OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: New DNR conservation officers go to work, N.D. Coyote Catalog now available etc.
New DNR officers hit the field
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' 18 newest conservation officers began working at their field stations Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The new officers, who were chosen from among hundreds of applicants, trained for 15 weeks during the late spring and summer at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn., and since mid-August have been working throughout the state with experienced officers.
Here's a list of the new officers and where they're stationed:
• Nathan Benkofske — Milaca.
• Anthony Elwell — Thief River Falls No. 2.
• Clint Fitzgerald — Rochester No. 2.
• Anthony Flerlage — Spring Valley.
• Andrew Goodman — Elbow Lake.
• Tyler Lusignan — Faribault.
• Taylor Hochstein — Hill City.
• Jacqueline Hughes — Longville.
• Leah Kampa — Hutchinson No. 2.
• Benjamin Karon — Isle.
• Annette Kyllo — Pierz.
• Michael Lerchen — Bloomington.
• Blong Lor — Redwood Falls.
• Tyler Ramaker — LaCrescent.
• Jacob Swedberg — Detroit Lakes.
• Garrett Thomas — Eagan.
• Ashley Whiteoak — Malmo.
• Shane Zavodnik — International Falls No. 2.
There are 155 field stations across the state, each covering about 650 square miles. While this year's conservation officer class will cut down on the number of vacancies, there still will be 22 field stations without full-time, dedicated coverage. The DNR plans to hold another academy in the spring of 2019.
-- Minnesota DNR
DNR seeks input on Red Lake WMA
The DNR is seeking public input on a master plan update for Red Lake Wildlife Management Area in northwest Minnesota.
Last updated in 1980, the master plan guides the overall management goals for the WMA's brushlands, peatlands, wetlands and forests, which provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species.
The DNR will take input at bit.ly/RedLakeWMAInput through Wednesday, Dec. 19. The purpose of the online questionnaire is to help generate ideas and identify potential planning issues and areas of concern specific to the WMA.
The DNR will offer a second opportunity for public input next spring after a draft master plan is ready for review.
Red Lake WMA, located in Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties, includes 324,000 acres of state WMA and contains headwaters of three different river systems and a pristine area of peatlands. Red Lake WMA is one of eight WMAs currently classified as a major unit.
-- Minnesota DNR
N.D. Coyote Catalog now available
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Department of Agriculture are once again opening the Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who are dealing with coyotes in their areas.
Last winter, nearly 30 landowners participated in the Coyote Catalog, along with 500 hunters and trappers.
Landowners can sign up on the Department of Agriculture website at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/livestock-development-division/coyote-catalog. County and contact information is required.
Hunters and trappers can sign up at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov/hunting/hunter-landowner-contact.
Anyone who registered for the Coyote Catalog in the past must register again to activate their names on the database.
The Coyote Catalog will remain active through March 31.
-- N.D. Game and Fish Department
DNR effort aims to retain anglers
Last year, the Minnesota DNR was awarded grant money from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation's State R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) Grants Program. The funds helped the DNR create a campaign to retain anglers by promoting the purchase of a lifetime license.
According to the DNR, the campaign produced the following results:
• Generated net revenue totaling $11,441.
• Residents age 51 to 63 had the highest response rates of all groups when receiving two emails and postcard.
• Residents age 18 to 50 had the highest response rate when they received two emails.
• Additional communications showed diminishing returns of sales over time.
"RBFF is a valuable partner in R3 efforts, and through this grant opportunity RBFF has again proven to be valuable in helping Minnesota make informed decisions regarding its promotional campaigns," James Leach, director of the DNR's Fish & Wildlife Division, said in a statement.
The DNR plans to continue sending emails to encourage their target audience to buy lifetime licenses.
-- Herald staff report
DNR outlines pike spearing regs
With darkhouse spearing in full swing, the DNR is reminding anglers about new pike regulations that went into effect last spring.
The regulations are as follows:
• Anglers: Limit of 10 northern pike, but no more than two pike longer than 26 inches; all from 22 to 26 inches must be released.
• Spearers: Limit of 10 northern pike, only one between 22-26 inches and 1 over 26 inches; or, only two over 26 inches.
• Anglers: Limit of two pike; anglers must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession.
• Spearers: Limit of two pike; only one northern pike over 26 inches.
• Anglers and spearers: Limit of two pike; minimum size 24 inches.
More info: mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.
NDGF highlights winter fishing regs
With winter fishing now underway, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages anglers to refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the department's website at gf.nd.gov for full rundown on winter fishing regulations.
Anglers also can visit the website at gf.nd.gov for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers.
Some winter fishing regulations include:
• A maximum of four poles is legal for ice fishing.
• Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single pole.
• Mechanical devices that set the hook are legal; however, the use of any device that automatically retrieves the fish is illegal.
• There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. Materials used to mark holes must be in possession of anglers and spearers as soon as a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
• It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.
• It is illegal to catch fish and transport them in water.
• It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.
• All aquatic bait, such as fathead minnows, must be purchased or trapped in North Dakota.
• Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
• The packaging of fish (including parts thereof) away from one's permanent residence must be done in such a manner that the number of fish in each package may be easily determined.
• The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight. No person may possess more than one day's limit of fish while on the ice or actively engaged in fishing. If a situation occurs when an angler fishes overnight, the first daily limit must be removed from the ice by midnight prior to continuing to fish.
• The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in his or her possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.
• It is illegal to introduce anything into the water for the purpose of attempting to attract fish (chumming, artificial light, etc.) that is not attached or applied to a lure.
• Licensing of fish houses is not required in North Dakota. However, any unoccupied fish house must have displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high, either a registration number issued by the department, or the owner's name and address or name and telephone number.
-- N.D. Game and Fish Department
Did you know?
• North Dakota's river otter trapping season closed Sunday, Dec. 2 after the quota of 15 otters was reached in less than a week. The season opened Monday, Nov. 26.
• Explore Minnesota is seeking a host community for the 2020 Governor's Fishing Opener. Hosting the event encompasses significant involvement and has resulted in upwards of $2.5 million in media exposure for previous host communities. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Dec. 14. Info: Nicole Lalum, (218) 316-3330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The DNR is offering $100,000 in matching shooting range grants to improve existing five-stand, pistol, rifle, skeet or trap ranges. The application period opened Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 28. Info: mndnr.gov.
• The National Wild Turkey Federation is celebrating the landmark accomplishment of 20 million acres of habitat conserved or enhanced, since tracking began in 1985. With turkeys numbering more than 6.25 million today, the organization's focus is on its "Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt" initiative, a pledge to conserve or enhance 4 million acres of wildlife habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters and open 500,000 acres for public access. More info: nwtf.org.
-- compiled by Brad Dokken