OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: DNR to sample deer for bovine TB, Salazar highlights N.D. conservation projects etc.

DNR to sample deer for bovine TB No deer tested positive for bovine tuberculosis last year in northwest Minnesota, but surveillance efforts will continue when deer season opens Saturday. "We are encouraged by last year's test results," said Miche...

DNR to sample deer for bovine TB

No deer tested positive for bovine tuberculosis last year in northwest Minnesota, but surveillance efforts will continue when deer season opens Saturday.

"We are encouraged by last year's test results," said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "If this fall's testing efforts do not detect any more positive deer, that will build confidence that TB has been eliminated or is at an undetectable level."

Hunters who shoot a deer in deer Permit Area 101, also known as the bovine TB management area, must register their deer at one of six check stations so tissue samples can be taken for testing. Electronic registration by phone and Internet will not be available for hunters who indicated they would hunt in Permit Area 101 when purchasing a license.

Check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from Saturday to Nov. 20 at the Wannaska forestry office, Wannaska; Olson's Skime Store, Skime; D&G Pro Station, Hayes Lake; Hayes Lake State Park; Grygla Sporting Goods, Grygla; Fourtown Store, Fourtown; and the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area headquarters.


Hunters who shoot deer from surrounding deer permit areas also can register deer at these stations. Carstensen said the goal is to collect 500 samples for testing, with at least 200 from the 164-square-mile bovine TB core area near Skime.

"Cooperation from northwestern Minnesota deer hunters has been excellent during the six years DNR has been testing for bovine TB," Carstensen said. "Getting samples from surrounding areas outside the bovine TB management zone provides additional information that is extremely useful in our efforts to eradicate the disease in wild deer."

All hunters who register deer at one of the six check stations will receive a DNR cooperator's patch. Hunters who shoot a deer in Permit Area 101 also will be entered into a raffle for a lifetime hunting license and a Savage .270 bolt-action rifle.

The Roseau River chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association purchased the prizes and is sponsoring the raffle.

-- Minnesota DNR

Salazar highlights N.D. conservation projects

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar this week highlighted two North Dakota projects that will be included in an upcoming report outlining ways to connect Americans to the natural world.

In a news release from the Department of Interior, Salazar said conserving the Dakota Grasslands and restoring and protecting riparian floodplain forests along a 75-mile expanse of the Missouri River are among 100 projects nationwide that will be highlighted in the upcoming report -- two in every state -- as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.


The Dakota Grasslands initiative calls for seeking to acquire easements from willing sellers on some 2 million acres of native prairie in the Prairie Pothole Region. During the next three years, the Missouri River Forest Restoration Project will restore and protect riparian floodplain forests along the 75-mile expanse of the Missouri River between Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe.

-- Herald staff report

Delta Waterfowl president offers tips for taking kids hunting

WINNIPEG -- Rob Olson, president of Delta Waterfowl, said adults thinking about introducing kids to waterfowl hunting should just do it.

"I really believe you can't start 'em too early," said Olson, who hunted ducks and geese with his father well before he was old enough to pull the trigger. "The more you can nurture the culture when they're young, the more likely you'll have a kid who hunts over their lifetime."

Olson offers these tips for bringing youngsters into the field:

- Keep it short. "It's like training a young Lab -- short is always best," Olson said.

- Pick the right day -- this isn't the time for a tough, cold day in the marsh.


- Make it fun. "Keep the focus on the kids and make sure the experience is fun and upbeat," Olson said. "Bring a football in case the birds don't cooperate."

- Start teaching some basic skills, but concentrate on safety.

- Bring lots of calls and let the kids blow them as much as they want. The outing isn't about bagging birds. "Bring some ear plugs too, because it's probably going to get loud," Olson said.

- Bring lots of snacks. "Kids always want something to eat," Olson said.

- Bring a dip net. Yes, a dip net. "If the birds aren't flying, switch it up to a frog or water bug hunt. It doesn't matter to them."

- Take a lot of photos. They are certain to become family heirlooms.

- Bring a change of clothes because your kids are likely to get wet.

- Get the kids to help clean the birds and eat them that same day. "If you do, they'll get hooked on eating game," Olson said.


More info:

-- Delta Waterfowl

Did you know?

- The Senate Committee on Appropriations has recommended $35.5 million in funding in fiscal year 2012 for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

- The DNR is accepting requests for a public hearing and written comments on proposed changes to regulations pertaining to individual wildlife management areas, game refuges, small game hunting and trapping, Canada goose hunting zones and habitat stamp selection. Info:


- Itasca State Park is open to deer hunting (Permit Area 287) by any licensed hunter during the regular firearms season, which opens Saturday. The park also is holding a special permit muzzleloader hunt Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4. Permits are still available and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis by the park. Info:

- Nearly 17,000 trees will be planted next spring in Minnesota state parks and trails as part of the "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree" partnership between the DNR and the Minnesota Twins. The program scores 100 trees for the DNR every time a Twins pitcher breaks the bat of an opposing player. During the 2011 season, Twins pitchers broke 168 of their opponents' bats.


- Organizers planning fishing tournaments in North Dakota, including ice fishing contests this winter, must submit an application to the state Game and Fish Department at least 30 days before the start of the event. Info:

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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