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Field reports: Reduced deer population means fewer hunting permits

Deer hunters in Northeastern Minnesota will find antlerless permits harder to come by this fall, according to Department of Natural Resources officials. More deer permit areas in the northeast have been designated "lottery" units than last year. ...

Deer hunters in Northeastern Minnesota will find antlerless permits harder to come by this fall, according to Department of Natural Resources officials. More deer permit areas in the northeast have been designated "lottery" units than last year. "Lottery" designation means hunters will have to apply for antlerless deer permits if they wish to hunt antlerless deer in those units. The deadline to apply for antlerless deer permits through the lottery is Sept. 5.

"Most of our hunters, I think, expected this," said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager at Grand Rapids. "Anywhere north of Grand Rapids, or even Aitkin, this (2012-13) was a moderate or severe winter, and for parts of our region it was the second or third in a row. We've seen deer densities decline over the region, and our response is to be more conservative with (antlerless) permits."

The deer population has decreased as much as 25 percent over the past 10 years in some permit areas across Northeastern Minnesota, said Tom Rusch, DNR area wildlife manager at Tower.

A map showing the permit area designations will be available when the fall hunting regulations reach license outlets sometime in August.

Walk-In access program growing

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Hunters heading to western and south-central Minnesota will have access to an additional 6,083 acres of hunting land this fall as the Department of Natural Resources' Walk-In Access program grows to more than 20,000 acres and the number of counties increases from 19 to 28.

This fall, hunters must purchase a $3 Walk-In Access validation on their small game or deer license to legally access land enrolled in the program. The DNR added the validation so it can learn how many hunters use Walk-In Access lands.

Maps of all sites will be available for viewing at www.mndnr.gov/walkin by mid-August, DNR officials said. Printed atlases of Walk-In Access sites will be distributed across the Walk-In Access area or will be available by calling the DNR Information Center toll-free at (888) 646-6367.

Kayak Festival begins Friday

Two new kayak races have been added for this year's 16th annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival to be held Friday through Aug. 4 at Burlington Bay in Two Harbors. The annual event includes kayak try-outs, stand-up paddleboard demos, races, clinics and tours for paddlers of all skill levels.

New this year is a 10-mile race for kayaks and stand-up paddleboards called the Ellen Anderson 10-miler. It's named for the late Ellen Anderson, founder of the event. Also new this year is a junior 2-mile race.

The Great River Energy 18-mile kayak marathon and the Betty's Pies 5-miler kayak and SUP race will be held as in past years.

Beyond the races, the event is designed to let kayakers and paddle-boarders try out various models, tour Lake Superior and learn more about the sports.

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Fees are charged for races, tours and clinics. For more information, go to www.kayakfestival.org .

Apply soon for youth hunts

  • Youths who want to experience waterfowl hunting for the first time can apply for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources mentored youth waterfowl hunt to be held Sept. 7. Application deadline is Aug. 12. Visit www.mndnr.gov/discover for an application or call the DNR Information Center toll-free at (888) 646-6367.
  • Minnesota youths have until Aug. 16 to apply for mentored deer hunts this fall, according to the DNR. Youth ages 12-15 may apply for one of 15 special firearms youth deer hunts at selected state parks and refuges. Youth ages 12-17 may apply for three special archery youth deer hunts. For more information, youth deer hunt link at www.mndnr.gov/discover . 49-incher tops in muskie contest

    Ben Biermair caught and released a 49-inch muskie to win the St. Louis River Challenge 2013, a muskie fishing contest held July 20 on the St. Louis River in Duluth and Superior. A total of six muskies over 40 inches long were taken in the contest.

    Jason Kahler took second place with a 43-inch muskie, Nico Giancola third with another 43-incher, Justin Birch fourth with a 42-incher, Mike Hebel fifth with a 42-incher and Brandon Johnson sixth with a 40-incher.

    The event was sponsored by the Lake Superior Chapter of Muskies Inc.

    TPWA holds Summer Slam

    The Twin Ports Walleye Association's Summer Slam fishing contest will be Aug. 3-4 on Island Lake. The contest consists of two separate one-day events. Cost is $50 per boat per day. For more information, go to www.twinportswalleye.com .

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