Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Aug. 20, 2001

The end of the story on Abbi and the little birds

The entire adventure started about two years ago and deals specifically with my three and one-half-year-old daughter Abbi, my dog Angus, the kitties at Grandma's, and my ability to get Abbi's thick, dark hair combed in the morning.

The adventure also deals with little birds and where they sleep, build their nests, and live.

From the start, that is when Abbi first had enough hair to comb, she never wanted anyone to comb it. Typically, not even touch it.

As a young and inexperienced father with a little girl that had thick, tangled hair, I tried many tricks and distractions to get her hair combed every morning.

Nothing worked until I came up with the bit on the little birds. I would tell Abbi there were little birds in her hair and that we had to comb it to get the nests out.

If we didn't comb her hair, Angus or the kitties at Grandma's would get the birds, and we didn't want that to happen. For the most part, the little bird trick worked to the point where it became routine.

When Abbi was right around a year and a half old, I often think she looked for the little birds flying out of her hair when we combed it.

The trick did work well until a public television special on birds messed it up for awhile.

One evening, Abbi and I watched a PBS special on birds, reproduction, nests, eggs, chicks, migration ­ that kind of stuff. Abbi loved it.

However, the next morning Abbi had unusually tangled hair and there was no way she would let me comb it. The little bird trick didn't work, and even made things worse.

I tried and tried to comb her hair, until Abbi finally stated in the most sincere tone I have ever heard, "Daddy, daddy don't comb my hair. The birds need a place to live, too."

Her hair didn't get combed that day nor for a few more days to follow.

The second and final incident happened just a few weeks ago.

On that 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 nests out so Angus and the kitties at Grandma's wouldn't get them. She agreed and I combed her hair.

Later 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 of the tree, and like her great grandpa, went up to Heaven to live with Jesus.

It seemed she understood that, and after putting the little bird in an old hat and finding 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.

At that time I had a strong feeling that the whole ordeal of Abbi's hair and the little birds was 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.

Today, actually about four days after Abbi and I buried the dead little bird, the story is over and hopefully put to rest.

Abbi would not let me comb, nor even touch her hair for four days after the incident. For Abbi and the outdoor ethics I have tried to instill in her at her young age, I believe it was an issue of birds needing a place to live also.

Now, Abbi feeds the birds at our backyard feeders every day, and I insist that she comb her own hair. If she doesn't, Mom gets the job.

Lac qui Parle goose applications taken

From the DNR

Hunters wishing to reserve a date to hunt geese in the controlled hunting zone at Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area are reminded to submit their application postmarked between Aug. 20 and Sept. 12.

Applications postmarked before Aug. 20 will be rejected. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

Proposed goose season dates at Lac qui Parle will be Saturday, Oct. 6, through Wednesday, Nov. 14, or until a harvest index of 12,000 Canada geese is reached. The proposed season is 40 days long.

Hunters must apply on a standard 3 12-by-5 12 -inch postcard bearing the applicant's full name and address, and listing the applicant's first, second and third choice of hunting dates.

Applicants should indicate whether they will accept an alternate date (yes or no) if none of their choices is available. Only one postcard per hunter may be submitted.

Those submitting more than one application will have all of their applications rejected. Applications should be sent to: Controlled Hunt, Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, 14047 20th St. NW, Watson, MN 56295.

Successful applicants will receive reservations by mail designating the date of their hunt. Only successful applicants will be notified. Goose hunting stations will be assigned through a drawing held on the morning of the hunt. Reservation holders may be accompanied by one or two guests.

All hunters using hunting stations in the Lac qui Parle controlled hunt zone who are 18 years of age or older will be charged a $3 fee on the day of their hunt to partially cover controlled hunt expenses. The reservation system will be in effect for the entire goose season.

For more information, call the Lac qui Parle headquarters at (320) 734-4451.

Outdoor notes

­ Quack, quack, it's back. The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will have its annual banquet very soon. Look for the exact date in next week's column and plan on attending.

­ Get a copy of the 2001 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and read it before you take to the field this season.

­ The September Canada goose season opens Saturday, Sept. 1.

­ Look for big northern pike to hit spoons and crank baits on our local lakes very soon. Early September often provides fast action on big pike.

­ The application deadline for antlerless permits is Thursday, Sept. 6.

­ Finalize your fall hunting plans now.

­ Start getting your dog in shape for the upcoming season. Start out slow and gradually adjust your dog's diet to match.

­ Take some time to get outside and enjoy summer. Soon the days will be much shorter and fall will be here.

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