St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Mother's Day may not have to compete with the fishing opener this year if Minnesota's state legislature allows the season to start a week early.
Author of the bill Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) wants to jump start the fishing season by adding a "bonus week" that would start on May 5th instead of the scheduled May 12th.
Rep. Hackbarth says that the fishing season should be moved up this year because the fish have already done everything they need to do to spawn more fish and are already moving out into deeper water.
This bill also includes a proposed wolf hunting season that would start at the same time as deer hunting season. The bill would allow up to 400 wolves to be taken during the season. A hunting fee would also be set up at $26.
The bill has already passed the House and is now awaiting action by the Senate. If the Senate does not pass the bill, a conference committee would need to work out the differences in the two bills.
The biggest debate over the bill so far is amending another provision written into the bill that would allow shooting ranges to host youth firearms safety tests four times a year.
Other provisions in the bill include:
• expanding the Department of Natural Resources’ mission to include recruitment of new anglers and hunters and keep existing participants, including women and minorities;
• allowing electronic sales of hunting and fishing licenses during a government shutdown (the DNR estimates that $2.2 million in license sales were lost during the July 2011 state shutdown);
• establish a wolf management and monitoring account funded wolf license fees to provide wolf management, research, damage control, enforcement and education;
• establishing a “walk-in access program” to provide public access to private land for hunting;
• allowing bear hunters to leave portable hunter stands in the wild overnight if the owner’s address, driver’s license number and DNR license identification number are attached;
• allowing road crews to trap a beaver whose dams are causing damage or threaten to damage public roadways;
• providing for state authorities to drain shallow lakes to manage invasive species;
• allowing use of snowmobiles with metal traction devices on paved public trails unless they are specified as closed trails by a local government or DNR; and
• specifying that holders of commercial licenses to transport minnows must ship them in tagged containers and be kept separate from minnows from Minnesota. It also requires a $1 million surety bond be provided if a licensee is convicted of letting invasive species into Minnesota waters.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns