Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.

August 31, 1998

September goose season opens Saturday

The September Canada goose season opens in our area one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 5.

For many hunters in our area, including myself, the early goose hunt is the first outing or chance to hunt in the fall.

In recent years, local Canada goose populations have been high and the hunting has been pretty good in select locations.

The season ends on Sept. 15. All hunters, except those under age 18 or over age 65 and those hunting on their own property, are required to have a $3 permit, along with their regular licenses and appropriate stamps.

Permits are available at area license vendors. Also, in our area, which includes the 5-Goose Zone and the Metro Zone, all hunting must be done 100 yards or more away from surface water.

Requirements and regulations can be found on pages 76, 77 and 78 of the 1998 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Last season, myself and many hunters from the area had excellent luck on local Canadas. Local flocks in select areas were large and easy to decoy.

In fact, the numbers of geese in some areas reminded me of Lac qui Parle. Flocks were huge, birds seemed to be in the air all morning, and hunting pressure was heavy.

In the area I hunted near Watertown, there were guided hunters and hundreds of decoys out in fields all around us. There were so many geese in that area on the first weekend of the season that everybody had good shooting.

This season in that same area, the hunting looks like it could be much different. Locally raised geese were in the area in good numbers just two weeks ago, but are gone now.

In an evening of scouting last week, I saw a mere 15 geese, one small flock of locals - that was it. The same was true in other areas that carried local geese last year. They were there, but are gone now.

Where they went, who knows. The message for this year's hunt seems to be - don't expect to find geese in the same fields and areas they were last year.

Get a kid involved in the outdoors this fall

Fewer kids are getting involved in the outdoors and learning to hunt today than in years past.

Some of the reasons: a drop in rural populations, and a rise in the number of single parents, who often don't have the time or the means to take their kids afield.

The fact is, most kids learn to hunt when someone takes them hunting.

This season the DNR is encouraging adults to take kids hunting by promoting Take a Kid Hunting Weekend on Sept. 26 -27.

Resident over age 18 can hunt small game without license if accompanied by a youth under age 16. Also, a special Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19. Details are on the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day can be found on page 79 of the 1998 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

The opportunities are there for you to take a kid hunting this fall. Here are a few tips to help make a youngster's outdoor experience a good one.

  • Keep the youngster's comfort level in mind. A kid's first and second experience in a duck blind shouldn't be on a day when it's 20 degrees below zero and the wind is howling.
  • Make sure clothing and equipment are appropriate for the conditions. Some tips and coaching in the clothing department will be helpful and an extra change of clothing for a young hunter isn't a bad idea.
  • Be aware that children or young teens can have short attention spans and plan your activities or time in the field accordingly.
  • Practice and review safety together before you go.
  • Involve kids in planning the hunt or activity and keep them actively involved in the decision making. Let them place out decoys and try calling if you're duck hunting.
  • Keep the event fun and plan it for success. If the plan falls apart and things aren't going well, make sure you have an alternative.

Don't shy away from taking a kid hunting. You'll have fun and so will they.

Outdoor notes

  • Angus update: Angus, my 12-week-old pup that you have been reading about for the past few weeks, managed to keep his jaw and teeth in top condition last week. Pups like to, and, in fact, need to, chew on things and that's exactly what he has been doing. In a two-week period, he completely destroyed the floor in his dog house. I guess he prefers plywood over raw hide chew toys and old tennis shoes.
  • If you have a young retriever pup at home, remember that retrievers and other hunting dogs are supposed to have things in their mouth. Don't scold or punish them when they pick up something you don't won't them to. Place things they shouldn't have out of their reach and give them plenty of things they can pick up with their mouths and drag around. They are bred to pick up and carry things. If you scold and punish them now, they may not retrieve the things you want them to sometime in the future.
  • Get your hunting dog checked by a vet before the hunting season starts.
  • The application deadline for antlerless permits is Thurs., Sept. 10.
  • Right now is an excellent time to troll for big northerns on our area lakes.
  • Visit the DNR building at the Minnesota State Fair.
  • National Hunting and Fishing Day is Saturday, Sept. 26.With the hunting seasons starting next week, please review firearms safety with those in your home. All firearms and ammunition should be locked in storage and kept out of reach of children. Also, keep ammunition locked in a separate location from firearms and once the season starts, don't leave ammo laying around in hunting boxes or in vehicles.
  • The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
  • The days are getting shorter in a big hurry. On Sept. 1, the sun will set at 7:53 p.m. On Sept. 30, the sun will set at 6:56 p.m.

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