Yeagers win first Northerns Inc. tourney of the year

The team of Tim and Nick Yeager landed first place in the first Northerns Inc. tournament of the year, held on Roosevelt Lake in Outing.

The Yeagers brought in a total weight of 12 pounds, 5 ounces, to claim the top spot. Coming in second was the team of Rob and Roberta Carper with 12 pounds, 3 ounces; placing third were Ron and Rhonda Wickham with 8 pounds; fourth place were Kevin and Lucas Hacker with 7 pounds, 14 ounces; and fifth place went to Andrew Utter and Jake Rice, with 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

The Lunker of the Day was an 8-pound northern caught by Tim Yeager.

"Conditions weren't ideal for catching northerns but a few were caught," said Kevin Hacker, Northerns Inc. coordinator.

Kevin Hacker also noted a couple of nice muskies were also caught during this outing, with the biggest Biggest being a 47-inch muskie he caught, a 45-½-inch muskie caught by Rhonda Wickham and a 40-inch muskie caught by Andrew Utter.

Upcoming events at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Saturday, June 29

10:30-11:15 a.m. Two Little Owls. A talk about Minnesota's owl species and the characteristics that make them great hunters will be followed by nature film "Two Little Owls." Meet at the Interpretive Center.

2-2:45 p.m. Kids Activity: Wildlife Bingo. Learn about area wildlife while trying to get a bingo to win a cool prize! Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, June 30

10:30-10:55 a.m. Wolf Adventures. A short talk will be followed by a family-friendly film on wolves. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Aquatic invasive species education highlights holiday campaign

Weekends around Independence Day are year's busiest for boating

Partners at water access sites across Minnesota and throughout the Great Lakes region will conduct a targeted campaign from June 28 to July 7 to inform boaters and others about aquatic invasive species.

Volunteer and paid inspectors will partner with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other state and local agencies at hundreds of boat launches. They'll provide information about aquatic invasive species prevention, identification, reporting, and local laws and regulations.

Similar events have been hosted by individual states and provinces in previous years, but this is the first year that all of the Great Lakes states and provinces are involved and coordinating efforts to maximize the event's impact.

"This is the first time that these valuable educational events will be held simultaneously across the entire Great Lakes region," said DNR Watercraft Inspection Program Coordinator Adam Doll in a news release. "It's a chance to work directly with boaters and deliver a coordinated, regional message about the importance of AIS prevention during the busiest boating weekends of the year."

Working with local communities and volunteers will be key to the success of the event, Doll said. "Boaters will have the opportunity to engage directly with volunteers in their community. Seeing community members taking time out of their day reinforces that it takes all of our efforts to help protect our lakes and rivers from the unwanted impacts of invasive species."

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

• Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.

• Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.

• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:

• Spray with high-pressure water.

• Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).

• Dry for at least five days.

More information is available at mndnr.gov/ais.

Volunteer instructors crucial to DNR Enforcement safety training program

Since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division began offering firearms safety training nearly 65 years ago, it has certified more than 1.3 million students - an average of about 20,000 per year.

While conservation officers are intimately involved in the program, the reality is it wouldn't be possible without the thousands of volunteers who hold classes and field days in communities throughout the state. The same goes for the DNR's other safety education programs, such as ATV and snowmobile safety and bowhunter education.

There are more than 6,000 volunteer safety instructors in Minnesota, and some of them have been a part of the program since its earliest days. This spring, the DNREnforcement Division recognized one instructor who's been teaching for 60 years; 14 who've been teaching 50 years; 16 who've been teaching 40 years; and 36 who've been teaching for 30 years.

"The dedication of our volunteer instructors is nothing short of phenomenal," said Capt. Jon Paurus, education/safety training programs manager for the DNREnforcement Division, in a news release. "They truly are the backbone of our safety training programs and the reason these programs continue to be so successful."

Some instructors plan and hold one class each year. Others provide several offerings, and still others teach on multiple topics, becoming go-to resources in their communities when it comes to enjoying the outdoors safely. They work closely with local conservation officers and regional training officers, recruit other volunteer instructors, and do their best to meet their communities' educational demands.

"Our instructors' commitment to safety education means there are fewer recreation-related injuries and fatalities today than in the past," Paurus said. "It's humbling to work with people who give so freely of themselves so others can learn to safely and ethically enjoy Minnesota's natural resources."

See mndnr.gov/events/safety_training.html for a full list of safety training classes currently scheduled. Anyone interested in taking a class - or required to take one - should keep in mind that many classes fill up quickly.