The 38th annual Game Fair is underway at Armstrong Kennels near Anoka, Minn. on the north side of the Twin Cities.

The event includes nearly 300 exhibitors and draws about 50,000 people annually, centered around shotguns sports and hunting dogs but encompassing many outdoor endeavors. People are encouraged to bring their leashed dogs and cased shotguns to participate.

The event includes a twice-daily shotgun exhibition shooting show by Travis Mears; new 4D archery shooting event featuring simulated moving animals and target games; the eighth Annual Minnesota Ducks Unlimited Duck & Goose Calling Championships; and dog competitions featuring hundreds of dogs from across the country.

Visitors will have an opportunity to see, try and buy the latest in hunting equipment and learn from outdoors experts. Special exhibits include everything from duck boats, archery, decoys, wildlife art, dogs and dog accessories, taxidermy and all the latest in hunting for the outdoor enthusiast.

Game Fair runs this weekend through 5 p.m. on Sunday, and then again Aug. 16, 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Go to GameFair.com. for more information The mapping address is 8404 161st Avenue NW, Ramsey, MN, 55303.



A new brew for the trail

Duluth’s Bent Paddle Brewing Company will partner with Trailfitters to host a taproom beer release and fundraiser event for the Superior Hiking Trail Association from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the brewer's taproom in Lincoln Park.

Proceeds from beer sales, raffle prizes, and a silent auction at the event will benefit the Superior Hiking Trail Association to power trail improvement projects in Duluth. Local outdoor gear retailer Trailfitters will also present a major donation to SHTA at the event.

Bent Paddle’s Sam Bartels is a frequent user of the Superior Hiking Trail and came with a new beer to be unveiled at the event: Nature Moment Blond Ale. When he was given the opportunity to create a beer for the brewery’s “Valve Jockey” program and give back to the Duluth community, there was no question. As he put it, the trail "is my outdoor lifeblood, and I want it to benefit from this Trail Ale."

The new brew “takes you on a spur trail to a refreshing overlook. Along the way, take in the bouquet of cantaloupe, ripe strawberry and honeysuckle. Then set your pack down and let the light malt body replenish your efforts. Take a moment to enjoy the view,’’ according to the brewmaster’s description.

Wisconsin DNR wants your deer sightings

Operation Deer Watch, the annual citizen-science survey that collects information on Wisconsin's white-tailed deer, gives residents an engaging opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources researchers ask participants to report their deer sightings via an easy-to-use online form at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2ZSVKWQ. The data collected provide insights into the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd and help shape deer management for the state. Participants are asked to record all bucks, does and fawns seen during the day from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30.

Many participants carry a printable tally sheet with them in the car to record sightings and then enter their results online at a later time. For safety, participants should not record sightings while driving a vehicle. Instead, wait till the vehicle is stopped to take note of your sightings.

"This is a fun and useful opportunity for everyone to enjoy Wisconsin's plentiful wildlife," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife population and harvest assessment specialist. "The DNR encourages anyone interested in deer, from hunters and trappers to outdoor enthusiasts, to take part."

Data from the survey is also used by County Deer Advisory Councils to develop deer season framework, harvest quotas and permit level recommendations.

Beware Fido and blue-green algae

As the dog days of summer continue officials are warning pet owners of blue-green algae blooms appearing in ponds and lakes across the region.

The latest warning comes from South Dakota, where many small, shallow ponds develop the deadly algae in the heat of summer and into autumn. But the problem can occur in almost any body of water.

“Blue-green algae blooms happen every year when summer really gets hot,” said Mark Emmer, a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks regional fisheries manager Mark Ermer. “It’s nearly impossible to tell if algae in a pond or lake are poisonous or not, so we recommend not letting dogs swim in a body of water that has a visible layer of thick, floating algae on the surface. Even one drink of water that has a blue-green algae bloom can be fatal for dogs.”

Though most often a blue-green color, the algae can also be blue, green, reddish-purple or brown. Blue-green algae blooms are caused by cyanobacteria, which grow particularly well in slow-moving or stagnant water with high phosphorus or nitrogen content, which is often the case in agricultural areas. Some of these cyanobacteria may produce dangerous toxins which, if ingested, can lead to liver or nervous system damage in animals. These toxins cause serious damage quickly, so prompt medical care is critical following potential exposures.

Not all blue-green algae contain toxins, but it’s impossible to tell just by looking.

If you think you or your pet has come into contact with blue-green algae, contact your doctor or veterinarian immediately, said Mendel Miller, South Dakota Assistant State Veterinarian. Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning include lethargy, an inability to walk, hyper-salivating, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, shock, seizures, loss of appetite, tremors and difficulty breathing. The symptoms are sometimes mistaken for heatstroke.