Published August 02, 2009, 12:00 AM

OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Minnesota deer changes, Record N.D. stocking year etc.

By: Compiled by Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald

Minnesota deer changes: Minnesota is expanding its use of lottery permits for hunting antlerless deer in some areas this fall.

The Department of Natural Resources says over-the-counter, either-sex permits will be valid in significantly fewer areas, especially in parts of northern and southwestern Minnesota. So, hunters who typically did not need to apply to get an either-sex permit by lottery will need to do so.

The DNR said the change is part of an effort to increase herd numbers in those areas.

The change is less apparent in northwestern Minnesota, where many units have retained the intensive management designation, which allows hunters to shoot up to five deer. Several northwestern units also will be open to an early antlerless season, set for Oct. 10-11, in which hunters can take two deer in addition to the five they can shoot in the intensive units during the regular rifle season.

Another major change: All muzzleloader hunters must apply for an either-sex permit if they want to kill an antlerless deer in a lottery permit area. In past years, muzzleloader hunters who did not buy a regular firearms license could take an antlerless deer in a lottery area without a permit.

The DNR advises hunters to review the regulations before the Sept. 10 application deadline.

Info: www.mndnr.gov/deer

— Herald staff report

Apprentice hunter program: Individuals at least 16 years old who have never hunted in North Dakota because they have not taken a hunter education class now have the opportunity to hunt small game and deer.

State law requires anyone born after 1961 to pass a certified state or provincial hunter education course in order to buy a North Dakota hunting license. The only exceptions were people who hunt only on land they own or operate, and youths younger than age 12 with the appropriate licenses.

But a new law passed during the recent legislative session changes that by allowing residents and nonresidents 16 and older to receive an “apprentice hunter validation” to hunt small game and deer, even if they haven’t taken hunter education.

The validation is only for one license year.

“The intent is solely to recruit hunters,” said Paul Schadewald, chief of administrative services for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. “Other states have done this and have seen positive results.

“If the apprentice hunter enjoys hunting and wants to continue beyond the trial year, he or she must then complete a certified hunter education course,” Schadewald said. Info: gf.nd.gov.

— N.D. Game and Fish Department

Record stocking year: North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently stocked a record number of fingerlings in a record number of state waters.

Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader for Game and Fish, said with additional water scattered throughout the state, fisheries staff were geared up for a big year.

“The Garrison Dam and Valley City national fish hatcheries came through with more than 11 million walleye, pike and perch fingerlings, and they were stocked in 180 state waters, 50 more lakes than average,” Weigel said.

Considering none of the three species were stocked into Devils Lake or Lake Sakakawea, the numbers are even more impressive.

“In years when we have stocked Lake Sakakawea, we exceeded 11 million fingerlings, but Sakakawea alone received several million or more fingerlings,” Weigel said. “At the same time, that is when we typically stock 100 to 120 individual lakes.”

Weigel said the emphasis on this year’s stocking efforts was to get fish into all the new water areas.

“In years like this, Mother Nature really cranks up fisheries statewide,” he said. “Our thought process is to ensure all lakes, even those with no brood fish, have a chance of producing a very good year-class of fish that is expected in years such as this.”

Full stocking reports are available on the Game and Fish Department Web site at gf.nd.gov.

— N.D. Game and Fish Department

Western wolf case: Supporters of proposed public hunts of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies are intervening in a federal court case brought by environmentalists who want to stop the hunts.

The federal government in May removed more than 1,300 wolves in Montana and Idaho from the endangered species list, opening the door to the first hunts in decades. Environmentalists later sued to restore federal oversight.

The state of Idaho and several livestock and hunting groups have intervened in the lawsuit in support of the government. Montana is also seeking to intervene.

The case is before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula. Molloy stopped wolf hunts proposed in the region in 2008 and ordered the animal returned to federal protection.

About 300 wolves in Wyoming are still listed as endangered.

— Associated Press

Did you know?

- More than 2,600 licenses remain in 15 units after North Dakota’s fall wild turkey season lottery. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card. The Game and Fish Department will issue remaining licenses on a first-come, first-served basis. For a listing of units with remaining licenses, check out the Game and Fish Web site at gf.nd.gov. The fall turkey season begins Oct. 10 and continues through Jan. 10.

- Chris Clemmons, Newark, Ill, and Bob Hausler, Plano, Ill., weighed in 10 walleyes for 48.12 pounds to become Cabela’s National Team Champions during the Cabela’s/NTC walleye tournament held last weekend on Devils Lake. The pair landed $30,000 plus a new Ranger boat for winning the event. The national event was co-located and run along with the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit West Division qualifying tournament. Guy Ryan and Troy Ethridge of Salina, Kan., won that event with 46.93 pounds of walleyes to land $15,120 plus a $1,000 bonus from Ranger boats. Hometown anglers Rick Darling of Leeds, N.D., and Jeff Trana of Devils Lake cashed in $6,200 for their second-place finish in the MWC with 35.66 pounds.

- The DNR is planning a session to gather public review and comments on plans for a new visitor center for the Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish, Minn. The review will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 in the Waskish Town Hall. The new visitor center will be funded through state bonding and will include a registration area, interpretive displays, nature store, modern restrooms and possibly a meeting room. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin next spring.

- Manitoba fishing tournament organizer Dan Sernyk has canceled an upcoming catfish tournament on the Red River near Selkirk, Man., because of what he calls “a dire lack of interest on the part of both Manitoba and United States catfish anglers.” The South Beach Casino Channel Catfish Classic originally was set for July 25-26 and later rescheduled to Aug. 8 before Sernyk pulled the plug. Sernyk said he will refund all entry fees. Info: (204) 668-5831 or anglerdan@mts.net.

- The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service have nominated 11,892 acres of Theodore Roosevelt’s former Elkhorn Ranch as a National Historic District. The designation, if approved, is a prestige designation only and does not place any further restrictions on the property. Livestock grazing, minerals, development and recreation use will continue. Any changes in land management will be addressed in the current Land and Resource Management Plan amendment process. The nomination does not require public comment, but people with an interest can contact any federal or state agency to register support or opposition. The Elkhorn Ranch nomination process began last October, and it should take about a year for a final determination of eligibility as a National Historic District.

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