Bird Dog & Retriever News

April / May 2003 issue Page 42

 Proposed Statewide Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird Seasons
Snow Geese (White and Blue phase) and Ross' Geese - Oct. 4 to Jan. 18, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2004 to April 15, 2004
Woodcock - Oct. 4 to Nov. 17
Snipe - Sept. 6 to Nov. 30
Rails (Sora and Virginia) - Sept. 6 to Nov. 14
Minnesota
Funding available for waterfowl projects
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is making $165,000 available to local conservation organizations interested in working on water control structures on wildlife management areas throughout the state.
The funds, available through the Heritage Enhancements Grants Program, will cover the cost of adding or restoring water control structures, fish barriers, dikes, and related inlets and outlets that enhance existing wetland habitat.
"These additional dollars are available for large and small projects, so we're encouraging proposals from all size organizations," said Leslie Tannahill, a grants specialist for the DNR Division of Wildlife. "The main requirement is that the funds are used for water control structures on wildlife management areas."
The Heritage Enhancement Grants to Local Outdoors Clubs program provides funding to local conservation organizations for materials to work on state wildlife management areas. The program is funded through a bill passed by the 2001 Legislature that provides $2 million through 2003 to local outdoor clubs statewide.
Grants are administered through the DNR Division of Wildlife with input from local DNR wildlife managers.
A grant application and information package is available by calling Leslie Tannahill at (651) 284-0584 or via e-mail at leslie.tannahill@dnr.state.mn.us. Completed grant applications are due April 30. Work covered under these grants must be completed by June 30, 2004.
DNR supports mourning dove hunting season
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently sent a strong letter of support for legislation that would authorize a mourning dove hunting season in Minnesota.
The legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) and in the Senate by Sen. Pat Pariseau (R-Farmington), would provide additional opportunities for about 50,000 Minnesota hunters and would have no adverse effect on the bird's population, according to the letter sent to the Legislature by DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam. The bill was passed on March 10 by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Game and Fish and will be considered for inclusion in an omnibus fish and game policy bill.
The mourning dove is one of the most abundant migratory game birds in the United States, with an estimated fall population of 400 million birds. Minnesota has a fall population of approximately 12 million birds.
"Mourning doves are found in diverse habitats ranging from deserts to pine forests throughout the 48 contiguous states," said Tim Bremicker, DNR Wildlife Division director. "Years of study have shown hunting does not impact dove populations, so we support a season."
Mourning dove hunting is legal in 37 of the 48 contiguous states. Five states have approved a season in the past 10 years. Approximately 25 million doves are harvested annually nationwide. Breeding populations have been monitored since 1966. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinates an annual mourning dove call-count in cooperation with state agencies.
"When you look at all the data and the tremendous population, there is no biological or scientific reason not to open a mourning dove season in Minnesota," Bremicker said. "Aside from additional hunting opportunity, a mourning dove season would also generate significant economic benefits in rural Minnesota, particularly in the southern and western counties."
Minnesota upland game bird hunters spend more than $61 million in retail sales each year, according to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

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