January 2022 Newsletter

Hello everyone and happy 2022! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Hopefully you were able to finish out the 2021 hunting seasons, share good food, and get outside despite some nasty subzero temps! This month we have Headlines, a Letter from MNCF President Lance Ness, and a recipe sure to make more room in your freezer and make you the talk of any cabin or ice shack. Read on for all the details!

MNCF Executive Director selected for MN DNR R3 advisory council.
Brad Gausman, MNCF Executuive Director, has been selected for a seat on the 2021-2023 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources R3 advisory council. This council continues the work of the 2018-2020 council that drafted a statewide R3 plan. R3 programs are aimed at recruiting, retaining,and reactivating folks to participate in fishing and hunting activities.
MNCF currently engages in R3 through our Conservation Leadership Corps program which introduces college students to hunting, fishing, and trapping activities. Many of our participants are experiencing these activities for the first time. This means that we have an opportunity to show them just why these activities are so important to those who engage in them and make that participation part of the rhythm of their lives.

Deer farmer refuses to pay for illegal carcass disposal 
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has identified Dean T. Page as the deer farmer that last summer was admitted to disposing of deer carcasses from his captive cervid facility on nearby public forest land in Beltrami County. Those carcasses were found and tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. State officials cleared lands and constructed a $194,000 fence around the biohazard area, now blocking it from public recreation like hunting. Dean was charged with paying for and maintaining the fence for the next 20 years, but says that the fence was “entirely unnecesary, ineffective, and unreasonable. The case will go to court and decide. MNCF believes that Dean should be responsible for the costs of the fence, as he has damaged public property and threatened our wild deer population.

Hebeisen featured in Outdoor News
MNCF Communications Coordinator Aaron Hebeisen was featured in the January 7th Issue of the Outdoor News in an article titled “Tips for heading West in 2022. The article features 3 midwestern hunters, and outlines tips for those interested in hunting western big game in 2022. The Outdoor News is a weekly paper circulated throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Letter from the President

Happy New Year to everyone!

There are lots of conservation issues that are ahead tha you need to be aware of and hard work the MNCF has been involved in for education and conservation. Brad has been doing a grea job as Executive Director, leading the Conservation Leadership Corps Program, educating and introducing young people into conservation. We have several new board members that are active and excited to contribute. Aaron Hebeisen has come on board this year and is helping organize this newsletter, help form the CWD Action Coalition, and more.

Brad and I have been busy on conservation issues from Duluth harbor dredging to Chronic Wasting Disease, from Limbo Creek drainage to timber harvest on Wildlife Management Areas.There is no shortage of conservation issues ahead. We need your help and support to address these and other issues.

Fundraising is always difficult, and the pandemic has made it more difficult. Local fundraisers have beent postponed and cancelled. These are often the main renevue generator for conservation organizations for the year. We need your financial help too. We have designed new hats and t-shirts that will be given as a thank you for your donations Visit our website or contact Brad to order the latest styles. A donation of any type is always appreciated.

We need your political support too. Most of these issues eventually make their way to the legislature, court system, or the Department of Natural Resources, MPCA, or BOWSR. A phone call, letter, or email to your local representative is alwayood way to get involved. Tell them why an issue is important to you, and how you would like to vote. They will listen. Their jobs depend on it!

Spring is coming and a new year is upon us. I wish you the best angling and hunting experiences that await you and your family and friends.

Lance Ness

Hammerhandle hors d’oeuvre:
Pickled Pike Recipe

While I enjoy fishing, I cannot claim to be a great angler by any stretch of the imagination. One thing I can count on when I go up to our cabin near Nashwauk, MN is landing a few snaky freshwater barracudas, also known as the Northern Pike. Northerns are prevalent in many Minnesota lakes year round, making them a favorite for ice fishing and spearing this time of year. They are infamous for their slimy skin, feisty attitude on the line, and bony flesh that while delicious, makes them tough and time consuming to clean. The best part of the pickling pike is that you don’t have to remove the tricky Y-bone, because the vinegar will dissolve it for you. This recipe was adapted from Steve Rinella’s The MeatEater: Fish and Game Cookbook. It has made for a top-notch appetizer, a great conversation starter, and even been given as a wedding and Christmas gift or two.. Enjoy!
-1/2 cup kosher salt
-3 1/2 cups warm water
-roughly 1-1.5 lbs of northern pike fillets or other white, bony fish
-4 cups distilled white vinegar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
-1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
-1 teaspoon multicolored peppercorns
-6 allspice berries
**Rinella’s recipe breaks each one down, but I found a pre-mixed pickling spice that I used)
-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
-4-5 sliced rings of red onion
-3 lemon slices
-2-3 jalapenos (or other peppers you prefer), sliced into discs
– 2 bay leaves
1. Dissolve 3 cups of salt into the warm water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Place water in the refrigerator or over a bed of ice to cool.
2. Slice fish into 1-1.5″ chunks. No need to remove the bones as they will dissolve. Once the water is cool, place the fish into the brine and submerge with weight over the top. I used a small plate and a heavy jar to sink the fish. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
3. After 24 hours, pour out the salt water and cover dish with 3 cups of the distilled white vinegar. Place back in the fridge for another roughly 12 hours. (The longer you leave it, the firmer the fish will be.)
4. Combine the remaining 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup warm water, sugar, mustard seeds, allspice berries, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat, and let chill until the fish is finished brining.
5. Drain vinegar from fish, but DO NOT rinse. Use a 1 quart canning jar to layer fish pieces, garlic, lemons, onions, jalapenos, and bay leaves. Leave 1 inch of room at the top and fill with pickling solution. Make sure to get all the seeds and peppercorns into the jar even if you don’t have room for all the liquid. Tap jar gently to shake out any air bubbles. Store in the fridge for a few days before eating. Mine typically stayed fresh for up to 2 months. 1 jar can feed 4-6 as an appetizer.
Go to https://www.mncf.org/ to check out more content, purchase gear or make a donation. Please also pass our newsletter along to other conservationists and help spread the word about the work Minnesota Conservation Federation is doing. Thank you!

-Aaron Hebeisen
MNCF Communications & Outreach Coordinator