Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

November 2, 1998

It's a good time to think about conservation

For many, this week is definitely one of anticipation.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, the firearms deer hunting season will open in Minnesota.

Some 400,000 or so outdoor enthusiasts will renew traditions, and get together with friends and family to hit the forests, fields, and sloughs in search of the illusive whitetail.

Of those donning blaze orange, many are avid hunters and spend much time in the outdoors, but for many more, it will be their only day or weekend of the year actually spent in the woods or slough. It's the only time they will be scratched by a thorn, or encounter a raccoon or chipmunk at close range, or take in the real feels and smells of the land and natural environment.

Again, most of those taking part, are fixed in a mode of high anticipation for the hunt. Packing, fixing, buying, and preparing for the event. Eagerly waiting to renew traditions, greet old friends, and feel the heart-pounding excitement of a buck seen, or only heard.

Few are thinking about the changes that have occurred in their hunting spot, or even that wonderful old spot that is no longer a hunting spot because a house has been built, a slough drained or a city expanded.

Few are thinking about conservation. They are hoping they don't run into a game warden so their hunt is not interrupted, instead of hoping they see one so they can thank the warden for the fine efforts he or she has put forth toward the resource.

They are disappointed because a buck may not have crossed their path, instead of being excited about the raven and chipmunk that most definitely did.

Some are even complaining about the amount they paid for their license, although it is that money - from hunters and outdoor enthusiasts - that pays for the conservation, preservation, and enhancement of our natural resources.

What this week of anticipation and hunting is missing is a thought about conservation.

When you're done buying, packing, and preparing and are finally in the slough or woods, take some time to think about the land you are on, the game you are hunting and what both may be like 10 or 20 years from now.

Concede that your license was expensive, but that the dollars spent go to a darn good cause - conservation - and you and only others sharing your same pursuits are paying for that cause.

When you're thinking, ask yourself if those resources and traditions will be there for your children and future generations to enjoy as you have.

Will there be hunters and anglers?

Who will pay to conserve, preserve and protect those resources?

What can I do now to enhance, improve, and conserve the resource I am using at this moment so it is there and in better shape for me next year, and is there and in better shape for those who may want to use and enjoy it 20 years from now?

It's a good time to think about conservation.

Area lakes hunting and fishing report

Depending on the weather, the local deer hunting in our area should be pretty good.

We won't hit the harvest numbers of the the early '90s, but with a mild winter behind us and almost all the crops off the fields, hunters will find modest success in terms of the number of deer taken.

Are waterfowl hunters are still waiting for the weather to turn nasty and the northern ducks to show up?

As of Thursday, very few divers of northern mallards have been seen in the area and it's a fair bet that when the weather does turn, the ducks will come through in a big hurry.

Because of the mild weather so far, and a somewhat early crop harvest, the ducks will come through quick, probably riding one big storm, and the late season duck hunting will boom or bust.

On a positive note, local pheasant hunting has been excellent, with reports of limits taken and many birds flushed by avid hunters with good bird dogs.

The fishing has also been good, with lunker northerns coming off Collinwood, Howard, and Waconia, and walleye anglers doing well trolling Rapalas on Collinwood, Big Waverly, Belle, and Ann.

The best fishing has been in the evenings just after dark and in very shallow water.

Outdoor notes

  • I have a entertaining but somewhat frustrating story for you about Angus. It's a bit long so look for it after the hunting seasons start to wind down a bit.
  • Vote yes on Amendment 2.
  • Even if you're not hunting and just going for a walk down a county road, remember to wear blaze orange during the firearms deer hunting season.
  • If you plan to hunt deer in the northern forests, take some time to actually learn the proper use of a compass. A good compass and knowing how to use it is a plus when you're hunting up north.
  • Be courteous, cautious, and not competitive while hunting this fall.
  • Be cautious of deer on the roadways at this time of year. Pay special attention at dusk - deer are more active at that time.
  • The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
  • Enjoy fall while it lasts. Soon winter will be here and we'll be wishing for spring.
  • It's time to think about conservation.

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