Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

February 12, 2007

The bitter, bitter cold is here

It’s been awhile since we have had to deal with an extended stretch of below zero temperatures.

Actually, it’s the first winter in quite some time where I have actually made enough room in the garage so I can park my truck in it.

A week or more of below zero temps was an easy motivator. My back yard shed is packed to the roof and in a complete mess, but my truck is a whole lot warmer in the morning.

For example, on a cold morning last week, the temperature reading in my truck when I pulled out of the garage was 17 above, four blocks later, at the gas station, it read 22 below.

Here are a few tips for dealing with the cold:

• If you have an outside kennel dog, make sure the dog is eating well and not losing weight.

Only bring the dog inside for water, at times, when it gets well below zero out, some dogs won’t drink water.

If the dog is losing weight, that’s a good indicator that the dog house is not insulated well enough or is too big for the dog to maintain enough heat.

• In cold weather, layering and staying dry are the keys to staying warm when you’re outside.

• Winter survival kits in vehicles are a must.

• Cover your head and neck. A significant portion of body heat is lost from the top of a persons’ head and the back of the neck.

• Wear a good vest. Keeping the core, chest area, warm makes it a lot easier for the body to keep things like fingers and toes warm.

• Carry lock de-icer on you at all times and make sure your tires are properly inflated.

• If you’re an ice angler – staying out of the wind and making sure your fish house, if you have one, is properly ventilated, are very important in sub zero temps.

I know an ice angler that permanently damaged the skin under his eyes while fishing in a cold wind on Mille Lacs. He didn’t even realize he had frostbite until the next day.

• When it comes to tools, equipment, and even things like digital cameras, don’t expect them to work well, or at all, in below zero temperatures.

Remember the old rule, if it can break it will. In cold weather, that’s even more true.

• Finally, and here’s some good news, the average high temperature on Feb. 12 is 27, the average high temperature on March 12 is 38.

Ducks Unlimited meeting in Howard Lake Feb. 26

Ducks Unlimited will have a meeting at the Howard Lake Legion Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

If interested in attending the meeting, and to RSVP contact Brad or Heidi Driver at (763) 675-7234 or at bradandheidi@hotmail.com.

Delano offering firearms safety course

A firearm safety training course is being offered at the Delano Sportsmen’s Club for kids who will to be 12 years old by Nov. 12, and adults.

The training program consists of 11 days, beginning Monday, Feb. 26 and ending Sunday, April 7.

Students must attend all classes. Class hours are 7 to 8:30 p.m., and a guardian must accompany each student.

Training days are: Feb. 26; March 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22; April 3, 5, 7.

The course will cover hunter responsibilities, firearm handling, archery, marksmanship, wildlife identification, game management and game care, survival, water safety, and first aid.

At the completion of the course, students will earn a firearms safety certificate.

The certificate will soon be mandatory for all hunters born in 1982 or after.

The sign-up deadline is Thursday, Feb. 22. For additional information, contact John McClay at (763) 675-2397 after 6 p.m.

Kingston Lions fishing contest winners

The Kingston Lion’s Club hosted a fishing contest Feb. 3, but due to the cold weather, the prizes were awarded at the Kingston Community Center.

Kim Stewart won the top fish prize of $100, followed by Kevin Piepenburg ($50), Joe Hrimnak ($30), Rudy Burgstaler ($25), and Lonnie Hendricks ($25).

In the raffle drawings – Laurie Gelschus won top prize of $250, followed by Marissa Engquist ($100), Wally Strand ($100), Tony Strand ($50), and Curt Widmark ($50).

Ducks Unlimited waterfowl hunters party

Ducks Unlimited will be having a waterfowl hunters party Saturday, March 3 at the Bonfire Bar and Grille, located on Hwy 22 between Hutchinson and Litchfield.

Doors open at 3 p.m., with a raffle to follow.

Raffle prizes include 100 dozen Avery decoys, Avery merchandise, and Ducks Unlimited merchandise.

The cost is $25 with pre-event sale only – no tickets at the door.

For additional information, or to purchase tickets, call (320) 234-6224, or go online to register at www.duckssevents.org.

Gun safety training coming to Mayer

Training for firearms safety is coming to the Mayer Community Center.
Registration is Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at the community center.

Classes will be Feb. 22, 27; March 8, 15, 22, and 29, at 9 p.m. each night.

Class is open to age 11 and older, with a cost of $10.

