Field reports: Northeastern Minnesota deer harvest drops by 44 percent
After the first 10 days of Minnesota's 16-day firearms deer season, the deer harvest in Northeastern Minnesota was down 44 percent from last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
After the first 10 days of Minnesota’s 16-day firearms deer season, the deer harvest in Northeastern Minnesota was down 44 percent from last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The buck harvest in the region - all Series 100 deer permit areas - was down 28 percent from last year. The antlerless deer harvest was down 82 percent, largely because so many deer permit areas were restricted to bucks-only hunting this fall.
DNR wildlife officials reduced the number of antlerless deer permits significantly this fall after a severe winter in 2013-14 in hopes of rebuilding the deer herd.
Statewide, the harvest was down 23 percent overall through Monday, 10 days into the season. The firearms deer season ends today.
In Series 100 areas, hunters had taken 23,087 deer this fall through Monday compared to 40,873 last year, DNR officials reported.
Statewide, firearms hunters had taken a total of 102,168 deer through Monday, down from 133,000 last year.
The DNR had predicted a steep decline in the deer kill this fall, with an overall harvest estimate of 120,000 deer. Through Monday, including the archery harvest, hunters had taken about 115,000 deer this fall, said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader in St. Paul.
Tighter walleye rules on Upper Red Lake
Walleye regulations will be more restrictive on Upper Red Lake following record walleye harvests the past winter and summer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Effective Dec. 1, anglers may keep only three walleyes, and the possession limit also is three. Anglers must immediately release all walleyes from 17 to 26 inches. Only one walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches.
“More restrictive walleye regulations are not an indication of any biological problems with the walleye population on Upper Red Lake,” said Gary Barnard, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “The current walleye fishery is in excellent shape, but the great fishing has attracted considerably more angling pressure, which resulted in walleye harvest exceeding the safe harvest range for the first time since walleye angling reopened in 2006.”
Mille Lacs open to pike spearing
Dark-house spearing of northern pike will be allowed at Mille Lacs Lake for the first time since the winter of 1982-83, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Anglers and spearers can keep 10 northern pike, of which only one may be longer than 30 inches. Anglers also will be able to fish for northern pike for a longer period of time this winter. The close of the northern pike angling season will be extended from mid-February to the last Sunday in March.
“With the high number of northern pike under 30 inches, we’re providing more opportunity to harvest these surplus fish,” said Rick Bruesewitz, DNR Aitkin area fisheries supervisor.
Trappers: Check fur registration date
Trappers in the Finland, Grand Marais and Two Harbors areas can register furbearers between noon and 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at area DNR registration stations. A typographical error in the 2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook incorrectly lists the date as Dec. 6.
Trappers also may call to make an appointment for registration during regular business hours prior to the close of any species’ trapping season. Trappers are reminded that all furbearers must be registered no more than 24 hours after the close of the season for fisher and marten, and no more than 48 hours after the close of the season for otters and bobcats.
Registration stations are not staffed on weekends, so trappers should plan accordingly to meet registration requirements, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said.
Mille Lacs walleye regs remain unchanged
Walleye fishing regulations on Mille Lacs Lake will not change this winter, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Anglers may continue to keep two walleyes from 18 to 20 inches long, except one of the two walleyes may be longer than 28 inches. For more information on Mille Lacs Lake, visit mndnr.gov/millelacslake.
Schurke to speak on ‘River of Doubt’
Ely adventure Paul Schurke will make a presentation titled “The River of Doubt: Following Roosevelt’s Footsteps” from 7-9 p.m. Monday in Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St. Scholastica.
The presentation will describe Schurke’s recent trip on Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt (the “River of Doubt”) with fellow adventurer Dave Freeman of Grand Marais. The two retraced the route that Teddy Roosevelt traveled on his epic descent of the river 100 years earlier, in 1914.
In addition, Schurke’s presentation will celebrate the life of Roosevelt, a robust outdoorsman who made a personal commitment to sleep outside 30 days a year, even while he was president. The presentation is free.
Duck Stamp Act passes US House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Duck Stamp Act of 2014 on Monday. Under the legislation, the price of a federal duck stamp would increase from $15 to $25.
Money from the stamp is used for wildlife conservation. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation in the next few weeks.