Population counts showed good results for several species of ducks that nest in Minnesota, according to the results of the annual Department of Natural Resources spring waterfowl surveys. "Mallard, blue-winged teal and Canada goose counts were all improved from last year," said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. "The survey is designed for mallards, and our breeding mallard population remains above its long-term average."
One question that may arise from anglers reading the northern pike zone regulations in effect when the season opens May 12: What about special regulations that apply to individual waters? The answer is simple: special regulations take precedence over statewide regulations, including the pike zone regulations. If the possession limit on a special regulation lake, river or stream is different than the zone limit, the special regulation limit applies.
Anyone interested in deer can comment on Minnesota's draft of the statewide deer management plan now through Wednesday, May 9. Comments can be submitted online at mndnr.gov/deerplan or in writing at the 35 public open houses being held around the state in April where people can talk to wildlife managers and ask questions. DNR area wildlife staff will host an open house on Thursday, April 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Glenwood Area Wildlife Office, 23070 N. Lakeshore Dr., Glenwood, Minn.
New northern pike regulations will be in place this upcoming fishing opener. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources called it the most significant change anglers will see when they open up the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet being distributed throughout the state. "Anyone who wants to keep pike in Minnesota's inland waters needs to take a close look at these regulations and be prepared to measure the pike they want to keep starting on the Saturday, May 12, fishing opener," Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the DNR said in a release.
Results of the 2018 moose survey indicate the moose population in northeastern Minnesota remains stable but relatively low for the seventh year in a row, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Youth and adults can learn to hunt turkeys this April with experienced volunteers who will cover safe hunting techniques, how to call-in turkeys, hunting tactics and field dressing a bird. Participants can apply through Monday, Feb. 12. The hunts are Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, and provide opportunities to access locations that may otherwise be closed to hunting. "We teach the skills and techniques that allow new turkey hunters to become lifelong hunters," said Mike Kurre, learn-to-hunt program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Spring turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season have until Jan. 26 to apply for a lottery permit. The season runs from April 18 to May 31 and is divided into six hunt periods, A through F. Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing.
Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is this Saturday, Jan. 13, through Monday, Jan. 15. During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing. Ice fishing is a fun way to get outdoors in the winter," said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment and retention supervisor with the Minnesota DNR. "This weekend is a way to encourage anglers to get out and take a kid fishing."
Anglers and spearers pursuing northern pike this winter can prepare for new pike regulations that will be in effect for the spring fishing opener on Minnesota's inland waters. "Pike regulations remain the same this winter, with major changes coming this spring," said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager. "As anglers continue fishing for pike, we encourage them to get used to measuring their catches and even consider keeping some of the smaller ones in the north-central part of the state."
The Department of Natural Resources announced recently that five deer killed in southeastern Minnesota's disease management zone 603 during the first firearms deer season were infected with chronic wasting disease. Two deer that had tested presumptive positive during initial tests were found to be CWD-free after final testing. One of those deer was harvested in Forestville State Park. The other was harvested north of the park and east of Wykoff. Final results are still pending on two deer that initially tested positive for CWD.