Outdoors

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.

Fri
24
Sep

Forest Service decision spurs ATV club to action

New rules put into effect by the U.S. Forest Service have angered local ATV riders who are finding out the places they have ridden for years are now off limits.<BR><BR>The result to date is a new infusion of members to the local ATV club.<BR><BR>“It’s been an overwhelming response for the club,” said Ely-Winton Stumpjumpers vice president Roger Skraba. “There will be a strong club in Ely, MN but everyone has to show up on October 13.”<BR><BR>Kawishiwi District Ranger Mark Van Every knows the changes are controversial but adds they are in line with national policy on federal lands.<BR><BR>“This is in line with national policy basically restricting off road vehicle traffic to designated routes. We don’t allow people to ride on level 3 roads which are our higher standard roads because of potential safety issues,” said Van Every.

Sun
19
Sep

Birdshot and backlashes on grouse

It has been said by upland hunters since the founding of the nation that the ruffed grouse is the noblest game bird of them all. Those of us who have sought this feathered rocket from aspen ridges to balsam thickets, cannot say enough for its speed and deception in flight nor its tasty addition to a wild game dinner.<BR><BR>Nor its sometime lack of sense.<BR><BR>We have never met a woodland gunner who has not pondered the seeming lack of intelligence encased within the feathered skull of this partridge of fact and fable. “Lord, but they are dumb,” is a common sentiment.<BR><BR>An example revealed itself this previous week when my wife Edith and I ventured up the Fernberg Trail toward Lake One on a journey to reconnoiter grouse byways.

Sun
19
Sep

Hook and bullet club - Moose season

Moose season is set to get underway soon, putting the second wave of firearm-equipped big game hunters in the woods.<BR><BR>Bear hunters have been at it for two weeks now and it looks like a similar harvest of bears as last year.<BR><BR>Lucky Seven was at 36 bears for the first reporting period, equal to the number registered last year in Ely. For the Tower area, the DNR reported 136 bears taken, up from 117 a year before.<BR><BR>The state bear population is estimated at up to 25,000 with the vast majority in the northern one-third of the state. <BR><BR>DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch of Tower said the hope is for a statewide harvest of up to 4,000 bears.<BR><BR>Interestingly, the bear harvest follows the berry crop. The fewer berries on the vine, the more bears taken by hunters.

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