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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Page 10 Hunting in Minnesota has never been easier Yes, it's more work than clicking the remote to bring a television to life. But thanks to technology and other changes it's never been easier to find places to hunt, pur- chase a license, or introduce someone new to the sport. "If you've got a phone, you can buy a license," said C.B. Bylander, outreach sec- tion chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "If you've got a computer, you can download hundreds of great hunting maps and aerial pho- tos. And if you've got the time, Minnesota has abun- dant grouse, deer, and other game populations that pro- vide memories for a life- time." Bylander said introducing someone new to hunting is easier these days too, thanks to the apprentice hunter vali- dation provision. This option allows an individual who would normally be required to have a firearms safety cer- tificate (but does not have one) to try hunting for two years under the supervision of a licensed hunter. Cost of the validation is $3.50, plus the purchase of the necessary hunting license. "This a great option for friends and family members who have not taken or com- pleted their firearms safety training," said Bylander. "They can experience a hunt this fall; they can do it in a safe setting with a person they trust." Bylander said the DNR has taken other steps in the past decade to make hunting easier and more family friendly. The cost of youth licenses have been cut in half or are free, depending upon age. The draw weight for tak- ing big game by archery has been reduced from 40 to 30 pounds to better accommo- date youth, women and older adults. Youth age 17 and younger can now purchase a turkey license without having to participate in the lottery. Bylander suggests those looking for information on how or where to hunt visit the following website loca- tions: *General hunting informa- tion: mndnr.gov/hunting. *Find public hunting lands: mndnr.gov/hunting/ tips. *Walk-in-Access Areas: mndnr.gov/walking. *Hunting opportunities for youth: nssf.org/Minnesota. *Ruffed Grouse hunting opportunities: mndnr.gov/ grouse. *Apprentice Hunter Validation: mndnr.gov/safe- ty/apprentice. *Purchase a hunting license: mndrtr.gov/buyali- cease. DNR QUESTION OF THE WEEK Q: How does Minnesota decide the date for the waterfowl opener, season length and bag limit? As another season begins, etra attention the ru!es of Safety Rules 1. Obtain specific permission before hunting on private property. Use current maps and pay careful attention to boundaries so as not to intrude on populated areas. 2.To be extra safe, unload guns while traveling to and from the hunting site. 3. Always wear distinctive hunter's orange clothing. 4. When storing a gun, always unload it first. It's the extra effort on our part that makes the season safer for everyone. Thanks for your cooperation! Hunting Safety ad Sponsored by these citi- zens for safe hunting. A: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with input from the states and flyway councils, determines the annual waterfowl hunting frameworks, which include the earliest opening and latest closing dates, maximum season length, and duck bag limits. For the regular duck season, these guidelines are the same for all states in the Mississippi Flyway, including Minnesota. States have the option to be more restrictive than the Federal frame- works. States in the Mississippi Flyway can set their regular waterfowl seasons anytime between the Saturday near- est Sept. 24 through the last Sunday in January. However from 2005-2010, state law prevented Minnesota from opening waterfowl season earlier than the Saturday nearest Oct. 1. In July, that law was changed to allow Minnesota to use the earlier opening date allowed in other states in the Flyway. Currently, there are three different regulatory packag- es used for season lengths and bag limits in the Mississippi Flyway. These include: liberal (60 days, six duck bag, four mallards), moderate (45 days, six duck bag, four mallards) and restrictive (30 days, three duck bag, two mallards) seasons. Each year, the package selected is determined based on the continental status of breeding mallards and habi- tat conditions. In addition, there are other regulations, such as one bird bag limits or closed seasons, used for certain species like pintails, canvasbacks, or scaup. These are determined based on their breeding population size and expected harvest. The DNR considers all these options, along with the both the status of our local breeding duck populations and public input from waterfowl hunters, before announcing waterfowl hunting regulations each fall. - Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl staff specialist WESTBROOK AUTO GARAGE 803 1st Ave., Westbrook, MN 507-274-6561 187450 Have a fun and ii!i!ii!ii!iiii!ii!iiiiii!!iu~!iii!iiiiliiii~iiiiii!~iiiil; DUANE'S BODY SHOP Auto Body Repair & Refinishing Specializing in Insurance claims Call 507-274-6655 1018 4th St. Westbrook, MN. BllalB 0glPalh, owner ,87,~ For quality deer and wild game processing, make Wester's Locker your first choice!