Taconite Trail master plan ready

CHECKING OUT the maps at the Taconite Trail draft Master Plan open house Monday were Anthony Bermel and Sean Williams. The plan is now out for public comments which must be received by Friday, Jan. 6.
Anyone can submit comments by phone or email to:
Diane Anderson, DNR principal planner (St. Paul), 651-259-5614, diane.k.anderson@state.mn.us.


Trout Whisperer - Dr. Doo... a lot

He knows I’m coming to visit. I’m on time. I pull up to the gate. I honk my horn. I wait. The electric gate starts to slide open so I drive into his yard and park right next to the garage built out of logs. The gate closes behind me. I’m in, and I stay in my truck.
I look all around the yard.
He steps out of his front door, tosses a massive wooden latch and it secures the door from the outside. He doesn’t want anything getting inside.
He walks up to me and says, “Look at this.” He lifts a shirt pocket and nested inside is a sleeping baby red squirrel he is keeping warm. At the same time one lone bantam chicken hen runs around the front of his home when his pet mountain lion roars around the same corner and in one chomp, inhales the hen.
He yells at the long tawny cat to stop, it does. Then as quick as possible he pries open the cat’s mouth releasing the salvia’d wet but unharmed hen, as it dashes for the barn.


Lynx update Wednesday night at VCC

The last Ely Field Naturalist public program of 2016 will present an update of Canada Lynx on the Superior National Forest.
Biologist Sarah Malick-Wahls from the Kawishiwi Ranger District in Ely will present an update on research and monitoring at the beginning of another winter field season.
Lynx activity during winter months engages national forest service personnel and volunteers in field observations, tracking, and data collection for identifying individuals and measuring the size of the lynx population present in northeastern Minnesota.
In addition, to Sarah’s presentation there will be cards, prints and calendars developed by Heidi Pinkerton available as an EFN fundraiser, and also, information about upcoming Christmas bird counts over the holiday season.
This meeting is free and open to the public at 7 p.m. in Classroom CL104 at Vermilion Community College.


Deer harvest up 44%, bucks up 21%

The final Tower area deer tally is in and although the numbers are preliminary, the harvest is definitely on the way back up after a series of poor years.
In north St. Louis and Lake counties, deer registration is up 44% compared to 2015.
“The deer herd has again demonstrated its ability to rebound from severe winters, similar to the late 1990’s, given conservative antlerless harvest, good habitat and mild winters,” said DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch.
Seven out of nine permit areas showed registration increases, one permit area (BWCA) showed a decline and one had no change (Isabella).
“Three factors drove increased hunter success: a young, growing deer population, antlerless deer permit availability, most permit areas were bucks only in 2015, and October-like weather conducive to stand hunting success,” said Rusch.


Deer registrations numbers really jump up through second weekend

John Sjoberg with his nine point, 210 pound buck.

The Tower area, which includes Ely, saw a major jump from last year’s deer harvest numbers.
The DNR reports an increase of 44 percent through Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Eight out of nine permit areas showed registration increases ranging from 25% to 59%. One permit area (BWCA) showed a decline of 51%.
Buck harvest, the best indicator of population change, was up 23% overall. Buck harvest was up consistently across the area ranging from 25-59% in 8 of 9 permit areas
The entire 2016 season has benefited from extremely mild November weather, no storms and light to moderate winds.
Three factors are driving increased hunter success: a growing deer population, antlerless deer permit availability (most permit areas were bucks only in 2015) and October-like weather conducive to stand hunting success
Record warm temperatures have increased hunter effort and success, especially on weekends.


Trout Whisperer - Get the point

Get the point.


Helping hands for the Forest Service

Ely Cub Scout Pack 170 helped the US Forest Service plant native seeds for their fall service project recently. Taking part were, front row: George Sponholz, Brooks Brenny, Layden and Talan Hart, Blake Houde, Tyler Forsberg, Hunter Halbakken. Middle row: Nathan Hoffmeister, Chance Wavrin, Jack Rintala, Johnathan Ruoho, James Scholz, Jayden Zemke, Braydin Mosher, Henry Lowe, Gavrin Marshall, Wyatt Mattson
Adults, last row: Dan Hart, Seija Packila Wavrin, Dave Marshall, Mark Sponholz, Jamie Lowe, Chad Houde.


Netting on Shagawa begins Nov. 12

The Minnesota DNR announced Tuesday that the Sport Netting Season on Shagawa Lake will open on Saturday, November 12 and run through Sunday, December 4, 2016.


Hunters should expect to see more deer this year, but not many big bucks

by Nick Wognum -

DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch believes the return of prime deer hunting in northeast Minnesota is on the horizon. It just isn’t going to be this year.
“We’re going to see a preponderance of young deer,” said Rusch. “We’re going to see a lot of those young fawns from this year and forks and spikers.”
The last two winters have been very mild, as measured by the DNR Winter Severity Index. Fawn production has been good with twin fawns common in the better areas.
The Ely area is not necessarily considered to be a “better area” for deer since there isn’t much for fields and farms with prime food for deer. Rusch knows it will take longer for the deer herd to recover here.
“The west is ahead of the east with Embarrass kind of in the middle. Guys are seeing deer but once it gets into the bigger woods it drops off. We need another decent winter. It doesn’t have to be mild, we just don’t want a tough one.”


Whitefish, cisco sport netting opens on Lake Vermilion, Newton, Basswood, Fall lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Tower area fisheries office has set the whitefish and cisco sport netting dates on Lake Vermilion, Newton, Basswood and Fall lakes. The lakes will be open to whitefish and cisco (tullibee) sport netting from Saturday, Oct. 29, through Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Vermilion, Newton, Basswood, and Fall lakes are all listed as infested with spiny waterflea. Nets and equipment in infested waters may not be used in any other body of water unless they have been dried for ten days or frozen for two days. As a precaution, the drying or freezing practice is recommended for anyone netting in non-infested waters. Nets should be transported in sealed or watertight containers to a location away from the water where they can be frozen or dried.

Aquatic invasive species transport laws apply to netters during the fall and winter months just as they would for anglers during warm season angling.


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