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HUNTING &FISHING SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 | A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO THE MORRIS SUN TRIBUNE


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SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

The Reign of the Ringneck Hannah King Special to the Morris Sun Tribune

have become naturalized across North America, including Minnesota. For many years, pheasants and hunter s w e r e pr oli f i c i n

Minnesota.InTheHistory of Stevens County, Edna Mae Busch explains that, in the 1930s, “A hunter could shoot almost as many as his heart

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desired.” However, pheasants still struggle to survive Minnesota’s harsh winters and shifting landscapes. Changes in farming practices in

the 1940s removed or destroyed much of the preferred habitat for pheasants. As a local

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hunter explains, “And the habitat, you see, was so much different. Back then, things weren’t all RINGNECK continued on PAGE 3

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As we move through Autumn, hunters prepare for a variety of hunting seasons, from deer to bear. However, few animals have such a curious history, or one so closely tied to Minnesota, as pheasants. From their surprising origins to their connections to conservation, pheasants and pheasant hunters have many stories to tell. Ring-necked pheasants were successfully introduced to the United States from China over a century ago. Even earlier, New Englanders attempted to establish English black-necked pheasants: 12 pairs were released in New York in 1733 and another group was released in New Jersey around 1795. None of these attempts were successful, probably because the birds were not hardy enough to survive New England winters. The first pheasants in Minnesota were introduced in 1905 when the Department of Game and Fish,nowtheDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR), released 140 birds. None survived. Between 1916 and 1918, a release program was offered in the state. Four thousand pheasants were released and 6,000 eggs were given to people interested in trying to raise pheasants. Though there were many failures along the way, pheasants


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

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RINGNECK continued from PAGE 2

plowed up right away in the fall and black all winter long. There was cover all winter. That’s part of the reason for the lack of pheasants.” Before World War II, Minnesota was home to many small farms that grew a variety of crops and which still harbored wooded patches and shelterbelts of trees along their fields. The war and its aftereffects created greater demand for food crops. In response, farmers began continuous rotations of row crops and using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase crop yields. Trees, shelterbelts, and fence lines were removed to create more room for crops. Unfortunately, these intensive farming practices also removed prime pheasant habitat and food sources. Pheasants prefer border areas along tree and fence lines. They eat insects and small grains, both of which became less common with changes in pesticides and types of crops being grown. By the 1980s, there were serious concerns about the sustainability of the Minnesota pheasant population. In 1958, the state saw a record high of six million pheasants, yet the population had dropped to 500,000 in 1984. To combat the problem, the Pheasants Forever organization was first formed in Minnesota in 1982. Stevens County formed the fifth chapter in what is now a nationwide program. Pheasant Restoration groups, government incentive programs, and pheasant farms have all helped to preserve pheasant habitat and support the cause. Today, pheasants have reached sustainable levels once again through land and population management. However, concerns about pheasants stem from more than just population size.

While pheasants are not an essential part of Minnesota ecosystems, pheasant related activities are important to local economies and family traditions. Money from the purchase of licenses goes into the state Fish and Wildlife Fund to support operational costs, conservation activities, and hunter education programs. In the past, people collected pheasant feathers to decorate hats, art, and other creations to supplement income. While the decrease in funding is an obvious problem, some see the loss of tradition as an equally grave issue. Pheasant hunting has long been an intergenerational family activity. Although the number of pheasant hunters has declined over the last 10 years, many people still have stories about learning to hunt from their parents or passing on the tradition to their children. “Pheasant hunting was a very social event when I was a child. It wasn’t unusual to have a large group of men and boys from the Cities come up to hunt at my grandparents’ farm in Synnes Township. Looking through the pictures of my dad’s hunting trophy poses, I see my mom’s brother Bob, her uncle Herman, my dad’s employee Loren, family friend Ralph, neighbor Clem and his son Dave - all traveling from St. Paul to enjoy the hunting and hospitality available at my grandpa’s farm. Of course, they were joined by nearby family and neighbors as well. Quite a conglomeration of shirttail relatives, friends and even strangers all connected by their love of hunting… A legacy from my grandparents that we have passed on to our own children and grandchildren. This is what pheasant hunting has meant to me.” – Karen Glocke

