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OUTDOOR NOTES: Feds protect prairie butterfly species

Two species of butterflies found in the Midwest and Canada have been granted special protection under the Endangered Species Act because of declining numbers. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Dakota skipper is now protected as...

 

Two species of butterflies found in the Midwest and Canada have been granted special protection under the Endangered Species Act because of declining numbers.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Dakota skipper is now protected as threatened, and the Poweshiek skipperling is protected as endangered. Both species are butterflies that depend on prairie habitat and have suffered population declines because of loss and degradation of their native grasslands.

Found in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada, the Dakota skipper no longer occurs on almost 75 percent of the sites where it was previously found. The Poweshiek skipperling, once found in eight states and Canada, now occurs in only a few native prairie remnants in Wisconsin, Michigan and Manitoba. Surveys indicate Poweshiek skipperlings have vanished from about 96 percent of the sites where they once occurred. It is uncertain if there are any existing Poweshiek skipperling populations in Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas.

The ESA protects listed species from take, which includes harming, harassing, injuring or killing a species. The Service also published a special rule for the Dakota skipper that exempts take of the species that may occur as a result of certain livestock ranching practices and specified trail and rights-of-way maintenance activities.

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 “We recognize the reason we still have any Dakota skippers or Poweshiek skipperlings on the landscape at all is the conservation ethic of ranchers who have had the foresight to conserve grasslands in the Upper Midwest,” said Tom Melius, Midwest regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Our hope is to continue to work with landowners and partners to conserve these butterflies and the valuable habitat they depend upon.”

- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Capitol Christmas tree set for Itasca stop

The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will make its first public appearance on its journey to Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2 at Itasca State Park, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

The 60- to 80-foot-tall white spruce is coming from the Chippewa National Forest in north-central Minnesota, in partnership with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The 1992 Capitol Christmas tree also came from the same forest in partnership with the band.

The tree will stop at the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Show Grounds at the north entrance to the park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The tree will be cut Wednesday during a public ceremony ( www.tinyurl.com/m5f5jyn ) and will be moved to Bemidji State University, where it will be prepared for the cross-country expedition that includes a caravan of caretakers.

Info: capitolchristmastree.com.

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- Minnesota DNR

Hunter success drops at Camp Ripley

Archers took 75 deer during the first two-day bow hunt Oct. 15-16 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, Minn., the DNR said.

There were 1,805 permits issued for the first hunt, with 1,282 hunters participating. Hunter success was 6 percent, down 2 percent from last year for the first hunt.

“This was one of two large archery hunts this year at Camp Ripley,” said Beau Liddell, Little Falls area wildlife supervisor for the DNR. “Hunters apply in advance for these hunts, which have become an annual tradition.”

Greg Meinert of Rice, Minn., and Juan Valencia of Elk River, Minn., each took bucks tipping the scales at 207 pounds. Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 128 pounds, taken by Daniel Myrum of Pierz, Minn.

The second two-day hunt ends today. The DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.

- Minnesota DNR

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Did you know?

  •   Bemidji is hosting the first-ever “Sea of Blaze Orange” photo challenge at 5 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Sanford Center to kick off the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. Bemidji is host city for this year’s opener, and area residents who want to show their support can show off their best deer hunting wardrobe for the Nov. 6 event. The photo will be taken in front of the Sanford Center at Gate 4. Info: mngovernorsdeeropener.com.
  •   The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging waterfowl hunters hunting from boats to wear properly fitted life jackets while on the water. Eight people have drowned in state waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets, the department said.
  •   North Dakota fall turkey licenses remain in Unit 25 for hunters who do not have a license, or for those who want additional licenses. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season. Unit 25 covers McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties. The fall turkey season is open through Jan. 4. Info: gf.nd.gov.
  •   Pheasants Forever’s “Rooster Road Trip” - an annual pheasant hunting trip dedicated to showcasing public upland habitat and access - has added a new twist to the upcoming expedition. This year pits “Team Pointer” vs. “Team Flusher” in a battle of bird dog supremacy. The Nov. 3-12 road trip takes “Team Flusher” to North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, while “Team Pointer” will hunt Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. Info: pheasantsforever.org.

 
- Compiled by Brad Dokken

 

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