DNR news releases, May 19, 2014

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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #38                                                                                  May 19, 2014

Sturgeon fishing expands under proposed rules
Burning restrictions lifted in 18 Minnesota counties
Fawns born in May: Leave them alone
St. Croix State Park to host Bird Bonanza Weekend
Take a kid fishing and fish free June 6-8
Question of the week: Loons


Sturgeon fishing expands under proposed rules

A statewide catch-and-release season for sturgeon is among several rule changes proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Now, there are only a few waters in the state where anglers can legally fish for sturgeon.

New rules would also affect those who fish for trout and bass, among other species.

“This is the first time in a long time that seasons for major angling species have been changed,” said Linda Erickson-Eastwood, DNR fisheries program manager. “We made the changes based on sound data analysis. They will continue to provide high-quality fishing and additional fishing opportunities.”

The DNR is accepting comments on the proposed rules. Rulemaking documents are available at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/fisheries/statewide.html. The proposed changes include but are not limited to:


  • New statewide catch-and-release seasons for bass and sturgeon.
  • Close the taking of flathead catfish during the winter.


  • Open trout lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties to winter trout fishing.
  • Little Andrus (Snowshoe Lake) in Cass County; Allen and Pleasant lakes in Crow Wing County; and Bad Medicine Lake in Becker County will remain closed to winter fishing.


  • Require a barb on arrows used for bowfishing.
  • Open Spring Lake in Itasca County to whitefish netting.
  • Restrictions placed on where nets can be placed for smelting on Grindstone Lake.
  • For border waters, changes simplify, provide additional opportunities, make rules consistent with the Minnesota inland regulations, or make consistent with bordering government regulations, as well as clarify the no-culling rule.

The DNR intends to adopt the rule changes without a public hearing unless 25 signatures requesting a hearing are received. Submit requests for a hearing in writing by 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 18. Send comments or questions on the rules or written requests for a public hearing to Linda Erickson-Eastwood, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             May 19, 2014

DNR lifted burning restrictions in 18 Minnesota counties

Burning restrictions were lifted May 16 in all or parts of 18 central Minnesota counties due to decreased fire danger because of wet conditions and green up moving northward, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,

Counties include: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Isanti, Hennepin, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Washington and Wright.  

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted in these counties, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations.  Please check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters are able to turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant.  This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly.  

Check the fire restrictions page on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html for information on daily changes to burn permits.   

The DNR advises anyone doing burning to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If the fire escapes, the homeowner is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per calendar year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. See http://webapps1.dnr.state.mn.us/burning_permits/.

Burning restrictions remain in place in Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk (part), Roseau, southern St. Louis, and Wadena counties. Restrictions will remain until sufficient green up occurs.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          May 19, 2014 

Fawns born in May: Leave them alone

Newborn fawns may appear abandoned and fragile but their best chance for survival comes when people leave them alone – especially in spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important to keep your distance and not interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR northeast regional wildlife manager. “Leave fawns alone and let wildlife remain wild.”

Deer rear their offspring differently than humans. Most fawns are born in May and within hours of birth the fawn is led to a secluded spot so it can nurse. With a full stomach, the fawn is content to lie down and rest. If the doe has twins, it will hide the second fawn up to 200 feet away. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot.

In four or five hours, the doe will return to feed the fawns and take them to a new hiding place. Deer follow this pattern for two to three weeks, and only then – when fawns are strong enough to outrun predators – do the young travel much with their mother.

Deer have evolved a number of special adaptations that make this approach to fawn rearing successful. Fawns have almost no odor so predators are less likely to smell them. Their white spotted coats provide camouflage when they are lying on the forest floor. For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their protective coloration.

Older fawns remain motionless until they think they have been discovered, and then jump and bound away. A deer's primary protection from predators is its great speed. Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection.

Although these adaptations work well against predators, they don't work very well with people. For the first few weeks, a fawn's curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon it.

What's the right way to handle an encounter with a fawn? Never try to catch it. If it's hiding, admire it for a moment and then quietly walk away. If the fawn tries to follow, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down and then walk away.

“Leaving fawns alone gives them the best chance for survival,” Lightfoot said. “Even most orphaned fawns are best suited to survive without human intervention.”

Never feed or place a collar on a fawn or other wild animal. Collaring a wild animal sets it apart from other wild animals, encourages habituation to people and increases the likelihood for harm to the animal.

Conditioning any wild animal to seek human-provided food can cause it to stop seeking natural food sources. Feeding deer can be a problem. Feeding encourages the transmission of animal disease such as chronic wasting disease, which can be spread through saliva when multiple deer eat from the same food source such as feeders or piles of feed left on the ground. Feeding deer can concentrate animals in feeding areas which makes them more susceptible to predation, vehicle collisions or other unwanted human interactions. What begins as a good intention to help the animal ultimately promotes disease and lessens the animal’s ability to survive independently.

“Not all animals survive, and some mortality is a natural occurrence. If you have a question about an interaction with a wild animal, contact your local DNR area wildlife office for suggestions,” said Lightfoot. “In most cases, letting nature take its course is the best advice.”


