Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dave Orrick: For Minnesota, Wisconsin hunters, planning starts now ...

It's never too early to start planning your next hunt. In fact, now is the right time for many hunting plans to be made, especially if it involves a kid.

August brings the beginning of clinics, registrations, applications and lotteries for limited-access, mentored and other special hunts.

There are too many to provide a full list here, so Minnesota and Wisconsin residents should check the websites of their Departments of Natural Resources, as well as for updates.

Here are a few:

-- A youth waterfowl hunt -- a two-week jump start youths get on the rest of us -- is set for Sept. 8.

Every parent who isn't an expert waterfowler should consider applying for their child to participate in a mentored youth waterfowl hunt. I tagged along for one last year, and both father and son agreed that learning from a veteran who has scouted the marsh and stresses the fundamentals is a great way to start a duck hunting season, or career.

In Minnesota, 80 spots are available for youths ages 12 to 15 who have a firearms safety certificate. If more than 80 apply, a lottery will be held.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 13. Go to discover for an application, or call 651-296-6157.

-- A firearms safety certificate is required for most hunting these days. "Fall" classes begin as soon as this month, and many are already full. Lists of classes are available at the

DNR websites for both states. In both states, online courses are also offered via

-- Exactly 186 permits are available to hunt prairie chickens in west-central Minnesota for five days beginning Oct. 20.

The application deadline is Aug. 17. Only Minnesota residents can hunt. You can apply as an individual or in groups up to four.

Odds are about one in three you'll be selected, said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulation manager. In 2011, an estimated 103 birds were killed with 45 percent of hunters taking at least one bird.

The bag limit will be two prairie chickens.

-- Other events: For the first time, fall turkey hunting licenses will be sold over the counter, meaning no special application will be needed. ... The Minnesota DNR will offer a deer hunting clinic through its Becoming an Outdoors Family program from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 12 in Kanabec County. Contact Linda Bylander at 218-833-8628 or ... La Crosse, Wis., will hold a deer hunt for people with disabilities Dec. 1-2. Go to ... Aug. 17 is the deadline for the Camp Ripley archery hunt.

Dave Orrick can be reached at 651-228-5512. Follow him at


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