MDHA issues final report on 2014 emergency deer feeding

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has prepared a final report on this past winter’s emergency deer feeding effort. For the complete report, go to the MDHA website at

Here are some highlights from that summary:

  • The program was paid for by the DNR through an account funded by a surcharge of 50 cents per deer license. The fund was initiated by the Minnesota Legislature in 1996.
  • A total of 1,056,000 pounds of feed, or 528 tons, was purchased and distributed across more than 12,000 square miles during the six-week initiative. A total of 969 individuals obtained feed through the program. These volunteers put feed out at 1,123 documented sites across the 13 DNR-approved Deer Permit Areas in Northeastern Minnesota.
  • A total of $200,225 was spent on feed procurement and shipping/handling. Under the terms of the grant, MDHA paid the feed procurement expenses as they were incurred, and subsequently requested reimbursement from the DNR. DNR reimbursed MDHA for appropriate expenses from the “Emergency Winter Deer Feeding/Wild Cervid Health” account.
  • A minimum of 72 volunteers handed out feed on a weekly basis at the eight distribution points for a total of 288 volunteer hours per week and 1,728 total volunteer hours for the six-week period. A total of 885 hours of MDHA staff time was used to support the feeding program. The cost of this staff time was $32,990.




Wisconsin sets wolf season quota at 156

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board today  set the state’s 2014 wolf season quota at 156, down from last year’s quota of 275. The quota is the same as that proposed by the Department of Natural Resources Wolf Advisory Committee.

Minnesota expects to set its wolf hunting and trapping quotas sometime in July, said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist.


The quota was set with the intention of continuing to reduce the state’s wolf population in accordance with the goals identified in the wolf management plan, DNR officials said in a news release.


Last fall, hunters and trappers in Wisconsin took 257 wolves. The state’s current late-winter 2014 minimum count is 660-689 wolves. This count represents a decline of 18 percent from the 2013 winter count of 809-834.


The DNR Wolf Advisory Committee is comprised of DNR staff, the Chippewa tribes, partner natural resource agencies and stakeholders representing the agriculture industry, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, sporting groups and organizations with an interest in wolf management.


Though the quota has been decided, the amount of wolves harvestable by state trappers and hunters may be adjusted dependent on tribal harvest declarations.


The department will maintain the 10-to-1 license-to-quota ratio from the 2013 season. One half of available permits will be issued randomly among all permit applications and the second half will be issued through a cumulative preference-point drawing.


Those interested in obtaining a license or a preference point for the 2014 season must apply by Aug. 1. The permit application fee is $10, and applications may be purchased from authorized license agents, over the Internet through the DNR Online Licensing Center or by phone at (877) 945-4236 toll-free.


The state’s wolf season will begin Oct. 15 and will run in each zone until the zone is closed or the last day of February, whichever occurs first. The department has the authority to close hunting zones when quotas are met or if deemed biologically necessary.

Minnesota DNR officials say they plan to set the state’s wolf season quotas in July.

Hermantown, Hibbing qualify for state high school trapshooting championship

High school trapshooting teams from Hermantown and Hibbing were among 24 teams that have qualified for Minnesota’s 2014 State High School Clay Target State Tournament. The tournament will be held Saturday at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake, Minn.

The event is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League and the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. Minnesota is the first and so far only state to sanction a state championship in clay target shooting.

Clay target shooting is a relatively new high school sport, open to both boys and girls who participate on the same team.



Short walk yields shed antler

Ingrid Lund, 4, of rural Carlton County, found this shed antler while she was out for a walk with her dad, Al Lund, last Thursday night near their home. (Al Lund photo)

Al Lund and his 4-year-old daughter, Ingrid, went for a little walk in the woods last Thursday evening before bedtime. The Lunds live in Kalevala Township in Carlton County. During the walk, they were lucky enough to find a shed antler left behind by a white-tailed deer. It’s the first shed antler they had ever found, Lund said.

“We found this antler 60 feet away from our house, behind one of the girls’ forts in a stand of cedars,” Lund said. “While walking around with my Sunday morning coffee, I found the other half about 100 feet away from the first. It is incredible how smart and sneaky these deer are. Neither my wife, myself nor our girls have ever seen this (or any) buck in our yard in the seven years we’ve lived here. Pretty cool.”

