Outdoor Notes - Sept. 30
■ Area state parks included
in ‘special’ deer hunts
Crow Wing and Mille Lacs Kathio state parks will again be open to deer hunters with special permits this season.
For Crow Wing State Park just south of Brainerd, the dates of that hunt are Dec. 7-9; at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park near Onamia, the dates are Nov. 9-11.
Also, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area at Crosby/Ironton is among the state parks/rec areas that will be “wholly or partially open to hunting (all seasons) by legislation,” according to the DNR.
Also locally, included among the parks where no hunting will be allowed is Charles A. Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls.
For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2012 hunting season, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-5157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The hunts are a way to help control the deer population in the parks, the DNR said, adding that its goal is to ensure healthy natural communities, and when there are too many deer in one area, the native plants and animals can be negatively affected.
The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and December to look online or call ahead to find out whether a hunt is planned and confirm whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises visitors to parks where hunts are planned to wear blaze orange, even if they will not be hunting. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.
■ Henkensiefken tops Bass Snatchers
Guy Henkensiefken finished first in the sixth tournament of the Baxter Bass Snatchers season.
Henkensiefken’s catch totaled 14 pounds, 11 ounces. Darren Keifer was second at 12-12 and Mark Munson a close third at 12-11. Art Becker earned lunker honors with a 3-pound, 13-ounce bass.
In all, 24 anglers braved 40-degree temperatures and 30-mph winds to catch — and release — 92 bass.
■ Mille Lacs Kathio programs
A timely program kicks off two weekends of events at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park near Onamia.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, a special program on bird migration is scheduled from 9-11 a.m. Judd Brink of MN Backyard Birds will lead an introduction to migratory bird watching, with the one-hour introduction beginning with how to use binoculars and bird books, followed by a short birding hike. From 10-11 a.m. Brink will lead a talk and slideshow about fall migration and how to attract migratory birds to your own backyard. Participants are welcome to attend either or both parts of the program. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Also, Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m., is “Digital Nature Photography for Beginners.” Learn how to take photos of wildlife, plants or landscapes and bring home your best shot. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring your own digital camera or use one of the park’s. The instructional portion of the program will be 30 minutes long and the time length of an outdoor photography session will depend on how many people attend. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Sunday, Oct. 7: 11 a.m., “Kids’ Activity: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.” Learn how animals use camouflage to survive in the wild and then participate in an activity about animals and colors. Meet at the Interpretive Center for the 40-minute program.
Saturday, Oct. 13: 10:30 a.m., “Lore of the Loon.” A talk about the natural history and mysterious calls of Minnesota’s State Bird will be followed by the classic nature film “Legacy for a Loon.” Meet at the Interpretive Center for the 45-minute program. 2 p.m., “Kids’ Activity: Makin’ Tracks.” Learn about animal tracks and tracking and take home a “track souvenir” you make yourself. All ages welcome. Meet at the Interpretive Center for this 45-minute activity.
Sunday, Oct. 14: 10:30 a.m., “GPS & Geocaching for Beginners.” Have fun learning about GPS and get an introduction to Geocaching. This class is designed for beginners. Bring your own GPS unit or use one of the park’s. Meet at the Interpretive Center for this one-hour activity.
Duck season off to good start; split season closures in Central and South duck zones start Monday
Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist, said hunting was good across most of the state, with blue-winged teal, wood duck and mallard comprising most of the harvest during the recent Minnesota duck opener.
With three duck hunting zones in effect in Minnesota this year, Cordts reminded hunters in the Central and South duck zones to be aware of closed dates in those zones, splitting the season into two parts to provide more opportunity later in the fall in those parts of the state.
The waterfowl season in the Central Duck Zone (south of Highway 210) will be closed from Monday through Friday and then reopen Saturday. In the South Duck Zone (south of Highway 212), the waterfowl season will be closed from Monday through Oct. 12 and then reopen Oct. 13. The goose season is also closed in the Central and South duck zones when the duck season is closed.
“These temporary closures translate into additional hunting opportunity later this fall when late season migrants are passing through the state,” Cordts said. “This is just the second year we’ve managed the hunt by using zones and the first-ever time we’ve used three zones.”
Duck hunters in north-central Minnesota averaged about 2.7 ducks per hunter on opening day, up from 2.2 ducks per hunter in 2011.