The DNR will restrict recreational use of off-highway vehicles [OHVs] in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season. Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles [ATVs], off-highway motorcycles [OHMs] and registered off-road vehicles [ORVs] such as four-wheel drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.
The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes but not to state forest roads, and aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions and to minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.
Licensed deer hunters may still use these routes in conjunction with their hunting activity: Before legal shooting time. From 11 am to 2 pm. After legal shooting hours.
Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be: Nov. 8-23 for the northeastern Mn. 100 Series deer season. Nov. 8-16 for the Mn. 200 Series deer season.
Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Mn. close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state. Always put safety first.
For anybody looking forward to going up north along the north shore and inland for the fall colors, the time is now and into the next two weeks according to reports for the State Parks in the area. These include Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Tettegouche State Park, George Crosby Manitou State Park, Temperance River State Park,Cascade River State Park, Judge CR Magney State Park, and Grand Portage State Park.
Colors are changing incredibly quickly along the maple ridges and inland and for those on Hwy 61 you will see the beginnings of color. Maple colors will be at peak within the next week in most, but not all places. The length of peak will depend upon wind and weather but we should have birch and aspen second peak colors beginning in a week to 10 days. So if you get a chance, take that trip, it will be a beautiful ride for you and your family. Here are some pics from past fall colors of that area.
Anglers who fish trout streams in southeastern Minnesota can take advantage of a longer catch-and-release season this fall, will not be required to use barbless hooks, and will have a longer winter catch-and -release season too. The Minnesota DNR has extended the fall catch-and-release season to Wednesday, Oct. 15, for all streams in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties. This is a two week extension of the season.
Beginning Jan. 1, all southeast Minnesota streams will be open in winter to catch-and -release trout fishing, in a season that runs through April 17. Previously the season ended on the last day of March and was limited to far fewer streams.
Southeastern state parks will provide year round trout fishing opportunities with an extended catch-and-release season that runs from Sept. 15 through April 17, 2015 in the following waters; East Beaver Creek in Beaver Creek Valley State Park; Forestville Creek in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; Canfield Creek in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; South Branch Root River in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; Trout Run Creek in Whitewater State Park and Middle Branch Whitewater River in Whitewater State Park. For more information and the updated fishing regulations online, go to http://www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.
Bow and Firearm Possession
Q. While hunting this fall, can I carry a shotgun for turkey and a bow for deer?
A. No. It is unlawful to possess a firearm while archery deer hunting. This applies to bow hunters with a crossbow permit as well. The exception is that if you have permit to carry a handgun, you may have it while archery deer hunting, but this provision does not extend to shotguns or rifles. If you’d like to use a shotgun for turkey, you’ll need to take your bow home, back to camp or secure it in a vehicle first. Lt. Mike Martin, DNR Enforcement Division district supervisor.
Hunters making plans for upcoming seasons can get scouting and other services from Minnesota DNR digital tools. “Hunters have access to maps and aerial photos that can help in finding new hunting opportunities,” said Jay Johnson, huntrer recruitment and retention supervisor, “They can buy hunting licenses online including with a mobile phone, check hunting regulations or, after seasons open, go online to register a deer they harvested.”
In addition to registering a deer online, hunters can also go online to register a bear, wolf or turkey. While studying maps will rarely beat time spent outdoors hunting or scouting hunting land, these and other tools can help in planning routes to and from a deer stand, seeing terrain features and getting a better sense of an area.
The DNR Recreation Compass at http://www.mndnr.gov/compass.html includes everything from state forests to waterfowl production areas to Walk-In Access sites. Deer hunters can see the boundaries of deer permit areas and zoom in to see how permit area boundaries relate to where they hunt. The site also includes a mobile version. Hunter walking trails provide access to grouse and other small game huntin, with information at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hwt.
At http://www.mndnr.gov/wmas, learn more about Minnesota’s more than 1,500 wildlife management areas [WMA] that include a total of more than 1.3 million acres managed as WMA’s. These areas are open to public hunting and trapping, as well as other uses such as hiking, wildlife watching and cross country skiing. Maps allow users to search by county for WMA’s. For each WMA, users can see what types of hunting area allowed, read reports on habitat management, and view maps that show locations of water and different types of trees or vegetation. A number of other mapping tools can be used. An index of some of them is at http://www.mndnr.gov/maps.
The DNR’s hunting pages can be found through http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting, which links to a grouse hunting page at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse, a waterfowl hunting page at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl, and a deer hunting page at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Deer management information can be found at http://www.mndnr.gov/deer, which includes information about upcoming deer population goal setting. Hunting regulations can be found at http://www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.
Minnesota residents and non-residents interested in hunting can purchase licenses online at http://www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. The site also includes online harvest registration, vehicle and boat renewal, and safety training certification.
Picture yourself walking on a trail through stands of young aspen trees with blazing yellow leaves overhead. The fall air is crisp. Shotgun in hand, you’re enjoying a hike while hunting grouse-Minnesota’s most popular game bird. Something akin to this scene will soon be reality for the nearly 100,000 grouse hunters in Minnesota. The season for ruffed and spruce grouse runs from Saturday, Sept. 13, until Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015; and for sharp-tailed grouse from Sept. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 30.
Spring drumming counts were up 34% compared to 2013, possibly signaling the start of an upswing in the 10 year grouse cycle that since 2009 has been in the declining phase. However, brood rearing success may have been affected by a cold, wet spring. Grouse tend to be drawn to young forests where trees are less than a few inches in diameter, and they often are found on the edges of younger woods or the edges of trails where they can feed on clover and broad leafed plants.
There are 528 wildlife management areas in the ruffed grouse range that cover nearly 1 million acres, 43 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails. Search for hunter walking trails online at http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/hwt. State forests, two national forests and county forest lands also offer many additional acres of public land for grouse hunting. Find public land on which to hunt by using the DNR’s Recreation Compass at http://www.mndnr.gov/maps/compass.html.
Grouse hunters usually use 12 or 20 gauge shotguns and No. 7 1/2 target or field loads. The daily limit for ruffed and spruce grouse is five combined, with a possession limit of 10. The daily limit for sharp-tailed grouse is three, with a possession limit of six. For more information on grouse hunting, see http://www.mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse. Have a safe and fun hunt.