Waterfowl hunters were hitting the marsh in Pine County and around Minnesota this past week, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that many found success this first weekend of the waterfowl season.
Pine County and southern Carlton County are in the Central Zone, where waterfowl season for ducks, coots and mergansers runs from Sept. 26 - Oct. 4 and from Oct. 10 - Nov. 29. Goose season runs from Sept. 26-Oct. 4 and from Oct. 10-Dec. 30.
Waterfowl hunters are asked to keep a life jacket available while on the water, to prepare for the water temperature rather than the air temperature, and to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. The DNR notes that invasive species such as purple loosestrife, zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and faucet snails can be transported in waterfowl hunters’ boats, decoys or blind material and other equipment without the proper precautions.
The DNR asks that hunters take a few minutes to clean plants and mud, and drain water from duck boats, decoys, decoy lines, waders and push poles. Trappers are asked to clean their equipment before moving it to another body of water.
Conservation officer reports
The start of waterfowl season was one of the things that kept local DNR conservation officers busy this past week.
Conservation Officer Ben Karon, working out of Pine City, spent time this past week checking small-game hunters and waterfowl hunters. He reminded hunters to bring life jackets in the boat even while waterfowl hunting.
“People shooting in the Chengwatana State Forest are reminded to pick up after themselves,” Karon said. “Yes, this includes the hundreds of shells and spent casings you leave behind.”
Conservation Officer Dustie Speldrich, working out of Willow River, also worked the waterfowl opener. The few hunters out had success. Speldrich investigated a littering complaint and hunting-deer-over-bait complaint.
Speldrich said most recreational activity observed over the weekend was recreational vehicle activity, and reminded drivers of those vehicles of their responsibilities.
“Class 2 ATV operators, please remember that you are not a car and are not allowed to drive right down the lane of traffic,” Speldrich said. “Rather, you must operate on the extreme right. Also, if you are planning to operate in Pine County state forests, these are limited class state forests. That means you may only operate where there are signs showing that you can. Stay out of areas marked ‘no motorized vehicles’ and take your litter with you.”
Wolf Management plan
The DNR is updating its wolf management plan. DNR officials are taking public comments through Nov. 1. An online open house public meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wolves/wolf-plan.html for more information.