Published October 21, 2012, 12:00 AM

Field reports: Minnesota deer-baiting penalties increase

Participants in Minnesota’s firearms deer season will be subject to new penalties for baiting violations when they go afield Nov. 3. DNR conservation officers issued 144 citations, gave 24 warnings and seized 134 firearms or bows in baiting-related investigations during the 2011 bow, firearms and muzzleloader seasons. It’s the highest number of baiting citations issued during the deer hunting seasons since the DNR began tracking these violations in 1991.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Participants in Minnesota’s firearms deer season will be subject to new penalties for baiting violations when they go afield Nov. 3. DNR conservation officers issued 144 citations, gave 24 warnings and seized 134 firearms or bows in baiting-related investigations during the 2011 bow, firearms and muzzleloader seasons. It’s the highest number of baiting citations issued during the deer hunting seasons since the DNR began tracking these violations in 1991.

The Minnesota Legislature recently passed legislation to increase the penalties for those convicted of baiting deer.

The new penalties for baiting are:

  • A person may not obtain any deer license or take deer under a lifetime license for one year after the person is convicted of hunting deer with the aid or use of bait. A second conviction within three years would result in a three-year revocation.

  • The revocation period doubles if the conviction is for a deer that is a trophy deer scoring higher than 170 inches in the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

    The fine for illegal baiting is $300, plus $80 or more in court costs. Another $500 can be added for restitution if a deer is seized. Guns may be confiscated as well.

    Ruffed grouse harvest down at national hunt

    The ruffed grouse harvest was down 14 percent from last year at the 2012 National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, held Oct. 11-12 in the Grand Rapids area. The hunt usually draws about 100 hunters, and this year’s harvest was 184 birds, down from 213 last year.

    Ruffed grouse populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, and the population is on its downward trend.

    The ratio of immature grouse to adult females was 7.2 to 1, about 15 percent above the long-term average, indicating a fairly successful hatch this past spring.

    The woodcock harvest was 415, up from 381 last fall. The total was the largest number of woodcock harvested since the daily bag limit was reduced from five birds to three birds in 1997.

    Wisconsin wolf harvest inches up

    Wisconsin’s first wolf hunt opened Monday, and through Thursday a total of seven wolves had been taken. Five were taken by hunters and two by trappers. The wolves were taken in Iron, Vilas, Rusk, Eau Claire, Taylor, Oneida and Lincoln counties. Wisconsin’s wolf season continues through Feb. 28.

    Minnesota wolf hunters urged to buy licenses

    Hunters selected by lottery for Minnesota’s early wolf hunting season must purchase their license by Wednesday Any early season licenses not sold by that date will be made available at noon Oct. 29 on a first-come, first-served basis to early or late season applicants not selected in the lottery.

    Any eligible hunter, regardless of whether he or she entered the wolf season lottery, may purchase a remaining early season license at noon on Nov. 1.

    As of Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had sold 1,155 of the 3,600 wolf licenses available for the early hunting season, which coincides with firearms deer season in each of Minnesota’s three wolf hunting zones.

    Licenses are available from any DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at (888) 665-4236.

    Hunters selected by lottery for the late hunting and trapping season, which runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31, must buy their licenses by Nov. 15.

    Any late season licenses not sold by that date will be available at noon on Nov. 19 on a first-come, first-served basis to early or late season applicants not selected in the lottery. Remaining licenses will be available for purchase by any eligible hunter at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

    To date, the DNR has sold 305 of the 1,800 late season wolf hunting licenses available, and 166 of the 600 wolf trapping licenses available.

    Molpus will allow access to its lands

    An agreement has been reached, in effect until at least next spring, allowing hunters and snowmobilers to continue accessing thousands of acres of forests held by Minnesota’s largest private landowner.

    Northland legislators Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, and Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said last week they reached the deal with Mississippi-based Molpus Woodlands Group. In the wake of a change in Minnesota tax law for forested land, Molpus had put up “Keep Out” signs on access roads across much of the land it owns in northern St. Louis County. The move came after the state Legislature eliminated a tax break the company received for conducting sustainable forestry and allowing public access from more than $2 million to $100,000.

    The announcement came after Dill and Bakk met with Molpus representatives to discuss the tax issue. The legislators told the company that they cannot guarantee any outcome, but they will work to pass legislation next spring that addresses Molpus’ concerns and maintains public access to the affected land.

    The new signs warned hunters that gates would be closed and access blocked to popular grouse and deer hunting land this fall. The closures also would have affected hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails that cross about 128,000 acres of Molpus land.

