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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: DNR adds security layer to online harvest registration, Remaining North Dakota wild turkey tags available Sept. 26, Minnesota improves spruce grouse survey

Working with partner agencies and volunteer citizen-scientists, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has developed a more effective method of sampling spruce grouse populations. (Photo/ Beau Liddell, Minnesota DNR)

DNR adds security layer to online harvest

Hunters who shoot a deer, bear or turkey starting this season in Minnesota will need to sign into the Department of Natural Resources' electronic license system when registering a harvest online.

"Requiring hunters to log in adds another layer of security to protect their personal information," said Steve Michaels, licensing program director. "We recognize that online game registration will be a little less convenient, and we appreciate hunters' patience as they adapt to the new process."

In 2017, half of the season's deer were registered using the online system, so the new security measure is important.

To register a harvest, go to mndnr.gov/buyalicense. The harvest registration system is available after hunters enter their information in the customer identification page, similar to when buying a DNR license or permit. Once signed in, click on the harvest tab. Harvest registration is the same as in past years and requires hunters to enter a nine-digit harvest registration number that is printed on the license.

"While in the system registering your animal, we also recommend adding your email address to your electronic record," Michaels said. "The DNR is increasingly using email to conduct surveys and communicate with license holders on a variety of wildlife issues."

Hunters also can choose to register a harvest by calling (888) 706-6367 and following the instructions or in person at any big game registration station.

Hunting regulations and details about when harvest registration is required are available at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

-- Minnesota DNR

N.D. fall turkey licenses remain after lottery

More than 900 fall North Dakota turkey licenses remain in seven units after the recent lottery, the Game and Fish Department announced. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card.

Beginning at 8 a.m. CST on Sept. 26, the department will issue all remaining licenses on a first-come, first-served basis. Resident and nonresident hunters must apply online beginning Sept. 26 by going to the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

The fall turkey season opens Saturday, Oct. 13, and continues through Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.

Licenses remain for the following units: Unit 13, Dunn County, 292 licenses; Unit 19, Grant County, Sioux County and portions of Morton County, 62; Unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties, 277; Unit 30, a portion of Morton County, 133; Unit 31, Mountrail County, 40; Unit 45, Stark County, 69; and Unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties, 101.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

DNR improves spruce grouse survey

Minnesota researchers have a new way to monitor populations of spruce grouse — a bird species that's notoriously difficult to count — through an annual spruce grouse survey that happened for the first time this past spring with help from dozens of cooperators and citizen volunteers.

Spruce grouse are a game species in Minnesota, but in neighboring Wisconsin they are listed as threatened. As a species dependent on conifer forest habitat, they are expected to have a smaller range in the future because of climate change-induced habitat loss.

"We needed better information about the population to make informed management decisions," Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader, said in a statement. "This survey is expected to detect meaningful changes in the population over a 10-year period."

DNR researchers spent four years developing a survey methodology for the birds. Cooperators, citizen volunteers and DNR staff count droppings at spruce grouse sites. By conducting the survey annually, researchers can detect meaningful changes in the population.

Before this survey, the only data the Minnesota DNR collected on spruce grouse were the estimated total of birds shot by hunters as part of the annual small game harvest mail survey. That survey estimates the total take of spruce grouse at 10,000 to 27,000 birds per year since 2006, but harvest numbers don't offer a reliable way to track population trends.

"Citizen-scientist volunteers and cooperators are important contributors to the survey. We couldn't do this survey without their help," Roy said.

Last spring, cooperators at Chippewa National Forest, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, 1854 Treaty Authority, DNR Wildlife, Superior National Forest and 40 citizen-scientist volunteers including Vermilion Community College students, surveyed 65 routes throughout the northern conifer forest region of Minnesota.

Spruce grouse sign was found at 88 sites representing 32 percent of those surveyed. More sign was found in the northwest portion of the survey region, followed by the northeast and then the south-central portion. The survey will be conducted annually to track population trends and changes in distribution.

The DNR's 2018 spruce survey report and grouse hunting information can be found at mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse.

-- Minnesota DNR

Ducks Unlimited honors Bemidji member

Scott Anderson of Bemidji was one of three Ducks Unlimited leaders honored by the conservation group for his fundraising efforts during the 2018 fiscal year.

Anderson was named National Regional Director of the Year for his efforts as a staff member in Region 3, an area that encompasses Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Covering northern Minnesota, Anderson worked with volunteer committees to raise more than $1.2 million for DU's conservation mission in the fiscal year ending June 30.

DU also honored Hunter Pridgen of Greenwood, Miss., as a National Regional Director of the Year for raising more than $1 million in Region 4, an area that encompasses Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

For a third time, DU honored Adam DeHaan of Lakeville, Minn., senior director of development for Minnesota and Iowa, as National Director of Development of the Year. Securing nearly $2 million in new major gift commitments during fiscal year 2018, DeHaan once again achieved great results for DU.

"Hunter's, Adam's and Scott's successes are all outstanding examples of what happens when DU's team of volunteers, staff and donors strive for excellence," Amy Batson, DU's chief fundraising officer, said in a statement. "Their unwavering dedication to DU's mission and their team attitude are evident. I am happy to see them recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and proud to serve on the fundraising team with them."

More info: www.ducks.org.

-- Herald staff report

Hunting from duck boats requires safety

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages waterfowl hunters who hunt from boats to wear properly fitted life jackets while on the water.

Hunting jackets with built-in flotation are light and comfortable to wear. Wearing a life jacket will keep the overboard hunter afloat and slow the loss of critical body heat caused by exposure to cold water.

Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters.

Eight people have drowned in North Dakota waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Hunters reminded of ANS regulations

The Game and Fish Department again this year is asking waterfowl hunters to do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.

Waterfowl hunters must remove plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove plants seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. In addition, hunters are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.

Cattails and bulrushes may be transported as camouflage on boats. All other aquatic vegetation must be cleaned from boats before transport into or within North Dakota.

In addition, drain plugs on boats must remain pulled when a boat is in transit away from a water body.

More ANS information, including regulations, is available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

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