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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: DNR sets meeting in Warren, New DNR fisheries chief etc.

DNR sets hunting regs meeting in Warren The Department of Natural Resources will seek public comment on several proposed hunting-season issues during a meeting set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo High School Auditorium in War...

DNR sets hunting regs meeting in Warren

The Department of Natural Resources will seek public comment on several proposed hunting-season issues during a meeting set for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo High School Auditorium in Warren, Minn.

Items up for discussion include:

- Allowing river otter trapping statewide.

- Holding a four-day youth deer season statewide over the MEA teachers convention weekend in October.

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- Allowing anyone 55 and older to hunt during the archery season with a crossbow.

- Expanding fall turkey hunting to a single 30-day season.

- Changing the way Minnesota's duck season is structured to allow it to open in late September. Under such a change, this fall's season would open Sept. 25 rather than Oct. 2.

- Changing shooting hours for ducks on opening day to open one-half hour before sunrise rather than at 9 a.m.

Some of the changes would require legislative action.

Those who cannot attend the meetings are urged to complete a questionnaire online at www.mndnr.gov .

Comments also may be submitted by e-mail at wildlife.dnr@state.mn.us or by mail written to Season Comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul MN 55155-4007.

-- Forum Communications

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Officials battle pigs gone wild

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Wildlife officials are working to keep feral swine from becoming established in North Dakota.

State Game and Fish assistant wildlife chief Greg Link said landowners who know or suspect that feral swine are on their property must immediately notify the state Board of Animal Health.

The federal Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services said there have been reports of feral swine across North Dakota, including in Billings, Rolette, Sheridan and Nelson counties as well as in the Turtle Mountains. State lawmakers passed a bill last year regulating the animal.

Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian Dan Grove said feral swine are destructive and a potential source of disease for livestock and wildlife.

-- Associated Press

DNR names Peterson as new fisheries chief

ST. PAUL -- The DNR has named Dirk Peterson as the agency's new fisheries chief.

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Peterson has served as the DNR's central region fisheries manager for the past nine years. A biologist, Peterson has worked in area, region, central office and commissioner's office positions during a 30-plus year DNR career.

He replaces Ron Payer, who retired late last year.

"We searched nationally and selected locally," Dave Schad, DNR Fish and Wildlife division director, said in a news release. "Citizen and agency interview panel members were impressed by Dirk's depth of knowledge, breadth of experience and vision for serving the anglers and citizens of Minnesota."

Peterson began his DNR career in 1978 working on minnow, leech and live bait projects. In the years to come, he would serve as Waterville area fisheries supervisor, a federal aid coordinator and planning director.

"Minnesota is blessed with some of the finest fishing waters in the nation," Peterson said. "I look forward to the opportunities and challenges in making them the best they can be."

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

- North Dakota's darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15. That also is the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters. Ice anglers can continue to use fish houses after March 15 if they are removed daily.

- More than 750 licenses remain in nine units after North Dakota's spring wild turkey lottery. Only hunters who don't have a spring license are eligible to apply. Remaining licenses are in Unit 06, Bowman County; Unit 17, portions of Billings and Golden Valley counties north of Interstate 94; Unit 30, portions of Morton County; Unit 31, Mountrail County; Unit 44, Slope County; Unit 45, Stark County; Unit 47, Eddy, Foster, Kidder, Sheridan, Stutsman and Wells counties; Unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties; and Unit 99, Mercer and Oliver counties. Info: gf.nd.gov or (701) 328-6300.

- A Pheasants Forever chapter in Calgary, Alta., has been recognized for hosting the conservation group's largest membership banquet in 2009. The Calgary chapter has 497 members, followed by the Northern South Dakota chapter with 441 members and Ciresi's Hunters Stag in Minnesota with 434 members. There were no North Dakota chapters listed in the top 10.

- The DNR continues to seek watercraft inspector interns to work at public accesses on lakes and rivers infested with invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. Positions, which are full-time temporary internships, are available in several locations, including Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, and Bemidji and start in late April and run through the middle of October. Applications are due Friday. Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/jobs/watercraft/index.html; Heidi Wolf, (651) 259-5152; or heidi.wolf@state.mn.us .

- Retail sales of outdoor recreation gear and garments dropped 2 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to a report released by the Outdoor Industry Association. Sales totaled $5.075 billion. Best categories included camping items, climbing gear and hiking boots.

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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