White-tailed deer across the Northland have started to have their fawns, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to leave the little dears alone.
Even if you don’t see the mother around, a fawn almost certainly has not been abandoned. Unlike human mothers that cling to their newborns, deer mothers often move away from fawns while feeding to avoid drawing any attention to newborns. Fawns’ camouflage spots, and an odd quirk of nature that makes fawns almost odorless (also unlike humans), is usually enough to get them through the first few days when their legs are wobbly.
The DNR notes that mama doe will come around every four or five hours to check on the fawn, and she is usually within earshot. Only when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators do the young travel much with their mother.
A fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon it. The DNR urges people not to try to catch a fawn if they encounter one. Walk away. Never feed or collar a fawn. Contact a local DNR Wildlife office if you have questions.
It’s good to know that wild animal sightings make the news in places other than Duluth.
A black bear made the news in Cottage Grove, Minn., when it was spotted multiple times early Wednesday in the Twins Cities suburb, first in a residential neighborhood, then in a park and later along Highway 61.
A resident called police about 12:30 a.m. after seeing a bear in a backyard.
A police officer found the bear and watched it make its way through multiple yards, according to the police report.
Police contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which advised monitoring the animal and letting it wander until it returns to a nonresidential area.
Emergency dispatch received two more reported sightings, one from a caller who spotted a bear in Hearthside Park and another from someone who saw it behind a restaurant.
Then, about 8:40 a.m. a caller reported seeing a bear near a guardrail along Highway 61 in St. Paul Park.
DNR officials told police that as long as it wasn’t creating a hazard or safety concern, they should let it wander back into a rural area.
As we’ve reported several times, the Northland is seeing an influx of owls from Canada this winter. They’ve moved south in search of food, such as mice and voles.
While many owls are finding good pickings in our area, some owls, inevitably, will perish here. But some good may come of that. The Duluth Audubon Society reports the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is collecting dead boreal or saw-whet owls this winter for use in research.
If you find a dead owl, place it in a plastic bag with the date and general location where it was found, and take it to the nearest Minnesota DNR wildlife office — in Duluth, Cloquet, Two Harbors, Tower or wherever you may be.
Smokey Bear warned against wildfires, but he never said anything about theft.
Wisconsin Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to find Smokey Bear — or at least a 6-foot-tall reflective aluminum sign of the iconic “Only you can prevent wildfires” bruin.
The bear-nappers stole the sign in the Town of Caledonia in Columbia County (north of Madison) during the past two to three weeks. The landowner and the local emergency fire warden are hoping to get this valuable public information sign back in service.
Anyone with information on the missing sign is asked to contact the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at (608) 742-4166, Crime Stoppers at (800) 293-8477 or their local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden. Callers are eligible for a reward for up to $1,000 for leading to the recovery of the stolen sign along with prosecution of the thief.
The new blanket of snow we were forecast to receive overnight should set up some great conditions for Saturday’s free candlelight ski on the Afterhours Trail in Northwestern Wisconsin’s Brule Rive State Forest.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports that the event, held from 5-9 p.m., will include a bonfire, hot apple cider, a gas grill for cooking and a warming shelter — and two miles of candle-lit ski trails, of course.
The Afterhours Trail is located off U.S. Highway 2 just west of Brule, or about 30 miles east of Superior.
Whether you hit the trails in Brule or get outdoors at some other spot in the Northland, this weekend should feel like a heat wave after our recent cold weather. Highs on Saturday are forecast to reach the teens — above zero — and on Sunday we may see highs in the mid- to upper 20s.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will crack down on intoxicated boaters this weekend.
In Minnesota, alcohol was involved in 50 percent of the 16 boating fatalities in 2011. (2007 file / News Tribune)
Conservation officers and county sheriff’s water patrol deputies will be out in force Friday through Sunday for Operation Dry Water, part of a nationwide effort to give boating under the influence enforcement high visibility before the Fourth of July holiday.
Officers will be looking for boaters who have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater.
Boating under the influence continues to be a major problem throughout the country, officials say.
“We recommend that people avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while boating,” Greg Salo, DNR central region enforcement supervisor, said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on Minnesota waters.”
Conviction for BUI goes on a person’s automobile driver’s license record.