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Wet, snowy conditions will require temporary road and trail closures

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will need to close many roads and trails temporarily in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas, due to wet, snowy conditions. Road and trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly this spring, and many are not yet firm enough to support vehicle traffic without being damaged. The temporary closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

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“These are normal spring closures that happen when roads and trails become wet and fragile,” said Richard Peterson, recreation program coordinator for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and frequently check the DNR website for updates.”

Road conditions can change quickly. The DNR advises people to check individual state park, state trail or state forest Web pages before planning trips to avoid being surprised and disappointed by temporary closures.

Road and trail users should pay particular attention to state forest closures. Generally, all roads and trails in a particular forest will be closed, but not always. Those that can handle motor vehicle traffic will remain open but may be restricted by gross vehicle weight. Signs will be posted at entry points and parking lots.

Online road and trail condition information is updated every Thursday by 2 p.m. Changes are added as soon as possible to the “Current Conditions” page on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/trailconditions/index.html). Signs may be in place before the website is updated. All signs must be obeyed.

Road and trail closure information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free, 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

For information on roads and trails on county land, contact the county directly.

Teens can hunt toms for entire turkey season with a license

This year for the first time, youth age 17 and younger can hunt the entire Minnesota spring turkey season or until they harvest a turkey and they can choose any location open to turkey hunting, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Youth age 13-17 need to obtain a license for a fee of $5. Youth age 12 and younger need to obtain a free license. License vendors will add a $1 issuing fee.

Spring wild turkey season begins Wednesday, April 16 and runs through Thursday, May 29.

Gone is the need for youth to pick a single time period and risk getting shut out by bad weather or an unexpected conflict with school, work or family obligations.

“Adults should share their passion for hunting and get kids out in the field.” said Mike Kurre, DNR’s mentoring program coordinator. “The season structure for youth and inexpensive license fees provide the opportunity to build the family turkey hunting tradition from the ground up – or the parents down.”

Licenses may be purchased from any DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at 888-665-4236. People purchasing via Internet or by telephone should allow seven to 10 days for the turkey license and attached site tag to arrive in the mail. All turkey hunters must have their license and tag in possession when hunting.

A $3.50 convenience fee will be charged for telephone purchases. An additional fee of 3 percent of the transaction amount plus $1.65 for mailing the license will be added to online purchases.

Additional information about the spring turkey hunting season is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey.

DNR accepting comments on hunting rules

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting comments through 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 12, on a proposal to make permanent a number of temporary hunting rules that have been in place for at least one hunting season.

The rules pertain to registration of game taken by hunting or trapping, hunter selection and descriptions of various hunting area boundaries such as wild turkey permit areas, deer areas and waterfowl hunting zones.

“Hunters have been applying for licenses and registering game under most of these rules for the past several seasons,” said Jason Abraham, DNR season setting specialist. “By making these temporary rules permanent, we provide additional consistency for hunters and streamline the process for managing a sustainable harvest.”

Many of the rule changes are intended to streamline regulations, reduce paperwork and modify zone boundaries to better match habitat conditions. The rules, summarized below:

* Modify deer tagging provisions.

* Allow deer hunters to apply for an either-sex permit and a special hunt in the same year.

* Allow for online and telephone registration of bears and bait stations.

* Update elk zone boundaries.

* Provide for site validation coupons for fisher, marten and otter.

* Modify farmland furbearer zone.

* Consolidate wild turkey permit areas from 77 smaller areas into nine larger ones.

* Streamline wild turkey license sales procedures.

Modify and consolidate prairie chicken zone boundaries.

* Moved the prairie chicken license application deadline to the Friday nearest Aug. 17.

* Correct rail and snipe possession limit for consistency with federal regulations.

* Provide for three waterfowl zones and standardize waterfowl season definition.

* Correct Migratory Waterfowl Feeding and Resting Area descriptions and

* Clarify eligibility of hunters and mentors participating in Youth Waterfowl Day.

* The proposed rules are published online in the April 7 edition of the State Register at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/stateregister/38_41.pdf?page=10.

* They are also is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildlife/hunting.html.

Comments may be submitted to: Jason Abraham, Box 20, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55115-4020 or by emailing jason.abraham@state.mn.us.

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Eric Morken
Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
(320) 763-1229
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