Public deer plan meetings continue

Meetings continue this week across northwest Minnesota and other parts of the state for the public to weigh in on the draft of a new 10-year deer management plan the Department of Natural Resources has developed.

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The plan establishes an annual statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer, increases citizen participation in deer management and outlines ways to keep the population and habitat healthy.

Meetings were held Monday in Crookston and at Hayes Lake State Park southeast of Roseau, Minn., and Tuesday in Lake Bronson, Roseau and Park Rapids, Minn.

Upcoming meetings in the DNR's Northwest Region, all from 6 to 8 p.m., are as follows:

• Wednesday, April 18: Thief Lake Area Wildlife Office, 42280 240th Ave. N.E., Middle River.

• Wednesday, April 18: Lake of the Woods School, 210 Third Ave. N.E., Baudette, IT room.

• Wednesday, April 18: Fergus Falls Area Wildlife Office, 1509 First Ave. N., Fergus Falls.

• Thursday, April 19: Glenwood Area Wildlife Office, 23070 North Lakeshore Drive, Glenwood.

• Tuesday, April 24: Bemidji City Hall, 317 Fourth St. N.W.

• Tuesday, April 24: Thief River Falls Area Wildlife Office, 246 125th Ave. N.E.

• Thursday, April 26: Minnesota State Community College, 900 Minnesota Highway 34, Detroit Lakes, campus auditorium.

The DNR will take comments on the plan through Wednesday, May 9 at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan or at any of the public meetings.

-- Herald staff report

Minnesota turkey season begins

Minnesota's spring turkey season has expanded from 420 permits in 1978, the first year the state offered a season, to about 50,000 permits last year, when hunters registered nearly 12,000 birds.

Wild turkeys now can be found almost everywhere in Minnesota, the DNR says.

Minnesota's spring season opens Wednesday, April 18, and continues through May 31. The season is divided into six hunt periods, A through F. Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing. Archery and hunters younger than 18 are exempt from the lottery and may purchase a spring turkey license valid during all hunt periods, including hunts A and B. All licensed turkey hunters can participate in Hunt F if they have an unused tag from one of the earlier hunt periods.

Season dates are as follows:

• Hunt A: April 18-24.

• Hunt B: April 25-May 1.

• Hunt C: May 2-8.

• Hunt D: May 9-15.

• Hunt E: May 16-22.

• Hunt F: May 23-31.

More info: www.mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey.

-- Minnesota DNR

DNR adds catch and release pike record

Anglers who catch and release northern pike in Minnesota now can earn state records through an expansion of a DNR record fish program that previously included only lake sturgeon, muskellunge and flathead catfish in the catch-and-release category.

This category of the DNR's record fish program lets anglers submit photos and documentation of potential record fish they catch and release. Anglers send one photo of the fish displayed alongside a measuring stick, ruler or tape and one photo of the angler with the fish.

"Catch-and-release fishing remains a time-honored tradition, and when anglers release these large fish, they give others the chance to catch them later," Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator, said.

Diehard anglers and DNR Fisheries staff pushed for the record category, added in 2016 to recognize people who catch trophy fish while also supporting the catch-and-release ethic already shared by many anglers. Anglers still can participate in the traditional category of records based on certified weight of fish caught and kept.

More info: www.mndnr.gov/recordfish.

-- Minnesota DNR

DNR offers fire prevention tips

Wildfire Prevention Week began April 15 and continues through April 21, and the DNR encourages people to look past the late-season snow and start getting ready for wildfire season.

"In a couple of weeks, this snow will melt and we'll dry out fast - that's when wildfire season will kick in," said Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor. "The question shouldn't be 'if' wildfires will occur, but rather 'when' and 'where.' It's good to use this time to look at what we can do now to prevent and prepare for wildfires."

To reduce wildfire risks, the DNR recommends postponing outdoor burning and other activities that may cause a wildfire when fire danger is elevated, especially windy, dry days. Thoroughly extinguish campfires and remember if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave. Never park on dry grass because hot exhaust pipes can ignite a fire and secure trailer hitch chains that can spark a fire if they drag on the road.

-- Minnesota DNR