Finally we are having a grouse hunting season like I remember it being when I was a kid. Last weekend I traveled north to check out the deer stands and do a little bird hunting. I heard the grouse numbers were up but you never know until you see it for yourself. And amazingly after a day of hunting I actually had my limit. It really made for a great day after not seeing much for deer sign, at least we have some grouse to shoot. This got me thinking how different grouse hunting is from other types of game. Usually, at least for myself, we tend to over do it on the guns we shoot.
Well, for many of us it's time to get the Sta-bil in the boat motor and the lawn mowers and get the deer stands ready for rifle season. It is only a few short weeks away and I really like to get everything ready in the woods by this weekend and let everything settle down over the next few weeks. With so much to do I decided to skip bowhunting this year and concentrate on waterfowl, turkey and grouse hunting. The Minnesota deer rifle season is as much about tradition as it is hunting for many like myself.
Although most people look at waterfowl season as just another season like deer, bear, etc., it is actually a bunch of seasons for many types of hunters. You can split it up into bird types or field or water hunting. First you have the early season hunters, the guys who like to get out before the weather turns bad. They usually end up filling their limit with teal, wood ducks and a few immature mallards which, in my opinion, are the best table fare you can get in the duck world.
After a few great days in Camp Ripley for the Disabled American Veteran (DAV) deer hunt I find myself with a lot to think about. First and foremost is how much these veterans look forward to get together each year and share stories of the days hunt and catch up with others they haven't seen for a while. Second is the whole reason the hunt takes place. Not because a lot of people want to have a place for these hunters to hunt and have a good time, but the main reason the hunt takes place. These hunters fought for our country and for us.
What do you do when you have spent the summer bass fishing and are looking for something new? Go alligator hunting of course! That's what Mandy Uhrich decided to do last week when the opportunity came up. Mandy is biologist and avid outdoors enthusiast who travels multiple states and countries each year in the pursuit of fins, feathers and fur. So for her to reference this hunt as "her once-in-a-lifetime hunt," I knew it was a great story. Mandy traveled to southern South Carolina to assist a good friend and mentor who is a commercial private lands trapper.
The early goose season has been in full swing for over a week so I decided to get out in the field last weekend. We headed up to the Park Rapids area to meet up with some of my friends and take their kids out hunting. Well they wanted to bring their friends, and so on and so on, so there ended up being seven of us. The good thing is at that age they are full of energy and do not mind getting up at 4 a.m. On the other hand they do eat a lot, and I mean a lot. Although some of these kids started hunting with me a couple of years ago, for some of them it was there first time goose hunting.
September brings the early goose opener and also the Frank Schneider Memorial Musky Tournament. This year I opted to again wait another week to go chase geese and try my luck at trying to boat a musky again. Last year we boated one but it didn't measure long enough to register. This year we had high hopes. The first day was Friday and we started on Leech Lake but with high winds and being newbies to the lake we only had one follow so we decided to stick it out on Cass Lake.
It's hard to believe Labor Day is over and we will getting ready for hunting season already. The Bear hunters have been having some luck thanks to the acorns holding off and most of the archery hunters that are getting their stands up aren't seeing much for sign. This weekend early Goose season starts and from there every weekend opens a new season, at least that's what it feels like. Also, with the wet and cool summer, there is a bumper crop of mushrooms, especially Chicken of the Woods.
Last weekend, over 300 people including captains, anglers and assistants were on Gull and Sylvan lakes for the 13th Annual Fishing Has No Boundaries event. There are 27 such events in 11 states. This year's event in Brainerd with 129 anglers was the biggest ever, not only for the Brainerd area but in the country and even the world. You can tell when something is a great cause, people from all over Minnesota clear their schedules to make sure they can attend the event. I know it is a very special day to us and many of our friends.
I have to admit over the last few years I have avoided the big Nationals weekend at BIR, with all the traffic and people we usually try to get out of town. Racing has been a big part of my life, from snowmobiles to ATVs and stock cars. I have always loved things that go fast. With putting so much time into hunting and fishing it is one of those things that got put on the back burner. On Thursday I got the opportunity to go on a guide trip through the Power Lodge and Napa Auto Parts. I didn't know who I was taking, all I knew is that it was a bunch drivers and crew members from the races.