The Minnesota DNR said the state's three-day opening weekend firearms deer harvest was down 8 percent from 2012, citing strong winds in parts of the state as a possible explanation.
Minnesota hunters harvested 77,008 deer during the period.
“Last year, opening weekend weather was almost ideal and the state’s corn harvest was virtually complete, Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader, said. “So given Saturday’s roaring winds of up to 30 miles per hour, which tends to restrict deer movement, and more available deer refuge areas due to pockets of standing corn, the harvest is about what you’d expect.”
In some areas, she said, about a quarter of the corn crop was not yet harvested.
Also from the DNR:
The DNR had sold 445,385 firearms deer licenses as of Monday, about 1,000 fewer than last year but roughly 10,000 more than 2011.
Around the state, opening day hunting conditions included snow in the north and gusty winds and overcast skies most everywhere, turning nicer on Sunday. The harvest was down 19 percent in the northeast, 4 percent in the southeast and 6 percent for the remainder of the state. Because hunters have 48 hours to register a harvested deer, final opening weekend numbers for 2013 will be greater than those reported today.
With improving weather conditions this week, the DNR still expects the final 2013 harvest to be similar to last year when about 185,000 deer were taken.
The firearms season continues through Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, which extends until Nov. 24. There is also a late southeast firearms season that runs Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
The DNR reminds hunters who harvest a deer to tag it at the kill site. Also, hunters are required to register their deer within 48 hours after harvest and before processing.
Waterfowl Production Areas in Minnesota will be open to hunters when the state's pheasant season begins Saturday at 9 a.m.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the announcement Friday afternoon, making about 300,000 acres of pheasant lands available to hunters. The lands had been considered off-limits during the government shutdown.
In its announcement, the service said:
"It has been determined that allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) will not incur further government expenditure or obligation and is allowable under a government shutdown. Therefore, effective immediately, all WPAs will reopen to public use.
"As the shutdown continues, if the Service determines that maintaining the WPAs in open status, individually or cumulatively, would likely cause Service expenditures or obligations to be made in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Service will close public access.''
It's interesting that purchasers of Minnesota cabins or lakeshore homes often make decisions whether to buy or not — and what to buy — based on the lot and structure, and less so on the lake.
But in fact, consideration of a lake's particulars is crucial, not only to understanding which fish and other critters live in it, but also to appreciate whether the new property might rise in value over time, or, conversely, fall in value.
The state's problems with invasive species such as Asian carp and zebra mussels make the point. Both potentially affect rivers and lakes, sometimes in ways that are not yet fully understood. Lakeshore buyers should understand this, and investigate its possible consequences on the lake for recreation, including fishing.
A step in the direction of becoming better educated is available at the DNR State Fair Building this year, where fish tanks display typical waters and fish species from different parts of the state.
These include a northern Minnesota lake tank, a central Minnesota tank, a southwestern Minnesota tank, and tanks each from southeastern Minnesota trout streams and warm-cool water large rivers, such as the Mississippi.
Each plays host to a variety of fish, some of which overlap in waters throughout the state. But some others don't.
To my mind, understanding these lake and river types, and basing lake home or cabin purchase decisions on these understandings, should be the first consideration made by prospective buyers, and lot size and type, and structure size and type, should follow.
Norway is a land of midnight sun — and big fish.
Marco Liebenow, a German angler, recently caught a halibut off the Norway coast that weighed 513 pounds, according to a report in Outdoor Hub, an online aggregator of hunting, fishing, shooting and related news.
Liebenow fought the fish for nearly 90 minutes from his small boat near Kjollefjord, Norway, according to The Daily Mail newspaper.
It's possible the big halibut will displace the previous rod-and-reel record of 419 pounds held for Atlantic halibut.
Four men were needed to attach a sling around the fish’s tail and tow it to shore. There, the anglers employed a crane to haul the halibut out of the water. The meat was distributed among the anglers and donated to charity.
In May, another German angler fishing in Norwegian waters also made a potential world record catch. Michael Eisele’s staggering 103-pound cod outweighed the previous record by five pounds.