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Last updated: Nov 2013


Hunter apprentice validation an option for new hunters

New hunters who have missed the opportunity to take a firearms safety class, may still deer hunt under supervision this fall by purchasing a hunter apprentice validation, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Now that hunting season is quickly approaching, many prospective youth hunters and their parents are realizing the remaining hunter safety and education classes are full. The hunter apprentice validation allows a new hunter the opportunity to hunt one season under the direct supervision of an adult licensed hunter without completing a formal firearms safety hunter education class (FAS).

The hunter apprentice must first purchase the validation for $3.50 at an electronic licensing system vendor, and then purchase the appropriate hunting license. The validation is usable for one hunting season and apprentice hunters are allowed to purchase only two validations in a lifetime. Apprentice hunters are then required to get their FAS certificates to continue hunting.

Firearms safety hunter education classes are offered throughout the year by DNR certified volunteer instructors. New hunters are encouraged to take a FAS class as early in the year as possible when many classes have openings, rather than waiting until demand is high and seats fill.

“Safe hunting is not just a result of passing a firearms safety class,” said Shelly Patton, DNR northeastern regional training officer. “Equally important is the role of a parent or mentor to model the safe practices of firearms handling and ensure the new hunter is safe, responsible and ethical while hunting. Actual field experience is one of the greatest teaching tools.”

Anyone born after 1979 is required to have a FAS certificate to hunt with a firearm, except youth age 12 and under may hunt without a FAS certificate as long as a parent or guardian accompanies them.

New, adult hunters (age 18 or older) may choose to take an approved FAS classroom training, an online study course with virtual field day, an independent study course from an approved instructor, or utilize the same hunter apprentice validation option under the same rules.

Even though FAS certification field days may no longer be available this season, a new hunter may still benefit from reviewing the firearms safety course online at before hunting. By completing the online portion of the course prior to hunting, the student will be eligible to quickly register for the next available field day to complete their certificate.

For more information about the apprentice hunter validation, firearms safety hunter education class, or to learn how to become a volunteer firearms safety instructor, see /index.html.

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4 anglers net nearly $3,000 in fines

Four men recently pled guilty and paid fines of about $740 each following an investigation of sunfish over-limits by conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
State conservation officers Jayson Hansen of Big Fork and Don Bozovsky of Hibbing checked the men and their wives while on patrol of Deer Lake near Effie, Minn. 
Searching freezers at various locations during the investigation, the officers found bags of mostly frozen sunfish from Deer, Pickerel, Battle, Larson, and Poplar lakes. Deer, Pickerel, and Battle lakes have a 10 sunfish per person daily limit. The daily sunfish limit on most Minnesota lakes is 20 per person.
The sunfish were seized and counted and the men were charged with 84 sunfish over the legal limit. Among the sunfish were 18 black crappie, 11 northern pike and nine bass.
Those each charged with 21 sunfish over the legal limit included George Stavish, 60, and Roland Mammenga, 62, both of Randall; Curt Atkisson, 52, Staples; and Rae Mammenga 54, Conesville, Iowa.
Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

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Hunters harvest 12 deer during Camp Ripley and preserve youth hunts

Windy and wet weather made it challenging for archery hunters participating in youth deer hunts Oct. 12-13 at the Camp Ripley Military Reservation, and the Nature Conservancy’s Lake Alexander Preserve, according to Beau Liddell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area wildlife manager at Little Falls. 

A total of 175 permits were issued for the 12th annual Camp Ripley youth hunt, with 137 hunters participating; and 20 permits were issued for Lake Alexander Nature Conservancy youth hunt, with 13 hunters participating. Youth hunters harvested 10 deer at Camp Ripley while youth at the nearby 10th annual Nature Conservancy preserve hunt took two deer, for an 8 percent success rate. Hunter success of 8 to 10 percent is typical for two-day archery hunts at these two locations. Many of the 12 deer taken during the hunts were the first for the participants.

Samson Sjogren of Sauk Center took the first deer at Camp Ripley, a 92-pound yearling buck on Saturday morning. Aiden Ginter of Glenwood took the largest deer at Camp Ripley, a 131-pound adult doe. Anthony Lenz of Elk River took the first deer at the Lake Alexander Preserve, a 57-pound fawn buck. Josh Novicky of St. Michael took the largest deer from the preserve, a 100-pound adult doe.

