Outdoors

Sun
18
Apr

Hook and bullet club - Eagles and "ghost" moose mysteries solved

Okay, it appears the eagle mystery is solved. Our Hardy Boys are the DNR’s Tom Rusch and Joe Geis along with Ron Guck.<BR><BR>The bald eagles sitting on the ice on Robinson Lake for no apparent reason had a good reason to be there: dead fish.<BR><BR>Robinson is a shallow lake that experienced a winter kill this year. A winter kill is when the oxygen levels in the water drop so low that fish cannot survive.<BR><BR>The holes in the ice provide some additional oxygen for the fish to congregate to and also a spot for the dead ones to float to the surface. Easy pickings for the eagles.<BR><BR>“More fish die every day so the eagles keep coming back to enjoy the McFish restaurant buffet!” said Rusch.<BR><BR>Well I’m sure everyone can sleep better at night knowing why those eagles were out there. And this should put that alien theory to rest once and for all.

Mon
12
Apr

Taking snowmobiles for the last ride of the season - on water

When the snow melts on the trails, lakes and rivers, winter may be waning but there is still a way to extend the snowmobile season. <BR><BR>You may need to be slightly crazy and have a snowmachine with lots of horse power to do it, but with enough of both to keep those paddles spinning you can go ‘water skipping.’ <BR><BR>Once you’re out there you better keep moving because if you slow down, you’re sunk. This seems to happen quite often, but the guys are used to it. It’s not really too bad for the machine, just a hassle. <BR><BR>You fish the sled out of the water, whatever it takes. Usually there is a lot of help at hand, a 4-wheeler, a winch, a boat, or an arm-in-arm human chain will suck it up onto shore (the machine - and hopefully the driver).

Mon
12
Apr

Hook and bullet club - Eagles returning

The bald eagle is our country’s national bird and especially as of late, a common site around our neck of the woods. <BR><BR>If you’ve been driving along Highway 169 the past week or so, you probably saw the eagles perched on the ice of Robinson Lake. Local back cracker Bucky Phelps was driving home the other night and saw eight eagles out on the ice. <BR><BR>I asked local DNR wildlife guy Tom Rusch what gives. “Those are tethered there for tourists,” he said with a laugh. <BR><BR>“No, there’s got to be a food source there,” said Rusch. “There’s probably something dead nearby.” <BR><BR>A dead deer would be a likely dinner for the eagles, who are great hunters as well but can scavenge with the best of them.

Wed
07
Apr

Burntside Lake railway and the sunken scow mystery

We have all heard stories of lost pieces of railroad history left abandoned in the woods at the end of the line. Most of them have to do with logging lines that were hastily put down and torn up as the tall trees came and went. <BR><BR>In Minnesota, the logging and lumbering industries were always looking for a better way to transport logs down rivers and across lakes. This led to some very interesting types of vessels. Some vessels were “j erry -rigged” to access areas so that they could go in, log, and get out fast. A lot of their vessels were similar in nature, but each one had a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted look. Some would take a flatbottom boat and put a deck on it, add a steam-powered donkey winch system, and even paddle wheels if needed.<BR><BR>This story is about one of these beauties that I found scuttled in Hoist Bay on Burntside Lake near Ely.

Wed
07
Apr

Burntside Lake railway and the sunken scow mystery

We have all heard stories of lost pieces of railroad history left abandoned in the woods at the end of the line. Most of them have to do with logging lines that were hastily put down and torn up as the tall trees came and went. <BR><BR>In Minnesota, the logging and lumbering industries were always looking for a better way to transport logs down rivers and across lakes. This led to some very interesting types of vessels. Some vessels were “j erry -rigged” to access areas so that they could go in, log, and get out fast. A lot of their vessels were similar in nature, but each one had a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted look. Some would take a flatbottom boat and put a deck on it, add a steam-powered donkey winch system, and even paddle wheels if needed.<BR><BR>This story is about one of these beauties that I found scuttled in Hoist Bay on Burntside Lake near Ely.