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The Stevens County Historical Society’s exhibit “Pheasants...Are They Forever?” explores the history and practices of pheasant hunting in Stevens County. The exhibit features the museum’s collection of framed Pheasant Forever stamp prints, as well as information on pheasant habitat, hunting, and the future of pheasants. It will run until September 2017. The museum is located at 116 West Sixth Street in Morris and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special weekend hours are available by appointment. As always, admission to the museum is free. For more information, call the museum at 320-589-1719, or visit www.stevenshistorymuseum.com or the museum’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/schsm/.


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SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

State pheasant index up 29 percent from last year Minnesota DNR Another mild winter, good nesting season conditions and a slight increase in grassland habitat in the pheasant range all combined to increase Minnesota’s roadside pheasant index by 29 percent compared to last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources. “Grassland habitat is critically important to pheasant populations,” said Nicole Davros, a DNR research scientist who oversees the August roadside survey. “Over the past two years we have had weather that benefited pheasant numbers, but in the long term we’re still looking at a downward trend in habitat and that drives the population trends.” The 2016 pheasant index is still 14 percent below the 10-year average and 48 percent below the long-term average. Loss of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres statewide remains a concern, as Minnesota may lose about 393,000 acres of CRP land by 2018 because of reduced spending on the program at the national level. Through the federally administered CRP, farmers are paid to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Although CRP acreage continues to shrink in the long term, these losses have been partially offset by acquisitions of land for wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas, and through more land being put into easement by landowners. Many of these acres were permanently protected through funds provided by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. The acres show the importance of the public investment in permanent conservation compared to temporary programs. However, grasslands are still in short supply overall in the pheasant range. Minnesota’s 2016 pheasant season begins Saturday, Oct. 15, and ends Sunday, Jan. 1.

Roadside survey data The DNR’s August roadside survey for pheasants showed a 29 percent increase in the overall pheasant index from 2015. This year’s statewide pheasant index was 52.1 birds per 100 miles of roadside driven. All regions had increases in the pheasant index compared to last year except the southeast region which declined 31 percent. The highest pheasant counts were in the southwest, east-central and south central regions, where observers reported 53 to 96 birds per 100 miles driven. Compared to 2015, the largest percentage increases were in the central, south central and east-central regions with increases of 72 percent, 70 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Hunters will find good harvest opportunities in all regions of the pheasant range except the southeast. Pheasants and grassland habitat Weather and habitat are the two main factors that drive Minnesota’s pheasant population trends. Weather causes annual fluctuations in roadside indices. Grassland habitat for nesting and brood-rearing drives the longer-term pattern. Minnesota has been experiencing a steady decline in nesting habitat in the pheasant range, especially CRP, since 2007. The pheasant index and pheasant harvest also hit low points as a result. This year, there are some positive signs that come with an uptick in CRP acres, but there is still concern about the long-term trend. “CRP is by far our most important private lands conservation program in terms of number of acres of habitat on the ground, and it is vitally important to helping make conservation happen in an important agricultural state like Minnesota,” Davros said. The federal Farm Bill, which includes CRP, is up for renewal in 2018, and federal funding levels for the

2016

HUNTING & FISHING Directory Everything you need for a successful outing

program are a critical factor in levels of re-enrollment. Additionally, Minnesota’s new buffer law that requires vegetation buffers along rivers, streams and ditches likely led to some land being enrolled in CRP this year. Enrolling land in CRP is one way to meet the requirements of the new state law. More information about buffers is available at www.mndnr.gov/buffers.

