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Outdoors notebook: Don't feed deer in the Greenway; North Dakota sets state park camping record, etc.

Campsite nights in North Dakota state parks increased 35% from 2019, the Parks and Recreation Department said. The trend was seen in all 13 state parks across North Dakota.

Greenway deer.jpg
A doe and her fawn walk in the Greenway along the Red Lake River in East Grand Forks in September 2020. (Photo/ Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald)

Greenway staff discourage deer feeding

Don’t feed deer in the Greenway.

That’s the message from managers of the green space along the Red and Red Lake rivers in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

“We know it’s tempting to leave food for deer and other wildlife in the Greenway, but it’s really not as helpful as you’d think,” Greenway staff said Friday in an email message.

Besides, feeding deer and other wildlife in the Greenway is prohibited both in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

“Providing extra food discourages natural foraging instincts and can be unhealthy for the deer,” the email said. “It also attracts other species of animals that may not be as friendly or desirable to be around.”


– Herald staff report

N.D. state parks set camping record

Camping at North Dakota state parks hit an all-time high this year, the state Parks and Recreation Department reported this week.

Campsite nights increased 35% from 2019, the department said, a trend seen in the 13 state parks across North Dakota, all of which were open and operating under CDC guidelines as destinations for visitors to safely recreate in an outdoor environment.

“North Dakota state parks provided a safe, social distance setting during an uncertain time this camping season,” Andrea Travnicek, director of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, said in a statement. "State parks have always offered wide-open landscapes and diverse recreation opportunities, so we were excited to see new and returning visitors this season. We saw a lot of first-time campers in our parks this summer and look forward to their return visits this winter and in the upcoming year."

Typically, the camping season in North Dakota is from May through August; this season, the largest increase in camping numbers occurred during September and October. September had a 173% increase, and October had a 339% increase in camping numbers from the 2019 season.

Great weather and a safe outdoor environment likely helped drive the trend. Visitation from out-of-state visitors dropped by 5% but in-state campers increased.

The department recently introduced an updated volunteer program. Volunteer opportunities, including being a campground host, are currently open for this winter and the upcoming 2021 camping season.

Additionally, the department rolled out the 2021 annual vehicle permit last week. The design for the permit this year showcases the upcoming 50th anniversary of Little Missouri State Park located in the North Dakota Badlands. The vehicle permits allow access into any of the 13 North Dakota state parks throughout the year.


More info: www.parkrec.nd.gov .

– Herald staff report

DNR seeks deer for CWD testing

With the firearms deer season winding down in parts of Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources has doubled-down on its request for deer hunters to participate in chronic wasting disease in areas where CWD has been documented.

Participation in voluntary CWD testing is critical to managing the disease in Minnesota’s wild deer herd, the DNR said. To date, the deer harvest and deer samples for testing have fallen short of expectations.

“We saw lower than normal harvest numbers during opening weekend, and the number of samples we’ve collected so far is not as high as we’d anticipated,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR’s wildlife health program supervisor. “We are encouraging hunters to do their part to protect Minnesota’s wild deer herd by bringing their deer in for testing. Submitting samples gives us crucial data needed to make informed decisions on how we manage chronic wasting disease.”

The DNR shifted to voluntary sampling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the DNR is using unstaffed sampling stations to facilitate social distancing. Hunters in CWD management zones, control zones or surveillance areas are urged to drop off the head of deer 1 year of age or older at these stations. Hunters who have heads from deer taken opening weekend can still drop those heads off at sampling stations.

“Every test result, whether CWD is detected or not, is important because it shows us where the disease is,” said Barbara Keller, DNR’s big game program leader. “We use this information to help us determine where we should target our management, keeping our efforts focused where the disease is most prevalent. It’s important for hunters to remember that even deer that look healthy can be positive for the disease.”

Hunters can prepare for sample drop-off by watching a CWD sampling demonstration video or following the steps outlined online .


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“It’s as easy as filling out a tag and placing your deer’s head in our collection barrel, but it makes a big difference in protecting and keeping our wild deer as healthy as possible,” Carstensen said. “We need help from all hunters.”

More info: mndnr.gov and search for “chronic wasting disease.”

– Herald staff report

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