Hook and Bullet Club

This is the final weekend to carry a firearm and hunt deer in Minnesota for 2019.
It’s muzzleloader season and I came in a bit unprepared. I didn’t hunt the first weekend and it wasn’t until Harold Langowski and I went for a ride to look at a trail issue that I was too excited to go out.
But when a huge buck was standing in a clear cut the urge to get back in the woods chasing whitetails returned in a hurry.
So, it was a last minute run to J&L to pick up ammunition since mine was at the shack.
Jay fetched powder pellets and bullets and I would’ve walked out the door if he hadn’t asked if I needed primers as well. Thanks Jay!
Since the law was changed I have been wanting to put the scope back on my muzzleloader.
Finally on Monday I was able to run down to Virginia Surplus where owner Doug Ellis stayed to help me out.


Final buck harvest down 21% in Tower area

The 2019 firearms deer season was not what the state was hoping for, at least in terms of harvest.
For the Tower area, the buck harvest was down 21% while the total harvest was down 42% compared to 2018.
The numbers are for northern St Louis and Lake counties including Permit Areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132 176, 177 and 178.
In the Tower area bucks comprised 82% of the harvest and antlerless deer just 18% as a result of a more conservative season structure in most permit areas to allow for population growth,” said area wildlife supervisor Tom Rusch.
The state-wide harvest was 169,869 deer including 93,384 (55%) bucks and 76,485 antlerless (45%).
Adult Buck Harvest by DPA (% Change)
117 +6.3%
118 -8.6%
119 -24.1%
130 -29.5%
131 -33.7%
132 -25.2%
176 -25.6%
177 -24.7%
178 -16.3%
Avg = -20.5%


Ely Field Naturalists celebrate year end and new year ahead including upcoming Ely Christmas Bird Count

by Bill Tefft
The Ely Field Naturalists will make a presentation in Classroom CL104 at Vermilion Community from 6:30 until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
This meeting will provide a wrap-up to many of the 2019 field naturalist activities and will prepare for upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, winter solstice celebration and 2020 plans.
The Ely Christmas Bird Count will be conducted on Ely’s Winter Solstice date, Saturday, Dec. 21. The solstice occurs at 10:19 p.m. CST on the Dec. 21. Many calendars show the date of the solstice as Dec. 22 which is accurate using the Universal Time Clock.
Information on all of the Christmas Bird Counts in Minnesota can be found at the Minnesota Ornithologist’s Union website calendar of bird count locations at www.moumn.org/CBC/cal/calendar.php


DNR reports some areas up, overall deer harvest down in Tower area

After a bitter cold opening Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the 2019 firearms deer season has bounced back according to registration numbers.
The Minnesota DNR reports the harvest is down 30.5% compared to 2018 for northern St Louis and Lake Counties including Permit Areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132 176, 177 and 178.
When just the buck harvest is separated out, the numbers are down 12.8% from last year through the second Tuesday of the 16-day season.
“All things considered, the buck harvest is not down as much as I thought it would be,” said area wildlife supervisor Tom Rusch.
For the following permit areas, here’s what the harvest increase or decrease was:
117 + 8.8%
118 + 2.6%
178 - 8.8%
132 - 15.5%
130 - 15.9%
119 - 17.2%
176 - 19.5
177 - 19.7
131 - 25.4


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending November 12

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely 1) reports: Snow and cold weather seemed to aid hunters for the opening weekend of the regular firearms seasons. Success was limited but most hunters he spoke to reported seeing a good amount of fresh deer sign and at least fleeting glimpses of deer. Violations included: Hunting deer over bait, and no license in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely) checked deer hunters this past week. He also checked a few waterfowl hunters before freeze up at the end of the week. CO Velsvaag had several calls about party hunting and baiting deer.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time checking deer hunters during the opening weekend. The officer responded to complaints and followed up bait cases. Enforcement action was taken for hunting over bait, transporting loaded firearms, no blaze orange, fail to tag deer, fail to validate tag and ATV violations.


