Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

December 14, 1998

Angus and the keys

The now six and one-half month old lab is still growing.

Actually, he is beginning to mature a bit on the yard and in the field. He had a great season of hunting and improved every time out.

On an early December pheasant hunt, he managed to bag one rooster all by himself. He seemed a little confused to have a bird in his mouth without a shot being fired.

Angus has a long way to go before I would call him a well trained and obedient gun dog, but the process of getting him to that point has sure been interesting.

On a Sunday evening in early November, I was packing up my gear to hit the road for a four-day upland bird hunting trip to north central Nebraska. It was fairly late, about 10:30 p.m.

My wife, my daughter, and most of my neighbors were in bed. I was in the garage, and Angus, like usual, was in his kennel barking away because he knew something was up.

Out of habit, I locked the door to the house when I went out to the garage; then, in blind ignorance, threw my keys on the bench.

To put an end to Angus' barking, I let him out of the kennel for a little play time, and believe me, he played.

Like usual, Angus bolted out of the kennel when I opened the door and headed right for the garage to pick up one of his retrieving dummies that are kept on the same bench I threw my keys on. Every time, he grabs one of those dummies - except this time.

Instead of picking up a dummy, he picked up my keys.

Not so bad, until on his way out of the garage at about 100 miles per hour, he hit the panic button on the remote entry, sending my truck into a state of flashing lights and constant honking.

With a scream from my voice, Angus dropped the keys someplace in the darkness.

The truck was honking, flashing, and locked. My keys were lost in the darkness. My other set of keys was in the house I was locked out of.

Ten minutes later, my wife was busy taking care of a crying infant and trying to find another set of keys that were tucked away somewhere in the bottom of a hunting bag in our basement.

It was miserable.

Twenty minutes later, with the horn still honking and the lights still flashing, neighbors were standing in the street and I was in the yard with a police officer trying to find a set of keys.

Angus, with a retrieving dummy in his mouth, sat on the doorstep and watched.

I'd call that story a very embarrassing Angus update.

Area lakes hunting and fishing report

Last week, I asked Eric Stoll at Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake how the local ice fishing was going. With a big grin on his face, he replied, "Dead."

Although I feel a little sorry for those who are trying to make a living in the resort, ice fishing, snowmobile, and skiing industries, I can't help but love the weather we have had this fall. It's been incredible.

Late season pheasant hunting in a t-shirt, no big jacket, gloves, or even long johns.

Throw in a good number of birds with lots of sunshine and how can you beat it. Early December pheasant hunts have reminded me more of a typical late October hunt.

The fall fishing has been very similar. Not many anglers have been hitting the lakes for some open water fishing because of changing conditions.

Basically, one day there is a thin layer of ice on the lakes and the next day there isn't. However, anglers were going hog wild on the South Fork of the Crow River in the Lester Prairie, New Germany, and Mayer areas.

One day a few weeks ago, there were more than 10 anglers trying to nab walleyes at the bridge between New Germany and Young America. Anglers were finding good action fishing the bottom with live bait until the dam was opened up in Hutchinson and the river rose five or more feet.

In other local outdoor news, I finally saw a flock of buffalo head on a local lake last week. Buffalo heads are a small, but beautiful diving duck that are typically the last ducks of the year to migrate.

Last year, flocks of buffalo head came through our area in early November.

Outdoor notes

  • Remember that no ice, especially early ice, is safe.
  • The pheasant hunting season in Minnesota closed Dec. 13.
  • With the pheasant season closed in Minnesota, don't shy away from a late season Minnesota grouse hunt. The grouse season closes Thursday, Dec. 31.
  • With the hunting seasons coming to a close, store your ammunition and firearms in a safe, secure location. A gun safe is the best idea.
  • The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will be giving away corn for pheasants and wildlife at Lampi's Auction, Highway 55 and Wright County Road 6, on Dec. 19 and 23, and Feb. 13, 1999, from 8 a.m. - noon, or until corn is gone. Bring your own containers. A limited number of feeders will be available and quantities may be limited due to demand.

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