DNR Walk-In Access sign-ups for landowners begin Jan. 23

Landowners can generate revenue by allowing public hunting on their private land in 46 Minnesota counties through the Department of Natural Resources’ Walk-In Access program. Sign-ups are open Monday, Jan. 23, to Friday, April 28.  Full Story

Register snowmobiles to keep Minnesota trails well marked and maintained

Minnesota snowmobilers can help protect and preserve their sport by registering their snowmobiles.The revenue from snowmobile registration helps funds local clubs that maintain and groom state trails. Full Story

DNR hosting 12 public engagement meetings to discuss deer management goals

Meetings run from Jan. 31 to March 2

People interested in deer will have a chance to discuss goals and values that could define Minnesota’s first-ever deer management plan in a series of 12 public engagement meetings the Department of Natural Resources will host throughout the state between Tuesday, Jan. 31, and Thursday, March 2.  Full Story

Minnesotans age 16 or older fish free with kids Jan. 14-16

Just about anywhere in Minnesota, chances are there are fishing opportunities nearby, and it’s a good time to fish during Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend, Saturday, Jan. 14, through Monday, Jan. 16.  Full Story

For an intro to winter fun, visit Fort Snelling State Park on Winter Trails Day

For an introduction to winter fun, stop by the annual Winter Trails Day extravaganza at Fort Snelling State Park on Saturday, Jan. 21, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Full Story

Public input sought on Border to Border ORV trail

A series of listening sessions in January and February will provide an opportunity for public input on the Border to Border (B2B) off-road vehicle (ORV) trail across northern Minnesota. Individuals with suggestions about suitable and unsuitable routes for the trail can provide feedback in person at any of these listening sessionsFull Story

DNR seeks comments on Duluth area lake and stream management plans

Citizens interested in learning about or commenting on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing Duluth area lakes and streams have until March 1 to ask questions or submit comments. Full Story

Apply by Jan. 27 for spring wild turkey A and B season permits

Wild turkey hunters have through Friday, Jan. 27, to apply for early season spring hunting permits.  Full Story

DNR uses fish work groups to gain advice, input  

Each year, groups of volunteers that together total 79 people gather two to three times a year to discuss topics like fisheries research, fish population and harvest trends, fishing regulations and stocking – all important to how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages fish.  Full Story

CWD found in 2 more deer; 5-county feeding ban now in place

272 of 430 deer tested so far; bird feed must be at least 6 feet above the ground

Two more deer suspected of being infected with chronic wasting disease have been found near Preston.  The DNR received preliminary results of the positive tests late on Jan 6. Final results confirming the two suspected cases are expected later this week. The two adult female deer were killed within a mile of the first two positive deer.

This latest discovery will prompt the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to consider removing more deer to better assess the disease’s prevalence.

“We won’t make any final decisions until after Jan. 15 when the special hunt concludes,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “But with the discovery of an infected deer 5 miles north of Preston and these two new presumptive positive deer, it’s prudent that we increase our original surveillance goal of sampling 900 adult deer.”

A higher surveillance goal also results in more potentially infected deer being removed from the population, which helps to reduce CWD’s spread.

Confirmation of the new cases would bring the total number of current CWD-positive deer to five. Until now, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

Through Jan. 7, hunters killed about 575 deer in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone. Test results have been received for 272 of 430 samples, which include the two new discoveries.

Additional efforts to address CWD are in full swing in the 371-square mile disease management area centered around Preston.

The DNR began a series of meetings with landowners to issue deer shooting permits that become effective Monday, Jan. 16; a five-county deer feeding ban is in place; and an aerial survey to determine deer population and density in the area now is complete.

“Our best chance at containing the spread of CWD and hopefully eliminating the disease is to take quick and aggressive action,” Cornicelli said. “Asking landowners and hunters to reduce the deer population helps minimize the spread of disease. Fewer deer means less deer-to-deer contact occurs, lowering the risk of sick deer transmitting CWD to healthy deer.”

Results of the aerial deer population survey estimate that there are 11,600 deer in an area that includes the disease management zone and an area to the north where the third CWD-positive deer was discovered. Population estimates show a higher density of animals within a 12 square-mile radius of the site near Preston where the first CWD-positive deer was discovered.

“The aerial survey tells us where deer are as well as where they are more likely to congregate,” Cornicelli said. “Knowing that helps us determine if more deer need to be removed in certain areas to better reduce potential spread of the disease.”

So far, the DNR has issued about 115 landowner shooting permits. The permits become effective Monday, Jan. 16, the day after the special hunt concludes. They allow landowners and their designees to shoot deer on their property so DNR hopefully can reach its disease sampling goal.

