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Outdoor Notes for Sept. 3

The team of Jeff and Tracy Wohl took first place at a recent Northern’s Inc. tournament on Washburn Lake with a total catch of 91 3/4 inches.

A man holds a big northern pike.
Jeff Wohl earned Lunder of the Day with a 38.5-inch northern pike during the recent Northern's Inc. fishing tournament on Washburn Lake.
Erickson, Matt
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Wohls are winners on Washburn Lake

The team of Jeff and Tracy Wohl took first place at a recent Northern’s Inc. tournament on Washburn Lake with a total catch of 91 3/4 inches.

Taking second place was the team of Tim and Loen Yeager with a total catch of 88 ¾ inches. The third place team was Andrew Utter and Jake Rice, with a total catch of 88 inches.

The Lunker of the Day was a 38 ½ inch northern pike caught by Jeff Wohl.

DNR asks waterfowl hunters to take precautions for avian flu

With some waterfowl hunting seasons starting Saturday, Sept. 3, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is advising hunters to take precautions for avian influenza when handling harvested birds.

“Waterfowl hunters can take steps to minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor, in a news release. “We’re already getting reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild and domestic birds before fall, so the virus is currently present in Minnesota.”

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While the virus presents a low risk to humans, it is important to avoid contact with sick birds and be mindful that virus may also be transported by your hunting equipment. If you hunt waterfowl and have backyard poultry, plan for added biosecurity measures ( bah.state.mn.us/media/HPAI-Notice-Backyard-Final.pdf ) to keep your flock healthy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes the following recommendations for hunters to protect themselves from avian influenza:

  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant, and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that came in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before being consumed.

Minnesota has a variety of waterfowl seasons that open in September: the experimental early teal season is Saturday, Sept. 3, through Wednesday, Sept. 7; early goose season is Sept. 3, through Sunday, Sept. 18; the youth waterfowl hunt is Saturday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 11; and the main waterfowl season opens Saturday, Sept. 24. Waterfowl hunters might see DNR staff at some landings during the season where voluntary sampling for avian influenza will be happening.
In addition to waterfowl hunters, the DNR reminds all hunters to use precautions when handling any harvested game. Anyone concerned about avian influenza in waterfowl can find more information on the avian influenza page of the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/AI ).

Oak trees showing signs of drought stress, beetle infestation

Oak trees stressed by recent drought have been showing symptoms of infestation by twolined chestnut borer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Twolined chestnut borer is a native wood-boring beetle. The larvae feed beneath the bark of oak trees. Trees stressed and weakened by drought are especially vulnerable, while healthy trees are usually not infested.

“Even when hot, dry weather is replaced by rainy days, it can take years for trees to recover after a drought,” said Val Cervenka, DNR forest health coordinator, in a news release. “After two consecutive years of drought conditions in 2021 and 2022, we expect to see oak trees dying from twolined chestnut borer attack for the next few years.”

Symptoms of an infestation often begin in mid-July and initially include dead and dying leaves at the top of the tree. Dead leaves can stay on branches for months. During the year following the attack, the top of the oak tree will be dead and leafless; leaves in the middle section die, become orange-brown and stay on the tree; leaves at the bottom will still be green. If the tree has been infested for more than a year or two, it might be possible to find small, D-shaped exit holes in the trunk where the adult borers have come out of the tree.

Oak wilt and twolined chestnut borer symptoms can be similar: red oaks with oak wilt will rapidly drop most of their leaves within six to eight weeks, and leaves may be green or only partly brown when they fall from the tree. In contrast, dead leaves on trees attacked by twolined chestnut borer will hang on to the tree and remain brown. For more information, head to the forest health page of the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/TreeCare/Forest_Health ).

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“Unfortunately, preventing an attack of twolined chestnut borer on stressed oaks is difficult,” Cervenka said. “However, you can take steps to reduce stress during drought, which decreases the likelihood of twolined chestnut borer attack.”

To reduce stress in yard trees:

  • Mulch and water trees properly. If rainfall is inadequate, watering oaks weekly may be the best method to prevent twolined chestnut borer attack.
  • Avoid adding soil over roots, do not fertilize stressed oaks, and do not allow herbicides to contact oak leaves.

To reduce stress in woodlands:

  • Thin trees crowding oaks to reduce stress caused by competition for resources. However, wait until the trees have recovered from recent drought because thinning during or shortly after a stress event can increase the chance of attack from twolined chestnut borer.
  • Avoid wounding oaks from April to July when oak wilt spreads easily.
  • Add a diversity of tree species to make woodlands more resilient to change.

Eradication of twolined chestnut borer in woodlands is not possible. However, over time, borer populations will naturally decline. If many, high-quality oaks are affected, landowners can work with a forester to set up a salvage harvest during the winter before the trees degrade. Contact a local DNR forester ( mndnr.gov/Woodlands/CFM-Map.html ) for questions about managing oaks in woodlands.

For more information, head to the tree care page of the DNR website at mndnr.gov/TreeCare .

Related Topics: NORTHLAND OUTDOORS
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