1948 and based in Warroad. Prior to 1947, the state borrowed or rented aircraft for specific flight operations.


Q: Why does this year seem to be particularly good for fall colors?

A:  Some of those magnificent colors we’re seeing this fall were there all summer; you just couldn’t see them because of the green pigment in the leaf’s chlorophyll. As our days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, trees cease chlorophyll production, allowing yellow and orange pigments in the leaf to show.

Red and purple pigments can be created in some tree species if the late summer weather is sunny and bright and nights are not frosty. The slightest change – too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry – can slow the process or cause trees to lose leaves before they change color.

For the latest information on when and where the fall colors are expected to be at their peak, check out the DNR’s fall color finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors. For more information on what causes fall colors, visitwww.mndnr.gov/fall_colors/typical_peak.html.



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