Sartell artist Scot Storm won the 2017 Minnesota Pheasant Habitat Stamp contest. The painting was selected by judges from among 15 submissions for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The pheasant stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and is required for pheasant hunters ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant management and habitat work.
Four entries advanced as finalists and were selected Sept. 22 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. Other finalists were Mark Thone, second place; Nicholas Markell, third place; and Mark Kness, fourth place.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The 2017 pheasant stamp will be available for sale in March.
Live to hunt another day by wearing a life jacket or float coat
Hunters preparing to hit the water this fall in pursuit of ducks, geese and other wild game are reminded to include life jackets on their hunting gear checklist.
“Hunters in Minnesota are trained from a young age to always put safety first. For duck and goose hunters, that means always wearing a life jacket on the water, no exceptions,” said Lt. Col. Greg Salo of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.
Each year, more waterfowl hunters die from drowning than from other types of hunting accidents. Swamping, capsizing and falling overboard are all common factors leading to these deaths, but in nearly all cases the hunter would have survived had they been wearing a life jacket.
“Before launching the duck boat, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket or float coat,” Salo said. “It’s the one item that greatly increases your odds of surviving a water emergency and living to hunt another day.”
The wide variety of comfortable, camouflage life jackets designed specifically for waterfowl hunting includes inflatable vest and belt-pack styles, insulated flotation jackets, and foam-filled shooting vests with quilted shoulders and shell loops.
“Typical foam-filled vests or float coats provide optimal insulation against cold air and the effects of hypothermia, but without question, the best life jacket for waterfowl hunting is the one you will actually wear,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boating and water safety outreach coordinator. “Choosing a life jacket style that works for you, and wearing it every time you’re on the water, is not only a good choice – it could save your life.”
At the very least, all boats must carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger, and boats longer than 16 feet must also have a throwable flotation device immediately available. Children under 10 must wear a life jacket.
Other water safety tips for duck hunters include:
- Don’t overload the boat; take two trips if necessary.
- If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
- Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
- Share your trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if you don’t return on schedule.
- Use a headlamp, spotlight or navigation lights to alert other boaters of presence in dark and/or foggy conditions.
- Carry a cell phone or personal locator beacon in case of emergency.
- Don’t drink and boat and don’t drink and hunt
Visit mndnr.gov/boatingsafety to download the DNR’s “Water Safety for Duck Hunters” brochure and to learn more about boating safety for hunters.