Hunters can start planning ahead for significant changes to deer season regulations, including a youth deer season that’s expanded statewide, expanded deer feeding and attractant bans, and other updates related to managing chronic wasting disease.

“We heard a lot of support for a statewide youth deer hunting season,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’re excited to make it easier for parents, relatives or trusted adults to share their hunting knowledge and traditions with the next generation of deer hunters.”

The 2019 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations handbook is now available on the DNR’s deer hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunting licenses go on sale Thursday, Aug. 1, and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

The dedicated, statewide youth season runs from Thursday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 20, for youth hunters ages 10-17. In the past, the youth season was only available in the southeast, northwest and Twin Cities metro permit areas.

Other significant changes this year include regulations that reflect the DNR’s response to chronic wasting disease. In addition to hunters, all Minnesotans in central and southeast Minnesota should pay close attention to the deer feeding and attractant ban rule. The area where deer feeding and using deer attractants is prohibited will expand starting Sept. 1, in areas of central and southeast Minnesota where CWD was detected in farmed or wild deer.

Feeding and attractants increase the risk of disease transmission between animals by bringing them together in close contact, which is a mechanism for CWD spread.

There are several changes to deer permit area numbering this year that will clarify where CWD management and surveillance occurs. Deer permit areas within a CWD management zone, in southeast and north-central Minnesota, will now be part of a 600-series permit areas. The metro deer permit area will be renamed to 701 from 601.

The DNR is, as in previous years, enforcing carcass movement restrictions to limit the spread of disease. Hunters will also need to be aware of mandatory sampling during all deer seasons in the CWD management zones (southeast and north-central), and over the opening weekend of the firearms season in the CWD control zone (southeast, bordering the CWD management zone) and in surveillance areas (central). Full details about CWD sampling, including sampling locations, carcass movement restrictions, and management and control zones are available at mndnr.gov/cwd.

For more information on what’s new in the regulation changes, and for regularly updated deer hunting information including the DNR’s deer permit area mapping tool, visit the DNR’s deer hunting webpage, mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

Boese, Wickham win on Serpent Lake

The team of Grant Boese and Paul Wickham took the top spot at a recent Northerns Inc. tournament held on Serpent Lake with a catch of 20 pounds, 3 ounces.

Second place went to Jim and Neal Falenschek, with a catch of 19 pounds, 4 ounces. Coming in third was the team of Rod Barnum and Craig Klimek with a catch of 17 pounds, 11 ounces; fourth place went to Scott and Sami Thesing with a catch of 15 pounds, 8 ounces; and in fifth place were Kevin and Lucas Hacker with a catch of 14 pounds, 2 ounces.

The Lunker of the Day was a 9-pound, 1-ounce northern pike caught by Jim Falenschek.

Smith nets a win on Rabbit Lake

A total catch of 17 pounds, 3 ounces, gave Jim Smith a win at the July 27 Baxter Bass Snatchers tournament on Rabbit Lake.

Alan Steinbauer placed second with a total catch of 16 pounds, 2 ounces and Dennis Lothspeich placed third with a total catch of 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

The Lunker Award went to Mick Ziebell’s 3-pound, 9-ounce bass.

Youth safety ATV training class

The Central Lakes ATV Club has scheduled a youth safety ATV training class 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 24 in the curling building at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds. Enter the fairgrounds at the south gate on Southeast 13th Street. The building is on the left, just inside the gate.

Youth must be ages 10-15 and have completed the online ATV course. There is a $24.95 fee for the online course payable at sign-in. Youth also must bring their own Class 1 ATV and have the required safety gear as discussed in the course. Parents are required to attend the training to help with any ATV equipment issues.

Class size is limited to 30. For more information and registration call Mike McMenimen at 218-963-4561 or 218-330-7399. Information also is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/safety/vehicle.

DNR seeking public input on Cass Lake fisheries management plan

Cass Lake -- one of Minnesota’s 10 large walleye lakes -- has a new draft management plan and the Department of Natural Resources is seeking input on it.

The plan outlines the proposed five-year fish population objectives and fisheries management actions for Cass Lake and connected waters on the Cass Lake Chain. While the plan focuses on Cass Lake management, it is understood that fish populations, and anglers move throughout connected waters, and a management action on one basin affects the others.

The plan incorporates recommendations from a 14-member Cass Lake Fisheries Input Group, which included representatives from resorts, residents and lake associations on Cass Lake and connected waters, angling groups, species work groups, the Leech Lake Reservation Department of Resource Management, the Chippewa National Forest and the Cass Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Fishing on the Cass Chain is very important to the communities of Cass Lake, Bemidji and the surrounding area,” said Gary Barnard, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “Minnesota’s large destination walleye fisheries like Cass Lake attract anglers from all across Minnesota and numerous other states.”

Members from the input group provided important and diverse perspectives as users of the resource with a genuine interest in the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Input group members were concerned about the impact of angling pressure on the Cass Lake yellow perch fishery, and sunfish on connected waters, as anglers have become more mobile in targeting high quality populations.

The input group felt that the current status of the walleye and yellow perch fishery was excellent and encouraged the DNR to continue to support management efforts to sustain current levels of harvest.

The group also expressed concerns about system change and recommended that the DNR continue to study the potential impact of invasive species on the sustainability of the Cass Lake fishery.

The DNR is accepting public comments through Tuesday, Sept. 3, online at mndnr.gov/casslake/index.html. Paper questionnaires also are available at the DNR’s Bemidji area fisheries office, 2114 Bemidji Ave. in Bemidji. Following a review of comments, the DNR will revise the draft and finalize the Cass Lake management plan in October.

For more information, contact the DNR’s Bemidji area fisheries office at 218-308-2339.