Outdoors

Sun
14
Nov

Hook and bullet club

The funny thing about deer hunting is that it imitates your regular life at times: not all goes as planned. <BR><BR>Take opening morning for instance. All of Camp Cholesterol were able to clamber out of their bunks, put on the orange and be out the door before the crack of dawn. <BR><BR>This was pretty amazing in itself after our annual Camp Cholesterol Awards Banquet that is traditionally held on the night before the opener. Luckily for us the dancing girls decided to go home early. <BR><BR>After donning our blaze orange, Jake and I walked across a soggy swamp in the dark and made our way up to the two stands we have on the other side. <BR><BR>The other five hunters in our group (Bill, Dave, Brian, Mike and Steve) spread out across the forest, heading for the stands they hoped would be the lucky one that day. <BR><BR>It was quiet in the woods on opener. Real quiet.

Sun
07
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

Deer hunting is here. Ice fishing is about upon us. Well, not on all of us. Just those of us who engage in this activity. Certainly the major part of our senior population has no interest in obtaining fish by dropping a line through a hole in the ice. <BR><BR>Most sports-minded folk are watching football or basketball from the warm comfort of their living rooms. Most of them are dimly aware that there are some misguided or perhaps mentally impaired citizens who tread out upon the frozen, windswept surfaces of our lakes intent on harvesting, perhaps, the ingredients for a walleye, trout or pike dinner, frost bite notwithstanding. <BR><BR>Ice fisherfolk, although few in number, are an enthusiastic and hearty breed, possibly due in part to the Scandinavian heritage of the north country. Unfortunately, they seem compelled to discuss their activity at length.

Sun
07
Nov

Hook and bullet club

Now that we’re done with the election so we can really focus on more important things like deer hunting, it’s a good time to look back at how the two intersect at times.<BR><BR>Especially at the end of the presidential campaign, we had the fear factor of not being able to hunt injected into the political advertisements. For many this was a good reason to start paying attention.<BR><BR>But is there really cause for concern? Is there a movement underway to do away with hunting that we should really be worried about? <BR><BR>Good questions that aren’t going to be answered clearly without some amount of suspicion.

Sun
07
Nov

Letter from the hunting shack

Hey! It’s deer season! Obviously I had to write this before the Echo went to print, so you’ll have to wait until next week to get the opening weekend report. <BR><BR>The bags were packed and the food loaded on Friday afternoon, as a good weekend of hunting was anticipated. I sure am thankful that Halloween falls before opening weekend, because it gives me a head start on my chocolate fix. <BR><BR>I’m pretty much a confirmed chocolate junkie and special thanks to my boys for graciously contributing to the old man’s habit. There’s nothing better than munching on a Reese’s peanut butter cup while waiting for Joey Buck. <BR><BR>Last week I mentioned my nephew’s kid got his first deer and it kind of got me reminiscing about some of the characters I used to hunt with down in Georgia. <BR><BR>One guy in particular went by the nickname “Nibbler” because he always had a toothpick in his mouth and he nibbled on it constantly.

Mon
01
Nov

Reminder to hunters headed to the Superior National Forest this year

The Superior National Forest welcomes hunters to the forest, but asks that this activity be pursued with safety and State, federal, and tribal hunting regulations in mind. Hunters are advised that the recently revised Forest Plan includes some new policy regarding the use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and are also reminded that only portable or free-standing hunting blinds/stands are allowed.<BR><BR>OHV use will be allowed on OHV designated trails and on low-maintenance and unclassified roads unless posted closed. All cross-country OHV travel is prohibited, as well as any travel in ditches and shoulders of National Forest roads. The purpose of the new policy is to continue to provide opportunities for OHV riders while protecting the Forest’s ecological resources and reducing conflicts among Forest users.<BR><BR>Portable hunting stands are defined as those that are chained, belted, clamped, or tied with rope and do no permanent damage.

