Why Some Minnesota Farmers May Not Let You Hunt Their Land

It all started as a great idea proposed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton as an effort to improve water quality.  I’m talking about the Minnesota Buffer Law which establishes new requirements for perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along lakes, rivers, and streams and buffers of 16.5 feet along ditches.  And while I am somewhat torn by the real value of this new land use requirement, as I have previously written…I see both sides of the issue as a landowner and as a sportsman.

Now, when Governor Dayton announced his new legacy project to a bunch of sportsmen at the 2015 DNR Roundtable meetings there was lots of excitement from the conservation community.  On the other hand, many landowners felt the proposal (and subsequent law) went too far in dictating how a landowner must use their land.

Well, at this point I’m not going to debate the issue.   Rather, I’m just here to say there are lots of farmers and landowners who are fed up with the bureaucracy involved and it only seems to be getting worse.

Indeed, a farmer who doesn’t have the required 50-foot vegetative buffer can suffer some consequences if they are out of compliance after November 1st.  In most cases these will be fines levied against the non-complaint landowner.   In some instances, however, a farmer could be facing criminal prosecution.  That’s right, criminal prosecution as is the case in Traverse County, Minnesota and likely other counties.

Now, you can imagine that doesn’t sit well with many in the agriculture community.  Of course, if you are a landowner with no rivers or public ditches, then the issue doesn’t really matter to that particular farmer.  On the other hand, many other farmers feel the government telling them how to conduct their livelihood on land they own or operate is an invasion on their rights.

Then comes along the sportsman who this fall might want to scare up a pheasant or two.  Quite honestly, I think many farmers look at the sportsman as being the rallying point for this new conservation mandate.  After all, the vast majority of sportsmen are not landowners and really have little to lose, and perhaps some to gain with more hunting opportunities thanks to buffers.

So, this fall some sportsmen may now be seeing this sign posted on the perimeter of potential hunting grounds:

What do you think, sportsmen?  It’s hard enough to get permission to traipse on private property doing our hunting thing.  Is an agitated gatekeeper to such lands the best way to do this?  How has this issue become a mutually beneficial relationship for both sportsmen and landowners?

I want to hear your thoughts.  Okay, I get all the arguments for improving the environment, etc.  But really sportsmen…is a proposal you were cheering almost three years ago going to pay recreational dividends when one of the parties of this relationship feels lots of angst because of the buffer measure?  When the gatekeeper isn’t happy this is not a good thing, in my honest opinion.

The Problem With The New Blaze Pink…It’s Not Being Seen!

So, last Saturday I went shopping for some new hunting gear.   On the list was a jacket sporting the new BLAZE PINK look which is now allowed in Minnesota as an alternative to the ever-recognizable BLAZE ORANGE.   No…don’t be silly…it wasn’t for me, rather it is for my 9-y/o daughter who loves hunting with daddy and also just happens to like wearing pink.

Excerpt from the 2017-18 Minnesota hunting synopsis.

Now, to be honest, the fluorescent pink hunting wear craze is not something nationwide.   In fact, according to my quick scan on Google it appears there are only 4 states (Wisconsin, New York, Colorado and now Minnesota) that even allow it as a safety color to be worn during the hunting seasons.   Yet, I suspect more states will be added in the years to come.

One problem I am seeing is there does not appear to be a legal standard for Blaze Pink.   At least with orange there was a daylight fluorescent orange (usually under the brand name Ten Mile Cloth-trademarked since 2004) that had certain characteristics for brightness as could be measured on the nanometer light scale.   With pink, well…at least with what I’m seeing…the cloth coloration appears to be all over the board.   Nothing appears standard, at least from the limited selection I have inspected first-hand.

Well, discussing the legalities of what constitutes LEGAL Blaze Pink is going to vary from state to state and my guess is it will be left largely up to the eye of the beholder.   At least at this point, however, much of this is rather moot.

The real trouble with Blaze Pink here during Minnesota’s inaugural hunting season allowing it appears to be availability.   Maybe even familiarity.   Case in point…here is how the discussion went at my local Cabela’s store in Owatonna, Minnesota last Saturday:

Cabela’s Employee: “Can I help you, sir?”

Me: “Yes, can you point me in the direction of your Blaze PINK hunting clothing…I would like to buy some for my daughter for this fall’s deer hunt.”