Yep. Pretty cool.


Whitetail fawns showing up now

Brandon Friermood captured this photo of a doe and her newborn fawn Sunday evening. (Brandon Friermood photo)

The first whitetail fawns are just beginning to appear now. Brandon Friermood took the photo above of a doe and her fawn Sunday evening near Barnes.

Wildlife officials in both Minnesota and Wisconsin urge people to leave newborn fawns alone, even if a doe isn’t present. Here’s information from a news release from the Minnesota DNR today:

“While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important to keep your distance and not interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR northeast regional wildlife manager. “Leave fawns alone and let wildlife remain wild.”

Deer rear their offspring differently than humans. Most fawns are born in May, and within hours of birth the fawn is led to a secluded spot so it can nurse. With a full stomach, the fawn is content to lie down and rest. If the doe has twins, it will hide the second fawn up to 200 feet away. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot.

In four or five hours, the doe will return to feed the fawns and take them to a new hiding place. Deer follow this pattern for two to three weeks, and only then – when fawns are strong enough to outrun predators – do the young travel much with their mother.



Photographer captures drumming ruffed grouse on North Shore

A male ruffed grouse drums on his drumming log in Cascade River State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore. (Paul Sundberg photo)

Grand Marais professional photographer Paul Sundberg went back to visit an old friend of his recently — a ruffed grouse nicknamed “Cascade Rusty.” The bird drums on a moss-covered log in the park to attract females this time of year.

“Two of the many sounds of spring that I eagerly await are the frog choruses and the drumming of the male ruffed grouse,” Sundberg wrote.

Below is another photo that Sundberg made of the grouse. For more of Sundberg’s photography of this grouse, go to his website, Here’s the link. Look for the “Photo of the Week” feature.

A male ruffed grouse displays on its drumming log. (Paul Sundberg photo)


Spring or not, the turkey mating game goes on

A turkey gobbler displays near the home of Sparky Stensaas, who lives near Wrenshall. (Sparky Stensaas photo)

Today’s the first day of Minnesota and Wisconsin’s spring wild turkey seasons, but it isn’t clear how many gobblers will be out strutting in the snowstorm. Sparky Stensaas of Wrenshall passed along a couple of photos of gobblers that have been visiting his birdfeeders this winter.

“We’ve had up to 14 for much of the winter,” Stensaas said in an e-mail. “They destroyed two of my feeders.”

The toms started displaying April 9 this winter, he said. They were in full-strut when he took these photos through his picture window. The gobblers often face off in full display, Stensaas said. The birds are still very wary of any movement inside the house, he said.

For more of Stensaas’ photography, go to

A gobbler in full strut. (Sparky Stensaas photo)




Northern Minnesota beaver trapping season extended

Due to prolonged ice cover, the beaver trapping season in the northern third of Minnesota will be extended through May 15, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources news release.

The season was scheduled to close statewide on April 30, but a second consecutive winter of persistently frozen lakes and rivers in the north prompted the Department of Natural Resources to temporarily extend the 2013-14 season. Beaver trapping will close as scheduled in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Trappers who participate in the season extension will be required to take the following modifications to prevent incidental otter catch:

Foothold traps must be set in at least 8 inches of water.

Body-gripping traps must be completely submerged. Those with a jaw opening greater than 7 ½ inches must be set with the trigger wires moved all the way to one side of the trap. The wires must point straight down.

Snares must be set with stops affixed to the cable to ensure that the portion of the snare that makes up the noose loop may not be less than 4 inches in diameter when fully closed.

The season will be extended north of state Highway 200, east of state Highway 73 and north of the Pine-Carlton county line. A map of the open area (the north mink/muskrat/beaver/otter zone) can be found on page 48 of the 2013 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, which is available online

Get a glimpse of Michael Furtman’s photography

Michael Furtman took this photo of a snowy owl near Duluth this winter. (Michael Furtman photo)

If you want to see some excellent wildlife photography, check out the Izaak Walton League meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hartley Nature Center, 3001 Woodland Avenue. Duluth wildlife photographer Michael Furtman will be presenting a program on wildlife photography. Furtman has shot covers and other photos for Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer and many other publications. He has captured stunning images — and videos — of white-tailed deer, waterfowl, pheasants, raptors, owls, snowshoe hares and many other species. The presentation is free.