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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Expanded hunting opportunities at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Report highlights outdoors spending etc.

Glacial Ridge expands hunting opportunities

Hunters will have more options for going afield this fall at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge west of Mentor, Minn.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved a new hunt plan for the 23,065-acre refuge, which officially opens a total of 16,963 acres to upland game and deer hunting and 9,140 acres to migratory bird hunting. The plan also allows for newly acquired tracts of refuge lands to be opened to hunting as they are acquired in the future.

Unlike private land or most state wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges are closed to all hunting until they are opened — on a species-by species-basis — through a federal environmental assessment process. New species now open to hunting at Glacial Ridge include wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasants, squirrels and rabbits. These are in addition to a suite of migratory bird species—including ducks, geese, doves and woodcock—prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse (by state permit only) and deer, species that already could be hunted on refuge lands.

The new rules also promote better hunting access, such as the ability to now hunt migratory birds from nonmotorized watercraft such as canoes. Previously, the refuge prohibited the use of all watercraft.

Additional information, including hunting maps and regulations, is available by contacting Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16, by email at gregg_knutsen@fws.gov or on the Glacial Ridge NWR website at www.fws.gov/refuge/glacial_ridge.

-- Herald staff report

Report highlights outdoor spending

More than 53 million Americans consider themselves sportsmen and women, and they spent more than $93.5 billion in 2016 on gear, licenses, travel, clothing, gas and more, new economic reports from national survey group Southwick Associates show.

In a series of reports released last week by the American Sportfishing Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, money spent on hunting, target shooting and sportfishing gear and services in 2016 supported 1.6 million jobs and provided $72 billion in salaries and wages. The expenditures also generated nearly $20 billion in local, state and federal taxes, much of which benefits vital conservation and educational programs that improve outdoor areas for all who enjoy them and make hunting and shooting safer activities.

Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, said hunting, fishing and target shooting would rank No. 25 on the Fortune 500 list, ahead of Microsoft, if it was a corporation.

"While time spent outside may come across as something to do after the real work day is done, in reality hunting, fishing and target shooting is a critical industry, generating jobs and income for thousands of communities across the country," Southwick said in a statement.

Report highlights include:

• Each year, 35.8 million people 16 years and older take to America's waters to fish.

• More than 28 million people over 16 years old participated in hunting and target shooting in 2016.

• The number of people who participate in sportfishing, hunting and target shooting represents 16.5 percent of the total U.S. population.

• When factoring in multiplier effects, spending by sportsmen created economic activity in excess of $220 billion.

• Hunting, fishing and shooting add $119 billion of overall value to the U.S. gross domestic product, generating $17.6 billion in federal taxes and $12.2 billion in state and local taxes.

The 2018 edition of the "America's Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy" report is sponsored by American Outdoor Brands Corp., Pure Fishing Inc., and Safari Club International.

-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

• Seven spots remain for the Mentored Youth Deer Hunt set for Oct. 27-28 at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Erskine, Minn. The hunt is open to 12- to 15-year-old hunters and allows the taking of one deer of either sex on refuge lands. Hunters also can purchase a bonus tag to shoot an antlerless deer on the refuge. A nonhunting parent, guardian or mentor must accompany young hunters in the field, and a mandatory orientation session is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the refuge, 17788 349th St. SE, Erskine. To register a young hunter, contact Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16 by Friday, Oct. 5.

• J. Clark Salyer and Lostwood national wildlife refuges in North Dakota will be open to moose hunting for the first time this fall as part of more than 251,000 acres of new or expanded hunting opportunities Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has authorized at 30 national wildlife refuges across the country.

• Feeding deer in the Greenway is prohibited by law on both the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks sides of the Red River, Greenway staff said Friday in a public reminder.

• September is Public Lands Month. National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 22.

• Minnesota's pheasant index is 19 percent above last year—similar to the 10-year average—but remains 52 percent below the long-term average, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said this week in reporting results from the 2018 roadside survey. The index increased in all regions except the south-central region, which decreased by 36 percent from 2017. The highest pheasant counts were in the west-central, southwest and central regions, where observers reported 48 to 65 birds per 100 miles driven. Minnesota's 2018 pheasant season open Saturday, Oct. 13, and continues through Monday, Jan. 1.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

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