Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

July 30, 2001

The ongoing story of the little birds

For the past two and one-half years, I've used a little trick on my 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Abbi, so she would let me comb her hair.

Many times, when her thick, dark hair was in snarls, I told her we needed to comb it to get the birds and the nests out. If we didn't comb them out, our dog Angus or the kitties at Grandma's might get them.

More often than not, and although Abbi has come to an understanding about birds, nests, and combing her hair, the method worked, and what was just a little trick, kind of turned into routine.

On occasion, the routine did vary and the method didn't work, and combing Abbi's hair was a battle, or simply just didn't get done.

One incident, which I have written about before, happened when Abbi was about two years old. In the morning when I got her out of bed, she had decided there was no way her hair was going to get combed.

The night before we had watched a TV special on birds, different species, migration and nesting habits - that kind of stuff. Abbi loved it.

That morning I tried and tried to comb her hair, and there was no way. The bird trick even made it worse.

Finally, Abbi blasted out, "Daddy, don't comb my hair today. The birds need a place to live, too." Her hair didn't get combed.

The second and most severe bird vs. hair incident occurred Thursday.

In the morning, and even though I didn't need to, because Abbi likes to comb her own hair now, I grabbed the comb and told Abbi we needed to get the birds and the nests out so Angus and the kitties wouldn't get them. She agreed, and I combed her hair.

Late that afternoon when we got home, Abbi and I headed down to the dog kennel to let Angus out.

On the sidewalk, just in front of the kennel door, was a tiny little bird, a robin chick - dead.

Abbi looked at the little bird, knew it was dead, looked at Angus, and then promptly grabbed her hair. Like an electric shock, I could feel what was going through her mind.

Before Abbi could make another move, I picked up the little bird and explained to Abbi that Angus didn't kill the little bird, and that the little bird never really lived in her hair and that combing her hair didn't have anything to do with the little bird dying.

I explained the bird had simply fallen out the tree, and like her great grandpa, went up to Heaven to live with Jesus.

It seemed she understood that, and after putting the bird in an old hat and finding a place to make a grave for it, she accepted my explanation and the facts of life and the outdoors.

It seemed that way. However, the next morning there was no way I or anybody else, including her, was going to comb her hair. Absolutely no way.

After much thought on the matter, and writing this column, I have a strong feeling this is going to be an ongoing story. A story with the title written, the middle involving a desperate father and a daughter with snarly hair, and the ending yet unclear and uncertain.

When the story is finished and the ending is known, I'll finish this column.

Plan now

If you haven't done it yet, now is the time to plan your fall hunting trips.

The longer you wait the more difficult it will become to finalize details like booking accommodations, collecting information, and obtaining access to hunting land.

On a special note, if you plan on hunting in Canada, firearms licenses are now required.

The process of getting the license is somewhat confusing and involves a few different options.

At this point, I have just started the research and am not prepared to present any of the details. Actually, I've read several items that include conflicting information, and the phone calls I have made have produced different answers to the same questions.

Next week, I will give you a few web sites that contain information on the subject and the phone numbers of the correct agencies to call.

Again, if you plan to hunt with a firearm in Canada this fall this is an issue you must be well-educated on and prepared for.

Outdoor notes

­ The fishing has picked up a bit on a few of our lakes. Reports from anglers have Lake Mary producing crappies in 15 plus feet of water. Howard Lake is giving up sunnies on the south end again, plus a few big walleyes.

Finally, reports coming from the Crow River have been good with anglers nabbing walleyes and northerns in the deeper holes and pools. The catfish action on the Crow as also been good.

­ Now is the time to start getting your dog prepared for the fall hunting season. Just like athletes, they need conditioning, training, and a good diet to preform well. When you begin more vigorous workouts with your dog, be cautious of hot weather. Set your schedule to work your dog during the cooler times of the day.

­ The DNR has announced hunting and season dates for this fall. They were published in last week's column. Also, the DNR will have the 2001 version of the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook out sometime in mid-August.

­ Look for action on big northern pike to pick up in two or three weeks. Typically, some of the best action for big pike occurs just before Labor Day.

­ With July just about gone and August almost here, take some time to get outside and enjoy summer. Before you know it, the season will change again and fall will be here.

­ In just a few weeks, we will start losing daylight in a big hurry. A fun thing to do is chart the sun as it sets. Every evening you will notice the sun has moved just a little farther south in the sky. In September, you will notice some very dramatic changes.

­ Take a kid fishing - he or she will have fun and so will you.

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