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From the Minnesota DNR:
New state forest mobile maps allow users to know their location in the forest. Blue locator dot indicates location in forest.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt, and recreate in state forests.
“The DNR has updated six state forest maps with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”
State forest users now have two maps options. A geoPDF map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.
“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest—no more getting lost.”
The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches, and picnic areas.
The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.
New geoPDF and paper maps are now available for:
The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMAs), two ruffed grouse management areas, and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.
The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.
The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.
The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobliers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River. Digital, geoPDF maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at www.mndnr.gov/state_forests/maps-launch.html.
People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Hunters planning to use portable stands on wildlife management areas this season are reminded to check regulations to learn when they need to remove stands after hunting.
“In most of the state, leaving stands overnight on WMAs is not allowed and they must be removed at the end of the day,” said Bob Welsh, Department of Natural Resources wildlife operations manager. “Users of most WMAs will not see a change in stand regulations this year, but there is a change in an area of northwestern Minnesota.”
In a specific portion of northwestern Minnesota, new legislation allows portable stands to be left out on WMAs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.
Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields during firearms deer season in hopes of harvesting a deer.
New in northwestern Minnesota
The new regulation allows WMA users to leave up to two portable stands overnight in any WMA in the northwestern corner of the state roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad. The area also is described as north of Highway 1 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to the western edge of the state, and west of a line from Highway 89 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to Fourtown, then north on the west side of Dick’s Parkway Forest Road, then north to Highway 5 to the northern edge of the state.
The DNR defines a portable stand as a stationary platform or blind designed and capable of being readily moved by hand by a single person in a single trip without the aid of a motorized vehicle, is secured in position and does no permanent damage to the natural environment.
Hunters leaving a stand overnight must label the stand with the hunter’s name and address; the hunter’s driver’s license number; or simply with the hunter’s MDNR number. The label must be readable from the ground.
WMAs elsewhere in Minnesota
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight.
“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from preempting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.
“In addition to WMAs, there are a variety of other public land types and hunters should be aware that regulations governing the use of portable stands can differ depending on the type of public land they’re hunting,” Salo said.
Hunters should always wear a safety harness if using an elevated stand, added Salo.
“In addition to wearing a safety harness, check climbing sticks, steps or ladders for damage and always wait to load a firearm until safely in the stand,” Salo said.
Hunters need to be familiar with hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Deer: The animal
* From the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (census.gov/prod/www/fishing.html).
Deer management in Minnesota
More information on deer and deer management can be found at mndnr.gov/deer.
With nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to purchase their licenses early to avoid long lines and any potential system issues associated with the high sales volume.
The 2017 Minnesota firearms deer season begins a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 4.
“Buying a deer license early gives you more time to pack that tater tot hotdish for deer camp, and do everything else associated with your deer hunting tradition,” said Steve Michaels, DNR licensing program director. “Every year people do wait until the last minute and last year we sold more than 140,000 licenses the Thursday and Friday before opener.”
Deer licenses can be purchased at DNR license agents across Minnesota, by phone at 888-665-4236 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. There are additional fees for telephone and internet transactions. Deer licenses and tags ordered by phone and internet take three to five business days to arrive, so hunters who choose these options should allow enough time for delivery. Hunters must have a valid deer license in their possession when hunting deer.
Hunters need to be familiar with deer hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Volunteers have through October to apply to join one of the citizen-agency work groups that discuss how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages fish.
There are individual work groups for bass, catfish, panfish and walleye, and one focused on both northern pike and muskellunge. New members are needed for all of these work groups except the panfish group.
“We still need more applicants for the bass and catfish groups. Otherwise, we have been getting decent interest since we started taking applications in early October,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief.
Volunteers can apply to one of the groups through Monday, Oct. 30. Each group of about 15 people will include volunteers and DNR staff who meet two or three times per year to discuss new research, population, harvest trends and fisheries management.
Meetings average three to four hours, not including travel time. Applicants must be Minnesota residents age 18 or older.
