March 2008

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.






Many landowners use ATVs strictly for agricultural-related purposes, where the machines never leave their property. Do they need to purchase a three-year license for their ATVs?

Regardless of where they're operated, all ATV's must be registered in Minnesota. However, landowners using ATVs solely for agricultural activities or harvesting wood -- or exclusively on private property -- can purchase a permanent registration sticker for their machine instead of the public use license, which is renewed every three years. The one-time fee for a permanent license $14.50 and is valid until the ownership of the ATV is transferred. The private use registration license is not transferable. Additional licensing requirements for ATVs and other off-highway vehicles can be found in the 2007-08 Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations handbook, or on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Web site at

- Steve Michaels, DNR License Center supervisor


One of the sure signs of spring is when tree sap begins to run and the tradition of maple syrup-making begins. What determines when and how tree sap runs and what is the process that turns sap into syrup?

Maple sap runs best when daytime temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s and overnight temperatures are below freezing. This cycle of above-freezing days and below-freezing nights needs to continue for several days, although nature has been known to occasionally provide a good run under less perfect conditions. Some sap may flow as early as January or as late as May, but the typical time for a "good" sap run in Minnesota is March 15 to April 20. Sap is converted to syrup by boiling off most of the water content of the sap, which leaves the sugar and flavor behind. It usually takes 30-40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.

- Dave Crawford, Wild River State Park naturalist


There have been a number of people calling the DNR Information about with questions about licenses and seasons. When do the 2007-08 fishing licenses expire?

The 2007 resident and nonresident fishing and fish house licenses, trout stamps, sturgeon tags and the angling portions of the sport licenses are valid through April 30, 2008. This does not mean that any of the fishing seasons have been extended, just the licenses.

The walleye, northern, large and small mouth bass fishing seasons closed on Feb. 24, except on a few of the border waters. (Check the fishing regulations, border waters section, for more information.)

We have also had several inquiries regarding the small game-hunting portion of the sport licenses. Those did expire Feb. 29, 2008 and a new 2008 license is required for anyone who is hunting furbearers (raccoon, red & gray fox, badger, and opossum) at this time.

- Suellen Rau, supervisor, DNR Information Center


Some homeowners have found a bat, or a number of bats, while remodeling rooms or making other home improvements this winter. What should they do with the little winged creatures?

If the bat is awake and flying when first noticed, close doors to confine the bat in one room. Then, in that room, open the doors and windows to the outside and allow the bat to fly out of the building. It is best to do this at or after dusk. If this does not work, capture the bat (wear leather gloves to protect your hands) in a towel, or use a container such as a small trashcan or bowl to place over the bat when it lands. Take the container outside and shake the bat out onto a tree branch or surface from which it can fly away. Do not drop it onto the ground or into the snow, as it will have difficulty flying from such a cold, low spot. If the weather is severely cold, release the bat in a sheltered area or contact a local wildlife rehabilitator. A list of current wildlife rehabilitators can be found at:

- Lori Naumann, DNR nongame wildlife information officer



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