Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.

September 29, 1997

A new fall tradition

Like the duck opener, the pheasant hunting opener, and the first weekend of the firearms deer hunt, the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day has taken a predominant spot on the calendar of fall.

The hunt - one day of duck hunting for youth 15 and under accompanied by an adult - began with a day of hunting last year and was held this year on Saturday, Sept. 20.

In our area, this year's hunt was a tremendous success. Kids accompanied by non-hunting adults were out in sloughs, on the lakes, and rivers in good numbers.

On this year's hunt, I was the partner of Brad Danielson of Lester Prairie and his dog, Chessie. Brad is a 15-year-old sophomore at Holy Trinity High School in Winsted and his dog is a one-year-old springer spaniel with unending energy.

Brad's dad, Dave, has gotten the pairs' feet wet in the field pheasant hunting, and the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day, gave Brad and Chessie a chance to get out in the duck slough with out all the competition of the regular waterfowl season.

Like many of the young hunters out, Brad and Chessie didn't harvest a duck. But, they did get their feet wet in waterfowling.

For Brad, the day started at 5 a.m. with setting up decoys in a field next to a small slough in the Mayer area. The ducks were flying, and the decoys worked.

However, all the ducks on that slough took to water and quit flying just before the legal shooting time arrived. Brad didn't get a shot in the morning. But I could see the light in his eyes when that first flock of wood ducks buzzed our heads at 6:30 a.m.

After jumping an empty pothole, the decoys got picked up and our hunt moved to the South Fork of the Crow River. On the Crow, Brad's shotgun, like most shotguns, couldn't catch up to darting and diving woodies.

The hunt ended with the woodies and Brad's enthusiasm to give it another try still flying.

All in all, it was a great day for hunting and getting young people involved in the outdoors. Leonard Kieser of rural Winsted agreed.

Leonard, a retired farmer, also enjoyed a day in the slough with a young hunter. His 15-year-old partner, who had never been duck hunting before, had a great time and bagged a limit of ducks in the Winsted area. For both, it was a special day.

The 15 year old had never experienced the joys of waterfowl hunting before and Leonard, who considered it a privilege, was happy to be a part of it.

Leonard stated, "It's a good day and very important day."

As fall traditions go, the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is a good one, and one that I think will gain steam and become a fixture on the calendar and in the minds of many waterfowlers in the future.

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