Weather conditions and survival In warm winters more hens survive which means more nests in the spring. The 2016 hen index was 7.9 hens per 100 miles driven, up 31 percent from last year. “We’ve had two back-to-back mild winters and two relatively good springs and summers in a row. There’s no doubt that this has really helped our pheasant population rebound, especially when you consider the habitat losses we’ve been facing since 2007 in Minnesota,” Davros said. Another important indicator of annual reproduction is the number of broods observed during the roadside surveys. The 2016 brood index increased 39 percent from last year, and the number of broods per 100 hens increased 7 percent from 2015. The average number of chicks per brood was down slightly (7 percent) compared to last year and the 10-year average. The estimated median hatch date was June 11, which was similar to last year and the 10-year average. Some areas of the state, especially the southwest and southeast regions, received above-average rainfall early in the nesting season, which may have forced hens to re-nest. However, above average temperatures during May and June helped young chicks survive. Monitoring pheasant population trends is part of the DNR’s annual August roadside wildlife survey, which began in 1955. DNR wildlife managers and conservation officers in the farmland region of Minnesota

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

STATE PHEASANT continued from PAGE 4

conduct the survey during the first half of August. This year’s survey consisted of 172 25-mile-long routes, with 151 routes located in the pheasant range. Observers drive each route in early morning and record the number and species of wildlife they see. The data provide an index of relative abundance and are used to monitor annual changes and long-term population trends of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, eastern cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits, mourning doves and other wildlife. The 2016 August Roadside Survey report and a map of pheasant hunting prospects can be viewed and downloaded from www.mndnr.gov/hunting/ pheasant. Also recorded in this year’s survey: •The mourning dove index decreased 22 percent from 2015 and remained below the 10-year average and long-term averages. •The gray partridge index increased 62 percent from 2015 and was similar to the 10-year average but remained 72 percent below the long-term average. •The cottontail rabbit index was similar to 2015 and was 34 percent above the 10-year average and 18 percent above the long-term average. •The white-tailed jackrabbit index was similar to last year and remains historically low. •The white-tailed deer index increased 30 percent from 2015 and was 67 percent above the 10-year average and 149 percent above the long-term average. During the 2016 pheasant season that runs from Oct. 15 to Jan. 1, the daily bag limit is two roosters through November, and it increases to three roosters on Thursday, Dec. 1. The possession limit is six roosters (increasing to nine roosters on Dec. 1). Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details are available at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant.

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DNR FISHING AND HUNTING SEASONS 2016 FISHING 4/30/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Bowfishing 4/30/16 ‑ 2/19/17 Bullhead, Redhorse, other rough fish Spearing 4/30/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Sucker Spearing 5/14/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass ‑ North and East of US Hwy 53 from Duluth to International Falls and Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County 5/15/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Walleye, sauger, northern pike 5/28/16 ‑ 9/30/16 Lake Trout (summer) 5/28/16 ‑ 9/11/16 Smallmouth Bass ‑ South and West of US Hwy 53 from Duluth to International Falls except Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County 5/28/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Largemouth Bass ‑ South and West of US Hwy 53 from Duluth to International Falls except Pelican and Ash lakes in St. Louis County

9/1/16 ‑ 10/31/16 Crow Hunting (Season 3)

10/15/16 ‑ 3/15/17 Raccoon, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Badger, Opossum (North) Hunting and Trapping

9/1/16 ‑ 11/9/16 Mourning Dove season

10/29/16 ‑ 3/15/17 Furbearer Trapping ‑ Beaver ‑ south zone

9/1/16 ‑ 10/16/16 Bear season

10/29/16 ‑ 2/28/17 Furbearer Trapping ‑ Mink and Muskrat ‑ north zone

9/1/17 ‑ 11/7/16 Snipe and Rail Hunting Season 9/13/16 ‑ 9/18/16 Early Canada Goose season 9/10/16 - 10/16/16 Sandhill Crane season-NW zone-Tentative 9/17/16 ‑ 12/31/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Archery season

10/29/16 ‑ 10/30/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Camp Ripley Archery Hunt ‑ (Season 2)

