ST. PAUL (AP) -- The DNR has announced 2002 hunting seasons and reminds hunters of some new regulations.
Firearms deer season opens Nov. 9, archery deer season Sept. 14 and muzzleloader deer season Nov. 30. After unusually mild winters four of the five past years, Minnesota's deer population has grown dramatically, particularly in the northern, forested areas of the state.
A total of 363,765 anterless permits will be offered this fall -- a record number and a 28 percent increase from last year. Previously, the high for these permits, offered for 26 years, was 322,030 in 1992. Antlerless permits allow hunters to kill a deer of either sex. In a number of areas hunters will be allowed to shoot more than one deer.
Other seasons include:
--Bear, Sept. 1;
--Moose, Sept. 28;
--Wild turkey, Oct. 16-20 and Oct. 23-27;
--Woodcock, Sept. 1-Nov. 4;
--Pheasant, Oct. 12-Dec. 15;
--Gray partridge, Sept. 14-Dec. 31;
--Ruffed grouse, Sept. 14-Dec. 31;
--Sharp-tailed grouse, Sept. 14-Nov. 30;
--Rabbit, hare and squirrel, Sept. 14-Feb. 28;
--Early Canada goose, Sept. 1;
--Duck, to be announced (either Sept. 21 or Sept. 28);
--Geese, to be announced;
--Crow, July 15-Oct. 15 and March 1-March 31.
Limits on sunfish, crappie, catfish,
lake trout could be lowered
ST. PAUL (AP) -- The DNR is proposing lower bag and possession limits for sunfish, crappie, catfish and lake trout.
If adopted, the new limits would begin in May for inland and Canadian border waters.
The proposed changes include:
* Reducing the black and white crappie daily and possession limit from 15 to 10. They have been declining in average size in many lakes. One of the proposals submitted for public review was to lower the limit from 15 to six, but there was no public support. The proposed 10-fish limit was acceptable to most anglers surveyed.
* Reducing the sunfish daily and possession limit from 30 to 20. Sunfish is a species that includes bluegills, the most popular sunfish for anglers. Like crappies, bluegills have shown a steady decline in average size.
* Reducing the lake trout daily and possession limit from three to two. These fish, too, have been overharvested.
* The catfish daily and possession limit would remain at five, but only two could be flatheads and only one -- whether flathead or channel -- could be more than 24 inches long. At issue here is anglers taking home limits of large flathead and channel catfish on rivers such as the Mississippi and Minnesota. The one-over-24-inches limit is already in place in the Red River and its tributaries.
Sauer, Swanson share
Bowfin Grand Championship
Two members of the Minnesota Bowfin Club (MBC) will share the title of Grand Champion for the 2002 season.
Dean Sauer, Breezy Point, and Tom Swanson, Brainerd, each registered a bowfin measuring 26.5 inches in length. A length measurement is used rather than a weight so fish can be immediately released without injury.
This year's competition was closer than any of the previous years and marks the first time there has been a tie for the Grand Championship. Both fish were pulled from Whitefish Lake. Swanson caught his on May 21 while using a jig and tube to target non-aggressive fish during cold-front conditions. Sauer caught his on May 29 while using a white spinnerbait.
The MBC, started in 1999, is dedicated to promoting the catch and release of the bowfin (dogfish). The tournament season begins each spring at ice out and runs until June 15. Results are reported on an honor system. The fisherman who reports the largest fish each is Grand Champion for the year. Live bait is not allowed so fish can be returned to the water unharmed immediately after they're measured.
Bowfin are most readily caught in April and early May when they move into the shallows during the pre-spawn period. This year's cold weather pushed back their spawning cycle. While some fish were caught earlier in the spring, most of the bigger fish started showing up in mid-May.
History repeated itself this year. As during last year's quest for the Grand Championship, another MBC member, Dixon Esary, Aitkin, landed a bowfin that measured 27 inches. It would have made him Grand Champion but it was caught on live bait. Esary was fishing with a crappie jig tipped with a minnow on 4-pound test line when the fish hit. The fish could not be officially registered in the MBC competition, however, due to the stipulation of only using artificial lures. Esary's fish was successfully released.
Brainerd Lakes Bassmasters
get season underway
Scott Rosener and Craig Paulson took first place with five bass weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces at the Brainerd Lakes BassMasters first tournament of the year on Clearwater Lake. Arnie Farber and Brett Stark were second with 17 pounds, 8 ounces, and third place went to Jim Eide and Steve Deszamp with 16 pounds, 8 ounces. Roesner caught the largest bass at 4 pounds, 12 ounces.
In the second tournament of the season on Hubert Lake, Arnie Farber and Mark Pierzinski won with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 12.5 ounces. Dan Doughty and Brett Stark finished second with 10 pounds, 8 ounces, and Tim Bosch and Gui Johnson were third with 10 pounds, 6 ounces. Pierzinski took the lunker of the tournament at 3 pounds, 14 ounces.
The Brainerd Lakes BassMasters' next tournament will be on Serpent Lake.
Spring turkey harvest sets another record
Minnesota turkey hunters killed 6,516 birds during the spring hunt, topping the 2001 record of 6,283. It marked the eighth consecutive year in which a new turkey harvest record was set.
In keeping with past trends, the highest kill was during the first hunt, when 1,282 turkeys were taken. The least successful season was the seventh, with a kill of 560.
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