Q: The 2004 hunting seasons open Sept. 1 with the first mourning dove hunt in nearly 60 years. Hunters looking for places to hunt are in luck because Minnesota has a lot of land that is open for public hunting. What are they and where are they?
A: Finding a great place to hunt is often as challenging as the actual hunting itself. Those who hunt in Minnesota are fortunate because the search for that place is not nearly as difficult as it is in many states, where public land is rare. Here in Minnesota, hunters can choose from 1,300 state wildlife management areas, 56 state forests, two national forests, scientific and natural areas, federal waterfowl production areas and county lands. However, not all public lands allow hunting, so it's a good idea for hunters to check ahead and become familiar with boundaries of public-owned land so they do not inadvertently trespass onto private property. Hunters can find information about these sites by picking up Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM). The 51 different maps display the location of public lands throughout the state, their boundaries and related facilities, such as parking lots, camp sites and other things hunters may need to know. PRIM maps can be purchased through the DNR, some major sporting goods and map stores, and Minnesota's Bookstore. Additional information about these maps can be found on the DNR's Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/prim.html.
- Amy Ellison, DNR Cartographer