Over 600 participates competed for prizes in the annual Holes for Heroes ice fishing contest on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. The annual event, organized by Fishing for Life, benefits veterans, active military and their families. By all accounts the event was a huge success!
Fish were weighed in by species with great prizes award to youth and not so youth categories. Samantha Berent, age 6, from Mound weighed in the day's first crappie which turned out to be good enough to win biggest fish her category.
Samantha Berent, age 6, Mound, is interviewed by event emcee Mike "Cold Front" Kurre.
Samantha Berent and her parents Amber and Brian show off Amber's hardware!
Amber Berent and Grandpa Steve "Papa" Hendrickson (both of Mound).
One of the coolest parts of the event was the Hole of Honor. Spouses and thier kids with loved-ones deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan registered for the opportunity to video chat via Skype with their loved one overseas while the family fished. It was pretty cool to see and hear a father giving ice fishing pointers to his wife and young son and daughter from half way around the world. When the mom mentioned she didn't know how to know she was 1' off the bottom as suggested by her husband I stepped in and helped set the depth of their jig and wax worm. Like most Minnesotans I appreciate the sacrifices that our military and their families make for us. After spending a few short minutes with this family I have and even greater appreciation of the sacrifice these families make and experienced the vision of Fishing for Life founder Tom Goodrich.
Another Long-Distance Connection
If you made it out yesterday, thanks for coming. If you missed it, make plans for next year. It's a great way to honor our Veterans and to have a little fun while doing it!
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say my addiction to predator hunting is about about a 9. If you've never hunted coyotes I suggest you read on....I'm confident I can get your addiction level in the 7 to 8 range in a matter of a couple paragraphs!
I did my first stand for coyotes 5 years ago. I picked up a cheap electronic predator call from Sportsman's Guide and went out with a rifle in search of my first yote. I didn't do a lot of research or scouting in advance and my lack of results in the field started to wear on me. The next two seasons I spent more time online reading about coyote hunting and talking with friends and industry contacts who knew what they were talking about. Two years ago while turkey hunting in Prior Lake I had a close encounter with a coyote that fueled my passion for coyote hunting. Finally, after several years of trials and tribulations I shot my first coyote last winter, followed by my second....45 seconds later!
So after over 2 years of trying it appeared as though I finally cracked the code. The biggest mistakes I had been making in my early attempts were 1. trying to get to close to where I thought the coyotes were and 2. not paying close enough attention to the wind when I set up. Both problems have been easily corrected by 1. buying a FOXPRO Fury so I can call them in from long distances and 2. paying better attention to the elements when I plan a stand!
Coyote hunting is one of the fastest growing segments in the hunting industry...here's why:
1. Feel the Rush! When you have your first experience of a coyote running to your call not only will you be addicted, you'll probably convince 10 friends to join the addiction!
2. Hunters Welcome! Landowners are generally very generous in giving coyote hunters access to property to help control the population. I don't recall ever being denied access to land for coyote hunting....I wish that was the case for deer hunting! As always, be respectful when asking for permission.
3. Geared Up! You already own most of the gear you need for the hunt. If you have a 12 gauge shotgun you can pick up a super-full choke and some Hevi-Shot Dead Coyote to be effective within 50-60 yards. .243/.223/.22-250 rifles are also very effective at longer distances. You can kill a coyote with a .17 but my friends tell me it's probably on the lighter side of what you need to knock down a coyote.
4. Extend your Season! Ever have a big-game season that didn't fully scratch your itch? Prime time for coyotes in MN is December-February. This will help you bridge the gap between deer and turkey seasons!
5. Strong Population! Have you read all the news lately about people/coyote encounters? It's because there are more coyotes in MN than ever and they sit near the top of the food chain. They're also pretty smart and elusive so you don't see too many dead on the roads.
6. Smart Dog! Their intelligence makes the an exciting animal to hunt. As my experience taught me you can't typically ignore the basics of hunting and expect success. When you put the effort in and it leads to success it's a very rewarding hunt.
7. Cash In! A decent coyote pelt can bring in $50-$70. In recent years that amount has been over $125. If you can shoot 30-40 coyotes a year without driving 10,000 miles you might be able to pay for the experience in fur!
8. Save a Deer, Shoot a Coyote! It's well documented that coyotes kill deer, pheasants, turkeys, ducks and other game animals we pursue. Helping control the coyote (and fox) population will take a little pressure of other game animals/birds.
9. Coyote, It's What's for Dinner! Just checking to see if you were paying attention! Coyotes are scavengers and feed on road kill, carcasses, garbage and other nastiness. They're loaded with worms and parasites which don't make them suitable for consumption.
