May 2010

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.





Loons are nesting now and, as a result, can be especially vulnerable at this time of the year. What should anglers and boaters know as they take to the lakes?

Loons began nesting in early May. Like many wildlife, loons are very sensitive to disturbance. Boats, including canoes, passing too closely to a nest may cause the adults to abandon their nest. This exposes the eggs to predators like raccoons and gulls.

The two most traumatic times of the year for loons are Memorial Day weekend, when the adults are sitting on their nests, and the Fourth of July, when the adults are with their young. Thus, boaters can help the long-term survival of Minnesota's state bird by avoiding nesting sites and looking for loons while out fishing or boating. Loons that nest in a less disturbed area show a significantly higher hatching success rates.

Minnesota’s loon population is about 12,000 and appears stable.

- Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor


Safety is always a concern when out on the water fishing or just enjoying one of Minnesota's thousands of lakes and rivers. With the 2010 fishing season upon us, what do boaters need to remember about early season boating?

When getting ready for opener, many people give more thought to what kind of sandwiches they should pack for lunch than they do about boating safety. It is important for people to remember that early in the season, although the air temperature may be 70 degrees, most of the bodies of water are still in the 50s. Even the strongest swimmer can be overcome by the gasp reflex caused by sudden immersion in cold water and drown. This means it is especially important to make sure everyone not only has a lifejacket but wears one.

Make sure navigation lights are all in proper working order, and be sure to use them between sunset and sunrise. Also, be sure the boat registration decal is current and check air pressure on trailer tires, pack a spare and make sure the axle bearings are freshly greased.

Finally, it is a good idea to leave the alcohol at home. Too many of the boating accidents that result in injury (or worse) are caused by intoxicated boaters.

- Tim Smalley, DNR Boat & Water Safety specialist



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