Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

September 4, 2006

From baseball in Miesville to fishing at Mille Lacs

I’ve always thought Minnesota was a great place to be, no matter what kind of lifestyle you prefer.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiest like I am, Minnesota is without question a great place to be.

If you love baseball and fishing and the outdoor environment that goes with both, late August in Minnesota is probably the best place in the world to be.

On Saturday evening, Aug. 19, I was sitting in the grandstand at a beautiful baseball field in Miesville, located about 30 miles south of the Twin Cities.

Miesville, along with Red Wing, are hosting this year’s State Amateur Baseball Tournament.

Last year, Dassel and Hutchinson hosted the tourney. Several of our local teams qualified for the classic this year, including the Dassel Cokato Saints, Winsted Wildcats, Howard Lake Orphans, Hamburg, Green Isle, and Maple Plain.

That evening at that ball park was just about perfect. The field was beautiful, not a blade of grass out of place, the weather immaculate, the atmosphere tremendous, and the sunset over the farm fields of southeast Minnesota gorgeous.

At that place, as the sun was setting over the ballpark, there simply was no better place to be.

A few days later, our family had crossed a fair share of Minnesota and we were on vacation in our boat on the south end of Lake Mille Lacs.

The lake was calm, the weather perfect, and the sunset over the lake even more beautiful then the sunset over the ballpark in Miesville.

If you love baseball, fishing, and the outdoors, in Minnesota and across the world, there was probably no better place to be than Miesville and Mille Lacs.

Winsted chapter DU banquet Sept. 12

The 23rd annual Winsted Chapter Ducks Unlimited Banquet is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner and program to follow at 7:30 p.m.

The cost of the banquet is $45 and includes a one-year membership to Ducks Unlimited, a one-year subscription to Ducks Unlimited Magazine, a chance at various door prizes, and the banquet dinner.

To be eligible for D.U.’s early bird prize drawing of a Savage .17 cal. rifle, your registration form must be returned by Friday, Aug. 25.

Some of the featured items that will be available for auction include D.U. Sponsor Framed Print of the Year; D.U. Commemorative Shotgun; a variety of framed wildlife prints, carvings, and guns; and many other D.U. products.

To register for the banquet, contact either Dale Gatz at (320) 485-4274 or the Blue Note at (320) 485-9698.

Become a Crow River volunteer

On Sat., Sept. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon, you and your family and friends have the opportunity to help clean up the Crow River and its tributaries.

Over the past two years, this project has been a great success, having removed over 15 tons of garbage from the river.

Stoves, engines, tires, and trash of all kinds has been removed through the help of volunteers like you.

For information about starting up or participating in a clean up in your community, contact Diane Sander at (763) 682-1933, ext. 3.

Deer hunters’ banquet Sept. 16

The Wright County/West Metro Whitetails, a member chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, is hosting its 16th annual banquet Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Buffalo American Legion in Buffalo, with a social hour to begin at 5 p.m., and a dinner at 6 p.m.

The organization is a group of outdoor enthusiasts who are dedicated to allowing the continuation of that age-old tradition of deer hunting in Minnesota.

They emphasize education, legislation concerning all outdoor activities, and providing opportunities to all groups of hunters.

There will be silent and live auctions, raffles, and games. Prizes will include guns, prints, and outdoor gear.

Forkhorns, those 16 and under, will all get a chance into a free raffle in which the top prize is a gun.

For more information, call Jim at (763) 682-2061, or Al at (763) 263-7893.

Youth Conservation Day Sept. 9

2006 Youth Conservation Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 at Gopher Campfire near Hutchinson.

Doors open for registration at 9 a.m., sessions begin at 10 a.m., and end approximately 3 or 4 p.m.

Sessions include air rifles, 22 pistols, black powder, leopold, archery, sporting clays, 22 rifles, and trap shooting.

Participants must be a 2006 member of, or join with a $5 registration fee, one of the following sponsoring groups: Crow River Cutters, Hutchinson Chapter Ducks Unlimited, McLeod Pheasants Forever, Meeker Pheasants Forever, or Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

Participants must be age 17 or under, and must have a parent or legal guardian with them throughout the event.

For more information, contact Steve Nelson at (320) 587-0783.

Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations
From the DNR

Special fishing regulations for walleye, bass, northern pike, crappie and sunfish will be the subject of public meetings being held across the state in the coming weeks by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Input gathered at these meetings will help determine whether to drop, modify or extend existing special regulations or move forward on proposals for new special regulations.

“Fisheries managers welcome the opportunity to hear opinions from anglers,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “Public participation is critical in determining whether proposed and existing regulations meet angler expectations.”

Of special interest to anglers this year are proposals to increase the minimum length for muskellunge on 46 lakes and connecting waters and adopt a catch-and-release requirement for muskellunge on the Mississippi River from Grand Rapids to Coon Rapids.

Special regulations are intended to produce a quality fish population that can sustain increasing angling pressure and improved angler efficiency.