Mon
05
Apr

Hook and bullet club

Call it cabin fever in reverse. I need to get to away from it all, to a place where there’s no television, no internet and no electricity. I need some shack time.<BR><BR> <BR><BR>Oh sure, I enjoyed watching the Minnesota women’s basketball team beat up on #1 Duke Tuesday night. But that’s an exception to the rule. As for the normal prime-time line-up on any network, cable or otherwise, you can have it. <BR><BR>Give me the hiss of a Humphrey propane light any night of the week. The fire crackling in the wood stove and the teapot set to boil on the stove with another batch of hot water for those dirty dishes in the sink. <BR><BR>Shack time. <BR><BR>Should I get up and get some more wood for the fire now or sit here and enjoy life without all the modern conveniences for a little while longer?<BR><BR> These are the questions one should be asking most weekends of the year.

Mon
29
Mar

Challenges met during annual club ride

For the past couple of years, the annual club ride for the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club has been to trailer up to Crane Lake, ride up to Lac La Croix to the pictographs, have lunch and come back. <BR><BR>It sounds like a simple trip and usually goes off without a hitch, but there’s always some last minute problem and/or disaster to make it interesting. <BR><BR>My group decided to head up Friday night, stay in Orr and then get to Crane Lake at a leisurely pace. <BR><BR>This might have happened except for two problems. The first was trying to get a seven wire vehicle plug to talk to a six wire trailer plug. The second was the Canadian government.<BR><BR>The first problem seemed like a simple one to solve but turned into a disaster. There is a special adapter that allows the two sets of wires to talk to each other but, of course, that adapter could not be found in Ely at 10 minutes before five o’clock on Friday night.

Sun
28
Mar

Problems threaten to thwart club's annual ride

For the past couple of years, the annual club ride for the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club has been to trailer up to Crane Lake, ride up to Lac La Croix to the pictographs, have lunch and come back. <BR><BR>It sounds like a simple trip and usually goes off without a hitch, but there’s always some last minute problem and/or disaster to make it interesting. <BR><BR>My group decided to head up Friday night, stay in Orr and then get to Crane Lake at a leisurely pace. <BR><BR>This might have happened except for two problems. The first was trying to get a seven wire vehicle plug to talk to a six wire trailer plug. The second was the Canadian government.<BR><BR>The first problem seemed like a simple one to solve but turned into a disaster. There is a special adapter that allows the two sets of wires to talk to each other but, of course, that adapter could not be found in Ely at 10 minutes before five o’clock on Friday night.

Wed
17
Mar

Hook and Bullet Club

The death of a horse between Ely and Winton due to an attack by a mountain lion (cougar) is strange enough. But finding out that the cougar was probably raised as pet and released in the wild is stranger yet. <BR><BR>There have been reported cougar sightings around this area for a number of years now. That is not new. But finding out there are probably two dozen cougars being raised as pets in St. Louis County was new and shocking. <BR><BR>So, we have a horse that was attacked and had to be put down and we have people raising mountain lions as pets and then “setting them free” in the woods. <BR><BR>There are some who argue that mountain lions have always been here. Sorry. That one doesn’t hold water. Dumb people raising them as pets and dropping them off at the end of a road, that I can believe.

Wed
10
Mar

DNR to pursue forest land certification

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that it has begun the process to secure certification of its forest lands by the end of 2005. <BR><BR>Forest certification, little known five years ago, has become the "gold standard" for private and public organizations that manage forest lands. <BR><BR>While there are several different certifications systems in effect, each require forest managers to plan, implement and document its management goals, strategies and activities to meet an extensive and demanding array of ecological and social criteria. <BR><BR>"To achieve certification, a forest land management organization must be a leader in the best science, the most transparent management system and processes and consistently deliver the specified results," said Gene Merriam, DNR Commissioner.

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