Mon
01
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

It is getting into the serious time of year. All fall, hunters have been involved with various sporting activities such as grouse hunting, waterfowl shooting and similar recreational pursuits. However, Saturday, Nov. 6, initiates the serious side of hunting. Deer Season.<BR><BR>At one half hour before sunrise, some 300,000 or so Minnesota deer hunters will be hunkered down in the brush, edging their way through balsam thickets, stump sitting on a cutover or perched high in a tree stand, all with the thought in mind of putting a hunk of lead into a whitetail buck.<BR><BR>Over most of the state, antlerless deer are also legal targets, but hunters who sit and dream, conjure up a vision of some massive stag sporting a rack of 10 points or more and weighing about the same as a Viking defensive tackle.

Sun
31
Oct

Hook and bullet club

We are now in the final week before deer season and already there are spouses across the North Country ready to throw their husbands out in the woods. <BR><BR>For some hunters the itch to go is so great, the anticipation is almost too much to bear. This is especially true if you live in the Great White North. <BR><BR>One of the members of Camp Cholesterol told me last week he’s still working on getting the itch to go. But now that I think about it, I can understand why.<BR><BR>Half of our camp spend their normal lives driving interstate highways in the Twin Cities area to get to work every day. They deal with traffic that’s worse than the mosquitoes up north during a wet summer.<BR><BR>For those of us who find a way to make a go of it up here, we’re immersed in the outdoors almost every day. Even if you live in town, you know that the tamaracks have been in full color for three weeks now.

Mon
25
Oct

Birdshot and backlashes - Beavers

Beavers are busy. The first nippy days of fall, the first whisps of snow, and beavers start to cut like the dickens. They sense that winter is just around the corner and they had better get their winter food supply cut and jammed in the mud, maybe get their lodge tidied up for the freeze.<BR><BR>There are a couple beavers nearby of which we keep track. One appears to be in dire need of good advice. He lives in two ponds connected by a culvert. His home is in a den on one side of the road, but nearly all of his timber cutting is on the other side. Thus, whatever he cuts for winter use has to be dragged through the culvert. So far, he hasn’t been doing much dragging. He seems to think the culvert won’t freeze and he will be able to get at his food supply all winter.<BR><BR>That’s one problem. Another is that he is a lousy logger. He has cut down a lot of birch for winter food but hung them up in the brush so he can’t get at the upper branches.

Mon
25
Oct

Hook and bullet club - Getting ready for deer camp

The preparations for the 2004 firearms deer season are on the verge of completion. This is no small task, by the way, since we formed Camp Cholesterol. <BR><BR>In the old days it was simply a matter of filling up the truck with gas and making sure you didn’t forget your gun, blaze orange and coffee. <BR><BR>Hunting out of pick-ups does have its advantages, but they were definitely outnumbered by the disadvantages.<BR><BR>We were able to see and hunt some very different areas when we truck hunted but we never got in the woods very far. <BR><BR>Whether it was the Fernberg, the Cloquet Line or the Echo Trail, we never really sunk in, mainly because we were geared for hunting out of the truck. <BR><BR>You just seem to get into a routine that revolves around meeting back at the truck.

Fri
22
Oct

Moose numbers up, deer finding feed in forest

The 2004 moose-hunting season in northeastern Minnesota ended on Sunday, Oct. 17, with 246 hunting parties harvesting 149 moose. That compares with 224 parties harvesting 143 moose in 2003.<BR><BR>In Ely, a total of 29 moose were registered, up from 23 in 2003. In 2002 there were 22 registered and 29 in 2001. No moose season was held in 2000. <BR><BR>Party success was 61 percent this year, compared with 64 percent in 2003. Lower hunting success rates and higher number of bulls in the harvest seem to be the trend over the last 10 years, according to Tom Rusch, Tower area wildlife manager.<BR><BR>Hunters are becoming more selective, passing up cows and calves, in search of larger antlered bulls in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Rusch said.

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