Since most of my time lately is spent at ice fishing events all over the state, I've been seeing a few new products that I think might make great Christmas gifts.
This is always a tough time of year to make decisions. Ice shows to work from Grand forks to St. Paul, the ice is thick enough on smaller lakes to venture out and muzzleloader season starts. Usually I would be in Montana chasing mule deer but with my tag full I guess that's one thing to check off the list. And for the first time in many years I'm thinking of not buying a muzzleloader tag this year and going straight to ice fishing. But the season isn't over yet so if I happen to find a big buck to chase I still might have to dig out the blaze orange one more time.
For the most part another Minnesota deer season has passed for us. Trying to summarize this year is a tough one. Luckily we really enjoy spending time outdoors and weren't depending on a Minnesota whitetail to fill our freezer. After sitting day after day and not even seeing does, fawns or small bucks to take pictures of, anyone can get discouraged. After hunting each day I would check with neighboring deer camps in the area and what hunters hadn't packed up and went home empty handed had not been seeing much.
As far as our second half of our Montana trip, it did not involve elk. Our priorities turned to chasing mule deer. And being I had my elk I wasn't concerned about chasing a trophy. To tell you the truth I only buy a deer tag just in case elk hunting doesn't go as planned.
After a long drive and a good hike we made camp and set up our tents anxiously awaiting the elk hunting opener only hours away. As myself and hunting buddy, Tim Duffney, made our dinners on the jetboil we talked about plans for the next day. I said that after last year I was happy just to be there, maybe shooting an elk—even a cow—would just be icing on the cake. Just seeing the mountain background under the full moon was all anyone could ask for. Little did I know I was about to have a day many only dream of.
I really never thought that I wouldn't welcome a warm up, but right now it's the last thing I want to see. As we are heading west to Montana for the firearms elk opener I would rather see a little snow and colder temps. But that's not the case, the high forecast for Saturday is 67 degrees, which is probably the day you are reading this.
While most deer hunters are just starting to find their blaze orange, the woods in Camp Ripley are already dotted with hunters looking to bag this year's deer. That's right, it's time once again for the Camp Ripley Disabled Veterans Deer Hunt. For 27 years this has been a fall hunting tradition as well as a few days to catch up with old friends and, most importantly, tell stories about the one that got away.
It looks like if you want to get in on some last chance fishing you will have to bundle up, but it will probably be worth it. The walleyes on Gull Lake have been on fire and the crappie bite has been getting better every day, the only bad part is doing it with gloves on.
And just like that, we go from from shorts to thermal underwear in a week. This will be good news for some and bad for others. But knowing Mother Nature we will have a warm up again, I'm hoping. It would still be nice to have a few nights of walleye fishing without freezing. And hopefully this year we will get some ducks to come down before deer hunting. because the water fowlers sure could use a good year. Another good thing is the leaves will be falling soon and the bow hunters should start having some luck finding their big buck for the year.
When Thomas Kramin from the Elks and Sam Carlson from Mandatory Fun Outdoors have an idea there is no stopping them. There may be some bumps in the road but with a great network of people those are easily flattened out. This Wednesday, 11 veterans and their family members were treated to a little fishing vacation at the Elks Youth Camp on Pelican Lake. Eight guides donated their boat and fishing skills for the day and everyone came back at the end of the day with some smiles and fish stories.