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The Division of Game and Fish

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					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

                                                Cyril       Plattes
         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.

52
                                 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-
                 LAW       ENFORCEMENT
                                                                   cated.
     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-
warden inspector.
                                                                   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
                        RESEARCH
                                                                  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
                                                                                         GAME
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
                   ADMINISTRATION
                                                             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
tion.
                                                             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
                                                                                   CONCLUSION
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-
             mission.
 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-
             servation.
  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.

				
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