Youth and adults can learn to hunt turkeys this April with experienced volunteers who will cover safe hunting techniques, how to call-in turkeys, hunting tactics and field dressing a bird. Participants can apply through Monday, Feb. 12. The hunts are Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, and provide opportunities to access locations that may otherwise be closed to hunting. "We teach the skills and techniques that allow new turkey hunters to become lifelong hunters," said Mike Kurre, learn-to-hunt program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Spring turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season have until Jan. 26 to apply for a lottery permit. The season runs from April 18 to May 31 and is divided into six hunt periods, A through F. Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing.
Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is this Saturday, Jan. 13, through Monday, Jan. 15. During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing. Ice fishing is a fun way to get outdoors in the winter," said Jeff Ledermann, angler recruitment and retention supervisor with the Minnesota DNR. "This weekend is a way to encourage anglers to get out and take a kid fishing."
Anglers and spearers pursuing northern pike this winter can prepare for new pike regulations that will be in effect for the spring fishing opener on Minnesota's inland waters. "Pike regulations remain the same this winter, with major changes coming this spring," said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager. "As anglers continue fishing for pike, we encourage them to get used to measuring their catches and even consider keeping some of the smaller ones in the north-central part of the state."
The Department of Natural Resources announced recently that five deer killed in southeastern Minnesota's disease management zone 603 during the first firearms deer season were infected with chronic wasting disease. Two deer that had tested presumptive positive during initial tests were found to be CWD-free after final testing. One of those deer was harvested in Forestville State Park. The other was harvested north of the park and east of Wykoff. Final results are still pending on two deer that initially tested positive for CWD.
Minnesota firearms hunters registered 161,057 deer through the third weekend of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Preliminary results through the third weekend show that the number of deer registered was up 16 percent from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 53 percent were bucks, compared to 63 percent during the same period in 2016.
Minnesota firearms hunters registered 145,054 deer through the second weekend of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Preliminary results through the second weekend show that the number of deer registered was up 10 percent from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 54 percent were bucks, compared to 63 percent during the same period in 2016.
Minnesota firearms hunters registered 70,724 deer during the first two days of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show that the number of deer registered was essentially the same as from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 57 percent were bucks, compared to 67 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2016.
Duck hunting is expected to be good when Minnesota's regular waterfowl season opens a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 23. "The number of breeding ducks in Minnesota and North America has been good in recent years, so we're optimistic that will result in a good duck season," said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Wetland habitat conditions and wild rice lakes are in pretty good shape. Canada goose populations remain high as well, so there's lots of opportunity to hunt geese this fall."
Hunters who missed the lottery deadline for the Camp Ripley archery hunt near Little Falls can purchase surplus permits on a first-come, first-served basis beginning noon on Friday, Sept. 15. Hunters who already received a permit will not be allowed to purchase a surplus permit. A total of 1,269 permits remain for the first hunt, which runs Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20, while 513 permits remain for the second hunt, which runs Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29. A person may only purchase a permit for one of the hunts.