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UPDATE: Final Minnesota legislative bills may be passed in middle of the night

Outdoors Notes - Mar. 18

The end of the first committee deadline for the 2012 legislative session came and went Friday with no additional movement regarding the game and fish license increase proposal.

But according to the DNR, there appears to be some momentum with the issue as it was discussed in both the House and Senate, with a bill being passed out of the Senate Environment Committee, which is now SF 2490. For more information, go to

Also according to the DNR, in the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, the issue was discussed and it’s likely there will be formal action on a bill in committee early this next week.

Under the proposal, annual resident angling licenses would go from $17 to $24. On the hunting side, among increases being proposed, resident small game licenses would go from $19 to $22 and resident deer hunting licenses would go from $26 to $30.

It has been nearly 12 years since the last general hunting and fishing license fee increase. Monies from licenses go toward the Game and Fish Fund, which is projected to go into the red by next July, the DNR said. Hunting and fishing license revenue is the state’s most important funding source for managing 5,400 fishing lakes, managing hunting and habitat or nearly 50 game species and delivering natural resource law enforcement, according to the DNR, add that it has already implemented many cost-saving measures, but without license fee increases there will be negative impacts to the quantity and quality of fish and wildlife management and conservation law enforcement.

Sporting collectibles, fish decoy show

The ninth annual Brainerd Sporting Collectibles and Fish Decoy Show is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (March 17) At Jack’s House in Brainerd.

The highlight of the event is the Bob Johnson Invitational fish decoy competition. Concessions, a silent auction and a gun raffle also are scheduled.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children.

Local NWTF chapter to host

annual banquet/fundraiser

The Central Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host its 17th annual Hunting Heritage banquet/fundraiser on March 24 at the Nisswa Legion Club.

Gobbling/hooting hour begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Raffles, games and live and silent auctions also are scheduled and Dan “Walleyedan” Eigen will lead a seminar for youths.

For tickets and information on the event, contact Dan Zimmerman at 821-7701.

Funds generated by the NWTF banquets/fundraisers statewide are used for various projects and activities that support the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of the hunting tradition. Funds are administered jointly by the NWTF organization, state and local chapters and state wildlife agencies. Since 1985, more than $2.5 million has been raised and spent by Minnesota chapters on projects within the state.

ATV Spring Fling scheduled April 15

Brainerd area ATV clubs will host their fifth annual ATV Spring Fling on April 15 at the Old WaterFall Inn on Highway 371, north of Brainerd.

The event starts with a social at 2:30 p.m., speakers at 3:30 p.m, and dinner and door prizes starting at 4:30 p.m.

Wade Miller, DNR trails supervisor, will speak on trail construction and maintenance of the new Crow Wing County Southern Loop ATV Trail and Robert Reinitz, project chair, will speak on the proposed Camp Ripley Veterans Multi-Use Trail. And local ATV dealers will have ATVs on display.

Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Central Lakes ATV Club and the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders Club, are $15 for adults and $5 for children 10 and younger. For tickets or more information, call Darrel Palmer at 838-0353.

DNR fisheries seeks comments on

Brainerd area management plans

Those interested in DNR strategies for managing several Brainerd area lakes and streams have until Monday to ask questions or submit comments.

“Management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the waters,” said Marc Bacigalupi, Brainerd area fisheries manager. “The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake or stream over the next five to 20 years.”

Every year DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Brainerd area, plans for the following lakes and streams will reviewed: Bay, Black Hoof, Sandbar (Horseshoe), Star and Little Star lakes. All are located in Crow Wing County.

The current plans for lakes and streams in the area as well as recent fish population assessment information may be reviewed at the DNR’s Brainerd area fisheries office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Or call 828-2550, or email to request a copy or submit written comments.

Public comments on management plans for the five specified lakes may be submitted via mail or email through Monday. Suggestions for management of any of the other lakes and streams in the Brainerd area are welcome at any time and will be considered when those plans are due for review.

First Scientific and Natural Area

proposed for Crow Wing County

The DNR is seeking comments until April 4 on a proposal to establish a Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) in Crow Wing County, approximately one mile southwest of Garrison. If approved, it would be the first state Scientific and Natural Area in Crow Wing County.

