Sept. 2 - Outdoor Notes
Brainerd’s Anderson teams to finish fifth in Leech muskie tourney
Jeff Anderson of Brainerd teamed with John Hoyer of Minnetonka to place fifth in the Musky Hunter Magazine Last Summer Blast Aug. 24-25 on Leech Lake near Walker.
Anderson and Hoyer caught 37.75-, 39.75- and a 41.50-inch muskies on Bucktails.
Austin Vig and Andrew Matz of Prior Lake finished first, catching seven muskies that were 37, 37.25, 40, 42.75, 40, 44.50, 45.50, 46 inches, worth $10,500.
Third-place finishers Ross Korpela of Carlton and Chad Mitchell of Inver Grove Heights had the big fish Friday — a 50.75-incher, worth $500. Ben Olsen and Andy Hamm earned the honor Saturday with a 50-incher.
Labor Day shoot slated at Lakeshore
The Labor Day Shotgun and Rifle Shoot is scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday at Lakeshore Conservation Club near Nisswa.
Shoots will include 100 bird, 50 bird, doubles, Annie Oakley and — new this year — a 50-yard, 10-round 22-rifle competition from 1-3 p.m.
The event also includes food, games and prizes.
Also, fall leagues are starting and beginning Sept. 9, trap and skeet will be open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays through September. The rifle/pistol range is available year-round for members.
For more information, call 218-963-4003.
Tightly contested Bass Snatchers tourney
Only four ounces separated first through third places in the Baxter Bass Snatcher tournament Aug. 26 on North Long Lake.
Jim Smith won the Bass Snatchers’ fifth tournament of the year with a total of 16 pounds, 5 ounces. Guy Henkensiefken was second at 16-2 and Chuck Steinbauer third at 16-1. Bob Verkennes won the lunker award with a bass weighing 3-12.
In all, 28 anglers caught and released 144 bass in the tourney.
Busy holiday weekend planned at Kathio
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park near Onamia features a host of events Labor Day weekend:
Saturday, Sept. 1 — 10:30 a.m., Kids’ Program: “Beading a Story.” Learn about American Indian beadwork, the stories behind the craft and take home a “beading souvenir” you make yourself. The information and activity are designed for kids 8 and older, but it’s also good for younger children who have help from an adult. Meet at the Interpretive Center (40 minutes). 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Voyageur Canoe Tours: Rum River Headwaters. Experience a ride in a 10-person canoe while learning about the natural history of the Rum River; including fish, wildlife and forest habitat. Paddles and life jackets are provided. Participants must be at least 10 years old. Registration is required and is limited to the first 18 people for each tour. To register, sign up at the interpretive center or call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending. There are two separate one-hour tours. We will launch from the River Access at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Strong winds or a storm may cause cancellation of canoe tours. 7-8 p.m., special program, Hunters of the Sky. The Audubon Center of the North Woods will show a live owl, a falcon and a hawk to illustrate this family-oriented program about raptors of Minnesota. Meet at the council ring next to the interpretive center. In case of rain the program will be held inside the interpretive center.
Sunday, Sept. 2 — 10:30 a.m., Noon Nature Table: Mammal Mania! Visit with a Naturalist about mammals including species identification, habits and habitat, and more. Look for the Naturalist Table near the Swimming Area from 10:30 a.m.-noon. In case of rain this program will be canceled.
Monday, Sept. 3 — 10 a.m., Camping at Kathio ... 1,500 B.C. Step back in time as we look at artifacts and take a short walk to where archaeologists found evidence of a village from the 1600s and a “campsite” from more than 3,000 years ago. Meet at the Interpretive Center (1 hour).
Roadside wildlife counts to be released Tuesday
The DNR will release its annual roadside wildlife survey on Tuesday.
The report summarizes roadside counts of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits and other wildlife observed in the early morning hours during the first two weeks of August.
The observations take place throughout the farmland region of Minnesota. Observers surveyed 171 25-mile routes, 152 of which were located in the ring-necked pheasant range.
Pheasant harvest low in 2011,
grouse and ducks steady
The DNR has completed the 2011 Small Game Hunter Survey. Results are available online under “Reports” at www.mndnr.gov/publications/wildlife.
The DNR annually surveys small game license buyers to estimate hunter numbers and harvest trends. For the 2011 hunting season, the DNR mailed 6,500 surveys to small game license buyers and 58 percent returned usable questionnaires.
As expected, pheasant hunters and pheasant harvest declined in 2011 after two moderately severe winters and a cold, wet spring. Overall, the estimated number of pheasant hunters (77,000) decreased 13 percent from 2010. The drop corresponded with a slight decrease in pheasant stamp sales.
An estimated 204,000 pheasants were harvested in 2011, a 43 percent drop from 2010. The number of birds harvested per hunter also fell from 4 to 2.6. Hunter numbers and harvest were at their lowest recorded level in recent years.
Regulation changes, including an earlier opening date, likely are factors that contributed to the number of duck hunters (83,500) increasing 14 percent in 2010 and the year’s harvest increasing 18 percent. The increase in hunters corresponded with an increase in duck stamp sales.
Hunters harvested 730,000 ducks in 2010 but the results for individual hunters increased only slightly, from 8.5 birds per hunter in 2010 to 8.8 birds per hunter in 2011.
Ruffed grouse hunter numbers (93,800) remained unchanged from 2010 and ruffed grouse remained Minnesota’s most popular small game species in 2011. The 2011 harvest of 401,000 ruffed grouse was down slightly from the 10-year peak of 465,000 in 2010 but was still one of the three highest annual harvests of the past 10 years.
Grouse populations tend to fluctuate on a 10-year cycle. Minnesota’s grouse population already has begun its cyclical population decline. Harvest results continue to show that even with a declining grouse population, Minnesota has better grouse hunting than almost any other state.
September kicks off the 2012 small game season, with mourning dove season starting Saturday, Sept. 1, followed by grouse, rabbit and squirrel Sept. 15; waterfowl and woodcock Sept. 22; and pheasant Oct. 13.
— Compiled by Brian S. Peterson, contributing writer