Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Jan. 26, 2004

Busting ice out of the dog dish


It’s winter, the weather has been darn cold lately, and the battle of keeping my hunting dog, Angus, supplied with fresh water every day is underway.

Every fall I promise myself that I will run electricity down to the kennel and get a heated water system set for the winter.

Then, as cold weather arrives, enough of it anyway to freeze the water in the dog dish, I find myself busting ice again.

At first, I just give the heavy plastic dish a few tosses, 10 or 12 feet into the air, and the ice busts out.

A few weeks down the road, the plastic dish finally cracks into pieces, and I move on to plastic ice cream pails.

The ice cream pails only last about two days before the ice gets the best of them.

Then, when my supply of ice cream pails run out, I move on to plastic milk jugs.

I came up with the milk jug idea last year, and it works great.

At home, my wife and I are blessed with two daughters, Abbi five, and Emmi four, so we go through gallons of milk, and empty jugs are in big supply.

I cut the top off the milk jug about one quarter of the way down and I’ve got the perfect, inexpensive, safe, and recyclable dog dish.

A fair sized pile of ice, that takes a while to melt in the spring, ends up next to the dog kennel.

But, the battle is won, and with out a fancy heated system Angus has fresh water a couple of times every day, no matter how fast it freezes.

If you own a dog, especially an outside kennel dog, winter isn’t always the easiest thing to deal with.

Cold weathers demands that you give your dog a little attention and care.

First of all, the dog always needs fresh water, with no exceptions, good warm shelter, a constant diet and daily exercise.

The dog house should be off the ground, well insulated, and small enough that the dog’s body heat will warm it.

If the house is too big, the dog won’t be able to generate enough heat to stay constantly warm.

Stuffing the dog house with meadow hay or canary is the best bet.

The hay takes up space, the dog can build a nest, and canary does a lot better job a handling moisture then straw or other bedding materials do.

During periods of extremely cold weather, pay extra attention to your dog by regularly checking paws, ears, eyes and the underside for signs of frostbite or cracking.

Cracking of the dogs skin because of cold, dry weather can happen quickly. If it does, don’t treat it until you have consulted with your veterinarian.

Also, if your dog is a kennel dog and is used to being outside in during cold weather, leave him there.

Many people think their dog may be better off in the house on those frigid nights, but in most cases, the dog is better off left in the kennel, in conditions the animal is used to.

Although it can be tough in the winter, dogs need daily exercise to keep them healthy and at the proper weight.

A daily walk or a simple game of fetch before feeding is all it takes.

Finally, just like you and I, the dog will do better with a consistent feeding and exercise schedule.

When you think it’s just too darn cold out there to keep that schedule and go for a walk with the dog, remember all the fun you had last fall.

That fun, is well worth busting ice out of the dog dish.

Howard Lake Fish Derby

The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club will host it’s 58th annual Fishing Derby Saturday, Feb. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Howard Lake.

The grand prize in this year’s drawing is a deluxe Ice Buddy fish house on wheels.

The fish house is on display at Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.

Along with the many contests, prizes from many area merchants are given away every five minutes.

Tickets are available at Joe’s and from club members.

All proceeds go the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club and are used for local conservation efforts.


DNR seeks watercraft inspector applicants

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking applicants for watercraft inspector internships for the upcoming boating season.

During the boating season, watercraft inspectors are stationed at public accesses on lakes and rivers infested with exotic species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels.

“We’re looking for enthusiastic young adults interested in doing important environmental conservation work,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR watercraft inspection program coordinator. “Watercraft inspectors inform and educate the public about harmful aquatic exotic species and the threat they pose to Minnesota waters.”

Other duties include assisting with access posting, conducting exotic plant removal and working on other natural resource projects.

These are full-time, temporary internships that start in late April and run through the end of October, with flexible work schedules for students who are still in school.

Positions are available in the seven-county metro area, Wright and Chisago counties, along the Mississippi River, in Duluth, Brainerd, and Spicer/Willmar.

Applicants must have a valid Minnesota driver’s license.

The deadline for applications is March 12.

For more information or to request an application, contact Heidi Wolf at (651) 297-4891 or write to: DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Applications and a complete job description can be found on the DNR’ s Web site at:

Outdoor notes

– The walleye and northern pike fishing season on inland waters in Minnesota closes Sunday, Feb. 15.

– Fish houses must be removed from lakes in our area by Sun., Feb. 29.

– New 2004 fishing licenses are required on Monday, March 1. 2003 licenses expire Sunday, Feb. 29.

– The fishing season for stream trout in Minnesota opens Saturday, April 17.

– The 2004 Minnesota fishing opener for walleye and northern pike is set for Saturday, May 15.

– The 2004 Minnesota bass fishing season opens Saturday, May 29.

– The 2004 Minnesota muskie fishing season opens Saturday, June 5.

– The rabbit and squirrel hunting seasons in Minnesota close Sunday, Feb. 29.

– Although I haven’t heard any great ice fishing reports lately, I’m sure there are some fish biting.

Be mobile, sharpen your auger blades, and use clean light tackle because there is only one way to find out if the fish are really biting, and that is to drill a few holes and give it a try.

– Get rid of winter doldrums and have some fun building bird houses.

– The days are getting longer. Today, Jan. 26, the sun will rise at 7:40 a.m. and set at 5:12 p.m.

– If you have forgotten, last year was a terrible year for ice and ice fishing.

At this time last year anglers were working hard at getting houses off lakes and several house had broken through the ice. This year conditions have been much better.

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

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