The Minnesota Fishing Federation announced the winners in its 2003 Fish Tales contest and a local girl is among them.
Amy Steinkopf, 13, Brainerd, wrote a story about her first time ice fishing when she was 12. For seven hours she fished with her uncle in freezing weather, though they did have a tent. When it was time to go home her uncle discovered he had locked the keys in the car. "After some time my aunt found a key and we went home," Amy wrote.
The annual contest allows children ages 6-17 to write about their favorite fishing adventure and compete for prizes at the annual Minnesota Outdoors Sports Show in Grand Rapids. All entrants received a food certificate from Hardees of Grand Rapids. Cash prizes were given to the top three in each group.
DNR supports mourning dove hunting season
The DNR said it supports legislation that would authorize a mourning dove hunting season in Minnesota.
The legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, and in the Senate by Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington, would provide additional hunting opportunities for about 50,000 Minnesota hunters and would have no adverse effect on the bird's population, said Commissioner Gene Merriam in a letter sent to the Legislature. The bill was passed March 10 by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Game and Fish and will be considered for inclusion in an omnibus fish and game policy bill.
Mourning doves are one of the most abundant migratory game birds in the nation, with an estimated fall population of 400 million birds. Minnesota has a fall population of approximately 12 million birds.
OHV users urged to
watch for trail closures
With warm weather on the way, state forest road and trail closures are coming within the next few weeks.
"Depending on the weather, the closures will vary according to local conditions," said Les Ollila, DNR regional trails manager. "If the weather gets as warm as the predictions suggest, it's going to get sloppy out on the trails. We ask users to watch trail conditions before the official closures take effect and avoid areas where damage to natural resources or the trail could occur. We urge people to ride responsibly wherever they are."
Wildfire fighting agencies are gearing up for an active spring fire season. Snow cover statewide is well below the averages for this time of year. Restrictions on burning permits will be imposed in the northern two-thirds of the state within two weeks after snow cover has melted.
On April 1 restrictions take effect in the central Minnesota counties of Morrison, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Stearns, Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Sherburne, Anoka, Washington, Ramsey, Hennepin, Wright, Carver, Scott and Dakota. Since April and May are the most active months for fires, the DNR will not allow for the issuing of burning permits.
Local trout chapter
to host fly fishing clinic
The Paul Bunyan Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host a fly casting clinic at 6:30 p.m. March 27 at Franklin Junior High School. The program will feature fly casting and fly tying demonstrations and an update on the current state of trout fishing.
Attendees are asked to bring fly tackle, though equipment will be available for those without it. Membership in the local chapter is not necessary to take part in this program.
Attendees are asked to use the school's south entrance, which faces the parking lot on Washington Street. Contact Ken Perry at 828-4718, Mickey Johnson at 828-1658 or Mike Rahn at 829-7569 for more information.
Volunteers sought for
frog, toad calling survey
Volunteers are needed for the Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey, which helps track population changes in Minnesota's 14 frog and toad species.
The 2003 survey, which begins April 15, has predefined routes throughout rural Minnesota. Three nights each year volunteers run their 10-stop route and listen to identify frog and toad calls. These routes are run after dark, in good weather, and in each of the following time periods to capture seasonal variation in calling frog species: April 15-30 (early spring), May 20-June 5 (late spring) and June 25-July 10 (summer).
New volunteers are provided with a cassette tape of Minnesota frog and toad species' calls, a map of a predefined route in an area of their choice, and directions of how to run the route. A vehicle is required to travel between stops on the route.
Anyone interested can volunteer by calling (651) 523-2945 or by e-mailing volunteer coordinator Heather Schoonover at email@example.com.
Wolves reclassified from endangered to threatened
A steadily growing gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes states and a highly successful reintroduction program in the northern Rocky Mountains have prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to change the status of gray wolves in these areas from "endangered" to the less serious "threatened" designation under the Endangered Species Act.
Gray wolf numbers in the western Great Lakes are estimated at more than 2,445 in Minnesota, 323 in Wisconsin and 278 in Michigan and have climbed beyond recovery goals for wolves in the eastern United States. In the Rocky Mountains, there are an estimated 664 wolves in 44 packs in northwestern Montana, Idaho, and in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Gray wolves once ranged throughout much of the North American continent and occupied most of the lower 48 states. By the 1920s, wolves were nearly extinct in the lower 48 states except for a small population in Minnesota.
Geese on the move in Dakotas
As of earlier this week there were no major sightings of snow geese in North Dakota, but thousands moved into South Dakota last weekend.
Geese have yet to reach the Sand Lake Refuge. Wetlands in that region are still not open. To track the migration in South Dakota, call the snow goose line at (605) 885-6401.
Temperatures in North Dakota reached the upper 50s last weekend, though some snow remains on the ground in the eastern half of the state. A new snow goose status report will be provided for North Dakota when major movements and concentrations occur.
The light goose season in North Dakota runs through May 11. In South Dakota it runs through May 15.
Iowa sets fall hunting seasons
Iowa's Natural Resource Commission has approved most hunting season dates for 2003-2004.
Pheasant season is Oct. 25 to Jan. 10, 2004. Archery deer season is Oct. 1 to Dec. 5, and Dec. 22 to Jan. 10, 2004, early muzzleloader deer season is Oct. 11 to 19, late muzzleloader Dec. 22 to Jan. 10, first shotgun Dec. 6 to 10, second shotgun Dec. 13 to 21 and the special late deer season is Jan. 11 to 19, 2004.
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