Hunters and trappers have killed 87 wolves so far in Minnesota's the late season, including 33 in the northeast zone, where the harvest quota is 33.
The DNR will close that zone at the end of shooting hours Wednesday.
The total kill this year, including wolves harvested in the early season, stood at 175 Wednesday afternoon. The DNR’s target harvest is 220 wolves. The late season ends Jan. 31, though it will be closed by zones earlier if quotas are approached.
So far, 52 wolves have been killed in the northwest zone, where the target quota is 89 wolves. And two wolves have been killed in the east-central zone, where the target is 10 animals.
Walleye anglers who fish Mille Lacs Lake this winter will do so under the same bag and slot limit that has been in effect since May, the Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday.
Following fish population assessments this fall, the DNR determined that maintaining the existing regulation was appropriate. That regulation allows anglers to harvest walleye between 18- and 20-inches, except one over 28 inches may be harvested. The possession limit is two.
The walleye fishing season runs through Feb. 23 and reopens May 10. The walleye regulation for the 2014 open water season will be announced in late winter following an evaluation of harvest data.
Minnesota's duck season is nearing a critical point, as recent cold weather freezes some lakes and sloughs. Ducks should be migrating into – and out of – the state.
The DNR's weekly waterfowl migration report says hunters reported mixed success over the past week, but generally better than the previous week.
"Duck numbers in northern Minnesota declined dramatically as many lakes are now ice covered,'' reported Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
"Many locations in central and southern Minnesota noted increasing numbers of ducks, particularly diving ducks, over the past week,'' Cordts reported. "Migrant snow geese, Canada geese, and tundra swans were all observed moving into Minnesota earlier this week. Waterfowl hunting pressure remains very low and will be extremely low this weekend with the firearms deer opener.''
The full report is here.
I've been hunting pheasants for more than 30 years, in all kinds of conditions, including near-blizzards, but Sunday in southestern Minnesota was a new experience. Friend Jack Rendulich of Duluth and I encountered 30 to 40 mile per hour winds that nearly blew us over.
Rendulich shot video as we hunted public land near a harvested corn field. An incredible nonstop stream of debris from the field blew through the air, occassionally slapping us in the face. Later, we saw corn debris drifting like snow in ditches and roads, and clinging to barbed wire fences.
So it was miserable pheasant hunting weather, and most sane hunters would have called it quits and headed for home. We didn't. And, astonishingly, we ended up shooting our four-bird limit.
Check out the video above.
Minnesota’s newest critical habitat license plate featuring a ring-necked pheasant is now available for motorists to buy.
The new plate was unveiled at the Governor's Pheasant Opener in Madelia last month. The image is from the 2007 state pheasant stamp, painted by Minnesota artist Joe Hautman.
“We are giving motorists more ways to show their conservation colors and individual identity,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner.
Minnesota motorists can buy the new plate at any licensed registrar
or department of motor vehicle office. It’s not necessary to wait until tabs are expired on the vehicle to purchase new plates and the tabs for the vehicle will expire at the same time.
Other critical habitat license plate options are: a showy ladyslipper, a northern Minnesota fishing scene, a white-tailed buck, a black-capped chickadee and a loon.
The critical habitat license plate program was created in 1995. Motorists who purchase a critical habitat plate make a minimum annual contribution of $30 to the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) Program. Every dollar is matched with private donations of cash or land. The plates have generated more than $25 million toward the purchase of 7,700 acres of critical habitat and have helped fund nongame research and surveys, habitat enhancement and educational programs
More than 100,000 motorists have habitat plates on their vehicles but plate sales have leveled off in recent years.
The critical habitat license plate program is cooperative effort of the DNR, the Department of Public Safety, which administers license plates sales, and the Department of Corrections, whose prison industry produces the plates at its Rush City facility.