Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

April 24, 2000

It's a good time to be thankful

With Easter just past and our outdoors soon to be in full bloom, it's a good time to take notice, reflect, and be thankful.

Trees are budding, grass is turning green, song birds are singing, fish are biting, our lakes and swamps are abuzz with waterfowl and other wildlife. By all accounts, as they have for centuries, unexplainable and wonderful things are happening to our natural landscape and environment right now.

Many of us never take the time to stop and look. We just take our outdoors and the entire event of spring and new life for granted.

It's an easy thing to do. We get busy, and it seems no matter what we do, spring happens every year.

Before I continue, we all need to remember that at some time in all of our lives, there will be a final spring. There will be a time when we will no longer be a part of spring and the new life it brings. The only thing we can do is enjoy what we are given the opportunity to enjoy and help ensure that spring and all that is good about it continues for the generations that come after us.

Moving on, spring does happen every year, and here a few of the special things I have noticed so far.

Last week, in my regular duties of working with area businesses in their marketing and advertising needs, I was at a car dealer. Myself and a manager of the dealership were walking through the lot picking out vehicles for an upcoming promotion when two pheasant roosters cackled and soon buzzed right over our heads and over car tops to a nearby creek.

We were excited and amazed to see two pheasants right in the middle of a commercial development area. We joked, saying they were shopping for a new SUV to impress the hens.

­ Coots or mudhens, with a few other varieties of waterfowl mixed in, were using Mill Reserve Park in Winsted as loafing and feeding grounds. The waterfowl were coming right up to the street, and a few were even perched on playground equipment.

­ Wood ducks have come back to our area in full force. On various sloughs and wetlands, I have noticed wood ducks by the hundreds.

­ On a very positive note, I watched several kids pull in crappie after crappie on Winsted Lake a few weeks ago. Some of the kids were even practicing catch and release. They were all having a ball with the start of this spring's crappie bite.

­ A neighbor was mowing his lawn, and the air in my backyard was filled with the smell of freshly cut grass. I pulled out my mower just to see if it would start. After a little tinkering and 50 or so pulls, it started. If that happens in July, I won't be too happy.

­ Canada geese have paired up and I have noticed a few beginning to nest.

­ Eight raccoons and one skunk narrowly missed the tires of my truck on an evening drive from Lester Prairie to Cokato.

­ Trees are budding and Angus' dog kennel is full of those little brown buds dropped by maple trees.

­ A loon, I'm sure on it's way farther north, was spotted on Winsted Lake.

­ Spring rains and April showers. My two-year-old daughter was singing the song "Rain, rain, go away; come again another day." She stopped when I explained to her April showers bring May flowers.

With spring here, don't take all that it brings for granted. Take some time to watch it happen, enjoy it, and be thankful for it.

Outdoor notes

  • Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported that, with rainy and cold weather the past week, fishing activity was slow. They noted crappies were biting on Ann and a few other lakes and when the weather turns warmer angling activity will pick up.
  • The 2000 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 13.
  • Local turkey hunters heading to southeastern Minnesota reported excellent hunting, bagging three turkeys for four hunters.
  • The application deadline for Minnesota's 2000 bear hunting season is Friday, May 5.
  • Fishing can still be simple and fun. You don't need all of the latest electronic gear to catch fish and have a good time doing it.
  • Read and review the 2000 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook before you head to the lake this spring. Another good bet to ensure a good time is to put new line on your fishing reels.
  • Take some time to watch spring happen and enjoy it.

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