Minnesota’s firearms deer season ended Sunday in all but the 100-series permit areas in the northern and northeastern parts of the state.
I’ll be curious to see whether the overall harvest follows the trend from the opening weekend. According to the Department of Natural Resources, hunters registered 70,724 deer the first two days of season. That was essentially unchanged from the 2016 opener, the DNR said, but hunters in Zone 2, which covers much of northwest Minnesota, registered 5 percent fewer deer opening weekend than they did during the opening weekend of 2016.
The DNR before season predicted hunters would shoot about 200,000 deer this fall.
In the weekly report from conservation officers across the state, Jeremy Woinarowicz, Thief River Falls West, whose work area includes a large chunk of northwest Minnesota from Fourtown west to the Red River, described deer hunting success as “moderate.”
At the same time, Woinarowicz continued to encounter road hunting violations, an all-too-regular occurrence not only in his work area, but across the state.
“Unfortunately multiple hunters found it too cold to sit in a stand and took to their vehicles to road hunt,” Woinarowicz wrote in this week’s report. As a result, he issued multiple citations for shooting from a road at big game, along with tickets for transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, recreational trespass, untagged big game animal, taking deer over bait, failure to register big game, hunting with an invalid license and wanton waste.
Meanwhile, DNR officer Tom Hutchins of Crookston wrote that hunters were reporting good success with finding deer. At the same time, Hutchins wrote that he encountered numerous deer hunting-related violations.
Another all-too-common complaint during deer season involves illegal dumping of deer carcasses. Tossing the carcass in a ditch, in the water or on public land isn’t allowed. Successful hunters can dispose of deer carcasses on private land if they have the landowner’s permission, through garbage haulers after checking on how to properly bag the carcass or at a local landfill.
Dumping a carcass where it shouldn’t be dumped is considered littering in both Minnesota and North Dakota. It boils down to common sense and courtesy, something that appears to be lacking among too many so-called hunters.
Outdoor odds and ends
A few other outdoor updates on this Monday:
- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is holding its fall series of advisory board meetings in a couple of weeks. The meeting for District 4, which covers Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties, is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 in the Red River Archers indoor archery range, 2001 N. 42nd St., Grand Forks. The meeting for District 3, which covers Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties, is set for 7 p.m. that same night at Lake Region State College, 1801 College Drive N., in Devils Lake. A full rundown on advisory board meetings across the state is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.
- For better or worse, more anglers continue to venture out on the ice of lakes and ponds across the region. A friend texted me Saturday morning with a photo of him holding a small perch he’d caught on an area lake near Grand Forks. The ice varied from 3 inches to 5 inches, he said, although he also found spots as thin as 2 inches.
- Looking at the MODIS Today website, today’s satellite imagery shows most of Devils Lake remains ice free. A friend sent me a photo Sunday afternoon of two guys ice fishing on the north end of Six-Mile Bay. I’m assuming they didn’t venture out very far, but still. … Elsewhere, a large area of ice is forming on Big Traverse Bay on the U.S. portion of Lake of the Woods, and Upper Red Lake has been ice covered for several days. As for me, there’ll be plenty of time for fishing through holes in the ice. Getting my ice fishing gear in order will suffice for now.
- Rydell and Glacial Ridge national wildlife refuges in Polk County are holding their annual holiday tree cutting event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. For more information, contact Rydell refuge at (218) 687-2229 or by email at email@example.com.