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Outdoors notebook: Deadline for deer plan comments is May 9, More anglers catching on to catfish.

May 9 is deadline for deer plan comments

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting comments through Wednesday, May 9, on the agency's draft deer plan that sets a new statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer annually, increases citizen participation in deer management and outlines ways to keep the population and habitat healthy.

Part of the plan outlines strategic ways the DNR will prioritize its resources and activities to meet the plan's eight key goals, which range from keeping Minnesota deer healthy to ensuring biological and societal factors are considered in management decisions.

A series of 37 open-house meetings across the state wrapped up April 30, but the public can comment on the proposed plan on the DNR website at A questionnaire asks people to indicate their level of satisfaction with the purpose, mission, vision and goals of the plan and provides opportunity for people to give additional feedback on whether the plan reflects the conversation and public input over the last few years.

Local wildlife managers also can provide additional information or address questions about the deer plan. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at

-- Minnesota DNR

May is Minnesota Arbor Month

To help celebrate Arbor Month, the Minnesota DNR has created three short videos showing how to plant, water and mulch trees. Planting trees is the easiest and most natural way to keep water clean.

"We Minnesotans can thank trees for the clean water we drink," Jennifer Teegarden, forestry outreach specialist, said in a statement. "These new videos show you how to easily plant and care for trees so that they provide clean water for generations to come."

Trees act like giant umbrellas, slowing down and guiding rain as it falls to the ground, keeping soil and sediment runoff out of rivers and lakes.

Trees act like sponges: Mature trees soak up 25 percent to 35 percent of the rainwater that falls on them. In fact, 100 mature trees keep about 140,000 gallons of water out of storm sewers each year.

Trees function as filters: The soil underneath trees traps sediment and pollutants suspended in rainwater, which in turn prevents the contaminants from entering ground and surface waters.

The videos, along with information about Arbor Month events across the state, are available on the DNR's Arbor Month webpage at

-- Minnesota DNR

Anglers catch on to catfish

More anglers around Minnesota are finding out what many anglers in the Red River Valley have known for years: Catfish are a blast to catch and a tasty option for the frying pan.

"Catfish are hard fighters, and they're widely considered fine table fare," Mario Travaline, a fisheries biologist with DNR's Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program, said. "Usually, if you can find one, you'll find several. And they can be fished with simple tackle and a variety of baits."

With channel catfish action about to kick into high gear on the Red River, here are some Minnesota catfish facts from the DNR:

• Minnesota has two species of catfish: Flathead catfish and channel catfish.

• The state record flathead catfish weighed in at an even 70 pounds and was caught on the St. Croix River in Washington County in 1970.

• The state record channel catfish was caught on the Mississippi River in Hennepin County in 1975, tipping the scale at 38 pounds.

• Contrary to popular belief, catfish don't sting people with their barbels—the long whisker-like appendages around their mouth. They do, however, have sharp, stiff spines along their dorsal and pectoral fins. Anglers can easily be poked by these spines if they don't handle the fish properly.

• Catfish have been described as "swimming tongues" because they have taste buds on their barbels, along the sides of their bodies and near their tails. These help catfish locate food in the murky water of rivers.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• Kids age 12 to 15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft in North Dakota first must take the state's boating basics course. The course is available for home-study at no charge from the Game and Fish Department's Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online for a fee, and links to those sites are available on the Game and Fish website at For more information, contact education coordinator Brian Schaffer at or call (701) 328-6300.

• The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers a First Fish certificate for parents to capture their little angler's first catch. First Fish has no qualifying weights or measurements, only the successful landing of a North Dakota fish. Certificates are available to all who request them by contacting Game and Fish at (701) 328-6300 or by email at

• To educate people on the importance of responsible boating and always wearing a life jacket while on the water, the National Safe Boating Council and boating safety advocates around the world are kicking off the annual Safe Boating Campaign the weekend before Memorial Day with boating safety events and activities. Safe Boating Campaign events include "Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day" on May 18 and National Safe Boating Week from May 19 through May 25. Info:,

-- compiled by Brad Dokken