Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

October 8, 2007

Wind, rain, lightening, and hail

If you’ve never slept in an old trailer home nestled on the North Dakota prairie during a severe thunderstorm, don’t.

Aside from wondering if the hail was going to start breaking the windows, or punch holes in the old roof, I questioned where our duck hunting party would go if the storm developed into a tornado.

Luckily, the storm passed without any damage.

In every duck hunting adventure, there’s always some kind of story.

This adventure for the opening of the 2007 North Dakota duck hunting season was no different.

For me, it was the first hunting adventure of what we hope is many in the upcoming years, out of an old trailer on the prairie we now call the camp.

For my 9-year-old daughter Abbi and our 6-month-old lab Copper, it was their first-ever duck hunting adventure. No matter that it was Abbi’s first trip, Copper retrieved his first duck, and the hunting was great, the stories and memories from this adventure will always be centered around hail stones bouncing off an old trailer home nestled on the North Dakota prairie.

Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club meeting Oct. 8

The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club will be having a meeting tonight (Monday) at 7 p.m. at the Howard Lake Legion. New members are welcome to attend.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in LP

Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Saturday, Oct. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For a steak and shrimp combo the cost is $10, while just steak or shrimp is $8.

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

Call in your reservations before 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 to either Jim Richardson (320) 395-2721, or to the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877.

Waverly Gun Club news

• Conceal/carry classes will take place at the Waverly Gun Club Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 6 to 10 p.m.

For further information, call Russ Johnson at (763) 675-3527.

• The Waverly Gun Club range will be open to the public for sight-in Saturday, Oct. 20, Sunday, Oct. 21, Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $7 per gun.

For more information about the gun club, visit its web site at www.geocities.com/waverlygunclub or call (763) 658-4644.

Blaze orange required for most small game hunting
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds small game hunters that most must wear blaze orange clothing when in the field.

“You can’t take small game unless a visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist is blaze orange, except when hunting wild turkey, migratory birds, raccoons, or predators, or when hunting by falconry, with nontoxic shot or while trapping,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR education program coordinator.

Blaze orange, more than any other color, is the most easily seen and recognized bright, unnatural color against a natural background.

This shade of orange is the only satisfactory color for hunters to wear under all weather and light conditions.

For hunter safety, Hammer said the wearing of this high-visibility clothing while small game hunting in heavy cover, such as for grouse and pheasant, is a great communications tool.

“Blaze orange clothing is a tremendous aid in helping hunters maintain visual contact with one another, particularly when moving through dense cover or woods,” Hammer said. “Any hunter who has ever identified someone strictly by seeing an orange patch knows its value in keeping track of other hunters in the field.”

KFAN helping build a wildlife area with 5th annual phone-a-thon
From Pheasants Forever

KFAN radio (AM 1130) will host the fifth annual Build a Wildlife Area phone-a-thon Thursday, October 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The FAN Outdoors phone-a-thon has generated $15,000 in the first four years of the partnership.

In four years, Build a Wildlife Area campaigns have led to the dedication of six new wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Minnesota.

The Build a Wildlife Area campaign is unique in that all donations are tripled through matching grants from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Once matched, those dollars will be used by Pheasants Forever to acquire land critical as wildlife habitat.

The land will then be turned over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for management and opened to the public.

Since its inception in 2003, the Minnesota Build a Wildlife Area partnership has generated over $760,000 and acquired six new Wildlife Management Areas in Minnesota totaling 1,553 acres, all of which have been transferred to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and are open to the public.

Hunters, conservationists, and KFAN listeners are invited to call Pheasants Forever’s National Headquarters toll free at (877) 773-2070 during the phone-a-thon.

Individual donations of $500 or more and corporate donations of $1,000 or more will be recognized with their name on the permanent monument to be placed at the new 2007 WMA.

Prizes for donations will also be given away throughout the two-hour broadcast.

To learn more about the campaign, or make a donation on-line, go to www.pheasantsforever.org/events/bawa/.

FAN Outdoors will broadcast live from Gander Mountain in Woodbury, and the show will focus on the upcoming Minnesota pheasant hunting opener Saturday, October 13th.

Guests of the show will talk about the hunting forecast, habitat conservation efforts, and new gear for the 2007 hunting season.

In each of the past two years, hunters harvested nearly 600,000 roosters in Minnesota, the most in over 40 years.

And with the DNR’s pheasant index remaining near its highest level in 20 years, there’s plenty of optimism for another banner year in 2007.

Minnesota conservation officer tales – October
From the DNR

• Bear hunter defends self with French bread

Conservation Officer (CO) Brent Speldrich (McGregor) encountered a bear hunter busy checking his bait.

After locating the hunter’s firearm, which was near Speldrich and away from the hunter, he let out a soft growl.

