DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac

September 13, 2021

As archery season opens, a reminder for those in CWD zones
With Minnesota’s archery deer season opening Saturday, Sept. 18, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters to check whether they’re hunting in a chronic wasting disease management zone, control zone or surveillance zone. The DNR is encouraging hunters in these zones to get their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Outside of opening weekend of firearms seasons, voluntary submissions for deer harvested in any CWD management or control zone will be accepted at self-service stations throughout the hunting season. Deer harvested in the surveillance zone can be sampled voluntarily by making appointments at area wildlife offices. Testing is voluntary until opening weekend of firearms seasons. During opening weekend of firearms season, testing is mandatory for all hunters. Information on voluntary and mandatory testing is available on the DNR website.

Hunters also need to know that mandatory carcass movement restrictions are in effect for all CWD management and control zones. Whole carcasses cannot leave these zones until a “not detected” test result is received, but the meat or quarters may leave these zones prior to receiving a test result. More information is available at mndnr.gov/cwd.

East-central zone sharp-tailed grouse hunting season closed
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the DNR has closed the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season in the east-central zone, due to significant population declines in this area. The DNR will continue to work with the Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society and Pheasants Forever to explore habitat management options.

Sharp-tailed grouse habitat losses are driven by brushlands becoming forest, conversion to other land uses, and fewer fires and other large-scale disturbances on the landscape that historically created and maintained the large open areas of grassland and brushland that sharp-tailed grouse need.

Closing the season is difficult but necessary. Sharp-tailed grouse in the area currently exist in association with limited and disjunct habitats where harvest of even a few birds could seriously impact sustainability and genetic diversity within these isolated populations.

In the northwest sharp-tailed grouse zone, hunting season is Saturday, Sept. 18, through Tuesday, Nov. 30. Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse hunting season is Sept. 18, through Jan. 2, 2022. More information is available on the DNR website.

Mille Lacs walleye harvest opportunity begins Sept. 16
Walleye anglers on Mille Lacs Lake are reminded that catch-and-release walleye fishing will continue through Wednesday, Sept. 15. A harvest opportunity, with a limit of one walleye from 21-23 inches, or one over 28 inches, will resume Thursday, Sept. 16, and be in effect through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Changes to the night fishing restrictions will also take effect on Sept. 16. Beginning on this date, fishing hours on Mille Lacs Lake will be 6 a.m. to midnight for all species, a two-hour extension of current hours. Muskellunge and northern pike anglers using artificial lures or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches will be allowed to fish during the midnight to 6 a.m. night closure. Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations are available on the DNR website.

Share your thoughts on special fishing regulations
Anglers can weigh in on proposed special fishing regulations that, if adopted, would become effective next year. Most of the changes proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are aimed at protecting and improving sunfish sizes by lowering daily limits on 52 additional lakes. For more detailed information or to submit input, contact the area fisheries office, attend an in-person public meeting between Sept. 21-Oct. 20, or complete the online survey through Sunday, Oct. 31. Additional information is available in a previous DNR news release.

Join this webinar on transporting firearms
Hunters interested in learning about how to transport firearm or archery equipment — whether across town or around the world — are invited to join a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources webinar at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 15. The webinar is part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series, which aims to give participants quick, relevant information on upcoming seasons and events, and skills to help enjoy these opportunities. Registration and more information are available on the DNR website.

Get involved in DNR funding and oversight by joining a committee
Do you buy hunting or fishing licenses and wonder how the money is spent? Are you interested in good fiscal stewardship? Participating on a citizen oversight committee for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is a great way to learn more about DNR funding and programs. It also provides an opportunity to provide feedback on budgets and spending that impact our natural resources.

Minnesotans who would like to serve on committees that review how the DNR spends Game and Fish Fund dollars are encouraged to submit an application through Monday, Sept. 20. The committees are established pursuant to state law. The DNR needs at least 13 people to fill vacancies on the fisheries oversight and wildlife oversight committees. A detailed request for applications with an online link to submit an application is available on the DNR website.

Winner chosen for waterfowl stamp contest
Richfield artist Timothy Turenne won the Minnesota waterfowl stamp contest with a painting of a common merganser. The winner was selected on Thursday, Sept. 2. Second place was Thomas Kutschied of Longville and third place was Steve Hamrick of Lakeville, out of 10 eligible submissions. The waterfowl stamp can be purchased in combination with a hunting license, or as a collectable. Visit the DNR website for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.