During the past 20 years, fisheries managers have monitored a variety of special regulations across Minnesota. Lakes with special regulations are regularly evaluated to determine the effectiveness of special regulations.

“Much has been learned from our efforts to improve fish populations with length and bag limits,” Stevens said. “If successful, special regulations can be replicated on similar waters where fisheries managers and anglers agree they would help improve or maintain quality fishing.”

Lakes with proposed new special regulations or special regulations that will be evaluated this year were posted at public access points this spring.

Public notices for each meeting will be published in local newspapers.

For more information about a specific meeting, contact your local DNR Fisheries offices.

For those unable to attend a local meeting, there will be an open house at the St. Paul DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, on Sept. 29 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Staff will be available to take comments on any proposal. Comments may also be submitted until Oct. 9 by e-mail to al.stevens@dnr.state.mn.us or by calling (651) 259-5239.

Written or verbal comments will also be accepted at local fisheries offices up to 10 days following a local meeting.

Phone numbers and addresses of local fisheries offices are on page 74 of the 2006 Fishing Regulations or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE

• Mississippi River from Coon Rapids to Grand Rapids - New regulation proposal for muskellunge

• Aitkin County: Sept. 16, 1-4 p.m., DNR area fisheries office, 1200 Minnesota Ave., So. Aitkin.

• Anoka County: Sept. 20, 6-8 p.m., Civic Room A, Coon Rapids Civic Center, Coon Rapids.

• Benton and Morrison counties: Sept. 13, 6-8 p.m., Sauk Rapids City Hall, Sauk Rapids. Sept. 15, 6-8 p.m., DNR office building, 16543 Haven Road, Little Falls.

• Crow Wing County: Sept. 14, 6-8 p.m., DNR office building, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd.

• Hennepin County: Sept. 13, 2:30-4:30 p.m., DNR area fisheries office, 9925 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie.

• Itasca County: Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, 402 11th St. S.E., Grand Rapids.

• Stearns County: Sept. 13, 7-9 p.m., 400 Club, 25958 Lake Road (on the north side of Pleasant Lake), St. Cloud.

• Sherburne County: Sept. 14, 2:30-4:30 p.m., public library, 413 Proctor Ave., Elk River.

• Wright County: Sept. 14, DNR area fisheries office, 7372 State Highway 25 S.W., Montrose.

Goose hunting station application deadline near for Lac qui Parle controlled hunt
From the DNR

Hunters seeking to reserve a goose hunting station in the controlled hunting zone at Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area are reminded to submit their application by Sept. 13. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be accepting applications until then.

This year’s goose season begins on Thursday, Oct. 19, and ends Monday, Nov. 27.

Hunters must apply on a standard 3.5- by 5.5- inch postcard bearing the applicant’s full name and address, and listing their first and second choice of hunting dates.

Applications should be sent to: Controlled Hunt, Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, 14047 20th St. NW, Watson, MN 56295.

For more information, call the Lac qui Parle headquarters at (320) 734-4451.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: How do I know if it is a minnow?

A: Not all small fishes are minnows; many are the young of other fish.

A number of characteristics serve to separate small fish from true minnows. All minnows have naked heads except during breeding season when mature male develop many hornlike bumps, called tubercles.

Some minnows also develop bright colors during breeding season, as suggested by such names as redside dace, redbelly dace, rosyface shiner, red shiner and redfin shiner.

A single dorsal fin with fewer than 10 soft rays is characteristic of all native minnows.

In the introduced carps and goldfish, the dorsal fin has a hard ray and more than 10 soft rays.

Minnows lack teeth in their jaws but have specialized teeth in their throat – pharynx – region. These pharyngeal teeth are useful in identifying the various minnow species.

Outdoor notes

• The application deadline for antlerless deer and special hunt permits in Minnesota is Thursday, Sept. 7.

• Purchase your 2006 Minnesota hunting licenses and appropriate stamps now.

• The September Canada goose hunting season in our area opened Sat., Sept. 2. Look for a report on the opening weekend in next week’s column.

• The dove hunting season in Minnesota opened Sept. 1.

• Get yourself and your dog in shape for the upcoming hunting seasons.

• Youth waterfowl hunting day in Minnesota is set for Sat., Sept. 16.

• Take the time to read and review the 2006 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping regulations Handbook.

• Review the 10 commandments of firearms safety and take some time to get familiar with your firearms again before you take the field with firearm in hand this fall.

• Look for action on big northern pike and the fall walleye bite to pick up on lakes in our area very soon.

• Ramsey, Granite and the western bays of Lake Minnetonka are still providing good action on nice-sized sunfish.

• The DNR will release numbers on the 2006 August roadside survey for pheasants and other wildlife very soon. Expect Minnesota pheasant numbers to be at a 40-year high.

• The 2006 Minnesota waterfowl hunting season opens Sat., Sept. 30.

The small game and archery deer seasons open Sat., Sept. 16, and the 2006 Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Sat., Oct. 14.

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

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