Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Jan. 15, 2001

Don't let winter get you down

Even in the middle of a January thaw, for many people, winter can get downright miserable.

It's a matter of dealing with snow, cold, a lack of sunlight and just too much time spent inside being inactive.

Personally, winter is a joy, many parts of it I love. However, when winter hits in mid-November like it did this year, it gets too long. Too long for even those who love it.

Put it this way, when your thinking about spring and it's only mid-January, you're in trouble. Because, if that's the case, the months of February and March can get pretty long.

The only thing you do to get your mind off spring and turn the tide of winter doldrums is to get off your keister and get into winter.

Ice fishing contests, skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, walking or visits to a nature center or sportsmen's show are just some of the things you can do in winter to help turn the tide.

Get motivated, get creative and get out there and do something. Here are just a few ideas of things taking place at the Ney Park and Nature Center.

Fish and fish management in Wright County

Sunday, Jan. 21, 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Speaker: Minnesota DNR; Area Fisheries Supervisor Paul Diedrich

Come and learn more about the different kinds of fish found in Wright County's lakes and streams. You will see why habitat often dictates the type of fish present. Find out current strategies for improving fish populations.

Bats are wild

Sunday, Feb. 11, 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Speaker: Jeff Stimler

"Going Batty," "Blind as a Bat" ­ you have heard them all. But what is the truth? Come learn about bats and discover how people are learning their value and how you can help them.

Exploring the winter sky

Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 to 9 p.m.

Speaker: WCCO meteorologist; Mike Lynch; cost: $5 per person, $10 per family. Pre-registration required.

Is that the North Star? What star is that? Dress for both indoors and outdoors.

We will be looking at constellations through telescopes. Star charts and handouts provided. Contact the Wright Co. Parks Office at 763-682-7693, ages 8 and up, maximum class size 40.

Outdoor survival

Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Speaker: Camp Courage naturalist (TBA)

Learn to identify what everyone needs to survive if stranded in the outdoors.

Activities include building a shelter, starting a fire, and signaling for help.

Dakota lifestyles

Sunday, March 11, 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Speaker: Camp Courage naturalist (TBA)

Learn how the Native Americans of Wright County lived prior to settlement. Write a story without words, play a memory game, make a small piece of basswood rope, and try to start a fire without matches.

Woodworking for wildlife

Sunday, March 25, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration required. The class has a maximum of 30 participants.To ensure your place, please call 763-682-7693 prior to March 9, 2001.

This program is perfect for the whole family to learn about woodworking for wildlife.

You will have the opportunity to build your own birdfeeder, you can either take it home or donate it to the Wright County Parks Department.

Hunting seasons for 2001

Opening dates for many of the 2001 Minnesota hunting seasons were announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The dates are being announced now for the benefit of those who must establish vacation or hunting plans well in advance. Although these dates are tentative, pending final approval in June, it is unlikely they will change.

Small game

General small game, including grouse, gray partridge, rabbits and squirrels, Sept. 15

Pheasant, Oct. 13

Spring wild turkey (first season), April 18

Fall wild turkey (first season), Oct. 17

Big game

Bear, Aug. 22

Deer, archery, Sept. 15

Deer, firearms, Nov. 3

Deer, muzzleloader, Nov. 24

Moose - northeast zone, Sept. 29

Furbearers

Fox, raccoon, open continuously

Mink, muskrat, beaver, otter (no zones), Oct. 27

Fisher, marten, bobcat, (to be announced)

Migratory Birds

Early Canada goose, Sept. 1

Youth Waterfowl Day to be announced

General duck and goose, Sept. 29 (tentative)

Rails, snipe, Sept. 1

Woodcock, Sept. 22

Crow, March 1-31 and July 15-Oct. 15

As previously announced, the DNR plans to go back to annual moose seasons in 2001. Details will be announced in early May after moose surveys are completed in late winter.

The 2001 bear season is proposed to open Wednesday, Aug. 22, which is about a week earlier than the standard Sept. 1 opening date. The earlier opener is part of an attempt to increase harvests and reduce bear nuisance and damage problems.

The DNR will be taking comments at wildlife hunting and trapping season public input meetings in February on proposals to continue or expand youth waterfowl hunting days and to move the fisher, marten and bobcat opener a few days earlier so that it always coincides with the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Other proposed regulation changes to be discussed at the February public input meetings will be announced in late January.

Additional details on season lengths, quotas and bag limits will be announced next summer after the 2001 seasons are finalized.

Outdoor notes

­ The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will have a corn giveaway for pheasants and other wildlife Saturday, Jan. 20, from 8 to 11 a.m. at Lampi's Auction Center located at Hwy 55 and Wright County 6. Please bring your own containers. Quantities may be limited due to demand. For more information call 320-274-2676.

­ The Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club has set the date for its annual fishing derby Sat., Feb. 10, on Howard Lake. The grand prize for this year's raffle is a deluxe King Crow fish house on wheels. Tickets are available at Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake or from club members.

­ Check the non-game wildlife box (the loon) on your state tax form to donate to non-game wildlife.

­ The 2001 opening date for walleye and northern pike is May 12. The bass season opens on May 26 and the muskie season opens on Jun 2.

­ The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club has set the date for it's annual father/son banquet. The event will be Friday, March 16, at Lester Prairie City Hall.

­ Don't let winter get you down. Get outside and enjoy it.

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