January 2012

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.



Q: Do I need a license to ice fish?

A: All residents and nonresidents who are 16 years of age and older, need an angling license to fish Minnesota waters. If you are fishing on designated trout waters, Lake Superior, or are in possession of trout on waters that are not designated trout waters, you need to be in possession of a trout stamp as well as a valid angling license.

- Capt. Greg Salo, DNR Region 3 Enforcement manager



Q: Do Minnesota bats have white-nose syndrome?

A: White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that has devastated cave-dwelling bat populations in the eastern United States. There is no evidence that WNS has reached Minnesota, but it has been found in bats as close as Ontario and Indiana (see map at www.batcon.org/images/stories/WNS_StatusMap_20111004_WNS_WebpageLarge.jpg).

WNS is caused by a fungus, Geomyces destructans, that is native to Europe. Symptoms include white fungal growth on the bats’ muzzles and wing membranes and daytime flying outside their hibernacula during winter.

The fungus appears to spread primarily through bat-to-bat contact, but also can be transmitted by humans and their gear when they visit affected caves and mines. The disease appears to only affect bats; there is no known threat to humans or other animals.

How you can help Minnesota’s bats?
To avoid possible human spread of WNS, observe all cave and mine closures and do not enter caves or mines where bats hibernate. If you have visited caves in states known to have WNS, decontaminate your clothing, footwear and gear.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decontamination protocols are available at www.fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome/pdf/WNSDecontaminationProtocol_v012511.pdf.

To help the DNR track this disease, report dead or dying bats, or bats flying during the day in the winter. Go to the DNR Bat Observation Report Web page at www.mndnr.gov/reportbats or call the toll-free DNR Animal Report Line at 888-345-1730.

- Gerda Nordquist, animal survey supervisor - Minnesota County Biological Survey





DNR Question of the Week Archive