Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Minnesota's Deadly Winter on Ice

ice fishing, fishing, hunting, outdoors
This winter season (November to April) is on track to be the deadliest on the ice in more than five years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
So far this winter, five people have died after going through the ice in Minnesota. A sixth person is missing and presumed drowned. In the 2006-2007 winter season, eight people died in ice-related incidents.
“There could be several reasons why so many people have died this season,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “It could be there are more people out on the ice because we have had a cooler winter and more snow.”
All the fatalities this winter involved a snowmobile or vehicle either crashing into open water or breaking through the ice.
As the winter starts to wind down and Minnesotans enter the last weekend in February, Owens has an urgent message for winter enthusiasts: “The bottom line is it’s crucial that people do not let their guard down and recognize ice is never 100 percent safe.”
Fatalities by winter season (November through April)
Year        Number of deaths
2012-2013     6*
2011-2012     4
2010-2011     4
2009-2010     1
2008-2009     2
2007-2008     3
2006-2007     8
*Including one person missing
The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should measure the ice thickness and contact a local bait shop or resort about area ice conditions. For information on the DNR clear ice thickness recommendations go to http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html.

Don't add to the statistics and plan early to be off by the following dates:

Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight for each of the dates given in the following categories below.
Border Waters

  • Minnesota–Wisconsin - March 1, 2013
  • Minnesota–North and South Dakota - March 5, 2013
  • Minnesota–Canada - March 31, 2013
Dates of removal are determined by an eastwest line formed by U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Inland Waters

  • South of line - March 4, 2013
  • North of line - March 18, 2013
  • If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted, and the structure and contents may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.
  • After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.
  • Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited.
It is unlawful to improperly dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Please clean up around your shack and check with local refuse providers or landfills for ice shelter disposal information.

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