9/17/16 ‑ 2/28/17 Small Game ‑ Rabbits, Squirrels season

10/29/16 ‑ 5/15/17 Furbearer Trapping ‑ Beaver ‑ north zone

9/17/16 ‑ 11/30/15 Sharptailed Grouse season

10/29/16 ‑ 2/28/17 Furbearer Trapping ‑ Mink and Muskrat ‑ south zone

9/17/16 ‑ 1/1/17 Ruffed and Spruce Grouse, Hungarian Partridge season

9/24/16 Waterfowl season opener ‑ Tentative

11/5/156 ‑ 11/13/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Firearm season ‑ 2A and 3A

9/24/16 ‑ 9/25/16 Take‑a‑Kid Hunting weekend

11/19/16 ‑ 11/27/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Firearm season ‑ 3B

9/15/15 ‑ 10/15/16 Stream Trout (Fall) SE ‑ Catch and Release season only

9/24/16 ‑ 10/2/16 Prairie Chicken season

11/26/16 ‑ 12/11/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Muzzleloader season

11/15/16 ‑ 2/26/17 Dark House Spearing ‑ 2015 season

10/1/16 ‑ 10/30/16 Fall Turkey season

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS

10/15/16 ‑ 1/1/17 Pheasant season

11/26/16 ‑ 11/30/16 Fisher and Pine Marten ‑ north of I-94 and US Hwy 10 only

Hunting and trapping seasons, opening and closing dates, application deadlines.

10/20/16 ‑ 10/21/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Camp Ripley Archery Hunt ‑ 1st season

8/12/16 Bear Baiting start date

10/20/16 ‑ 10/23/16 Deer Hunt ‑ Special Youth Deer season

11/28/16 ‑ 1/8/17 Bobcat ‑ Hunting and Trapping ‑ north of I-94 and US Hwy 10 only 12/15/16 ‑ 12/31/16 Crow Hunting (Season 4)

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SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Fishing for fun

Bragging rights the best prize for members of Morris Area Fishing League Sue Dieter Morris Sun Tribune It started when three guys who love to fish were having coffee and telling stories of the one that got away. It turned into a Wednesday night pastime that’s lasted 18 years and included hundreds of fish tales. Bill Klyve, Joe Jost and Denny Ellefson launched the Morris Area Fishing League shortly after that conversation, in no small part to settle the debate on who is the area’s best fisherman. “We came up with the rules and spread the word that we were thinking about starting a fishing league and had a meeting at Ottertail for anyone interested. And holy mackerel did we have people! I was just astounded by how many people showed up, just by word of mouth. So it kind of evolved out of there, 18 years ago. I was a fairly young man,” Klyve said. There are currently 16 teams in the Morris Area league, and Klyve says the team names should clue you in as to who is on the team. For example, Hook ‘Em and Book ‘Em includes members of the law enforcement community. And there were a couple of dentists who were in the league for awhile as the Fish Extractors. League competition runs for eight weeks, beginning the first Wednesday after Minnesota’s season opener. They have a list of 17 lakes that they will fish on, and Klyve is in charge of picking each week’s fishing destination. “I want to go where I know we can catch fish,” Klyve said. So he relies on rumors and coffee shop talk on where they’re biting to narrow his list to two or three lakes for the week. “If I hear a story that someone was up to Pomme de Terre and couldn’t catch a fish if they fell into a barrel full of them with a spear, I won’t put that lake in for the week. Sometimes there are two or three or four where the rumors are good. So then I don’t know myself until I press the button on the computer.” Klyve uses a random selection tool on his computer to pick the lake each week. That decision is made Tuesday night, then Klyve e-mails the lake to the rest of the league. Once a lake is drawn, it is

