Outdoors Notes — Jan. 5
■ TIP banquet to be held Jan. 18
The Brainerd Turn in Poachers banquet will be held Jan. 18 at Legacy Courses at Cragun’s, 11496 East Gull Lake Drive.
Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m. There will be a silent auction, raffles and games. Seating is limited.
For more information or to register, contact the TIP office at 218-326-8477 or Diane Britton at 218-829-0203.
Tickets may be purchased at S & W Bait, Yesterday’s Gone or at squareup.com/market/turn-in-poachers-inc.
An adult membership and dinner is $50; couples dinner and one membership is $75; current or life members dinner is $25; youth membership and dinner is $20; and a VIP table, including six adult memberships, six dinners, six hats and one framed TIP print, is $600.
■ DNR seeks public comments on Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM trail in Cass County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites public comment on an application for off-highway vehicle (OHV) grant-in-aid funding for a 12-mile all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway motorcycle (OHM) trail in Cass County. The trail would connect the community of Whipholt (on the south shore of Leech Lake) to the city of Longville.
Comments are due by Friday, Jan. 24, at 4:30 p.m.
Cass County would sponsor the trail and would provide trail monitoring, development and maintenance in cooperation with the Woodtick Wheelers ATV/OHM Club. Trail development and maintenance would be partially funded through the state OHV grant-in-aid program. The trail would be open to motorized recreation from May 1 through Nov. 1 each year, subject to closures for safety considerations or to prevent erosion or damage to the trail.
The DNR welcomes public input on the trail proposal. Copies of the proposal and a project map are available for review at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/ohv/plans/woodtick_wheeler.html.
To request a printed copy of the trail description, or to submit comments, please contact Dave Schotzko, area supervisor, DNR Parks and Trails Division, by mail at 3296 State Park Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601; by phone at 218-308-2367; by email at email@example.com; or by fax at 218-755-4063.
■ Christmas bird counts released
The 3rd annual Uppgaard Christmas Bird Count (CBC) that took place on Dec. 21 covering the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway found 26 species resulting in a new high total of 1,277 birds, said Judd Brink of Birds of the Byway in a news release.
The count area had a total of 11 participants, including one feeder-watcher who submitted their numbers by email. The count circle added four new species (one Brown Creeper, three Bohemian Waxwing, 179 Snow Bunting and one Northern Goshawk). The Black-capped Chickadee was the most common bird, with 473 individuals up from last year’s high count of 383. Also viewed was the Northern Goshawk, an uncommon bird for Crow Wing County. One bird, the Common Raven, showed up more frequently this year with 26 compared to only 10 last year.
The weather this year was below normal which limited open water and some roads.
If you are interested in participating next year contact Brink, the count organizer and data complier, by phone at 218-838-4784 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the past results and more birding information for the area please visit the webpage at birdsofthebyway.com.
■ DNR to fly deer and elk surveys
Pending suitable snow cover, the Department of Natural Resources plans to fly white-tailed deer population surveys from December through March in central and southeastern Minnesota.
“In the transition zone between agricultural and forested lands, which generally stretches from the northwest to southeast across Minnesota, we use aerial surveys to recalibrate the deer population model,” said Gino D’Angelo, DNR farmland deer project leader. “These survey flights help us make decisions on deer permit area designations that achieve our population goals.”
DNR pilots will fly low-level helicopter surveys in 18 deer permit areas during daylight hours at an altitude of approximately 200 feet.
Areas targeted to be flown include:
Deer permit areas 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 229, 239 and 241 in Becker, Benton, Clay, Hubbard, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Wilkin and Wright counties.
Deer permit areas 341-343 and 345-349 in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.
Aerial elk surveys using both an airplane and helicopter are also planned for the Kittson County and Grygla elk ranges in northwestern Minnesota. The flights are conducted annually during winter.
Questions about survey flights should be directed to the DNR’s farmland wildlife research office in Madelia, 507-642-8478, the northwest regional wildlife office in Bemidji, 218-308-2651 or the Rochester area wildlife office, 507-206-2859.
■ Minnesotans age 16 or older
fish free with kids Jan. 18-20
Minnesotans age 16 or older can try ice fishing or spear fishing without purchasing an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing during Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend Saturday, Jan. 18 through Monday, Jan. 20, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for family and friends to get those special kids in their life outdoors enjoying the fun and beauty of a Minnesota winter,” said Roland Sigurdson, DNR aquatic education supervisor. “What better way to celebrate our winter heritage than by passing on the tradition of ice fishing.”
Ice fishing presents some unique challenges, but with basic equipment, a few skills, and good planning, ice fishing can be easy, enjoyable and exciting.
Here are key ice fishing tips from DNR’s MinnAqua program, which provides resources to teach fishing skills, aquatic ecology and conservation stewardship of our lakes and rivers:
Dressing in layers is the best way to deal with winter’s icy chill. Layers keep you warm in cold conditions by creating pockets of warm air and helping moisture evaporate.
Portable ice shelters can increase the enjoyment of the experience by keeping kids warmer.
Plan for a shorter, quality experience that will make a happier memory. Cold, bored kids don’t ask to go again.
Bring snacks and warm beverages to make a comfortable experience.
Bring a variety of baits to increase chances of success.
More tips are available online at www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua/icefishing.