Outdoors

Fri
24
Sep

Forest Service decision spurs ATV club to action

New rules put into effect by the U.S. Forest Service have angered local ATV riders who are finding out the places they have ridden for years are now off limits.<BR><BR>The result to date is a new infusion of members to the local ATV club.<BR><BR>“It’s been an overwhelming response for the club,” said Ely-Winton Stumpjumpers vice president Roger Skraba. “There will be a strong club in Ely, MN but everyone has to show up on October 13.”<BR><BR>Kawishiwi District Ranger Mark Van Every knows the changes are controversial but adds they are in line with national policy on federal lands.<BR><BR>“This is in line with national policy basically restricting off road vehicle traffic to designated routes. We don’t allow people to ride on level 3 roads which are our higher standard roads because of potential safety issues,” said Van Every.

Sun
19
Sep

Birdshot and backlashes on grouse

It has been said by upland hunters since the founding of the nation that the ruffed grouse is the noblest game bird of them all. Those of us who have sought this feathered rocket from aspen ridges to balsam thickets, cannot say enough for its speed and deception in flight nor its tasty addition to a wild game dinner.<BR><BR>Nor its sometime lack of sense.<BR><BR>We have never met a woodland gunner who has not pondered the seeming lack of intelligence encased within the feathered skull of this partridge of fact and fable. “Lord, but they are dumb,” is a common sentiment.<BR><BR>An example revealed itself this previous week when my wife Edith and I ventured up the Fernberg Trail toward Lake One on a journey to reconnoiter grouse byways.

Sun
19
Sep

Hook and bullet club - Moose season

Moose season is set to get underway soon, putting the second wave of firearm-equipped big game hunters in the woods.<BR><BR>Bear hunters have been at it for two weeks now and it looks like a similar harvest of bears as last year.<BR><BR>Lucky Seven was at 36 bears for the first reporting period, equal to the number registered last year in Ely. For the Tower area, the DNR reported 136 bears taken, up from 117 a year before.<BR><BR>The state bear population is estimated at up to 25,000 with the vast majority in the northern one-third of the state. <BR><BR>DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch of Tower said the hope is for a statewide harvest of up to 4,000 bears.<BR><BR>Interestingly, the bear harvest follows the berry crop. The fewer berries on the vine, the more bears taken by hunters.

Sun
19
Sep

Winners named in Angler contest

by Nick Wognum<BR><BR>The 2004 North Country Angler fishing contest wrapped up this week with prizes handed out for Section Three winners and the grand prize. <BR><BR>The top prize winner is chosen from all entries received, including Catch and Release entries turned in throughout the season.<BR><BR>The grand prize winner of a trip for two to Zup’s Lac La Croix for three days, two nights was Tom Poderzay of Soudan, who caught an 11 lb. 3 oz. walleye and registered it at Vermilion Fuel and Food. <BR><BR>Congratulations to all those who entered the contest this year!<BR><BR>The Section Three winners were:<BR><BR>Walleye: 12 lb. caught in Farm Lake by Tim Steuck of Dassel, MN and entered at Timber Trail Lodge.<BR><BR>Northern: 10 lb. caught in Fall Lake by Nicole Johnson of Canton, MN and registered at Voyageur North Outfitters.<BR><BR>Bass: 5 lb. 4 oz.

Sun
12
Sep

Hook and bullet club - Grouse hunting

The 2004 Minnesota small game season gets underway this Saturday and it looks to be a great season to get out in the woods. As far as bringing home supper, well, there’s always Dairy Queen. <BR><BR>Local DNR wildlife guy Tom Rusch was in Ely last week and confirmed the reports we’ve heard so far: grouse numbers are still down.<BR><BR>“This is a cyclical thing; it’s not like the sky is falling,” said Rusch. “The good news is Minnesota has some of the best ruffed grouse habitat in the country and our lows are higher than many other places.”<BR><BR>Rusch attributes the continued low grouse numbers to the weather. After a good grouse winter (lots of snow), we had a lousy spring.<BR><BR>“Wet and cold in the spring is the worst thing for young chicks and that’s what we had,” said Rusch.

Sun
12
Sep

Birdshot and backlashes - fish or hunt?

