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Minnesota outdoors field notes

Notes of interest to outdoorsman across Minnesota.

New walleye regs set for Mille Lacs Lake

Beginning Monday , new walleye fishing regulations will take effect on Mille Lacs Lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The regulations will be implemented in hopes of keeping the walleye harvest within the safe harvest limit.

Starting Monday, anglers on Mille Lacs may keep only walleyes that are from 14 to 16 inches long, plus one 28 inches or longer, according to a DNR news release. The four-fish bag limit remains the same. The new regulation will be in effect through Dec. 1.

Through today, walleye anglers have been able to keep four walleyes up to 20 inches in length, with not more than one longer than 28 inches.

The tighter regulations are necessary because walleye fishing has been excellent on the lake all summer, according to the news release.

"The hot bite has been great," DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said in a statement, "but unprecedented fishing pressure, higher-than-anticipated catch rates and higher-than-normal hooking mortality due to unusually warm water temperatures compel us to take this conservation action."

The safe harvest level on Mille Lacs is set following meetings between the DNR and Chippewa Indian bands that signed the 1837 Treaty. Fisheries biologists have estimated that 549,000 pounds of walleye can be safely harvested from Mille Lacs this year. The eight bands set their harvest at 100,000 pounds, leaving 449,000 pounds for non-band anglers.

As of June 30, the daytime non-band walleye kill was estimated at 384,000 pounds, according to the news release. Adding night harvest and tournament fishing mortality puts the estimated harvest at 434,000 pounds, which is within 15,000 pounds of the non-band anglers' 449,000-pound allocation.

Changes in the Minnesota deer hunt

As reported earlier this year, bowhunters and muzzleloader hunters in parts of Northeastern Minnesota will see expanded opportunities this fall. That change is among several that deer hunters will see statewide this fall, according to a Department of Natural Resources news release.

Among the changes:

* Arrowhead deer hunting -- Permit areas 116, 126, and 127 will be open to late-season archery and muzzleloader hunting. Previously, these areas have been closed before the end of the statewide seasons to protect wintering deer.

* All-season licenses -- For the first time, all-season license holders hunting in lottery areas during the late muzzleloader season will need antlerless permits to take antlerless deer. The change is being made to reduce antlerless deer harvest in farmland units, according to the news release.

This year, all-season license holders who hunt in lottery areas during either the regular firearms or the muzzleloader season must apply for an either-sex permit by Sept. 6 if they wish to harvest an antlerless deer in either season.

* Bag limits -- Minnesota has three tiers for managing deer areas: lottery, managed and intensive. This year, the bag limits have been simplified and there will be no deviations based on license types.

In lottery areas, the bag limit will be one deer per year, managed areas will have a bag limit of two and intensive areas will have a bag limit of five. These bag limits are the total allowed per individual hunter per year and apply regardless of the season or method of taking.

* Muzzleloader season -- All-season license holders will need to apply by Sept. 6 if they wish to take an antlerless deer during the muzzleloader season.

However, regular muzzleloader hunters (license code 212-ML) will not need to apply because their licenses will remain either-sex.

The two license types are being differentiated because hunters licensed for just the muzzleloader season kill only one-tenth of the deer that are taken by all-season hunters in the muzzleloader season.

Limiting the type of deer that could be taken by regular muzzleloader license holders would not result in significantly decreased antlerless deer harvest rates, according to the DNR, so they will not be included in the lottery process at this time.

Camp Ripley applications accepted

Deer hunters in Minnesota may apply for the 2007 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn. Hunters may choose from only one of two hunting seasons, Oct. 18-19 (code 668) or Oct. 27-28 (code 669). A total of 5,000 permits, 2,500 per two-day hunt, will be available.

Hunters may apply at any of 1,700 license agents statewide, online at or by calling (888) 665-4236.

Apply for prairie chicken, turkey permits

Hunters who wish to apply for one of 182 permits for the 2007 Minnesota prairie chicken season or for one of 4,490 permits for the fall turkey hunt must do so by July 27, according to a Department of Natural Resources news release. Applications are available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

The five-day prairie chicken season, which begins Oct. 20, is open to Minnesota residents only. The fall turkey season will be held in 33 permit areas Oct. 17-21 or Oct. 24-28.

Grand Rapids manon Outdoor Channel

Joe Cannella of Grand Rapids will appear on "Turkey Country," a television hunting series produced by the National Wild Turkey Federation. The show will air on the Outdoor Channel at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday and at 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Canella is a regional director of the National Wild Turkey Federation. On the program, he joins NWTF volunteer Bill Kresl and helps Kresl's son and father take their first turkeys.