Participants will be selected by the DNR and can serve a term of either two or three years. The groups are advisory and do not make decisions on policy or fish management. For more information or an application form, visit mndnr.gov/fishgroups or call 651-259-5182.
Hunters in permit area 603 taking part in the early antlerless-only or youth deer hunting seasons are required to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move an adult deer carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received.
The antlerless-only and youth deer hunts take place from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in several permit areas including permit area 603, southeastern Minnesota’s CWD management zone.
“The CWD management zone is included in these antlerless-only hunting opportunities as a way to reduce the deer population in the zone and limit the spread of CWD,” said Erik Hildebrand, CWD project coordinator.
All hunters in permit area 603 must have their deer tested for CWD and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached.
Head collection boxes will be located in:
Hunters should do the following:
6. Ensure no spinal column or brain matter is included with the meat or on the antlers.
7. Properly dispose of carcass remains by keeping these away from scavengers until test negative results are received. There will be a dumpster at the DNR forestry office in Preston for hunters who don’t have a way to dispose of remains.
8. 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.
9. Bring the entire head of the deer to one of five head box collection sites. Each collection box has specific instructions on how to properly submit the head for sampling.
10. 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.
11. Samples during the archery, youth deer and antlerless only seasons 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 mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.
Deer hunters should regularly check the DNR’s CWD webpage at mndnr.gov/cwd for the most recent information.
More information about youth and antlerless-only hunts can be found in the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.
Hunters are reminded that precautionary testing during the first two days of firearms deer season will determine whether chronic wasting disease may have spread from captive deer to wild deer in central and north-central Minnesota.
“Wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. Mandatory testing of hunter-harvested wild deer is a proactive way to protect Minnesota’s wild deer herd,” said Erik Hildebrand, CWD project coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
All hunters in affected deer permit areas will be required to have their harvested deer tested on Saturday, Nov. 4, or Sunday, Nov. 5. After field dressing their deer, hunters must take them to a sampling station. DNR staff will remove lymph nodes, which will be submitted for laboratory testing.
Hunters must register their deer by phone, internet or in person. Harvest registration will not be available at CWD sampling stations.
Central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 218, 219, 229, 277, 283 and 285.
North-central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 155, 171, 172, 242, 246, 247, 248 and 249.
Deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349 also are subject to mandatory testing on Nov. 4-5 because of their proximity to CWD-infected wild deer in permit area 603.
Testing in north-central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer on farms near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. Test results will determine whether CWD may have been passed from these captive deer to wild deer.
For sampling to accurately detect whether CWD exists in wild deer, the DNR wants to collect 3,600 samples in the north-central area, 1,800 in the central area and 1,800 in the southeast.
Proactive surveillance and precautionary testing for disease is a proven strategy that allows DNR to manage CWD by finding it early and reacting quickly and aggressively to control it. These actions, which were taken in 2005 to successfully combat bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota deer and in 2010 to eliminate a CWD infection in wild deer near Pine Island, provide the best opportunity to eliminate disease spread.
Complete information about mandatory CWD testing, sampling station locations and a related precautionary feeding ban are available now on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
Hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose or caribou outside of Minnesota are reminded that whole carcasses cannot be brought into the state.
This restriction is part of efforts to minimize the opportunity for chronic wasting disease to become established in Minnesota.
Only the following cervid parts may be brought into Minnesota:
Meat and trophy handling already are part of the trip planning process so taking the additional steps to minimize CWD risk can be added to that process. Another item to consider is the mount itself, and hunters should make those arrangements in the destination state and have the animal caped before leaving.
Alternatively, hunters can view a video at http://bit.ly/capeyourdeer on how to cape a deer. The same technique can be used on elk or moose. The video also includes helpful information on the carcass importation ban.
Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from this restriction.
Carcass import information is available at mndnr.gov/deerimports, in the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook on page 65 and the questions and answers section on the back cover.
Youth, ages 10-15, can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in 28 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.
Youth hunters in permit area 603 must have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received; more information is available at mndnr.gov/cwd/603.
Regulations and more information about the youth season can be found on page 34 of the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.
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