Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

October 26, 1998

The hunting and fishing amendment

If you hunt, fish, or are involved in the outdoors, you should already be aware of Amendment 2.

It is an amendment to our state constitution to preserve and protect our opportunity to hunt fish and take game, and will be on the Tuesday, Nov. 3 ballot.

The question is if the Minnesota State Constitution should be amended to read: "Hunting and fishing and the taking of game and fish are a valued part of our heritage that shall be forever preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good?"

In my opinion, the answer is simple: yes, it should be.

Hunting and fishing are an important part of my heritage, my families, and also many friends. That outdoor heritage should be preserved and protected. Not just for us, but for our children and future generations.

In this column, I'm not going to get into all the pros and cons of why you should vote yes on the amendment and why our opportunity to hunt, fish, trap, and take game should be protected in our state constitution.

But I will give you one very simple message on why I feel it should be passed.

I have a very strong rural/farm background. My great grandfather, grandfather, and father were all farmers and stewards of the land and what was on it.

They farmed, hunted, and fished, as my family still does today. They had a strong heritage and connection to the outdoors that they were able to pass on.

My daughter and many like her will not have the same connection to the land in farming that her ancestors had. She will have to gain that connection and respect of the outdoors through activities that I will be able to share with her like hunting and fishing.

I want to be able to pass my outdoor heritage on to my daughter and I want her to have the opportunities to hunt and fish.

When my grandfather and father spent a day in the field hunting or a morning on the lake, their opportunity to do so was not threatened by an animal rights group or those against such activities.

Today, my opportunity to hunt and fish is most certainly threatened. If we don't do something to defuse that threat, my daughter may simply not have the opportunity to hunt, fish, and develop a connection to the land and the outdoors.

On Nov. 3, I am going to turn over the ballot and vote yes on Amendment 2 because I want my daughter and future generations to have the same opportunity to hunt and fish that I have had. It's that simple.

Leech Lake: big water duck hunting

A week ago, myself and the rest of Team LP headed up north on our annual fall hunting trip.

This year's Team LP consisted of Kent Dibb from Litchfield, Mike Heigl of Hopkins, myself, Rollie Radtke, and Gregg Machemehl of Lester Prairie. We call it Team LP because we all went to high school in Lester Prairie.

In past years, we have hunted blue bills on Lake of the Woods; decoyed snow geese and ducks on the large grain fields of Manitoba, Canada; and chased sharptails and ducks across the North Dakota prairie.

This year, we opted for a new adventure, grouse hunting in the Chippewa National Forest near Longville, Minn. and duck hunting on the big water of Leech Lake.

When we hunted on Lake of the Woods, we had always contemplated trying our luck for divers on Leech and this year we did it.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms kept us off or pushed us off the big lake a couple of times, but on Friday evening, Oct. 16, we had the duck hunt of a lifetime.

In a 16-foot boat with canoe on top, four of us cut our way through a thick fog across the big water of Portage Bay to the northernmost part of the lake. There we found mallards, a few teal, blue bills, and hoards of ring necks.

The fog, misty rain, and the ducks created a waterfowler's dream. Two of us set up in the big boat and two paddled their way down the shoreline and into the rice with the canoe.

With divers cutting into our decoys out of the fog on a consistent basis, the shooting was great. Occasionally, the fog would lift, revealing ducks in big numbers cruising the bay. Then the heavy fog would settle in again, allowing us to see only those ducks that would buzz our decoys.

It was an excellent outdoor experience and by the close of shooting hours, our bag was filled with ringnecks, blue bills, a merganser, and a few teal. With the sky dark, and the fog thick, it was also an interesting experience making our way back to the landing and getting off the lake. We were cautious and concerned, but did get off the lake without a problem.

Duck hunting on big water like Leech Lake isn't for every waterfowler. It's challenging and you have to be extremely well prepared. But if you're willing to do the work, it can be worth it. It was for us.

Area lakes hunting and fishing report

The fish are biting, the pheasant hunting has been much better than expected, and the duck hunting in the past week or so has been slow.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: The fishing has been good on several of our area lakes. Several anglers have been on Howard's north end every morning; that means they're catching fish. Big Waverly has also been providing some good walleye action.

Other reports from the area have the Crow River, north and south forks, along with Belle Lake near Hutchinson providing good walleye fishing.

The pheasant hunting in our area, by pleasant surprise has been very good. A few hunters told me limits were bagged in just a few hours on the opener and hunting has been good.

Last week, in a wildlife management area, Tucker and Angus managed to flush more than a dozen birds and in an hour's time, I had my two rooster limit. Hunting pressure has been light, and when the remaining crops get off the fields, the hunting will get better.

Local duck hunters have been reporting slow to miserable action. Hunting on the opener was fair, but since then, there haven't been many ducks in the area.

The local ducks are gone for the most part and the northern ducks haven't begun their migration through our area yet. When the weather turns bad, the duck hunting will improve.

Again, if you're looking for fast action, when the northern ducks move through, head west.

Outdoor notes

  • Vote yes on Amendment 2.
  • The firearms deer hunting season in Minnesota opens Saturday, Nov. 7.
  • Small game hunters are required to wear blaze orange.
  • Look for local pheasant hunting to improve as more crops come off the fields.
  • Approximately 15,000 deer were killed by car-deer collisions in Minnesota last year. For your safety, please be cautious of deer on the roadways. In the next three weeks or so, deer will be on the move with dusk being the prime time for car-deer collisions.
  • Please review the 10 commandments of firearms safety.
  • Hope you remembered to turn back your clock.
  • The pheasant hunting season in Iowa opens Saturday, Oct. 31.

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