Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

Jan. 24, 2005

Local clubs make a big difference

From an ice fishing derby, maintenance of a lake access, or a rifle sight-in range to a Wednesday evening round of trap, local sportsmen’s clubs make a difference in our quality of life.

They provide an opportunity to participate in conservation efforts that benefit the geographic area we live in every day.

They also give many of us a reason to get together every month, and actually accomplish something.

What they do that is probably most important is provide a platform to educate our youth, and give them the experience needed to participate and enjoy the great outdoors with safety and ethics in mind.

In our neck of the woods, things like DNR certified firearms safety training, snowmobile safety training, and now ATV safety training are all sponsored and conducted by local sportsmen’s clubs.

I can still remember my firearms safety training, or gun training classes.

I took the course, sponsored by the Winsted Sportsmen’s Club, in the old Winsted City Hall way back in 1979.

Club members taught the class, I enjoyed every minute of it, and without question, it made me a better firearms handler, hunter, and conservationist.

When I took the class, the cost was $5; today, the cost is still $5.

Recently, Ken Durdahl of the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club sent me a copy of a letter the club sent out to all its members.

I’ve included a copy in this week’s column so you can get a taste of what local clubs do, and accomplish throughout a year.

Please take the time to read it, and when you’re done, schedule some time to get involved and become a member of your local sportsmen’s club.

Year end notes from HL Sportsmen’s Club

From Ken Durdahl

• The time of year has come, yet again, to get your fish houses and ice augers and join us for the 59th annual fishing contest. The contest will be Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Howard Lake.

Each year, individuals are asked or solicited to help sell or buy five tickets for $10, or $2, each for the only fundraising event of the year.

• The club has again decided to continue the yearly membership dues of $10, which is now due for 2005. With the continued support, it will be possible to pursue worthwhile conservation projects for our area.

• Last year, the annual firearms safety class for interested sportsmen in our area, graduated 50 children and two adults. The class will be conducted again in 2005.

The training team is getting a little bigger this year; Paul Utne and Glen Hofer have passed the training to instruct our youth in firearms.

If anyone else would like to help, there is always room. Volunteers and new blood in the classroom are welcome.

Ken Durdahl is the gun training team leader. If you are interested, call Ken at (320) 543-3372.

• The club also sent three students to the Long Lake Conservation Camp again in 2004.

• The club purchased materials to build wood duck houses for the area. The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA group built the houses for us. We also helped care for the pheasants by purchasing feed.

• This year’s fishing contest Grand Prize is an $8,000 6 1/2’ x 16’ fish house on wheels. You can see it at Joe’s Sport Shop.

Tickets and membership money can be mailed in or dropped off at Joe’s Sport Shop by 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11.

• Money was donated to Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Rifle Association for in state youth programs and shooting ranges.

• The club participated in the Good Neighbor Days parade.

• The Cub Scouts cleaned around the lake again, and the grate on the dam was repaired again last year. If anyone sees who is damaging the grate, please contact the police department. The donation of labor and concrete for the new landing on the south end of the lake was a big expense.

• A donation of $2500 was made toward a fish barrier to keep fish out of Smith Lake. That should help clean the water and make it more productive for waterfowl.

Outdoor notes

• The ice fishing season seems to be booming this year. Fish are biting on many area lakes, and there have been no reports of poor ice conditions, vehicles going through the ice, or fish house vandalism.

Lake Ann continues to provide decent action on small walleye and crappies.

Dog Lake is giving up small crappies. Anglers on Waconia are finding panfish in deep water.

The western bays of Lake Minnetonka are just starting to produce fast action on sunfish, and Howard Lake is giving up good numbers of northern pike to anglers fishing tip-up and sucker minnow rigs.

• The 59th annual Howard Lake Ice Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club is set for Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Howard Lake.

• The Waverly-Montrose Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the first ever Ice Festival and Fishing Derby on Big Waverly Lake Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• The ice fishing season for walleye and northern pike closes Sunday, Feb. 20.

• The squirrel and rabbit hunting seasons in Minnesota close Monday, Feb. 28.

• Although snow is in the forecast, conditions for snowmobile riding in our area continue to be poor. Just to our north, in the St. Cloud area, there is quite a bit more snow.

• Talk regarding turning the old rail line that runs through New Germany and Lester Prairie into a state trail continues to move forward. Although I don’t have any details at this time, everything I’ve heard has been positive.

• Underwater, or AquaView, Cameras seem to be the rage this ice fishing season.

The cameras do add a neat aspect to ice fishing, but they still won’t make the fish bite.

• Make sure your fish house heater is in good working order, and your fish house is properly ventilated.

Always keep your fuel source, or propane tank, outside of the house.

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

• If you haven’t noticed, the days are getting longer. The first official day of spring is only 57 days away.

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