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Curt Johnson column: It's time to start preparing for fall seasons

It may be the middle of summer, but it's not too early to start preparing for the fall hunting seasons. "We are fast approaching the time of the year when we're overrun with requests for duplicate Firearm Safety Training certificates ...

It may be the middle of summer, but it's not too early to start preparing for the fall hunting seasons.

"We are fast approaching the time of the year when we're overrun with requests for duplicate Firearm Safety Training certificates as hunters prepare for upcoming hunting seasons," said Jeff Thielen, Enforcement Education Program coordinator for Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR's Electronic Licensing System provides duplicate firearm safety and snowmobile safety certificates. Hunters who no longer have their firearm safety certificate might already have proof on their driver's license.

Check the endorsement section on the back of your driver's license. If you see "firearms certificate" or "snowmobile" listed, that's proof that you have taken a Minnesota firearms safety or snowmobile safety course.

Another deadline

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Hunters interested in the 2002 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls are reminded that this year's Aug. 16 application deadline is fast approaching.

This year's hunts are scheduled for Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 26-27. A total of 4,500 permits will be offered. All applicants must apply via the DNR's computerized Electronic Licensing System (ELS), by ELS telephone (888) 665-4236, or through DNR's Internet licensing link at www.dnr.state.mn.us . Mail-in application forms will not be accepted.

For the kids

The Minnesota Deer Hunter's Association (MDHA) is accepting applications for a youth-only archery deer hunt to be held Oct. 12-13 at Camp Ripley near Little Falls.

A maximum of 100 permits will be issued to eligible youth ages 12-17 as of Oct. 10. Youth must have completed a hunter safety course and must have their application postmarked by Aug. 31. All youth must be accompanied by an adult mentor, who will not be allowed to hunt or carry a bow and arrow. A random drawing on Sept. 9 will be held publicly at MDHA headquarters in Grand Rapids to select hunt participants.

Application forms are available by calling MDHA at (800) 450-DEER (3337) or by downloading an electronic application at MDHA's Web site at www.mndeerhunters.com .

BOW program grant

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has awarded a "Step Outside" grant to the Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. The grant is for a mentor/child hunting training weekend to be held Feb. 8-9, 2003.

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The February program is designed for adults and young people who might be interested in hunting but who know little about either hunting or shooting sports. It will give them background information, firearms safety training and shooting experience.

The weekend program will have classes for adults and children separately and will provide time for shooting as a team and for optional evening activities.

Children must be between the ages of 10 and 15. Space is limited to the first 50 registrants. To register, call (218) 327-0583.

Johnson, who works with the Minnesota Office of Tourism in St. Paul, can be reached at (651) 297-3488

or via e-mail at curt.johnson@state.mn.us

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