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Dec. 30 Outdoor Notes

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■ Pheasant hunt open

through Jan. 6

STAPLES — Double Gun Bird Hunts/Little Moran Hunt Club in Staples will be hosting a Winter Solstice Pheasant Hunt through Jan. 6.

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Organizers reported a pen-clearing hunt of 175 pheasants will be available to hunt at $15 a bird. Any pre-paid birds must also be used by Jan. 6 or they will be forfeited.

Pheasant pot pies also can be pre-ordered at $12.50 a pie.

The farm closes to hunting Jan. 6 but will remain open for provate dinners and gatherings in the dining room, as well as special dinners Feb. 16 for Valentine’s Day weekend.

For more information contact 218-894-3852.

■ Snowmobile club open

house set for Jan. 7

MERRIFIELD — The Merrifield Marathons Snowmobile Club will host its seventh annual open house from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Merrifield Marathon’s Center on the Paul Bunyan Trail in Merrifield, on the west side of Crow Wing County Road 3 about a quarter mile south of the SuperAmerica Station.

A free lunch of brats, hotdogs, beans, chips, cider and hot chocolate will be served.

The clubhouse, groomer and trail drag will be on display. Members will be available to answer questions and off trail maps and trail tips. The club has weekly rides open to anyone.

■ DNR seeks input on possible trout, sturgeon, flathead and other angling changes

Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) considerations to provide more angler opportunity for trout and sturgeon, protect flathead catfish during winter and possibly change some other fisheries rules.

For trout, DNR is considering possible rules that:

• Simplify trout fishing regulations in southeastern Minnesota by dropping the barbless hook restriction (research has demonstrated that hooking mortality is not significantly greater with a barb);

• Extend the end of the fall catch-and-release season on all designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota from Sept. 30 to Oct. 15;

• Allow catch-and-release angling on designated trout streams in some southeastern Minnesota state parks from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31; and

• Open some lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties to winter trout fishing.

Prompted by the successful recovery efforts of the sturgeon populations in the Red, Rainy, St. Croix and St. Louis rivers, DNR is considering the possibility of a catch-and-release sturgeon season on water bodies not currently open to sturgeon fishing.

DNR is considering possibly closing the taking of flathead catfish in winter. Because it takes many years for flathead to grow to trophy size of 50 pounds or more, these fish easily could be overharvested when lethargic in cold weather.

Other possible changes could place some restrictions on smelt harvest in Pine County’s Grindstone Lake and implement additional whitefish netting restrictions to better control the possibility of spreading invasive species.

DNR is seeking initial public comments on these ideas so that those comments can be considered and used to help inform DNR fisheries staff about how to move forward.

Comments, questions and requests for more information should be directed to Linda Erickson-Eastwood at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, 55155-4020. Citizens also may call 651-259-5206.

Complete information about the comment process is available online at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/fisheries/se-mn-trout.html.

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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.
(218) 855-5889
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