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Curt Johnson: Women take advantage of outdoor events

More and more Midwest women are taking advantage of outdoors programs that are offered exclusively for them. Minnesota is one state that keeps offering these special programs that allow women an opportunity to be informed about outdoor experience...

More and more Midwest women are taking advantage of outdoors programs that are offered exclusively for them. Minnesota is one state that keeps offering these special programs that allow women an opportunity to be informed about outdoor experiences they may only have heard about in the past.

To this extent, the Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program and Women in the Outdoors (WITO) are teaming up for a joint outdoor event for women at the Grand Rapids Shooting Sports Education Center Aug. 16.

Fundamental classes in shooting, outdoor cooking, backing and handling a trailer, dog training, and several other events will give women an opportunity to explore many outdoor activities. Throughout the day, three concurrent activity sessions will be held.

Jean Bergerson, coordinator of the "Becoming An Outdoors Woman" program is promising a variety of outdoor programs for the participants.

"This is a chance for women who wish to try outdoor activities to touch on several sessions during the course of the day," Bergerson said. "If they wish to continue to participate in outdoors activities, BOW and WITO offer them the chance to have more in-depth learning."


Registration will be taken in advance by calling the Shooting Sports Education Center at (218) 327-0583.

Social security required

Big Brother is not watching, but it appears he will be keeping tabs. This year, Minnesotans will need to provide their social security number to purchase a Minnesota hunting or fishing license beginning Aug. 1.

Recent legislation requires the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to collect a customer's social security number as part of an application for a non-commercial game and fish license. This legislation was passed to meet the federal requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which assists states in enforcement of child support programs.

Tom Keefe, DNR Electronic Licensing System program manager, said that the requirement will be implemented when the fall deer licenses go on sale Aug. 1. The requirement to provide a social security number is for all game and fish licenses and all customers regardless of age.

"The DNR understands that customers will have concerns with this requirement and has taken several steps to reduce customer concerns and still meet the federal requirements for collection of the customer's social security number," Keefe said.

Those steps include:

- Social security numbers will not be printed on any license material


- Social security number information will be held in a secure database with very limited access

- Collection of the social security number is required only once.

In addition, the DNR is incorporating existing social security number records from the Minnesota Driver's License file to its electronic licensing system database in an effort to reduce the need for customers to provide a Social Security number at the time of purchase.

"Once we have a social security number on the customer's file, they will not be asked for it again," Keefe said. "By adding the existing driver's license data, we anticipate the majority of our resident customers will never be asked for a social security number."

Remaining residents, and all non-residents or young customers without a driver's license will, however, have to provide a social security number as part of the license transaction.

Customers who have a social security number but fail to provide it will be denied a hunting and fishing license.

Golfing more affordable

The Minnesota Office of Tourism and the Minnesota Golf Association (MGA) have teamed up to lower the price of golf in the state for out-of-state-visitors.


The "Out-of-State Golf Promotion" is for golf travelers from North and South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Manitoba, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. In addition, golf travelers will be "driven" to the MGA web site, www.mngolf.org , for details and a complete list of participating Minnesota golf courses.

These golf courses will be offering a 10 percent discount on green fees and golf merchandise to any golfer showing an out-of-state drivers license. The special pricing comes just in time for people to enjoy many of Minnesota's great courses during the great fall color season, from Labor Day through Halloween.

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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