Outdoors

Fri
03
Dec

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked muzzleloaders and anglers this past week. A few ice anglers were checked, but they weren’t having much success. Velsvaag received several calls about deer-hunting regulations and trapping restrictions in the Canada lynx zone.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) traveled area forest roads and checked lake accesses. Rain earlier in the month is still impacting some road conditions, with washed out areas and large sheets of ice across entire sections of a few roads. She also followed up on reports of wildlife feeding and she spoke with local radio station about safety during outdoor winter activities. Snow to date has been minimal, so now is a good time to take a required safety training rather than wrecking a snowmobile on barely covered trails.

Mon
29
Nov

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports it was a very busy start to the last weekend of the regular firearms deer season. More hunters hit the woods on the Echo Trail Saturday than either of the previous weekends. The rush was short-lived as most hunters left early Sunday ahead of the several inches of snow and colder weather.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked deer-hunting activity this past week. Hunting was slow overall, with many complaints of low deer numbers and high wolf numbers. Velsvaag received numerous calls about hours of operation for ATVs during the deer season and the deer-registration timeline.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking deer hunters during the last week of the firearms deer season. He followed up on complaints, monitored whitefish nets and executed a felony arrest. Enforcement action was taken for deer and firearms violations.

Sat
20
Nov

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports hunting activity continued strong, although most of the camps in the Ely area emptied before the rain and snow fell in the middle of the week. A wolf was found shot and killed on the Echo Trail on Friday morning. Anyone who may have any information is encouraged to contact Minnesota Turn in Poachers at 800-652-9093.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking deer hunters and following up on investigations. He assisted the U.S. Forest Service on several complaints. Time was also spent on the water checking whitefish nets.

Mon
15
Nov

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports: The Echo trail had nearly double the deer hunting activity and hunting camps compared to recent years over this mild opener. Although the volume of hunters was very high success remained extremely low with the majority of camps reporting no success or even a sighting of a buck. Violations included: Taking deer over bait.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers, whitefish netters and deer hunters this past week. Several calls came in about deer permit areas and deer baiting. CO Velsvaag also followed up on big game complaints and netting complaints.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked deer hunters over the opening weekend and followed up on complaints. The officer spent time at Camp Ripley for training. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, shoot big game from a road, take antlerless deer without permit and hunting license violations.

Fri
05
Nov

Firearms deer season in Minnesota starts today

by Nick Wognum
Newly retired DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch took a look ahead at this year’s firearm deer season before he cleaned out his desk.
“When I look at deer, you have to look at the last series of tough winters. We still have not recovered since those winters. Why? There’s the same number of wolves. And we do not have the winter cover we had in the 90s. These two winter, 2013 and 2014, were as historically bad as those two in the 90s,” said Rusch.
“We do not have the ability to carry deer we once had. Winters in 2015, 2016 and 2017 were mild so we should’ve come storming out of that. We should’ve started stacking up fawn crops. As wildlife managers we decided to go conservative with a low lottery and we still have not seen that response.
The other factor is how our forests are being managed today.

Fri
29
Oct

Help available in Ely to remove woody invasive species like buckthorn

The North St. Louis SWCD will be working with a Conservation Corps crew to treat and remove invasive plants in Ely on Nov. 8-11 through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).
The work can be completed on public or private lands at the request of landowners. This project is in partnership with the Ely Field Naturalists/Ely Area Invasives Team for volunteer effort and the City of Ely to dispose of materials with additional support from the 1854 Treaty Authority and the Duluth Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.
Woody invasive plants including Common buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn, Siberian Peashrub, and non-native honeysuckles are the targets of this effort.
These plants have been introduced as ornamental plantings or unintentionally, but now are considered invasive species and noxious weeds by the MDA.

Fri
22
Oct

Rusch unveils 2021 deer season forecast

Retiring DNR area wildlife manager Tom Rusch unveiled his 2021 deer season forecast. The 16-day firearms deer season will begin Saturday Nov. 6 and end Sunday Nov. 21.
Rusch is forecasting a deer population that is below population goals across the area. Populations continue to rebound from the severe winters of 2013, 2014 and 2018, 2019 and 2020 in northern St. Louis and Lake Counties.
Wildlife managers are reporting the deer herd is below established population goals in all nine local permit areas (109, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132, 176, 177, 178).
The opening weekend of the 2021 firearms season should catch the “chasing phase” of the rut as bucks seek out receptive does during the first week.
Breeding activity generally peaks in mid-November when the annual rutting season transitions into the reproductive phase and deer movement typically slows down.

Fri
15
Oct

Statewide youth deer season returns Oct. 21-24

Minnesota’s youth deer season will continue statewide for its third year, starting Thursday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 24. The season coincides with statewide teacher workshops, so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season.
To participate, youth must be 10-17 years old and have a deer license. Participant numbers are not limited and there is no special permit, so parents should obtain a regular deer hunting license for the youth who will be hunting.
An adult parent, guardian, or mentor must accompany youth ages 10-13. All youth hunters and mentors must follow blaze orange/pink clothing requirements. Adults may not hunt, unless they are in an area open during the early antlerless season and have the corresponding license. Complete youth season details are available on the DNR youth deer hunting page.

Fri
08
Oct

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a weekend of clouds and rain did not deter small-game hunters in the Ely area from searching trails for grouse. Success was again low, but most hunters checked said it was as much about enjoying the fall colors as shooting a bird. Waterfowl hunters reported still seeing a good amount of geese north of Ely but reported very few ducks.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked small-game hunters and anglers on area lakes. ATV trails were monitored. He handled wildlife-related complaints and assisted other agencies.
CO Mary Manning (Hovland) patrolled forest roads and trails checking small-game hunters and ATV operators. Manning also checked end-of-season trout anglers on inland lakes and worked the salmon run on Lake Superior tributaries.

Fri
01
Oct

Hunters encouraged to submit spruce grouse feathers for genetics study

Spruce grouse hunters in northern Minnesota’s boreal forests can voluntarily submit samples for the final year of a genetics research project being conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the University of Minnesota.
Spruce grouse are a climate-sensitive species that rely on boreal forest habitats containing black spruce, jack pine and tamarack – all of which are expected to shift northward on the landscape as temperatures increase. This study will use grouse genetics to form a baseline of data to establish how spruce grouse currently use the landscape and identify changes in habitat connectivity over time. When habitat becomes fragmented and a species loses connectivity to its former range, the species can form smaller distinct genetic groups over time.

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