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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #79                                                                                  Oct. 22, 2013
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
Follow the DNR on Twitter @mndnr.

IN THIS ISSUE
Paul Bunyan, Bemidji small game closure dates updated
4 anglers net nearly $3,000 in fines
DNR asks pet owners to find ‘forever homes’ for unwanted turtles and other pets
Hunters urged to review trespass law, ask landowners first
Question of the week: wild turkeys


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Paul Bunyan, Bemidji small game closure dates updated

Small game hunting is closed from Nov. 8-24 on the Bemidji State Game Refuge in Beltrami County and Nov. 8-17 on the Paul Bunyan State Game Refuge in Hubbard County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Incorrect dates are listed on page 105 of the 2013 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. The online version of the handbook at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting lists the correct dates.

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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 Oct. 22, 2013

4 anglers net nearly $3,000 in fines

Four men recently pled guilty and paid fines of about $740 each following an investigation of sunfish over-limits by conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

State conservation officers Jayson Hansen of Big Fork and Don Bozovsky of Hibbing checked the men and their wives while on patrol of Deer Lake near Effie, Minn. 

Searching freezers at various locations during the investigation, the officers found bags of mostly frozen sunfish from Deer, Pickerel, Battle, Larson, and Poplar lakes. Deer, Pickerel, and Battle lakes have a 10 sunfish per person daily limit. The daily sunfish limit on most Minnesota lakes is 20 per person.

The sunfish were seized and counted and the men were charged with 84 sunfish over the legal limit. Among the sunfish were 18 black crappie, 11 northern pike and nine bass.

Those each charged with 21 sunfish over the legal limit included George Stavish, 60, and Roland Mammenga, 62, both of Randall; Curt Atkisson, 52, Staples; and Rae Mammenga 54, Conesville, Iowa.

Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Oct. 22, 2013

DNR asks pet owners to find ‘forever homes’ for unwanted turtles and other pets

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking pet owners to find “forever homes” for unwanted turtles and other pets. A forever home means an appropriate environment where the animal will be cared for the rest of its life.

The global trade in wildlife has resulted in a wide variety of animal species being bought and sold for pets at local shops and online. One of the most common pet-trade turtles is the Red-eared Slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) – a non-native species in Minnesota. Recently, released and escaped Red-eared Sliders have been documented successfully spending the winter in Minnesota waters.

“Red-eared Sliders are not native to Minnesota,” said Christopher Smith, DNR nongame wildlife biologist. “They may compete with our native turtles, including the state listed Blanding’s turtle, for resources such as food, nesting sites and optimal basking areas.

“Red-eared Sliders are often purchased as cute little hatchling turtles, but they grow quickly in captivity and eventually require a large space to roam - a challenge during Minnesota’s winter months,” Smith said. “People want to do right by the turtle and decide to set it free; however, animals maintained in captivity should not be released back into the wild.”

Unwanted animals should be gifted to educators to use in their classroom(s), or to naturalists at regional or state parks. Alternatively, animals could be given to local humane or nonprofit societies (e.g., Minnesota Herpetological Society, www.mnherpsoc.org/). If people have difficulties placing unwanted animals, they should contact the appropriate regional nongame wildlife specialist, www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/index.html.

People shouldn’t release animals (even native species) that have been maintained in captivity. Disease and invasive species are significant problems facing wild animals. Animals may appear healthy while cared for in captivity but can harbor disease or parasites that would be fatal to that animal if returned to the wild, or it could put a wild population at significant risk. The risk of spreading disease to wild animal populations far out-weighs the benefit of releasing one or two animals into the wild.

Moving native species and releasing captive animals is detrimental to their quality of life. These animals often attempt to migrate back to their former home range (in the case of relocated native species) which often involves crossing busy roads. Released turtles may also fail to find and capture food in the wild.

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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               Oct. 22, 2013

Hunters urged to review trespass law, ask landowners first

With Minnesota’s small game, waterfowl, and archery deer seasons underway, and the firearm deer season set to begin Nov. 9, conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind hunters that there is one sure way to avoid landowner concerns associated with trespassing: “Always Ask First.”

“Trespass is the biggest problem landowners have with hunters,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director. “It is critical for hunters to have good relationships with landowners, especially when you consider that in some parts of the state such as southwestern Minnesota about 95 percent of the land is privately owned.” 

“If hunters and other outdoor recreationists would just make it a standard practice to always ask for permission before entering any private land, those relationships would improve a lot.”

Soring encourages all hunters and landowners to obtain a copy of the 2013 Hunting and Trapping booklet and review the trespass information beginning on page 6. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to be very familiar with the trespass law.”

Trespass penalties range from a $50 civil fine to a criminal penalty of a several thousand dollars, confiscation of vehicles and hunting equipment, and revocation of hunting privileges for 2 years.

Unlike urban law enforcement agencies, conservation officer response times to trespass calls may be longer, especially during the firearms deer season.

Callers are urged to contact the Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093 to report any alleged wildlife violation, including hunter trespass. Cell phone users can dial #TIP. 

Information must include precise time and location, along with a full description including a license plate number of any vehicle believed to be involved.                                                                                  

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DNR QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: It seems like you see more and more wild turkeys these days near urban areas. Is this just cyclical, or has their population shifted?

A: Turkeys are another species of wildlife that have adapted to living close to people. Prohibitions on hunting, the relative lack of predators, and the abundant food sources found in urban and suburban areas contribute to high reproduction and low mortality for turkeys and other wildlife in urban areas.
 
The preservation of natural areas, including river corridors, wetlands, parks, and backyards provide habitat for many wildlife species that many people feel contribute to a higher urban quality of life. 

-Bryan Lueth, DNR forest wildlife habitat team supervisor


 

 


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