The DNR has an opportunity to establish the SNA in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. The proposed Mille Lacs Moraine SNA includes 585 acres of private land the DNR intends to purchase with funds from the Reinvest in Minnesota Critical Habitat Match Program.

SNAs are a state land unit, like state parks or wildlife management areas, but with a different emphasis. The purpose of SNAs is to protect the best of Minnesota’s remaining natural heritage, such as rare species, native prairies, old-growth forests and significant landforms and geologic features.

The proposed SNA lies within the larger, 82-square-mile Mille Lacs Moraine Site. The area is identified by the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) as a Site of Outstanding Biodiversity Significance, MCBS’s highest-quality rank. Sites of Outstanding Biodiversity Significance contain the best occurrences of the rarest species, the most outstanding examples of the rarest native plant communities and/or the largest and most ecologically intact or functional landscapes.

The DNR is seeking comments about establishing this area as an SNA, including what public uses should be allowed. If established, an individual management plan will be developed for the SNA. The public is encouraged to provide comments that will help guide the future management of this area. Comments will be shared with the Crow Wing County Board when this proposal is brought to them for their consideration at their April 10 meeting.

An open house also will be held by the DNR so those interested can ask questions and share their comments in person. It’s scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. March 29 at Garrison City Hall, 27069 Central St., Garrison.

Send comments to Steve Wilson, DNR SNA Program, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN, 55790 or e-mail to

Additional information on Scientific and Natural Areas may be found at

Ice fishing shelter removal date fast approaching for northern Minnesota

The deadline for removing fish houses and dark houses from waters in the northern half of Minnesota is midnight Monday, according to the DNR. Fish houses in the southern half of Minnesota were to be off the ice March 5.

Dates of removal are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2 and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Fish houses on Minnesota-Canada border waters have to be off by March 31.

After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended. Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited.

Conservation officers remind anglers to keep waterways clean. Litter on lakes tarnishes nature’s beauty, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation, the DNR said.

DNR, NWTF mentored women’s

turkey applications due April 2

First-time adult women turkey hunters have the chance to go afield and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer during mentored hunts being offered this spring, the DNR said.

Women are encouraged to sign up with a friend or adult daughter for an educational adventure in wild turkey hunting. An application and general information for the mid-May wild turkey hunt is available at The application deadline is midnight April 2. Participants will be selected through a random lottery if oversubscribed.

The program is based on the successful mentored youth hunts where, during the last 10 years, more than 1,700 youth have been introduced to this educational hunting experience. With women being one of the fasting growing segments of the hunting society, the need is there, the DNR said.

Most hunts will be May 19-20 at several locations in Minnesota’s turkey range, which generally covers the southern and western half of Minnesota. Hunts include a mandatory turkey clinic leading up to an actual hunt. All participants will hunt on private land, thanks to the generosity of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained permission.

To be eligible, a female hunter must be 18 on or before May 19. All participants must possess a valid firearms safety certificate, purchase an apprentice hunter validation or be born before Dec. 13, 1979. The program is for first-time turkey hunters only. Participants will be assigned a NWTF volunteer coach, who must accompany them throughout the entire hunt.

Participation in the hunts is only restricted by the number of volunteers and private lands that are available. Those who have an interest in providing a quality experience in turkey hunting, have hunting land or are members of the NWTF should contact the NWTF at for information about participating.

Eelpout, the ‘ish of fish,’ in apparent decline

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The eelpout or burbot, that beady-eyed freshwater cod widely known as the “ish of fish” for its unsightly appearance, doesn’t get a lot of attention, but fisheries managers in Minnesota and North Dakota say the species is in decline.

“It’s almost more of an anecdotal thing,” said Tom Heinrich, large lake specialist for the DNR in Baudette. “They’re not all that vulnerable to gillnets, which are our primary lake assessment gear. Most of the information is based on what you see on the ice.

It likely will be short-lived, but eelpout have been back in the spotlight since Aaron Guthrie of Bemidji landed a 19.54-pound specimen Feb. 24 on Lake of the Woods near Long Point. The behemoth burbot was weighed on a certified scale, and its confirmation as a new Minnesota state record appears to be just a formality.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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