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Help Teens Meet Toms - Public Input Deer Population - Loon Tagging

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ST PAUL MN - Getting more adults to take young wild turkey hunters into the field is the goal of a $10,000 grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Grant funds were used to create a 30-second radio promotional spot and purchase air time during prime drive time on country music radio stations in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Lake City, Mankato, Rochester, Wadena and St Cloud.

The radio spots aired on the two Thursdays and Fridays preceding the April 18 opener. The spots let hunters know that youth can buy a turkey license for any date or area without being part of the lottery and encourages them to take a youth hunting.

An email message sent to 9,800 past licensed turkey hunters older than 18 also was part of the campaign. Like the radio spots, the email encouraged adults to help teens buy a license and take them into the field.

"Having adult hunters take a teen out hunting is one of the best legacies they can pass on," said Jenifer Wical, DNR customer enhancement and marketing manager for the Fish and Wildlife Division. "We know they best way to increase participation in hunting is through family or adults taking youth into field and forest to learn."

Effective with the spring 2010 season, youth 17 and younger who meet firearm safety requirements were exempt from the spring wild turkey lottery, allowing them to purchase a license for any area and date during the spring turkey hunt.

DNR seeks input on deer populations

Public input on revised deer population goals in southwestern and north-central Minnesota is being collected through an online survey on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) website at www.mndnr.gov/deergoals .

Earlier this year, the DNR worked with three stakeholder teams to help re-determine deer population goals in 12 permit areas in the southwest and 10 permit areas in north-central Minnesota.

The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties and conservation/environmental groups, and met to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased or stabilized for each of the selected permit areas.

The online survey allows the public to react to team recommendations and inform the DNR on their point of view regarding deer populations. A similar process was used as a final step to gather public input in 2008.

This information, along with the stakeholder team recommendations, will be used to set the 2012 deer season. Deer population goals for the remainder of the state will be revaluated in the next year or two.

"Back in 2008, hundreds of people provided us input using the internet," said Steve Merchant, DNR Wildlife Population Program manager. "This year we expect that level of public participation to increase even more."

Public comment will be accepted through Monday, May 1. Once public input is complete and results are analyzed, a decision on deer populations will be made for each permit area and the 2012 deer season harvest strategies will be adjusted accordingly.

Written comments may be mailed to: Steve Merchant, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55155.

Radio tagged loons returning to Minnesota from migration

Unseasonably warm weather has brought loons back

to Minnesota almost three weeks earlier than usual.

At least six of the 29 loons that have had radio and satellite telemetry devices placed in them by researchers have returned to their breeding lakes in Minnesota as of April 11, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

One of the loons, known as "M2," returned to Big Mantrap Lake in northern Minnesota March 29.

"This is a very exciting time in science exploration," said Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program. "We have been able to learn more about our fabulous state bird than we have ever known before."

During the last two years, the loons were equipped with satellite transmitters in an effort to study their migratory movements and foraging patterns while migrating.

Most of the loons that are part of this research project left Minnesota in October and spent about a month on Lake Michigan before departing for the Gulf of Mexico in early December.

"Before using the technology of these devices, scientists had no idea that most Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan loons 'stage' on Lake Michigan together before flying south to the gulf," Henderson said.

The satellite transmitters send a signal about every other day that allows researchers to see exactly where the loons are during their travels around the country.

The research project is being done by the Minnesota DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program in cooperation with scientists from the United States Geological Survey and the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wis. Donations to the Nongame Wildlife fund on Minnesota tax forms helped to fund this project. Funding for the project also comes from the Minnesota Natural Resource's Trust Fund.

To watch the migratory patterns of loons from Minnesota and the other Great Lakes states, visit http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html .

Learn more about Minnesota's loon monitoring program by visiting http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/mlmp_state.html .

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