A ban prohibiting the feeding of wild deer in a larger area that includes all of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties is in effect as part of the DNR’s comprehensive long-term disease management strategy.

“The purpose of the ban is to reduce the potential for the disease to spread from deer-to-deer by reducing the number of deer concentration sites,” Cornicelli said. “The disease can spread from one deer to another following nose-to-nose contact, contact with saliva or other body fluids. By eliminating deer feeding sites where that easily can occur, we reduce potential for the disease to spread.”

The deer feeding ban makes it illegal to place or have food capable of attracting wild deer. This includes salt/mineral blocks and deer attractants. People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that precludes access to deer or place the food at least 6 feet above ground level.

“We recognize that people enjoy feeding wildlife,” Cornicelli said. “Those who do so must place the feed so deer can’t access it.”

Food placed as a result of normal agricultural practices is generally exempted from this rule. But cattle operators should take steps that minimize contact between deer and cattle.

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to the five recent discoveries, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

For more information, including a map of the disease management zone, locations of infected deer, landowner information, special deer hunt information, deer feeding ban, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR’s CWD webpage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

Apply to learn how to hunt turkeys with a mentor in April

Until a wild turkey shows up, a novice hunter might not believe the scratchy, squeaky sound made with a turkey call will ever entice a bird into view. Full Story

Lot of pout: Burbot state record is on the books

It’s official – a Minnesota resident holds the state record for a fish species with a much maligned appearance and many names including freshwater ling, lawyer, eelpout and burbot.

Brent Getzler of Roosevelt is the new record holder of a 19-pound, 10-ounce burbot taken from the Minnesota waters of Lake of the Woods. Full Story

DNR announces new special angling regulations

Trout anglers have all the more reason to visit Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston and Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota thanks to a change that effectively allows trout fishing all year long in these cities.  Full Story

Vermilion walleye regulation to change

Anglers on Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota will be able to keep walleye up to 20 inches long, with one allowed over 26 inches, starting with the May fishing opener, according to the Department of Natural Resources.   Full Story

Naturalist program shares secrets under the snow

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Sugarloaf North Shore Stewardship Association are hosting a free naturalist program at the Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center on Saturday, January 14, from 5 – 8 p.m. Full Story

DNR seeks to join lawsuit over project to divert Red River

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said today it is asking a federal judge to allow the agency to join a lawsuit seeking to delay action on a flood diversion project on the Red River.  Full Story

Stillwater resident wins 2018 turkey stamp contest

Stillwater artist Nicholas Markell won the 2018 turkey stamp contest. The painting was selected by judges from among eight submissions for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  Full Story

New Year’s candlelight walk at Fort Snelling State Park

A year of festivities celebrating the 125th anniversary of Minnesota state parks and trails will culminate with a candlelight walk and a countdown to the end of 2016 at Fort Snelling State Park on New Year’s Eve, the Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story

Southeast trout streams offer alternative to ice fishing

If sitting around and staring at a hole in the ice doesn’t fit with your idea of fishing, take heart – there’s an open-water alternative even in the coldest part of the year.  Full Story

DNR completes milestone in protecting Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today published development rules for the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA), an important milestone toward protecting the river’s 72-mile stretch through the Twin Cities metropolitan area.   Full Story

3rd CWD-infected deer identified in southeastern Minnesota

A third deer infected with chronic wasting disease has been discovered in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.   Full Story

Changing weather conditions creating unpredictable and unsafe ice

DNR warning: ‘Think twice before going out on the ice’

Due to widely variable weather conditions across much of the state, ice is deteriorating rapidly and creating potentially dangerous conditions for anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and others planning to recreate on the ice over the holidays.   Full Story

DNR considers removing trout stream designation on East Swan River

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is considering removing the trout stream designation on the East Swan River and its tributaries, including East Swan Creek and Little Swan Creek in St. Louis County. The DNR considered changes to about 90 waters in 30 Minnesota counties that included adding trout designations in some waters, and removing the designations in others. Full Story

DNR sets protective elevation for White Bear Lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has established a protective elevation for White Bear Lake, located in Ramsey and Washington counties. The protective elevation is 922.0 feet above mean sea level.  The current level of White Bear Lake is 922.7 feet. A protective elevation is a regulatory measure used to trigger changes in water appropriations to prevent undue harm to a lake.  Full Story

DNR reminder: Avoid early ice

With ice forming on Minnesota lakes, outdoor enthusiasts may be tempted to get out before ice is thick enough to support foot traffic. The Department of Natural Resources conservation officers have a message – stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present. Full Story

