Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

March 13, 2006

What a night!

I can easily say I’ve attended more than a couple of hundred conservation-related fundraising banquets in my life. I also had the privilege to be the master of ceremonies at many of them.

Add them all up and I was one of those unlucky guys that never went home with a firearm or significant prize.

No matter how many tickets I bought and threw into the raffle buckets, my name just never got called. I didn’t whine or complain like many do because the money spent was for a good cause – conservation.

However, I always did enjoy rubbing it in a bit to the few that would win, especially if they were sitting at the same table.

That all changed last Saturday night in Watertown. The Watertown Rod and Gun Club was hosting its 10th annual Family Banquet.

The banquet is well known for its youth firearms raffle. Aside from every kid in attendance winning a prize, 14 kids also went home with a brand new firearm.

In general, it’s a great way to get kids interested in hunting and a great way for the club to pass on the outdoor heritage of its members.

It all started with our 8-year-old daughter Abbigayle winning a dandy Ruger 10/22, donated by Dayco Concrete.

The next day was Abbi’s birthday, and believe me, she was excited.

The next winner was our 18-month-old-son, Ethan. At his first banquet and in his first raffle, the little would-be hunter won a youth model Remington 20-gauge pump, donated by Gail and Luann Schuette.

He can’t use it now, but it will be a great firearm for him about 11 years from now.

Then, finally, at the end of the banquet, my name was drawn first in the adult firearms raffle and I went home with a beautiful Remington 12-gauge over-and-under.

When my name was called, my jaw dropped and my wife, Amy, almost fell off her chair. Three guns in one night, we couldn’t believe it.

Best of all, the banquet and winning the firearms really got our two daughters, Abbi and Emmi, excited about the outdoors and their next chance to go hunting or fishing with Dad.

To the Watertown Rod and Gun Club and all the other groups in our area that help kids get involved in the outdoors, I thank you deeply and dearly. We all should.

DU banquet set for April 11

The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its 26th annual banquet Tuesday, April 11 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Ken Durdahl at (320) 543-3372 or Howard Barth at (320) 543-3526.

Pheasants Forever Banquet

The 21st annual Wright County Pheasants Forever (WCPF) banquet is scheduled for Monday, March 27, at the Buffalo Civic Center.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled at 7:00 p.m. In addition to many prizes, the chapter will also auction off a big game hunt (Black Bear) donated by Michel Guy Hunting of Quebec, Canada.

All proceeds raised at the banquet are used to purchase, restore, and enhance wildlife habitat for local and regional projects, as well as fostering conservation education for our youth.

Over the past 21 years, the WCPF chapter has raised over $462,000, that has been dedicated to acquiring and preserving habitat in the state of Minnesota and conservation education.

If you would like to attend the banquet, please contact Walt Barlow at (320) 543-3660 or Brad Hayes at (763) 682-3117.

Northern Minnesota has snow for outdoor enthusiasts
From the DNR

Skiers and snowmobilers looking for snow may want to travel to northern Minnesota this weekend where there are plenty of opportunities available for folks to enjoy their favorite winter activity.

There is about 30 inches of snow on the ground north of Duluth.

“While it may be raining in the southern half of the Minnesota and there is no snow cover in the Twin Cities, winter recreation enthusiasts can still snowmobile and ski up here,” said Les Ollila, DNR Trails and Waterways supervisor in Grand Rapids.

Ski and snowmobile trail conditions are updated every Thursday afternoon and are available at www.state.dnr.state.mn.us.

“Trails are being groomed, however the snow base is getting softer so trail users may encounter slushy spots,” Ollila said. “Trail conditions will be changing each week so people should check the snow reports and call ahead. Road crossings are bare and south facing slopes are the first to melt off.”

Snowmobilers should always ride to the right where it’s safer and smoother, Ollila said.

DNR seeks watercraft inspector applicants
From the DNR

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

These inspectors are stationed at public accesses on lakes and rivers infested with invasive 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 invasive species and the threat they pose to Minnesota waters.”

Other duties include assisting with access posting, conducting invasive species plant removal and other natural resource projects.

These full-time temporary internships start in late April and run through the end of October, with flexibility for students still in school.

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

Applicants must have a valid Minnesota driver’s license and be eligible to receive school credit for the position. The application deadline is March 17.

For more information or to request an application, contact Heidi Wolf at (651) 259-5152 or write to: DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 25, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Applications and a complete job description can be found on the DNR’s Web site at: www.dnr.state.mn.us.

A new book for deer hunters

A new book designed especially for deer hunters will be unveiled Saturday, March 18 at the Silver Lake Auditorium in Silver Lake.

The official unveiling will take place at the Big Little Deer Hunting Expo and Auction, a free family event with booths and seminars.

The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the book unveiling, itself, is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The 174-page book titled, “Devotions for Deer Hunters,” contains 90 unique devotional entries which were composed by more than 40 different authors.

Each devotional entry also contains a suggested Bible read, and a brief prayer.

Although there are a number of new entries in the book, many were taken from various volumes of a small booklet distributed free by the Christian Deer Hunters Association.

To date, the association, a national organization which began in McLeod County, has placed about 240,000 devotional booklets into the hands of hunters.

A number of the authors will be available after the unveiling to sign autographs for those who choose to purchase the book.

The book, “Devotions for Deer Hunters,” will also be available for purchase at a later date online.

For more information, call Tom at (320) 327-2266 or see online at www.christiandeerhunters.org

Outdoor notes

• The seventh annual Carver County Youth Wood Duck Box Building Day will be Sat. March 18.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Watertown Rod and Gun Club.

Youth and families will be able to build up to two boxes at no cost. In addition free hotdogs, pop, and chips will be provided by the Watertown Rod and Gun Club.

The event is sponsored many local clubs and conservation organizations.

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