Monday, October 16, 2017

rules for portable stands on WMA's

Hunters planning to use portable stands on wildlife management areas this season are reminded to check regulations to learn when they need to remove stands after hunting.
“In most of the state, leaving stands overnight on WMAs is not allowed and they must be removed at the end of the day,” said Bob Welsh, Department of Natural Resources wildlife operations manager. “Users of most WMAs will not see a change in stand regulations this year, but there is a change in an area of northwestern Minnesota.” 
In a specific portion of northwestern Minnesota, new legislation allows portable stands to be left out on WMAs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.
Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields during firearms deer season in hopes of harvesting a deer.
New in northwestern Minnesota
The new regulation allows WMA users to leave up to two portable stands overnight in any WMA in the northwestern corner of the state roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad. The area also is described as north of Highway 1 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to the western edge of the state, and west of a line from Highway 89 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to Fourtown, then north on the west side of Dick’s Parkway Forest Road, then north to Highway 5 to the northern edge of the state.
The DNR defines a portable stand as a stationary platform or blind designed and capable of being readily moved by hand by a single person in a single trip without the aid of a motorized vehicle, is secured in position and does no permanent damage to the natural environment.
Hunters leaving a stand overnight must label the stand with the hunter’s name and address; the hunter’s driver’s license number; or simply with the hunter’s MDNR number. The label must be readable from the ground.
WMAs elsewhere in Minnesota
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight.
“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from preempting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.
“In addition to WMAs, there are a variety of other public land types and hunters should be aware that regulations governing the use of portable stands can differ depending on the type of public land they’re hunting,” Salo said.
Hunters should always wear a safety harness if using an elevated stand, added Salo.
“In addition to wearing a safety harness, check climbing sticks, steps or ladders for damage and always wait to load a firearm until safely in the stand,” Salo said.
Hunters need to be familiar with hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

New maps make it easier to visit Minnesota state forests



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt, and recreate in state forests.

“The DNR has updated six state forest maps with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”

State forest users now have two maps options. A geoPDF map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.

“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest—no more getting lost.”

The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches, and picnic areas.

The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.

New geoPDF and paper maps are now available for:
·         Paul Bunyan State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
·         Badoura State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
·         St. Croix State Forest in Pine County.
·         Huntersville State Forest in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena counties.
·         Lyons State Forest in Wadena County.
·         Chengwatana State Forest in Pine and Chisago counties.

The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMAs), two ruffed grouse management areas, and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.

The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.

The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.

The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobliers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River. Digital, geoPDF maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at www.mndnr.gov/state_forests/maps-launch.html.

People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to info.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.        

Grant money available to MN livestock owners for prevention of wolf attacks



St. Paul, MN: Minnesota livestock producers can now apply for grant money to help prevent wolf attacks. The Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention Grants were funded by the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year.

There is $120,000 available to producers this fiscal year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) and another $120,000 available next fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). Applications for this fiscal year are due November 24, 2017.

The grants provide reimbursement for costs of approved practices to prevent wolf-livestock conflicts. Eligible expenses for the grant program will include any or all of the following items:
·         Purchase of guard animals
·         Veterinary costs for guard animals
·         Installation of wolf-barriers which may include pens, fladry and fencing
·         Installation of wolf-deterring lights and alarms
·         Calving or lambing shelters
·         Other measures demonstrated to effectively reduce wolf-livestock conflicts

Producers must live within Minnesota’s wolf range, as designated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, or on property determined by the Commissioner of Agriculture to be affected by wolf-livestock conflicts. Any animal species produced for profit and documented to have been killed by wolves in Minnesota in the past is eligible. This includes bison, cattle, chicken, deer, donkey, duck, geese, goat, horse, llama, mule, sheep, swine and turkey.

The grant application must be emailed or postmarked by 5:00 p.m. on November 24, 2017. Work for this first grant cycle must be done and expenses reported by June 30, 2018. The application and more information can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/disaster/wolf/wolfconflictprevent.aspx.

Friday, October 13, 2017

DNR Reminds About Aquatic Invasive Species



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding lake property owners to carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage. This is important as new zebra mussel infestations were initially reported by people making end of season inspections of docks, boats and boat lifts.
“These recent confirmations serve as a reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. 
It’s especially important to follow Minnesota’s law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water. This state law is central to the training DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses receive. Anyone transporting a dock or lift from the adjacent shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit, to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:
  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
  • Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
  • Contact your area DNR aquatic invasivespeciesspecialist if you think you have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in your lake.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.