Minnesota’s 2016 ruffed grouse season opens Saturday, and the Department of Natural Resources offers a variety of tools to help hunters find places to hunt.
“Where can I hunt? That’s usually one of the first questions people ask when they want to get into grouse hunting,” said Ted Dick, forest game bird coordinator for the DNR. “Thankfully, it’s an easy question to answer here in Minnesota because we have some of the nation’s best grouse hunting, and it’s not hard to find public hunting land.
“Grouse hunting is an inexpensive way to get into hunting, and it also happens to be a nice, active way to get kids outdoors.”
Minnesota has a network of land specifically managed for ruffed grouse habitat and hunting access. In all, 49 ruffed grouse management areas across northern and central Minnesota provide destinations for hunters in areas with good potential for producing grouse and woodcock.
These management areas range from 400 acres to 4,800 acres in size, contain 184 miles of hunter walking trails and allow dogs. Search locations and find downloadable maps of ruffed grouse management areas at mndnr.gov/rgma.
Grouse hunters also can hunt woodcock using the same equipment in the same habitat, and woodcock season opens Sept. 24.
Hunters can search for hunter walking trails online at mndnr.gov/hunting/hwt, and the DNR website has a new search tool for finding wildlife management areas that allow users to search by county, species and wheelchair accessibility at mndnr.gov/wmas.
— Minnesota DNR
NDGF: Plan ahead to protect hay, winter feed
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging farmers and ranchers to plan ahead to protect hay, grain and winter feed supplies from wildlife.
Even with the state’s low deer populations, severe winter conditions can result in wildlife depredation to livestock feed supplies, according to Kevin Kading, private lands section supervisor.
Producers should store hay in a manner and location that prevents or reduces damage by wildlife. For example, stacking bales rather than leaving them scattered across a field can help reduce damage and make the bales easier to protect. Stacking bales inside a fence, if possible, can prevent wildlife from gaining access to them. Ranchers also have used a protective barrier of round straw bales surrounding their higher quality bales to prevent wildlife damage, Kading said.
A number of other options are available to producers to minimize or reduce wildlife depredation, including allowing hunters access to land to ensure a proper harvest of animals.
Any type of livestock feed supplies left in an open field are difficult for Game and Fish to address, Kading said.
“There are very few options available,” he said. “This is why we stress the importance of being as proactive as possible. If producers wait too long, snow and deteriorating weather conditions could make it difficult to store hay and feed supplies properly.”
Game and Fish will assist producers with wildlife depredation problems but cannot compensate for losses. The department has temporary and permanent fencing options available for livestock producers experiencing chronic depredation problems.
For help or more information on how to protect hay, grain and winter feed supplies, contact the Game and Fish Department at (701) 328-6300.
— N.D. Game and Fish Department
Did you know?
North Dakota’s sandhill crane season opens Saturday and continues through Nov. 13. Limits are three daily and nine in possession in Unit 1 west of U.S. Highway 281, and two daily and six in possession in Unit 2 east 281. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 5. Beginning Nov. 6, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day. More info: gf.nd.gov.
Surplus permits for the archery hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn., will be available Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. According to the DNR, 1,081 permits remain for the first hunt, set for Oct. 20-21, while 257 permits remain for the second hunt Oct. 29-30. A person may purchase a permit for only one of the hunts. Permits will be on sale as long as they’re available or until Oct. 7 at any DNR license outlet. Permits cost $12. Info: mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
The DNR reminds hunters who shoot deer outside the state that whole deer carcasses no longer are allowed to be brought into Minnesota from anywhere in North America. The new restriction includes deer, elk, moose and caribou and is an effort by the DNR to control the spread of chronic wasting disease. Meat that is boned out or cut and wrapped, along with quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, hides and teeth, antlers or clean skull plates (no brain tissue attached) with antlers attached and finished taxidermy mounts are allowed. Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from the restriction, but other states, including North Dakota, have similar restrictions. Info: mndnr.gov/deerimports.
— Compiled by Brad Dokken