The wide-eyed hunter, stood up at the speed of light, and started to grasp at anything he could find to defend himself.

The only object he found was a loaf of what appeared to be French bread.

After the hunter realized it was an officer, not a bear, both had a hearty chuckle.

• I’m Batman!

While getting fuel at a gas station, a woman asked CO Greg Oldakowski (Wadena) for some nuisance wildlife assistance.

She owned the business across the street, and said a bat had taken its daily nap in broad daylight clinging to the brick building about three inches from the door handle.

She didn’t want to open the door and let the bat inside, or grab the door with a bat that close.

The bat was removed and it flew away unharmed.

• Archeological find?

CO Mark Fredin (Aurora) received a call from a homeowner who said they found bones that appeared to be large and “dinosaur in nature.”

The bones, including the head, were inspected and determined to be a horse.

• Candid camera

CO Brian Buria (Bigfork) reported bear hunters are becoming so competitive over their favorite bear bait sight, that they are installing cameras, hoping to catch the hunter that beat them to their favorite spot.

• Goodbye, I love you

CO Dustie Heaton (Willow River) received a phone call from a hunter who had a question about a bear hunting license.

At the end of the conversation the hunter said, “Good bye, I love you.”

The hunter then stammered out, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I always say that to my girlfriend at the end of a phone call.”

The officer thought he was just happy with the answer to his question.

• A couple of real doobies

CO Jeff Johanson (Osakis) reported some anglers had found fishing slow and smoked marijuana to pass the time.

One angler was found smoking marijuana out of an empty pop can while another had a marijuana pipe on his tackle box when the officer approached.

• Fish over limit case discovered at airport

CO Alex Gutierrez (metro rec specialist) assisted several COs, including K-9 Hunter, on a Turn-In-Poachers call where an angler was apparently leaving the state with an over limit of fish.

The suspect was intercepted at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

With the assistance of airport police, the suspect’s luggage was recovered.

K-9 Hunter picked up the scent of fish or game in suitcase and alerted the officers.

The suspect had an over limit of sunfish and several northern pike fillets.

• Small game commandos captured a week early

CO Lisa Kruse (White Bear Lake) handled a Turn-In-Poachers call involving two people hunting small game in a wildlife management area.

When Kruse found the individuals, who were dressed in full camouflage and carrying .22’s with scopes, one ducked into the woods.
He came back out when Kruse ordered him to. Asked why he went into the woods, he said to go to the bathroom.

After searching the wooded area, Kruse found a dead squirrel in a bag that the individuals later admitted to shooting.

When Kruse asked them if they knew when the small game season opened, they both replied, “Yep, next weekend.”

• Woman gives officer the bird

A homeowner called CO Neil Freborg (Lake George) wanting him to come and pick up an eagle that had flown into her house and died.

Upon arrival, the homeowner handed over a plastic bag containing the bird, which was identified as a ruffed grouse.

Freborg advised the homeowner that grouse are very good eating.

She was not interested and sent Freborg on his way with the grouse in hand.

It was subsequently cleaned and donated to a family in Laporte.

• Some family advice

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) received a complaint of an archery deer hunter who was using bait (corn) near his deer stand.

He attempted to locate the suspect and the bait. The camouflaged hunter spotted Sommers and was able to elude him, slipping out of the woods and into his vehicle.

Sommers eventually located the vehicle at a remote cabin.

When questioned, the suspect admitted to placing 15 pounds of corn on the site.

Several bags of corn, stacked on and around an ATV, were located in a garage near the cabin.

The suspect said the corn was not his, but rather it belonged to a family member.

Enforcement action was taken and advice given to inform the family member about deer baiting regulations.

• This is a cit park not a butcher shop

CO Mike Martin (International Falls) assisted the city of Big Falls with a complaint where two hunters field dressed and butchered a bear on a picnic table in the city park.

The hunters then deposited the entrails in the park’s outhouse.

The city was concerned as this is an area to stay overnight while trail riding and horses are often spooked by the smell of a bear.

The hunters were located and agreed to have the outhouse and picnic table cleaned.

• Not the best way to introduce youth to grouse hunting

CO Don Bozovsky (Hibbing) reported a grouse hunter had three youth passengers on his ATV (all under 7-years-old) with another youth driving a second ATV with a shotgun.

The problem was none of them had helmets, there were too many passengers, one ATV was unregistered and the youth was too young to drive.

Not a good way to introduce youth into grouse hunting. Enforcement action was taken.

• Archery hunters sit on a pile

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) received a complaint of illegal deer baiting.

The complaint was investigated and the bait pile located.

Unfortunately, two archery hunters were above it.

The baiters stated that they placed the corn there to attract deer to the game camera and didn’t think that there was any left.

