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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Sportsman's Alliance Foundation calls for wolf delisting, DNR to drop special regs on 15 pike lakes etc.

Foundation submits wolf plan comments The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation said this week that it has filed a second set of comments urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region, which includes ...

Foundation submits wolf plan comments

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation said this week that it has filed a second set of comments urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region, which includes Minnesota, from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In proposing to delist the wolves, the Service said they may recognize a new species of wolves in the region -- the Eastern wolf -- and reopened the comment period to take further input on whether two separate wolf species should be recognized.

In a news release, the Foundation said wolf experts disagree that two separate wolf species exist, and that wolves in the region are fully recovered and should be returned to state management.

-- U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation

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DNR to drop special pike regs on 15 lakes

ST. PAUL -- As required by the Minnesota Legislature, the Department of Natural Resources is dropping special northern pike regulations on 15 lakes effective Nov. 1.

Included on the list are Campbell Lake in Beltrami County and Cotton and Big Floyd lakes in Becker County. Other lakes that will be losing their length-based restrictions are Louise in Cass County; Latoka in Douglas County; Caribou in St. Louis County; Scrapper, Haskell, Rice and Schoolhouse in Itasca County; North Branch Kawishiwi River, which is part of the Garden Lake chain, in Lake County; Ogechie in Mille Lacs County; Long and Crooked in Stearns County; and Little Sauk in Todd County.

The DNR was required to make the change because of a new state law that limits the agency to no more than 100 lakes with special or experimental regulations and only allows for length-based rules. The 15 lakes will revert to the standard statewide northern pike regulation -- a three-fish limit with no more than one longer than 30 inches.

Because the new law also limits special or experimental regulations to length restrictions, the DNR is dropping regulations on 17 additional lakes with catch-and-release or reduced bag limits.

Special pike regulations typically require anglers to release fish in a specified size range, often 24 to 36 inches, and limit the harvest of fish larger than the size range to one pike.

-- Minnesota DNR

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- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked about 500 rainbow trout into the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park on Friday evening. According to park manager Steve Crandall, the trout weigh from 1ยฝ to 2 pounds, considerably larger than fish stocked earlier this spring and summer. "It should be a great time for some fall fishing," Crandall said.

- Hunters who wanted an antlerless deer tag for Unit 2C north and west of Grand Forks after the Game and Fish Department's lottery are out of luck. All of the remaining tags have been purchased. As of Friday, however, 218 any antlerless tags remained in Unit 2D, 22 any antlerless in Unit 2L, 920 antlerless whitetail in Unit 3F1, 770 antlerless whitetail in Unit 3F2 and 184 antlerless whitetail in Unit 4F. North Dakota's firearm deer season opens at noon Nov. 4 and continues through Nov. 20, archery season continues through Jan. 8 and muzzleloader season is Nov. 25-Dec. 11. Licenses cost $20 for residents and $55 for nonresidents. Info: gf.nd.gov.

- Pheasant hunters in North Dakota will have the opportunity to win gift certificates and other prizes again this fall as part of Windsor Canadian's "After the Hunt" program. Beginning Friday, 300 banded pheasants will be released across North Dakota. Each bird will sport a tag with a phone number for participants age 21 and older to call and enter a sweepstakes drawing in January. Prizes include five gift certificates totaling $1,650 from Scheel's, along with $9,200 in Windsor prizes such as hunting jackets. Windsor also will donate $1,500 to the North Dakota Wildlife Federation.

- Whiting Petroleum Corp. recently contributed $100,000 to Ducks Unlimited for conservation work on the western edge of North Dakota's Prairie Pothole Region, the site of extensive oil and gas exploration. Whiting CEO Jim Volker, an avid duck and upland bird hunter, said Whiting "wants to give back to North Dakota in a way that will improve and protect the state's already wonderful habitat."

- There's still a chance to buy a fall turkey license in North Dakota. Nearly 350 licenses remain for the following units: Unit 03, Benson and Ramsey counties and a portion of Pierce County; Unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties; Unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties; and Unit 99, Mercer and Oliver counties. There is a limit of 15 wild turkey licenses per hunter. The fall turkey season opens Saturday and continues through Jan. 8. Turkey licenses are $8 for residents and $80 for nonresidents. Info: gf.nd.gov.

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds motorists and others that a permit is required before taking possession of a road-killed deer or any part, including the skull with antlers. Permits to possess road-killed deer are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.

- Four camper cabins are scheduled to open in 2012 at Lake Bemidji State Park, the DNR said. The nightly rate for the cabins will be $50. The DNR expects to begin accepting reservations for the cabins early next year. The cabins will be heated for year-round use, and two of them will be wheelchair accessible. An open house in which Bemidji staff will provide more information and answer questions about the cabins is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the park.

- The DNR said Friday that it will treat a small area of Rose Lake in Otter Tail County, perhaps as early as this week, with a commonly used pesticide to kill recently discovered zebra mussels. DNR biologists conducted an extensive shoreline survey of the 1,200-acre lake Wednesday and discovered a small number of juvenile zebra mussels in one very small area of the lake. In a news release, the DNR said it suspects the zebra mussels were transported recently to the lake on a boat lift. The small size of the mussels suggests they are not at a reproductive stage.

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- Ducks Unlimited this week testified in Washington in support of a Minnesota project that aims to enhance 5,000 acres of habitat and access on Marsh Lake near Appleton. In response, the Civil Review Board approved the project, which now will advance to the next stage of the review process. Marsh Lake has a history of heavy use by waterfowl and hunters.

- The U.S. Forest Service maintains a national Fall Color Hotline from September to November, along with a website that includes activities for kids, videos, a photo gallery and other resources. The toll free number is (800) 354-4595, and the website is at fs.fed.us/

fallcolors.

- The 13th edition of Boone and Crockett's "Records of North American Big Game" now is available at boone-crockett.org or (888) 840-4868.

n More than 5 million Americans hunted with bow and arrows in 2010, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

- The U.S. Forest Service is planning two prescribed burns affecting about 300 acres in the McKenzie Ranger District of western North Dakota this fall.

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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