■ Ice fishing shelter removal
Minnesota’s ice fishing shelter removal dates are approaching, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight on March 4 in the southern two-thirds of the state and March 18 in the northern third. Enforcement action will be taken if shelters are left after the deadlines.
The March 4 removal deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 18 deadline applies to waters north of that line.
Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier, if ice conditions warrant.
Those not removing shelters will be prosecuted. Conservation officers may remove the structure and confiscate or destroy it. It is also unlawful to store or leave a shelter at a public access.
After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.
It is unlawful to improperly dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Anglers should check with local refuse providers or landfills for disposal.
■ 4.56 pound pike wins
Fishing for Ducks contest
GARRISON — More than 8,000 holes were drilled in the ice of Garrison Bay in preparation for the Fishing for Ducks Tournament on Feb. 16 that drew a record crowd of over 3,700 anglers hoping to catch the biggest fish and take home the grand prize of a Chevy truck.
The fishing was slow between the contest hours of noon to 3 p.m. but patience was the key for Mike Vogt of Brainerd. He pulled up a Northern Pike weighing in at 4.56 pounds to take home the top prize. Vogt took the cash option and brought home $17,000 instead.
“Fishing for Ducks is the most attended Ducks Unlimited event on the planet, a fact we are damn proud of,” said Greg Erickson, contest chair.
The Garrison Wildlife Chapter is consistently in the top 100 chapters for fundraising in the nation, Erickson said. “And we have been in the top 25 for the last two years. Not bad for a town of just over 200 people.”
Erickson said 100 percent of the profits from the Fishing for Ducks goes straight to Ducks Unlimited, the worldwide leader in wetland and waterfowl conservation.
■ Upcoming activities at Mille
Lacs Kathio State Park
At 1 p.m. March 2 the park will host “Snowshoeing into the Past.”
Following an indoor look at some ancient artifacts, participatns will take a short snowshoe hike to locations where archaeologists found evidence of a village from the 1600s and a 3,500-year old campsite. Snowshoes and a “how-to-snowshoe” lesson are provided. Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people.
To register, sign up at the Interpretive Center or call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending. The class will meet at the Interpretive Center the day of the event, which is expected to last an hour and 15 minutes.
At 1 p.m. March 9 the park will host “Return of the Eagles.”
This 45-minute talk and slide show will illustrate the natural history, near extinction and remarkable comeback of bald eagles. Participants should meet at the Interpretive Center.
■ Deadly winter on the ice
This winter season (November to April) is on track to be the deadliest on the ice in more than five years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported.
So far this winter, five people have died after going through the ice in Minnesota. A sixth person is missing and presumed drowned. In the 2006-2007 winter season, eight people died in ice-related incidents.
All the fatalities this winter involved a snowmobile or vehicle either crashing into open water or breaking through the ice.
As the winter starts to wind down and Minnesotans enter the last weekend in February, Owens has an urgent message for winter enthusiasts: “The bottom line is it’s crucial that people do not let their guard down and recognize ice is never 100 percent safe.”
There were four fatalities in 2011-2012 and 2010-2011; one in 2009-2010; two in 2008-2009; three in 2007-2008; and eight in 2006-2007.
■ Up north woodlands workshop to be broadcast March 9 in Brainerd
Presentations on 20 topics for family woodland owners will be delivered in Grand Rapids and broadcast live to four sites around the state, including Brainerd.
The March 9 event is planned primarily for Minnesota family woodland owners or anyone who would like to learn more about current forest and woodland area topics.
There will be four presentation options per session, with sign-up on a first come, first served basis. Sessions will begin at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. Full details on topics, presenters and more is available at http://z.umn.edu/UpNorth.
Some presentations will be broadcast live to audiences in Brainerd, Cloquet, Mankato and Rochester. These sites will have a two-way audio and video feed in a classroom setting. You’ll be able to submit questions to the speakers in Grand Rapids and discuss the presentations with other landowners at your site. Each site will be hosted by a University of Minnesota Extension forester. The $20 registration fee ($25 after Feb. 27) is the same for all five sites and includes refreshments and lunch.
The webcast sites will see five presentations from Room A in Grand Rapids: Phenology (the study of seasonal changes in nature with John Latimer); Forests and their Pesky Friends (Jana Albers); Forest Resilience (Eli Sagor); Hiking Trail Design and Maintenance (Mel Baughman); and Property Taxes and Incentive Payments (Mike Reichenbach).
Register online for the site you would like to attend: http://z.umn.edu/UpNorth.
Brainerd: University of Minnesota Extension Office, 322 Laurel St, Brainerd MN. Direct questions to Diomy Zamora, email@example.com or 612-626-9272.