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Field reports: Hunters harvest 1,732 bears so far in Minnesota

Minnesota's bear harvest stood at 1,732 bears as of this past Monday, a little more than two weeks into the season, said Dave Garshelis, leader of Minnesota's bear project for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota's bear harvest stood at 1,732 bears as of this past Monday, a little more than two weeks into the season, said Dave Garshelis, leader of Minnesota's bear project for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

About 82 percent of the bear harvest typically occurs in the season's first two weeks. Garshelis said he expected a final harvest of about 1,900 bears. The season opened Sept. 1 and continues through Oct. 16.

Before the season, Garshelis had said a harvest of 2,500 bears would allow the state's bear population of 18,000 to grow a bit. A harvest of 3,000 would not allow the population to grow, he said.

A harvest of just under 2,000 would be acceptable, Garshelis said. Wildlife managers could adjust future permit levels to manage the population, he said.

A total of 7,050 quota-zone bear permits were issued to bear hunters this fall through a lottery and a subsequent sale of unclaimed permits. Hunters in the state's no-quota zone can purchase licenses over the counter.

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Last fall, about 9,200 bear hunters went afield and killed 2,966 bears for a success rate of 29 percent.

Hunters in the quota zone must apply for a permit through a lottery.

Lake trout season extended on Lake Superior

If you're a Lake Superior lake trout angler, remember that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has extended the lake trout season in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior through the first weekend in October.

The season will run through Oct. 2. In the past, the season closed on Sept. 30.

Minnesota moose hunt to open Saturday

Minnesota moose season opens Saturday and continues through Oct. 16. It's a bulls-only hunt, and hunters were selected in a drawing. A total of 105 permits were issued, down from 213 permits last year. Permits are awarded to groups of up to four hunters.

The number of permits was reduced because of a declining population of moose in the state. The Minnesota moose population is estimated at 4,900, down from 8,000 just over a decade ago. The ratio of bulls to cows fell to 64 per 100 cows in last winter's aerial survey of the herd. The Department of Natural Resources, following the recommendation of Minnesota's Moose Advisory Committee, has proposed to eliminate the moose hunt if the bull-to-cow ratio drops below 67-to-100 for three successive years.

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The agency reduced the number of permits for this fall's hunt in hopes the number of bulls in the population will increase.

The DNR said this year's harvest will be well below its guideline of 5 percent of all bulls.

Last year, 213 licensed moose hunting parties killed 109 bull moose, for a success rate of 51 percent. The DNR expects this fall's hunters to kill about 50 moose.

Dedication set for Important Birding Area

The Duluth Audubon Society will hold a dedication at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Great Lakes Aquarium in recognition of the St. Louis River Estuary and Minnesota Point being named an Important Bird Area. The event is free.

In designating the estuary and Minnesota Point as an IBA, Minnesota Audubon stated: "This IBA is a migratory stopover for 31 species of waterfowl and 27 species of shorebirds along with large numbers of water birds, raptors and songbirds that move along the western shore of Lake Superior."

The designation is a way to educate the public about those areas most important for the long-term survival of birds, according to Audubon Minnesota. The state has more than 30 IBAs. Hawk Ridge in Duluth was designated an Important Bird Area in 2004.

Crex Meadows holds wildlife festival

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The Annual Fall Wildlife Festival at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Grantsburg, Wis., will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 2. The festival includes bus tours of the wildlife area that depart the visitor center at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. There is an early-bird tour to watch the cranes fly out of the refuge at 7 a.m. Presentations on wildlife, wetlands and trail cameras will be held. Demonstrations and hands-on activities include duck banding, tomahawk throwing, archery, mushrooms, a hawk, an owl and a snapping turtle. For directions and more information, go to www.crexmeadows.org or call (715) 463-2739.

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