Hunters can use leashed dogs to track wounded deer or bear

A hunting regulations change allows Minnesota hunters to use a leashed dog to locate and retrieve a wounded deer or bear.
The person attempting to locate the animal must have a valid license to take the deer or bear, or the dog handler must be accompanied by a hunter with a valid license. People must wear blaze orange/pink. Any light used must be an artificial light carried in the hand or attached to the person. The dog must be on a leash no longer than 30 feet and the dog owner or handler must physically control the leash at all times. Finally, the dog owner’s name and telephone number must be on the dog while it’s being used to locate a wounded deer or bear.
These requirements can be found on page 61 of the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations book, online at  

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Deer hunts occurring in many Minnesota state parks this fall

Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer will take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks.
Access to the parks vary during these hunts. Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access for the general public, and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public).
“We allow occasional deer hunts to protect the natural resources in our state parks,” said Tavis Westbrook, natural resource program coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “If deer populations become too high in an area, they can harm native plant communities. Deer hunts are an effective tool to maintain a balance between plant and animal life.”
The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and the end of December to go online or call ahead to check whether a hunt is planned and whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises wearing blaze orange when visiting parks where hunts are taking place. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.
For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2019 hunting season, visit the state parks hunting page or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday). Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park webpages.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin warden offers 'Safety First' primer for waterfowl hunters

MADISON, Wis. - Two non-fatal incidents early into the waterfowl hunting season highlight the importance of safety afield.
DNR Conservation Warden Jon King, the department's Bureau of Law Enforcement administrator of the hunter education program, says the two incidents that occurred since the Sept. 1 opener prompts his reminder to all waterfowl hunters to think "safety first."
King says that means remembering to use caution and patience and always thinking about safety before hitting the water for the hunt, and during the entire event until off the water.
Adding to the current situation facing waterfowl hunters are the conditions resulting from recent heavy rains.
"The higher waters masking sunken debris and strong currents can add new dangers to waterfowl hunters during the ongoing season," King said.
King offers the following primer of things to do and to remember to those planning for hunting outings to make them enjoyable and safe for all.

Waders are heavy, life jackets a must
"This is one of the annual seasons many hunters look forward to. It's a different way to hunt when you are either in a boat or in waders in marshes and other waters to hunt," King said. "Because water is involved, the hunter must remember boating safety as well as firearm safety. No cutting corners."
King says a waterfowl hunter also is wearing the heavy waders. "It is imperative the waterfowl hunter - whether in a boat or the water in waders - wear a life jacket," he said. "Wet, heavy hunting clothes serve as a weight that can pull a person underwater quickly.

Hunting proximity
Waterfowl hunters are often near hunting partners - in a boat, in a blind or laying in a cornfield. These close quarters require special attention to proper firearm handling, shooting zones and fundamental firearm safety rules.
Four Rules of Firearm Safety
* Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
* Always point the firearm in a safe direction.
* Be sure of your target, what's in front of it, AND what is beyond it.
* Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

Plan you hunt
Moreover, another must-do from King's safety primer is to plan your hunt and hunt your plan - and make sure someone knows that plan.

Dogs need skill training, too
King says many enjoy hunting with a dog. Furthermore, dogs love this. However, to ensure the safety of your dog and fellow hunters, please work with your canine buddy to know the rules of the boat.
Train your four-legged hunting friend from an early age to lie or sit still while traveling to the blind when crossing open water, when drifting a stream and when heading back to the landing.
Accidents can occur where hunters lay a gun down in the boat only to have an excited dog hit the trigger. A boat and blind offer close quarters, and dogs need to get accustomed to the situation before the hunting season.

Additional safety tips
King offers a few more easy-to-follow safety tips for waterfowl hunting - as well as any hunting year-round.
Just as important:
* Be aware that water temperatures are rapidly cooling, and if you fall overboard, hypothermia can set in rapidly. Always wear a lifejacket.
* When not actively hunting or holding your firearm, consider opening the action, unloading it and always have the safety on.
* Never overload the boat. If hunting on a large river or lake, use a boat that is big enough to handle rough water.
* Balance your boat evenly and keep weight low for stability.
* There will always be more unpredictability on the water, so be on the lookout for elements outside of your control, such as changing weather, wind, or a slightly submerged stump, rock, sandbar or floating debris.
* When hunting with a partner, establish and communicate a safe zone of fire before ducks are flying overhead. If you are in a boat or canoe, do not stand to shoot if your partner is shooting from a seated position.
* Know your target by practicing waterfowl identification
* Train your water dog for the conditions.
* Let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return.
* Always carry a cellphone so communication can happen in case of an emergency.
* To enroll in a hunter education course, visit the DNR website, and search hunter safety.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Hunters asked to help with CWD detection in northern Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is conducting enhanced Chronic Wasting Disease sampling across 18 counties in northern Wisconsin as a part of a multi-year sweep across the state to test for CWD in places where sampling has been more limited in recent years.
Hunters who harvest a deer in this area this season are strongly encouraged to have their deer sampled for CWD testing.
"Our goal is to determine where CWD is on the Wisconsin landscape," said acting DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Director Tami Ryan. "To meet this goal, the department is seeking to test as many deer as hunters will provide for sampling.
"Deer hunters have a very important role in making this enhanced effort a success," Ryan added. "With their support, we will all gain a more current understanding of where CWD is present on the landscape."
To help hunters submit samples for CWD testing, the department and local volunteers have worked together to provide sampling locations throughout the 18 counties. These locations include self-service kiosks, sampling stations located at businesses/cooperators and the option to meet with local DNR Wildlife Management staff. The Spooner and Rhinelander DNR Service Centers also have free CWD self-sample kits while supplies last. These kits have all supplies necessary to collect and submit a tissue sample for CWD testing.
No matter how hunters submit samples, they must have their deer harvest authorization number, DNR customer number, current contact information and the location of harvest.
Find an interactive map and searchable database of statewide sampling and deer carcass waste disposal locations by visiting and searching keywords "CWD sampling." Hunters should check their sampling location information before submitting a CWD sample to verify hours of operation as these may change throughout the season.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

