Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

Sept. 13, 2004

A connection to the outdoors

If there’s one thing that hunting does, that thing is connecting people to the outdoors.

No matter if it’s two days a year in a deer stand in northern Minnesota, or a passion for days in the field pheasant hunting, or a waterfowl hunters season-long lifestyle change, hunting puts people, young and old, directly in the outdoors.

It connects people to the land, and its resources. It creates memories and heritage, and it gives those people a reason to really care about a special place.

That special place can be a hilltop surrounded by acres of switch grass, and small sloughs, in western Minnesota, a small farmland woodlot where a son or daughter harvested their first deer, or a shallow lake where the ducks poured into decoys at dawn.

For many hunters those special places lead to more special places, and a level of care about the land, and the resources, that reaches far beyond only those places they are connected to.

It’s a feeling that, if I help protect, enhance and conserve another hunters special place, they will help protect, enhance and conserve my special place.

In reality, and as hunters mature, they understand that many of those places are special to many more people then just themselves, and that sharing that place, and helping the next generation of hunters become connected to it, is what’s most important.

Growing up, I was lucky, my father shared many places in the outdoors with me.

They were special to him, and today they are special to me, and someday, with care and concern from myself, and thousands of other hunters, those places will be special to my children.

With the 2004 hunting seasons underway, and in full swing very soon, now is the time to think of that special place, your connection to it, and your ability to share it.

2004 Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club Trapshooting winners

Class AA: first place trophy – Heils, Glencoe; second place trophy – Shady Lane, Glencoe.

Class A: first place trophy – Ringers, Hutchinson; second place trophy – Heldts, Mayer.

Class B: first place trophy – Gutter Helmut, Glencoe; second place trophy – Dobrava, Glencoe.

Class C: first place trophy – Depot, Lester Prairie; second place trophy – LSI Ground waters, Lester Prairie; third place trophy – Waconia Farm Supply, Waconia.

Class D: first place trophy – Elm Street Station #2, Norwood/Young America; second place trophy – Elm Street Station #1, Norwood; third place trophy – Drovak, Norwood/Young America.

Opportunities abound for youth hunters

From the DNR

Research shows that young people become hunters because adults take them hunting, and the earlier that kids start hunting the more likely they are to hunt for the rest of their lives.

The Minnesota DNR offers special opportunities to make taking a young person hunting a little easier.

Adult residents who go small game hunting with a youth under age 16 on September 25-26 can do so without a license.

Squirrels, rabbits, grouse and doves provide opportunities for an enjoyable hunt throughout the state.

Resident youth under age 16 never need a Small Game license, and kids under age 13 can hunt small game without a Firearms Safety Certificate when a legal guardian accompanies them.

DNR recruitment and retention coordinator Ryan Bronson points to changes in hunter patterns as a cause for concern.

“Traditionally kids learned to hunt by going after small game like squirrels and rabbits,” Bronson said. “Today hunters are more intensely focusing on big game species and inadvertently skipping the small game outings that can be so valuable to young people.”

Take-A-Kid Hunting Weekend serves another important role.

Research indicates that one of the motivating factors to draw adult former-hunters back to hunting is having a young person ask them to go.

DNR leaders hope that young people take advantage of this weekend to invite a parent, uncle, grandfather or other adult to take them hunting.

September 18th is Youth Waterfowl Day.

Kids under age 16 may hunt waterfowl in Minnesota on this day, one week before the open of the regular waterfowl season.

An adult must accompany kids under age 14, but may not hunt himself or herself.

“We always encourage adult hunters to introduce their kids to the sport throughout the season, but these special days provide extra incentive,” said Bronson.

“Particularly on Youth Waterfowl Day we encourage hunters to bring a young person who would otherwise not get to go hunting, like a non-hunting friend of your child, or a young relative.”

According to Bronson, Youth Waterfowl Day serves two important roles.

First, it provides a high quality hunting opportunity for inexperienced hunters because the birds have not received hunting pressure yet.

Second, it presents an opportunity to recruit new young hunters because adults can mentor the young people without the distraction of hunting themselves.

The DNR offers several tips for hunting with young people.

• Focus on the young hunter, and make sure that they are comfortable and well rested.

• Stay close to them, and emphasize safety at all times.

• Emphasize ethics, and demonstrate good conduct in the field.

• Take the pressure off them to measure the success of the hunt by the amount of game in the bag.

• Make sure their clothing and firearms fit them.

• Make sure you have fun. Hunting shouldn’t feel like work.

For more information about the upcoming hunting season and hunting regulations, consult the 2004 Hunting Regulations Handbook or go to www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Fall wild turkey leftover licenses available starting Sept. 13

From the DNR

Applicants who were unsuccessful in the 2004 fall wild turkey lottery may apply for leftover licenses.

Wild turkey hunting licenses that remain after the landowner and regular lottery drawings are being offered to unsuccessful applicants at Electronic Licensing System (ELS) agency beginning at noon on Monday, Sept. 13.

All hunters successful in the lottery should receive notification by Sept. 13.

Leftover permits will be available on a first-come, first sold basis at any Electronic License Sales agent and online.

Online license sales can be found by clicking the regulations, licenses and permit button at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Online surplus fall turkey licenses will be also be available at noon Sept. 13.

Because hunting access in many zones is limited, hunters should obtain landowner permission before getting a leftover permit.

The fall turkey hunt consists of two five-day seasons -- Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-24.

There are 189 leftover permits available in 13 areas. The areas are: 339B: 7, 342A: 6, 342B: 47, 345A: 5, 345B: 50, 346A: 6, 346B: 35, 349B: 8, 433B: 3, 464B: 3, 465A: 2, 465B: 15, 466B: 2.

Only applicants who were unsuccessful in the fall 2004 turkey hunt lottery may obtain these licenses.

A person who obtains a leftover permit does not lose any existing preference for future lottery drawings.

There is no additional application fee, but hunters obtaining leftover permits must pay the regular turkey hunting license and stamp fees.

Unsuccessful party applicants must apply individually to purchase these licenses.

All license sales are final; there will be no refunds.

Hunters may check the availability of leftover licenses or the status of their lottery applications on the DNR web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Outdoor notes

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club is hosting a buffalo feed, Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Winsted American Legion club.

• The Montrose Fire Department is hosting a benefit shoot at the Waverly Sportsmen’s Club Saturday, Sept. 18. The event begins at 9:00 a.m. with registration.

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will meet Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Mary Clubhouse.

• Although August roadside counts showed a 47 percent decline in Minnesota’s pheasant numbers, look for the hunting in western and southern parts of Minnesota to still be pretty good, and even similar to last year.

It’s a safe bet there was a very late hatch in areas that were hit hardest by spring rains.

• The youth waterfowl hunting day in Minnesota is set for Saturday, Sept. 18.

• Reports from our area on the September Canada goose hunting season opener were definitely hit and miss.

Some hunter did quite well, while other parties didn’t fire a shot.

Hunting success for the remainder of the September season will depend on good scouting efforts by hunters, and the weather.

On the opener most of the geese weren’t flying until about 9:30 a.m.

Several hunters, especially those hunting in western parts of Wright and McLeod counties, reported seeing good numbers of ducks. Especially wood ducks and teal.

• Look for fall fishing activity to pick up very soon.

Northern pike are hitting hard on several lakes in the area, and the fall walleye bite should be on soon.

• Don’t forget to purchase your Federal Waterfowl stamp.

The stamp does not come with your Minnesota license, and does need to be purchased separately.

• Today, September 13, the sun will rise at 6:50 a.m. and set at 7:27 p.m.

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