“While the weather conditions weren’t ideal, there are a lot of deer at these locations that helped the hunters achieve a typical harvest for this year’s events,” Liddell said. “Many hunters said they really enjoyed the experience. “Antlerless deer dominated the harvest with fawns and does comprising two-thirds of the deer taken.”

All youth hunters were paired with nonhunting adult mentors. To get acclimated, participants had an orientation and scouting day on Friday, Oct. 11, ahead of the hunt. The Minnesota State Archery Association and Minnesota Deer Hunters Association were the primary hunt sponsors. The DNR, Department of Military Affairs and the Nature Conservancy provided significant logistical and planning support for the two hunts.

“The hunt sponsors deserve a lot of credit for the high quality experience provided to youth participants,” Liddell said. “Without their involvement and hard work, these events would not be possible.” The Camp Ripley youth hunt was the first of its kind in Minnesota and laid the groundwork for similar youth hunts being offered elsewhere in the state.

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Seminar schedule announced for Second annual Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo, presented by Clam Outdoors, November 1-3, at NSC’s Schwan Center

BLAINE, Minn. (October 15, 2013) – The National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine released  the seminar schedule for the second annual Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo, November 1-3, 2013 at the NSC’s Schwan Center. The seminar schedule is presented with the support of the Ice Team.

“It’s an all-star line-up of the most knowledgeable ice fishermen in the region,” said Expo Director Greg Savino. “We take pride in presenting a top quality educational program, and this year’s Expo certainly exceeds the strong start we got last year.”

Here is the seminar schedule. All the seminars will be held in the Grand Hall of Schwan Center, a room with full AV capabilities and great acoustics.

Friday, November 1:
4 p.m., Jason Mitchell: “Trophy Walleye Tactics.”
5 p.m., Dave Genz: “The Ice Fishing System.”
6 p.m., Ice Team Panel Discussion.

Saturday, November 2:
11 a.m., Jeff Anderson, “The Triggering Factor.”
12 noon, Dave Genz: “The Ice Fishing System.”
1 p.m., Ice Team Panel Discussion.
3 p.m., Jason Mitchell: “Trophy Walleye Tactics.”
4 p.m., Jason Durham: “Hyper-Speed Panfish.”

Sunday, November 3:
10:30 a.m., Jason Durham: “Hyper-Speed Panfish.”
11:30 a.m., Jason Mitchell: “Trophy Walleye Tactics.”
12:30 p.m., Ice Team Panel Discussion.
1:30 p.m., Dave Genz: “The Ice Fishing System.”
2:30 p.m., Jeff Anderson, “The Triggering Factor.”

In addition to the experts presenting seminars, several other fishing celebrities will be appearing at vendor booths during the weekend: Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, Brad Hawthorne, James Holst, Tony Roach, Bryan “Beef” Sathre.

After the Hard Water Expo’s hugely successful launch last year, this year’s show will give fishermen a great opportunity to preview the latest tackle, electronics, gear and ice houses, and snowmobiles and ATV’s, just ahead of ice fishing season. An attendance of over 5,000 is expected.

The Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo boasts the largest supply of wheelhouses at any ice fishing show in the U.S. Another notable attraction this year will be an appearance by Arctic Cat’s new line of its most popular factory snowmobiles and ATV’s for 2014, which will be on display in the Grand Hall of the Schwan Center. On Sunday, a beer garden with a big screen television will be set up for attendees to watch the Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys game.

The Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo is a property owned by the National Sports Center.

The NSC will be producing three upcoming outdoor shows. Following  the Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo will be the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, February 21-23, 2014,  and the Minnesota Deer Classic, March 7-9, 2014.  All the outdoor expos will be held at the Schwan Center on the NSC campus.

Location: NSC Schwan Center, 1750 105th Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449.

Hours: Friday, November 1, 2 - 8 p.m.; Saturday, November 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, November 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission: Adults, $10/day; Students, $7/day. 11 and under admitted free. Unlimited free parking.

