Lakeville artist wins walleye stamp contest

Artist Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville, Minn., is the winner of the 2019 Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest. Judges selected his painting from among 11 entries for the annual contest the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sponsors.

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The 2019 walleye stamp will feature Hamrick's painting of a walleye swimming at night under a full moon near an angler's leech-baited hook and slip bobber. Hamrick has won a DNR stamp contest 11 times; he also has won the waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, trout and salmon, and walleye stamp contests.

The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5 but the DNR does not require anglers to buy it to fish for or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, the DNR will mail the physical stamp to buyers. The DNR also sells a pictorial collectable stamp without the validation for $5.75, and sells walleye stamps year-round. Customers can purchase walleye stamps at any time, even if they already have a fishing license.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.

The DNR uses revenue from stamp sales to purchase walleyes for stocking in Minnesota's lakes. All license vendors still have the 2018 walleye stamp available for purchase.

More info: mndnr.gov/stamps.

-- Minnesota DNR

Parks and Trails advisory committee seeks applicants

The Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission are seeking qualified applicants to serve on the Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee.

"The Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee plays a critical role in helping us achieve the vision Minnesotans have for use of the Parks and Trails Legacy funds and creates an accessible and equitable, integrated system of state and regional parks and trails in Minnesota," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

The purpose of the Legacy Advisory Committee is to promote and coordinate implementation of the 25 Year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan. Funding recommendations for individual projects is not a part of this committee's work. The plan can be found at legacy.leg.mn/funds/parks-trails-fund/plan.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Nov. 30.

The committee is made up of 17 members, including, to the practical extent possible, diverse geographical and demographic representation. The committee has a mixture of park and trail professionals and Minnesota residents. Among the skills desired for the committee are backgrounds in youth programs, natural resource education, resource management, marketing, new technology, tourism, and business.

Interested candidates may complete the application form online at legacy.leg.mn/ptlac/member-application or print it out and return it to Paul Purman, Department of Natural Resources, Box 39, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul MN 55155. Questions should be directed to Purman at (651) 259-5643 or by email at paul.purman@state.mn.us.

-- Minnesota DNR

Clay Target League launches college program

Mendota Heights, MN - The USA Clay Target League, the parent organization of the USA High School Clay Target League and its state affiliates, has announced the launch of the USA College Clay Target League. The recreational clay target shooting sport program is open to all colleges nationwide and will begin competition in Fall 2019.

"We wanted to build upon the success of our highly popular high school clay target programs by offering a program for college students nationwide." said Jim Sable, president of the USA Clay Target League. "It was a natural next step to develop the program for the tens of thousands of students that have previously participated in the high school league.

The league will offer four different clay target shooting sport "virtual" recreational leagues for students to participate in: trap shooting, skeet shooting, sporting clays and 5-stand. Teams can compete in one or more leagues as determined by their clay target preferences.

More info: usacollegeclaytarget.com or usaclaytarget.com

National Grouse Hunt results cause for concern

Participating hunters shot 96 ruffed grouse and 291 American woodcock during the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society 37th annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, held Oct. 11-12 in and around Grand Rapids, Minn.

Icy, snowy conditions hampered success on the first day of the hunt, when hunters shot 39 grouse, down 37 percent from last year. Conditions improved for day two, when hunters shot 57 grouse, down 8 percent from last year.

The grouse harvest consisted of 47 percent adult birds, 53 percent juveniles, 43 percent females and 57 percent males. The recruitment ratio-the number of immature birds divided by the number of mature females in the harvest-was 2.72, down from 3.33 in 2017 and the lowest ever recorded at the national hunt.

"The indication of poor grouse recruitment in recent years is a topic of concern to us that warrants further consideration," said Ben Jones, president and CEO of the Ruffed Grouse and American Woodcock societies. "We look forward to engaging with our valued agency and university partners to ensure this is given appropriate attention."

The woodcock harvest was down about 13 percent from 2017, when hunters shot 33 birds. Because of the bad weather, the day one harvest was nearly 40 percent lower

than 2017, but the day two harvest increased about 14 percent over last year.

The woodcock recruitment ratio was 2.76, a considerable increase from just 0.51 in 2017. The woodcock harvest consisted of 39 percent adult birds, 61 percent juveniles, and 54 percent females compared to 46 percent males.

The annual hunt is conducted in the Grand Rapids area during the second week in October. Information accumulated throughout the history of this event represents one of the longest, continuous efforts for collecting scientific data for these or any other hunted species from a specific area.

-- Ruffed Grouse Society

Did you know?

• South Dakota angler Ted Ellenbecker potentially set the men's 4-pound line class world record for channel catfish with a Red River cat that weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces. Fishing with Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick on Oct. 13 near Drayton, N.D., Ellenbecker needed nearly an hour to land the fish, which was released after being weighed and document. The current 4-pound line class record is 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

• Dylan Feltman of Grafton High School took top individual honors in the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League's 2018 fall season. Olivia Spiczka earned the trophy for top female overall for the season, which wrapped up competition Oct. 27. Overall, eight North Dakota schools and 24 students won conference awards in this year's Fall League.

• Pheasants Forever and its partners have expanded the organization's Precision Agriculture Business Planning Initiative in North Dakota with the recent hiring of Precision Ag and Conservation Specialist, Emily Spolyar. In her main role, Spolyar will collaborate with ag producers to conduct precision business planning in southwest North Dakota, working closely with participating ag retailers such as grain cooperatives, certified crop advisers, ag lenders, consultants and others, to help farmers be both profitable and successful in their operations while identifying areas where conservation increases whole field profitability, shifting a longtime perception that profitability and environmental performance are competitive.

• Winter anglers on Lake Mille Lacs in central Minnesota again this winter will be allowed to keep walleye on Mille Lacs starting Saturday, Dec. 1, with no bait restrictions and a limit of one walleye between 21 inches and 23 inches, or one fish over 28 inches. According to the results of the 2018 population estimate, the abundance of walleye 14 inches and longer in the lake was 727,000 fish. This is up significantly from the population estimates in 2013 and 2014, both of which were around 250,000 fish. The fall gill net assessment also showed that the total pounds of mature walleye sampled increased significantly from 18.9 pounds per net last year to 27.7 pounds per net this year, mostly due to an increase in mature females. More info: mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken