Almanac: Women are invited to special pheasant hunt
By DOUG SMITH, Star Tribune
Minnesota’s one-day youth pheasant hunt — a special event launched three years ago to pair kids with experienced pheasant hunters — will be expanded this fall to include women.
“We talked to the Pheasants Forever chapters [who provide the volunteer mentors] and they said geez, why not? Let’s help provide women who have little experience bird hunting some instruction and get them out in the field.”
The women and youths will hunt separately, he said.
Last year, about 150 youths and 250 volunteers participated. This year, Kurre said Pheasants Forever officials say they can handle up to 400 youths and women for the hunt on Oct. 23.
Experienced Pheasants Forever hunters are paired one-on-one with inexperienced hunters. Youths 12 to 17 must be accompanied by a guardian. The mentors will find places to hunt, usually on private land. Many will bring their hunting dogs. Participants will be given instruction, then taken afield. Only the youths and women will carry shotguns.
Those interested must apply by Sept. 8. Applications are available at mndnr.gov/discover or by calling the DNR at 651-296-6157 or 1-888-646-6367. Landowners willing to help out can contact Pheasants Forever’s Eran Sandquist at 763-242 1273 or Scott Roemhildt at 1-507-327-9785.
A walk-in hunting access program finally could become a reality in Minnesota.
The DNR has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking $2.7 million over three years for a pilot program that could enroll open up to 50,000 acres. The voluntary program, modeled after successful ones in the Dakotas, would pay landowners a per-acre fee to allow public hunting access.
Minnesota is seeking to tap $50 million appropriated by Congress to the USDA’s “Open Fields” program for states to create or expand voluntary hunter-access programs on private lands. Under Minnesota’s proposal, the state would try to enroll 10,000 acres by fall 2011, 25,000 acres by fall 2012 and 50,000 acres by fall 2013. All of the parcels, which likely would average 40 to 60 acres, would be in southwestern Minnesota.
Though the idea for the walk-in program was to provide access primarily for upland and waterfowl hunters, the lands would be open during all of Minnesota’s hunting seasons, including deer and spring turkey, said Bill Penning of the DNR. Signs would be erected and maps produced.
Lack of access to hunting spots has long been deemed a reason some hunters give up the sport, and the walk-in program would supplement the state’s existing public lands. Penning said the DNR expects to learn next month whether its proposal is accepted, and how much the state will get. Long-term, permanent funding will be needed, he said. A special fee or hunting license surcharge are possibilities.