For additional information, contact Beth Heldt during the day at (952) 442-4443, or Doug Ernst during the evenings at (952) 442-4838.

Watertown Rod & Gun firearms safety training

The Watertown Rod and Gun Club will be having firearms safety training class this spring.

The class will be Tuesday and Thursday nights, with registration Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m.

Classes begin March 6, and will run through Saturday, March 31, which will be a field day.

The cost is $10, and a parent or guardian must sign for students under 18 years of age.

Classes will be at the Watertown Rod and Gun Club, located .5 miles south of Watertown on State hwy 25, then west on County Rd. 122 one mile – club on north side.

Classes will begin at 6:30 p.m. and students must attend every class, with class running to 9 p.m.

No firearms or ammunition may be brought to class.

For additional information, contact Tom Radde at (952) 446-1471.

MN youth hunting opportunities this spring
From the NWTF

Thanks to the reduction of age barriers, hundreds of young hunters in Minnesota will get the opportunity to hunt wild turkeys this spring.

For the 2007 spring wild turkey season, nearly 1,200 hunters under the age of 12 applied for a turkey hunting permit, with nearly 600 being selected.

Under the old minimum age law, youth would have been ineligible to hunt for wild turkeys until after they were 12 years old.

A licensed adult hunter at least 18 years old must accompany the young hunter.

Reducing and eliminating age and other barriers that prevent people from hunting is a major component of the Families Afield initiative.

Started by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Families Afield aims to remove youth hunting barriers throughout the country.

Visit www.nwtf.org/nwtf_newsroom/press_releases.php?id=12085 for the entire story.

For more information about the NWTF or Families Afield, contact Perrin Anderson or Jonathan Harling at (803) 637-3106, or panderson@nwtf.net, or jharling@nwtf.net.

Conservation officer tales – February
From the DNR

• Talk about a strange winter

Conservation officers (CO) encountered a boat pulling a waterskier on Pool 2 of the Mississippi River.

• Pick-up or steaks?

CO Marty Stage (Babbitt) wondered why someone would risk their pickup truck for a handful of deer tags and some frozen deer steaks after he seized a four-wheel-drive vehicle as evidence in a deer-poaching case.

The poacher apparently had shot a deer with a bow where it was feeding on oats left by a cabin owner.

The owner discovered the deer’s remains on his septic mound and called authorities.

Stage matched the pickup with tire tracks, deer hair and blood found at the scene, and he seized the vehicle on Christmas Eve.

Stage reports the poacher “received a very generous Christmas deal” and his truck in exchange for confessing to the crime.

• A happy ending

CO Tim Gray of Blackduck reported a car-moose collision near Waskish had a happy ending for several local residents who salvaged and butchered the animal after dragging it out of the swamp.

• We didn’t expect to see you again

CO Jeff Birchem (Baudette) worked with officers from Baudette and Thief River Falls on Lake of the Woods.

After checking anglers all day, officers decided to check an area that had been checked that morning.

Several anglers, who said they did not expect to be checked twice in one day, were cited for fishing with extra lines.

• Dog watch

CO Shane Osborne (Evansville) stopped at a fish house and was greeted by a dog outside the fish house.

When the dog on the inside of the fish house heard the dog outside barking it pushed the fish house door open.

That revealed two fishermen sitting, jigging two lines with four more lines in the water.

• Angler with an over limit of pheasants

A routine check of an angler leaving the lake with his limit of crappies led CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) to an interview and a consent search of the angler’s residence, which produced violations for overlimit of crappies and pheasants.

• You’ll remember next time

CO Matt Frericks (Virginia) discovered an angler had three lines down in his fish house.

When asked why, the angler stated that earlier his friends were at the house with him and when they left he forgot to bring the extra lines up.

A citation was given to help him remember next time.

• Then why if your ATV and truck fell through same spot

Officer Dale Ebel (Duluth) reported a truck’s rear bumper prevented it from falling completely through the ice.

The owner thought the ice had improved from the previous week.
When asked why, he thought that the man said that two weeks earlier he drove his ATV on the same lake and fell through.

When asked where his ATV fell through the ice, the man pointed to the same spot where the truck had gone through.

• Worth of applause

CO Mike Scott (Lake Superior Marine Unit) found a herring gull floundering in and around the water’s edge.

After catching the bird, he discovered the gull had an artificial lure attached to him with one hook in the nostril and the other in the left foot.

Some delicate work by the officer with a multi-tool removed the lure and the bird soared away.