Features: ice fishing celebrities, seminars and classes, guide services, wheel houses, youth programs, travel destinations, new equipment, outdoor equipment testing.

Unique things to look for at the Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo:

Kids’ programs. Special youth activities, including a fish pond, which will be provided by Midwest Extreme Outdoors.

“We have a commitment to help fishing grow in the future,” said Savino. “Right now, the number of kids fishing is declining. To turn that around, we need to get more kids involved in fishing.” and Fishing for Life will team up to provide a great way to get usable equipment into the hands of kids. Attendees are invited to drop off old rods and reels at the booth at the Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo. Those making a donation will receive a $5 off coupon for any ice fishing combo at the booth. Fishing for Life will then take the old rods and reels and refurbish them for kids who want to fish.

Quality seminars, presented by Ice Team.

Among the quality educational seminar presenters will include:

Jeff Anderson, a successful tournament angler, has been featured on several television shows including In-Fisherman, Jason Mitchell Outdoors, and Keyes Outdoors television programs.

Jason Durham has been a fishing guide in the Park Rapids, Minn. area for over 20 years. He started Go Fish! Guide Service Inc. at the age of 15 and has been educating anglers through seminars, writing, television, radio and hands-on experience ever since.

Dave Genz, ice fishing innovator, inventor, and the leader of the movement that modernized ice fishing.

Jason Mitchell earned a reputation as a reknowned ice fishing guide for Devils Lakes Perch Patrol Guide Service on North Dakota's Devils Lake, often spending over a hundred days on the ice each winter.

Celebrity appearances by:

Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, a multispecies angler best known for his influence on the sport of ice fishing. Several popular ice fishing products are based on his ideas. Appearing at the Frabil booth.

Brad Hawthorne, legendary Lake Mille Lacs fishing guide. Appearing at the Rapala booth.

James Holst, whose dynamic multimedia-machine In-Depth Outdoors (IDO) attracts thousands of viewers and users, through the In-Depth Outdoors website and television show. Appearing at the Rapala booth.

Tony Roach, a professional walleye angler, who has guided on a wide variety of lakes including Mille Lacs, Winnibigoshish, Lake of the Woods, and many more. Appearing at the Rapala booth.

Bryan “Beef” Sathre, owner and founder of Fathead Guide Service and Promotion, when Beef isn’t wetting a line, chances are pretty good he’s teaching others how to fish. Lakes that Beef regularly fishes and guides on include Lake Bemidji, Cass Lake, Leech Lake, the Mississippi Chain and a host of smaller lakes he’s chooses to keep secret. Appearing at the Rapala booth.

About the National Sports Center:

The National Sports Center (NSC) is a 600-acre multi-sport facility located in Blaine, Minnesota. The campus includes the Schwan Super Rink; a 8,500-seat soccer stadium; the Schwan Center meeting and convention building; a multi-faceted family golf center, the National Youth Golf Center, which features the 18-hole Victory Links course; an indoor Sports Hall with a FieldTurf field; 150-bed residence hall; and 52 soccer fields. The facility hosts nearly 300 events annually, and has welcomed approximately 32 million visitors since its opening. The NSC generates over $37 million in annual out-of-state economic impact.

NSCtv airs new episodes each week

NSCtv is the weekly behind-the-scenes video show highlighting events, programs, athletes and people at the National Sports Center. NSCtv can be accessed by visiting the NSC website ( and clicking the NSCtv link on the home page.

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Many public lands remain open to hunters, recreationists during federal government shutdown

Now that hunting season is underway, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants people to know which public lands remain open during the federal government shutdown.

Minnesota’s wildlife management areas, Walk-In Access areas and state forests are open during the shutdown. State fish and game licenses as well as federal duck stamps can be purchased at any DNR license agent, online at and via telephone at 888-665-4236.

Minnesota’s 76 state parks and recreation areas and state trails remain open. To check if a particular park is a state park, refer to the map online or contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157, toll-free 888-646-6367 or

The Superior and Chippewa national forests remain accessible and available for hunting and fishing. U.S. Forest Service offices and visitor centers, including those in Superior and Chippewa, are closed.

National wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages, are closed during the shutdown, according to the federal agency.

Find more information about the status of federal lands and waters impacted by the shutdown at

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