LAKE CHOICES •RENO •ANDREW •LITTLE PELICAN •MINNEWASKA •EMILY •TEN MILE •BIG PELICAN •LONG

Measuring fish “If you bring in 13 and 7/8 inch walleye for example, he doesn’t make 14, not only do you not get the point, but you get one-point deduct,” Klyve explained. “And it’s usually won and lost on just a few points.” Only two teams can measure fish. Klyve explained that it’s a job that nobody wants because you’re always the last one off the lake. Teams can have up to three people in a boat per night. They must have at least two people fishing to get two points for showing up. A person can go fishing alone and get one point for showing up, but Klyve said most teams fish with three, because they want more lines in the water. Teams may catch any species including walleye, bass, northern, sunfish and crappies. Any trophy fish that should be released may be measured by another boat and then released to help with the survival of that fish. League rules promote Catch and Release as much as possible. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also has rules for competitive leagues. In fact, one year the Morris league could only have 15 teams because the DNR ruled that only 30 people could be involved in a competitive fishing event. That rule got lifted and the Morris group is back to their original number of 16 teams. “I wanted to make the argument that this is not ‘competitive’ fishing,” Klyve said. “This is bragging rights. That’s what we’re fishing for - being able to tell each other what good fisherman we are. There’s not anywhere near enough money involved to be competitive.” It costs $60 a year to be in the league, so Klyve said, “It’s not a quit your day job deal. It’s truly bragging rights is what it’s all about. I mean, the winning team might go 001479032r1

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out for the rest of the league season. As important as it is to pick a lake, Klyve said his other duty is to figure out where those who were fishing will eat after they get off the lake. “I call ahead and make reservations for a burger bar at a nearby restaurant. We all want a burger and a beer when we get done fishing.” There is a point system for the competition that includes a penalty point for not being on the lake by 5 p.m. each Wednesday. Points are deducted for things like not being back to the access by 8 p.m or for bringing in a fish that’s too small.

home with 120 bucks, or 140 bucks and that’s supposed to pay for eight nights of gas and bait and burgers and beers. Lip Rippers teammates from 2013

You have no chance of making any money on this deal.” Klyve’s team, the Lip Rippers, has been one of the top three teams in the league 14 of the past 17 years. They finished ninth this year. “We had a bad year,” Klyve joked, noting that it was still one of his favorite ways to spend a Wednesday night. Klyve has fished some professional tournaments that have a $1,200 entry fee. The payout for those tournaments is $50,000 or $60,000. “Well, that’s much more serious stuff,” Klyve said. “Nobody talks to each other. It’s a job for some people. … I did a PWT tournament, two of them, actually, on Lake Erie. Well, you leave the harbor at Lake Erie for the first time, and you have no idea where you are. It’s like the ocean out there. You can’t see across it.” Klyve said everyone in the league is familiar with the lakes. “It’s fun. We all talk, we tease each other. I try to put something in the email each week, like you should be using pink and white daredevils or something that nobody would ever use.” Klyve said they’re not looking for new teams, but the teams have changed over the years. “You lose some good guys, like Sid Wilcox, Mel Wohlers and Steve Paulson.” And folks move, like Denny Ellefson. But they’re still considered part of the league. “I went fishing with Denny not too long ago,” Klyve said. He also claimed that he caught the bigger fish on the trip. A few other things have changed over the years. The teams never used to take pictures and “we never used to put the results in the paper,” Klyve stated. “But people look at that - it’s amazing! When the paper comes out, you should hear ‘em in the coffee shop. You can’t sit there and say nobody looks at the newspaper any more, because I hear about it when the Lip Rippers have a bad week.” The top three teams for the Morris Area Fishing League for 2016 were the Reef Haugs in first place, followed by Slump Busters and Feelin for Reelin.