First breeding bull introduced to Minneopa bison herd

The first breeding bull has arrived at Minneopa State Park near Mankato, bringing to 15 the number of bison at the park, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The yearling bull comes from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and spent a month quarantined at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Full Story

12 citizens appointed to Game and Fish Fund oversight committees

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 12 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.  Full Story

Waiting for ice to support you? You can support walleye fishing

Ice thick enough for fishing may be on the wish lists of many anglers heading into the holiday season, but there is another present anglers can give themselves that makes fishing better all around the state – a walleye stamp. Full Story

Holiday wreaths from Minnesota state forests sold nationwide

‘Tis the season for holiday wreaths, swags and garland. These beautiful and fragrant decorations most likely came from a Minnesota state forest. Balsam fir boughs and branches harvested from state forests are used to make wreaths that adorn homes across the nation, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story

Chronic wasting disease management zone, 5-county deer feeding ban announced

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will focus actions to slow and hopefully eliminate the spread of chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota within about a 10-mile radius of Preston and include a deer feeding ban in the five adjoining area counties. Full Story

DNR issues ice warning for aerated lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns ice anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution when going onto any lake covered or partially covered with ice, especially those that feature aeration systems.  Full Story

Warm up to winter at Minnesota state parks and trails

Winter officially begins on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Upcoming events at Minnesota state parks and trails provide many ways to get out and enjoy it.  Full Story

Experimental northern pike regs repealed on Bowstring, Round lakes

After reviewing public comments, the experimental northern pike regulations currently in place for Bowstring and Round lakes in Itasca County will be repealed March 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The experimental regulation currently in place for Sand Lake will remain in effect for now. Full Story

Section of Willard Munger State Trail to be repaired

The West Duluth section of the Willard Munger State Trail between Grand Avenue and Becks Road will temporarily close for repairs as crews work to replace three large culverts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natura Resources. The repairs are expected to begin next week and last through December. Full Story

Itasca State Park offers winter lodging at reduced rates

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling opportunities will be right outside the door when people reserve a winter getaway — at a reduced rate — at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids. The Douglas Lodge six-plex (Itasca Suites) is located within the park and priced at an off-peak rate of $105 per night (regularly $150), Jan. 1 through May 22.  Full Story

Consider Nongame Wildlife Program in the ‘season of giving’

by Christine Herwig, DNR northwest region nongame specialist

The birds have mostly flown south, the butterflies are cocooned until spring, and the turtles have settled in for a long winter’s nap. But for the biologists who work with these species, December is a busy time of analyzing research data, writing reports and getting ready for next year’s field season.   Full Story

December is a good month for pheasant hunting

Pheasant hunters can expect to see some roosters in the fields this December. Full Story

Zebra mussel larvae confirmed in Leech Lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in their larval stage in two locations in Leech Lake in Cass County. The DNR has found no adult zebra mussels in the lake, but the locations and numbers of zebra mussel larvae, called veligers (VEL-uh-jers), indicate a reproducing population may be present.  Full Story

Chronic wasting disease information meeting in Preston Dec. 15

Information about chronic wasting disease and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ management response to its discovery in two deer near Lanesboro will be the focus of a public meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Fillmore Central School Auditorium, 702 Chatfield St., in Preston.  Full Story

Get Wild hockey discounts with hunting or fishing license

Hunting or fishing license holders can order discounted tickets to the Sunday, Dec. 11, Minnesota Wild hockey game vs. the St. Louis Blues, as the Wild and the Department of Natural Resources team up for this special ticket offer.   Full Story

Applications open for spring wild turkey A and B season permits

The deadline for firearms wild turkey hunters to apply for early season spring hunting permits is Friday, Jan. 27, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story

No additional deer test positive for CWD in southeastern Minnesota

DNR asks deer hunters to use head boxes in Lanesboro, Preston, Chatfield, Harmony

No additional deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease from samples collected this fall in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story

DNR invites input on Taconite State Trail Master Plan    

Anyone with an interest in the future of the Taconite State Trail in northeastern Minnesota is invited to review an updated master plan for the trail and submit ideas by Friday, Jan. 6. Full Story

DNR invites public input on Fort Ridgely State Park draft plan amendment

Open house scheduled for Dec.15

The Department of Natural Resources invites the public to review a draft management plan amendment for Fort Ridgely State Park, located near Fairfax in southern Minnesota. Full Story

DNR seeks input on master plan for Thief Lake WMA in northwestern Minnesota

The public is invited to provide input on a master plan to guide management of the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in northwestern Minnesota.  Full Story