Low Water Will Challenge Hunters
Sept. 12, 2003
For additional information, contact: Tom Conroy, Information Officer, New
Ulm; 507-359-6014 LOW WATER WILL CHALLENGE HUNTERS Check it out! That is the
first suggestion from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to hunters
who plan on being in a duck blind this fall. With drought conditions
prevalent throughout much of Minnesota, last year's favorite marsh may be
this year's mud flat. With the special youth waterfowl hunting day set for
Saturday, Sept. 20 and the regular waterfowl season beginning the following
Saturday (Sept. 27), hunters "should really get out soon to check the
location they are expecting to hunt this fall," said Jon Cole, DNR
Whitewater Area Wildlife Manager.
"For example, Dorer pool #1 near Weaver is very low compared to last year
and could get even lower," Cole said. "There are numerous examples of
similar situations throughout the area."
Many of the shallow wetlands in southern and western Minnesota have gone dry
and will remain so barring an unusually high amount of precipitation soon.
However, the months of September and October are normally dry months so the
prospects for water returning to dry basins are poor.
Cole suggests that with the youth waterfowl hunt fast approaching, now would
be a good time for adults and their youth hunting companions to do some
scouting for a suitable location to hunt. "Imagine how disappointed a
youngster would be to show up for the youth day hunt only to find the
wetland they were going to hunt to be dry," Cole noted.
Randy Evans, DNR Southern Region Enforcement Supervisor at New Ulm, said
conservation officers are also concerned about other potential problems that
this year's low water conditions could cause.
Trespassing could be a problem in some places, Evans said. Hunters who
traditionally have used a road or stream to access a lake or wetland, for
instance, could find that access source dried up this fall. As the water
recedes, the exposed bottom becomes the property of the riparian landowner.
"If there is now land between the road and the water, even if it's only five
or ten feet, you need to obtain permission from the landowner to cross it,
if it's posted. The same is true for a dry creek or ditch bottom."
ATV users are also reminded that it is illegal to operate a vehicle anywhere
below the ordinary high water mark of unfrozen lakes and rivers listed in
the state's Public Water Inventory, as well as types 3, 4, 5, and 8
wetlands. "That bascially covers most of the state's water bodies and the
adjacent shorelines," Evans explained.
(The ordinary high water mark is evident by the change in habitat between
the area typically under water and that which is seldom under water.)
Hunter versus hunter conflicts might also arise, Evans said. "As ducks
congregate in areas where there is sufficient water, hunters will also
congregate there," Evans said. "It's important to understand that hunting
pressure is likely to be up in many of these areas."Evans encourages hunters
to heed the following suggestions to make their hunt safer and more
· Always know where other hunters are and do not take foolish shots in their
direction. · Don't crowd others. If someone is already in the location you
were hoping to hunt, move on to another place. · Avoid sky-busting. Take
only good shots that you are reasonably certain have a chance of making a
clean kill. Sky-busters ruin hunting for others and lead to more cripples. ·
Keep your cool. Getting angry usually accomplishes only one thing " it
raises your blood pressure. · Respect the traditions and ethics of waterfowl
hunting that go back generations in time. Over-bagging, causing needless
cripples, shooting at birds that are working someone else's spread, or
setting up too close to other hunters are all examples of how not to be a
Finally, Evans has one other suggestion - know your limits and take it easy.
"Anyone who has tried to slog their way through knee-deep muck in waders, or
spent time push-poling through cattails, knows it can be pretty darn hard
work," Evans stated. "The last thing we want is for someone to have a heart
attack out there!" -30-
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