DNR: Don't shoot research bears

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources again this year is asking hunters to avoid shooting bears with radio-collars or large, colored ear tags when season begins Saturday, Sept. 1.

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DNR researchers are monitoring about 30 radio-collared bears across the state, mostly in or near Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork, Minn. Other bears are collared near Orr, Minn., and Voyageurs National Park, along with Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn., and areas near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer in northwest Minnesota.

Collars or ear tags may be difficult to see so it's not illegal to shoot a research bear, but the animals "continue to provide much of the data we use in bear management," said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.

Hunters who shoot a collared bear should bring the collar to a bear registration station. Most collared bears also have a small heart monitor implanted under the skin on the left side of the chest. The monitor contains valuable information stored in memory. If hunters find such device while skinning the bear, they are asked to leave it with the collar.

Large ear tags measuring 3 inches by 2 inches indicate collared bears. Bears with small, 1- by ¼-inch tags are not collared and not part of the research effort.

Hunters who shoot a collared bear are asked to report it to the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at (218) 328-8874 or (218) 328-8879. Hunters with trail-cam photos of ear-tagged bears are asked to email them to mndnrbearcams@gmail.com and include a location.

Minnesota's bear season is open through Sunday, Oct. 14.

-- Minnesota DNR

Remaining N.D. deer tags available Sept. 6

More than 1,000 antlerless whitetail deer gun licenses remain in three southwest North Dakota units after the Game and Fish Department's recent second lottery drawing.

Individual results are available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Antlerless whitetail licenses remain in units 3F1 (321 licenses), 3F2 (498 licenses) and 4F (218 licenses). Game and Fish will issue the licenses on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. CDT on Thursday, Sept. 6. The licenses only are available online to hunters who have not already received a lottery or landowner license.

Licenses are valid only during the regular deer gun season, which opens at noon Friday, Nov. 9 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 25. Residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Lake of the Woods open house set for Oct. 8

The DNR has scheduled an open house for 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8 at Lake of the Woods School, 210 Third Ave. NE, Baudette, Minn., to take public input on two proposed regulation changes on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River.

The proposed changes would take effect March 1, 2019.

The DNR on Lake of the Woods is proposing to lower the winter walleye-sauger limit from eight, with no more than four walleyes, to six, with no more than four walleyes, same as the summer limit.

A protected slot requiring anglers to release all walleyes from 19½ inches to 28 inches remains in effect.

"Expanding winter pressure has resulted in sauger harvest exceeding management objectives, with 80 percent of the sauger harvest coming in the winter season," said Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Baudette.

On the Rainy River, the DNR is proposing a catch-and-release walleye season from March 1 through April 14 on the river and Four-Mile Bay of Lake of the Woods. Increasing pressure and harvest focused on prespawn male walleyes have impacted the spawning population in the river, Talmage said.

"Walleye and sauger populations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River are doing well, but increasing fishing pressure has resulted in increased harvest and stress on the fishery," Talmage said. "These regulations are intended to be a proactive approach to ensure the high quality fishery that anglers have come to expect from the border water region."

The DNR will accept comments on the proposals through Oct. 18. Those not attending the meeting can provide comments by calling the Baudette area fisheries office at (218) 634-2522 or by emailing baudette.fisheries@state.mn.us. Metro anglers also can provide comments in person to Al Stevens on Sept. 26 at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road.

-- Minnesota DNR

Open house to address Leech Lake proposal

The DNR is proposing to lift a 20- to 26-inch protected slot for walleyes on Leech Lake and replace it with a four-fish walleye limit, of which one can be longer than 20 inches.

The DNR will take public input on the proposal during an open house scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at the Walker Area Community Center, 105 Tower Ave. Anglers currently must release all 20- to 26-inch walleyes on Leech Lake but can keep one fish longer than 26 inches in their four-walleye limit.

Walleye numbers on Leech are excellent, and the population can afford some additional harvest, said Carl Pederson, DNR large lake specialist for Leech Lake in Walker, Minn.

The proposed regulation would take effect with the start of the 2019 open-water walleye season.

"We have an abundant population of spawning-age fish with a wide distribution of sizes and multiple year-classes of smaller fish entering the fishery," Pedersen said. "Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year-classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position."

People unable to attend the meeting can comment through Oct. 5 by calling the Walker area fisheries office at (218) 547-1683 or by emailing walker.fisheries@state.mn.us. Metro anglers can provide comments in person to Al Stevens on Sept. 26 at the DNR Office in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road.

-- Minnesota DNR

Boating Safety Council shares safety tips

With Labor Day weekend on the horizon, the National Safe Boating Council is sharing boating safety tips in an effort to make time on the water not only safe, but fun.

"We believe wearing a life jacket is the simplest way to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones while enjoying a day on the water," Yvonne Pentz, communications director of the National Safe Boating Council, said in a news release. "As you make plans for Labor Day weekend, remember to have fun, make memories, and most importantly, boat responsibly."

The council also shared these boating safety tips:

• Take a boating safety course.

• Check equipment.

• Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary.

• Wear a life jacket.

• Use an engine cutoff device to stop the boat's engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.

• Watch the weather.

• Know what's going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents in 2017 were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.

• Know where you're going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area, local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.

• Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities. Always designate a sober skipper.

• Keep in touch. Cell phones, satellite phones and VHF radios all can be important devices in an emergency.

More info:

--" target="_blank">www.safeboatingcampaign.com/resources.


Herald staff report

Did you know?

• North Dakota's deer archery season opens at noon Friday, Aug. 31 and continues through Jan. 6. Bowhunters can buy a license online through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov; by calling (800) 406-6409; or at vendors linked to the Game and Fish Department's online licensing system. Hunters who purchase bow licenses at a vendor location will receive a tag at time of purchase; otherwise, hunters who purchase their license over the phone or personal computer should allow for several days to receive their tag in the mail. A general game and habitat license also is required for archery hunters, and it must be purchased before receiving the archery tag. Info: gf.nd.gov.

• North Dakota's dove season opens statewide Saturday, Sept. 1, and hunters must register with the federal Harvest Information Program before hunting. More info: gf.nd.gov.

• Minnesota's Youth Waterfowl Day is set for Saturday, Sept. 8. Hunters age 15 and younger can take regular season bag limits of ducks and five Canada geese statewide when accompanied by an adult who is not hunting. Hunters 13 to 15 years old must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation in their possession. For more information, contact James Burnham, DNR hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation coordinator, at (651) 259-5191 or james.burnham@state.mn.us.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken