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Outdoor Notes for Aug. 18

Turn in Poachers Inc. Shooters Challenge is Aug. 25

The Turn in Poachers Inc. Shooters Challenge will be held starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at the Lakeshore Conservation Club, 9911 County Road 77 SW in Nisswa; and at Hunts Point Gun Club, 2142 76th St. SW in Pequot Lakes.

The challenge will be a two-phase competition. First, teams will join at the Lakeshore Conservation Club for a round of trap. Second, they will move to Hunts Point Gun Club for lunch and a full round of sporting clays.

Registration includes one round of trap, one round sporting clays and a meal served at Hunt's Point. Cost is $350 per team of five (organizations can sponsor) and $75 for individuals (shells not included).

To register or receive more information, go to

For additional information, contact Bob Marquardt of Lakeshore Conservation Club at 218-839-4693; John Barr of Hunts Point Gun Club at 218-232-7062; or Dennis Mackedanz of Turn In Poachers Inc. at 218-820-6225.

Applications being taken for Rice Lake deer hunt for people with disabilities

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Friends of Rice Lake Refuge, has announced applications for the 12th annual deer hunt for people with disabilities are ready to be released. The dates of the hunt will be Oct. 11-14. This hunt will be open for buck or doe.

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located five miles south of McGregor on Highway 65. The Refuge is large (18,000 acres), offering hunters varied terrain from which to hunt. The habitat is a mix of upland deciduous forest, tamarack and black spruce bog, to lowland hardwood forest. The maximum number of hunters who can participate is 15.

Hunters are responsible for travel to and from the refuge; sleeping accommodations; purchasing their license; and providing for their personal needs such as warm clothes, guns, ammo, attendants, etc. Hunt organizers will assist hunters with getting from the refuge headquarters to and from their hunting site, providing volunteers to assist with the handling of the animal after it is shot (if requested), and meals. Meals will consist of a noon meal prior to hunting and an evening meal once the hunter has come back from hunting. Deer hunting will only be allowed between the hours of noon and a half hour after sunset.

If more applications are received than spots available, applicants will be selected based on severity of disability and hunting experience as a person with a disability. If all is equal, a random drawing will take place.

Anyone interested in applying for this year's hunt should contact Walt Ford, refuge manager, for a hunting application by calling 218-768-2402, ext. 100. Applications must be postmarked by Sept. 7.

Upcoming events at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Monday, Aug. 20: 10:30-11:15 a.m. Nature Film: Wolves at Our Door. This family-oriented movie is about a wolf pack and the effort to relocate them so they could continue to survive in a wilderness setting. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: 10:30-11:15 a.m. Frogs, Facts & Folklore. A talk about the natural history of area frogs will be followed by a nature film on frogs around the world. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: 10:30-11:15 a.m. Snakes Alive! A talk about snakes that can be found at Mille Lacs Kathio, will be followed by a visit from our friend Corny. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Thursday, Aug. 23: 10:30-noon. Fishing 101. Let's go fishing! Join us as we learn all about fishing — identifying species, casting, and more. We provide the poles, bait and instructors. Minnesota residents do not need a fishing license for this activity. In case of heavy winds or thunderstorms this program will be canceled. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Friday, Aug. 24: 7-7:45 p.m. Frogs, Facts & Folklore. A talk about the natural history of area frogs will be followed by a nature film on frogs around the world. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Saturday, Aug. 25: 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 the 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.

3-3:30 p.m. Turtle Crossing. A talk about turtles of Mille Lacs Kathio State Park will be followed by a visit from our friend Shellby the turtle. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Sunday, Aug. 26: 10:30-11:15 a.m. Wetlands We Need Them! A talk will be followed by a film to learn the benefits of areas where water meets land. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

DNR invites public to attend deer open houses

Anyone interested in deer can talk with area wildlife managers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at meetings scheduled across the state meant to encourage discussions about deer and deer management, enhance local relationships and foster two-way communication.

These area-level engagement meetings organized by the DNR are one of the first steps identified for implementing the state's new White-tailed Deer Management Plan.

"The format of the meetings will be similar to the ones held in April, when our draft plan was released," said Erik Thorson, DNR acting big game program leader. "The focus this time will be on the upcoming deer season, progress in meeting population goals, local DNR management efforts and listening to citizen suggestions on improving deer management."

These local open-house style meetings will provide hunters and others interested in deer a forum for sharing their observations, talking to DNR wildlife managers, reviewing new deer-related information — including the final deer plan — and discussing options for the future. No formal presentations have been planned, so people can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting times.

The DNR encourages anyone who can't attend a scheduled meeting to contact a local wildlife manager for additional information or to address any questions about deer management. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at

More information about the state's deer management plan is available at

Area meetings include:

• Aitkin: 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, Aitkin Area Office, 1200 Minnesota Ave.

• Brainerd: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, Brainerd area DNR Office, 1601 Minnesota Drive.

• Little Falls: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, Little Falls Area DNR Office, 16543 Haven Road.

• Onamia: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, Mille Lacs WMA Headquarters, 29172 100th Ave.

• Park Rapids: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, Park Rapids Area Library, 210 W. 1st St.

Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations

During a series of public meetings, anglers and others can give their opinions about fishing regulations that are in place or are newly proposed for 15 lakes and one trout stream, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR has scheduled 13 meetings across the state in coming weeks to review regulations that apply to individual waters, and the DNR also is accepting written and verbal public comments on the regulations before and 10 days after each meeting.

Highlights of topics being covered include proposals to modify existing special walleye regulations on Leech Lake, walleye and sauger regulations on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River, northern pike regulations on Lake Vermilion; and a review of experimental walleye regulations on Kabetogama, Namakan, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes.

"Anglers and the public should know they have an important role to play in shaping fishing regulations, and we value their opinions," said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries regulations consultant. "In the end we all want to make sure anglers continue to have quality fishing in Minnesota."

In many places statewide regulations, such as bag limits, do an adequate job in providing opportunities to catch quality-sized fish; however, special regulations are a more specific tool that fish managers can use to ensure there are local opportunities for quality fishing. Special or experimental regulations are found in their own section of the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook (pages 38 to 54).

Area meetings include:

• Cass County (Walker area fisheries): Review special walleye regulations on Leech Lake, 6-8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, Walker Community Center, Walker.

• Hubbard County (Park Rapids area fisheries): Review a proposal for sunfish and crappie regulations on 5th and 6th Crow Wing lakes, 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Community Meeting Room at Northwoods Bank, Park Rapids.

Call or write to local fisheries offices to comment about regulations proposals. Phone numbers of local fisheries offices can be found online at, or on page 87 of the fishing regulations handbook. The offices will accept written or verbal comments up to 10 days following a local meeting.

Anyone who cannot attend a local meeting can attend an open house about the regulation proposals that will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, 500 Lafayette Road. No formal presentations will be made at the open house.

Additionally, staff will accept comments on any proposal through Monday, Oct. 8. Comment by email to or by calling him at 651-259-5239.

ATV riders can ride Minnesota trails for free on 'No Registration Weekend'

All-terrain vehicle users registered for private or agricultural use can explore both the old and new trails without cost Sept. 7-9. Typically they would pay the registration fee ($60 for three years) to ride the public trails.

Minnesota has 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid trails available to ATV users. The state also has more than 200 miles of new trails that were completed this year.

Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($30 annually). This is the fifth year that Minnesota is providing ATV riders with free access during "No Registration Weekend." The date was pushed back from June so new trails could be completed, including the 159-mile route connecting communities in northwestern Itasca County, as well as a trail connecting Balsam and Bigfork.

"The September weekend gives us a great opportunity to introduce a wide variety of state and grant-in-aid trails across Minnesota," said Mary Straka, off-highway vehicle (OHV) program consultant for the Parks and Trails Division at the DNR. "There are a large number of privately registered ATVs across the state. During the No Registration Weekend, ATV owners can check out the public trails for free."

Minnesota's two newest trails are:

• The Alvwood to Squaw Lake trail, which makes a 159-mile scenic tour through Bowstring State Forest and the Chippewa National Forest. Enjoy the many communities along the route. The trail is provided by Itasca County and the Alvwood-Squaw Lake ATV Club.

• The Bigfork to Balsam (B&B) 33-mile trail is full of diverse northern landscapes. It connects to the Little Moose ATV Trail off Co. Road 336.

Other recreational favorites include these:

• The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area, a 1,200-acre OHV park in Gilbert with 36 miles of scenic trails for riders of all abilities.

• The 100-mile trail system in Nemadji State Forest, which connects to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail.

• The 29-mile Spider Lake trail system in Foot Hills State Forest, where riders will curve around lakes and ponds, go up and down a variety of hills, and view overlooks from the ridges throughout the forest.

• The 200-mile Northwoods Regional Trail System in Aitkin and Itasca counties, where riders will use the Soo Line Trail to connect to local communities and trail loops.

Safety training is recommended for everyone that operates an ATV. It is required for ATV riders born after July 1, 1987. Children under age 18 must wear a DOT-certified helmet. Children age 16 and under must fit the ATV they are operating and be able to properly reach and control the handlebars and reach the foot pegs while sitting upright on the ATV. Trail maps, updates on trail conditions, Youth ATV Safety training and other OHV information can be found online at