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Deer hunting notebook: Food shelves set venison programs, Warden to replace lost deer tags in GF etc.

Venison programs set: A North Dakota program that distributes venison to the needy hopes to get 700 deer from hunters this fall. The North Dakota Community Action Partnership, which administers the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, accepted only ...

Options hunt at Rydell
Options deer hunt at Rydell: Dale Williams (left), Fosston, Minn., shot this doe during the 14th annual Options accessible deer hunt for people with disabilities Oct. 8-10 at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge. Assisting Dibbs was refuge volunteer and hunting mentor Bob Dibb. This year's hunt attracted 18 participants who took six deer during the three-day event. Coordinated through Options Resource Center for Independent Living in East Grand Forks, the hunt attracted hunters from throughout Minnesota and N...

Venison programs set: A North Dakota program that distributes venison to the needy hopes to get 700 deer from hunters this fall.

The North Dakota Community Action Partnership, which administers the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, accepted only deer killed with arrows last year, fearing that firearm-shot meat might contain lead fragments. The group says it will resume accepting deer killed with lead bullets.

Officials in North Dakota and other states have warned about eating venison killed with lead ammunition since last year, when a Bismarck physician conducting tests using a CT scanner found lead in samples of donated deer meat.

State health officials continue to recommend that pregnant women and children younger than 6 avoid meat from deer killed with lead bullets.

Minnesota's venison donation program also is set to roll again this fall. Last year, about 30 processors from across the state participated in the program to process and distribute the venison. Hunters last year donated about 700 deer.

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More information about Minnesota's venison donation program is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/donation/index.html or through the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association at www.mda.state.mn.us/licensing/meategg/processors.htm .

-- Herald staff and wire reports

Replacing lost deer tags: With North Dakota's deer gun season opening at noon Friday, the Game and Fish Department again this year will be replacing deer licenses in Grand Forks for hunters who've lost their tags.

Gary Rankin, district game warden for the Game and Fish Department in Larimore, N.D., will be on hand from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Grand Forks office of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, 2397 DeMers Ave., Suite A. Rankin said he'll reissue lost tags on the spot. There's a $10 replacement fee.

Last year, Rankin said he replaced more than 40 lost licenses the day before season.

-- Brad Dokken

Top violations: Deer season is perhaps the busiest time of year for game wardens in North Dakota. Here's a look at the five top hunting violations during last year's deer season, according to Robert Timian, enforcement chief for the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck:

- One: Illegal taking or possession.

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- Two: Hunting on posted land without permission.

- Three: Fail to tag.

- Four: Hunt in closed season.

- Five (three-way tie): Using another's license, shining and killing wrong sex or species.

-- Brad Dokken

N.D. deer testing: The Game and Fish Department again this fall will sample deer in parts of northeastern North Dakota for bovine tuberculosis.

Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for Game and Fish in Bismarck, said animals in northeastern North Dakota from units 2C and 2D will continue to be tested for TB until it has been eradicated from the adjacent Minnesota herd. "Even then we will test the northeast for a few more years," he said.

A contagious respiratory disease, bovine TB has been found in 26 deer since 2005 near Skime, Minn., about 60 miles from the North Dakota border. No deer in North Dakota have tested positive for the disease.

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Game and Fish also will test the deer for chronic wasting disease.

Similar testing is planned for 17 units in western North Dakota: 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3B1, 3B2, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

Hunters who submit deer heads must attach the tag or fill out a new tag with the license number, deer hunting unit and date the deer was shot. Skull caps and antlers can be removed.

Participating hunters will have their names entered in a drawing for five muzzleloaders and 100 Sagen Saws. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by the end of December.

Hunters in units 2C and 2D can bring their deer for testing to the following locations:

- Edinburg: Ellingson Meats.

- Fordville: Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club.

- Langdon: Hickory Hut.

- Larimore: Glenn's EZ Stop.

- Park River: Randy's Backyard Smokehouse.

- Reynolds: Weber Meats.

- Walhalla: Walhalla Co-op (drop off point by water tower)

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Agassiz hunting: Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Thief River Falls again will offer deer hunting opportunities when Minnesota's firearms season opens Saturday. Permit Area 203 consists of Agassiz and adjacent state-owned Elm Lake, Eckvoll and Mud Lac wildlife management areas. Permit Area 203 is an intensive management area, where hunters can buy as many as four bonus tags for antlerless deer only, in addition to their regular license.

Beginning Saturday, Agassiz also is open to hunting for archery deer, ruffed grouse and sharp-tailed grouse through the end of the respective seasons. The refuge will be open to muzzleloader deer hunting during the black-powder season, which is Nov. 28-Dec. 13.

Info: (218) 449-4115 exts. 203, 204 or 211.

-- Herald staff report

Bovine TB update: The Department of Natural Resources sampled 31 deer for bovine tuberculosis during an early antlerless deer season Oct. 10-11 in northwestern Minnesota and none of the animals showed signs of the disease. According to Dr. Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program coordinator for the DNR, all of the deer sampled were in good shape, with no sign of lesions or other visual indicators. The sampling effort focused on the area closest to a minor outbreak of the disease near Skime, Minn. Hunters throughout northwestern Minnesota registered more than 2,700 antlerless deer during the early season, the DNR said.

The DNR again will sample deer for bovine TB during the firearms deer season. The goal, officials say, is to collect 1,800 samples from parts of Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami and Marshall counties.

-- Brad Dokken

Bemidji refuge off-limits: Deer hunting in the Bemidji State Game Refuge, a 74-square-mile refuge that surrounds the city of Bemidji, will be closed for the regular firearms deer season that begins Saturday. The refuge is open only to archery and muzzleloader deer seasons and the Lake Bemidji State Park special firearms deer hunts.

-- Minnesota DNR

Uncased gun law: Minnesota's new law allowing uncased firearms continues to be a source of confusion among some hunters. Rodmen Smith, the DNR's Enforcement Operations manager, shed light on what is and isn't allowed during a recent conference call with outdoor writers.

Here's the law, in a nutshell:

- A person may transport an unloaded, uncased firearm in a vehicle while at a shooting range, lawfully hunting or traveling to or from a hunting site.

- The definition of "unloaded" means no bullets or shells in the magazine or the chamber.

- Guns still must be cased in Anoka, Ramsey and Hennepin counties in the metro area.

- Guns still must be cased within the boundaries of cities with a population of 2,500 or more.

- Some towns with fewer than 2,500 people have ordinances requiring firearms to be cased. It's up to citizens to know the laws in the communities where they're traveling.

-- Brad Dokken

Measuring success: North Dakota's deer hunting success routinely exceeds 70 percent during the rifle season, while Minnesota's success rate rarely hits 40 percent.

Last year, for example, North Dakota's statewide success rate was 72 percent, more than double the Minnesota success rate of 35.1 percent.

So, why the difference?

According to Roger Johnson, big game supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake, habitat and terrain are big factors.

Minnesota has more trees, which in turn means more places for deer to elude hunters. As a northwestern Minnesota native, Johnson speaks from experience.

"In a good share of North Dakota, you can see a deer for a mile away," Johnson said. "Not only that, you can see where it goes, too. Whereas in Minnesota, you're not even so sure the deer are out there."

-- Brad Dokken

Related Topics: HUNTING
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