Outdoors

Sun
06
Mar

Hook and bullet club

Let’s just call this the best winter we’ve had for the past decade. For snow and trail conditions, it just doesn’t get any better than this. <BR><BR>The Ely Igloo snowmobile club has been grooming the area trails on a regular basis and other than the periodic mechanical breakdowns, the white highways are paved and bringing people to Ely.<BR><BR>As a trail administrator, I hear plenty on how the trails are, what needs to be groomed and even a word of thanks now and then. <BR><BR>On a recent Saturday night we were a bit shorthanded and I took a shift in one of Bombardier tractors, pulling an eight foot drag to smooth out the bumps and flatten the corners on a section of the Tomahawk Trail.<BR><BR>Jacob decided to come with me and we headed down Highway 1 just before 9 p.m. after picking up a spare tire to replace one that blew out on the drag.

Sun
27
Feb

Hook and bullet club - On muzzleloaders

The DNR makes efforts every so often to ask hunters for their input on rule changes. That’s happening again, although the closest meeting will be held in Two Harbors. <BR><BR>The rule changes being considered are fairly benign but you know the saying, “the world is run by those who show up.”<BR><BR>Luckily we don’t have to drive down Highway 1 to have our opinions known. You can submit your two cents via mail or email as well.<BR><BR>One proposal would allow scopes on muzzleloaders during the muzzleloader season.

Sun
27
Feb

Birdshot and backlashes

Old time guides and woodsmen seldom carried either a bow saw or a folding saw in the woods. Those came with more modern day campers. The old timers carried an axe. They did everything with the axe in addition to cutting and splitting firewood. They cut tent poles and pegs, built campsite tables, chairs, gin poles and wood andirons to hold pots, all with the axe.<BR><BR>Some of those old guys were very fast. When they waded into a wood job, the chips flew. And not only did they know how to swing an axe, but they were experts at sharpening. Some of them could even throw an axe, like a belt knife, and stick it in the trunk of a tree a dozen paces or more distant.<BR><BR>When ordinary folk began taking to the camp trails, it became quickly apparent that the axe was more than a good many of them could or should handle. There were a lot of injuries from axe blades in the hands of amateur choppers.

Sun
20
Feb

Hook and Bullet Club - winter snows

The 2004-2005 snow season may just turn out to be average after all. And for wildlife this is a good thing. But the tale of the tape as always will be March and how much snow falls before spring finally arrives.<BR><BR>DNR wildlife managers project winter mortality for deer by calculating the sum of days with a low temperature below zero and the number of days with 15 inches or more of snow on the ground. <BR><BR>This number is called the winter severity index and in our area, the readings are usually among the highest in the state. <BR><BR>For this winter, the WSI is at 78, right behind last year’s 80 and far ahead of the 52 two years ago. Of course, last year we finished at a 150, a number wildlife managers cringe at. <BR><BR>“Last year we ended up being 150 and we impacted some fawns this year,” said Tom Rusch, the wildlife manager for DNR in Tower.

Sun
20
Feb

Birdshot and backlashes

It is catalog time. I don’t buy much of anything out of catalogs, but sure like getting them to read and discover what the heck is new in the outdoor world. Cabela’s is a gold mine of discovery. The Cabela’s Master Catalog for Spring 2005 arrived loaded with neat stuff.<BR><BR>Like everyone else who spends considerable time in the outdoors world, there isn’t a whole lot that is going to change how we go about catching walleyes or bass or trout, but it is intriguing to see what other folks have cooked up to get the job done.<BR><BR>First are rods and reels. The stuff fisherman can get now is very functional and not expensive. Something which developed the last couple of years are “jig poles.” These graphite rods run from 10 feet to 12 feet, which is twice as long as most fishing sticks. The jig pole allows the angler to get the bait a long way out, even a very light lure like a crappie jig and to keep track of what is going on at the other end.

