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Field reports: Zebra mussel larvae found in Lake Winnie

As reported in the News Tribune on Friday, zebra mussel larvae have been confirmed in Lake Winnibigoshish, one of the Northland's most popular fishing lakes, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said.

As reported in the News Tribune on Friday, zebra mussel larvae have been confirmed in Lake Winnibigoshish, one of the Northland's most popular fishing lakes, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said.

The DNR said larvae of the thumbnail-size mussels were discovered in the lake after water samples were taken last July as part of a statewide program to monitor for invasive species.

The microscopic larvae, called veligers, showed up in only one of 15 samples, and so far no adult mussels have been found. But the discovery is enough for the DNR to consider the lake officially invaded.

Researchers believe that "somewhere in the lake are reproducing adult zebra mussels. How soon we'll start seeing them is really hard to predict," said Gary Montz, aquatic invertebrate biologist for the DNR.

The discovery has implications far beyond one lake, however. Because the big lake is part of the Upper Mississippi River system, DNR officials said it's likely zebra mussels will move downstream to other, connected lakes downstream.

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Zebra mussels and their larger cousins, quagga mussels, feed by filtering tiny organisms out of the water, and they can filter huge amounts of stuff that previously was consumed by small native species. They almost always displace native mollusks, such as clams. And they tend to initially make water far clearer than before, allowing weeds to grow at much greater depths.


Minnesota deer harvest down 4 percent from 2012

Minnesota hunters harvested 184,649 deer during the 2012 season, down 4 percent from 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The decline reflects the fact that hunters had fewer chances to harvest antlerless deer because the 2012 season was designed to help stabilize and increase populations, said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. "We expected the reduction," she said.

Firearms hunters harvested 155,599 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,556 and 7,494 deer, respectively. The statewide archery harvest was up 5 percent, muzzleloader harvest increased 1 percent and firearm harvest was down 5 percent from last year.


Wisconsin deer harvest up

Wisconsin deer hunters registered 366,747 deer during the 2012 seasons, a 5 percent increase from 2011, according to Department of Natural Resources officials. This tally will again rank the state in the top five deer-hunting states in the country for total harvest and continues the trend of increased deer harvest for the third consecutive year, DNR wildlife officials said.

Of the total, 245,539 deer were harvested during the traditional nine-day November gun season and another 93,452 during the archery season. Of the archery season total, 45,775 were bucks, making it the new record buck archery harvest of all time for Wisconsin.

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Mentored youth turkey hunt offered in March

Again this year, the Gitchee Gumme chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will offer a youth Learn to Hunt event in Douglas County. The hunt is open to first-time youth hunters between the ages of 12 and 16. They must have completed a hunter education class and must not have ever hunted turkeys before.

The hunt will be held March 29-30. Up to 15 youths will be taken on hunts, one-on-one with experienced mentors. For more information or an application for the hunt, e-mail Kevin Feind at Kevin.Feind@wisconsin.gov .


Sound off about panfish

Wisconsin residents are invited to share their expectations about panfish fishing during more than two dozen meetings across the state in February and March. The public meetings mark the beginning of the DNR's new effort to connect with anglers, DNR officials said. Here are dates and times of meetings in Northwestern Wisconsin:

  • Feb. 20: Hayward, Hayward High School Auditorium, 6:30 p.m., 10320 N. Greenwood Lane
  • March 12: Brule, Brule Ranger Station, 7 p.m. 6250 S. Ranger Road
  • March 14: Spooner, Spooner DNR Service Center, 7 p.m., 810 W. Maple St.
  • Related Topics: ENVIRONMENTFISHINGHUNTING
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