WIA?in southwest Minnesota
THUMBS UP: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources can't seem to make a move or decision without upsetting some population of people, but we fail to see how its new Walk In Access hunting program could upset anyone. The program is voluntary and is a much-needed effort to get people hunting again. A DNR employee on Tuesday told the Independent that one of the main reasons hunters give up on the sport is because of a lack of good public land on which to hunt. The WIA program should go a long way in correcting that problem, as thousands of acres in southwest Minnesota have been enrolled in the three-year pilot program. The program opens up private land for walk-in hunting of small game and deer. Nothing else is allowed. You can't trap and you can't operate a vehicle on this land, and the DNR said its conservation officers will be responsible for taking care of trespassers and anyone who violates the rules of the program. Hunting is part of our heritage in Minnesota, and it's clear - with a steady decline of hunter numbers - that something needed to be done to get people back into the fields starting this fall. Modifying hunting regulations, which the DNR has also done this year, might help a little, but programs like WIA could end up having a more direct impact on local outdoorsmen. The Walk In Access handout for 2011 is available through the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.swmnhunting.com
We'll put up with five months of cold
THUMBS UP: Mother Nature is providing us with more reasons we should be thankful of where we live. Yes, winters in Minnesota are long, dreary, dark, and very cold, and we had our share of severe weather in July, but considering what is taking place and what has happened out East, we should be thankful. Minnesotans don't have to worry about earthquakes like the one that shook the ground and nerves of millions of people in areas like Maryland, Virginia and Washington on Tuesday, or hurricanes like the one currently bearing down on the East Coast. Driving on ice-covered roads isn't fun, but, as they say, if you can put up with a few months of winter, Minnesota's a pretty good place to live. In Minnesota, the ground under our feet may be frozen for a while, but at least it's not shaking.