• It was more than a Christmas tree

On New Year’s Day an individual doing some burning told CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) it was only a Christmas tree.

The officer discovered besides the tree, there were four mattresses, a large pile of household garbage and miscellaneous debris on fire.

The local fire department was called to extinguish the pile and a court date was given to the person.

• On a lake near Richmond

CO Rob Haberman (St. Cloud) noticed an individual running out of his icehouse and dumping a bucket of fish on the ice.

The individual then grabbed a handful of sunfish, returned to the fish house, and tossed the fish back down the ice hole.

Haberman instructed the individual to stop. When questioned, the man stated that he dumped the fish because he did not think he and his brother could keep them all in the same bucket.

Haberman explained that he could keep all the fish in one bucket while party fishing. Law enforcement action was taken.

• This fishing trip is over

CO Corey Wiebusch (Mankato) checked two anglers who had walked about a half mile through the snow and cold wind to get to their favorite spot.

They caught two nice sized bass in the fifteen minutes they were there before the officer arrived.

Wiebusch stood outside the unlicensed portable fish house listening to the couple talk about their fishing.

When contact was made it was revealed neither had a license.

Citations were issued as the two were advised their fishing trip was over.

• Compliment after compliment

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reported a DNR aircraft was used to direct COs on the ground to where the ice fishing action was. The plane was also used to check some groups on remote lakes.

CO Pilot Don Murray received compliment after compliment, as many people were very happy to see the airplane out doing enforcement work.

• What are you doing on my lake?

CO Mary Manning (Grand Marais) surprised one group of unsuspecting anglers on trout opener.

She arrived on the remote lake shortly after dark to find a small group of ice shelters right off the portage.

She shut down her sled and an angler emerged from his shelter declaring, “This is a private party. What are you doing on my lake?” to which Manning replied, “This is the game warden. What are you doing on my lake?”

All were suddenly quiet when they realized she was not kidding.

Enforcement action was taken for angling without a license in possession.

• Fuzzy math

CO Bob Mlynar (Aitkin) received a TIP call that led to an overlimit of northern pike.

The three fishermen had a difficult time counting their fish, possibly due in part to the amount of alcohol that had been consumed.

• Costly waste

While checking fishermen, CO Mike Lee (Isle) came upon an unoccupied shelter with 20 small perch lying outside.

The fish appeared to have been out on the ice for an extended period of time.

The owner of the house was located and issued a citation for wanton waste with fines and restitution exceeding $600.

• 11 lines down

CO Nate Barington (Litchfield) took a TIP complaint that lead to the checking of two ice houses that each had an angler.

The first angler had six lines down while the second had five lines down.

• Dog gone it

CO Tim Collette (Longville) responded to a call of a pickup that had broken through the ice while crossing an ice ridge and was partially submerged.

The driver ended up in the water but was able to get out and walk a mile and half to shore in sub-zero wind chills.

A tow truck was called to get the truck out and after arriving at the pickup the operator’s dog fell through the ice and couldn’t get out.

Ignoring orders to wait for a rope to get the dog, the tow operator walked out and fell through himself.

The officer was able to pull the man out and a board was extended to the dog.

Eventually all involved arrived safely back at shore.

• Dangerous assist

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) provided assistance to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department after shots were fired at deputies from a house in the area.

The suspect was arrested after an eight-hour stand off.

• 16-year old charged with DWI

CO Adam Block (Prior Lake) observed a vehicle pull into an access point with an open bottle violation early one morning.

The 16-year-old driver indicated she was the sober designated driver for the evening.

After further investigation, the driver was turned over to Shakopee Police and arrested for DWI; the two passengers were cited for underage consumption.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: A recent report issued by the DNR indicated a decline in the number of youth interested in fishing. What is the DNR doing to reverse this trend?

A: The DNR is taking a variety of approaches to this societal trend in which children and young parents are participating at reduced levels in fishing, hunting and many other outdoor pursuits.

In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, for example, the DNR has developed a Fishing in the Neighborhood program in which ponds and other small bodies of water are stocked with fish to create urban angling opportunities that previously did not exist.

On the education front, the MinnAqua program will soon publish a state-of-the art guide for educators and others who want to teach angling and ecology to youth.

The DNR will increase the number of youth fishing clinics and camps offered throughout the state.

Finally, the agency is working with national and state organizations to encourage families to fish as a way of relaxing and enjoying the out of doors.

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