July 2008

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.






In order to legally hunt any migratory game bird, which now includes mourning doves, hunters need to be certified for the Harvest Information Program (HIP). What is the purpose of this?
HIP certification is a tool the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses in every state to monitor the number of migratory bird hunters and the number and kind of migratory birds harvested each fall. The certification process is not the actual harvest survey.  It simply identifies hunters of different migratory bird species so that a sample of these hunters can be selected to participate in the actual harvest survey, which asks them to provide more detailed information on their hunting activities.  This information is used to develop more reliable harvest estimates for all migratory birds. This information is important for monitoring migratory bird populations and establishing future hunting seasons, which helps protect our hunting heritage. Hunters can get certified when buying their license by answering “yes” to the question asking if they intend to hunt migratory birds, including ducks, geese, doves, woodcock, snipe and rails. If hunters have already purchased their license and it does not say “HIP Certified,” they need to register for the program before hunting any migratory birds. Certification is free and is available at all of Minnesota’s more than 1,800 electronic licensing agents.

- Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist


What should anglers do if they are fishing on a catch-and-release only body of water, and they catch what they think may be a record-setting fish?

Catching a big fish regardless of the species is always a thrill for any angler. But only fish that are caught and can be kept legally are eligible for state record verification. In addition, all fish must be positively identified by the DNR before a state record is awarded.

However, some taxidermists will build a replica from the measurements and photo you might take before releasing your fish. And there is another way for anglers to enjoy the rewards of catch and release: The Master Angler program, which is sponsored by the DNR and Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame. It recognizes responsible anglers who release quality fish. The program is open to all licensed anglers in Minnesota, and includes categories for both adults and youth. Details about this program are available on the Master Angler web page.

- Jenifer Matthees, DNR Aquatic Education coordinator


Finding a place to ride an ATV or other OHV machine takes a little research. Minnesota offers a variety of trails. Are there different "levels" of riding opportunities? And how can riders find the trail that fits their needs?

Minnesota is using the standard ski hill symbols to identify level of difficulty. The symbols are: green circle - easy, blue square - moderate, and black diamond - technical or advanced. Most public OHV trails are green with some blue levels available. The Red Dot and Spider Lake systems are two sites that have some blue level trails. At this point, the only public riding area with black diamond level opportunities is the Iron Range Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert. It is important for riders to know their abilities and know their machines. Most of these trails do not provide alternative routes - once the course is started, it must be finished. The more advance trails are generally one-way as well.

- Mary Broten, DNR OHV coordinator



DNR Question of the Week Archive