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home : columns : ron kuecker August 21, 2017

3/20/2013 9:57:00 AM
Forum will focus on shallow lakes, turkey habitat

Ron Kuecker
Outdoors Columnist

On Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., the Eagles Club in Windom would be a good place to be. For the 18th year the Cottonwood Game and Fish League will sponsor a unique evening to add to your outdoor experiences. This year the subjects of discussion will be improving our shallow lakes and marshes for both fish and wildlife and enhancing wild turkey habitat
I think we all pretty much know by now, living in southwest Minnesota, if we are to have abundant fish and game and the hunting and fishing we hope will go along with it, we must work carefully and efficiently with what we have left. To do that we must have a good understanding of just what is taking place "out there."
Recognizing this need for education, exchange of ideas, and working cooperatively, the Game and Fish League began bringing interested outdoor people together for an evening each spring in a forum. The setting that has worked quite well recently is to bring knowledgeable people to present information on a variety of outdoor topics.
To give you an idea of the type and quality of subjects and their presenters over the last several years here are a few they have had:
• Goose management in Minnesota, Jeff Lawrence, Minnesota DNR, Bemidji.
• Quality deer management, Harley Sampson, Onalaska, Wisc.
• The value of spring burning, Ken Higgins, SDSU professor.
• Calling all coyotes, video production, Randy Anderson, Butte, Nebr.
• Building safe wood duck nests, Dr. Roger Strand, Willmar.
• Mountain lions in the Black Hills, Dr. John Jenks, Head of Wildlife Dept., SDSU.
• Championship duck calling, Mike Anderson, National Champion, Mankato.
• Managing wolves, Dan Stark, Minnesota DNR, wolf specialist, Grand Rapids.
2013 Speakers, topics
The Game and Fish League has always tried to present topics and speakers that are of great current interest and pertinent to our area. This years speakers continue to follow that path.
The first speaker of the evening will be Brian Herwig a Fisheries Research Biologist for the Minnesota DNR in Bemidji. He has done some interesting evaluations of the shallow lakes and marshes in southwest Minnesota. He will talk about some of those findings and their relationship to both fish and wildlife.
He has been asked to especially talk about the concept of clear versus turbid conditions of our surface waters. I expect we will all learn a lot from this scientist as to what has happened and hopefully some suggestion of ways to improve. Or, at least, how to live with the problem in a productive manner.
The second speaker, also from the north country, will be Rick Horton, from Grand Rapids. Rick is the regional biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). He covers all of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan for them.
Now that, thanks to the NWTF and various state DNR's, wild turkeys have been established in almost all the areas of our state where they can survive, does the NWTF still have a role?
Rick will unveil a new habitat initiative that will include both tree and food source plantings. It is hoped this new initiative will also help to supplement some of the CRP nesting sites being lost to the plow. Even though we are mostly seeing expansion of turkey flocks, that may not hold into the future without some planning and planting.
Good crowd needed
The only way the Game and Fish League can continue to attract such excellent presenters at our forums is to get good crowds. People of the caliber we have been fortunate to have with us will not prep for and travel to a place with an audience of only a dozen or two. So far, the crowds have been excellent and vary from 50 to 100. Help keep this going by being there.
There is no charge, it runs on time, you can ask questions or offer your thoughts in a formal manner or informally after adjournment. The speakers and several guests to be introduced at the event will all hang around to talk to you. Free beverages, both adult and for youth will be offered after the meeting. Ladies, youth and the general public are all invited.
This is the one local, public educational event of its kind presented by the league. Come, enjoy. It will add another dimension to your time in the outdoors.
Geese are late
I usually see our big geese establishing their nesting territories on our marshes or along the river during the last week of February. This year that activity is about three weeks late. It is unlikely that they will mate and begin nesting the last week in March as they usually do. Hatching usually begins the last week in April; the rest, the first two weeks of May.
Most believe it is photo period that drives that impulse. I think you can add temperature to that equation.
More on wolves
versus big game
Last fall while duck hunting in Saskatchewan I visited with a big game guide and asked him what was driving their local increase in moose population. He felt strongly that the gray wolves were pressuring them out of the timber to the more safe prairie region.
In this month's Predator magazine the editor interviewed a lifelong resident of Idaho who has spent his life living and hunting in a small ranching community. He said, "In 1980 you could drive a certain 27 mile stretch of winter range and count 2000 head of deer and 1500 head of elk. Today, you'd probably see 200 deer and 400 elk in that same stretch. The wolf has changed the entire eco-system in our area and it never again will be as it was." "Why were they introduced," he asked, "What is the agenda?"

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