It was a mixed bag for Minnesota hunters and fishermen at the 2004 Legislature. While the state gained a dove season and a 9 a.m. duck opener, other significant proposals will not become law unless Gov. Tim Pawlenty convenes a special session of the Legislature.
Among the potential losses are the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which would have paid farmers to retire 120,000 acres of marginal land. The program, which would be in line for millions in matching grants from the federal government, was in the same bonding bill as a proposal to fund thousands of acres of new Wildlife Management Areas. Pawlenty originally asked for $12 million for WMAs, but the proposal was trimmed in the Legislature.
A bill asking voters to dedicate a portion of the sales tax to natural resources died in the session's waning hours.
A few measures passed, including a bill that created a mourning dove season. Pawlenty signed it into law May 20. The season probably will begin Sept. 1 and run 60 days. The dove limit is likely to be 15 daily and 30 in possession.
The dove proposal was part of a game and fish bill that has other changes for hunters, including:
* Duck season will open at 9 a.m. rather than the traditional noon opener;
* The DNR is authorized to create a quality deer management zone in northwestern Minnesota and a youth deer hunt in the same region. The quality deer hunt, which would implement antler restrictions, is only a proposal. The DNR is expected to host public hearings on the issue later this year;
* Nonresidents now can trap in Minnesota, but only on land they own;
* Deer hunters will be allowed to party hunt with an all-season deer tag;
* Youths ages 16 and 17 are eligible for discounted youth deer licenses and for taking antlerless deer without a permit.
Boat and water safety classes offered
A pair of boat and water safety classes are being offered in the area. By law, youths 14-17 must have a permit to operate a personal watercraft and all persons 12-15 must have a permit to operate a boat with a 25-horsepower or larger motor.
Youths can get their watercraft operator's permit at a one-day course at Mission Park on June 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Laws and safety regulations are covered in the morning. On-the-water training takes place in the afternoon. Lunch is provided. Attendees must bring a life jacket. The course is open to youths 11 to 17. Eleven-year-olds can complete the course and get their certificate after their 12th birthday. Mission Park is 7 miles south of Crosslake. For more information, go to www.lakesarea.net or phone (218) 765-4149.
Gull Area Lakes Association and water patrol units of Crow Wing and Cass counties offer one-day classes June 10, June 22 and July 8. Classes start at 8 a.m. A fee of $5 is charged for lunch. To enrole, phone 963-2229. Class sizes are limited.
Gun dog training seminar slated
Top gun dog trainers will conduct a seminar June 5 at Little Moran Hunt Club.
Dogs of all ages are welcome and will get one-on-one time with trainers, including Deven Inglove of Center Creek Kennels, Chad Hines of Willow Creek Kennels and Steve Grossman of Moran Creek Setters. Topics include gun introduction, bird work, trained retrieve and electric collar conditioning.
Registration is 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The seminar is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with lunch provided. Phone (218) 894-3852 for more information.
WMS tudent wins poster contest
Burrell Flanagan, a student in Carol Jackson's class at Washington Middle School, took first place in the 2004 Minnesota Cats Indoors Poster Contest. Burrell along with three others students at the school also placed third in the regional competition.
This is the second straight year Jackson's class captured the top four regional placements. Out of 98 entries for the Northeast region of the state, her students clearly came out on top in the 10-12 year old age category. Regional winners and their placement included Ellen Johnson (1), Amanda Nord (2), Burrell Flanagan (3) and Lyla Renn (4).
Prior to the art project, Jackson did a unit on the need to keep cats indoors, not only for their own safety but for the safety of wildlife as well. Cats allowed to roam outdoors are killed, maimed by dogs, cars, coyotes and other animals, get deer ticks and fleas that carry diseases, eat toxic pesticides, poisons and antifreeze, get caught in traps and become meals for hungry eagles and great horned owls. Cats catch songbirds and raid their nests. Small mammals and reptiles also are vulnerable to cats.
The winning posters will be used to encourage people to keep their cat indoors and will appear in newspapers and the DNR web site (www.dnr.state.mn.us). The posters have been sent to the American Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors Campaign for national competition.
For more information about keeping cats indoors, phone (202) 452-1535, or go to www.abcbirds.org.
Daschner, Behsman win MWT season opener
A team of Mark Daschner, Armstrong, Iowa, and Troy Behsman, Cleveland, Minn., weighed five walleyes for a total of 14.56 pounds on May 23 to win the Minnesota Walleye Trail season opener on Lac qui Parle Lake. Daschner and Behsman were one of only three teams to weight five fish or more. Two inches of rain on Sunday made for tough fishing.
Next up on the MWT is Lake Minnewaska on June 13.
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