Good news for Ely area hunters: Deer and grouse numbers are up

by Nick Wognum
DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch sat down recently to talk about the best time of the year, the fall.
He reviewed the winter weather and how it has impacted wildlife in this area.
“It was mild winter number three that’s the story for a lot of critters, most certainly for deer,” said Rusch.
With low snow depths and not a lot of cold stretches, the area deer herd is back. In the Ely area hunters will be able to shoot a buck or a doe in what the DNR calls Hunter Choice.
That will likely changed to managed next year meaning hunters can take two deer. The reason for this is simple, we have moose here and the DNR believes fewer deer means more moose.
“We’re going to do what we can for moose. At the same time we’re not eliminating deer.


DNR asks hunters to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears

With the bear hunting season opening on Friday, Sept. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asks hunters to avoid shooting research bears that are marked with large, colorful ear tags and have radio-collars.
“We’re asking hunters to watch out for these valuable research bears, and avoid shooting them. These collared bears are providing a lot of data being used in bear management,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio-collared black bears across the state, especially in bear hunting zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are farther north, near Orr or Voyageurs National Park. Some collared bears are also around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer.


Vermilion Ridge Campground at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park partially opens Sept. 12

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Vermilion Ridge Campground will open at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, Minnesota’s newest state park. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, campers can make reservations for arrivals Sept. 12 and later, just in time for fall color.

The campground has 33 campsites with electricity and Wi-Fi, three large group camps with screened picnic shelters and modern shower buildings, designed with a focus on energy efficiency and a light carbon footprint.

“As you drive into the park, you’ll notice a new style of signs, a new style of buildings that incorporate local stone and better Wi-Fi connectivity than at any other Minnesota state park,” Rivers said. “These are examples of what makes this a ‘next-generation’ park.”


Ely racers dominate on Fall Lake

ELY AREA RACERS (l-r) Ian VanVickle, Eric Mattila, Kael Richards, Nick Mattila and Kyle Lakner made up five of the six racers in the Semi Pro Open Final at the International Watercross Association races on Fall Lake in Winton on Sunday. Photos by Eric Sherman.


Public input sought on proposed late season deer hunt and regulations

People can give input on a proposed late season antlerless only deer hunt in southeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host two public input meetings about the proposed hunt, potential dates, bag limits and other restrictions.

The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the Houston Elementary School gymnasium, 310 S. Sherman St. in Houston. The second meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, in the DNR Central Office lobby, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Online input will be taken from Monday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 11.

“We want to discuss why this hunt is proposed, at both meetings. And DNR staff will explain the purpose of the proposed dates and bag limits,” said Adam Murkowski, Big Game Program leader.


2017 MINNESOTA STATE FAIR SURE TO BE A “WILD” ONE; Wild rice taste samples, recipes, and “wild rice wear” available in the Dairy Building!

Contact: Beth Nelson, President

Wild rice taste samples, recipes, and “wild rice wear” available in the Dairy Building!


BWCA land swap out for comment

The Forest Service has completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed land exchange with the State of Minnesota.
As proposed, the Forest Service would acquire approximately 31,000 acres of Minnesota School Trust lands in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
In exchange, the Forest Service would convey federal lands on the Superior National Forest outside the BWCAW.
The amount of federal lands conveyed would be equal in value to the acquired lands, and would be selected from a pool of federal candidate parcels of up to 39,000 acres.


DNR seeking citizen input on Lake Vermilion management plan update

There is an updated draft management plan for northern Minnesota’s Lake Vermilion, and the Department of Natural Resources is seeking input on it beginning Monday, July 17.

The new six-year plan (2017-2022) retains the walleye regulation implemented in May 2017 and is more specific than the previous plan about management goals and activities for individual fish species including walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and panfish.

Other changes include new stocking guidelines for walleye and muskie, evaluation of the northern pike regulation, and adjustments to fish survey methods and the timing of sampling.

The plan was developed in partnership with the Lake Vermilion Fisheries Input Group comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders representing local, statewide and tribal perspectives. The 20-member group held eight meetings over eight months in 2016.


30 inch walleye prize for visiting angler

HAPPY ANGLER Scott Loe, Minnetonka MN and his 30” walleye caught on Gun Lake (Mudro lake area). “We took some quick pics and released it. It was 30.5 inches and caught ‘by the trigger’ on Gun Lake. I caught it at dusk jigging. Fought it for about 10 minutes. We did not have a net so I tired it out and my canoe partner Joshua Dirlam grabbed it and scooped it in the canoe. Fish of a lifetime! So much fun!” Registered at Voyageur North Outfitters. Appears in this week’s North Country Angler in the Ely Echo


Owl rescued by Ely couple

A Great Horned Owl with a broken wing was captured and brought to a rehabilitation center by an Ely couple.
Lexy Worth and Casey Fenske noticed ravens circling in the woods near the house off Highway 21. Fenske went out to see what the ravens were circling and found the owl.
Worth brought her camera and Fenske brought a fishing net to rescue the owl which could not fly.
With some definite bravery on Fenske’s part, the large bird was captured and later transported to a rehabilitation center.
“If all goes as planned to be released back on our property,” Worth wrote on FaceBook. “This was once in a lifetime. We’re so thrilled to have been able to save it!”


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