By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn. July 20, 1998
Thoughts turning to hunting
Although the corn is higher than normal and it does seem like we're already into September instead of late July, it is the time of year when those who love and enjoy the outdoors start shifting gears a bit.
It's kind of a gradual turn, just like summer to fall, when outdoor interests turn from fishing to talk of the upcoming hunting seasons, applying for antlerless deer permits, and getting legs in shape hunter and hunting dog.
The fishing has slowed, roadside pheasant counts are just around the corner, the Game Fair in Anoka is only a couple of weeks away, and the DNR has released information and dates on the upcoming 1998 Minnesota hunting seasons.
Before you dig into the info from the DNR, a few highlights for this years season's include:
The ruffed grouse population is at the top of its 10-year population cycle and the hunting outlook is great. Due to an easy winter and fair nesting conditions this spring, pheasant numbers are expected to be up. Hunting in areas of southern Minnesota where there is ample cover and good amounts of Conservation Reserve Program land should be better than the past few years.
The deer herd is starting to recover from the severe winters of 1995 and 1996.
Local Canada goose hunting should be excellent with higher numbers of local geese and opportunities to hunt over water in the early season.
Waterfowl hunters can still expect a good season even though water conditions in the Dakotas and prairie pothole regions are not as good as the previous two years.
Waterfowl hunting in Minnesota may be a bit slimmer than last year with hunting opportunities and populations in the Dakotas still above long term levels.
On a down side, the message this year is get involved and go hunting while the hunting is good, because if we don't start doing a better job at conservation habitat, hunting opportunities will decline.
- Go deep for walleyes. Fish with small leeches in 10 to 15 feet of water for sunnies. For northern pike, still fish with sucker minnows on the edge of the outside weedline.
- The DNR has set the 1998 Camp Ripley archery hunt. Hunting by permit only will be allowed on Oct. 15, 16, and 31 and on Nov. 1. To apply for a permit, write to Archery Hunt, 16543 Haven Road, Little Falls, MN 56345-6401. For more information, call 320-616-2468.
- A fishing museum and educational facility has recently opened in Little Falls. The museum reflects the history of freshwater fishing in Minnesota. For more information, call 320-616-2011.
- To beat the heat, head to an area lake for a swim. Several of the lakes in our area have beautiful beaches and excellent swimming facilities.
- If you're heading outdoors in the evening, don't forget the bug spray. I recently spoke with a couple of anglers who just got home from a Canada fishing trip. During the trip, they taped their pants legs shut and used over five gallons of bug repellent.