by Bret Amundson

The other day a few of us were sitting around wondering about the August Canada Goose season.  Last year was the first year for it in Minnesota and we’re halfway through July.  Are we having one?


Yes.  8/9/2014 – 8/24/2014.


WHC-Geese-ducks-fish2I confirmed it with DNR Waterfowl Specialist Steve Cordts today.  We are having an August goose season and it will be exactly as last year.  You can read about last season here.


The regulations and dates regarding this year will be coming soon, but now we know that there is an August Canada goose season coming to Minnesota.

MNSJ RADIO PODCAST: Carpe Diem Outdoors go Bowfishing, Lake Melissa Zebra Mussels and an Education at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center


Ever been a part of a carp shoot where the totals are 2,242 pounds??  I had the chance to do it with Carpe Diem Outdoors recently in Alexandria.  We’ll talk to Darrel and Tammie Schrieber about it and they’ll offer tips on getting started in bowfishing and how to prepare gar.   Also I stopped at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center on Friday as another group of kids was graduating from the Stick and String Naturalist Camp.  Matt Conner, the Director of the PWLC talks to us about the camp and how the facility is a great place for kids and the general public alike.  Barry Stratton also joins us for “5 questions with” to give us the lowdown on zebra mussels in Lake Melissa.

Click here to listen:  


Or download each segment to your mp3 player:  SEG 1SEG 2SEG 3



This week we speak to the guys from Veterans on the Lake Resort near Ely, Neil Olson and Dick Zahn.  Pheasant Biologist Nicole Davros from the DNR talks about what a wet spring will do to the pheasant hatch.  Bass Predator Jake Heath talks fishing tournaments and Ben Putnam from Boundary Waters Outfitters gives us tips on getting you ready for a trip to the NE part of Minnesota.  MINNESOTA MUSIC FEATURE: Going to the Sun (We accidentally called it “Going into the Sun” on the radio show-sorry about that!)

Click here to listen:  

Or download each segment to your mp3 player:  SEG 1SEG 2 - SEG 3

Purchase A MN Hunting or Fishing License and Save $!



If you haven’t purchased your Minnesota hunting or fishing license yet, now is the time to do it!  We’ve partnered with the Minnesota DNR to offer a great deal: 50% off!

Anyone who purchases either license can get a 1-year subscription to MNSJ Magazine for just $9!

Get more details by clicking here. 


Ruffed Grouse Spring Drumming Count Results


From the DNR:

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were significantly higher than last year across most of the bird’s range, according to a survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

grouse chart“Ruffed grouse drums increased 34 percent from the previous year, with the increase happening in the northern part of the state,” said Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader. “This may signal the start of an upswing in the grouse cycle that since 2009 has been in the declining phase.”

The increase is consistent with changes typical of the 10-year grouse cycle. The most recent peak in drum counts occurred in 2009. The cycle is less pronounced in the more southern regions of the state, near the edge of the ruffed grouse range.

Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory. Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting.

Compared to last year’s survey, 2014 survey results for ruffed grouse indicated increases in the northeast survey region, which is the core of grouse range in Minnesota, from 0.9 drums per stop in 2013 to 1.3 in 2014. Drumming counts in the northwest increased from 0.7 drums per stop in 2013 to 1.2 in 2014. Drumming counts did not increase in the central hardwoods or southeast, with an average of 0.8 and 0.3 drums per stop, respectively.

Ruffed grouse populations, which tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions. This year observers recorded 1.1 drums per stop statewide. The averages during 2012 and 2013 were 1.0 and 0.9, respectively. Counts vary from about 0.6 drums per stop during years of low grouse abundance to about 2.0 during years of high abundance.

SD_Hunting_C2_300x250Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer.

Minnesota frequently is the nation’s top ruffed grouse producer. On average, 115,000 hunters harvest 545,000 ruffed grouse in Minnesota each year, also making it the state’s most popular game bird. During the peak years of 1971 and 1989, hunters harvested more than 1 million ruffed grouse. Michigan and Wisconsin, which frequently field more hunters than Minnesota, round out the top three states in ruffed grouse harvest.

One reason for Minnesota’s status as a top grouse producer is an abundance of aspen and other ruffed grouse habitat, much of it located on county, state and national forests, where public hunting is allowed. An estimated 11.5 million of the state’s 16.3 million acres of forest are grouse habitat.

For the past 65 years, DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations. This year,
DNR staff and cooperators from 11 organizations surveyed 121 routes across the state.

Sharp-tailed grouse counts stay steady
Statewide sharp-tailed grouse counts were higher in 2014 than in 2013, Roy said, although changes were not significant at the regional level. Observers look for male sharptails displaying on traditional mating areas, called leks or dancing grounds. This year’s statewide average of 9.8 grouse counted per dancing ground was similar to the long-term average since 1980. The 2009 average of 13.6 was as high as during any year since 1980. During the last 25 years, the sharp-tailed grouse index has been as low as seven birds counted per dancing ground.

