Hook and bullet club - Hunting

On Sunday afternoon at 4:43 p.m, the 2018 muzzleloader season came to a close. Not having fired a shot in either season, I hopped in the truck and left the state park in Soudan.
Three minutes later I was looking at one of the largest bucks I’ve seen. He was alive and well, standing on top of a rock cut along Highway 169.
I looked at the clock, then looked at the buck, then shook my head. That’s how hunting goes.
Every day I hunted during muzzleloader season I saw at least one deer. Except for the last day, unless you include the buck that was three minutes away from being fired upon.
I wouldn’t trade a minute I spent in the woods during firearms and muzzleloader seasons. Being out in the woods is my sanity saver. I can be sitting under a tree, walking along a ridge or pulling my boot out of a swamp, and I’m happy as can be.


Conservation Officer Weekly Report for Dec. 10

District 5 - Eveleth area
CO Darrin Kittelson (International Falls #1) reports the muzzleloader season came to a quiet close with a few people trying to fill their tag. Overall, there was an increased number of hunters compared to previous years, mainly due to the ability to use scopes. A few people are starting to venture out onto Rainy Lake ice fishing and dark house spearing. People are reminded to use extreme caution as there is no such thing as completely safe ice. A few animal complaints were also handled throughout the week and weekend.


Firearms deer harvest down

The final numbers are in for the 2018 Tower Area firearms deer harvest.
After what was predicted to be a good year for hunters, the harvest was down in the Tower Area by 2.1 percent. This includes northern St. Louis and Lake Counties including Permit Areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132 176, 177 and 178.
DNR Tower Area Wildlife Manager Tom Rusch said the harvest was impacted by a number of factors.
• An early opener(Nov. 3 is the second earliest opening date), reduced deer activity during daylight hours and cold temperatures likely impacted hunter effort.
• Hunters reported a mixed bag of deer activity. Buck activity improved over the second and third weekends. Some hunters reported rutting activity while other hunters reported minimal deer activity with most of it occurring at night.
• Many hunters reported poor deer movement, especially opening weekend, which historically accounts for a majority of the deer harvest.


On thin ice – teach kids the dangers of ice

Now is the time to talk with kids about the dangers of ice. Ice thickness varies greatly on lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the state. Some water bodies have none, while others have several inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Ice, especially early ice with snow cover, is extremely deceptive because you can’t see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow,” said DNR Conservation Officer Adam Block. “Parents need to teach their kids that ice is never 100 percent safe. If your child is near the ice, you should be near your child.”

With many children out of school for holiday breaks, they may look toward newly forming ice for entertainment.


Public meeting on Forest Service changes to BWCA permits set for Nov. 13 in Ely

The U.S. Forest Service will now hold a public meeting following concerns raised over changes to the BWCA permit system, specifically the elimination of the lottery system for motor permits.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Kawishiwi District Ranger Office conference room.
Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Rick Nolan have questioned the changes after Ely area businesses and residents have raised concerns.
Beginning Oct. 1, recreation reservation services on the Superior National Forest were upgraded within the nation-wide recreation.gov website.
These include stronger security controls, better protection of Personally Identifiable Information, and increased fraud protection.
The new system also enables real-time notification of availability and reservation of campsites in Superior National Forest developed campgrounds as well as Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) quota permits.


2018 Tower DNR area deer season forecast

The 2018 16-day firearms deer season will begin Saturday, Nov. 3 and end Sunday, Nov. 18.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting a deer population that is recovered from the severe winters of 2013 + 2014 in Northern St. Louis and Northern Lake Counties.
Wildlife managers report the deer herd has rebounded nicely and is now within the population “sweet spot” established for our area.
The last four winters have been mild to moderate, as measured by the DNR Winter Severity Index. As a result, fawn production has been excellent with twin fawns the norm in the better areas.
Winter severity, predation and antlerless deer harvest are the most significant mortality factors in northern forest deer management.
The 2018 deer season framework is much more liberal, in response to the growing population.


Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open on Shagawa, Bear Island, Ojibway lakes

Dates have been set for recreational netting for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) on Shagawa, Bear Island and Ojibway lakes in the Tower fisheries work area, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

These lakes are Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures, and are opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses, other public places, and the DNR website.

Schedule I Lakes (48 hour notice)

· Shagawa, open to netting Thursday, Nov. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 (minimum 3.5 inch mesh size)

· Bear Island & Ojibway lakes, open to netting Saturday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 (minimum 1.75 inch mesh size)

Shagawa Lake is designated as infested with spiny waterflea so netters are encouraged to review rules that help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.


Ely and Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open on Tower area lakes

Recreational netting dates for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) have been set on several Schedule I Lakes in the Tower fisheries work area, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures, will be opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses, other public places, and the DNR website.

Schedule I lakes (48 hour notice)

The following Tower Area lakes will be open Saturday, Oct. 20 through Sunday Nov. 11:
• Vermilion (all except Pike Bay, south and west of a north-south line at narrowest portion between Echo Point and Punchers Point) - 3.5 inch mesh.
• Fall – 1.75 inch mesh.
• Basswood – 1.75 inch mesh.
• Newton – 3.5 inch mesh.


Minnesota’s wolf population remains stable

Minnesota’s wolf population estimate was 2,655 wolves and 465 wolf packs during the winter of 2017-2018 within Minnesota’s wolf range, an estimate that is statistically unchanged from the previous winter, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Subtle changes in wolf population numbers year to year indicate that Minnesota supports a healthy wolf population and the long-term trends demonstrate that the wolf population is fully recovered,” said Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist for the DNR.
The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus about 700 wolves and makes the estimate statistically unchanged from the previous winter’s estimate of approximately 2,856 wolves and 500 wolf packs.


Trout Whisperer - September

Where I belong
It worked out good for me, I was late coming off the stream and he was late getting his haybales off the field. I could choose from several, I picked an easy one, one between me and a set of wheels that would carry me home, eventually.
I know where I am, I know where I should be, and I know I don’t want to miss right now this place. Don’t have any idea what’s to come of it, but I like it, I like where I am now.
The bale was long on the north side, I sat down benched against it, watching the sun slowly slide over tree tops, me foot tired, and, maybe, it tired of summer leaves.
The evening air wasn’t too cool, but the hay’s insulation, warm against my back, was surprisingly comfortable.
Three crows came from the east, flap, flap, floated over the field, nothing in the way of noisy caws, no hurried wing beats, they were just headed the way of sun.
I quit watching them when a lone doe slipped out onto the fresh mowed field.


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