H o w the Division of Game and Fish
protects Minnesota's W i l d Life Resources.
The Division of Game and Fish
A n Informative Review
O f the six divisions in the Min- $210, depending on the kind; from it
nesota Department of Conserva- you must obtain a permit to keep a
tion, majority interest unques- wild animal pet; fishing and hunting
tionably centers on the Division of licenses are sold to 1,000,000 persons
Game and Fish. A n d yet this division, in a good year; a huge organization of
holding as it does the limelight, is vi- game wardens comes under it; it has
tally dependent upon at least three other active supervision of the largest game
divisions. These are the Divisions of refuge area of any state in the union;
Forestry, Drainage and Waters and its 15 fish hatcheries produce fish into
Lands and Minerals. the billions; its corps of trained techni-
Without trees and cover, water, and cians, drawing on years of schooling
coordinated land development, Minne- and experience, are equipped to inves-
sota would have no game and fish re- tigate any wild life problem.
sources. It is well to remember this
W i l d creatures are managed, in other
when considering game and fish prob-
words, by the Division of Game and
lems. Solutions to wild life problems
Fish, subject to season laws enacted by
are not necessarily centralized in the
the legislature. Because Minnesota is
Division of Game and Fish, but are
rich in fauna, the division is custodian
rather divided among all the divisions
for a variety of game and fish equalled
that comprise the Department of Con-
by few states in the union.
servation. T h e Division of State Parks
Like other divisions of the depart-
— with every park a game refuge —
ment, the Division of Game and Fish
and the Tourist Bureau, with its in-
is directly under the Commissioner of
terest in a legitimate harvest of these
Conservation. It is supervised by a
resources, are not exceptions.
Director, who in turn has below him a
T h e Division of Game and Fish is a deputy director, a secretary, an assist-
funnel through which all direct admin- ant attorney general, and two consult-
istration of Minnesota's wild life re- ants.
sources must pass. Its domain is broad, From there the organization stems
its responsibilities and duties legion. It down into six bureaus that go to make
will sell you a license for one cent or up the Division of Game and Fish.
THE DIVISION OF GAME AND FISH 53
They are law enforcement, fisheries, equipment from violators. Fur seizures
research, game, information and admin- alone increased 442 per cent in the
istration. year, while 83 per cent more firearms
and hunting equipment were confis-
Directly in charge of enforcing game
This improvement was made despite
laws established by the legislature and
a $40,000 reduction in operating costs
regulations decreed by the Division is
of the Division. Income from law en-
a staff of 135 game wardens operating
forcement activities such as fines, sale
directly under the deputy division direc-
of seized weapons, etc., is up $45,000
tor. Supervision is also delegated to an
for the year. W i t h the saving in oper-
office warden supervisor and a state
ating costs, this means an $85,000 in-
crease in game and fish funds.
Warden employment is strictly a civil
service matter. Application must be FISHERIES
filed with the state civil service board Fish, like game, is a renewable re-
and a competitive examination taken. source. Where natural reproduction
The wardens have 54,196,480 acres under sound conservation fails to sup-
or 84,682 square miles to patrol, of ply demands, the Division of Game and
which 2,447,360 acres are water surface. Fish employs restoration practices. Re-
An average warden has a patrol area storation is achieved principally through
of 650 square miles. two mediums: (1) Artificial propaga-
W h i l e wardens have only one sworn tion, and (2) fish management whereby
duty to perform—that is enforcement nature is aided and abetted in doing the
of game and fish laws—they engage in job through adjustment of natural fac-
many other activities. Fifty per cent tors. T h e Bureau of Fisheries employs
of their time is devoted to law en- both.
forcement, the remainder to game man- Artificial propagation revolves around
agement activities such as sounding the bureau's 20 hatcheries and field sta-
lakes, supervising water levels, posting tions. These produced 807,600,000 fish
refuges, laying out spawning bed areas, of all species in the 1939-40 season of
planting fish, supervising rough fish which 791,000,000 were walleyed pike.
removal, rescuing trapped fish and pro- In addition some too-odd cooperative
moting education. fish rearing ponds, devoted principally
During the past year the warden to pan fish, and numerous trout rearing
force showed marked improvement of ponds are maintained. Artificially prop-
operation. Arrests increased approxi- agated are walleyes, large and small
mately 24 per cent and there was a 425 mouth bass, crappies, sunfish, bluegills,
per cent increase in seizures of trapping northern pike, suckers, herring, rock
54 THE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER
bass, muskies, whitefish and several Studies and experiments on raising
species of trout. walleye pike fry to fingerling size, on
Natural propagation is furthered by the production of muskellunge artifi-
the bureau through the establishment cially, lake surveys, commercial fishing
of protected spawning areas for bass examinations, stream surveys, and allied
on hundreds of lakes, and stream im- topics come under this agency. T h e pur-
provement activity. Several stream im- pose is to furnish a basis for sound reg-
provement projects, for instance, are ulations and management procedures.
under consideration for the trout T h e game research section embraces
streams of the North Shore of Lake the broad field of Minnesota's small
Superior. game and big game and fur animals.
