By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn. February 21, 2000
Growing up on the Crow River
At age 12, armed with my grandfather's very old St. Paul Arms Co. single shot 16-gauge, I harvested my very first duck.
I was sitting with my dad on top of a haystack on the banks of the south fork of the Crow River. The bird screamed through the tree-lined banks of the river and right over the haystack. It was a beautiful drake wood duck.
In last week's column, I shared with you some of my history with the Crow River - exploring, experimenting with nature, and fishing with my grandma.
I also stated that no outdoor location, event, or endeavor means much or is worth much unless someone has developed a personal relationship with it and really cares about it, and that my goal in this column is to help you develop a personal relationship with a tremendous outdoor resource that is very close to your home: the Crow River.
In writing this column, I have found the relationship I have with the outdoors and my love of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor endeavors was developed on the banks of the south fork of the Crow River.
I grew up on the south fork, and as my interests shifted from exploring and playing around to hunting and more serious efforts at fishing the river didn't go away.
It continued to be there, and still is today, a very important part of my outdoor heritage and love of the outdoors.
In my teenage years, I harvested my first duck on the river, caught my first big game fish (a 12-pound northern pike), threw out my first spread of decoys, tested my patience in a deerstand to get a photograph of a big buck, and trained my first hunting dog, a black lab/springer mix named Bear.
All that was done on the banks of the south fork of the Crow River.
The memories are fond, the place special, and to me, along with many other boys who shared the same, the river is very important.
At age 14, on the river I spent my morning of hunting solo. I remember knocking down a teal with a Remington 12-gauge pump my dad had just gotten for me. The teal dove under the water several times and before I could give him a finishing blow or my dog could catch him, he swam up under the bank of the river.
Being somewhat unexperienced, I was caught off guard when my dog went underneath the water and right up under the bank after the duck.
Ten or more minutes had gone by and there was no sign of duck or dog. By this time, being nervous and scared that my dog was gone for good, I ran up up the field road to the farm and found my dad.
On our way back down to the river, here came the dog, with duck in mouth, walking up the field road in search of us. At that moment my love of duck hunting and of hunting dogs was set for life.
From exploring and fishing with my grandma, my first dog and duck hunting adventure, to great walleye fishing this past fall, my history with the river is long and memorable, and my love of the outdoors was developed there.
With the basics set, and my history with the river known, in upcoming columns we will get into the nitty gritty of the river - fishing opportunities, DNR fisheries data, current concerns and problems, the Crow River Organization of Waters, and the future of the river.
The Crow River Organization of Waters will a have a public input meeting in the Howard Lake community room above the public library Tuesday, Feb. 29 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. For more information on CROW and how to get involved in helping the Crow River, call Jennifer Lee at 320-693-7287, ext. 3.
- Minnesota's 1999 fishing season for walleye and northern pike has been extended to Tuesday, Feb. 29. For more information and details, call the DNR.
- Referring to my grandmother, Ida Pawelk, I found out last week that she also grew up on a farm that bordered the south fork of the Crow River.
- Minnesota's 2000 fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 13.
- Now is a great time to buy a gun safe for all your firearms. Many outlets have closeout prices available on last year's models right now.