Think the federal shutdown doesn't affect Minnesota hunters?
The shutdown will prevent hunters from hunting some federal lands, including National Wildlife Refuges and, more importantly, waterfowl production areas scattered around the state.
In Minnesota, the Fish and Wildlife Service oversees nine national wildlife refuges and nine wetland management districts totaling 481,000 acres that now are closed to public use, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.
"Of course, public safety is of the utmost importance on our federal lands and we will have a dedicated group of law enforcement officers working across these lands,'' Tina Shaw, public affairs specialist for the service, said Monday before the shutdown.
In the Twin Cities, Capable Partners, which helps get disabled hunters hunting and fishing, won't be able to archery or waterfowl hunt in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, as it has been doing in recent days. See my story on Capable Partners in Friday's Outdoors Weekend.
Meanwhile, here's a link to the Fish and Wildlife Service's statement posted on the agency's website: http://www.startribune.com/a2503
The DNR's weekly waterfowl migration report is out, and waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts reports duck hunting success was fair to good across the state. Hunter success was generally better in the west and south, where blue-winged teal are more abundant, he said.
Here are the number of ducks shot per hunter at various locations across the state on opening day, compared to 2012: Thief Lake WMA (1.9 vs. 2.9), Tamarac NWR (2.0 vs. 2.0), Big Rice by Remer (1.9 vs. 1.5), Big White Oak (1.6 vs. 2.0), Mud Goose WMA (2.2 vs. 3.6), Roseau WMA (2.3 vs. 1.6), Canosia WMA (0.7 vs. 0.5), Lac qui Parle WMA (3.2 vs. 4.0), Carlos Avery WMA (1.4 vs. 1.3) and Swan Lake (1.6 vs. 2.9).
You can see the full report at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/waterfowl/index.html
Tests have confirmed that the wolf trapped and killed Aug. 26 on a Lake Winnibigoshish campground is the same one that bit a 16-year-old boy two days earlier.
Testing done by forensic scientists at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California-Davis showed identical matches between the wolf’s DNA profile and the profile of samples obtained from a comforter used when the teen was taken for treatment.
“We were confident that the wolf involved in the attack was removed based on the description and location of the wolf captured following the incident,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR results confirmed that.
The DNR also received final results this week of the wolf necropsy conducted by the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The necropsy report documented a number of abnormal conditions that may have contributed to the wolf's actions, which officials said was not normal wolf behavior.
The wolf, estimated to be 1½ years old, suffered from severe facial deformity, dental abnormalities and brain damage caused by infection, according to Anibal G. Armien, the pathologist and veterinarian at the University of Minnesota who performed the necropsy.
It’s likely that the wolf experienced a traumatic injury as a pup and those injuries developed into abnormalities that caused the brain damage, Armien said.
The wolf’s condition likely explains why it was searching for food around the campground, said Dan Stark, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist. In most cases it is extremely rare for a wolf to be scavenging around an area with frequent human activity and not avoid the presence of people. The wolf’s stomach contained only fish spines and scales.
“It’s surprising that a wolf in this condition survived to this point given its reduced ability to survive in the wild,” Stark said.
“We can’t know with certainty why this wolf approached and bit the teen,” Carstensen said. “But the necropsy results support the possibility that its facial deformity, dental abnormalities and brain damage predisposed it to be less wary of people and human activities than what is normally observed in healthy wild wolves and also affected its ability to effectively capture wild prey.”
The teen sustained multiple puncture wounds and a laceration to his head when the wolf approached and bit his head from behind. The injuries were not life-threatening. The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Aug. 28 that the wolf was not rabid.
Attacks of wild wolves on humans are rare. This was Minnesota’s first documented wild wolf attack on a human that resulted in a significant injury.
Hunters who applied for antlerless deer permits – and wolf licenses – are being notified now whether they were winners in the license lotteries. Hunters can also check by going to the DNR's website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/lotteries/index.html.
Minnesota's duck season opens Saturday, and the DNR's first weekly waterfowl migration report is out.
It says most wildlife managers are expecting a fair to good opener with hunters shooting mostly blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallards. Wetland conditions are improved some from last season. Temperatures should be seasonal this weekend compared to the near record cold temperatures last year on the opener.
To see the report, go here.