Photographs and samples were taken of four visible bait piles consisting of corn, cracked corn, and apples.

• Look for the sunny side of life

CO Paul Kuske (Pierz) reported on the first day of archery deer season came the first violation for none other than hunting deer over bait.

A citation was issued at 6:45 a.m., and the bow was seized.

Kuske also responded to a hunter harassment complaint, which was really more a neighborly feud.

He talked to each party involved in an attempt to get them to see the brighter side of life.

• Raising bail

CO Pat Znajda (Karlstad) and CO Troy Richards (Roseau) watched as two minors attempted to steal a road sign.

The theft didn’t quite work out for the two.

Both were in possession of alcohol and one was in possession of drug paraphernalia.

One of the minors also had an outstanding warrant for similar activities.
The rest of their camping party was less than excited about having to come up with bail money to keep their friend from spending the night in jail.

• Toss him a cold one

CO Gary Sommers (Walker) received a complaint from an angler on Leech Lake that while he was fishing, a boat with four occupants traveling at a high rate of speed, came very close to hitting his boat.

The boat was going too fast for the angler to get a registration number.

However, the speeding boat was so close to his boat, that one of the occupants tossed a beer can into his boat.

• Family of bears still at large

CO Rob Haberman (St. Cloud) responded to an unusual call in Morrison County.

While grouse hunting, a man was trapped in a tree near Little Falls for two hours as a mother bear and her cubs surrounded him.

As the bears approached, the man fired a shot into the air.

The shot had no effect in scaring the bears away.

Haberman and three Morrison County deputies safely recovered the hunter from the tree and escorted the man out of the woods.

The family of bears is still at large.

• A classic example of how milfoil is spread

A boater who was getting ready to launch his boat into Medicine Lake when CO Todd Kanieski (Osseo) asked if he knew the laws relating to transporting aquatic plants.

He said he did and always checks his trailer before leaving any lake access.

He was then directed to look at his trailer.

To his surprise, a large and very obvious clump of milfoil was found hanging from the axle.

He was issued a citation.

2007 deer lottery results available, leftover permits on sale Oct. 15
From the DNR

Successful applicants for both lottery deer areas and special hunts were notified this week via postcard. Hunters can check results on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/lotteries/antlerless.html.

Hunters who were unsuccessful in the lottery will be awarded a preference for next year.

For 2007, leftover either-sex permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.

To pick up a permit, a hunter must have a license valid for that zone and area or purchase one at the time. There is no additional cost for the permit.

An individual can only have one permit, which is valid for that area only.

The permit will allow an individual to take one antlerless deer in that deer area only.

As illustrated in the 2007 hunting regulations handbook, the bag limit for lottery deer areas is one deer.

This permit simply authorizes a person to take an antlerless deer during the firearm season.

All-season license holders who obtain an either-sex permit may use that permit during either the firearm or muzzleloader season.

Hunters younger than 18 do not need a permit as they can take an either-sex deer without applying.

In lottery areas, it is illegal to take antlerless deer for youth hunters.

In lottery deer areas, all-season and regular firearm license holders who intend to take an antlerless deer during either the firearm or muzzleloader season must possess an either-sex permit; otherwise, they are restricted to hunting bucks.

DNR releases new duck decoying audio program
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a new audio program available for outdoor sports enthusiasts titled “Duck Decoying Tips.”

The podcast can also be downloaded and heard on nearly any computer connected to the Internet that can play audio files.

The program features an expert waterfowl hunter and hunter education teacher, John Schroers. He has an impressive resume that includes serving as president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, a board member at-large of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, lead instructor for the Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s Woodie Camp for teenagers, and president and vice president of the Minnesota Duck and Goose Callers Association. Schroers has also been a seminar speaker at Game Fair and an instructor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s young waterfowlers group.

“We were fortunate to have John on the show,” said Steve Carroll, DNR information officer and host of the show. “Besides being an expert waterfowler and champion duck and goose caller, he has a real gift for teaching people about the sport.”

Schroers discusses various types of decoys from the most basic do-it-yourself coots to the most sophisticated photo-realistic and motorized decoys.

He also explains how to place them for the most effective hunting.

During the program, he also demonstrates several championship duck calling techniques that are sure to bring in the most skittish waterfowl.

Also featured on the show is DNR Boating Safety Specialist Tim Smalley.

He has hunted ducks for 50 years, ever since his father took him hunting on Minnesota’s Leech Lake when he was 6-years old.

“Tim passes along tips to help waterfowlers stay safe while out on the water,” Carroll said. “He covers topics such as special life jackets that allow hunters to shoulder a gun, how to load your boat safely and cold water survival tips.”

The “Duck Decoying Tips” audio program may be downloaded at www.mndnr.gov.

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