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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: N.D. fisher trapping season, DNR catfish survey etc.

Proud muskrat dog: Layla, a black Labrador owned by Dan Ryba of rural Lankin, N.D., did her part to help control the muskrat problem in southwestern Walsh County recently by killing these nine muskrats. According to Tom Shirek, Ryba's neighbor who submitted the photo, Layla and Shirek's yellow Lab, Theo, killed 43 muskrats by themselves that weekend. For a closer look at the muskrat population and the problems the rodents are causing in many areas, check out the story elsewhere at

Experimental fisher season set for N.D.

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is planning to offer an experimental fisher trapping season this fall in eastern North Dakota.

According to Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the season would coincide with the snaring season that opens in mid- to late November and would be limited to areas east of U.S. Highway 281. There would be a limit of one fisher per person, she said, and the season would close as soon as a zone-wide quota of 10 fishers is reached. Registration of the carcasses will be mandatory, Tucker said.

Tucker said Game and Fish is limiting the season to areas east of 281 to avoid the potential for accidentally trapping pine martens in the Turtle Mountains.

Members of the weasel family, fishers have become increasingly abundant in the eastern half of North Dakota in recent years, especially along wooded rivers. Fishers most commonly are found in heavily forested areas of Minnesota and Canada. Tucker said the department hopes to learn more about the species in the state by studying the fishers that are trapped.

-- Brad Dokken

DNR launches state, metro catfish surveys

ST. PAUL -- To boost fish management efforts across the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking anglers to fill out surveys about the amount of catfish they're catching and eating.

The online surveys, one for the Twin Cities metro area and one for the rest of the state, are part of a DNR project that includes tagging catfish to better understand their movement. The department says online surveys will work better than traditional creel surveys, as catfish anglers often fish at night.

For those who request them, the DNR will send waterproof paper diaries for anglers to record their catfish angling and consumption. The department wants anglers to record the species, length, tag number and location of all fish caught, and whether they're kept or released.

On the Web:

Copies of metro and statewide catfish surveys can be found at


-- Associated Press

DNR launches four new Facebook pages

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota DNR has launched four Facebook pages for fans of fishing, hunting, the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine and Minnesota state parks and trails.

The four Facebook pages represent the DNR's desire to connect with the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. It's as simple as clicking the "Like" button on the agency's four pages.

"Facebook is a great way for our hunting and fishing license buyers, readers of the Conservation Volunteer magazine, and users of our state parks and trails to learn about the outdoors and share their great experiences in Minnesota," DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a statement.

The DNR hopes to launch additional Facebook pages in the coming year.

On the Web:



-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department on Friday stocked another batch of rainbow trout into the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park. Steve Crandall, manager of Turtle River State Park, said he didn't know the size or number of trout that were stocked, but this likely will be the last stocking until later in September. Game and Fish stocked the first batch of trout into the river a few weeks ago, Crandall said, but most of those fish likely were washed downstream by high water.

- The DNR is lifting spring burning restrictions in several northern Minnesota counties, including Beltrami, Clearwater, Itasca, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Pennington, Polk and Roseau, at 8 a.m. Thursday. With the restrictions lifted, residents will be able to request a permit to burn from local forestry offices or from volunteer fire wardens.

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department closed the state's harvest season for paddlefish snagging Monday, but a snag-and-release season continues through Tuesday. Paddlefish snagging is limited to an area near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Info:

- National Safe Boating Week began Saturday and continues through Friday to promote the need for boaters to wear life jackets.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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