DNR sets two confiscated hunting, fishing equipment auctions this fall

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has scheduled two public auctions of confiscated fishing, hunting and trapping equipment.
The auctions, which will be held online at www.hillerauction.com, include 501 firearms, 71 bows and a variety of other equipment. All of the equipment was confiscated following serious game and fish violations. A tentative list of the equipment included in the first auction is available.
Key dates are:
• Sept. 15 and Oct. 20 – this is when the bidding catalog for each auction will be available. The catalog includes a written description and photo(s) of each item.
• Sept. 18 and Oct. 23 – this is when onsite inspection is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hiller Auction Service in Zimmerman.
• Sept. 19 and Oct. 24 – these are the auction dates.


DNR urges precautions to keep bears away

A shortage of natural foods is causing more bear-human conflicts in northeastern and north-central Minnesota as bears gravitate toward food sources at homes, cabins and campsites.
“We’re asking people to remove food sources that could attract bears from their properties or campsites,” said Andrew Tri, a bear biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “It’s important that folks be extra vigilant in keeping trash and birdseed away from bears to ensure they don’t get an easy meal from what people leave out.”
Dry conditions in the northeast and north-central part of the state have caused the natural food shortage. Human-bear conflicts are amplified in these areas when attractants (such as garbage, birdseed or coolers of food) are abundant and not protected from bears.


Ruffed grouse counts similar to last year

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring population counts are similar to last year and likely are following the 10-year cycle of rise and fall—a predictable pattern recorded for 71 years.
Due to COVID-related restrictions, this past spring’s drumming counts in southeastern Minnesota were not conducted as planned. As the DNR was able to resume more field operations in May, there was still time to conduct drumming counts in more northerly portions of the state, where the peak in drumming activity occurs later.
While spring drumming counts that were conducted produced similar results as last year, only having counts from the northern region—which has more forest and holds more grouse—likely means the statewide index is higher than it would be if the southeastern region was included.


Wild rice season opens soon

Wild rice conditions are looking good this year in many areas of Minnesota and the Department of Natural Resources is offering tips and a reminder of important regulations restricting harvest to rice stands that are ripe.
wild rice stands
“Favorable weather without too much heavy rain early in the season has been a positive for wild rice,” said Ricky Lien, DNR wetland habitat team supervisor. “As people consider harvesting, they need to know the regulations that help protect wild rice stands for future years.”
Minnesota has more acres of natural wild rice than any other state in the country. Wild rice and its harvesting are profoundly important to Minnesota’s tribal nations, for cultural, spiritual, and social reasons. Many other Minnesotans also enjoy harvesting wild rice, an all-natural and nutritious grain.


COVID wipes out burnout

by Tom Coombe
Add an October event to those that have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Jake Forsman Memorial Car Show and Burnout Competition will not occur as scheduled this fall, organizers announced two weeks ago.
It joins a growing list of local events, from the Blueberry/Art and Harvest Moon festivals to the Ely Marathon, that have been cancelled for 2020 because of the pandemic and various state restrictions on public gatherings.
The decision to cancel was not an easy one, according to city council member and organizer Al Forsman, but one that he felt was necessary.
He said it was in part “because of a combination of mandates getting more strict (and) the government response, the Walz Administration response to the stampede in Effie.”


Prospector ATV event still on, now with 12 rides on Sept. 19

ATV Minnesota will hold its annual membership event on the Prospector Loop trail system Sept. 18-19, 2020.
“We’re heavy on the ride part and light on the rally,” said Prospector President Nick Wognum. “With the pandemic this year we’re going to focus on having 12 different rides to choose from on Saturday. And we hope people return for a full Ride and Rally in 2021.”
The traditional VIP Ride will take place on Friday, Sept. 18 with everything being held outside. Participants will start from the fairgrounds at Timber Hall in Embarrass, ride to Tower for a lakeside catered lunch and then take the trails back afterward.
“Luckily we were able to find outdoor areas with plenty of room for people to spread out. Both Timber Hall and McKinley Park have plenty of space for social distancing,” said Wognum.


DNR will host virtual open house Aug. 18 for conversations about deer

Anyone interested in discussing deer and deer management can tune in to a virtual open house on Tuesday, Aug. 18, hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The meeting will include a presentation from Barbara Keller, the DNR’s big game program leader.
Keller will share information about Minnesota’s deer and deer hunter population, explain some of the upcoming changes for this fall’s deer hunting season, and describe how the public can provide input about deer management in their areas.
There will also be time for questions and answers.
As part of Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNR will be using a web-based platform to host this deer open house online.
“We’re looking forward to continuing these conversations about deer management using this web-based platform,” Keller said.
“This is a great opportunity to bring everyone safely together across the state and hear people’s deer-related questions.”


DNR regulation books now online, hunting licenses available Aug. 1

Hunters can start planning ahead for the deer season with the release of the 2020 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations handbook, now available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources deer hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
“This season, hunters in general will see more chances to harvest deer,” said Barbara Keller, DNR big game program leader. “These opportunities are due to increases in deer populations in much of the state and as part of our response to chronic wasting disease in southern Minnesota.”
Hunting licenses go on sale Saturday, Aug. 1, and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.


New state forest maps help Minnesotans find summer fun

Eight new state forest maps from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources feature recreation highlights to help Minnesotans find their perfect adventure.
The maps, in print and mobile formats, are available for Bear Island, Big Fork, Burntside, Golden Anniversary, Remer, Koochiching, Smokey Bear, and White Earth state forests.
State forest maps can lead the way to summer hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, horseback and ATV riding, fishing, camping and more.
“Whether you prefer a wilderness canoe paddle or an ATV ride, there’s a summer state forest experience for everyone – and our new state forest maps will make the experience even better,” said Laura Duffey, state forest map coordinator.
Here are just a few examples of the outdoor summer fun available at state forests:
• Look up at the towering pines of the Lost 40 Scientific and Natural Area inside Big Fork State Forest.


Forest Service welcomes new Kawishiwi District Ranger

Aaron Kania recently took over as the new permanent district ranger for the Kawishiwi Ranger District, which is headquartered out of Ely.
He most recently served as a Supervisory Ranger with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in southwestern Utah. The Kawishiwi Ranger District is one of five districts on the Superior National Forest.
Kania was raised in rural New England where he developed a love of the woods by traipsing around the forests and creeks, making forts and exploring ancient trails. This love of adventure brought Kania out west for an undergraduate degree in history from Adams State College in southern Colorado. There, Kania worked as a guide, which included backcountry skiing, hiking, backpacking, and the best fun of all, whitewater rafting.


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