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

SUN TRIBUNE HUNTING & FISHING EDITION

PAGE 7

MORRIS AREA FISHING LEAGUE 2016 TEAM LIST AFTER FIVE Kevin Wohlers Gary Wagner Aaron Erdahl Brennan Wohlers Doug Grapevine Matt Wohlers

BOAT RIDERS Monroe Estenson Loren Woodke Mike Nagel Paul Bankord Jim Nordquist

FLIP-N-FLOP Chris Lund Richard Coyle Justin Lund Nate Lund Aaron Lund Jen Lund

GUYS WITH FLIES

LIP RIPPERS

PLUG PULLERS

REEF HAWGS

Dennis Ketterling Jay Melberg Dave Kunde

Larry Picht Dennis Picht Tom Gibson Kirby Marquart Ray George

FISH FILLETS Mike Werk Wayne Werk David Werk Gary Gulbrandson Brent Gulbrandson

Bill Klyve Roger Veenendaal Gene Krosschell

Ed Beyer Mac Beyer Joel Beyer

HOOK EM & BOOK EM Shane Nelson Ross Teigs Jason Reed Rob Lonergan Rob Velde Jason Dingman

JOLLY JIGGERS Ron Kill Joe Jost Joe Lembcke Ray Farwell Merle Spohr Paul LaTendre

FEELIN FOR REELIN FISHIN MAGICIANS MORRIS AREA FISHING LEAGUE 2016 TEAM LIST Jerry Laager Steve Staples Marv Wirtjes Chance Bormann Parker Kloos Don Sachs

FIN-ATICS

Mike Lair Paul Martin Angie Anderson Bill Anderson Max Martin

Don Munsterman Trevor Seales Mitch Munsterman Little Trev (Jake) Matt Munsterman

Dale Peterson Jerry Miller Don Reicosky Jim Overland

SCORE SHEET

NOTE: The 2nd length in each category is the less-than number. SHOW UP POINTS: •One team member = 1 point •Two or three team members + 2 points

1 PT

2 PTS

3 PTS

4 PTS

5 PTS

6 PTS

WALLEYE

14 - 15”

15 - 16”

16 - 18”

18 - 20”

20 - 26”

26”+

BASS

13 - 15”

15 - 17”

17 - 18”

18 - 19”

19 - 21”

21”+

NORTHERN

23 - 24”

24 - 26”

26 - 28”

28 - 30”

30 - 32”

32”+

SUNFISH

7 3/4 - 8”

8 - 8.5”

8.5 - 10”

10 - 11”

11”+

X

CRAPPIE

10 - 11”

11 - 12”

12 - 13”

13 - 14”

14”+

X

BONUS POINTS: One point for the largest fish in each species. PENALTY POINTS: Subtract one point for each short fish brought in for measuring.

Ryan Smith John Kisgen Nancy Kisgen Lynn Boots Lori Boots BJ Werk

WHALERS

GILL AND FIN

Rick Schara Mike Yeager Cary Bergo Mike Nagel

SLUMP BUSTERS

LIMITS: Any 5 fish total of any of the listed species, per boat , per event

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Learn more at mndnr.gov/ais

AIM TOWARDS GREAT DEALS! CHECK OUT MORRIS SUN TRIBUNE

CALL US AT 320-589-2525

Go to:

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12 Hwy 28 E Ste 2 Morris MN 56267 320-589-4886 ext 3 www.stevensswcd.org

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MORRIS AREA FISHING LEAGUE PHOTOS Reef Slump Hawgs Busters 2016

Gene Krosschell’s grandkids

1 East Hwy 28 • Morris, MN • 1-800-992-8839

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TELEV ISION

SATURDAYS AT 7:00AM Northland Outdoors is about so much AND THURSDAYS AT 8:30AM more than the biggest fish or the ON FSN hottest hunting spots. Join us as we explore the culture and traditions of the SUNDAYS AT 10:00 AM Upper Midwest. We’ll introduce you to ON WDAY/WDAZ interesting people with amazing stories, and take you on some of the most exciting SUNDAYS AT 9:00 AM outdoor adventures in the Northland. ON KMCY/KBMY

NORTHLANDOUTDOORS.COM/TV

Hunting & Fishing Guide 2016  

A special publication published on National Hunting and Fishing Day

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