July 2004





Eurasian watermilfoil was recently discovered in Leech Lake. How often does this sort of find happen in Minnesota lakes and other bodies of water? What can be done to remove the invasive plant and prevent future discoveries?

In recent years, Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered in approximately 10 new bodies of water in Minnesota annually. But identifying this invasive plant can be difficult because it is very similar to several native watermilfoils. Research has also shown that Eurasian watermilfoil can crossbreed with the native northern watermilfoil. While the problems caused by this invasive species can be managed, experience in Minnesota and elsewhere has shown that eradication or elimination of the plant from a lake is not a realistic goal. Milfoil and other invasive aquatic species spread by hitchhiking from one body of water to another. And all it takes is one small fragment of a plant for it to become established in a lake. So the simplest and most cost-effective management technique is prevention. Boaters should remove all aquatic vegetation from their watercraft and trailers before going from one lake to another. Additional information can be found at Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive species on the DNR website.

Chip Welling, DNR Eurasian Watermilfoil Program Coordinator


Technology has improved hunting and fishing. But some pieces of equipment, such as cell phones and two-way radios, can become illegal if misused. What is the state law on the use of such communications devices?

In addition to their blaze orange clothing, guns and other hunting gear, hunters are increasingly becoming technologically savvy. This includes the use of cellular phones and two-way radios. These devices can save lives, help find lost hunters, and even allow hunters to chat with their spouses as they sit around a campfire at night. But just because they're readily available doesn't mean they are necessarily legal for hunting or fishing in Minnesota, or any other state. According to Minnesota hunting regulations, it is illegal to use radio communications to aid in the taking of game. For example, hunters cannot communicate the locations of wild game or use the devices while driving animals to other hunters. Conservation officers do encounter hunters using some form of radio communications to assist others in the taking of game animals. Misuse of cell phones, two-way radios and other communications devices can land hunters on the stand in a courtroom. Additional information about the use of radios while hunting can be found under general hunting information in the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Rich Sprouse, DNR Division of Enforcement information officer


The DNR offers a variety of youth hunts from ducks and deer in the fall to turkeys in the spring. Who is eligible to take part in these special hunts and how do they sign up?

The State Legislature authorized the DNR to conduct special youth-only hunts in 1997. The primary goal of these special hunts is to provide an opportunity for existing adult hunters to introduce young people to the sport. During all special hunts an adult must accompany the youth, and while the adult may not hunt, they are not required to have a license. Youth age 13 and older must have a firearms safety certificate in order to hunt big game; kids 12 and under do not need a firearms safety certificate to hunt small game. Special permits are not needed for Youth Waterfowl Day and Take A Kid Hunting Weekend, which will be held in September for kids under age 16. A special youth deer season in northwestern Minnesota in late October for kids 14 and under requires a free license endorsement, which is available at any ELS vendor. Youth looking to participate in one of three special archery hunts and one of four special deer hunts this fall must enter the drawing for a limited number of permits by August 20; applications can be submitted at any one of 1,800 ELS vendors throughout the state. Youth spring turkey hunt applications are available during the winter. Additional information about special youth hunts as well as dates and locations can be found on the DNR website at Youth Hunting & Angling Events.

Ryan Bronson, DNR Hunter and Angler Recruitment and Retention Coordinator


It's that time of year when turtles are trying to cross the road. Why? Is there anything we can do to help them cross safely?

The turtles we see crossing roads are typically painted and snapping turtles. Both species spend most of their time in lakes, ponds, and wetlands, but lay their eggs in nests dug in dry, sandy and warm soils. Since many roads are built skirting water bodies, our roads often separate a turtle's home from its nesting area. If the turtle can find the right type of soil near their home water body, they'll use it. However, they may often travel great distances to find a suitable nesting spot. And so, the turtle may have to cross the road to get to the other side to lay its eggs. If you see a turtle crossing the road, you can help it cross safely. Watch for traffic. Pick up the turtle by the back of its shell - never pick up a turtle by its tail. And move the turtle in the direction it is heading. The painted and snapping turtles laid their clutch of eggs in June. Should the eggs survive predation, they are expected to hatch in late August, which means there'll be even more turtles - quarter-sized hatchlings - crossing the road again, trying to get home.

Richard Baker, DNR Zoologist


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