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The venison petition needs your signature

The petition prepared by Jack Berenz, the manager of the Lakes Area Food Bank is receiving an enthusiastic beginning. The petition asks the Minnesota Department Of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources to begin the work of drafting a workable venison distribution program for all of the food pantries for 2009, and thereafter. It is ready for your signature at Lakes Sports Shop, Hoffman Meats, and Lakes Processing on Highway 59 North.

The new study by the Centers of Disease Control should help to put an end to the overblown concerns about eating wild game meat, mostly venison. This study has proven that eating wild game does not dangerously elevate blood levels.

The study was made after the North Dakota Department of Health was quite alarmed when a Bismarck doctor put out a claim that a deer killed with a bullet made of lead, was contaminated and dangerous. This caused an immediate halt to the acceptance of processed venison and its welcome at area food pantries.

It turned out that the statements by the Bismarck doctor were politically based, as he was in favor of hunting controls, particularly in California where condors live. Seems these giant birds suffer ill effects when they find the remains of game animals and consume them. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is a trade organization promoting hunting and shooting, stepped into the fray. The doctor's biased statements were soon discovered. There's more to this ahead. We urge you to sign the petition being circulated. The future of big game hunting can be seriously challenged here.

TIP banquet next Saturday

The Quad Chapter of Turn In Poachers will stage its spring banquet at the Speak Easy supper club next Saturday evening, March 14. Only 2,000 raffle tickets are being sold for the chance to win a Yamaha Grizzly ATV, along with ten of Browning's best quality rifles. This is always a great gathering, with a stunning array of sportsmen's merchandise. The efforts of TIP nab some important scofflaws who try to bend and break the laws of conservation. Many thousands of dollars flow into the game and fish fund of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. But TIP doesn't receive funds from the DNR. It makes it work on its own efforts. Operating funds are collected by the spring bash. We hope you'll buy a $10 ticket and attend the affair next Saturday.

MHDA spring raffle on April 25

The spring raffle of the Smokey Hills chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is more than a month away, but members are busy selling tickets for the April 25 dinner. It will be staged at the Frazee Event Center, and this is one that needs your support.

Snows and crows in the spring

Yes, there is a crow season in Minnesota. The spring session runs from March 1 to 31. With snow on the ground, you'll need to get into an all white coverall. And you'll need to learn crow calling, but if you want an easy way out, buy an electronic caller. Johnny Stewart is the leading make at about $135 or so. The edge of any dense woods, tall pines is the best place to set up. Concealment is a must, and cover your face. Decoys work well but don't use too many. Limit the calling, and keep your volume down. There is a lot to learn about crow hunting, and hunting with a guy who's done it before is the best way to start. I've been on sessions where we've taken nearly a hundred birds. Early morning and evening are the best times. The crow and his relatives, magpies, ravens and blue jays have phenomenal eyesight and can spot anything amiss. Locate feeding and nesting areas and enjoy some great shotgunning.

The snows? Well yes, Minnesota does have a spring season, so to speak. The location would be along the Dakota state lines. But you'd be a lot better off to just figure on going into the Dakotas. Central Dakotas is the best place. Along the James River, in either state is generally good. But if ever there was a sport where specialization is a must, its hunting snow geese.

First off, you need permission to set up in a stubble field where corn was harvested last fell. This hunting involves acquiring and setting out large numbers of decoys. Five hundred, and double that aren't too many. Concealment is important. All white is the way to go if there's still snow on the ground. Snows migrate in huge flocks, so there are always thousands of eyes watching for dangers on the feeding grounds. Here too, getting started is best done with a party with the decoys, knowledge, and equipment gained by several successful hunts. Here too, the electronic amplifier is the way to go, unless you've mastered calling with a device intended to duplicate the varieties of goose calls. Decoy spreads are tricky too, something that's learned by trial and error.

I've been on hunts in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, engineered by hunters with lots of goose hunting escapades. Even with experts, they are sometimes successful, sometimes only moderately successful. Hunting snow geese is a whole different ball game than hunting Canada geese.