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Becker County Sportsman - Legislators ponder earlier walleye opener

Minnesota legislators seem to have the idea that they have all of the answers to the state's wildlife and fish problems. So, it is no surprise that Senator Chauderay, a Democrat from Fridley, should enter the picture with a proposal to have the walleye opening day advanced a week, to begin in 2009. In a letter to DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten, this man is boldly proposing something that the DNR doesn't believe is a good idea. For one thing, an earlier movement onto the lakes could upset the traditional spawning times of the important state fish. The potential biological effects of an earlier opening day haven't been evaluated; there hasn't been time to study and evaluate its effect.

Fisheries research and policy manager Don Pereita has come out with strong objections, saying that such a move would have more negative consequences in the northern part of the state than others, perhaps. Other fisheries managers haven't stated such views, but they'll be heard from.

If the walleye opener were to move up a week, it just might see more families together on Mother's Day, which occurs about the same time as the fishing opening weekend. In recent years there has been a marked trend to earlier natural spawning, however, which has prompted the DNR to move up its egg stripping carried out extensively at the Detroit Lakes headquarters waters on Lake Sallie each spring.

The facts aren't all in yet, and the proposal is being debated and will be considered. But many of the state's walleye anglers are upset that there is any proposal to make a change. Middle of May, with its usual cold weather is somewhat traditional, and why make any change at all?

Important winter BCSC meeting

The Becker County Sportsmen's Club will convene at the Legion Club rooms on the Lake at 7 p.m. next Thursday evening, Feb. 7. President Brett Friesen has a number of important items to be reviewed, and your attendance is important.

Rights to hunt and own firearms are diminishing daily

The really big ammunition makers and marketers, Remington, Winchester, and Federal are expecting to lose their business in California, as the state legislature has enacted an identification system that has not as yet been invented. How this new law will affect firearms use and hunting in the Golden State has not been clearly determined.

U.S. Supreme Court will decide handgun ownership

The name of the proceedings is D.C. vs. Heller. It involves the District's law, which denies ownership of a handgun. The matter may decide once and for all, interpretation of the founding father's meaning of the Second Amendment.

Parties on both sides of the issue are worried, and no one has made any predictions as to the outcome. Heller is a Federal police officer, who carries his gun home every evening, which is technically against the law. We'll see!

Remington acquires Marlin and subsidiaries

The outright acquisition of one of the leading makers of single barrel shotguns and very nice lever action rifles has been completed. Marlin is the main nameplate, of course, and it has a robust history of great rifles. The LC Smith trademark goes with it, and Remington, or Marlin may have a shotgun produced in Italy -- probably high grade and expensive -- keeping the remainder of the H&R and New England firearms single shots available.

Without a search warrant

The police in Boston are entering private residences without a warrant, in search for guns when circumstances point to teenage men being involved in robberies. Three police officers enter a residence, one on guard, and two in search of hidden firearms. Citizens are, of course, critical, but so far the police have been getting away with the obvious disregard of customary search and seizure traditions. Does this circumvent constitutional rights, or does it provide the police with ability to act in haste without undue delays?

Winchester lands a big contract

Olin-Winchester, the ammunition giant based at East Alton, Ill., has a new contract for law-enforcement ammunition. Winchester will make the 40 caliber ammunition for use in the Beretta and Smith & Wesson handguns used by the Border Patrol, U.S. Marshal's Service, and agents of the Alcohol Tobacco Firearms branches, as well as the entire FBI squads. The l80 grain bullet in this pistol cartridge will penetrate most anything without any problem and is very useful in drug relates instances. Winchester ammunition has an enviable reputation among all manufacturers for its reliability, even when its age is showing.

Big names in bolt action rifles

Winchester's Model 70 bolt action rifle was introduced to American hunters in 1937. Seven calibers are made, and priced at $85.00. It didn't set any sales records until after World War II, when it really took off. Cheapened in 1964 and discontinued in 2005, it is now back, better than ever. It now costs $1,095 in standard grade. It is being made at a new plant in South Carolina.

Ruger continues to be in the thick of things. Ruger now has a totally left-handed Model 77 bolt gun, with absolutely everything geared for southpaws. It is balanced out by the third of the big U.S. riflemakers. Remington, which is aboard with its popular and very low cost Model 700 bolt gun. Competition of these three is fierce, with great guns being imported by Browning, Heckeler and Koch in Germany, and guns from Brazil as well. Turkey is another country being heard from, and some from Russia. All designed to suit American tastes they will be on the shelves of your favorite gun store, ready for summertime shooting and hunting next fall.

Is a pellet gun a dangerous firearm?

The .177 caliber pellet gun is not considered a firearm, and is sold to anyone without the federal procedures of form 4472 and its investigative process. Juveniles in America's large cities are using it in crime, too.

The air gun propels a pointed projectile at 1,000 fps, and of course can inflict a serious wound. It isn't a toy and there should be stricter controls enacted to curb and regulate its use.