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Field Reports: Ice shelter removal dates approaching

Ice anglers in northern Minnesota are reminded that ice shelter removal dates are approaching for lakes located north of Minnesota Highway 200 and U.S. Highway 2, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Ice anglers in northern Minnesota are reminded that ice shelter removal dates are approaching for lakes located north of Minnesota Highway 200 and U.S. Highway 2, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters must be off the ice of inland lakes no later than midnight on March 20. For Minnesota-Canada border waters, the deadline for removal is March 31.

Because of rapidly deteriorating ice conditions, anglers may need to remove their shelters early and not wait for the deadline.

Virginia snowmobile instructor recognized

Duane (Marv) Hill of Virginia has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Volunteer Instructor of the Year for 2016.

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Hill has been the lead instructor for a snowmobile safety class taught at the Mesabi Sno Voyageurs snowmobile club for 47 years. It is estimated that Hill has instructed and assisted teaching more than 2,000 students over the years as well as recruiting numerous other volunteer instructors.

Outside of the classroom, Hill was instrumental in developing the Laurentian Snowmobile Trail and spearheading other trail improvements. He also organized the area's first charity ride to benefit the March of Dimes.

"Marv genuinely cares about teaching students the ways to legally, responsibly and safely operate snowmobiles," said DNR conservation officer Matt Frericks, who nominated Hill for the award. "Only a dedicated instructor who cares about getting young people involved and teaching them the sport of snowmobiling would make such an effort for so many years."

Women's grouse hunting class offered

The Ruffed Grouse Society will sponsor a "Women's Intro to Wingshooting" six-evening course starting starting May 17 and finishing Sept. 23.

Participants will develop shotgun skills while learning about wildlife management, upland game and more. Most class meetings will be followed with a non-competitive round of trapshooting. The course culminates with a pheasant hunt at Old Vermilion Trail Shooting Preserve in Duluth.

The $110 cost includes range fees and shells. Shotguns are available to use. Instructors are Meadow Kouffeld-Hansen with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Mark Fouts with the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Interested participants should attend a "meet and greet" with instructors at 6 p.m. on April 19 at Black Woods Grill & Bar, 2525 London Road. Contact markf@ruffedgrousesociety.org with questions.

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A burden to bear

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Scott Staples of Cloquet received an interesting call on March 4 from a man who lives near Sawyer. A bear had been lying in the man's backyard for a couple of days - and it had several porcupine quills in its face, the caller told Staples.

"The bear wasn't leaving the yard, and the man was concerned that the bear didn't seem afraid," Staples said. "The second day, the bear was more alert. It was sleeping against the back door of the garage."

Staples said the bear likely was groggy upon emerging from its winter den. It did not appear to be injured, the caller told Staples.

The quills? Just bad luck, apparently.

"My guess is that probably happened last fall," Staples said. "It was probably a 2-year-old bear. They're the ones that get into trouble."

He told the man to call him back if he needed further assistance - and to empty his bird feeder.

Related Topics: HUNTINGFISHING
Sam Cook is a freelance writer for the News Tribune. Reach him at cooksam48@gmail.com or find his Facebook page at facebook.com/sam.cook.5249.
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