Hopefully we are done with this roller coaster ride of weather patterns. We were well on our way to having almost driveable ice, not any more. With the warm temperatures last weekend causing the melting ice and snow to funnel down cracks and old auger holes, there are now some pretty big openings that are covered with a dusting of snow. That makes them almost impossible to see. Some are big enough to drop an ATV through others are big enough for a person to fall through.
Just when we thought the snow this year was going to keep piling up it looks like we might not have a white Christmas. Who would of thought that we would have less snow now and warmer temps than at the beginning of rifle season in early November. Speaking of deer hunting, most muzzleloader hunters such as myself are getting ready to call it a year. The season has had its ups and downs that is for sure.
I normally do not "push" products in my stories, but after being at a local retailer this week, hearing a customer looking for a walleye ice fishing set up and hearing the employee responding, "if it costs more it is better," I figured I would throw out a few products for the ice fisherman on your Christmas list. The hot seller for the year is the Strikemaster Lithium auger. With a 50 volt battery it drills over 56 holes in 2-feet of ice.
After a deer hunting season that left a lot of hunters wondering where the deer went, hopefully next year they will want to do something to help. Keeping the wolf numbers in check is one way. There are only three reasons the deer population is as low as it is: too liberal on limits, winter and wolves. I contacted Zach Kimball, who lives near my hometown of Park Rapids. Zach is also an avid outdoorsman and wolf hunter. We should all thank Zach, he alone has probably saved hundreds of deer by legally harvesting his trophies.
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.