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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Crookston taxidermist racks up awards, DNR takes input on hunting and trapping proposals etc.

Nick Genereux of Outdoor Addictions Taxidermy in Crookston stands by his award-winning half-life size bear mount and some of the other awards he received during recent competitions in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. (Photo/ Rand Hughes, special to the Herald)

Crookston taxidermist racks up awards

Master taxidermist Nick Genereux of Outdoor Addictions Taxidermy in Crookston recently won his second Judges Choice Best of Show award with a half-life-size bear mount at the Minnesota Taxidermy Guild Convention and Competition.

This year's event was held March 21-24 at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, Minn.

The same mount won Best of Show Runner-up in North Dakota and South Dakota, Genereux said.

Now in his ninth year in business, Genereux received blue ribbons and state champion awards in all three states in the Masters Game Head category. He received 18 major awards among the three states for the half-life-size bear mount.

Genereux says he attends as many shows as he can, enters his work to be critiqued by judges and attends seminars to learn the most up-to-date taxidermy techniques.

Actual awards given out by state associations vary, Genereux says, but he won Best Bear Mount awards in both Minnesota and North Dakota, along with Taxidermist Choice Game Head awards and Masters Competitor awards for having the four highest-scoring combined mounts.

In South Dakota, Genereux received the People's Choice Award and Best All Around Taxidermist Award for having the highest combined scores in four different categories.

Genereux also won the small life size mammal State Champion titles in both North Dakota and South Dakota with a fisher mount, along with State Champion Reproduction in South Dakota for his replica set of mountain goat horns. He received additional awards for these and a couple of other mounts he took to shows this season.

Genereux has competed at the master's level for three years and works mainly on life-size mammals, game heads and fish. He specializes in deer heads and bears of all types, from rugs to life size.

-- Herald staff report

DNR takes input on wildlife proposals

Hunters, wildlife watchers, landowners and anyone else who's interested can provide their thoughts about deer populations, proposed hunting and trapping season changes, including expanding the youth deer hunting season across the state, allowing smaller-gauge shotguns for wild turkey hunting and various changes related to the harvest of fisher, pine marten and bobcats.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will take input on the proposals through Sunday, April 21, at www.mndnr.gov/input/wildlife-input.html, in writing or by email. Background information on each change is provided online. The questions are for an informal, non-representative survey of DNR stakeholders.

"Every year, we consider various changes to our hunting seasons based on suggestions we receive from the public or staff, and we begin the process to evaluate potential biological or social impacts of those proposed changes," Leslie McInenly, DNR wildlife populations program manager, said in a statement. "The survey responses will help inform us as we make future decisions on these issues."

Information collected through the questionnaire will be combined with comments received at open houses hosted by the DNR throughout the state at the end of March and in early April. Upcoming deer season regulations will be announced midsummer. More information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

A written copy of the survey is available upon request by contacting the DNR Information Center at (888) 646-6367 or by email to Jason Abraham at jason.abraham@state.mn.us. Address written comments to Season Setting Comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4007.

-- Minnesota DNR

NDGF conducts spring mule deer survey

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department launched its annual spring aerial mule deer survey this past week in the western part of the state. Weather permitting, the survey takes a week to complete.

Game and Fish biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 Badlands study areas since the 1950s. The department uses the survey to collect mule deer population data for monitoring abundance and demographic trends, such as buck-to-doe and fawn-to-doe ratios.

Biologists counted 2,540 mule deer in 245.8 square miles during last year's survey. Overall mule deer density was 10.3 deer per square mile.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

LWCF grant apps now available

Applications now are being accepted for matching grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which recently became permanently reauthorized.

Funded by offshore oil and gas revenues, the LWCF provides up to $250,000 in matching grant assistance for land acquisition and development of outdoor recreation facilities for public parks, trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, splash pads, ballfields and courts, campgrounds, canoe-kayak launches, natural areas and nature centers, as well as support facilities such as restrooms and parking.

All facilities developed with LWCF assistance must be accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, all land acquired or developed with LWCF funds must always remain in outdoor recreation use.

In related news, a bipartisan bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate would fully dedicate $900 million annually to the LWCF, public lands advocacy group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers said in a news release. Congress typically appropriates $425 million annually, less than half the fund's authorizes level, BHA said.

Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the bill along with several bipartisan cosponsors, BHA said.

More info: www.nps.gov/subjects/lwcf/index.htm.

-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

• The North Dakota Game and Fish Department once again is celebrating Earth Day by sponsoring clean-up days on publicly owned or managed lands. Earth Day is Monday, April 22, but each member of a school, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, 4-H club or youth organization who participates in cleaning up public lands through May will receive a specifically designed conservation patch from Game and Fish. More info: Pat Lothspeich, (701) 328-6332.

• A record 820 archers competed in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state bull's-eye tournament March 22-23 in Minot. Oakes, N.D., students claimed top honors in the Elementary (grades 4-6) and Middle School (grades 7-8) divisions, while Hankinson, N.D., received the top prize in the High School (grades 9-12) division. The overall male winner was Barnes County North archer Casey Everson, while Hankinson student Kirstan Loewen claimed the top spot in the female division.

• Minnesota's warm weather stream trout season opened Saturday, April 13. Brook trout and splake fishing also opened on Lake Superior and its tributary streams that have no posted boundaries. In Minnesota's Northwest Region, trout fishing opportunities are available for large brown trout in places such as the Straight River or brook trout on Kabekona Creek. Minnesota has about 3,800 miles of designated trout streams. Anglers fishing designated trout waters must have a trout validation in addition to an angling license. More info: www.mndnr.gov/fishing/trout_streams.

• The DNR is accepting applications for bear hunting licenses through Friday, May 3. A total of 3,400 licenses are available in 13 permit areas, and an unlimited number of licenses will be sold over the counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwest Minnesota. The 2019 season is open from Sunday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 13. Lottery winners will be notified by June 1, and the deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining licenses will be sold over the counter starting at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. More info: www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

• Whitetails Unlimited recently awarded a $5,000 grant to the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League for the 2019 Trap Shooting Championship, set for June 10-18 in Alexandria, Minn., the conservation group said in a news release. More than 330 high schools and 8,500 student athletes will participate.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

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