Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

Sept. 4, 2000

It's time to get ready for fall

Every year it seems, as the state fair arrives and the days become a little shorter, I look to fall with great anticipation.

I find myself cruising through outdoor catalogs, tinkering with decoys, and digging into piles of information on hunting and other items mostly related to outdoor adventures I have planned for the fall.

Aside from getting ready for and waiting for the duck, pheasant, and other seasons to begin, fall will bring another item I am eagerly waiting for - cool weather.

This summer, my wife and I, along with our two daughters, Abbi and Emmi, and of course, our dog Angus, moved into a different home.

With two kids, the neat little rambler we had been living in since we got married five years ago just wasn't cutting the mustard any more.

We opted for something newer and larger that would give Mom, Dad, and kids the room needed.

After a little more than a month, most has gone well. Angus has a new kennel and house, the kids have room to crawl and run, and Mom has plenty of walls to hang stuff on.

However, the home lacks one thing that can be a lifesaver for a family with a two-year-old and a six-month-old in the heat and humidity of August - air conditioning.

When we moved into the home in late July, we had planned on getting air put in right away and often wondered why the previous owners never had it. Then, as we started to settle in, large shade trees, ceiling fans in most rooms, and fairly cool weather for late July and early August kept us from spending the money on air conditioning. We decided to keep the dough and, if it got hot, tough it out until fall arrived.

Well, as August got rolling, so did the humidity, and two sweaty, sticky, and ornery kids have added to my desire for fall to arrive like nothing ever has in the past.

If it snows tomorrow, I might not complain.

With fall just around the corner, here are a few things to look for and note:

­ Early to mid-September provides the best northern pike fishing of the year and as October moves in, the fall bite for northern and walleye will be in full swing. I consider fall fishing, especially for lunkers, to be the best of the year. Mark the full moon in October on your calender and plan to head out for some evening and night fishing for walleye - it's almost guaranteed you will get fish.

­ The small game hunting seasons open Saturday, Sept. 16. The archery deer season also opens Sept. 16, with waterfowl starting Saturday, Sept. 30, and Minnesota's pheasant season getting underway Saturday, Oct. 14. The firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 4.

­ Due to somewhat dry conditions, look for the leaves to turn and fall a little early this season. In early October, many of the trees will be full with color.

­ The days get shorter in a big hurry. On Sept. 1, the sun will rise at 6:35 a.m. and set at 7:51 p.m. On Sept. 30, the sun will rise at 7:09 a.m. and set at 6:56 p.m.

­ Daylight savings time changes Oct. 28.

­ The possible snow season begins Sept. 14.

­ Look for waterfowl and other birds to begin their migration as early as mid-September.

­ On a final note, take some time to watch fall happen and pay special attention to the position of the sun throughout September. Every evening, set a reference point to the position of the setting sun in the sky and as September moves on, you can watch the sun head south.

Outdoor notes

  • The application deadline for antlerless permits is Thursday, Sept. 7. This year, permits applications must be made through the electronic licensing system.
  • The general phone number for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources information is 1-888-646-6367.
  • Before you head to the field or slough this fall with shotgun in hand, make sure you do some pre-season shooting to refresh your skills, brush up on safety, and get comfortable with your firearm again.
  • This fall, make sure your firearms and ammunition are locked and stored properly.
  • The early September Canada goose season opened Sept. 2.
  • Results from the DNR's August roadside counts for pheasants and other wildlife should be out very soon. Expect pheasant numbers in our area to be up quite a bit from last year.
  • If you're looking for info on planing a hunting trip this fall, go to the outdoors section of this newspaper's Web site. The site includes links to several good sources of outdoor info.
  • Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be Saturday, Sept. 16.

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