School clay target leagues continue to grow

More than 10,000 students from 319 high schools are participating in Minnesota's State High School Clay Target League this spring, and North Dakota's new league will have 565 students from 23 high school teams participating.

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The spring trapshooting season began April 3.

Jim Sable, executive director of the Minnesota and North Dakota high school clay target leagues, said the program continues to be the fastest-growing activity for schools in both states.

"Such high participation shows the continued demand for alternative high school activities related to (North Dakota's and Minnesota's) longstanding outdoor traditions," Sable said.

North Dakota schools with teams this year include Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools, along with Central Cass, Minto, Richland, Munich, Rolette, Davies, Grafton, Kindred, Sargent Central, South Prairie, Enderlin, Garrison, Larimore, Fargo North, West Fargo, Valley City, Sheyenne, Wahpeton, Oak Grove, Devils Lake and Shanley.

Expect that number to grow in coming years. There's no cost to the schools, organizers say, and family travel costs are minimal because practice and competition are conducted at shooting ranges near the participating schools.

The league's co-ed and adaptive nature are key attractions to high schools in both states. The leagues are fully Title IX compliant, with both male and female athletes competing on the same team. Additionally, trapshooting is an "adaptive" sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part.

Minnesota's 2016 Trap Shooting Championship is set for June 14-21 at the Alexandria (Minn.) Shooting Park, where about 7,000 competitors are expected, while the Skeet Championship will be held June 26 at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake, Minn.

North Dakota's 2016 state tournament is set for June 18 at The Shooting Park in Horace, N.D.

Info: mnclaytarget.com, ndclaytarget.com, usaclaytarget.com.

-- Herald staff report

DNR keeps three-walleye limit on Upper Red

Less restrictive walleye regulations put in place on Upper Red Lake this past winter will continue when fishing season resumes May 14, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said this week.

The daily bag and possession limit will be three walleye, with one fish longer than 17 inches allowed.

"The new angling regulation and the abundance of 13- to 19-inch walleye in the population should combine for a great fishing opener on Upper Red Lake," Gary Barnard, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor with the DNR, said in a news release.

Walleye harvest on Upper Red Lake is managed on an annual basis by a harvest plan, which was updated before the most recent winter fishing season.

Future harvest adjustments could include increasing the bag limit this summer.

"Safeguards are built into the current rule package in case spring harvest is excessive. But given a lower winter harvest, a June 15 adjustment to a four-fish bag limit is very likely," Barnard said.

Anglers this past winter kept about 113,000 pounds of walleyes, which fell below the 140,000 pounds harvested during the winter of 2014-15, even though less restrictive harvest regulations were in place for most of the season.

One likely reason for the lower take was that fishing pressure shifted to later in the season because of poor early winter ice conditions. Catch rates typically are lower later in the season. Still, this was the third-highest winter harvest in the past 10 years since the walleye fishery reopened in 2006 after being closed in 1999 due to overharvest, the DNR said.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted through May 6 wherever hunting and fishing license are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at (888) 665-4236. A total of 3,850 licenses are available in 13 permit areas in the quota zone, up from 3,700 last year. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Sept. 1 through Oct. 16. More info: mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

• The Min-Dak Border Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has food plot seed available at no charge to chapter members. The Roundup-ready soybean seed is available on a first-come, first-served basis from Jim Benson at Sportsman's Taxidermy in East Grand Forks.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken