Believe it or not the fall hunting seasons are nearly upon us.
It all starts this week, as the 2020 Minnesota bear hunting season opens on Tuesday and runs through Oct. 18.
Small game hunting and the archery deer season both open on Saturday, Sept. 19, and both run through the end of the year.
An important date in September: The antlerless permit lottery purchase deadline.
Firearms and muzzleloader hunters looking to bag a doe this season need to purchase a hunting license by Thursday, Sept. 10 in order to be automatically put into a lottery for a tag.
Locally, DPA’s 118, 119, 130, 132 are bucks only this year. A permit area that is designated Bucks Only is bucks only across the board, which includes firearms, youth, archery and muzzleloader hunters.
The following DPA’s are lottery: 131 (50 permit), 176 (300 permits), 177 (600) permits, 178 (400 permits), 179 (3,000 permits) and 169 (500 permits).
DPA 117 is Hunter’s Choice (hunters may shoot a buck or doe with an over-the-counter license).
The firearms deer season in Zone A runs from Nov. 7 through Nov. 20. The muzzleloader season is Nov. 28 through Nov. 13.
Other seasons opening soon include early Canada goose (Sept. 5-Sept. 20) ; duck season Sept. 26-Oct. 4) ; and fall turkey (Oct. 3-Nov. 1).
The Youth waterfowl hunting weekend this year is Sept. 12 and 13.
Camp Ripley archery hunt permits available
Hunters can purchase permits for the archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls for as long as they are available, or until Friday, Oct. 2. They went on sale Friday.
This year, the Minnesota DNR will not hold a preference lottery for Camp Ripley archery permits. Instead, hunters can purchase permits for the hunt directly, on a first-come, first served basis.
Hunters will need to use surplus permit code 677 to purchase a permit, and then choose from one of two hunt dates: Oct. 15-16 (Thur. -Fri., code 668) or Oct. 31-Nov. 1 (Sat. -Sun., code 669). A person may only purchase a permit for one time period. A total of 4,000 permits, with 2,000 per two-day hunt, will be available.
Hunters may purchase permits for the Camp Ripley archery hunt in-person wherever DNR licenses are sold, or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, and each participant must also purchase a valid archery license. The DNR is not currently providing in-person license or permit services at any of its locations.
The bag limit for this year’s hunt is two, of which only one may be a buck, and bonus permits may be used to take antlerless deer. Hunters should familiarize themselves with details about purchasing permits for the hunt and participating in the hunt.
The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunt in collaboration with Central Lakes College Natural Resources Department, and the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre regional training center.
Mississippi headwaters project
The DNR is planning a shoreline restoration project to address erosion at the headwaters of the Mississippi River within Itasca State Park in northwestern Minnesota. The work will restore the original river channel width and stabilize the streambank at the headwaters site.
The project is designed to minimize closure time to accommodate park visitors. Work will begin early October after the peak tourism season. Access to the site will be restricted for a five-day period.
“Nearly a half-million people visit the headwaters of the Mississippi River every year, ” said Aaron Wunrow, Itasca State Park manager. “Erosion at the site has occurred gradually over a long period of time due to heavy visitation rates. ”
Heavy foot traffic has carried soil and other material from the shoreline into the river. Additionally, the dam below the surface has become ineffective, resulting in water flow that is undercutting the shoreline and widening the mouth of the river.
The restoration project will use boulders atop the original dam to create a properly shaped channel that will produce a natural flow to the water. This will help reduce bank erosion by directing water away from the shoreline to prevent scouring of the streambanks. The shoreline will be stabilized with a combination of boulders and natural vegetation that will grow and root quickly to provide erosion protection.
“The river downstream of the headwaters is still intact and shows no visible impacts from the erosion, ” said Wunrow. “This project will use a natural design approach to ensure it remains protected into the future, maintaining the existing highwater quality and healthy stream system. ”
The appearance of the headwaters will not change dramatically from present. Visitors will notice a narrowing of the channel, the addition of boulders on the shoreline, including flat boulders that will provide safe access to the river, and added vegetation on the streambank.
The DNR divisions of Parks and Trails, Ecological and Water Resources and Fish and Wildlife are partnering to combine expertise and resources to undertake the work. The project cost is approximately $35,000, with a portion of funding from the Parks and Trails Fund. The fund was created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.