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Outdoors Notebook: Minnesota state parks to offer free admission Nov. 25

This “Free Park Day” is one of four days each year on which the DNR waives the vehicle permit requirement to enter state parks and recreation areas.

Lake Bronson State Park sign.jpg
Lake Bronson State Park and other Minnesota state parks will have free admission Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 – the day after Thanksgiving.
Brad Dokken/Grand Forks Herald
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ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will waive entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas Friday, Nov. 25 — the day after Thanksgiving.

This “Free Park Day” is one of four days each year on which the DNR waives the vehicle permit requirement to enter state parks and recreation areas. The goal of Free Park Days is to encourage Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature.

“Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are open year-round and provide places of peace and beauty to recharge during the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season,” Ann Pierce, DNR Parks and Trails Division director, said in a statement. “It’s a fantastic time to get out into nature with friends and family following Thanksgiving celebrations.”

For more information, visit the free entrance days to all Minnesota state parks page of the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/freeparkdays ).
– Herald staff report

NDGF to hold rules hearing

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will hold a public hearing to address proposed new rules and amendments to a variety of game and fish-related laws included in Title 30 of the North Dakota Administrative Code. The hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, at the agency's main office in Bismarck.

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The proposed changes are as follows:

READ MORE FISHING COVERAGE:

  • Chapter 30-04-03. Section 30-04-03-17. Hunting guide and hunting outfitter examination. An amendment to administer written examination electronically.
  • Chapter 30-05-03. Section 30-05-03-22. Violations are noncriminal. An amendment to change the fee from $35 to $75.
  • Chapter 30-05-01. Section 30-05-01-02. Boat safety equipment. An amendment to update United States Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers.
  • Chapter 30-03-01.1 Section 30-03-01.1-04. License limitations. Amendment to remove a retail bait vendor from losing their license if they had been convicted of a state or federal criminal game or fish violation in the past three years.
  • Chapter 30-03-01.1 Section 30-03-01.1-05. Assistants covered by license. Amendment to update wholesale bait vendor assistants requirements.
  • Chapter 30-03-01.1 Section 30-03-01.1-08. Interstate transport. Amendment to add bait vendor import of creek chubs.
  • Chapter 30-03-01.1 Section 30-03-01.1-13. Prohibited waters for taking legal live aquatic bait. Amendment to update language for bait vendor permitting.
  • Chapter 30-03-01.1 Section 30-03-01.1-15. Inspections and records. Amendment to give 90 days for wholesale bait vendors to provide required records compared to 30 days in the past and proposed change for licensed wholesale bait vendors to submit their records to the Department before a new license can be issued.
  • Chapter 30-03-06 Section 30-03-06-01. Equipment. Amendment to add equipment entering a body of water must be free of aquatic nuisance species, may be inspected by a Game and Fish employee, and boat docks, lifts and related equipment must be dried for a minimum of three weeks before being placed in another water.
  • Chapter 30-03-06 Section 30-03-06-05. Water prohibited.  Amendment to change state Water Commission to Department of Water Resources.
  • Chapter 30-01-01 Section 30-01-01-01. Organization and functions of the Game and Fish Department.  Amendment to update organization of department.
  • Chapter 30-04-09 Section 30-04-09-01. Electronic posting system.  Create a new chapter relating to electronic posting system.

The proposed rules may be reviewed at the department’s office at 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095, or on the website at gf.nd.gov. A copy of the proposed rules may be requested in writing from the above address, by calling (701) 328-6305 or emailing ndgf@nd.gov. Written or oral comments received by Dec. 27 will be fully considered.
– Herald staff report

Devils Lake set to host NWT championship

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Devils Lake is scheduled to host the 2023 National Walleye Tour championship, tournament organizers said. The NWT circuit is presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.

Pending permit approval from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the championship on Devils Lake is scheduled for Sept. 6-8, the NWT said.

The NWT’s 2023 tournament season kicks off March 21-22, with an event on the Illinois River out of Spring Valley, Ill. Other events on the 2023 circuit are scheduled for May 17-18 on Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh, Wis.; June 22-23 on Lake Francis Case, Pickstown, S.D.; and July 27-28 on the St. Mary’s River, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

More info: www.nationalwalleyetour.com .

– Herald staff report

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Judge restricts Montana wolf hunt

HELENA, Mont. – In response to a lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote, a state judge in Montana has ordered a reduction in the number of wolves that can be taken in Montana and has restricted hunting and trapping of the species near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

Citing a story in the Daily Montanan, the Sportsmen’s Alliance said the court’s temporary order also prohibits the use of snares to trap wolves. The order expires Nov. 28, which is the same day State District Court Judge Christopher Abbott has scheduled a full hearing on the issue.

The two groups filing the lawsuit long opposed any hunting for wolves and argue that the current hunting and trapping season would hurt wolf populations and impact wildlife management on federal lands where hunting takes place nearby.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks had authorized the killing of up to 456 wolves, including six near Yellowstone. Judge Abbott’s order also decreased this cap to just two wolves near the park. As of Nov. 16, hunters had killed just 56 wolves since the season opened in September.

The department is expected to argue in support of the currently established wolf season. The court will hear counterarguments to the animal-rights groups’ claims and ultimately rule on whether the temporary restrictions must remain in place.
– Sportsmen's Alliance

Did you know?

  • Archery hunters who participated in the Oct. 28-30 Camp Ripley Hunt near Little Falls, Minn., had good success, the DNR said. This year, 1,953 participating hunters shot 221 deer during the three-day hunt, including several large bucks weighing more than 220 pounds. Last year, 1,949 hunters took 273 deer during the hunt.
  • The DNR has certified two new state record fish so far this fall: In the catch-and-release category, a 58.25-inch muskellunge fish caught on Mille Lacs Lake by Eric Bakke of Princeton, Minn.; and in the certified weight category, a 1-pound, 12-ounce hybrid sunfish from Green Lake in Kandiyohi County that tied the existing record.
  • The North Dakota Game and Fish Department pays or loses about $800,000 annually in credit card fees from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation said. Because of that, the federation is recommending that Game and Fish and the North Dakota Legislature increase nonresident hunting and fishing license fees to align with neighboring states and make the fees charged by credit card companies the responsibility of the license buyer – not the department.
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Pheasant, grouse and partridge seasons are open through Jan. 1, 2023, so there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy what the late season offers.