Nearly 200 dogs are entered in the event, the largest field trial in Duluth in several years.
The event runs Friday through Sunday at the Art Massie Field Trial Grounds, 5476 Lester River Rd. in Lakewood Township, just a few miles up Lester River Road from Superior Street in Duluth.
The event is free for the public to watch. Trials will start at 8 a.m. and run into the afternoon each day, said Dick Adams, the club’s secretary.
The timing comes just before many southern U.S. professional trainers head back south for the fall and winter and has attracted a high number of entries, Adams said. Dogs will compete in four categories, including the derby for dogs under two years old; qualifying for older dogs; amatuer all-age for dogs run by amatuer trainers; and an open category for both professionals and amateurs.
Parking is available at the club headquarters and in fields where events are held. Anyone watching is asked to remain in the gallery and not bring pets. The Duluth retriever Club has 170 members but is always looking for new dogs and their owners. For more information go to duluthretrieverclub.net.
North American duck numbers down
The number of ducks across North America dropped 13 percent this year from last year, but waterfowl numbers are still higher than long-term averages, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported this week.
As the News Tribune reported Wednesday, the estimated number of waterfowl sunk to 41.2 million ducks this summer, down from 47.3 million last tear. The number of mallards dropped to 11.4 million from 12.9 million in 2017.
Aerial and ground surveys were conducted in May and June across the most productive breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada with estimates based on those counts. The survey has been conducted every year since 1955.
Experts say waterfowl numbers will rebound quickly if conditions are wetter next year, with more small ponds. But they warn that the duck producing regions continue to lose key habitat â€” namely grasslands that are not plowed, planted or developed.
Wigeon were the only species to show an increase this year over last, 2 percent, and remain 8 percent above the long-term average. Pintails, scaup, teal, shovelers, redheads and canvasbacks all were down from 2017 but higher than the long-term average.
The continental decline in ducks may mean some hunters will see fewer ducks this season, but local conditions are better in some areas and autumn weather will play a large role in hunter success. As reported in June, Minnesota showed an increase in duck numbers this year, up 9 percent over 2017 and 12 percent above the long-term average. The Wisconsin breeding duck population estimate of 439,397 is down 8 percent compared to 2017. Duck production in North Dakota was up 37 percent from last year.
DNR: Don’t shoot collared, ear-tagged bears
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has sent out its annual plea to bear hunters not to shoot bears wearing radio collars or large ear tags.
The marked bears are part of research projects to help determine the health and size of the state’s bear population. Researchers are monitoring about 30 radio-collared black bears across the state, especially in zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are near Orr or Voyageurs National Park.
While the collars may not be easily visible, all of the research bears are wearing colorful ear tags that should be visible. It is legal to shoot tagged bears but the DNR is asking hunters not to do it. Bears with small ear tags â€” 1 inch by 1/4-inch â€” are not collared and not part of the research effort.
Hunters are asked to call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at (218) 328-8874 or 218-328-8879 to report shooting a collared bear. Those with trail-cam photos of ear-tagged bears are asked to email them to email@example.com and include a location.