Apparently spurred by a warm and early spring, Minnesota fishing license sales are up 20 percent from last year.
The state sold 413,273 licenses as of last week -- up about 69,000 from this time last year, when a cold, wet spring was blamed for a big decline in sales. Some had feared the decline might reflect fewer young anglers taking up the sport, but this spring's rebound seems to confirm the drop was an aberration. The state government shutdown last July -- when anglers couldn't buy licenses -- also hurt sales.
"The warm spring and forecast [of good weather] for opener got people out fishing," said Dirk Peterson, Department of Natural Resources fisheries chief. "We're pleased."
Fishing license sales were down 15 to 20 percent early last spring, but sales rebounded throughout the year. The state ended up selling 1.1 million licenses, down about 60,000, or 5 percent.
"We're maintaining our numbers, but the state's population is increasing, so we're a smaller percentage of the population," Peterson noted.
So far this spring, the DNR has sold 172,000 individual fishing licenses, compared to 136,000 at this time last year. Anglers have bought 93,000 combination licenses, compared to 75,000 last year.
The state also has sold 4,500 more nonresident fishing licenses than last year.
The DNR sold 14,794 walleye validation or stamps, about 2,000 more than this time last year.
Dan McBroom, a DNR conservation officer in Rochester, isn't a veterinarian, but he knew what to do when he encountered two fishermen on Lake Zumbro last Sunday with a small puppy that had a treble hook impaled in its mouth.
"I heard the puppy yelping like crazy," he said. "It had a treble hook in the upper lip and one in its tongue. They asked if I had pliers. I always carry a Gerber tool."
One angler held the dog while the other used McBroom's pliers to remove the hooks.
"I told the guy to cut the second treble hook off the lure, so we were only dealing with one, then I had him cut the other one off the lure," McBroom said.
The treble was small, and couldn't be pushed through the puppy's flesh.
"So I told them to give it a good hard jerk, and they were able to get it out," McBroom said. "Everyone was happy."
Minnesota's spring turkey hunters killed 9,967 birds through Season E last week, the second-highest total ever for this point in the season. The tally is exceeded only by the 10,385 turkeys taken through the same period in 2010, a record-harvest year. The season closes May 31.
Dove hunter survey
Minnesota dove hunters will be among those surveyed nationally by federal officials next month. There are more than 1 million dove hunters nationally, with seasons in 40 states.
Those surveyed will be asked to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting, including their time spent hunting, demographics, constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.
The survey is a cooperative effort by state fish and wildlife agencies, all four flyway councils and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Did you know?
A helicopter had to be used to rescue an ATV rider who got his machine stuck recently in a wetland near Park Rapids.
Doug Smith • email@example.com