Anonymous donor gives skis to children

SKIS FOR KIDS - Thanks to donations from the Ely Nordic Ski Club, the Central Cross Country Ski Association, and an anonymous donor, students in Washington Elementary will be joining the “Nordic Rocks” program this year. Thirty pairs of cross country skis and poles were purchased through the program, which was developed to introduce a new generation of children to the sort of cross country skiing. The ‘Nordic Rocks’ program provides elementary and middle school students an opportunity to experience Nordic skiing during the school day, with their teachers and classmates, and to learn the health and lifestyle benefits associated with exercise and outdoor winter fun during physical education and recess. Students are able to ski next to their school, on any surface covered with a minimum of two inches of snow. Welcoming the new skis Monday were kindergarten students Jovie Kessler, Nels Majerus, Amiah Brandau and Aiden Harding.


Ely resident appointed to DNR committee

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 11 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.
The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.
Appointed to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are Garry Hooghkirk, Duluth; Amanda Leabo, Fergus Falls; Mark Popovich, Welch; John Schnedler, Richfield; and Martha Taggett, Golden Valley.
Appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee are Karl Anderson, Greenbush; Jess Edberg, Ely; Nicole Hertel, Shoreview; Benjamin Kohn, Hudson; Mark Owens, Austin; and Craig Pagel, Duluth.
The new appointees join other members whose terms are continuing. The committees will resume work after the mid-December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2017.


New northern pike fishing regulations coming in spring 2018

Anglers and spearers pursuing northern pike this winter can prepare for new pike regulations that will be in effect for the spring fishing opener on Minnesota’s inland waters.

“Pike regulations remain the same this winter, with major changes coming this spring,” said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager. “As anglers continue fishing for pike, we encourage them to get used to measuring their catches and even consider keeping some of the smaller ones in the north-central part of the state.”

The new regulations on inland waters will be in effect starting March 1; however, fishing for northern pike is not allowed on these waters until the fishing opener on Saturday, May 12.


Forest Service lists rules for cutting Christmas trees

Cutting your own Christmas tree or balsam boughs on the Superior National Forest can be a festive outing during the holidays. The ritual of hiking through the woods with your family and friends to choose your personal tree or boughs can greatly enrich the holiday season.


Hunters register 70,724 deer during first weekend of season

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 70,724 deer during the first two days of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show that the number of deer registered was essentially the same as from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 57 percent were bucks, compared to 67 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2016.
In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 5 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 20 percent.
“We expected to see an increased harvest this year, and that appears to be so in Zone 1. In the other zones where the first weekend harvest is off, it could be that the amount of standing corn negatively affected deer harvest,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager.


Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open Nov. 5 on Shagawa, Bear Island, Ojibway lakes

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 Sunday, Nov. 5 through Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 (minimum 3.5 inch mesh size)
Bear Island & Ojibway lakes, open to netting Saturday, Nov. 18 through Saturday, Dec. 18, 2017 (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 Field Naturalists Program Announcement

Sherry Abts’ Northeastern Minnesota Common Loon Report for 2017
The Ely Field Naturalists will sponsor a wrap-up of the 2017 Loon Season with a presentation by EFN’s appointed Loon Ranger, Sherry Abts. Sherry has years of experience observing loons, reporting observations, and working with researchers. Much of the information on loons in the Ely Area flows through Sherry and this will be her yearend revue. Vermilion Community College will host this Wednesday, November 8 meeting at 7:00 p.m. in Classroom CL104 at Vermilion Community College.


Trout Whisperer - Why we hunt deer

Why we hunt deer
Four years ago, Mrs. Trout Whisperer and I dug a hole in our yard. We then went to the store and bought expensive healthy soil to put back in the hole. Then we fenced the hole and finally we drove to the local greenhouse and purchased a bunch of strawberry plants that we plopped in the now titled, “garden.”
Oh, during that first May, no blossoms, I was so sad. But that fall we mulched them plants. The following spring we un-mulched that bed of fruity potential and then on a warm day in May, our first strawberry blossoms opened.
About mid to late July, some of those plants had strawberries almost two thirds ripe and to think in just a few days we would be noshing on our low to the over worked, overpriced ground, with little delicious red berries.
Funny thing happened tho, chipmunks decide they weren’t waiting for the berry to be entirely ripe, so they just munched the red ripe redness and left the unripe gnawed remains for us.


Firearms deer season starts Nov. 4

by Nick Wognum
This should be a good year for deer hunting in northeast Minnesota.
After three mild winters the herd has rebounded and while there may be more spikes than 30-pointers, hunters should be happy.
“I’m very optimistic with where the deer population is at,” said DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch in Tower. “People are going to see improvement overall from last year and most saw improvement from the year before.
“We’re rebuilding and depending where you hunt and the unknown is the weather, this should be a good year. If we get the crappy opening weekend weather that will have an impact. But we should hit the rut really well with bucks in the chase phase and more deer on the landscape.”
Rusch is predicting a 20 percent increase overall for the firearms deer harvest. With more antlerless and hunter’s choice areas, there should be venison in more freezers this winter.


When wolves visit hunters, what does it mean?

by Chad Richardson
International Wolf Center communications director -


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