Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

March 27, 2006

Round Lake to get improvements

One of the hottest little fishing lakes in the area this winter is slated to get a nice upgrade to it’s access this spring.

Round Lake, a small body of water in Wright County between Winsted and Howard Lake that can produce some good sized pan fish, will get some major improvements to its boat landing, access, and parking area this spring.

The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club, which already maintains accesses on lakes like Mary and Ida, is heading up and planning the project.

Planned improvements include a dock, excavation work to improve the boat landing, a few off-the-road parking spots, and general clean up.

Tom Keiser, Winsted club president, is hoping, depending on the weather, that the project is done by the May 13 fishing opener.

Round is somewhat unknown as a public fishing lake because of its small size, but sits right in the middle of a small lake fishing hot bed.

Directly to Rounds south is Lake Mary, to the east Dog and Ida lakes, and just a mile or two to the north Lakes Emma and Ann.

New wildlife management area near Lester Prairie

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently posted State Wildlife Management Area signs on a piece of property about five miles southwest of Lester Prairie on Eagle Ave. in eastern McLeod County.

The property isn’t large in size, I’m guessing around 40 acres or more, but does provide quality habitat for a variety of wildlife.

The area is scenic and with the south fork of the Crow River running through it will provide a good public fishing and canoe access opportunity as well as public hunting.

The McLeod County Chapter of Pheasants Forever with help from many other conservation organizations and clubs like the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club were important players in getting the project done, wildlife habitat and cover developed, and finally making the property available to the public.

The area, which I am very familiar with, will provide an excellent location for kids to hunt and especially access the Crow River.

In reality, across our area including the north fork of the Crow River there are not many public locations to access and use the river.

The area is a glaring example of the goals and accomplishments of Pheasants Forever.

The McLeod County Chapter of Pheasants Forever was recently recognized for being the first chapter in the nation to have spent over $3 million on habitat and conservation education projects.

McLeod County Chapter dollars have helped complete 484 habitat projects benefiting over 7,000 acres of habitat with in McLeod County. 31 of those projects totaling 1,925 acres have been direct land acquisition for wildlife habitat. The new Eagle Ave. area is just one of them.

The chapter will hold its 20th annual habitat fundraising banquet on Sat., April 8 in the Exhibition Building at the McLeod County fairgrounds in Hutchinson. For more information or to get tickets call Mark Reinert at (320) 864-6325.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner

The Prairie Archers will have a steak/shrimp dinner Saturday at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie from 5 to 8 p.m.

The steak and shrimp combo costs $10, the steak or shrimp dinner is $8.

The dinner also includes a baked potato, tossed salad, bread, dessert, coffee or milk, and a complimentary drink.

Call in your reservation before 6 p.m. Friday to Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721, or to the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877.

Trapshooting at Lester Prairie Sportsmen club

Practice rounds for the upcoming 2006 trapshooting season begins Wed., April 19 from 6:15 p.m. to 9 .m.

League competition begins Wed., April 26 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For additional information contact Ed Mlynar at (320) 395-2258.

Winsted Sportsmen’s Club hog roast April 8

The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will have a hog roast Saturday, April 8 at the Winsted Legion from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Besides the hog roast, there will also be a meat raffle and a membership drive.

Tickets are $7 in advance, or $8 at the door.

Advance tickets can be purchased at the Winsted Co-op, Winsted Floral, Kegs, Tommy’s Corner Bar, or from sportsmen’s club members.

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.

DNR encourages confinement of pen-raised turkeys
From the DNR

Landowners and hunters who were planning to release penned “wild” turkeys on their property this spring should think twice.

Not only is such action unlawful, it could actually hurt existing wild turkey populations by introducing disease and inferior genetics, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“On the surface, some might think that releasing these birds would help the wild populations,” said Sharon Goetz, a DNR turkey biologist. “Actually, though, these store bought, pen-raised or game farm turkeys are from stock that is not adapted to conditions in the wild. Allowing interbreeding between that inferior stock with our wild stock could, in effect, pollute Minnesota’s wild turkey genetic health, lower reproductive success and decrease survivorship in the wild.”

Pen-raised birds may carry poultry diseases that are devastating to wild turkey populations. These birds also lack wild behavior, according to DNR Farmland Wildlife Program coordinator Bill Penning.

When turkeys tolerate close proximity to humans, they often seek barnyard handouts, tend to roost near or inside buildings, and become a nuisance.

In order to prevent these risks to the wild turkey population, Minnesota statutes state that a person may not release a wild turkey or wild turkey hybrid without a permit from the DNR Section of Wildlife.

Such permits are not issued to private landowners or organizations, because wild-origin birds are not available to private individuals, according to Penning.

“All turkeys that can be purchased from a game farm, farm supply store or catalog are not wild birds and must be confined at all times,” said Penning. “Any free-roaming, pen-raised birds should be recaptured by baiting into a pen or building and kept permanently confined.”

All wild turkeys released by DNR have been trapped from healthy wild populations in southeastern Minnesota and released at carefully chosen sites.

The most recent releases of wild turkeys occurred this winter near Red Lake Falls and Thief River Falls, said Goetz. “Wild turkey populations currently exist in many parts of Minnesota, with the furthest northern populations growing in Mahnomen, Norman, Red Lake and Pennington counties.”

More information about wild turkey populations and habitat requirements is available on the DNR Web site at or by contacting a local DNR wildlife office.

Outdoor notes

• Although spring has officially arrived and a variety of waterfowl are back, in my opinion it’s not here yet. When the lakes are open and the snow is gone I’ll claim the true arrival of spring in our area.

• The Crow River Organization of Waters has set Sat., Sept. 16 as its 2006 Crow River Clean up day.

The C.R.O.W. would like to increase the efforts by getting clean up projects started in three more communities this year.

Those target communities include Litchfield, Lester Prairie and Glencoe.

• The general stream trout fishing opener in Minnesota is Sat., April 15.

• The 2006 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Sat., May 13. That’s 48 days from now.

• Good luck to all those turkey hunters, the season is almost here.

• Take the time to watch spring happen. Before you know it you’ll get bit by a mosquito when you’re mowing lawn.

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