For deer hunters, the announcement was a long time coming.
Making sense of it all may take some time, too.
Recently, DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten announced new restrictions for all-terrain vehicles, to be in effect during part of the 2008 firearms deer hunting season.
The "Commissioner's Order," as the DNR refers to it, affects recreational riding on DNR forest trails but does not impact off-highway vehicle use for big-game hunting. Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles, off-road motorcycles and off-road vehicles such as four-wheel-drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.
The DNR goes on to say that the purpose of the restriction is to protect recreational OHV riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters seeking a quiet deer hunting experience and recreational riders who may inadvertently interrupt the hunt.
The news, although somewhat muddled and complicated, was a major victory for deer hunters.
Some of the particulars:
In northeastern Minnesota, known as the 100 Series deer area, the recreational riding restriction will be in effect Nov. 8 through Nov. 23. In much of the rest of the state, known as the Minnesota 200 Series area, the recreational riding restriction will be in effect Nov. 8 through Nov. 16.
The new restriction is in addition to the restricted hours of use that have been in effect in previous years. Deer hunters possessing a valid deer hunting license may operate an OHV from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and before legal shooting hours (one-half hour before sunrise) and after legal shooting hours (one-half hour after sunset). No recreational OHV trails in southeastern Minnesota remain open during the deer season, the DNR said.
Those with questions about how the restrictions might impact where they hunt should refer to the 2008 deer season map, which can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/ hunting/deer/index.html. Those seeking details about specific trails should go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/az. html.
Changes for venison donation program
Minnesota officials recently announced that the state's venison donation program will continue in 2008, although several key changes will be implemented to help avoid the donation of meat contaminated with lead fragments.
Changes for 2008:
All donated venison must be processed into whole cuts; no ground venison will be accepted.
Processors and food shelves participating in the program must attend a training seminar focused on best-practices to prevent contamination.
Deer with extensive damage from ammunition will not be accepted for donation.
All product donated through the venison donation program must be labeled and the labeling must include the identification number or name of the processing plant where the meat was processed.
A copy of the state's lead advisory statement will be distributed along with the donated venison.
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