OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Banner snow goose hatch, Kids and nature etc.

Stage set for banner snow goose flight WINNIPEG -- One of North America's leading snow goose authorities is predicting a bumper crop of the birds for waterfowl hunters this year. Robert "Rocky" Rockwell, a biology professor at City University of ...

'Fire on the Prairie'
'Fire on the Prairie': More than three dozen natural resources students at the University of Minnesota-Crookston took part in "Fire on the Prairie" on Aug. 28 as part of Prairie Days 2010, sponsored by the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge east of Crookston. Former UMC instructor Rhett Johnson conducted prairie wildflower tours, and Tamara Saxton, UMC natural resources alumnus (front left), demonstrated fire-fighting equipment used on the refuge to manage one of the largest prairie and wetland resto...

Stage set for banner

snow goose flight

WINNIPEG -- One of North America's leading snow goose authorities is predicting a bumper crop of the birds for waterfowl hunters this year.

Robert "Rocky" Rockwell, a biology professor at City University of New York, said the summer nesting season in the subarctic region of La Perouse Bay in northern Manitoba was "spectacular."

"This is a huge production year," said Rockwell, who was concerned about nesting success after last year's dismal production. "This was the most bizarrely wet year I've ever seen up there. The birds nested nine or 10 days earlier than normal and as a result, nest success was very high."


Translation: Goose hunters are staring down the barrel of what could be a banner fall flight.

"Predicting hunting can be a fool's errand, and I never like to do it, but the upcoming season appears to be shaping up awfully well," Delta Waterfowl President Rob Olson said. "My message to goose hunters is this: Get ready. The migration could be packed with young-of-the-year birds."

Rockwell agrees. He said high nest success means lots of juveniles will be making the flight south. "Harvest always goes up when you have a high juvenile-to-adult ratio, so I think there's good opportunity and I think it's going to be early, because geese are already moving south," Rockwell said.

North Dakota's waterfowl season opens Sept. 25 for residents and Oct. 2 for nonresidents; Minnesota's duck and goose opener is set for Oct. 2.

-- Delta Waterfowl

Rydell NWR offers

nature site for kids

ERSKINE, Minn. -- A well-publicized federal initiative aims to connect more children with nature, and a "discovery area" in the works at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge fits right in with that mission.


According to Dave Bennett, manager of Rydell and Glacial Ridge national wildlife refuges in Polk County, the 5-acre site offers a safe, secure place for kids to experience nature, whether it's exploring the underside of a rock for critters, digging in the dirt or just picking a flower.

"There won't be any toys, no swing sets or other playground equipment," Bennett said. "Just a wooded area, some grasslands and habitat. The goal is to allow them to pick their path when they go out. We want to teach children that it's OK to be out there."

Bennett said the site, which is fenced in to ensure the young explorers are safe, is about half complete and already has attracted some use. A dedication is planned for next spring, he said.

-- Brad Dokken

DNR names ruffed grouse coordinator

AITKIN, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has hired Ted Dick as ruffed grouse coordinator, a new position based at the DNR's area wildlife office in Aitkin.

Dick also will be working with American woodcock, spruce grouse and sharp-tailed grouse.

The position is designed to "enhance habitat management, increase opportunities for hunting and enable stable management through coordination," the DNR said in a memo announcing the position.


The Ruffed Grouse Society is contributing about a third of the funds for supporting the new position, the DNR said.

Dick, who has worked for the Section of Wildlife since 2001, started his new job Monday. He most recently worked as assistant manager of the DNR's area wildlife office in Baudette, Minn.

-- Herald staff report

N.D. landowners

seek doe hunters

BISMARCK -- Again this fall, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is working to pair doe hunters with landowners.

According to Bill Jensen, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the department is working with 33 landowners in 20 hunting units across the state, including units 2C and 2D in northeastern North Dakota.

Other landowners are located in hunting units 2G2, 2I, 2J2, 2K2, 3A2, 3A4, 3B3, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4D, 4E and 4F.


"The current list of landowners has more than 400 openings for doe hunters," Jensen said. "And by time the season is over with, we could match more than 500 antlerless deer hunters with perhaps 40 landowners."

The program is not intended for buck hunters, Jensen said.

Interested hunters can add their name to a list of possible participants on the Game and Fish website at


Hunters who do not have Internet access can call the department's main office in Bismarck at (701) 328-6300.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

- Curt Grorud, Thief River Falls, won the gold medal at the North Dakota Blackpowder Cartridge Target Rifle Championship last weekend. Richard Jorgenson, Devils Lake, won the silver medal and was named state champion because shooters had to be North Dakota residents to earn state champion honors. The match was held at the Forks Rifle Club W.G. Coulter Range.


- State and federal wildlife agencies in North Dakota again are testing wild migratory birds for pathogenic strains of avian influenza. Crews will collect 200 samples from live birds through September in conjunction with duck banding efforts, and 400 samples from hunter-taken ducks will be collected in September and October.

- Minnesota deer hunters who use a firearm or muzzleloader and want to shoot an antlerless deer in a lottery deer area must apply for an either-sex permit by Thursday, the DNR said.

- The DNR launched its annual fall colors website Thursday. The site, which will be updated with new reports every Thursday, is available at Online traffic to the fall colors pages has grown steadily over the past three years, drawing 356,227 viewings from Sept. 14 to Nov. 6 last year.

- North Dakota's youth deer season for hunters age 12 to 15 opens at noon Sept. 17 and continues through Sept. 26. Licensed youths age 12 and 13 can hunt statewide, but only for antlerless whitetails. First-time deer hunters age 14 or 15 with a "youth season" license can hunt statewide for any deer, except for restricted licenses and units in western North Dakota. Info:

- North Dakota's two-day youth waterfowl season is Sept. 18-19. Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide. Info:

- North Dakota's sandhill crane season opens Sept. 18.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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