In addition the bureau operates the It includes such varied activities as
fish lakes improvement agency. U n d e r censuses of birds and animals used as a
this heading come such varied activities basis for determining seasons, pollution
as rough fish removal, rescue of fishes studies, disease investigations, bird
trapped by receding waters or shallow banding, nesting investigations, and so
lakes, and specialized lake improve- forth.
ment assignments. The University cooperative investi-
The immensity of the task before gation projects embrace both game and
the Bureau of Fisheries is demonstrated fish research. Lead shot poisoning inves-
by Minnesota's vast water area — at tigations, classification of some 4,000
least 6,000 to 7,000 lakes of excellent Minnesota lakes as to types of fish and
angling caliber and hundreds of others plant life, analysis of feeding habits
that are fished occasionally. Lack of of birds and mammals, and studies on
adequate funds has handicapped the game predators and animal parasites are
bureau consistently. a few projects completed and continuing.
A s an example of practical applied
game management, the bureau has de-
Minnesota's game and fish resources veloped a method of taking a pheasant
are being administered on a business- census from roadsides in the fall. So
like basis and the great denominator effective is this system that it has pro-
used to substitute facts for guesswork vided accurate statistics on pheasant
is the Bureau of Research. It is divided populations so that seasons and bag
into (1) fisheries, (2) game, and (3) limit regulations may be established on
University of Minnesota cooperative a practical and accurate basis.
projects. Startling facts have been uncovered.
Fisheries research within the bureau Studies have shown, for instance, that
concerns every problem associated with in certain past winters the loss of deer
fish propagation and management. from starvation in the Superior Na-
THE DIVISION OF GAME AND FISH 55
tional forest has exceeded the kill by big business carefully organized by the
hunters in a given season; that the bureau to obtain the greatest revenue
growth rate of fishes varies as much as for the Division.
100 per cent depending upon the type
of lake and its location; and that the
loss of hen pheasants from natural fac- One of the busiest and most respon-
tors is so great that shooting for three sible bureaus is that of game. It is
consecutive seasons was best limited to charged with the production for propa-
cocks. gation of upland game birds and the
administration of the greatest state game
refuge area in the United States.
In an average year, $1,000,000 in
T w o game farms, at Madelia and at
license fees and other monies passes
Forest Lake, recognized as the most
through the Division of Game and Fish.
modern game bird production plants in
The approximately 700,000 fishing
the nation, are operated by the Bureau
licenses and 250,000 small game permits
of Game. It is responsible for introduc-
that it is estimated Minnesota sports-
tion of the ringneck pheasant, and for
men will have purchased this season are
the successful propagation of the Hun-
handled by the Bureau of Administra-
garian partridge. A t present the bureau
is experimenting with introduction of
Few persons know the variety of li-
the chukar partridge.
censes that must be handled. They
range from legalization cards retailing The refuge area covers 3,400,000
at one cent each which licensed game acres divided into 185 units. Included
breeders must attach to fur pelts, to the is the massive Red Lake Game Pre-
$210 which is the maximum that may serve in Beltrami County. It covers
be paid by a commercial fisherman for 405,000 acres and is one of the largest
a license on international boundary contiguous areas set aside for game
waters. There are fur buyers licenses, refuge purposes in the United States.
trapping licenses, big and small game T h e largest is the Superior State Game
hunting permits, and licenses that must Refuge located in the Superior Na-
be secured by persons wishing to retain tional Forest and covering an area of
a wild animal as a pet. T h e fee for the 1,290,000 acres in the adjoining coun-
latter is 50 cents. ties of St. Louis, Lake and Cook.
Under the Bureau of Administra- The upland game bird propagation
tion comes the seizure clerk. His respon- reached a high for the United States
sibility concerns the great amount of of 19,500 chukar partridges and a
hunting equipment, game and furs seiz- bumper production of 23,000 quail in
ed by wardens daily. Disposal of it is a 1940. In addition approximately 30,000
56 THE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER
ringneck pheasants were produced to divided among (1) monthly bulletin,
restock depleted areas. (2) lectures, (3) film library, (4)
Other work includes management of radio, and (5) press information and
public hunting grounds, game bird food special bulletins.
and cover planting, maintenance of a
hardwood food and cover planting
These component parts of the Divi-
nursery, annual planting of 8,000 acres
sion of G a m e and Fish have individual
of game bird food through cooperative
characters, yet their identities are sub-
farm projects, and numerous game res-
merged in correlated administration of
toration projects financed under the Pitt-
the Division. T o understand all of the
man Robertson A c t .
bureaus is to understand the Division.
INFORMATION A n d to know the Division, with its tre-
T h e Bureau of Information adminis- mendous responsibilities, facilitates the
ters educational media for the Division public cooperation so essential in the
of Game and Fish and the Department task of wild life conservation and res-
of Conservation as well. Its activities are toration that lies ahead.
WITH OUR AUTHORS
THOMAS S. ROBERTS—Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, Professor
of Ornithology and Director of the University of Minnesota Museum
of Natural History; author of The Birds of Minnesota, A Logbook of
Minnesota Bird Life, and other works.
GEORGE W . FRIEDRICH—Professor of Biology and Conservation, State Teachers'
College, St. Cloud, former Chairman Minnesota Conservation Com-
SAMUEL EDDY—Associate Professor of Zoology at the University of Minnesota
and collaborator with the Department of Conservation on fish research.
CARL W . MOEN—Field lecturer with the Department of Conservation.
GEORGE WEAVER—Superintendent Bureau of Fisheries, Department of Con-
J. MANWEILER—Game Manager, Soil Conservation Service, Baudette, Minn.
HAROLD LATHROP—Director, Division of State Parks.
WILLIAM F. M U N C H — V e t e r a n Minnesota game warden and conservation lecturer
for the Department of Conservation.
T . SURBER—Technical advisor to Division of Game and Fish and prominent
ichthyologist, mammalogist and bird authority.
CYRIL PLATTES—Executive Secretary, Department of Conservation.