Overall, sharptail populations have declined in some areas as a result of habitat deterioration. In recent years, the DNR has increased prescribed burning and shearing that keep trees from overtaking the open brush lands that sharp-tailed grouse need to thrive.  This habitat management is important for healthy sharp-tailed grouse populations.

The DNR’s 2014 grouse survey report, which contains information on ruffed grouse and sharp-tailed grouse, will be available soon online.

ROADSIDE ROOSTERS: The importance of unmowed ditches.

From the DNR:
Roadsides are important habitat for pollinators and pheasants
Twins offer free hat, discounted tickets through partnership with DNR 
Question of the week: emerald ash borer


Roadsides are important habitat for pollinators and pheasants

Delaying roadside mowing until Aug. 1 benefits pheasants, songbirds, pollinators and more, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


“With a growing concern for pollinators, we all need to do our part to protect wildflower habitat,” said Carmelita Nelson, DNR prairie grassland coordinator. “That’s why we urge owners of land along Minnesota roads and highways to avoid mowing or otherwise disturbing the roadside vegetation until after Aug. 1 or even until the fall to provide flowers for bees and nesting cover for birds.”

Roadsides with native wildflowers are especially beneficial to native bees. Research has shown that the width of the roadside and the proximity to traffic does not matter to bees. Minnesota bee keepers place a high value on roadside wildflowers. The loss of habitat is one of the critical causes of the decline of both wild bees and honeybees.

Roadsides also provide more than 500,000 acres of nesting areas in the pheasant range of southern and western Minnesota. Roadside habitat is especially important in intensively row cropped regions where there is little other grassland available.

WHC-Geese-ducks-fish2“After a difficult winter and wet spring, we are concerned about pheasant nesting this year,” said Scott Roemhildt, DNR information officer. “In spite of the weather, pheasant nesting is pretty much on a typical schedule.”

Most pheasant hens are currently sitting on nests and will hatch their broods in mid- to late June. A nesting hen lays eggs at a rate of about one per day. Nests contain an average of 12 eggs. The incubation period is 23 days and starts after all eggs have been laid. The hen remains on the nest, leaving only briefly to feed. If the nest is destroyed, the hen will repeatedly nest until she is successful in hatching a clutch, although re-nesting clutches have fewer eggs.

The peak hatch time for pheasants (about 60 percent) is the third week in June, but depending on the weather there are still a lot of birds nesting in early July. Hens will make from one to four attempts at nesting during the spring nesting season, but will only hatch one brood per year.

Chicks need to be at least two to three weeks old to have any chance of escape from mowers. By Aug. 1 the reproductive season is over for most pheasant with the exception of a few late re-nesting attempts.

In Minnesota, between one-fourth and one-third of pheasants are hatched in roadsides. Roadsides are also important habitat to teal, mallards, gray partridge, many grassland songbirds, frogs and turtles.

The way roadsides are managed can influence the abundance of local wildlife populations. Roadsides should also be protected from burning, crop tillage, grazing, blanket spraying of herbicides and vehicle encroachment during these months. At sites where noxious weeds are a problem, it is recommended that landowners use spot mowing or spraying for treatment.

For more information on the Roadsides for Wildlife program, visit the DNR website: www.mndnr.gov/roadsidesforwildlifeor contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        June 16, 2014

 Twins offer free hat, discounted tickets through partnership with DNR 

Kids and adults who have a 2014 Minnesota hunting or fishing license can still receive a free blaze orange and camouflage Twins logo baseball cap when they buy a discounted Minnesota Twins ticket online at www.mndnr.gov/twins.

The promotion, which started in May, includes the Thursday, June 19, game against the Chicago White Sox. It continues on Saturday, Aug. 16, against the Kansas City Royals; on Sunday, Sept. 7, against the Los Angeles Angels; and onSaturday, Sept. 20, against the Cleveland Indians.

Discounted ticket prices are $16. Ticket buyers pick up their cap at the game. Those who want to buy discount tickets should go to www.mndnr.gov/twins and enter the transaction number, which is printed on the license. The DNR Twins Web page provides ticket buying instructions and shows the location of the transaction number.

A limited number of tickets are available for each game and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The offer is available only through the DNR Twins Web page.

Minnesota 2014 fishing and hunting licenses can be purchased and printed online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or from any DNR license agent.


Question of the week

Q: What is being done to stop the spread of emerald ash borer in Minnesota?

A: Cities with known infestations are taking infested trees down and grinding the wood for use as biofuel. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released stingless wasps that eat ash borer eggs and larvae. The agency also traps ash borer with guidance from the U.S. Forest Service.

The University of Minnesota is researching cold tolerance among both emerald ash borer and their parasitoids (wasps), and also exploring forest management options to maintain forest health and function after ash trees die. The DNR is working to prepare cities and townships to deal with emerald ash borer once it arrives in their communities.

The combination of these methods has kept ash borer population numbers relatively low in Minnesota and has successfully slowed the rate of spread within the state.

–Susan Burks, DNR invasive species program coordinator