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State News

Minnesota
Spring light goose harvest begins Feb. 15
Enormous flocks of snow geese fill the skies each spring in the central United States, including in far western Minnesota, as they migrate toward the Arctic. 
The flocks weren't always so large. More intensive agriculture in decades past gave the birds easier access to food, and eventually an overpopulation of the geese caused considerable damage to fragile ecosystems in Arctic coastal areas and around Hudson Bay.
Hunters have an opportunity to help reduce the population of light geese through a federally authorized spring conservation harvest. This year, light geese can be taken Thursday, Feb. 15, through Monday, April 30. Light geese are snow geese, blue-phased snow geese and the smaller Ross's goose.
"Minnesota participates in the action, but in our region the majority of the light geese take happens west of the state," said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "The harvest in Minnesota has varied from a few hundred to several thousand."
The conservation action is authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which allows harvest of specific bird species during times when other waterfowl seasons are closed. Minnesota has participated in this spring conservation harvest each year since 2000.
To participate, a spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained wherever Minnesota hunting licenses are sold, via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. There is a $2.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit. No other license, stamp or permit is required.
A summary of regulations is available at mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl/lightgoose, from license vendors, DNR wildlife offices or by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157.
Nebraska
See sharp-tailed grouse on lek April 7 in Boyd County
Take a guided sunrise tour to watch sharp-tailed grouse on a lek April 7 in Boyd County.
The Sharptails and Saddle Tales event will provide the public an opportunity to view the annual return of sharp-tailed grouse to their spring dancing grounds. A lek is an assembly area where grouse display their courtship behavior. The males extend their wings, stomp their feet and dance around the lek, and then suddenly stop – all to impress on-looking female grouse.
Following the tour, participants will meet at the Naper Café for a breakfast buffet, presentations on sharptail biology and stories of how sharptails and grouse hunters are giving back to Nebraska ranchers by providing conservation cost-share opportunities. The morning will conclude with a history and tour of the White Horse Ranch Museum in Naper.
The $30 registration fee includes transportation to and from the lek, breakfast, educational speakers, and the museum tour. The registration deadline is April 5. Call 402-582-4866 or 402-376-5842 or email northeastrcd@plvwtelco.net to sign up or reserve a spot in the photo blind.
For more information, visit nenercd.org/news–events.
The tour is sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Northern Prairies Land Trust, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Central and Northeast Nebraska Resource, Conservation and Development, and Naper Historical Society.
Commission approves 2018 waterfowl hunting recommendations
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved 2018 waterfowl hunting season recommendations at its March 16 meeting in Columbus.
The recommendations for white-fronted goose season proposed a change from a 74-day season to an 88-day season and from a three-bird daily bag limit to two. Most other waterfowl season recommendations included only calendar date adjustments.
The approved recommendations are:
Early Teal – Low Plains: Sept. 1-16; High Plains: Sept. 1-9; Daily bag limit: six; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Youth Waterfowl – Zone 1: Oct. 6-7; Zone 2: Sept. 29-30; Zone 3: Oct. 20-21; Zone 4: Sept. 29-30; Daily bag and possession limits same as regular duck season
Duck and Coot – Zone 1: Oct. 13-Dec. 25; Zone 2: Oct. 6-Dec. 18 and Jan. 7-27; Zone 3: Oct. 25-Jan. 6 and Jan. 7-27; Zone 4: Oct. 6-Dec. 18; Daily bag limit: six (with restrictions); Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Dark Goose – East Unit: Oct. 29-Feb. 10; Niobrara Unit: Oct. 29-Feb. 10; North Central Unit: Oct. 6-Jan. 18; Panhandle Unit: Oct. 29-Feb. 10; Platte River Unit: Oct. 29-Feb. 10; Daily bag limit: five; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
White-fronted Goose – Statewide: Oct. 6-Dec. 9 and Jan. 19-Feb. 10; Daily bag limit: two; Possession limit: Three times the daily bag limit
Light Goose Regular Season – Statewide: Oct. 6-Dec. 26 and Jan. 19-Feb. 10; Daily bag limit: 50; Possession limit: none
Light Goose Conservation Order – East Zone: Feb. 11-April 15; West Zone: Feb. 11-April 5; Rainwater Basin Zone: Feb. 11-April 5; Daily bag and possession limits: none
Crow – Statewide: Oct. 15-Dec. 15 and Jan. 13-March 14
Falconry – Zone 1: Feb. 25-March 10; Zone 2: Low Plains: Feb. 25-March 10; High Plains: Concurrent with all duck season dates in High Plains Zone; Zone 3: Low Plains: Feb. 25-March 10; High Plains: Concurrent with all duck season dates in High Plains Zone; Zone 4: Feb. 25-March 10
In addition, the commissioners approved the 2018-2022 Focus on the Future strategic plan. The plan outlines the core values, guiding principles, goals, strategies, strategic directions and desired outcomes for the agency in the next five years.
The commissioners also approved the designation of a 155-acre parcel of land in Richardson County as the Thomas C. Matter Wildlife Management Area.
Big game, fisheries and environmental reports also were presented to the commissioners.
Game and Parks seeks information on Scotts Bluff County wanton waste case
 The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information on illegally dumped waterfowl southwest of Melbeta in Scotts Bluff County.
It is believed that the carcasses of 52 Canada geese and 33 ducks were thrown into a waterway southwest of Melbeta late last week. The violation was reported to Game and Parks law enforcement over the weekend.
There was no attempt to salvage any of the meat on any of the birds. Anyone who intentionally abandons an edible portion of game or fails to dispose of game in a reasonable and sanitary manner commits wanton waste.
