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Outdoor Notes for Aug. 26

Deer lottery application deadline is Sept. 6 Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer in a deer permit area designated as lottery this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license by Thursday, Sept. 6....

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Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer in a deer permit area designated as lottery this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license by Thursday, Sept. 6. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.

Deer lottery application deadline is Sept. 6

Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer in a deer permit area designated as lottery this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license by Thursday, Sept. 6. Hunters who purchase their license before this date are automatically entered into the lottery for the deer permit area or special hunt area they declare.

This season, antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery in 39 of Minnesota's 130 deer permit areas. No application is needed to take antlerless deer in permit areas with hunter choice, managed or intensive designations.

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm or muzzleloader deer hunts also need to apply for permits that are issued through a lottery, and that application deadline is also Sept. 6.

More information about designations and regulations for deer permit areas, as well as details about special hunt opportunities, is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and in the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

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Upcoming Mille Lacs Kathio State Park events

Saturday, Sept. 1

2-2:45 p.m. Kids' Activity: All About Fish. Learn about fish that people like to catch in the area and their habitat, then take home an art print you make yourself. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

7-8 p.m. Special Program: Hunters of the Sky. The Audubon Center of the North Woods will use live hawks and owls in this special program about raptors of Minnesota. Meet at the Interpretive Center Council Ring. In case of rain the program will be held inside the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, Sept. 2

10:30-11:30 a.m. Turtles and Snakes. This talk about snakes and turtles of the area will include a visit from Shellby the turtle & Corny the snake. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

2-2:45 p.m. Kids' Activity: Wildlife Bingo. Learn about area wildlife while trying to get a bingo to win a cool prize! Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Monday, Sept. 3

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10:30-11:15 a.m. The Monarch: A Butterfly Beyond Borders. Enjoy this nature film about the Monarch's natural history & migration. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

DNR seeking input on Leech Lake proposed walleye regulation change

The Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on a proposed walleye regulation change on Leech Lake that would take effect at the start of the 2019 open water fishing season. Public comments will be solicited at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Walker Area Community Center, Monday, Sept. 24.

The current walleye regulation on Leech Lake is four fish, requiring the immediate release of any walleye that are within a 20 to 26-inch protected slot limit. Only one fish over 26 inches allowed in possession. The four-fish walleye possession limit on Leech Lake has been in effect since 2005.

"The regulation was initially put in place to help protect spawning fish," said Doug Schultz, DNR Walker area fisheries supervisor. "Regulation goals have been exceeded, prompting the DNR to propose increased harvest opportunity at this time."

The proposed regulation change would remove the 20 to 26-inch protected slot and replace it with a regulation similar to the statewide regulation, but with a four fish walleye limit, only one of which can be over 20 inches.

According to Carl Pedersen, the DNR large lake specialist on Leech Lake, the walleye population is in excellent condition at this time and can afford some additional harvest.

"We have an abundant population of spawning age fish with a wide distribution of sizes, and multiple year classes of smaller fish entering the fishery," said Pedersen. "Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position."

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When future fisheries assessments indicate harvest should be reduced, the DNR anticipates revisiting the protected slot limit at that time.

Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 5. Those unable to attend the meeting can provide comments by calling the Walker area fisheries office at 218-547-1683 or by emailing walker.fisheries@state.mn.us . Metro anglers can also provide comments in person to Al Stevens at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 26.

Hunters asked not to shoot ear-tagged and radio-collared research bears

With the bear hunting season set to begin Saturday, Sept. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asks that hunters avoid shooting research bears marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio-collars.

Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio-collared black bears across the state, especially in zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are farther north, near Orr or Voyageurs National Park. Some collared bears are also around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer.

"We ask hunters to avoid shooting these valuable research bears. They continue to provide much of the data we use in bear management," said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.

A key to the research is looking at year-to-year changes in natural food supplies and how that affects individual bears. Natural food supply influences bear habitat use, weight gain, the location and date it dens and comes out of the den, reproduction, and interactions with people. This research is not designed to evaluate mortality from hunting. Trapping new bears every year to replace the ones killed cannot substitute for long-term data on individuals.

Most of the collars have global positioning units (GPS). The GPS coordinates are either uploaded to a satellite, or stored in the collar and downloaded by DNR researchers when they visit the bears in their dens. Each bear provides several thousand data points per year.

The bear's coat often hides the collar, especially in the fall. And most of the collars are black. But all collared bears have large 3-by-2 inch colorful ear tags. So, hunters can simply identify a collared animal by these large tags, whether or not they see a collar. The tags should be plainly visible when a bear is at a bait, or on trail cam photos.

Photos of collared research bears and some research findings gained from them are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/bear.

DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations. For this reason, taking a bear with a radio collar is legal; however, waiting a few minutes to get a clear view of the bear's head would reveal whether it has large ear tags, which indicates that it is collared. Bears with small ear tags (1 by 1/4-inch) are not collared and not part of the research effort.

Any hunters who do shoot a collared bear should bring the collar to a bear registration station. Also, most collared bears have a small implanted heart monitor under the skin on the left chest. This contains valuable information stored in memory. If hunters find this device while skinning the bear, they are asked to leave it with the collar.

Hunters are asked to call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at 218-328-8874 or 218-328-8879 to report shooting a collared bear. Those with trail-cam photos of ear-tagged bears are asked to email them to mailto:mndnrbearcams@gmail.com and include a location.

Share duck hunting experience on Youth Waterfowl Day

Youth, ages 15 and younger, can go waterfowl hunting Saturday, Sept. 8, on Youth Waterfowl Day, when accompanied by an adult who is not hunting, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"This hunt is a fantastic way for parents and guardians to introduce youth to waterfowl hunting in Minnesota, where we have these outdoor opportunities available all across the state," said James Burnham, DNR hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation coordinator.

During Youth Waterfowl Day, hunters ages 15 and younger may take regular season bag limits of ducks, and five Canada geese statewide, when accompanied by an adult 18 or older who is not hunting. The accompanying adult does not need a license.

Hunters, ages 13 to 15, must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation in their possession. Ducks, Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoys may not be used. All other migratory bird hunting regulations apply.

"Overall, public support for having Youth Waterfowl Day is the highest it's ever been, looking back at DNR hunter surveys from last year," Burnham said.

Out of 1,611 hunters surveyed across the state last year, 73 percent of respondents supported the youth hunting day with 46 percent strongly supporting it. In contrast, 17 percent opposed the hunt, with 10 percent strongly opposing it.

Parent or guardians with limited equipment and knowledge about waterfowl hunting are encouraged to contact their local outdoor sports clubs for resources and potential local hunting opportunities. Anyone interested in additional hunting resources can contact James Burnham at 651-259-5191 or james.burnham@state.mn.us .

More information on waterfowl hunting can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

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