By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn. December 21, 1998
Scenes from the season
Please note: Photos will open in a new browser window; just close the additional window when you are done viewing it.
From Waboose Bay on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota to the little cattle town of Inman in north central Nebraska - the outdoors were full of adventure for me this fall. The photos and information (scenes of the season) in this week's column give kind of an overview of the season. I hope you enjoy them and I hope they stir up fond memories of your own adventures into the outdoors from this fall and in years past.
Minnesota waterfowl opener
Writer Chris Schultz, Ben Machemehl, Brad Danielson, and Gregg Machemehl show off their take of two Canada geese and one red head from opening day of the 1998 Minnesota waterfowl hunting season.
The crew hunted a large waterfowl lake in the Willmar area, and like most waterfowl hunters locally, had marginal action on ducks, but good hunting for Canada geese. View photo
Leech Lake duck hunt
Although my 10-year-old lab, Tucker, is trying to steal the credit in this photo, he's not the pooch that did most of the work in retrieving these birds.
The ducks, blue bills, and ringnecks were taken in mid-October in Waboose Bay on Leech Lake by a crew of waterfowl hunters called Team LP.
The party had good hunting on Leech and the dog that retrieved most of these birds is a yellow lab named Autumn, owned by Team LP member Kent Dibb of Litchfield. View photo
Pine River grouse hunt
The ruffed grouse hunting in much of northern Minnesota was excellent this year.
In mid-October, I had the opportunity to bag a few. In the photo, my dog, Tucker, poses with two ruffies taken near the Pine River in the Crow Wing State Forest. A few days of grouse hunting provided numerous flushes and a good number of birds in the bag. View photo
A Minnesota rooster
Pheasant hunting in Minnesota, especially in the south central and southwestern parts of the state, was good to excellent this year.
The rooster in this photo was harvested on Oct. 30 on state land near Raymond, Minn. The hunting near Raymond, in west central Minnesota was fair, with bird numbers starting to rebound after the severe winters of 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Actually, I remember the day I took this photo well. Only Tucker is pictured with the rooster because Angus was lost for three-plus hours in the middle of a huge cornfield. View photo
The six roosters pictured here made the daily limit for myself and a partner while hunting in Nebraska in November.
Pheasant hunting across the midwest was excellent this year. Local hunters chasing birds in northern Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and parts of southern North Dakota all reported good numbers of birds and super hunting. View photo
Hunter and companion
Pat Feltmann of Lester Prairie and his long time hunting companion, German shorthair Bessy, put together a few good days of pheasant hunting this fall.
The birds in the photo were all beautiful mature roosters and the days they were taken on in mid-November were also beautiful: calm and sunny with temps in the high 50s and low 60s.
Pheasant hunters all over the range benefited from and enjoyed beautiful weather for hunting throughout most of the fall. View photo
We all need to remember that ice, especially early ice is never completely safe. With that in mind, we can all take a little look at the eventual start of the ice fishing season.
First of all, I am writing this column on Friday, Dec. 18 and Howard Lake is still open, rolling and completely free of ice. A weekend cold snap will probably change that. But, what will the ice conditions be like over the holidays when hundreds of people usually spend their time off out on the ice fishing.
The holidays typically create a flurry of ice fishing activity. Dads take the kids, uncles take nephews and often, entire families take to the fish house when kids are out of school on Christmas break. In my family, we have a tradition of going ice fishing on Christmas Eve day. This year, the ice may or may not be able to support an ice angler by that time.
Actually, the whole scenario has me concerned. Hundreds of people will be looking to go ice fishing on lakes where ice conditions will probably be very questionable. A few young and daring guys will head out on four or five inches of ice on the bays. Because of that, many more will think the ice is safe all over the lake and head out like gangbusters, creating a situation that would most likely be very dangerous. The way things are shaping up, that scenario is very possible.
A few words of advice, please do not venture out on the ice, especially with kids, unless you are certain it is safe. A minimum of four inches of good clear ice is needed for walking. If you are unsure of conditions, don't just rely on the opinion of one other angler, talk to several, and also talk to the people at the local bait shops. They'll give you an honest answer and are usually very in tune to ice conditions on our local lakes.
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 6, on Jan. 23, and Feb. 13, 1999. Corn will not be given away on Dec. 23, as reported in this column last week. I apologize for the error. Times for the giveaway are 8 a.m. to noon, or until the corn is gone. You are asked to bring your own container. A limited number of feeders will also be available.
From myself, my wife Amy, my daughter Abbigayle and our dogs Tucker and Angus, we wish all of you a very merry Christmas and we hope your outdoor activities this winter are fun, safe, and full of adventure.