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  May 19, 2014

St. Croix State Park to host Bird Bonanza Weekend

St. Croix State Park will offer four days of bird-themed programs, activities and presentations for all ages and birding abilities over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-26, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Activities will include a bird count, hands-on art-making contest, how to build a bluebird house workshop, live raptors, games for both beginner and advanced birders, an evening “owl prowl” and more.

“This is our sixth annual Bird Bonanza Weekend, and we have a great line-up of programs and guest presenters,” said Park Naturalist Megan Johnsen. “The weekend is a great opportunity for birders of all ages and abilities – from little kids to hardcore birders – to get out and explore Minnesota’s largest state park. People can come for the day, or stay for the whole weekend. We still have campsites available.”

The weekend line-up will include:

Friday-Monday, May 23-26

  • Bird Photography Contest (all day) – Submit bird photos taken in the park for a chance to win a prize.
  • Birding Marathon (all day) – Pick up a map and checklist at the Interpretive Center and then drive to five different observation points to spot birds.

Friday, May 23

  • Birding for Beginners (1-3 p.m.) – Find out why birding is such a popular activity among nature-lovers of all ages and learn how to start birding.
  • Fishy Flyer Game Show (5-6 p.m.) – Test knowledge of local fish-eating birds.

Saturday, May 24

  • Bird Banding Demonstration (8-10 a.m.) – Learn how scientists gather data from wild birds.
  • Bird Art Contest (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) – Stop by the park’s lodge to create artwork that will be judged by age group. Art-making materials will be provided.
  • Kettle River SNA Field Trip (1:30-4:30 p.m.) – Take a guided canoe tour of the Kettle River, an important part of the Mississippi Flyway migration route.
  • Build a Bluebird House (1-2 p.m.) – Build a Peterson bluebird house at this hands-on workshop. Bluebird house kits costs $10. 
  • Live Raptor Program (5-6 p.m.) – See live birds of prey at this Audubon Center of the North Woods raptor presentation.
  • Owl Prowl (8-9 p.m.) – Learn how to identify local owls by sound, and then take a guided night hike to find and call to them.

Sunday, May 25

  • Make and Take Bird Feeders (11 a.m.-noon) – Create and decorate soda pop bird feeder.
  • Retro Reels (5-6 p.m.) – Watch old vintage nature films inside the park’s lodge.

Monday, May 26

  • Back Deck Birding (11 a.m.-noon) - Meet other bird enthusiasts and swap bird sighting stories, show off photos and record bird count before heading home.

All of the programs are all free with a valid state park vehicle permit ($5/one-day or $25/year-round), unless otherwise noted.

To find additional programs and special events happening at Minnesota state parks all over the state, visit www.mndnr.gov/ptcalendar or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Only 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities, St. Croix State Park covers more than 34,000 acres and showcases two great waterways: the St. Croix and the Kettle rivers. Visitors can explore the rivers by canoe or kayak, or with a fishing pole. Hikers and bicycles will find miles of trails to explore, and there are drive-in, walk-in, backpack and horseback campsites available. Large groups can reserve the modern group centers or primitive group camps. The park also has picnic facilities, a playground, volleyball and horseshoes.


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          May 19, 2014

Take a kid fishing and fish free June 6-8

Looking to spend some quality time with a kid? Consider Take a Kid Fishing Weekend.

Minnesotans age 16 or older do not need a fishing license while taking a child age 15 or younger fishing from Friday, June 6 to Sunday, June 8, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“This is an annual opportunity for an adult to introduce a child to fishing without the prior purchase of a fishing license,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “This is a great weekend to get friends and family involved with fishing.”

To start, see the DNR’s Fish Minnesota page at www.mndnr.gov/fishmn, which includes:

  • Answers to basic fishing questions.
  • Fishing terminology and a beginner’s guide to fishing.
  • Metro fishing spots, family-friendly settings, pier locations and places to borrow fishing gear.

Got other plans from June 6-8? Even when it’s not Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license if the body of water doesn’t require a trout stamp. For more information, see www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/fishing.html.  

For those new to fishing, guidance can sometimes help. Kids fishing classes from the DNR’s I Can Fish! program run throughout the summer at state parks. For details, see www.mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing.

“Not only do kids love fishing, but it’s rewarding for adults to watch a kid who’s all smiles while reeling in a fish, big or small. With school wrapping up for the year, there’s no better time than now to get a kid hooked on fishing,” Kurre said.



Q:  Where do Minnesota’s loons spend the winter?

A:  Minnesota’s loons primarily spend their winters in the Gulf of Mexico offshore from Alabama and the Florida panhandle, and southward along the Florida Gulf Coast.

They feed mainly on the bottom at depths often greater than 100 feet. That is why we are concerned about the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, since petroleum and dispersants from the spill would have likely settled in that region offshore from Alabama and Florida. We are studying Minnesota’s loons for contaminants with funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

– Carrol Henderson, nongame wildlife program supervisor

This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

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