Bear harvest up so far

The Minnestoa DNR reports bear hunters have had good luck during the first three days of the 2019 season.
Preliminary bear harvest registration through Tuesday Sept. 3 showed a total registration of 1018 bears based on electronic licensing. This is about 40% higher than last season harvest to date, but similar to 2017.
Statewide numbers showed 58 percent males with similar numbers in zones in the Ely area. In bear zone 24, 65 percent of the harvest was males; in 25 is was 59 percent males and in 31 it was 60 percent. All numbers are preliminary. The season ends on Oct. 13.


Hunters asked not to shoot ear-tagged and radio-collared research bears

The Minnesota bear hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 1, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears. These bears are marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio collared black bears across the state, especially in zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork.
Others are farther north, near Orr or Voyageurs National Park. Some collared bears are also around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer.
“We’re asking hunters to watch out for these valuable research bears, and avoid shooting them. These collared bears are providing much of the data that is being used in bear management,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.


$10,000 Trip Winner

WINNER of the $10,000 trip given away in a raffle by the Ely Rotary Club was Heidi Devos. Her name was drawn at Wednesday night’s Rotary Auction and announced by Craig Loughery. Heidi said she and her husband Mike would like to travel to Ireland and Scotland. They moved to Ely a year ago. Photo by Nick Wognum.


Three new Loon champs

by Tom Coombe
Three new champions were crowned Thursday in Ely.
Those were the winners in the 34th annual Loon Calling Contest, held under sunny skies outside Piragis Northwoods Company near the deck at new restaurant Moose Bear Wolf.
Ben Tomlinson won the adult division, Avery Ellerbroek was first among the boys and Eleanor Nyquist was the girls division.
The Loony Day celebration included the contest, which attracted an audience of about 75 people.
For three decades, the coos and trills of loons have resonated from the courtyard outside Piragis Northwoods Company, and the business treated all participants and spectators to ice cream cones.
Tomlinson, who is from Cleveland, Ohio, topped the adult field with Laura Harm of Madison, Wisc., in second place. Ely’s Micah Larson took third.


Get ready for deer season: 2019 regs out

Hunters can start planning ahead for significant changes to deer season regulations, including a youth deer season that’s expanded statewide, expanded deer feeding and attractant bans, and other updates related to managing chronic wasting disease.
“We heard a lot of support for a statewide youth deer hunting season,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’re excited to make it easier for parents, relatives or trusted adults to share their hunting knowledge and traditions with the next generation of deer hunters.”
The 2019 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations handbook is now available on the DNR’s deer hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunting licenses go on sale Thursday, Aug. 1, and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.


Erzar wins East-West challenge

GO FAST - Chris Erzar #987, of Ely, took first place in the East-West Challenge Dan Hill Cup at the World Championship Snowmobile Watercross in Grantsburg, WI. For the third year in a row, Erzar also grabbed the canoe race title, partnered for the past two years with Nick Mattila of Ely. Photo by Eric Sherman.


Bear with ring story reaches London Times

Wall Street Journal reporter Erin Ailworth. Photo by Eric Sherman.

A story about a bear in the Ely area that had a garbage can lid on it has reached the London Times.
Ely Echo photographer Eric Sherman was contacted by the London Times after a story written by Erin Ailworth appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
Sherman provided photos of the bear and accompanied Ailworth into the woods to look for it.
By Sunday it was reported the bear had freed itself of the lid. The bear had been named “Ringo” by a group of people on Facebook and was seen frequently bird feeders on the east side of Ely.
Sherman said Thursday he was also contacted by Fox Business News on purchasing reprint rights for his photos.
Ailworth didn’t see the bear while she was in Ely, but she was welcomed to town on the theater marquee and helped to rescue a turtle that was crossing a paved road.


ATV safety class field day to be offered by Prospector Loop Alliance in Tower

There will be a field day for the Minnesota ATV safety course on August 22 at 4 p.m. until approximately 8 p.m. at the Tower Civic Center building.
A knowledge test and information session will be set up in the Tower Civic Center at 4:30 p.m. and a skills test on operating will be set up immediately after.
Youth ages 11 and older can attend an ATV safety certification course and receive their certificate once they complete the online portion. The ATV safety certificate becomes valid at age 12.
DNR ATV certification is required of anyone born after July 7, 1987 to operate a ATV on public land in Minnesota
Students will be asked to complete the online ATV safety course before the start of the class on August 22.


Grouse counts similar to last year

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were similar statewide this year to last year.
DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations for the past 70 years and this year, DNR staff and cooperators from 14 organizations surveyed 131 established routes across the state’s forested region.
Each year on the routes, surveyors count the number of grouse drums they hear. Drumming is the low sound male grouse make as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory and attract females ready to begin nesting.
Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. Grouse populations tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle that can vary from 8 to 11 years, and Minnesota’s most recent population peak was in 2017.


Ely fire department hosts free National Weather Service Skywarn Training program July 16 at VCC

The Ely Fire Department is sponsoring a National Weather Service Skywarn training program on Tuesday, July 16 at VCC at 6 p.m.
This program provides training to volunteers in the detection and reporting of life-threatening thunderstorms- those that contain large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes.
There are 1,700 Skywarn spotters across northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin reporting to the Duluth National Weather Service.
The Skywarn training course, taught by NWS meteorologists and staff, covers the following topics:
• The mission of the National Weather Service and how Skywarn spotters play an important role in the warning process.
• Thunderstorm formation and the types of thunderstorms. We’ll study the meteorological dynamics involved in thunderstorm production and what it takes for a storm to produce damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes.


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