A couple of outdoors nuggets as we hit the August homestretch:
- Minnesota’s bear season opens Tuesday, and if baiting reports are any indication, hunters should have a better time of it than they did last year, when an abundance of natural foods kept bears away from the bait stands.
Hunters and guides could begin bear baiting Aug. 14.
“From folks I’m talking to, bear baits are being hit pretty readily,” said Jeremy Woinarowicz, conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Thief River Falls.
Woinarowicz said this year has been the worst he’s encountered for nuisance bear complaints, a problem likely driven by the poor berry crop.
“This year was worse than the 10 other years I’ve been on combined,” he said. “There were more complaints, whether it was bird feeders, dog food or garbage.”
Woinarowicz said there also were more complaints of bears going into farmyards and even small towns such as Hallock and Karlstad, Minn.
“Speaking to my bear guides, bears are responding well,” Woinarowicz said. “One of my guides last year was down to 20 percent success from 80 to 90 percent.”
With baiting underway, Woinarowicz said he continues to encounter violations for not registering and signing their bait stations. All bait stations must be registered with the DNR and marked with a sign made of plastic, wood or metal at least 6 inches by 10 inches, on public land, and no more than 18 inches by 24 inches. The sign must include either the licensee’s name and address, driver’s license number or the licensee’s DNR number for whom the bait is being placed.
Bear season continues through Oct. 18.
- Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Erskine, Minn., posted an update on its Facebook page Tuesday night saying only eight of a possible 15 slots were filled for the special mentored youth deer hunt set for Oct. 17-18 on the refuge. Anyone who knows of a youth between the ages of 12 and 15 who has completed firearms safety training and has an adult mentor willing to oversee them for the two-day hunt should contact the refuge by calling Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16.