2019 furbearer trapping/hunting seasons opening soon

MADISON, Wis. - The 2019/2020 Wisconsin "dryland" furbearer seasons, which include the fisher trapping season and the coyote, fox and bobcat hunting/trapping seasons kick off on Oct. 19.
The raccoon hunting/trapping season will also open on Oct. 19 for Wisconsin residents, while non-residents can hunt/trap raccoon beginning on Nov. 2. The mink/muskrat trapping season opens on Oct. 26, followed by the beaver and otter trapping season opening on Nov. 2.
The Mississippi River Zone has its own season structure - mink/muskrat opens on Nov. 11, and the beaver season opens the day after duck season closes.
Bobcat, fisher and otter require a special zone-specific permit to harvest. Bobcat permits are time specific as well. All three species must be reported within 24 hours of harvest at or by calling 1-844-426-3734. Harvesters must also register their bobcat, fisher or otter with a conservation warden by the seventh day after the month of harvest.
Trappers need to purchase a trapping license, and hunters will need a small game hunting license to pursue furbearers. Purchase licenses through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources GoWild system or at license agents for DNR Service Centers. New trappers must be Wisconsin trapper education certified to purchase a trapping license, and new hunters must have hunter's education certification to purchase a hunting license. Mentored licenses are available, see the regulations for more details.
Unique hunting and trapping regulations apply on many federal properties, and special trapping restrictions apply to both federal and state portions of the Horicon Marsh. Please contact the appropriate property manager for more information.
Small game and waterfowl hunters should be aware that trapping will be taking place on many wildlife areas open to hunting. Bird hunters and others with dogs should keep a close watch on their animals and know the methods for safe and easy release of pets from traps.
A Body-grip Traps, Identification, Use and Pet Removal brochure is available on the DNR website where hunters can also find season dates, 2019 Trapping Regulations and 2019 Small Game Hunting Regulations.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Fairmont to host 2020 Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener

Fairmont will be the host community for the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. Gov. Tim Walz made the announcement during Friday night’s banquet.
“I thank the people of Fairmont for their hospitality in hosting the 2020 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” said Walz. “I look forward to Fairmont carrying on the tradition of presenting a fantastic opener next year.”
"Visit Fairmont," the local convention and visitors bureau, submitted the application to host the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. Fairmont was selected through an application process that considered available hunting land, event facilities, travel recreation opportunities and community support.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to host the 2020 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener,” said Jason Subbert, Fairmont event chair. “Fairmont and Martin County have a strong history of collaborating together, so we’re confident this event will be another great opportunity to showcase our southern Minnesota hospitality, habitat and hunting.”
The 2020 event, scheduled Oct. 9-10, will be the 10th annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. It was initiated by then Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011. Previous host communities have been Montevideo (2011 and 2016), Marshall (2012 and 2017), Madelia (2013), Worthington (2014), Mankato (2015), Luverne (2018) and Austin (2019). The event features the many hunting, recreational and travel opportunities that host communities have to offer visitors.
Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will assist local partners in planning the event.
Set in Martin County, Fairmont is dubbed “Bacon Capital USA.” It is the county seat and has a population of 10,666. Fairmont is located at the junction of Interstate 90 and Minnesota State Highway 15.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Help DNR assess pesticide exposure in deer

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is conducting a pilot study to screen hunter-harvested deer for the presence of a pesticide called a neonicotinoid.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are insecticides that are applied through seed treatments, in foliar sprays, applied granularly to pastures and injected into trees.
You can participate by signing up online and sending the spleen from your harvested deer through a sampling kit that we’ll mail out the week of Oct. 28. If you include a tooth with your sample, we will age your deer for free.
After test results return, you will receive a letter with the age of your deer and the level of neonicotinoid exposure that was found. For more information, contact Dr. Eric Michel, farmland deer project leader, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 507-578-8918. 

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR