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A little over a week ago, I was preparing to head home from the cabin after spending a few days of fishing with my grandson Dylan.

It had just began snowing that morning as we were packing for the ride home, but luckily we had already done most of the major things that need to be done when closing up the cabin for the winter. Before we pulled out of the driveway, the weather changed from a rain/snow mix to all snow. Once we began driving, you could see that the snow was already sticking to the grass and on the pine trees.

After we had been on the road for a while Dylan told me that he actually kind of liked traveling on a snowy day like today. I don’t know what it is about driving while the snow is falling, but I have always found that to be something that I too have always enjoyed. The ironic thing about what Dylan said is that I had been thinking the exact same thing a few minutes earlier.

Maybe it is the warm or cozy feeling that I seem to get when driving in a warm truck with the snow falling and the temperatures too warm to stick to the road, but cool enough to stick to the grass and trees. When Mother Nature treats us to the sight of snow-covered evergreen trees it is surely a picture that is hard to beat.

I guess I have always found the first snowfall of the season to be kind of an exciting time that still gives me that kid-like feeling of my youth. The neat thing about that day was that Dylan expressed that same fondness for driving in snow and shared it with me. It’s kind of like a good beer or a fine wine that a person can enjoy in moderation, but too much of a good thing – not so much.

The 2013 Minnesota deer hunting opener is just around the corner. From what I’ve heard when talking to some folks in the northern part of the state, there just doesn’t seem to be as many deer around. A hard winter coupled with an increase in the wolf and coyote populations would probably be a major factor in that.

With the firearms deer hunting season slated to open November 9, the Minnesota DNR has issued a news release reminding all hunters to make sure you have permission before setting foot on private land. I believe that any hunter who considers himself a sportsman would just automatically ask permission before setting foot on someone else’s land.

Hunters urged to review trespass law, ask landowners first

With Minnesota’s small game, waterfowl, and archery deer seasons underway, and the firearm deer season set to begin Nov. 9, conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind hunters that there is one sure way to avoid landowner concerns associated with trespassing: “Always ask first.”

“Trespass is the biggest problem landowners have with hunters,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director. “It is critical for hunters to have good relationships with landowners, especially when you consider that in some parts of the state such as Southwestern Minnesota, about 95 percent of the land is privately owned.”

“If hunters and other outdoor recreationists would just make it a standard practice to always ask for permission before entering any private land, those relationships would improve a lot.”

Soring encourages all hunters and landowners to obtain a copy of the 2013 Hunting and Trapping booklet and review the trespass information beginning on Page 6.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to be very familiar with the trespass law,” said Soring.

Trespass penalties range from a $50 civil fine to a criminal penalty of several thousand dollars, confiscation of vehicles and hunting equipment, and revocation of hunting privileges for two years.

Unlike urban law enforcement agencies, conservation officer response times to trespass calls may be longer, especially during the firearms deer season.

Callers are urged to contact the Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093 to report any alleged wildlife violation, including hunter trespass. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

Information must include precise time and location, along with a full description including a license plate number of any vehicle believed to be involved.

Until next time, with the deer hunting opener fast approaching and pheasant and duck hunting now open, be sure to obey the laws, “hunt safe” and enjoy the time spent in our great Minnesota outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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