ST. PAUL (AP) -- Retreating from a plan to open the duck hunting season on the earliest date in 50 years, the state Department of Natural Resources has set Sept. 28 as the start of the 2002 season.
It will end Nov. 26.
Ray Norrgard, leader of the department's wetland wildlife program, said the department received "an awful lot of negative responses" to its proposal to open the season a week earlier.
He said people were concerned because they'd already made plans to hunt on the state's traditional opening weekend -- the Saturday closest to Oct. 1. Others were concerned the early season would have affected breeding ducks.
The original date was proposed to allow Minnesota to take advantage of an expanded season allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Wildlife Division Director Tim Bremicker. He said Minnesota will be one of a few that will not take advantage of the expanded season.
Among other changes this waterfowl season:
--The canvasback season will be closed.
--The pintail season will be reduced to 30 days.
--There will be early season limitations on the use of motorized decoys.
In a surprising reversal Tuesday, golf's two governing bodies scrapped plans to allow recreational players in the United States to use so-called hot drivers, designed to hit the ball farther.
The modified policy means Americans cannot use the thin-faced drivers in club tournaments or to post a score for their handicap index.
The plan that was to take effect Jan. 1 would have allowed average U.S. players to use the hot drivers until 2008. The decision Tuesday does not affect players in the rest of the world, who already were told they can use the drivers until then.
While Tuesday's change was meant to avoid confusion, the new policy by the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club could lead to chaos in the equipment market, already geared up to sell the new drivers.
Stewart fined $10,000 for punching photographer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 and put on probation for the rest of the year by NASCAR on Tuesday for punching a photographer after the Brickyard 400.
Stewart hit Gary Mook, a freelance photographer for the Indianapolis Star, as Mook tried to take pictures of the driver following his 12th-place finish Sunday.
NASCAR also told Stewart to apologize formally to Mook.
Following the announcement, Stewart was apologetic.
Before climbing into a Late Modified car on a half-mile dirt track in Terre Haute, Ind., Stewart said he wanted to meet Mook personally to offer his apology. He also said he needed help to control his temper.
"There's no excuse for what I did. It was wrong," Stewart said. "I don't expect anybody to forgive me, what I did was wrong. I think what NASCAR fined me was not stiff enough, given my past."
Houston safety Evans walks, expected to be released Wednesday
CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Texans safety Leomont Evans walked in the hospital Tuesday, and showed so much improvement that he was expected to return to Houston and begin rehabilitation this week.
Evans bruised his spinal cord in a collision during the first half of the Texans' NFL debut in the Hall of Fame game Monday night and temporarily lost feeling in his arms and legs.
A doctor said Evans would remain in Aultman Hospital in Canton overnight and return to Houston on Wednesday.
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