It is that awkward time of the year. You are out fishing and the fish aren’t biting. You think maybe if you were hunting you would be flushing a lot of grouse. Or you are out grouse hunting and can’t find any. You sit down on a log and figure maybe if you were fishing, the walleyes would be hitting. That is after the grouse season opens on Saturday, Sept. 18.<BR><BR>And then it gets worse the following week when the duck season opens along with woodcock. <BR><BR>Adding to the confusion is the early Youth Waterfowl Hunt on Sept. 18 for hunters age 15 or under, accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The idea there is to get kids out hunting without having to compete with adults, which may or may not make any sense. When we were kids, we couldn’t wait to go hunting with the men. It as a part of growing up, of being one of the adult hunters.

Sat
11
Sep

Walleyes, bass come alive for fall

The secret to fall fishing might very well be trying new ways of angling. Of course, keeping a close ear to talk at the local bait shop doesn’t hurt either.<BR><BR>Last week the word was the walleyes were taking nightcrawlers up in the shallows. Several reports came in of guys doing well by slow trolling in secluded bays with worms. Hey, if it works, why not?<BR><BR>Fred Floura of Duluth was fishing with a Rapala in Moose Lake when he tied into one dandy of a smallmouth bass. At 21 inches long, the smallie weighed 5 lb. 4 oz. on the scale at Skube’s Bait and Tackle.<BR><BR>A 4 lb. 8 oz. bass with a 21-inch length and a 14-inch girth was taken on a crank Rapala in Fall Lake by Ronnie V. Morton of Rudy, AR and entered at Voyageur North Outfitters.<BR><BR>Jack Dreyer of San Mateo, CA registered a 19-inch 3 lb. 8 oz.

Sun
05
Sep

Birdshot and backlashes - Fall is approaching

It’s caterpillar, mushroom and early bird hunting time. Caterpillars - little skinny ones, fat brightly painted ones, medium-sized fuzzy ones - are hiking to and fro, deciding where it is they will hang up or spin their cocoons for the winter. The moths and butterflies that fluttered and sailed around the woods this past summer, laid their eggs, hatched into worms of some sort and are now in the process of becoming winter dwellers. <BR><BR>One thing that is hard to figure out: how can these insects live all winter in those thin little cocoons with a fraction of an inch of insulation, and survive 40 degrees below zero?<BR><BR>All of nature is simply amazing and bugs are some of the most amazing. Some of the flying insects don’t hang around all winter, but migrate - like the monarch butterfly that heads off across the Gulf of Mexico for South America. Incredible.

Sun
05
Sep

Hook and bullet club - Grouse season coming

There are two things many outdoorsman pay attention to this time of year: the predictions in the Farmer’s Almanac and the ruffed grouse count<BR><BR>We heard the Farmer’s Almanac predict plenty of snow this winter so get ready for another winter wonderland in the Ely area. <BR><BR>As for grouse, the news is not as good. <BR><BR>The DNR coordinates what they call a “drumming survey” whereby people drive down roads in the spring and stop and listen for the sound of grouse drumming. From the number of wings flapping on the ground, biologists can guesstimate the number of birds that are in that area. It’s far from an exact science, but it’s a pretty good indicator.<BR><BR>In northeastern Minnesota, the numbers were down 17 percent from last year. This was not what was expected.<BR><BR>Grouse populations are cyclical and usually last around 10 years.

Sun
05
Sep

Bass still hitting plus a 12 lb. walleye

Fishing for bass has been the hot ticket for anglers in the Ely area. Even though the overall fishing picture is not as pretty as it was a few weeks ago, there are still fish dinners to be had.<BR><BR>Three monster smallmouth bass were registered in the Catch and Release division. Leading the way was a 22-inch smallie caught on a leech and released in Farm Lake by Mark Collins of Sycamore, IL and registered at Timber Trail Lodge.<BR><BR>Neil Phillips of St. Paul, MN boated a 21-inch smallmouth in Basswood Lake and Katlin Phillips of Eagan did the same, with both releases coming in from Timber Trail Lodge. <BR><BR>A 4 lb. 8 oz. smallmouth that went 20.5 inches on the ruler was caught by Richard Szutenbach of St. John, MN in Burntside Lake and checked in at Skube’s Bait and Tackle. <BR><BR>Charlie Muttschall of Cape Coral, FL registered a 4 lb. 2 oz. smallie caught on jigs in Bear Island Lake and registered at Timber Wolf Lodge.

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