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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Deer poaching case, License stamp money etc.

NDGF seeks info on deer poaching DICKINSON, N.D. -- Wildlife officials are looking for the people responsible for killing four deer and leaving them to rot northwest of Killdeer, N.D., last week, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Depart...

2012 Minnesota walleye stamp winner
<b>2012 walleye stamp winner:</b> A painting of a walleye about to strike a minnow has been selected as the image for the 2012 Minnesota walleye stamp. The painting, by John House of Melby, Minn., was selected from six designs submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Funds generated from the $5 voluntary stamp are dedicated for walleye stocking activities. For $2 more, the DNR will mail the actual stamp to buyers as a collector's item. Anglers aren't required to have one of the stamps ...

NDGF seeks info on deer poaching

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Wildlife officials are looking for the people responsible for killing four deer and leaving them to rot northwest of Killdeer, N.D., last week, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Two mule and two whitetail deer were shot the night of Nov. 4, and the antlers were removed and the carcasses left. Hunters in the area discovered the deer, all in the same area, the next morning on private land.

"They were definitely good-sized adult animals that would have made somebody very happy to harvest," said Game and Fish district game warden Bill Schaller of Killdeer, adding there may be more poached deer out there.

Experience tells him it was more than one person who committed the act, he said.

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The Report All Poachers program is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved. Anyone with information about the deer or any poaching incident can call the RAP hotline at (800) 472-2121 or contact Schaller at (701) 290-0495. Callers may remain anonymous.

-- Forum Communications

License stamp money aids conservation

ST. PAUL -- When Minnesotans buy state hunting and fishing license stamps they are contributing directly to work that supports duck, pheasant, trout, wild turkey and walleye management.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annually conducts wildlife art contests for the duck, pheasant, trout, wild turkey and walleye stamps. The contests are judged by an impartial jury of experts, none of whom know whose artwork is being evaluated.

Ed Boggess, director of the DNR's Fish and Wildlife Division, said stamp sales represent an important part of the agency's overall funding portfolio. The revenues, he said, fund habitat improvement projects related to the species they depict. Stamp revenues also fund research and population monitoring and are often used to contribute to large public-private partnership where their return on investment is even greater.

-- Minnesota DNR

DNR night flights combat poaching

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ST. PAUL -- The DNR again this fall is using its team of conservation officer pilots to identify shiners and other lawbreakers.

"We fly at an altitude that allows us to get a good look at the landscape without being easily detected," said Lt. Thomas Buker, a DNR conservation officer pilot since 2004. "You'd be surprised at how easy it is to spot an offender from the air."

Shining is the use of an artificial light at night to temporarily immobilize wildlife. Each year poachers illegally kill hundreds of deer across the state, often by shining at night.

The poachers "freeze" the deer in the bright light and shoot them. These lawbreakers can be difficult to catch, since they typically operate on lightly traveled rural roads and in remote areas.

"During night flights, we can see things that would never be visible from the ground," Buker said.

Using GPS and night vision, DNR pilots provide concise information to conservation officers in trucks. The team works in tandem to pinpoint offenders.

"During the course of a few hours, we can effectively observe several hundred square miles," Buker said.

Penalties for poaching and shining can include fines of several thousand dollars, loss of vehicles and/or equipment and the loss of hunting privileges.

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-- Minnesota DNR

Idaho, Montana wolf hunts head to court

PASADENA, Calif. -- Wildlife advocates appeared in federal court in California this week seeking an injunction to stop gray wolf hunts already well under way in the Northern Rockies.

Federal biologists say the wolf population is healthy enough to support the hunts in Idaho and Montana. But wildlife advocates say too many wolves are being shot too quickly, threatening to unravel the species' decades-long recovery and killing animals closely followed by wolf watchers.

Tuesday's hearing in Pasadena was before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis, but several groups involved in the lawsuit requested an injunction to stop the killing of wolves while the case is pending. It wasn't clear when a decision would be issued, though two previous requests for injunctions were denied.

-- Associated Press

Did you know?

- The Grand Forks County Wildlife Federation again this year has committed $600 to the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. Club member John French said the federation is working with Weber Meats in Reynolds, N.D. The federation also is collecting deer hides as part of its Hides for Habitat campaign. Dropoff points are located at True North Equipment on Gateway Drive (John Deere dealer), Mark's Auto Sales on South Washington Street, S&T Quickstop in Thompson, N.D., and Superpumper in Emerado, N.D.

- The Min-Dak Border Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is collecting deer hides in East Grand Forks as part of its Hides for Habitat program. Drop boxes are set up at Orton's Point Tesoro, Cabela's and Sportsman's Taxidermy Studio.

- A Bemidji-area hunter shot a 16-point buck with a bow and arrow Nov. 1, the Bemidji Pioneer reported. Stacey Sharp, a DNR conservation officer who patrols southern Beltrami, northern Hubbard and parts of Clearwater counties, said the buck Joe Edland shot is "a very big deal," especially with archery gear. The non-typical rack has seven points on one side and nine on the other and is expected to score in the mid-190-inch range. The minimum Pope and Young score, for deer taken by archery, is 175 points on a nontypical rack.

Related Topics: HUNTING
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 bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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