Outdoors Section

Be aware of bears as weather warms

Be aware of bears as weather warms

Anyone living near bear habitat is reminded to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.
“Leaving food out in yards that can be eaten by bears can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears,” said Eric Nelson, wildlife animal damage program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Pet food, livestock feed, birdseed, compost or garbage can attract bears.”
As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce.
Only black bears live in the wild in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are…

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Minnesota boaters should become educated before season begins

Minnesota boaters should become educated before season begins

Just as the “rules of the road” are learned before getting behind the wheel of a car, the same should be done before getting on a boat and taking the helm.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction. Before hitting the water this summer, take a boater’s education course, do it this week for an added incentive.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) along with state, federal and nonprofit partners are encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the 2017 boating season.
During the week of March 19-25, as part of the Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign, Minnesota boaters will receive 50…

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New catch and release state record fish category set

New catch and release state record fish category set

MADISON, WI - Dedicated catch and release anglers know there's little that equals the joy of releasing a healthy musky, northern pike or even a walleye with the hope that it will spawn again and perhaps provide excitement for another angler.
But what if the fish is really big - possibly one for the record books?
A new live release record fish program being rolled out by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources aims to end the dilemma and provide anglers with the win-win satisfaction of achieving a state record and a successful live release. The new program is part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Similar efforts have found success in other states and among some national record-keeping organizations.
"As…

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Once-rare pelicans on yearly return to Minnesota

Once-rare pelicans on yearly return to Minnesota

American white pelicans are making their yearly migration to Minnesota about two weeks early this year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
With bright white plumage, a nine-foot wingspan, and bright orange bill, the once-threatened species ranks among the largest birds in the world. Its graceful flight, pouch-like throat, and awkward gait makes it a favorite among bird watchers.
The pelicans spend winters along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico and typically return to Minnesota in early spring as the thawing of lakes and rivers allow.
“Southern and western Minnesota’s prairie pothole lakes are native habitat for American white pelicans,” said DNR nongame wildlife specialist Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer. “In fact, more than one-fifth of all pelicans in North America will nest in…

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DNR trout, salmon stamp contests open for students

DNR trout, salmon stamp contests open for students

MADISON, WI - Students in grades 9 through 12 who have artistic talent or just really like to fish, will want to check out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources inland trout stamp and Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp design contests for the 2018 year stamps.
The 2018 stamp year contests aim to get a new generation hooked on Wisconsin's world-class fishing traditions while highlighting fisheries management efforts that will benefit anglers for years to come.
"High school students in every part of our state have access to exceptional inland trout or Great Lakes salmon and trout fishing opportunities, so we're hoping to get submissions from throughout Wisconsin," said Justine Hasz, DNR's fisheries bureau chief. "We think the work of these young artists will capture the true excitement…

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Bird survey organizers urge volunteers to submit early-season data

Bird survey organizers urge volunteers to submit early-season data

ASHLAND, WI - Throughout Wisconsin, bald eagles are sprucing up their nests, red-tailed hawks are pairing up, and great horned owls are already sitting on eggs.
For Wisconsin's earliest breeding species, daily sightings are already being documented for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II.
"Mild winter weather and the early return of some migrants, like geese, cranes and blackbirds, have many birders anxious for spring and the start of nesting season," says Ryan Brady, DNR wildlife biologist and science coordinator for the atlas survey. "The atlas is a great way to put that eagerness to work for birds and the places they call home."
Organizers of this comprehensive bird survey, now entering its third year, encourage all birders and wildlife watchers to submit observations and attend free…

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