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MN Department of Natural Resources -- News Releases
Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Mandatory testing for deer taken in SE Minnesota chronic wasting disease management zone

7 hours 1 min ago

When archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 16, mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease and restrictions on moving deer carcasses begins again in southeastern Minnesota’s CWD management zone, deer permit area 603. 

“With archery deer season approaching, hunters are encouraged to plan ahead and be aware of the testing that will be required and the specifics about when they can and can’t move carcasses out of the CWD zone,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Archery hunters in deer permit area (DPA) 603 will be required to submit the head from all adult deer 1 year old or older so lymph nodes can be tested for CWD. Hunters cannot remove the carcass or carcass remains from the CWD zone until a negative test result is reported.

Carcass movement restrictions do allow hunters to immediately transport out of the zone quarters or other deer pieces without spinal column parts; boned-out meat; and antlers with a skull plate that is free of brain matter. Hunters should check page 65 of the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for additional information.

“Archery deer hunters also should check the DNR website for the DPA boundary map,” Cornicelli said. “As a reminder, the CWD management zone was created from DPAs 347 and 348, so hunters need to be mindful of what area they’re hunting.”

Hunters are required to register their deer. DNR will allow phone and Internet registration during the archery season in the CWD zone. The system will be monitored for compliance and may be turned off if needed.

Mandatory testing and carcass movement restrictions will remain in effect for area 603 throughout deer seasons for archery, firearm, muzzleloader and any late season hunts.

Head collection boxes will be located in:

  • Chatfield: Magnum Sports, 1 1st St., 507-867-4399.
  • Preston: DNR area forestry office, 912 Houston St., 507-765-2740.
  • Lanesboro: DNR area fisheries office, 23789 Grosbeak Rd., 507-467-2442.
  • Wykoff: Goodies and Gas, 104 E Front St., 507-352-2421.
  • Harmony: Oak Meadow Meats, 50 9th St., 507-886-6328

Archery hunters should do the following:

  1. Field dress (gut) deer as normal.
  2. Register deer via phone, internet or walk-in big game registration station. If harvest occurs late in the day, sample (head) submission and registration do not have to occur on the same day.
  3. If the deer will be mounted, a video showing how to properly cape your deer is available at bitly.com/capeadeer.
  4. Remove the head, leaving at least 4 inches of neck attached.
  5. Hunters can take meat out of the zone immediately but the carcass (head with brain and spinal column) cannot be moved outside deer permit area 603 until a negative test result is received so hunters must:
  • Make arrangements to refrigerate the carcass before the deer is processed;
  • Cut deer into quarters or other pieces; or
  • Bone-out the meat.
  1. Ensure no spinal column or brain matter is included with the meat or on the antlers.
  2. Properly dispose of carcass remains. There will be a dumpster at the DNR forestry office in Preston for hunters who don’t have a way to dispose of remains.
  3. The Preston dumpster is being provided as a courtesy for deer carcass disposal only. It will be removed if people attempt to process deer there or use the dumpster for trash disposal.
  4. Bring the entire head of deer to one of five head box collection sites. Each collection box has specific instructions on how to properly submit the head for sampling.
  5. Put heads in the plastic bags provided. Use the maps provided at each box to mark an “X” where the deer was harvested. Submit this map with sample.
  6. Samples during the archery season will be submitted for testing on Mondays and Thursdays. It may take up to four business days for test results to be available.  CWD test results can be searched using a nine-digit MDNR number online at www.mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Deer hunters should regularly check the DNR’s CWD website at mndnr.gov/cwd for the most recent information.

Deer lottery application deadline is Sept. 7

7 hours 15 min ago

Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer in a deer permit area designated as lottery this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license by Thursday, Sept. 7. Hunters who purchase their license before this date are automatically entered into the lottery for the deer permit area or special hunt area they declare. 

This season, antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery in 48 of Minnesota’s 130 deer permit areas. No application is needed to take antlerless deer in permit areas with hunters choice, managed or intensive designations.

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts also need to apply for permits that are issued through a lottery, and the application deadline is Sept. 7.

More information about deer permit areas, how their designations are set and special hunts is available on the deer page and in the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

More lands to hunt through Walk-In Access program

7 hours 17 min ago

Beginning Friday, Sept. 1, hunters can access 26,700 acres of private land across 46 counties in western and south-central Minnesota through the Walk-In Access program. 

“Finding land for hunting can be a challenge,” said Scott Roemhildt, Walk-In Access coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Walk-In Access allows hunters to access high-quality private land and makes it easier for landowners to allow that access.”

The Walk-In Access program pays landowners to allow hunter access. Hunters with a $3 Walk-In Access validation may hunt during legal hunting hours, during open hunting seasons from Sept. 1 to May 31. No additional landowner contact is necessary. More than 230 sites across 46 counties are available through the program. Bright yellow-green signs have been placed on Walk-In Access boundaries.

Hunting seasons open Sept. 1 for mourning doves, crows, snipe, sora and Virginia rails. Hunting seasons open Saturday, Sept. 16, for several small game species including squirrels and rabbits. The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 14.

Maps of all Walk-In Access sites are available electronically at mndnr.gov/walkin. Printed atlases can be found across the 46-county area at DNR license agents, DNR wildlife offices and county soil and water conservation district offices. Atlases are also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.

“Walk-In Access works because hunters respect the land and that respect encourages landowners to enroll their land,” Roemhildt said. “We are glad to talk with landowners who are considering the program,” Roemhildt said. “We hope to grow the program to 30,000 acres by 2018.”

Parcels enrolled in the Walk-In Access program must be at least 40 acres in size with high quality cover. Most land is also enrolled in private land conservation programs. The next enrollment period will begin in January 2018.

The Walk-In Access program began in 2011 and is currently funded through 2018 with a three-year grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other funding sources come through a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012, and donations from hunters.

Starry stonewort confirmed in Pope County’s Lake Minnewaska

7 hours 19 min ago

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the invasive algae starry stonewort in Lake Minnewaska in Pope County. This is the second new confirmation of starry stonewort in a Minnesota lake in 2017. 

DNR invasive species specialists confirmed an abundant growth of starry stonewort among native aquatic plants in the narrow Lake Minnewaska marina off the main body of the lake. Additional searches are being conducted to determine whether it is anywhere beyond the marina.

Treatment options are being considered. Starry stonewort has never been eradicated from any U.S. lake, but treatment can help ease lake access and water-based recreational activities.

There are now 11 lakes in Minnesota where starry stonewort has been confirmed. Two were confirmed in 2015, seven in 2016, and two this year. It has been present in at least some of these lakes for several years, rather than being spread to many lakes in a just a year or two.

Since the first case was confirmed in 2015, all but one have been reported in the month of August, when the telltale star-shaped bulbils are most abundant and visible. Now is the best time of year to look for it. Information on how to identify starry stonewort can be found on the DNR’s website, and any suspicious plants should be reported to the DNR.

Starry stonewort is an alga that can form dense mats, which can interfere with use of a lake and compete with native plants. It is most likely spread when fragments have not been properly cleaned from trailered boats, personal watercraft, docks, boat lifts, anchors or other water-related equipment.

This new confirmation reminds boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft;
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft; and
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Details about starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species are available on the aquatic invasive species page.

DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2018 pheasant stamp

7 hours 20 min ago

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2018 Minnesota Pheasant Stamp from Tuesday, Sept. 5, to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. 

The pheasant stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and is required for pheasant hunters ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant management and habitat work.

The ring-necked pheasant must be the primary focus of the design, though other species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interactions between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s pheasant range.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists may issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds.

Final judging is open to the public and will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. The public is welcome to come and view the winning design 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 22.

For more information on stamp contests, guidelines for submitting work, and to sign up to receive regular email updates on stamp contests, visit the contest webpage. Contest guidelines also are available from the DNR Information Center by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.