Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

February 22, 1999

How much do you spend on outdoor activities?

After a hunting and fishing trip, have you ever sat down and figured out what it cost you per fish or bird, and what you actually spent on the entire adventure?

If you have, you know that the dollars add up pretty quick.

Just think of the dollars you spend and multiply that by a few million more people who pursue Minnesota's great outdoors. What you come up with is more money than you could ever fit in your ice fishing pail or in the back of the new truck you bought to pull your boat.

The DNR, in its publication "Fish and Wildlife Today," recently published an article outlining the results of a national survey of what people spend pursuing their outdoor interests.

The article stated that hunters, anglers, and watchers spend $3 billion each year in Minnesota on outdoor activities.

Regarding each activity, the average angler spends $1,086 per year; hunters $840 per year; and watchers $236 per year.

What's it all mean?

It means that the outdoors in Minnesota is big business. How about $150 million in sales tax alone, or $50 million just on bait, $25 million on ammunition, $53 million on birdseed, and $8 million on ice?

Those numbers tell us we are ready and willing to enjoy the outdoors and are also willing to pay top dollar for the opportunity.

If all the big numbers are scaring you, don't worry. You can still enjoy the outdoors without going broke. These numbers include all the dollars spent on all those new and fancy gadgets that may or may not add quality to your outdoor experience.

For example, one of my favorite outdoor adventures is fishing the Crow River like I did when I was a kid. The rod and reel I bought five years ago works just fine, I don't need a GPS or electronics, and nightcrawlers pulled off my back yard are cheap. Actually, the biggest expense in this adventure is bug spray.

In either case, spending very much or very little, you have to weigh the benefits against the cost. Are you getting a bang for your buck?

In Minnesota, we're lucky. Opportunities abound and many choices are still very inexpensive.

Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club Fishing Derby

Members of the Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club are happy to report their annual fishing derby went well with good weather and a big crowd on hand.

Top fish were caught by:

  • Joe Pehl, 1-pound bass.
  • Dave Bleth, 8-pound, 4-ounce northern.
  • Marv Decker, 5-ounce sunfish.

In the drawings, Lowell Schrupp, Howard Lake, won the deluxe King Crow fish house; Mike Johnson, Cokato, won a power auger; and Troy Gille, Waverly, won a portable fishhouse.

Winners of contests were Bob Gruenhagen, hole chiseling, Dan Zachmann, hand auger; Mike Zachmann, power auger; and Tim Luhmann, electric auger.

Jim Vinar was the oldest contestant.

Outdoor notes

  • The walleye, northern pike, muskie and bass season on our area lakes closed Sunday, Feb. 21.
  • Feb. 28 is the deadline to move fishhouses off lakes in our area and in the southern part of the state.
  • The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will hold its annual father-son banquet at the Lester Prairie City Hall Friday, March 19. Tickets are available from club members. Look for more information on the event in this column in the upcoming weeks.
  • Enroll in a DNR-certified firearms safety training course this spring.
  • Mallards Over McLeod chapter of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association will have its second annual banquet Saturday, March 13 at the Pla-Mor Ballroom in Glencoe. For more information, contact Jim Richardson in Lester Prairie.
  • A kids fishing contest and event will be held on Howard Lake Sat. Feb. 27. Registration is at noon at the Garden Spot Inn in Howard Lake. Fishing will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. with lunch and prizes to follow. There is no charge for the event which is sponsored by the Howard Lake Lions, Legion, and Sportsmen's Club.
  • Now and through ice-out is a great time to find fast action on late ice panfish. Try shallow water with wax worms or even small flies, and be mobile.

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