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DNR’s newest conservation officers set to hit the field

18 new officers assumed their stations Dec. 5

They’ve saved a hunter’s life, helped remove a deer running wild through the basement of a home and taught firearms safety classes. They’ve busted poachers, had lunch with kids and learned the ins and outs of natural resources law enforcement.

Since their training began in May, the Department of Natural Resources’ 18 newest conservation officers have gained the experience necessary to be successful when they assume their field stations Wednesday, Dec. 5.

“Our new officers join a staff that’s among the most highly trained in the nation and that for more than 130 years has been dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s citizens and natural resources,” said Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We’re proud to welcome them to the fold and confident they’ll carry on our tradition to serving our communities.”

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DNR announces 2 December deer hunts as part of intensified CWD management efforts

Hunters can participate in two special deer hunts to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.

Residents and nonresidents can participate in the hunts from Friday, Dec. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 23 and Friday, Dec. 28 to Sunday, Dec. 30 in deer permit areas 603, 347 and 348, and portions of deer permit areas 343 and 345 that are south of Interstate 90.

The hunts are one step the DNR is taking to act quickly in an effort to contain CWD while it is relatively concentrated in a geographic area. Reducing deer numbers in this area helps lower densities and remove CWD-positive animals.Because the disease is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass, reductions in deer numbers is part of a multipronged approach to limit disease spread. CWD is an always fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose.

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Northern pike anglers and spearers gearing up for winter action, new regulations

As cold temperatures begin to make ice on Minnesota lakes, ice anglers and spearers are gearing up for winter fishing action. For many, winter is a time to seek out the eager-to-bite northern pike. This will be the first ice fishing season of new northern pike zone regulations throughout Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The new regulations went into effect in May 2018 and created three distinct zones. While not designed to manage for trophy pike, the new regulations are meant to move pike populations to a larger size more desired for table fare, particularly in the southern and north-central zones.

The move toward new regulations was a response to anglers’ concerns about the over-abundance of small, hammer-handle pike in much of central to northcentral Minnesota; the low numbers of pike in southern waters; and a desire to protect large pike in the northeastern part of the state.

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Save the Date for a Penguin Plunge at Back-to-Hack: January 19, 2019

With the recent cold weather our thoughts turn to having fun on the ice and snow. In Hackensack that means Back-to-Hack weekend and the 10th Annual Penguin Plunge on January 19, 2019.

In 2019, the Penguin Plunge event will see some changes. This event now supports the Hackensack Area Fire & Rescue Department and Faith in Action for Cass County. We’d like to make a challenge to all Fire & Rescue teams and to friends of Faith in Action throughout Minnesota to get your teams together. Teams are encouraged to set a goal to raise money either to jump, OR NOT to jump into the icy waters of Birch Lake just off the city park in Hackensack.

Also new this year will be online registration and donations. The site will be up and running in early December and can be found at the Faith in Action website: www.faithinactioncass.com. Penguin Plunge participants will receive a goody bag and discounts on food and drinks at the after-party at Birchwood Char House, and knowing that you support programs that are vital to many of us living in the Hackensack Area.

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