Employee: <slight pause…while employee looks at another employee standing with him> “All we really have is that pink camo over on that display.”

Me: “Oh, yes, I see that…but the pink camo is not Blaze Pink so that is not a legal option for safety.  You guys do know that the Minnesota legislature approved Blaze Pink as a legal option for hunting this fall, don’t you?”

Employee: <by this time two more employees were walking by> “Hey, Roger(not his real name)…do we carry any Blaze Pink?”  <Roger looked confused and simply replied> “If we had anything it would be in this area.”

At this point I thanked the staff and walked away.   To be honest, these employees seemed oblivious to what I was asking of them.   I concluded how Cabela’s is a big chain store where I assume most of the buying decisions are made at corporate located several states away from Minnesota.   The bottom line is my impression was that, at least for Cabela’s, Blaze Pink was not even on the retail radar with only 35 days out from Minnesota’s Firearms Deer Hunting Opener.

Okay, so not to pick on Cabela’s as they were not alone.   I contacted the Scheel’s store in Rochester, Minnesota and asked about their Blaze Pink options.   There I spoke with a buyer who admitted they do not currently have any options in their store, either.   They have some on order…but do not know when it will be in stock.   For sure not this week…he was hopeful for next week, but could not confirm exactly when.

The few other small stores I checked with did not have any Blaze Pink options, as I suspected.   Now, one store that did have Blaze Pink was the Fleet Farm chain of stores.   Much to their credit, being based in Wisconsin I suspect that Blaze Pink being legal in that state has brought it on the radar for their buyers for some time now.   So, not all hope was lost.

Now, I’m sure there are some folks who will debate the value of Blaze Pink vs. Blaze Orange.   Personally, I am not one of those individuals who really cares…orange or pink…whichever color makes you happy just wear it.   Honestly, I like pink in the woods.   When I use flagging material to mark trails I always prefer pink.   To me it just seems to stand out better with the vibrant fall colors.   I’m sure that as time goes on…Blaze Pink will be commonly accepted(and available) just like the more traditional orange.

If allowing Blaze Pink helps to enable more females to get outdoors and to enjoy hunting…well, then I am all for it.   I’m sure by next fall many more stores here in Minnesota will jump on the retail bandwagon by making sure they have items for sale.   I’m just surprised this year how many local sporting goods stores were seemingly caught off-guard with absolutely nothing Blaze Pink for sale.   That will change.

I think in time the sale of Blaze Pink could come close to rivaling Blaze Orange sales.   I hope so, anyways.   Because seeing more Blaze Pink in the woods would be a good barometer, of sorts, for the gender health of our hunting sport.   Retailers time to wake up and watch it happen.

A Coyote Is On The Loose…Police Warns Public

This was on my Facebook feed this morning and it really made me chuckle.

Now, if you want to read the entire news story you can read it HERE.   Yet, reading the entire story is not necessary.   The point is the police are warning people that a coyote is on the loose and that people are urged to stay away from it.

Really??!!

Yes, I understand that Richfield, Minnesota is a suburb of Minneapolis so there are some not-so-nature-savvy folks who live in the area, but seriously a public warning like this is necessary in our current world?

Moreover, why are three Minnesota Conservation Officers wasting their time trying to catch it?   Do these wildlife professionals not know that removing a coyote from one area only means that in due time another coyote will likely move back in to replace it.   That’s sort of how it works in nature…so, to catch the coyote is really an exercise in futility as most outdoorsmen commonly understand.

Oh, I get it that some pets are missing and that the coyote has been in the proximal area of these dead dogs.   I also get it how these animals are “cute” until they start to do what nature does, which includes the killing of pets.   Welcome to the real world, metro Minneapolis.

Seems to me if I was 30 years younger the business to be in would likely be the animal removal business located in the suburbs.   People will pay ridiculous amounts of money to have wildlife removed from their little paradise.   After all, wild animals are always cute until they start doing property damage.

Ironically, today’s little news bit reminds me of a the Onion piece posted not long ago.   Check out Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation which posted five weeks earlier about a suburb very near Richfield.   Now, if you’re not familiar with the Onion it’s a news satire organization which attempts to poke fun at various aspects of our world.

Sadly enough, even though the Onion seeks chuckles from its off-the-wall fabricated content, often times the real news–today’s example in particular–even trumps that which is made up.    Do you agree?