Outdoors

Fri
17
Jan

32nd annual Northland 300 event in Ely this week

January 22-26 the 32nd annual Northland 300 will hold its annual snowmobile ride in Ely and hosted by Grand Ely Lodge. This Special Olympics signature event has included staying in Ely for 15 years. To date, over $4.8 million has been raised for the athletes of Special Olympics throughout the state of Minnesota.
The Opening Ceremony will be held on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Grand Ely Lodge. The Vintage Ride for snowmobiles 1999 and older will be held on Friday starting at 9 a.m. The cost is $25. Both events are open to the public.
Next year the event shifts to Grand Rapids.
Northland 300 snowmobilers hit the trails to ride over 300 miles in two days to show their support of the athletes of Special Olympics. Two athletes from the Roseville Flames, Steven Eull and Ashlea Karkula, will be carrying in the torch to light the flame of hope at the opening ceremony. The national anthem will be sung by a choir from Ely High School.

Fri
10
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending January 6

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) checked a good number of trout anglers attending the BWCA trout opener. Slush and snow conditions were tough, and some groups camping in the BWCA reported it taking seven hours to travel less than 2 miles. Violations included angling with extra lines, possessing live bait on a designated trout lake, and taking trout without a trout stamp.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. Slush conditions are bad and fishing was slow all week. Snowmobile trail conditions are very nice other than lake conditions, which should be improving later next week with the decreasing overnight temperatures.

Fri
03
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending December 30

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports angling activity continued to be slow in the Ely area. Snowmobiling continues to pick up as trail conditions improve. Violations included angling without a license in possession and driving after revocation.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and a few trappers this past week. Slush is on more area lakes and fishing is slow. Marten trappers had nice weather but a fair amount of snow. Velsvaag also saw a few snowmobiles out on the newly groomed trails.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time on the snowmobile checking anglers and snowmobilers. Time was spent talking with snowmobile clubs about trail conditions and common violations. Area lakes are improving with the cold last week.

Fri
27
Dec

DNR releases snowmobile trail report

Taconite and Arrowhead State Trail Conditions Update

Taconite Trail: Arrowhead Trail:
Snow: 10-24” Snow: 5-15”
Base: 1-2” Base: 0-2”
Groomed: Partially Groomed: Partially
Condition: Poor - Fair Condition: Poor - Fair

This the latest trail report for the Taconite, Arrowhead, Putnam/Fishing Lakes, and State Park snowmobile trails. We have some of each of the State Trails groomed. A large portion of all the trails this year are having issues with a lot of water moving in the swamps and the ice not freezing thick enough to sustain grooming equipment.
Continue checking DNR website for trail condition updates as they may change daily: http://dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html

Fri
27
Dec

Kids snowmobile oval racing on Fall Lake Jan. 4

Snowmobile oval ice racing returns to the area on Jan. 4 with races being held on Fall Lake at the Ely-Winton Rod and Gun Club’s Longbranch hosting.
The Kids Championship Power Racing Organization. races for kids ages four to 14. will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.
The event is free for spectators with 11 different classes of races starting at 10 a.m.
Registrations begin at 8 a.m. with hot laps at 9 a.m. and racing action set to begin at 10 a.m.
KCPRO East is a non- profit organization established in 1991. For more information check out kcproeast.com.

Fri
20
Dec

Hook and Bullet Club

Dave “Otto” Merhar and I were bound and determined to knock down a deer during the last weekend of muzzleloader season. First we had to shovel out our trucks after getting stuck in the deep snow.
Otto went first, attempting to turn around at the end of the Cloquet Line. But there were two Forest Service trucks and trailers parked there along with a cable for tying off sled dogs.
He tried to get around them but the deep snow sucked his truck in. Otto is nothing if not persistent and didn’t want to call for help. Finally he sent me a text.
“I’m a retired Army officer, bohunk. So this hard…Help!”
Little did I know I would be in his shoes an hour or so later.
It only took a few minutes to pull Dave’s truck back on to the plowed snow. From there we decided to consolidate into my truck and try our luck on the Fernberg.

Fri
13
Dec

Hook and Bullet Club

This is the final weekend to carry a firearm and hunt deer in Minnesota for 2019.
It’s muzzleloader season and I came in a bit unprepared. I didn’t hunt the first weekend and it wasn’t until Harold Langowski and I went for a ride to look at a trail issue that I was too excited to go out.
But when a huge buck was standing in a clear cut the urge to get back in the woods chasing whitetails returned in a hurry.
So, it was a last minute run to J&L to pick up ammunition since mine was at the shack.
Jay fetched powder pellets and bullets and I would’ve walked out the door if he hadn’t asked if I needed primers as well. Thanks Jay!
Since the law was changed I have been wanting to put the scope back on my muzzleloader.
Finally on Monday I was able to run down to Virginia Surplus where owner Doug Ellis stayed to help me out.

Fri
06
Dec

Final buck harvest down 21% in Tower area

The 2019 firearms deer season was not what the state was hoping for, at least in terms of harvest.
For the Tower area, the buck harvest was down 21% while the total harvest was down 42% compared to 2018.
The numbers are for northern St Louis and Lake counties including Permit Areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132 176, 177 and 178.
In the Tower area bucks comprised 82% of the harvest and antlerless deer just 18% as a result of a more conservative season structure in most permit areas to allow for population growth,” said area wildlife supervisor Tom Rusch.
The state-wide harvest was 169,869 deer including 93,384 (55%) bucks and 76,485 antlerless (45%).
Adult Buck Harvest by DPA (% Change)
117 +6.3%
118 -8.6%
119 -24.1%
130 -29.5%
131 -33.7%
132 -25.2%
176 -25.6%
177 -24.7%
178 -16.3%
Avg = -20.5%

Mon
02
Dec

Ely Field Naturalists celebrate year end and new year ahead including upcoming Ely Christmas Bird Count

by Bill Tefft
The Ely Field Naturalists will make a presentation in Classroom CL104 at Vermilion Community from 6:30 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
This meeting will provide a wrap-up to many of the 2019 field naturalist activities and will prepare for upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, winter solstice celebration and 2020 plans.
The Ely Christmas Bird Count will be conducted on Ely’s Winter Solstice date, Saturday, Dec. 21. The solstice occurs at 10:19 p.m. CST on the Dec. 21. Many calendars show the date of the solstice as Dec. 22 which is accurate using the Universal Time Clock.
Information on all of the Christmas Bird Counts in Minnesota can be found at the Minnesota Ornithologist’s Union website calendar of bird count locations at www.moumn.org/CBC/cal/calendar.php

Thu
21
Nov

DNR reports some areas up, overall deer harvest down in Tower area

After a bitter cold opening Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the 2019 firearms deer season has bounced back according to registration numbers.
The Minnesota DNR reports the harvest is down 30.5% compared to 2018 for northern St Louis and Lake Counties including Permit Areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132 176, 177 and 178.
When just the buck harvest is separated out, the numbers are down 12.8% from last year through the second Tuesday of the 16-day season.
“All things considered, the buck harvest is not down as much as I thought it would be,” said area wildlife supervisor Tom Rusch.
For the following permit areas, here’s what the harvest increase or decrease was:
117 + 8.8%
118 + 2.6%
178 - 8.8%
132 - 15.5%
130 - 15.9%
119 - 17.2%
176 - 19.5
177 - 19.7
131 - 25.4

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