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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state auditor candidates often talk same-sex marriage and lowering taxes rather than number crunching. The focus on big, and often partisan, issues in this election makes some people question whether the "taxpayers' watchdog" is really favoring the entities they audit and the political parties they represent. The state needs a fair and unbiased person to fill the position, so the candidates' focus is worrisome, Hamline University professor David Schultz said.
Blaze orange will be the fashionable color for Minnesota small game hunters, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "You can't take small game unless a visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist is blaze orange, except when hunting wild turkey, migratory birds, raccoons or predators, or when hunting with nontoxic shot or while trapping," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR education program coordinator.
Dean Fries of Culver has been refining his grouse hunting strategies for more than 20 years in the North Woods. He hunts over his own line of Gordon setters. Here are some of his tactics. Especially early in the season, if your dog points a bird, get to it quickly, ``or (the bird) will run another 20 feet and you only hear the flush,' Fries says. ``It's important to aggressively get out in front of the dog and flush the bird.' Instead of approaching from behind a dog on point, Fries likes to arc around in front of the dog and work back toward it.
Dean Fries can't wait for the grouse opener. While a lot of hunters wait for the leaves to fall, Fries will be out there with his Gordon setters on opening day and the next four days. Ruffed grouse season opens Saturday in Minnesota and Wisconsin. ``Most people really miss the boat,' says Fries, who lives in Culver. ``That's one of the best weekends of the year. You see lots of birds and get lots of points (from dogs).' Birds are usually still clustered in family units early in the season. ``You walk in on points and you can get a brood of five, six, seven birds. That's fun,' Fries says.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the discovery of Eurasian watermilfoil in 11 new lakes, all but one of which are within 50 miles of the Twin Cities. Eurasian watermilfoil, or simply milfoil, is now in 188 bodies of water in the state since it was discovered in the late 1980s. The majority of infested water bodies are in central and north-central Minnesota, according to Chip Welling, DNR Eurasian Watermilfoil Program coordinator. Milfoil also has been discovered in Wisconsin in Superior Bay near the Barkers Island Marina.
If you enjoyed last fall's pheasant season, you ought to like this fall's. Wildlife biologists with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released results from their August roadside counts Tuesday. The pheasant index is similar to last year's, and hunters killed 600,000 birds last fall -- the most since 1964. As usual, the counts are highest in the southwest, where 242 pheasants were counted per 100 driven miles.
According to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials hundreds of hunters are seriously injured and some even killed each year because of falling from tree stands. With Minnesota's archery deer hunting season beginning on Sept. 16 DNR officials are out to remind hunters about safety. DNR officials say the majority of accidents occur when hunters are going up or coming down from a stand and they do not take the right safety precautions. To highlight the need for these precautions DNR officials use the experience of one of its own -- Lt.
Years ago a very nice elderly gentleman from Savage, Minn., mounted a campaign to get the great sulky horse Dan Patch on a U.S. postage stamp. I followed him around and wrote a story about how he lectured to grade school and high school kids, how he talked to fraternal organizations and how he spent lots of money on mailings, trying to convince the U.S. Postal service that it would be a good thing to put the world's greatest pacer on a stamp. They, of course, ignored his pleas, preferring instead to issue five different stamps with Elvis Presley's mug on each.
It will be easy for Minnesota waterfowl hunters won't have to wait to get the latest regulations this year as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has the 2006 waterfowl regulations online now. The online version includes the waterfowl regulations supplement, with information on special goose hunts, waterfowl limits and season dates. The regulations are available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us DNR officials say a printed version will be available by late August wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
Remember John Dean of Watergate fame? He's back in the news with his latest book, "Conservatives without Conscience" (Viking, $25.95).