Outdoor Notes - Aug. 24
Ruffed Grouse Society to host fundraiser in Aitkin
The Aitkin Area Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will host its 27th annual Conservation and Sportsmen's Banquet on Sept. 11 at The Landing, 170 Southgate Dr. in Aitkin.
Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.
The banquet will feature a live and silent auction, games, drawings and door prizes with a selection of firearms, artwork and collectables.
Individual membership and dinner tickets are $60. There also is a membership and spouse package for $85, which includes two dinners, and a junior membership (17 and under) and dinner ticket for $35.
Banquet, Conservation, Sustaining and Gold sponsorship packages are available for $275, $500, $1,000 and $2,500, respectively.
Proceeds from the events will be used to enhance habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other forest wildlife.
For more information or to purchase tockets contact Jim McDonald at 218-927-2669.
Benson wins Bass Snatchers tournament
Tim Benson, with an overall catch of 17 pounds, 6 ounces, won the fifth Baxter Bass Snatchers tournament held Aug. 16 on Fishtrap Lake.
Keith Tuma placed second with a catch of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, and Mick Ziebell took third with a catch of 15 pounds, 9 ounces.
The lunker award went to Chuck Steinbauer, who hauled in a 4 pound, 2 ounce bass.
For the tournament 20 anglers caught and released 106 bass.
Upcoming events at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
• Trail Walk: Woods, Wings & Wildlife from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
A half-mile hike featuring discussion on the Kathio forest as well as the birds and other animals that make this place their home. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
• Protecting Our Waters from 1-3:30 p.m.
A program on keeping Minnesota's lakes, rivers and wetlands healthy. Learn about invasive species that threaten the state's waters.
• Demonstrations and Displays at the Interpretive Center from 1-3 p.m. At the Interpretive Center. A movie on aquatic invasive species will be shown from 3-3:30 p.m.
• Kids' Activity: Pop Can Casting from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Learn about some of the fish that people like to catch at Kathio State Park, and take home a fishing rig that you will make from a pop can. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Lakeshore Conservation Club appreciation day to be held Aug. 31
The Lakeshore Conservation Club will hold a member appreciation day from noon-5 p.m. on Aug. 31 at the club at 9911 County Road 77 in Nisswa.
The club will serve burgers, brats, hot dogs, chips and beverages. Members are asked to bring a desert.
There will be cash prizes for handgun, rifle and shotgun competitions.
For more information visit www.lakeshoregunclub.com.
Critter art contest at Deep Portage
Deep Portage Learning Center is seeking black ink drawings of wild animals, fish, birds and insects that are native to the northcentral Minnesota area. The winning artist's drawing will be featured on Deep Portage's 2015 critter art mugs.
Some examples of critters featured on past years' mugs are: turtle, porcupine, fawn, buck, sunfish, wolf, grouse, musky, largemouth bass, bobcat, chickadee, house wren and hummingbird, osprey and dragonfly.
Send your drawings to Deep Portage Learning Center, 2197 Nature Center Drive NW, Hackensack, MN 56452. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 15.
Deep Portage is an environmental learning center and conservation reserve, located 10 miles east of Hackensack. Open to the public, it offers more than 11 miles of hiking/crosscountry ski trails, an interpretive center to explore, and educational programming yearround. If you are interested in learning more about Deep Portage, please visit the website www.deepportage.org, call 218-682-2325, or email email@example.com.
DNR drops most proposals to allow more recreational activities at state's scientific and natural areas
The Department of Natural Resources has decided to not implement most of its proposals to expand recreational activities such as hunting, trapping, and dog walking at 10 of Minnesota's 159 scientific and natural areas (SNAs). The decisions were based on the results of a legislatively prescribed process for obtaining and considering public input prior to modifying allowed uses on existing SNAs.
The DNR had proposed loosening restrictions at 10 of these specially designated wild areas, consistent with sound resource management, in hopes of boosting public support and funding for more land acquisitions. In recent years, funding for the SNA program has declined.
Instead, based on the feedback, the DNR decided to make no changes to existing uses, with two exceptions:
• At Lake Alexander Woods in Morrison County, the DNR will allow deer hunting during the regular season without a special permit on portions of the SNA (two areas will be open to all deer hunting, one area will be open to archery hunting only). Currently deer hunting is allowed only with a special permit.
• At Minnesota Point Pine Forest in Duluth, dogs on leashes will be allowed, which is consistent with city ordinance and well-established public use of the mixed ownership area. Other proposals to allow boat access, swimming and berry picking, will be dropped due to lack of support.
The agency manages scientific and natural areas to protect rare native plant communities, habitat for fish and wildlife, undisturbed natural shoreline and unique geological features. Activities such as hunting, trapping and dog walking are often restricted in these areas; however, many SNAs are open to these activities as well. For example, hunting is allowed on 68 SNAs, not just for recreation, but also to prevent damage to plants from deer browsing.
This past spring, the DNR held public hearings on proposed activities at the 10 SNAs. The DNR received 123 written comments, mostly opposed to the proposed changes.
"The process worked as intended," said Peggy Booth, the DNR's SNA program supervisor. "We thought the proposed changes could provide public benefits while still protecting the natural resources, but we asked for input and most people told us they didn't want changes in these areas."
The public can still provide input on the DNR's decision. The agency will take comments on the changes for the next two weeks. Individuals should submit comments to sna.dnr30 p.m., Sept. 2.