Anyone with information about this case can contact Conservation Officer Jim Zimmerman at 308-641-9590. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers at 1-800-742-7627. Information resulting in an arrest may result in a cash reward.
North Dakota
New Licenses Needed April 1
North Dakota anglers, trappers and hunters are reminded that new licenses for the 2018-19 season are required starting April 1.
Licenses can be purchased onlineat the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Once the license is processed, users will have the option to print a hard copy and/or download the license to a smart phone or mobile device, which is helpful when asked to show proof of license while hunting or fishing in rural areas that lack cellular service.
Licenses can also be purchased at more than 140 vendor locations throughout the state, or by calling 800-406-6409.
In addition, spring turkey hunters are reminded that the spring turkey license will be mailed after hunters purchase a valid 2018-19 hunting license. All spring turkey hunters regardless of age are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their spring turkey license. Hunters age 16 and older must also have a small game license, or a combination license.
The 2018-19 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. 
Midwinter Waterfowl Survey
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated about 135,000 Canada geese in the state.
Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist, said that number likely would have been higher, but bitterly cold weather in late December undoubtedly pushed some birds south just prior to the survey.
"However, we still saw a significant increase in the number of Canada geese, as compared to the 26,400 that were recorded last year," Dinges said. "A year ago, wintering conditions with heavy snowfall were highly unfavorable, which dramatically reduced access to waste grain."
During the recent survey, an estimated 110,800 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 24,000 on Nelson Lake in Oliver County. No waterfowl were recorded on Lake Sakakawea, which officially froze over just days before the survey. Dinges said after summarizing the numbers, an additional 16,400 mallards were tallied statewide, most of which were recorded on Nelson Lake.
The 10-year average (2008-17) for the midwinter survey in North Dakota is 95,600 Canada geese and 27,300 mallards.
All states participate in the midwinter survey during the same time frame, to reduce the possibility of counting birds more than once. 
Wisconsin
Prescribed burns proposed for many DNR properties in central and southern Wisconsin this spring
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff plan to conduct prescribed burning on several department-managed properties in the west central, southeast, and southern Wisconsin this spring.
To view a list of proposed spring 2018 prescribed burns on DNR properties and more information regarding prescribed burning in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords «prescribed burning.»
Prescribed burning is part of an ongoing effort to preserve and restore the landscape found within DNR properties throughout Wisconsin. These burns reduce leaf litter, improve wildlife habitat, redistribute nutrients and help control invasive species.
The window for conducting prescribed burns is relatively small, due to special weather conditions required. The moisture level of groundcover, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity must be just right for a safe and successful burn. Please note that planned burns may or may not occur, based on these factors.
Prior to any prescribed burns, trained personnel assess the area to determine wind direction and speed, relative humidity, grass moisture and safety requirements. Qualified personnel control fire behavior using comprehensive planning and specialized fire equipment. Local police and fire officials are notified when and where burns will take place.
Mid-winter Wisconsin waterfowl survey results show increase in waterfowl use compared to 2018
Results from Wisconsin›s 2018 Mid-winter waterfowl show an increase in waterfowl seen compared to 2018 totals.
Despite sub-zero degree weather during much of the survey, Wisconsin saw an increase in waterfowl in the state compared to 2018. Winter weather varies each year -- so far, 2018 has seen milder weather compared to last winter. Species like mallard ducks and Canada geese that move with the snowline were both observed during the January 2018 survey.
20,170 common goldeneye were counted during the 2018 mid-winter survey."Department of Natural Resources biologists visited any open bodies of water they could find from Jan. 2 through Jan. 8 to count waterfowl and eagles," said Taylor Finger, DNR migratory bird ecologist. "Work done by our biologists is part of coordinated efforts nationwide to survey waterfowl in areas of major concentration on their wintering areas and provide winter distributions of species using aircraft, vehicles and boots on the ground."
DNR biologists counted 123,883 total waterfowl in the state during the January survey work - observed species totals are as follows:
58,357 Canada geese (47 percent of total number of waterfowl observed);
26,778 mallard ducks (21 percent of total number of waterfowl observed); and
20,170 common goldeneye (16 percent of total number of waterfowl observed).
This survey serves as a primary source of data for developing population trends for some species that breed in remote Arctic locations and are difficult to survey during the breeding season. This survey also lets us monitor where species of ducks, geese, and swans are concentrated and distributed during winter, while helping identify population trends and informing our management decisions.
For more information regarding Wisconsin's waterfowl species, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "waterfowl management." Additional survey information can also be found on the department website.

 

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2018
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
Bird Dog & Retriever News, PO Box 120089, New Brighton, MN 55112,
Phone 612-868-9169 Adv deadline 1st of the month prior to the issue.