Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 24, 2006

It’s not too late

The most amazing time of year in our great outdoors is right now, and the most notable transition from one season to the next is occurring right now.

If you haven’t noticed, all the ice is gone from our area lakes, the grass is getting green, trees are budding and filling with leaves, flowers are beginning to bloom, and soon farm fields will be turning from black to green, apple trees and lilacs will be bright with flowers, and Canada goose goslings will be swimming around.

Much has happened to our landscape in the past few weeks and there’s still a few weeks of changes left until spring starts it’s transition to summer.

If you found a way to miss it all, I encourage you to take the time to simply watch spring happen.

Make it a point every day to look at a tree in your yard and watch the leaves grow.

Note the landscape as you drive and look for little corn plants popping up from the ground.

Get out in your boat or head to your favorite shoreline fishing spot and nab a few spring crappies before they move into deeper water.

Finally, in my backyard is a large, very mature, crab apple tree. It usually is in full bloom, on or near the fishing opener, this year it looks like it may bloom late next week, which would a few weeks earlier than normal.

That tree gives me a great opportunity to watch spring happen.

Gun safety training to begin April 24 in Winsted

Gun safety training is planned to begin Monday, April 24 in the lower level of Distinctive Dental Services, Winsted.

The course will run Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for 3 to 4 weeks.

Cost for materials is $10.

For more information, call Steve Fiecke at (320) 485-2434.

Pheasants Forever gives youngsters a voice on conservation
From the DNR

Pheasants Forever (PF) has selected 19 youths from around the country to form the first-ever National Youth Leadership Council.

The Council’s participants, all ages 10 to 16, will serve as advisors and spokespeople for their age group on issues related to the outdoors, conservation, hunting, and PF.

The National Youth Leadership Council is the brainchild of Cheryl Riley, PF’s youth program coordinator.

“At Pheasants Forever, we believe kids are able to speak and think for themselves. They have valuable things to say about the outdoors and we are eager to listen to them and learn from them,” reported Riley.

Participants in the Council will be asked to offer content ideas for the PF youth magazine “Upland Tales,” as well as content suggestions for the PF website.

The participants will also discuss outdoor youth activities and youth-related initiatives for PF chapters and the national headquarters.

Riley will seek input from the participants through phone calls, conference calls, and emails.

“It’s no secret that youth participation in hunting and the outdoors is declining at an alarming rate. That participation in the outdoors is critical to creating the passion for nature. That passion is what translates into a desire to be good land stewards as adults,” added Riley. “It is our hope that this new Youth Leadership Council will provide us with the tools to engage today’s youngsters in conservation, camping, fishing, and our hunting heritage.”

According to research, today’s youth are spending half as much time in the outdoors as their parents did as children.

In fact, for every 10 hunters, there are only seven youth ready to replace them. And, people who don’t hunt as youth are less likely to hunt as adults.

Instead of participating in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking, today’s youth are spending an average of 30 plus hours a week on electronic devices like video games, computers, and television.

PF chapters with a history of emphasis and demonstrated success with youth programs were asked to nominate a youngster to the Council.

The new National Youth Leadership Council includes the following participants:

1) Tyler Baer, 14, of Portage, Ohio - Nominated by Wood-Lucas Ohio PF Chapter

2) Ashley Bishop, 14, of Litchfield, Illinois - Nominated by Montgomery County Illinois PF Chapter

3) Sam Dokkebakken, 10, of Big Lake, Minnesota - Nominated by Sherburne County Minnesota PF Chapter

4) Heather Eaton, 14, of Cherokee, Iowa - Nominated by Cherokee County Iowa PF Chapter

5) Travis Hill, 12, of Akron, Colorado - Nominated by Washington County Colorado PF Chapter

6) Nate Iverson, 13, of Chamberlain, South Dakota - Nominated by Missouri River South Dakota PF Chapter

7) Nate Long, 12, of Billings, Montana - Nominated by Yellowstone Valley Montana PF Chapter

8) Ashley Lopez, 16, of Selma, Indiana - Nominated by East Central Indiana PF Chapter

9) Andrew O’Connor, 13, of Greeley, Nebraska - Nominated by Cedar River Ringnecks Nebraska PF Chapter

10) Brian Olsen, 14, of Eleva, Wisconsin - Nominated by Chippewa Valley Wisconsin PF Chapter

11) Clare Perry, 16, of Leoti, Kansas - Nominated by Ringneck Renegades Kansas PF Chapter

12) Sara Polge, 13, of Syracuse, New York - Nominated by Central New York PF Chapter

13) Jacob Robinson, 10, of Hastings, Minnesota - Nominated by Mississippi Longtails Minnesota PF Chapter

14) Trevor Schuster, 12, of Idaho Falls, Idaho - Nominated by Upper Snake River Idaho PF Chapter

