Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

July 12, 2004

Big sunfish, walleyes, and pelicans

The July 4 weekend of 2004 was one I won’t soon forget.

Like many Minnesotans, our weekend was spent at the lake, Diamond Lake near Atwater to be exact.

The weather was good, the bugs quiet, and the fireworks around the lake on the evening of the fourth were super.

There was plenty to do, plenty to eat, the outdoors were full of life and activity, and finally, the fish, especially walleyes, on Diamond, were biting.

The weekend at Diamond started with a beautiful view of a female whitetail deer feeding in an alfalfa field right next to the landing, and county park on the west side of the lake.

My two daughters, Abby and Emmi, got a big kick out of watching the deer.

Then, with the truck unloaded and the boat in the water, it was time to fish for a while.

Surprisingly, the walleyes were biting right in the middle of the afternoon.

In about an hour, I had three fair sized walleyes in the boat, had lost a bigger one, and landed one dandy fish.

The dandy being a 2.4-pound sunfish.

The sunfish hit a yellow spinner and leech rig in about nine feet of water.

At first I just thought it was another walleye. Then when I got it closer to the boat, and saw the shape of a panfish, I knew I had a dandy.

The actual weight may be questionable, but 2.4 pounds is what my little digital scale read when I weighed it.

By the end of the afternoon, myself along with a few other anglers that joined me, landed a total of nine walleyes and one trophy sunfish.

Afterwards, a water ski show in New London, and a night in a tent with three kids, the next morning produced a few more small walleyes.

The next outdoor adventure for the weekend occurred Monday morning while we were packing up to head home.

A large group, or flock, of pelicans had moved into an area right in front of the cabin.

Like cowboys herding cattle, the pelicans where pushing fish to an area of shallow water against the shoreline.

As the birds would move closer to together, and closer to the shoreline, you could see them scooping up one bill full of fish after another.

Then the group would split up and start the process all over again.

That morning the wind was coming straight across the lake, and I imagine the wind had pushed a lot of the small baitfish to our side, and the pelicans were their taking advantage of it.

It was nature hard at work, and the entire process was fun and interesting to watch.

The weekend was a good one, and a trophy sunfish on the wall will help me remember it for a long time.

1st annual watershed wide Crow River Clean Up Sept. 18

Press Release

The Crow River Organization of Water (C.R.O.W.) is organizing a watershed wide clean up day for the Crow River.

This is an opportunity for citizens of the entire watershed to take pride in their Communities and the River that joins them together.

The Communities of Rockford, Delano, Hanover and Hutchinson have already begun organizing groups to take part in this event.

We are hoping that citizen groups from other communities will follow their lead and join the clean up effort.

This event is perfect for youth groups, churches, Lion’s Clubs, schools, community groups, or individual citizens that want to get involved.

It’s easy, fun and does a great deal to enhance our local natural resources.

If you would like more information on the River Clean up, or would like assistance in coordinating one in your community, please contact Diane Sander at 763-682-1933 ext 3.

Numerous special youth der huting opportunities in 2004

From the DNR

A booming deer herd, and a strong commitment to the future of hunting, have led to the expansion of special youth deer hunting opportunities this fall, according to Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR) officials.

Seven special youth deer hunts and one special youth deer season will be held in October at locations throughout the state.

Applications for the three archery hunts and four firearms deer hunts are available on the DNR Electronic Licensing System beginning July 1.

Applications for the hunts are due Aug. 20. Lotteries will be held to select participants.

Youth who are ages 12-17 as of Oct. 7, and who have their Firearms Safety Certificate, are eligible to apply for one of the special youth archery deer hunts.

Hunts will be held at Camp Ripley Oct. 9-10, Arden Hills Army Training Site A Oct. 21-22, and Arden Hills Army Training Site B Oct. 23-24. Participants must obtain a valid archery license at least two days prior to the hunt.

Youth who are ages 12-15 as of Oct. 20, and who have their Firearms Safety Certificate, are eligible to apply for one of the special youth firearms deer hunts.

Hunts will be held at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge near Winona Oct. 21-24, Lake Bemidji State Park

Oct. 21-24, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston Oct. 30-31, and St. Croix State Park near Hinckley Oct. 30-31.

Blaze orange requirements will be in effect for these areas during the youth hunts.

Participants must obtain a valid firearms license prior to the hunt.

Youth may hunt with bow and arrow or a shotgun in the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge hunt.

“Youth hunts are a tool for recruiting and retaining young hunters because they give us an opportunity to provide high quality, safe, mentored hunting experiences,” said Ryan Bronson, coordinator of the DNR’s recruitment and retention program.

“With all the competition for kids’ time these days, providing positive experiences early in a hunter’s development is critical to keeping them involved. Plus, by holding these hunts outside of the regular hunting season frameworks, it is easier for adult mentors to participate.”

Participating youth must attend a pre-hunt orientation and safety session and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the hunt.

If the parent or guardian is an inexperienced hunter who would like help, volunteer mentors from sponsoring organizations are available to accompany the hunter/parent teams in the field.

Sponsoring organizations include the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Minnesota State Archery Association, and the Bluffland Whitetails Association.

“The research on youth participation in hunting and fishing is conclusive,” Bronson said. “Youth become hunters and anglers because they are taught how by someone close to them. We require a parent, guardian or other adult mentor to accompany kids on these hunts so they experience the hunt together. Usually, participants report that the time they spend together is the most valuable part of the hunt.”

NORTHWEST MINNESOTA EARLY YOUTH ANTLERLESS DEER SEASON

A different type of hunting opportunity will occur in northwestern Minnesota Oct. 23-24.

A special youth antlerless deer season was established by the Minnesota Legislature for Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall and Pennington counties.

Any youth ages 12-14 with a Minnesota firearms deer license, valid for any zone or season, are eligible to hunt antlerless deer in these five counties.

All participating youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must get a free Northwest Minnesota Youth Antlerless Deer Season endorsement from an Electronic Licensing System agent prior to the hunt.

There are no limits on the number of youth who may participate.

Participants may take only one antlerless deer during the hunt. Party hunting is not allowed.

While the special hunts have been on fairly limited parcels of land that are largely closed to hunting, the northwest Minnesota youth season is open in an area that encompasses more than 4 million acres.

Deer hunting organizations in the area, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Minnesota Quality Deer Management, will seek to pair willing landowners with young hunters.

Later this summer, a Website will be available that both landowners and potential hunters can access to get together.

More detailed information about the youth deer hunts and seasons are available on the DNR Web site at: www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Outdoor Notes

• The Winsted Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will meet today, Monday, July 12, at 6 p.m. at the Blue Note in Winsted.

Anyone interested in participating in DU is urged to attend.

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will meet Tuesday, July 13, at 7 p.m. at the Lake Mary Clubhouse.

• The Crow hunting season in Minnesota opens Thursday, July 15.

• Also on July 15, a new walleye slot limit takes affect on Mille Lacs Lake.

• The application for the 2004 Minnesota Elk hunt is Friday, July 16.

• July 30 is the application deadline for the 2004 Minnesota fall turkey hunting season, and the Minnesota prairie chicken hunting season.

• Minnesota’s largest lake is Red, at 288,800 acres.

• Get a jump on the fall hunting season by getting permission to hunt on private land now.

• Remember, the limit on sunfish has been reduced from 30 to 20, except where special regulations apply.

• Make sure your dog has been checked for heartworm, and is on heartworm preventative medication.

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

• Today, July 12, the sun will rise at 5:39 a.m. and set at 8:58 p.m.

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