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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: DNR works on deer plan; small game hunters hold steady

DNR begins work on deer plan The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has started working on a new statewide deer management plan, a project that will unfold in several phases with opportunities for citizen input. In a news release, the DNR ...

Deer
(North Dakota Game and Fish Department photo)

DNR begins work on deer plan

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has started working on a new statewide deer management plan, a project that will unfold in several phases with opportunities for citizen input.

In a news release, the DNR said goals for the plan "include setting a statewide harvest objective, describing the DNR's responsibilities and activities related to deer management, addressing regional variations in deer habitat and populations, and guiding the agency's management of deer into the future."

The DNR now is selecting people to serve on a deer plan advisory committee, which is expected to begin work at the end of 2016 and meet monthly throughout the planning process.

Minnesota small game hunters hold steady

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The DNR said small game hunter numbers in 2015 were on par with the previous year. The survey tallied 63,350 pheasant hunters, an increase of 10 percent; 76,243 duck hunters, essentially the same; and 79,058 ruffed grouse hunters, a decrease of 5 percent.

Hunters shot an estimated 243,176 pheasants (up 59 percent), 663,811 ducks (down 5 percent) and 267,997 ruffed grouse (down 11 percent). That worked out to 3.8 pheasants, 8.7 ducks, three woodcock and 3.4 ruffed grouse per hunter.

The complete report is available at mndnr.gov/publications/wildlife

Did you know?

• Mourning dove season opens Thursday in North Dakota and Minnesota with a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 45 in both states. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, and season continues through Nov. 29 in both states. Hunters in each state also must register with the federal Harvest Information Program before going afield. Info: gf.nd.gov, mndnr.gov.

• North Dakota's swan lottery has been held, and more than 180 licenses remain. Only hunters who do not have a swan license for the 2016 season can apply, as regulations limit hunters to one license per year. More info: gf.nd.gov or (701) 328-6300. The license fee is $10 for residents and $30 for nonresidents.

• The DNR temporarily has closed the public access on Turtle Lake near Bemidji for aggressive treatment of starry stonewort, an invasive aquatic algae. The access is expected to reopen before Labor Day, and a nearby resort owner has volunteered his lake access in the meantime. The DNR this week also confirmed starry stonewort in a private harbor on Upper Red Lake and in a small area of Cass Lake within the Leech Lake Reservation. That brings the number of confirmed starry stonewort infestations to four. The invasive vegetation was confirmed last year on Lake Koronis.

• Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., introduced bipartisan legislation Monday calling for $1.3 billion in existing revenue from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters to be dedicated to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve a full array of fish and wildlife. The Recovering America's Wildlife Act is HR 5650.

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-- Herald staff reports

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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