Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’
Monday, October 15th, 2012
Here’s my pheasant hunting opening day series of events. I arrive at a Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) at 5:30 a.m. I duck hunted this area a few weeks back, had seen and heard quite a few pheasants there, and since it has water in this dry year, knew it would be holding birds.
I threw my blaze orange articles on the dash to signify that I was a pheasant hunter then headed out to the slough at 7 to hunt ducks for an hour. At 8, I made my way back to the truck to change attire and prep for the 9 a.m. pheasant opening bell. Connected to the east side of the WPA is a smaller Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and I fully assumed another group of hunters would be utilizing the opposite side of this publicly-accessible complex.
As my truck came into view, I was shocked to find a truck parked literally just the next telephone pole down from my vehicle. One more pole down was another truck, and though you can’t see it in the picture, there are two vehicles parked by the grove of trees, which represents the approximate centerline of the entire tract. That’s four vehicles within a quarter mile of mine.
To be honest, I was pretty fumed. I come from the school of hunting where if someone’s “claimed” a spot, then you’d better have a Plan B, C and/or D prepared. There’s also the more important issue of maintaining a safe hunting environment, which is harder to do with an increased hunter/dog density.
Had I been with my seasoned pheasant hunting partners, I might have talked with these other hunters and tried to divvy up the field to ensure safe shooting for all. But with two rookie hunters – a pup and my significant other, Kailyn – accompanying me that morning, I decided to go to my own Plan B and get away from this crowd.
It’s important for all hunters to uphold the highest standards of ethics, particularly amongst ourselves. The nature of public land is that it’s open to all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all at once – I believe these fellow hunters violated one of the unwritten Pheasant Hunter’s Codes. Am I wrong?
Full disclosure, I didn’t let this get me down for too long and had a fantastic opening day. This also illustrates the importance of continuing to permanently protect wildlife habitat while creating hunting opportunities through the addition of new publicly accessible areas. In Minnesota, for instance, since 2009, Pheasants Forever has acquired more than 3,600 acres of land in the state’s pheasant range and turned them over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the state’s WMA program. Pheasants Forever has also acquired more than 3,900 acres in that timeframe and donated them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as WPAs. This significant work has been aided by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Pheasants Forever is also actively adding to the public land base in many other states.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
“When you knock down a bird, but are unable to retrieve it, does that unrecovered bird legally count against your daily bag limit?”
Over the years, I’ve heard countless hunters argue both sides of what they believe to be the law. So, I called the sources to settle the debate.
According to both Minnesota and South Dakota’s law enforcement divisions, a downed bird does not count against your legal daily bag limit if you are unable to find the downed bird. In other words, if you can’t put your hand on a bird then it’s impossible to legally possess that bird. (My sample size is two – the states I pheasant hunt most – so if you’re unsure about the law in your state, please be sure to check your state’s regulations to ensure you’re abiding by the laws of your state’s pheasant season).
You do, however, have to put in reasonable effort searching for that downed bird. If you simply knock it down, but never search for it, then it does become a legal issue of wanton waste.
The next question is one of personal ethics. Even though it’s not the law, do you personally count unrecovered roosters against your daily bag limit?
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Last year at this time, following a horrible winter, miserable spring and too many acres of grass-turned-grain, those in my pheasant hunting circle were wondering “Where are the pheasant broods?” There just weren’t many youngins; the result in the western part of Minnesota (where I do most of my pheasant hunting and outdoor recreating) was an 80-plus percent decline in pheasant numbers.
Personally, I did not spot a pheasant brood last year in Minnesota. This past Saturday though, I came upon two on a short scouting drive and one on a walk later in the day. Corroborating reports from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials, all broods were “fliers,” meaning they were already 4 to 6-weeks-old. The DNR’s report added that workers spraying weeds on state wildlife areas reported seeing good numbers of pheasant broods.
Minnesota’s Lyon County Pheasants Forever chapter, from southwestern Minnesota, also posted this report on its Facebook page late last week:
Well folks, we’ve got our first road report of the year in from Dave Hengel, an area Schwan’s Home Service driver. Covering hundreds of miles each week on backcountry roads and gravel, he’s got an eye for what’s happening with pheasants, here’s his report:
“It’s looking pretty good, I’ve seen a few little ones running across the road. I stopped over at the Lyon County fertilizer plant and the sprayers told me they are seeing little ones a lot. So, yeah, it’s looking pretty good.”
It’s still a ways until Minnesota conducts its annual August roadside survey, the state’s official pheasant count, and further still until the pheasant hunting opener – things can change. Most importantly, the state will suffer a net loss of about 180,000 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres this year – a massive chunk of wildlife-producing habitat. So life isn’t all rosy for pheasants and pheasant hunters…
…But an upland world devoid of optimism, even tepid optimism, wouldn’t be one that keeps hunters hunting and conservationists conserving. So a few pheasant broods are showing up? It’s a big deal to us.
Post your own field report – any state – in the comments section below.
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
If hunters thrive on knowledge, then the annual August roadside pheasant surveys that many states conduct helps them begin cataloging information for the upcoming hunting season.
Last Thursday, I tagged along – and was put to work – during a route for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Along with Molly Tranel, Wildlife Research/Habitat Evaluation Biologist Farmland Wildlife Populations & Research for the department, I charted sightings during a 25-mile route south and west of Madelia, Minnesota’s self-proclaimed “Pheasant Capital.”
Like South Dakota, Iowa and other states, data from this individual route will be compiled with hundreds of similar routes from across the state; complete results will be available after Labor Day. We’ll have a Pheasants Forever “Storm Report” video from the ride-a-along soon, but a few photos give an indication of how the route went.