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Culling Leech Lake Cormorants

For the second consecutive year, federal authorities have sanctioned killing a protected species in Minnesota. The target is about 4,000 cormorants. A select group of marksmen will perform the task on Leech Lake at Walker. Because of large concen...

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For the second consecutive year, federal authorities have sanctioned killing a protected species in Minnesota. The target is about 4,000 cormorants. A select group of marksmen will perform the task on Leech Lake at Walker. Because of large concentrations of cormorants on Pelican Island, the walleye population has decreased, which means locals and tourists are catching fewer walleye.

The sharpshooters are using shotguns this year, so the take is better than last year when they used high-powered air rifles.

There are still an estimated 2,000 cormorants on Leech Lake, so the plan is to take some 20 birds daily and necropsy these to determine what they're eating, and then decide whether to cull additional birds.

There are about 500 to 400 nesting pairs of cormorants in residence at Voyageurs National Park and at Rainy Lake on the Canadian Border and on Lake Kabetogema, all important walleye fishing places.

Protection of lawful commerce in arms

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That's the name of the new federal law that came into effect two months ago when passed by the U.S. Senate. Its intention is to fight the lawsuits brought against gun manufacturers and distributors. When a handgun, rifle or shotgun is legally delivered to an eligible U.S. citizen, it is no longer under the control of those who directed its trail and transfer. Lawsuits in the cases of death or injury cannot be brought as was once possible.

The first such suit was dismissed in Los Angeles two weeks ago. A crazed, homicidal maniac got hold of a Glock pistol and went on a shooting rampage at a Jewish daycare center. One person was killed. The female judge dismissed the junk lawsuit, based on the new law.

Minnesota Waterfowl Association

This organization has been a leader in preserving wetland habitat the past 39 years. Due to some mistakes in the management of some DNR funds, WMA fell upon hard times. All of the money allegedly owed to the state has been paid back and the group is again solvent, is again signing up new members, doing the protection thing for Minnesota's waterfowl population. Recently the Cormorant Lakes Sportsmen's Club donated. $500 to WMA's popular summer youth hunter's program, Woodie Camp. CLSC is a regular patron of the MWA and its educational side.

Your upland shotgun

If there's a sweeter excuse for spending money than buying a new shotgun, I don't know what it is. If you're in the market for a new bird gun this fall there is a great field to choose from. Duck numbers continue to decline, not only in Becker County's lakes and sloughs, but in the entire flyway. Upland bird numbers aren't exactly spectacular, but ruffed grouse and pheasants are up. In the Dakotas, pheasants will be at a peak.

So, will that humpback Browning A5 see service? Or a Remington 870 pump? Or perhaps an eight-pound Beretta, Browning, Remington or Winchester semi?

None of these will do for a dedicated upland birder. No, you probably don't have an English bird gun in your gunrack. After all they're over $55,000 now and there are others that will serve as well.

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Benelli seems to be leading the field in light weight shotguns. Their new Ultra Light at six pounds should be a delight to carry all day after roosters. The imprint on the barrels declare the chambering to be for 3-inch magnums, but I'm certain the recoil may be a big thing if Roman candle shells are used. Pheasants and grouse can be easily dispached using a standard load. There are also some great over-under shotguns for upland bird hunting.

The new offerings, as seen in the gun catalogs of the major firms, feature $600 stack barrels, many made in Turkey or in Italy. These cost less than half of a Browning Citori, and they're surprisingly well made, and are okay in the appearance and fit. Look them over at Lakes Sport Shop. They have a number of choices on their racks.

Canadian gun registration may end

Conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper has announced that his party will introduce legislation in Parliament to end the 10-year-old practice of federal registration of long guns. Hunting firearms owned by Canadian citizens have been difficult to come-by in recent years. If a person had the slightest brush with the law -- even a minor speeding conviction -- you probably would be denied the opportunity to own a long gun. Of course, ownership and possession of handguns has been taboo in the provinces for many years,

The registration of hunting guns resulted in a decrease in hunting activity by residents. Perhaps that will change, if the Conservative Party gets hunter support to do away with registration.

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