Roseau River WMA dike road opens this weekend

If you’re looking for a weekend road trip, the 27-mile “Wildlife Drive” through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area in northwest Minnesota will be open to vehicles from Saturday through July 26 and the following weekends through Aug. 16.

Located 20 miles northwest of Roseau, Minn., the drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to see wildlife.

Eastern great egrets are among the species visitors can encounter along the wildlife drive at Roseau River Wildlife Management Area, whi ch opens to vehicles for a limited time beginning Saturday. (Brad Dokken photo)

Eastern great egrets are among the species visitors can encounter along the wildlife drive at Roseau River Wildlife Management Area, which opens to vehicles for a limited time beginning Saturday. (Brad Dokken photo)

Roseau River WMA is one of the viewing stops along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which consists of 45 sites spanning a 223-mile corridor from pine to prairie in the northwestern part of the state. These sites offer some of the most spectacular birding in the state, along with scenic beauty and friendly communities.

In a news release, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said about 149 bird species breed within the Roseau River WMA. Yellow rails, horned grebes and Western grebes are a few of the rare breeding species found within the area’s vast wetlands. Along the drive you may also encounter trumpeter swans, loons, white pelicans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, eagles, a variety of ducks and other water birds, sedge wrens, yellow warblers, Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, black bears, deer, beaver, otter, muskrat, red fox, gray wolf and the occasional moose.

Aside from excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the WMA “pools” offer year-round northern pike fishing opportunities. Visitors typically fish along the dike roads or near the water control structures. When the dike roads are closed to motorists, visitors can bike to Pool 1 West or Pool 2 from the parking areas.

The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed at the main dike road, located 1¾  miles south of the WMA headquarters on Roseau County Road 3. Only motor vehicles licensed for use on public highways are legally permitted to operate on the road. The speed limit on all WMA roads is 20 mph, and the wildlife drive may be closed due to inclement weather or road construction.

For more information, contact or stop by the Roseau River WMA office to pick up a bird list, maps, fishing regulations and additional information: (218) 463-1130, 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas.

DNR sets northwest Minnesota elk meeting for Thursday night in Greenbush

Elk management in Kittson and Marshall counties of northwest Minnesota and plans to update the existing management plan for the animals will be the focus of a meeting set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Greenbush (Minn.) High School.

“Our goal is to inform people about the northwestern Minnesota elk herds and let them know how they can participate in the elk plan revision,” said John Williams, northwest regional wildlife supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji.

DNR staff will present information on elk history, managing habitat, damage the animals can cause and the process for revising the plan that will guide elk management from 2016 through 2020.

Three small elk  herds roam northwest Minnesota: The Kittson Central herd near Lancaster, Minn.; the Grygla herd in Marshall County near Grygla, Minn.; and the Caribou-Vita herd, which ranges from northeast Kittson County into southern Manitoba.

The DNR recently completed an aerial survey showing the three distinct herds contain 108 elk.

The DNR also is seeking nominations for people interested in serving on elk work groups:  one for the two Kittson County herds and one for the Grygla herd. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will select and appoint members to each group.

For more information on Minnesota elk and the current management plan, click here.

DNR closing northwest Minnesota wolf season at end of today

The 2014 wolf hunting and trapping season in northwest Minnesota closes at the end of shooting hours today, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources just announced.

By Thursday night, hunters and trappers had taken 86 wolves, three short of the northwest wolf zone’s harvest target. DNR officials called for the closure anticipating that the target harvest would be met by the end of today.

Wolf hunting and trapping continues in the east-central wolf zone for anyone with a valid license. The late season in the east-central zone is scheduled to end on Friday, Jan. 31, or whenever the target harvest is expected to be met, whichever comes first.

As of today, hunters and trappers had harvested five wolves in the east-central zone during the late season.

The late wolf season closed in the northeast zone on Dec. 18; hunters killed 37 wolves. During the early hunting season, which concluded Nov. 25, hunters took 32 of 33 wolves in the northeast; 56 of 73 wolves in the northwest; and no wolves in the east-central zone.

For more information, click here.