    Gophers catch bass

    Kenny Schofield of Cotton and his roommate Garrett Prahl, both seniors at the University of Minnesota, won the Big Ten Bass Fishing Championship in Madison, Wis., earlier this month.

    Participants in Minnesota’s firearms deer season will be subject to new penalties for baiting violations when they go afield Nov. 3. DNR conservation officers issued 144 citations, gave 24 warnings and seized 134 firearms or bows in baiting-related investigations during the 2011 bow, firearms and muzzleloader seasons. It’s the highest number of baiting citations issued during the deer hunting seasons since the DNR began tracking these violations in 1991.

    The Minnesota Legislature recently passed legislation to increase the penalties for those convicted of baiting deer.

    The new penalties for baiting are:

    * A person may not obtain any deer license or take deer under a lifetime license for one year after the person is convicted of hunting deer with the aid or use of bait. A second conviction within three years would result in a three-year revocation.

    * The revocation period doubles if the conviction is for a deer that is a trophy deer scoring higher than 170 inches in the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

    The fine for illegal baiting is $300, plus $80 or more in court costs. Another $500 can be added for restitution if a deer is seized. Guns may be confiscated as well.

    Ruffed grouse harvest

    down at national hunt

    The ruffed grouse harvest was down 14 percent from last year at the 2012 National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, held Oct. 11-12 in the Grand Rapids area. The hunt usually draws about 100 hunters, and this year’s harvest was 184 birds, down from 213 last year.

    Ruffed grouse populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, and the population is on its downward trend.

    The ratio of immature grouse to adult females was 7.2 to 1, about 15 percent above the long-term average, indicating a fairly successful hatch this past spring.

    The woodcock harvest was 415, up from 381 last fall. The total was the largest number of woodcock harvested since the daily bag limit was reduced from five birds to three birds in 1997.

    Wisconsin wolf harvest inches up

    Wisconsin’s first wolf hunt opened Monday, and through Thursday a total of seven wolves had been taken. Five were taken by hunters and two by trappers. The wolves were taken in Iron, Vilas, Rusk, Eau Claire, Taylor, Oneida and Lincoln counties. Wisconsin’s wolf season continues through Feb. 28.

    Minnesota wolf hunters urged to buy licenses

    Hunters selected by lottery for Minnesota’s early wolf hunting season must purchase their license by Wednesday Any early season licenses not sold by that date will be made available at noon Oct. 29 on a first-come, first-served basis to early or late season applicants not selected in the lottery.

    Any eligible hunter, regardless of whether he or she entered the wolf season lottery, may purchase a remaining early season license at noon on Nov. 1.

    As of Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had sold 1,155 of the 3,600 wolf licenses available for the early hunting season, which coincides with firearms deer season in each of Minnesota’s three wolf hunting zones.

    Licenses are available from any DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at (888) 665-4236.

    Hunters selected by lottery for the late hunting and trapping season, which runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31, must buy their licenses by Nov. 15.

    Any late season licenses not sold by that date will be available at noon on Nov. 19 on a first-come, first-served basis to early or late season applicants not selected in the lottery. Remaining licenses will be available for purchase by any eligible hunter at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

    To date, the DNR has sold 305 of the 1,800 late season wolf hunting licenses available, and 166 of the 600 wolf trapping licenses available.

    Molpus will allow

    access to its lands

    An agreement has been reached, in effect until at least next spring, allowing hunters and snowmobilers to continue accessing thousands of acres of forests held by Minnesota’s largest private landowner.

    Northland legislators Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, and Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said last week they reached the deal with Mississippi-based Molpus Woodlands Group. In the wake of a change in Minnesota tax law for forested land, Molpus had put up “Keep Out” signs on access roads across much of the land it owns in northern St. Louis County. The move came after the state Legislature eliminated a tax break the company received for conducting sustainable forestry and allowing public access from more than $2 million to $100,000.

    The announcement came after Dill and Bakk met with Molpus representatives to discuss the tax issue. The legislators told the company that they cannot guarantee any outcome, but they will work to pass legislation next spring that addresses Molpus’ concerns and maintains public access to the affected land.

    The new signs warned hunters that gates would be closed and access blocked to popular grouse and deer hunting land this fall. The closures also would have affected hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails that cross about 128,000 acres of Molpus land.

    Gophers catch bass

    Kenny Schofield of Cotton and his roommate Garrett Prahl, both seniors at the University of Minnesota, won the Big Ten Bass Fishing Championship in Madison, Wis., earlier this month.

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