For more information on coyotes and coyote hunting check out www.furtakers.com. It's a fantastic predator hunting show on Outdoor Channel, produced by Ron Schara Productions. Watching this show alone can give you the confidence you need to pursue coyotes with effective tactics.
Feel free to share some of your coyote experiences. If you're new to the sport, welcome to the addiction!
HFH is a fun ice fishing contest honoring the Armed Forces who have served our country, and their families who have sacrificed along with them. There will be great prizes, food, and fun activities for kids....not to mention great fishing!
This event is going to be simulcast to soldiers overseas. Advanced registration is required. For more information visit http://2012holesforheroes.eventbrite.com/
KICKING BEAR CAMP FOR KIDS
Coyote Creek Gun & Archery
Kicking Bear is a non-profit that connects kids in need with mentors. Activities include archery, bb guns, sling shots, tug of war, rack scoring by P&Y club, and perhaps a giant marshmellow fight!
For more information contact Coyote Creek Gun & Archery
3600 South Broadway
Rochester, MN 55904-4511
Le Sueur, MN
Scott County Pheasants Forever is hosting their 4th Annual Military Appreciation Event ‘Operation Upland Pheasant Hunt & Sporting Clay Shoot’ for local & outstate Minnesota Soldiers on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the Caribou Gun Club & Hunting Preserve in Le Sueur, MN. OUPH provides these returning soldiers with an ‘all-expense paid’ day of upland pheasant hunting, sporting clays, lunch and camaraderie with fellow servicemen/women and outdoor enthusiasts. Since this event was launched in 2009, over 150+ soldiers have enjoyed a day afield and have been reacquainted with not only their passion of hunting, traditions...but the great outdoors and fellow tour of duty comrades.
"Minnesota troops have put their pheasant hunting trips on hold while serving our country abroad and these men and women have made extreme sacrifices for us by protecting our freedoms, our country and our main goal is giving them a well-deserved day afield…bottom line – this day is about them.”
Hey outdoor TV fans, tonight at 9:45 PM Central Time the Golden Moose Awards will be streamed live at www.outdoorchannel.com. You'll see your favorite outddor television hosts and also see Laura Schara work her magic interviewing people on the red carpet!
6:48 AM marked the opener of the MN Winter Trout Season. I headed out to Lake Cenaiko with a few friends and my son to experiece what is an annual ritual for dozens, if not hundreds of MN anglers. The gates opened around 5:30 AM with about 20 cars lined up. The guy at the gate said previous years have seen lines all the way out to the park entrance.
By 6:30 AM there were hundreds of portable shacks set up with anglers chomping at the bit to get their lines in the water. We set up our Frabill Headquarters Hub for the first time. It was instantly christened "The Shangri-La". We could fit a small army in this shack but this morning it ws just an army of me and my son.
The recent cold added a few inchs of good ice just in the nick of time. We were fishing on good ice that was between 6" and 8" and there were a few areas marked off with thin ice but for it appeared as though the lake was 100% fishable. Once we started I found myself staring at this image for the next 3 hours with very little action:
My inaction was interupted by some hooting and hoolering from about 100 ft to my north. Aaron Dreyer from Elk River hooked into a 22.5" beauty. He fought the fish for about 5 minutes making sure not to break his 2# test line.
Aaron Dreyer - Elk River, and his 22.5" Rainbow Trout
While I was distracted taking pictures and talking to Aaron about his big catch my buddy Matt Bistodeau was busy putting fish on the ice. By mid-morning he had three around the 15" mark.
Matt Bistodeau exits the The Shangri-La to show off his catch
My son Theo was getting a little bored and I wasn't far behind him but we kept our lines in the water and hoped for a bite. We had something hit both our lines but neither of us hooked it. A few minutes later Theo picked up a blip on the Vexilar and hooked into his first rainbow trout. A brief battle ensued with Theo winning the fight. The trout is now resting comfortably in our freezer until tomorrow afternoon when we'll cook it up for lunch!
Theo Petrie holds his first rainbow trout
Most anglers were heading off the ice by mid-morning. We cut out about 11 AM but will definately be heading back. The season runs through March 31 with angling from 1 hr before sunrise to 1 hr after sunset. It's a stocked pond with over 3000 fish released this year. As Aaron proved this morning there are some slobs swimming around. No live bait is allowed other than maggots. It costs you $5 to park and $10 for a MN State Trout Stamp.
Great-affordable fun for the whole family. See you on the ice!