Outdoors Notebook: Minnesota confirms another fatal deer disease, UND students to help with CWD sampling effort etc.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday confirmed the first two cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer. The disease has been killing deer in nearby states for years.
DNR confirms EHD in central Minnesota wild deer
A fatal deer disease spread by a tiny, flying insect has been confirmed in wild deer in Minnesota for the first time, killing several animals in Stearns County.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday confirmed the first two cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer. The disease has been killing deer in nearby states for years, and was confirmed to kill tame deer on farms in southeast Minnesota in 2018 and earlier this month.
While the disease usually hits in isolated pockets, wildlife managers say it has the potential to “dramatically reduce a local deer population in the short-term.” Iowa is experiencing an outbreak this year that has killed several hundred deer in the south-central part of the state.
“All of our neighboring states have been dealing with EHD for years,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, in announcing the finding. “So it was always a question of when it would show up in Minnesota.”
In North Dakota, a 2011 outbreak of EHD in the southwest part of the state prompted the Game and Fish Department to offer more than 13,000 license holders in 11 deer hunting units with the option to return their tags for refunds.
-- Forum News Service
UND students to oversee local CWD sampling
The UND Chapter of The Wildlife Society will oversee the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Grand Forks-area chronic wasting disease surveillance site during the deer gun season as part of ongoing efforts to test for the brain disease that’s fatal to deer, elk and moose.
A collection site will be set up at the Grand Forks Gun Club for hunters to drop off deer heads for testing, and UND Wildlife Society students will check the site throughout the two-week sampling period.
Game and Fish is sampling the eastern third of the state this year, along with areas where CWD already has been detected in southwest and northwest North Dakota. More information about this year’s sampling effort will be available closer to deer season. North Dakota’s deer gun season opens at noon Friday, Nov. 8.
-- Brad Dokken
NDGF asks hunters to submit wing envelopes
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department once again is asking upland game hunters to submit wings and appropriate feathers and legs from birds they shoot this fall.
The wings and feathers help biologists monitor hatching dates and reproductive rates, providing a good random sample that biologists use to assess the ratio of juveniles to adults and estimate the average ages of harvested juvenile birds.
Instructions for submitting wing data are printed on the envelopes.
Hunters interested in receiving wing envelopes should visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov or contact the department’s main office in Bismarck by phone at (701) 328-6300 or by email at email@example.com.
In addition, Game and Fish district offices have a supply of wing envelopes for distribution. District offices are located in Devils Lake, Jamestown, Riverdale, Dickinson, Williston and at Lonetree Wildlife Management Area near Harvey.
-- N.D. Game and Fish Department
DU project repairs, improves Long Lake NWR site
With funding from Ducks Unlimited donors, North Dakota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, DU has completed its portion of repairs to a dike on Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Moffit, N.D.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns and manages the refuge, and the DU “Rescue Our Wetlands” project site was dedicated, Saturday, Sept. 14.
The dike on the south shore of Long Lake separates the lake from a 700-acre wetland area. In 2011, severe flooding damaged the dike and left several sections breached. DU repaired a section of the 2-mile dike and increased its elevation to reduce future flooding impacts.
As part of the restoration, DU worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service to determine an appropriate native grass mix to reseed the dike and surrounding areas. The marsh on the opposite side of the lake has significant waterfowl use, and refuge staff manually operate the water control structure to manage water levels. The completed project increased wetland vegetation growth and water bird use.
A cairn and bronze plaque will recognize those who made a formal commitment to DU during the Rescue Our Wetlands campaign. The ROW national campaign raised $2.34 billion and conserved more than 2.2 million acres.
More info: ducks.org.
-- Herald staff report
Minnesota Waterfowl Association to fold
After 52 years of promoting wetlands restoration, land conservation and education, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association will cease to exist after Monday, Sept. 30.
The board of directors recently decided to dissolve the organization, said John Schroers, chairman of the MWA’s board of directors.
Times have changed in the waterfowl and conservation world, and the “old duck men are fading into the sunset,” Schroers said.
“Due to an aging and declining use base in waterfowl hunting and conservation, a trend has developed over the last decade or so which points to the reality of the time,” Schroers said in a news release announcing the decision. “Declining duck populations, Duck Stamp sales, access and declining membership are all indicators which contributed to this decision.”
MWA has been unable to recruit younger hunters to carry on the group’s conservation efforts, Schroers said.
-- Herald staff report
Did you know?
The deadline for North Dakota clubs or communities to apply for grants to help support a local high school trap team, or for firearm and shooting ranges, is Oct. 1. Applications can be printed out on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. For more information, contact Marty Egeland, Game and Fish education supervisor, at (701) 328-6300 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore Minnesota has launched its fourth annual “Hike MN” campaign encouraging people to get active outdoors. The campaign spotlights 10 must-see fall hikes with varied terrain, length and difficulty throughout the state, including Zippel Bay and Lake Bronson state parks in northwest Minnesota. It also includes a sweepstakes, running through Oct. 20, to engage hikers with a chance to win Minnesota getaways and gift cards for Schuler Shoes, Mall of America and Minnesota State Parks. More info: exploreminnesota.com.
Maps available online through the DNR’s website allow users with the Avenza Maps app on their mobile devices to access a variety of public lands in the field without cell service or access to the Internet. DNR GeoPDF maps include a DNR recreation base map, most state parks, ATV trails, water trails, some state forests, trout streams, water access, state trails and snowmobile trails. Info: mndnr.gov/mobile/geopdf.
-- compiled by Brad Dokken