Birdshot and backlashes

by Bob Cary

They stuck up motionless like two small stumps on top of the ice, only we knew there were no stumps on that part of the lake. As we skied ever closer, they began to take shape - the shape of two large otters. When we were within 50 feet, each dove down a hole in the ice and vanished. But as we arrived at the holes, suddenly both emerged, saw us almost at their feet and immediately plunged back down out of sight.<BR><BR>There is a lot to see in the woods these days as spring shakes off the frigid blanket of winter. Until last week, skiing was still good on the lakes, at least in the afternoon when the lake surfaces would soften up. Now? Well, who knows? There are soft spots developing, air holes appearing and the ice is getting spooky. Besides, it is only 34 days now until walleye season.<BR><BR>PANFISH WILD<BR><BR>Crappies, perch and bluegills are going great right now. Some of the better panfish lakes like Grassy, Low, Bass, Shagawa, Little Long, even Miners Lake, are giving up some nice fish. It is weather an ice angler can enjoy sometimes in his shirt sleeves. But not for long, ice out is right around the next bend. <BR><BR>RECORD DEER SEASON IN 2005<BR><BR>You can say you heard it here first. The 2005 deer season will be the best on record. Ever. <BR><BR>After several great deer seasons, it does not seem possible for a better one, but you can bet your best Winchester on it. <BR><BR>Whitetails came through the past winter in excellent shape. And there was a bumper crop of deer going into winter. <BR><BR>There are a lot of wolves, too, but they won’t be able to keep the lid on the deer population. Not in 2005 they won’t. This coming November will be the best Minnesota has ever seen. <BR><BR>In addition to a huge population of deer in the woods, there is a surplus in urban areas, too. Duluth and Minneapolis are having big flaps over their deer herds which have grown by leaps and bounds. There is some talk of having limited in-city archery seasons to whack the deer back, but the animals rights folks may put the brakes on this. <BR><BR>If there are enough fender benders involving deer, the public is simply going to demand the DNR take action. But what action? <BR><BR>On one hand are the deer lovers who put out food to keep them around and on the other hand are the people who figure deer are a traffic hazard and are browsing off their flowers and shrubs. <BR><BR>And then, there are always a few bears that wander into Duluth each year, but there are not many complaints about the cops getting rid of the bears. Bears scare people. Even the animal advocates. <BR><BR>WILDLIFE NORTHBOUND<BR><BR>There are lots of birds migrating - eagles, hawks, waterfowl, songbirds. There was a flock of Canada geese sitting in the river adjacent to Winton last week. Not only next to Winton but next to the Fernberg Road. Maybe they flew in and landed on the river at night only to discover when daybreak arrived that they were next to houses and auto traffic. <BR><BR>Where the Shagawa River flows into Fall Lake, hooded mergansers in all their bright black and silver plumage have been dipping and diving. Other ducks in there, too, but the mergansers are the brightest and most obvious.<BR><BR>Lastly, the deer are migrating out the Fernberg Road and on other routes toward their summer range. They will spend the summer to the north, east and southeast of Ely, then migrate back to the deer yards next November. <BR><BR>Next thing; suckers will be running up the creeks to spawn and ice will be going off the lakes. Spring has sprung.<BR><BR>