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Petroleum Council donates $10K to MDF

BISMARCK—The North Dakota Petroleum Council on Tuesday donated $10,000 to the Mule Deer Foundation for the Byron Richards Ranch project, a tract of about 22,000 acres of rugged terrain near Beach, N.D. that will be rehabilitated and enrolled into the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Private Land Open to Sportsmen program.

The project is the largest of its kind in the history of the PLOTS program and will support efforts by the Mule Deer Foundation and Game and Fish to help landowners improve habitat and access to the outdoors.

Marshall Johnson, regional director for the Mule Deer Foundation, accepted the donation during the Petroleum Council's 35th annual meeting.

"This gift will be a great help in our efforts to rehabilitate this critical habitat and open more land up to sportsmen and women," Johnson said in a statement. "We realized many years ago that achieving our conservation goals requires partners, and we made it a point to work with landowners, ranchers and farmers, the energy industry and others to identify and develop projects such as this. The result has been nothing short of a win-win-win for all parties as these projects come to fruition."

Habitat improvement work began earlier this summer with the help of $480,000 in funds from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is supported by oil and gas production tax revenues, as well as monetary and in-kind donations from Doosan/Bobcat, Hess Corp., JMAC, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and XTO Energy.

The MDF and Game and Fish worked together to develop the project, which will remain in the PLOTS program for 10 years giving sportsmen access to elk, mule deer, turkeys, pheasants, grouse, antelope and more. Previously, the area had never been open to the public.

"We're excited to be a partner in this historic project," Ron Ness, president of the Petroleum Council, said. "Many of us in the industry cherish our hunting heritage and traditions. The work by the Mule Deer Foundation and the generous use of land on behalf of the landowner show that ag, energy and conservation can coexist, and we can all work together to improve and preserve habitat and our traditions for future generations, all while developing our rich natural resources."

-- N.D. Petroleum Council

DNR seeks deer panel applicants

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking applicants to serve on a committee that will help develop the state's first-ever deer management plan.

The advisory committee will meet throughout 2017 to review technical information and public input and make recommendations for developing the plan.

Overall goals of the deer plan include setting a statewide harvest objective, addressing regional variations in deer habitat and populations and describing and guiding the DNR's responsibilities and activities related to deer management.

"It is important for the DNR to work with individuals and groups interested in deer management, especially hunters, and develop a statewide deer management plan that benefits all citizens of the state," Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader, said in a news release.

Participation on this committee is voluntary and temporary. The committee will consist of 15 to 20 members representing the breadth of interests related to deer management. About two-thirds of the seats will be filled by invited representatives of hunting, agriculture, conservation, forestry and other organizations.

Groups that have been invited to participate in the advisory committee include the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Bluffland Whitetails Association, Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farmers Union, the 1854 Treaty Authority, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership, The Nature Conservancy and the Minnesota Department of Health.

In addition to the group representatives, five to eight at-large seats will be filled through the application process and are open to any interested citizens and groups. The deadline to apply for the at-large seats is Oct. 19. The committee will be in place starting in December, through the duration of the planning process and until the deer management plan is completed in the spring of 2018.

Information about the committee structure, functions, expectations of appointed members and how to apply is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan or by calling (651) 259-5198.

-- Minnesota DNR

NDGF offers reminder on ANS regs

With waterfowl season now underway, the Game and Fish Department is reminding waterfowl hunters to do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.

Waterfowl hunters must remove plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove plant seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. Hunters also are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.

Cattails and bulrushes can be transported as camouflage on boats. All other aquatic vegetation must be cleaned from boats before transportation into or within North Dakota.

Drain plugs on boats must remain pulled when the boat is in transit away from a water body.

More info: gf.nd.gov.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

• Hunters who shoot deer outside Minnesota are reminded that whole deer carcasses no longer are allowed to be brought into the state from anywhere in North America. North Dakota has similar restrictions. Info: mndnr.gov, gf.nd.gov.

• North Dakota's two-day youth pheasant season is Saturday and Oct. 2. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt roosters statewide. An adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter in the field. The adult may not carry a firearm. For more information, see the 2016 North Dakota Small Game Hunting Guide.

-- Compiled by Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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