Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

April 7, 2003

Rats and raccoons ­ an interesting tale

Saturday, March 29 was an interesting morning at my house in residential Lester Prairie.

First of all, when I got home from work on late Friday afternoon, my wife was in the driveway pointing out a big ball of fur that was nestled in the branches near the top of the big soft maple tree in our backyard. The kids got immediately excited and when they saw the creature way up there. My wife wasn't though, she figured it was just one of the neighborhood cats that had made the climb.

When I got a closer look with my binoculars, I knew it was a raccoon. Apparently a raccoon that wanted to find out what life in town was like.

Later that night when we got home from a night out with the kids, we pulled out the spotlight and decided to investigate a little more. By this time the coon was half way down the tree and close enough to try and get a picture. The spotlight, camera, and excitement pushed the coon right back up to the top of the tree.

At about 5 a.m. the next morning, the dog was barking like crazy, and just as I assumed the coon had made his way down from the tree - needless to say, everyone in the house was up.

The coon was long gone, but as the sun rose an all new adventure with furry critters started in my backyard.

I'll get into the second part of this adventure next week. Mostly because I think it may go on for awhile.

Outdoor notes

­ Many of the smaller lakes in our area became ice free sometime last week. Dog Lake was ice free on Wednesday, April 2. Ice-out occurred on Winsted Lake Thursday, April 3. On Lake Mary, where anglers were still out on the ice on Tuesday, April 1, ice-out occurred on Thursday April 3.

Look for the ice to leave the larger lakes in our area sometime this week.

­ The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet on Tuesday, April 8 at the Blue Note in Winsted, with social hour beginning at 5 p.m. For more information or tickets call Ken Durdahl of Howard Lake at (320) 543-3372.

­ The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will host its annual banquet tonight, April 7, at the Buffalo Civic Center. The cackling hour begins at 5:30 p.m.

­ The application deadline for the Minnesota 2003 black bear hunting season is May 2.

­ The 2003 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 10. New limits for panfish also take effect that day.

­ The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight April 7, at 7 p.m. at the club house.

­ Get your fishing gear ready for the open water season. Start by replacing the line on your reels.

­ Take some time to get outside and enjoy spring. Soon the trees will be full of leaves and the grass green. Compared to the way the landscape looks right now, that's an awful big change.

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