Hunting shacks underwent changes for the Floyd family

by Rich Floyd
Deer hunting out of a shack has been a treasured tradition in our family since long before I was born. Though we have had our own place for nearly 60 years now, before that the shacks were opportunistic.
I can remember two of them. The first was an abandoned lumber camp somewhere around Skibo, outside of Hoyt Lakes. (We lived in Eveleth at the time.)
We called it the tar paper shack. Old timers will know why. It was around the mid ’50s when we used that shack.
I turned six years old in the fall of 1955, so of course, I didn’t deer hunt yet, but I remember my brother, Ted, and me shooting a BB gun at busted dishes left after a bear had broken into the place, making a big mess.


DNR certifies new catch-and-release state record muskie out of Vermilion

Lake Vermilion catch has special meaning for angler at his family cabin
An angler on Lake Vermilion caught and released Minnesota’s new state record muskellunge, a 57 1/4 inch fish that he called a “true giant.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources certified the state catch-and-release record fish on Oct. 11. The 57 1/4 inch fish had a 25 1/2 inch girth with an estimated weight of about 47 pounds. The previous record was a 56 7/8 inch fish caught on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County in 2016.
The record catch took on special meaning for new record-holder Corey Kitzmann of Davenport, Iowa. While alone on Aug. 6 at his family cabin on Lake Vermilion, Kitzmann was sitting at the table tying a homemade bucktail lure. Then he received a phone call relaying bad news – one of his best friends had passed away from a medical condition at age 40.
With nobody around to grieve with, Kitzmann went fishing.


DNR: Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open on select Tower area lakes

Dates have been set for recreational netting for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) on seven lakes in the Tower fisheries work area.
These lakes are Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures, and are opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses, other public places, and the DNR website.
Schedule I Lakes (48 hour notice)
• Vermilion, Basswood, Fall and Newton lakes, open to netting Friday, Oct. 25 through Wednesday, Nov. 13. (Minimum 3.5 inch mesh size for Vermilion and Newton lakes. Minimum 1.75 inch mesh size for Basswood and Fall lakes.)
• Shagawa, open to netting Friday, Nov. 1 through Monday, Nov. 25, 2018 (Minimum 3.5 inch mesh size)
• Bear Island & Ojibway lakes, open to netting Friday, Nov. 22 through Monday, Dec. 23, 2018 (Minimum 1.75 inch mesh size)


What’s your shack story?

In northern Minnesota, people’s lives and summer vacations are centered around “the Cabin.” The cabin is the scene of summer dreams, walks in the woods and interaction with water.
Families gather, bond, mark the growth of each family member. And when they head home, the cabin is closed up and secured for the next year and other visits.
But what of the “Shack”? Once the domain of males only during hunting season, it appears to have evolved into something else. Year round it appeals to a different inner spirit. It’s a refuge. The ultimate (man) cave, no matter who enjoys it.
The Echo would like to delve into that mystique. We’d like to find out if any part of the shack experience can be isolated in words.
This doesn’t have to be fancy words. Not even perfect sentences. We’ll accept answers that are a bit on the rustic, backwoods style of those folks who are plain speaking and plain writing. Throw in a bunch of bragging and whatever else needed.


Dock removal slated for state public water accesses

Late fall can be a great time to fish in Minnesota and you may even have your favorite fishing spot to yourself. It’s also a time for seasonal dock removal at many public water accesses.
Seasonal dock removal at DNR-managed public water accesses generally begins after the third weekend of October and is usually completed by early November. Late season anglers may want to bring along a pair of hip boots or waders to stay dry when launching their boats, if the dock at their access point has been removed for winter.
“We do try to leave some of the more frequently used docks in place as long as we can, but we also need to manage that work across a large geographic area, and get it all done before the water begins to freeze,” said Ward Wallin, DNR Parks and Trails Two Harbors area assistant supervisor.


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