15) Amelia Tykoski, 10, of Fowlerville, Michigan - Nominated by Livingston County Michigan PF Chapter

16) Brooks VanDerBeek, 12, of Oskaloosa, Iowa - Nominated by Mahaska County Iowa PF Chapter

17) Matt Vavroch, 14, of Montezuma, Iowa - Nominated by Poweshiek County Iowa PF Chapter

18) Jay Wilsey, 13, of Montrose, Iowa - Nominated by Lee County Iowa PF Chapter

19) Rylee Young, 13, of Atkinson, Nebraska - Nominated by Niobrara Valley #289 PF Chapter

When asked why he would like to serve on the Council, Tyler Baer replied, “My brother, sister, and I have been involved with the outdoors and wildlife conservation with my parents since I was born. Through my experiences, I can show you are never too young to use our resources, but you also have to protect them for the future.”

“We have a farm with land in CRP and I help wildlife by planting trees and bushes on our farm,” added Sam Dokkebakken. “I think conserving natural resources is very important for a good future.”

And Rylee Young, who is one of seven girls on the Council, offered her perspective on being a part of the Council, “I would like to promote hunting to kids, particularly girls. I would like to show them how enjoyable hunting is. I have been hunting for the last four years with my dad who has been involved with the local Pheasants Forever chapter for several years. I was involved in a youth mentor hunt last fall and have also been to several banquets.”

Youths interested in joining PF, can sign up for a Ringnecks youth membership.

The Ringnecks membership comes with a year’s subscription to the “Upland Tales” magazine (4 issues), a Ringnecks membership card, and an invitation to your local PF chapter banquet.

To sign up, call PF toll free at (877)773-2070 or log onto the PF website at

Ringnecks membership is $15 annually.

PF is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education.

Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. There are more than 110,000 PF members in 600 local chapters across the U.S. and Canada.

Public access ramps will be ready for opener
From the DNR

Anglers anxious for the May 13 walleye fishing opener will find most public boat launches in good condition.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Trails and Waterways Division is making a special effort to ensure all boat launches are ready by that date. However, repairs to launches depend on the weather.

“Work crews are making good progress to prepare the public water accesses for the upcoming fishing season,” said Suzann Willhite, DNR Water Recreation Program coordinator. “However, many lakes still have ice. So we need to wait until the ice is off before work can begin on those sites.”

Willhite said winter weather is always a challenge to Minnesota’s boat ramps. “As ice leaves a lake, it can push and buckle the concrete plank structures like an accordion.”

This phenomenon, called “ice heaving” or “ice jacking,” is caused by the pushing action of a lake’s ice sheet against the shore.

Crews repair damaged ramp accesses by removing the pushed and broken planks and replacing them with new ones.

In addition to repairing the more than 1,500 DNR-operated public boat launches, DNR crews will install docks and toilets at many of those sites.

Docks assist boaters in launching and boarding their watercraft. Toilets are necessary for popular sites with high use and demand.

The DNR will provide more accessible toilets this year, and in the future, to meet the need for persons of various physical abilities.

“Access users should take all trash with them when they leave as litter continues to be an ongoing problem at public launches,” Willhite said.
Boaters who encounter problems should contact their local DNR office or the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

For information about Minnesota’s boat access and water recreation, visit the DNR’s Web site at

Bear hunt application deadline approaching
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will accept applications for the 2006 Minnesota black bear hunting season through May 5.

This year, 14,850 licenses will be available in 11 permit areas in northern and central Minnesota. The season will run from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15.

Applications can be made through the Electronic Licensing System agents throughout the state, and the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Applications can also be made by calling 1-888-MNLICEN (665-4236) or online at

Licenses for the no-quota area, which is the area outside of the 11 permit areas, can be purchased directly at any agent beginning July 1.

No previous application is necessary to buy a no-quota area license.

In 2005, there were 16,153 applicants for the available 15,950 permit area licenses. Seven of the 11 permit areas were under-subscribed.

Hunters harvested a total of 3,340 bears - 2,759 in the permit areas and 581 in the no-quota area. Bear licenses cost $39 for residents and $196 for nonresidents.

The bag limit will remain at two bears in the no-quota area, and one bear in all-quota permit areas.

Outdoor notes

• The crappies are biting hard and fast on several lakes in the area. Henry, Mud, Swan, Waconia, and Mary are all producing fish.

Tube jigs tipped with a minnow has been the top choice for bait.

• The ice left Lake Jenny April 6.

• I have noticed, what seems to be, a lack of wood ducks in our area again this spring.

Last year I received many reports regarding empty wood duck boxes.

Several readers noted that boxes they had out that had been used by wood ducks for several years remained empty all year.

It looks like that’s the case again this year.

• The 2006 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Sat., May 13. That’s only 20 days from today.

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

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