Outdoors

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.

Mon
18
Oct

Birdshot and backlashes

As the aspen leaf shower descends and the tamaracks start turning gold, it is readily clear that winter is closing in fast. The tamarack is the only evergreen that doesn’t stay ever green. Tamaracks don’t seem to know what they are. They have a short growing season, which means they grow slowly and they grow tough. Early on, I learned that tamarack is not the kind of tree you seek for firewood or construction. It is miserable stuff to drive a nail into. But they look pretty this time of year when their needles turn gold.<BR><BR>Deer are out at night now, browsing on frost nipped clover in roadside ditches. It pays to drive very carefully in the evening or after dark. The state put out a bulletin advising drivers that if a deer is in the road, don’t swerve to miss it, hit it square on. The idea is that if a driver swerves, he may go off the road or hit another car head-on.

Mon
18
Oct

Hook and bullet club - the last chance

In the first 23 days of the 2004 ruffed grouse season we saw three grouse and got one. On the 24th day we doubled those numbers.<BR><BR>Evan and I had jumped in the truck for an after work/before supper hunt as the sun was speeding down into the western horizon. <BR><BR>We found a dirt road outside of town that has been known to harbor birds and cruised along slowly. Actually it was more like a crawl since Evan was sitting on my lap doing the steering but you get the idea.<BR><BR>This was one of those weird cases where you don’t see anything going in but on the way out your luck changes. We did see a pine marten hop across the road in front of us as we headed in but that was about it until we turned around.<BR><BR>The clock on the radio hit 6 p.m. and the birds decided it was time to come out and play. The first grouse ran across the road from left to right about 100 feet ahead.

Mon
11
Oct

Birdshot and backlashes

When Larry Mischke was varsity football coach for Ely Memorial High School, his problem, sometimes, was winning too many football games. Larry had some great teams, the trouble being that they were often in the state play-offs which meant they were scheduled well up into the hunting season. <BR><BR>The year Ely played for the state championship in the Metrodome, Larry’s deer season got pretty well obliterated. This was not only a drag on coaching but also on many of the players who were also deer hunters. <BR><BR>Since retiring, Mischke said over coffee last week, he doesn’t have that problem any more and has been catching up…not only with deer, but also with pheasants, ducks and geese in southwest Minnesota and the Dakotas, plus a few Dakota sandhill cranes. Larry says the key to his current hunting activities is the patience of a very understanding wife.<BR><BR>Goose hunting is one of Larry’s favorites and used to be one of mine.

Mon
11
Oct

Hook and bullet club

Kawishiwi District Range Mark Van Every knows there are some unhappy ATV owners in this area right now. He just feels some of their unhappiness is unjustified.<BR><BR>Van Every called on Wednesday to talk about the new forest plan that forbids ATV travel across country, even to retrieve big game such as moose or deer. <BR><BR>What he wanted to point out was that other than that change (albeit a big one), the rules on where you can and cannot ride an ATV have not really changed from the old plan.<BR><BR>Let’s use the Cloquet Line as an example. Due to how that road is classified by the Forest Service it was not a legal road to ride ATVs on. <BR><BR>We can go into the detail on Forest Service road classifications but unless you’re a road engineer, I doubt you or I would be able to determine the different classifications without a map.

Sun
10
Oct

Ramsey, MN hunter have success

NICE MOOSE - The hunting party of Dave and Mike Jakubiec and Scott Widstrom of Ramsey, MN bagged this bull moose last Tuesday while hunting near Twin Lakes west of Ely. This was the second year they had applied for the once-in-a-lifetime license. They used a birch bark call to bring in the bull, the only moose they saw in four days of hunting. The 44-inch rack still had some velvet attached to the top of the antlers. Photo by Nick Wognum.

Mon
04
Oct

Conservation Officer’s report

Conservation Officer’s report<BR><BR>Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) handled a roadkilled moose. He also investigated a dog being killed by a wild animal. Coincidentally there was a cougar seen by a deputy sheriff in the same area. Anglers were checked on Lake Superior. Hunters are starting to scout for moose and a couple of groups of moose hunters were found to be scouting in different zones from where they are to be hunting. Please check the maps of your zones. CO Fagerman assisted Customs and Border Protection who called when they found three Illinois residents to be 25 walleyes over the limit. After posting $2,340 in fines, the three were released to continue their trip back to Illinois without any fish. CO Fagerman also worked with CO Brad Johnson on the waterfowl opener.

Mon
04
Oct

Hook and bullet club - A day in the woods

The 2004 Minnesota duck opener came just as expected - not a cloud in the sky. Called a “blue bird day” by devout duck blind habitants, it was a slow day for ducks in our neck of the woods.<BR><BR>We decided cutting firewood would be a much better use of time and set about doing just that. <BR><BR>With one chainsaw and a bunch of helping hands, we loaded up the trailer on the four wheeler twice and headed back to the shack to cool down. The temperature was now in the mid-70s - again, to be expected, after all it was the Minnesota duck opener. <BR><BR>Hard work and fresh air sent Steve to the couch, Bill heading home and the younger set of Jake, Evan and Kelsey off on wheelers and dirt bikes to enjoy the afternoon. <BR><BR>I managed to find a wheeler not being driven and decided to do a little riding myself. Actually I had a recon mission in mind so I made sure the shotgun was on board and headed up the road.

Sun
26
Sep

Birdshot and backlashes - The need for wetlands

It was the first grouse season opener in recent years with silence. Saturday, the bird season got underway with nary a sound of gunshots. Surely, some grouse must have been taken some place, but not in our neck of the woods, unless somebody shot them with an arrow.<BR><BR>Everyone knows that hunting is difficult with thick, early fall foliage. But silence? There didn’t even seem to be very many hunters out. Pre-season scouting indicated very few birds. Grouse appear at or near the bottom of their cycle. A very low bird population.<BR><BR>There were some cries for a shorter season and a cut in the limit, like back to three birds instead of five. That would probably make no difference. If a hunter cannot get one grouse, whether the limit is three or five has little bearing. Even if the season was terminated, it would probably make no difference. When the grouse are at the low end of their cycle, very few are harvested.

Sun
26
Sep

Hook and bullet club - Deer hunting

For archery hunters, the 2004 deer season has been off and running for several weeks now. For the firearms hunters, we’re just getting ready for what should be a banner season.<BR><BR>“The old timers are comparing this to the mid to late 1960s,” said DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch of Tower. “The population level is unchanged from last year.”<BR><BR>Hunters registered nearly 5,000 deer in our area but Mother Nature filled those empty hoof prints right back up again.<BR><BR>“We had a huge fawn crop this year,” said Rusch. “And we just don’t have the numbers to knock the population back by say 25 percent.”<BR><BR>That means there will be lots of deer and lots of opportunities for guys to shoot does and/or more than one deer this year.<BR><BR>Even in zone 116, the Fernberg, nearly every hunter who applied for an antlerless permit will get one.

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