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Case Study: Little Falls Area Wildlife

The annual youth archery deer hunt at Camp Ripley is one of the most popular hunts in the state.
The annual youth archery deer hunt at Camp Ripley is one of the most popular hunts in the state.

Little Falls Area Wildlife Manager Beau Liddell has helped provide special hunting opportunities for thousands of people, including disabled veterans and youth. But budgets squeezed between increasing costs and declining revenues could put the future of some of those opportunities in jeopardy.

Already, Liddell's station has had to cut back on important wildlife management activities. He's had to eliminate nearly all habitat work on private lands and assistance to landowners.

Scent post surveys and other population assessment efforts have suffered. Outreach to area schools and sportsmen's clubs has been reduced 90 percent.

With inadequate resources to undertake new shallow lake and wetland surveys, opportunities for improving waterfowl habitat are being missed. Maintenance of access roads, trails and parking lots at WMAs has been pared to the bare minimum.

The capacity to work with local government to minimize wildlife impacts resulting from new developments has nearly disappeared.

"We've been able to maintain quality habitat and offer an excellent range and variety of hunting opportunities up to now," Liddell says. "But we've cut any and all fat from our plates and soon we'll have to start trimming muscle without a solution to the funding problem."



The bottom line?

The quality and range of public hunting opportunities available in the Little Falls area will suffer without an increase in license fees.


What We Do: Highlights

Little Falls Area Wildlife

16543 Haven Road
Little Falls, MN 56345
Little Falls wildlife work area map
Little Falls Fact SheetArea Fact Sheet This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Download this printer-friendly fact sheet that provides convenient links and information.

The Minnesota DNR's Little Falls wildlife area includes 1.6 million acres of public and private lands and waters in Benton, Morrison and Todd counties, providing excellent hunting and trapping opportunities for a wide array of species, including deer, turkey, pheasant, grouse, waterfowl, woodcock, doves and furbearers.


  • Manage habitat and facilities on 56 WMAs, cover- ing 20,000 acres, in Benton, Morrison & Todd Counties, and administer three Waterfowl Refuges, one State Duck Refuge, and one State Game Refuge.
  • Each year plan controlled grassland & woodland burns on over 2,000 acres, successfully complete burns on 500-1,000 acres on 10-15 WMAs, re- store or enhance an additional 800-1,200 acres of grassland at 20-30 sites on area-wide WMAs, and monitor and control noxious weeds on over 300 WMA acres.
  • Annually plan and administer over 200 acres of timber stand improvements on WMAs, and moni- tor and maintain 50 wetlands and shallow lakes covering 9,264 acres in Benton, Morrison and Todd Counties
  • In collaboration with conservation partners, pro- vided technical guidance and management on 6 wild rice lakes, covering 1,689 acres in Todd County.
  • Annually assess over 20 potential WMA land ac- quisitions.
  • Annually develop, maintain or improve over 200 user facilities (parking lots, gates, trails, etc.), maintain several miles of access road, conduct over 10 site cleanups, survey & main- tain up to 30 miles of boundary on area- wide WMAs, and maintain 130 miles of boundary on Camp Ripley Game Refuge.
  • Annually responded to over 40 major nuisance wildlife cases, including problem bears, and deer, turkey & crane crop depredations.
  • Coordinate and administer dove & goose banding activities, and deer, waterfowl, pheasant, grouse and predator surveys throughout work area.
  • Plan and administer Camp Ripley Archery Hunt, the largest event of its kind in the world, involving over 1,600 joint agency man hours annually.
  • Plan, administer or provide technical assistance for 10 additional annual special deer & turkey hunts, providing hunting recreation for about 100 dis- abled veterans, 200 deployed soldiers, and 150 youth.