The 2015 Arrowhead Ice Fishing, Snowmobile and Holiday Show will be held Dec. 11-13 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The event will feature exhibits, seminars and attractions devoted to ice-fishing and other winter sports. New at the show this year is a live penguin exhibit.
Again this year, the “Frozen Basin” will allow anglers to fish through simulated ice for live fish. If a fish is tagged, the angler could win a gift certificate of $10 to $50 redeemable at any participating vendor in the show. More than $10,000 in cash and prizes will be given away during the show, according to organizers.
Back this year, too, is the life-size “snow globe” where groups of up to six people can step inside and have their pictures taken.
Show hours are noon to 9 p.m. on Dec. 11; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 12; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 13. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and up; free for ages 12 and under.
Minnesota deer registrations up
As announced last week, Minnesota firearms hunters registered 128,174 deer through the third weekend of firearms deer season, up from 112,715 from the same period in 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
So far this fall, hunters have registered 145,383 deer, up from the 2014 same-date harvest of 128,134, DNR officials said. The total represents harvests from the firearms, archery and early antlerless seasons, as well as special hunts.
Preliminary numbers show that the number of deer registered rose 13.5 percent from 2014.
Buck harvest during the firearms season was up 18.4 percent from last year, indicating that the population has grown from its low point two springs ago, DNR wildlife officials said.
The Zone 1 (including Northeastern Minnesota) total firearms harvest was up 11 percent. Zone 2 was up 15.5 percent, and Zone 3 was up 7.7 percent. Buck harvest was up significantly in all zones.
Going into the season, the DNR had projected the 2015 total deer harvest would be between 140,000 to 155,000 deer. The 2014 total harvest after last year’s conservative season was just over 139,000.
The Zone 1 firearms deer season ended last Sunday. The muzzleloader season began Saturday and will continue through Dec. 13. The archery season continues through Dec. 31.
In Wisconsin, where the firearms deer season opened last weekend, the state DNR reported that 119,495 deer had been registered as of 5 p.m. Monday. That’s a 15.2 percent increase from the 103,746 deer registered through the same point in the season in 2014.
Freemans awaiting freeze-up
Dave and Amy Freeman, the Grand Marais adventurers who are spending a complete year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, have pitched their tent on an island in Knife Lake to await the freeze-up. In a post this week, the Freemans said smaller lakes around Knife already have frozen. They are spending a lot of time gathering and splitting firewood for their woodstove.
“Things in the wilderness are going well,” Dave Freeman wrote in an email Tuesday. “We are really enjoying this time and the simplicity of waiting for the ice. Yesterday we paddled over to Bonnie Lake, and it is frozen and snow-covered. It is hard to know when Knife will freeze because of the mild forecast and the fact that it is so deep.”
The couple left Ely on Sept. 23 and have paddled extensively from Ely to the Gunflint Trail lakes. They are resupplied about every two weeks by friends who paddle in to meet them. Their last resupply, from friends in Ely, will allow them to bridge the extended freeze-up season.
Once the ice is safe for travel, a dog-mushing friend will deliver them three huskies and two toboggans for the couple’s winter travels. Follow the Freemans at facebook.com/freemanexplore or instagram.com/freemanexplore.
New pike limits on Mille Lacs
Anglers and dark-house spearers on Mille Lacs Lake this winter are reminded that the daily bag limit for northern pike has changed from 10 to five, which is consistent with input received from the new Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee and other anglers. The season begins Tuesday.
In the Mille Lacs pike bag limit of five, only one may be longer than 30 inches. Additionally, an earn-a-trophy regulation requires the harvest and possession of two pike less than 30 inches long on the same day before taking a pike longer than 30 inches. These regulations apply to both anglers and spearers.
Heritage council recommends $60 million for pheasants
Pheasants and pheasant habitat will benefit from about $60 million of more than $111 million in habitat programs and projects recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund next year.
The proposed projects will provide key support for several components of the Pheasant Summit Action Plan announced earlier this fall.
Outcomes of these projects will protect and restore grassland and wetland habitat; create and enhance habitat buffers; and restore once-drained wetlands.
All funding requires approval by the 2016 Legislature.