Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Oct. 1, 2001

Minnesota pheasant season opens October 13

In just a few weeks many of us will be chasing pheasants across Minnesota's pheasant range again. Some will stick close to home, other will head to the southeast around Austin or Owatonna.

Others will head far to the south or southwest to areas like Jackson, Windom, or Worthington, where hunting has been the best the past three or four years.

Some will head to Stearns County where bird numbers are said to be okay. Others yet, including myself, will head to the far west and hunt anywhere from Morris to Marshall.

Only time spent in the field and long walks behind dogs will tell the quality of hunting and quantity of birds for Minnesota's 2001 pheasant season.

Before the season does open, the big question of where to go or what region of the state to hunt needs an answer. When it comes to most avid Minnesota pheasant hunters, that is a big question.

I have found that most avid Minnesota pheasant hunters will easily drive two or three hours for even the hint of good hunting prospects. If there are roosters out there in good numbers, hunters will drive for three plus hours and walk for a day to find 'em, flush 'em, and hear 'em cackle.

Moving on, and if you've been reading my column, you know the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently reported that August roadside counts indicated a 50 percent decline in pheasant numbers compared to last year. They summed up hunting prospects for this season to be poor or maybe fair.

The DNR blamed the drastic drop on last year's harsh winter and soggy spring.

On the positive side, a late hatch may have occurred and there may be more birds out there than the August counts indicated.

I believe that is the case, and with years of experience following roadside count numbers and hunting pheasants across Minnesota, I think certain regions of the state will provide ample bird numbers and good hunting.

With a little time to go before the opener, in next week's column we'll get into the nitty gritty of it all. I'll let you know where the best hunting will probably be.

For the time being, do a little duck hunting, get your buddies organized, get your dog in shape, and be willing to travel on the 13th.

Outdoor notes

­ Minnesota's regular waterfowl hunting season opened Saturday. Look for a report in next week's column.

­ Antlerless deer permits will be issued soon, and hunters being chosen should be notified sometime in mid-October.

­ Don't forget about fishing. On many of our area lakes and the Crow River, fall is the best time of year to nab lunker walleyes and northern pike. Pay special attention to the October full moon and plan to go fishing on that day and evening if you can.

­ With the hunting seasons underway be sure to always properly store and lock your firearms and ammunition. They should be stored and locked in separate locations, and be completely unaccessible by children.

­ If you plan on heading to another state to hunt this fall, check out the outdoor's section of this newspapers Website for helpful information and links. Go to www.herald-journal.com/outdoors.

­ Always be prepared. A step in the right direction is to take a hard look at the stuff in your first aid kit. Throw out the old stuff and replace it with new. Band aids don't last forever.

­ The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.

­ Remember to validate your stamps by attaching them to your hunting license and signing your name across the face.

­ The Minnesota firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 3. If you're looking for a great place to sight in your rifle or shot gun, head to the Waverly Sportsmen's Club. For more information call 763-658-4644.

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

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