Fri
18
Feb

Conservation Officer’s report

Conservation Officer John Velsvaag (Ely) checked anglers on area lakes this past week. Some trout and a few walleyes were seen, but tough fishing for the most part. CO Velsvaag also worked with CO Mike Lekatz checking snowmobilers and anglers on Shagawa and Little Long lakes on the weekend. Anglers are reminded to display their full name and address or driver's license number or DNR number on their shelters. Trail conditions deteriorated considerably from the previous several weeks for snowmobilers and lake conditions are okay. Violations included speeding and failing to display snowmobile registration.<BR><BR>CO Mike Lekatz (Ely) worked checks on fishing activity on area lakes throughout the week. Slush conditions have settled down on most area lakes due to the colder temperatures earlier in the week. Fishing success has been very slow on most trout lakes with anglers checked reporting many hours spent on the ice with very few trout being caught.

Sun
13
Feb

Birdshot and backlashes

Stuff that comes in the mail:<BR><BR>Tom Copeland from out in Big Bear City, California, writes in that he and buddies Brian Dobry and Evan Durland will take off by canoe on a trip from Lake Superior to Hudson Bay this summer. They will be following the route of Eric Sevareid who made the trip in 1930 as a high school graduate. <BR><BR>Sevareid’s adventure is printed in the book “Canoeing with the Cree” which was a best seller and is still in book marts. A high point in that book was the fact that Sevareid and his paddle pal got somewhat out of sync toward the end of the trip and had a fist fight on the river bank before they finally got their act together and with help of the Cree finished at Hudson Bay.<BR><BR>Copeland and his crew worked at the Boy Scout Base east of Ely as guides for Scout troops going into the Boundary Waters. They figure they’ve got the skills and now want to test their endurance in an ultimate northern trip.

Sat
12
Feb

Hook and Bullet Club

The injury was a stupid one really, jumping out of the back of a pick-up truck and twisting an ankle on uneven ground. But this happened in town, and with some ice packs and hobbling around, all should be back to normal soon. <BR><BR>There are times and places where an injury, even one as basic as a twisted ankle, can lead to a lot more trouble.<BR><BR>Hunting is the perfect setting for injuries. Between walking over uneven terrain, you have tree stands, swamps, darkness, logs and slippery rocks to put the brakes on your expedition.<BR><BR>Plus there’s the all-too-common situation of pushing your physical limits beyond what your body is used to. If instead of typing on a computer you spend all day traipsing through the woods, you’ll feel the difference in a hurry.<BR><BR>But most hunters don’t really think about what could happen if an injury were to occur.

Fri
11
Feb

Dogs chasing, harassing wildlife a serious problem

Conservation officers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are receiving a growing number of reports about dogs chasing and harassing deer.<BR><BR>Minnesota DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm suggests that most dog owners are not aware of what their dogs are up to when the dogs are out roaming. And, he added, they’re not being kind to the dog. <BR><BR>Conservation officers believe that people underestimate the potential for their dog to get into trouble. Many people do not believe that their dog would chase wildlife. <BR><BR>“People think it’s great that their dogs can run,” Hamm said. “But they don’t know what the dogs do when they are out of sight. Because the dog is well mannered when the owner is around, the owner underestimates the potential for their pet to chase wildlife. <BR><BR>In reality, the dog is out there doing what dogs do - following a scent and chasing down prey.

Sun
06
Feb

Birdshot and backlashes

The two deer came off the big island in Jasper Lake, cutting across the surface to the main shore. The only thing was, they figured out that they probably couldn't get to where they wanted. Too much slush. The deer were up to their bellies in snow and slush. They stopped and stood in the snow, looking around, probably discussing the matter.<BR><BR>One deer says to the other: "Boy, you're a star! You said we could cross the lake here and go over to that patch of dogwood for breakfast and now look! We are up to here in snow and slush!"<BR><BR>The other deer says: "Aw shut up! If you are so doggone smart, how come you didn't say the lake was full of slush?"<BR><BR>Anyway, wherever the deer were going, they changed their minds and headed for the nearest shore.

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