Ron Hustvedt

Ron Hustvedt is an outdoors writer and photographer who covers a broad array of experiences, individuals and events centered on hunting and fishing. He is also a professional educator. Please visit his website at

Posts about Recreation

One of first two women paddlers who made journey to Hudson Bay making two appearances this week

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: November 25, 2012 - 3:29 PM
       Meet and chat with Natalie Warren, one of the first two women to paddle the 2,000-mile journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Hear first hand the trials and tribulations they experienced on this expedition of epic proportions.
         Warren will be sharing these stories at two locations this week sharing the details of the expedition, displaying photographs from the journey and talking about upcoming adventures.
         This Tuesday, November 27th at 5:30 p.m., Warren will be at the University of Minnesota in Hudson Hall Room 495 located at 516 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis.
         Then on Wednesday, November 28th, Warren will be at Midwest Mountaineering in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis beginning at 7 p.m.
       The duo completed the journey from May to September 2011 and I had the honor of covering their expedition for the Star Tribune and Outdoor News. Both women are very interesting to chat with and are great storytellers.
         Their trip was nominated for Canoe and Kayak’s 2012 Expedition of the Year. Folks who are interested in adventuring, canoeing, and individuals accomplishing their dreams would greatly enjoy either of these presentations.
         For more details, including the complete blog they wrote while on their journey (complete with photos), visit their website at
Raiho looks out over Lake Winnipeg, a massive waterbody they crossed on their journey

Raiho looks out over Lake Winnipeg, a massive waterbody they crossed on their journey

Pull! A visit to the range is a fun way to prepare for the fall hunt

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 27, 2012 - 5:46 AM


Early fall is one of my most favorite times of the year because hunting season is in sight. My only apprehension is that I know my shooting skills have taken a dip from not exercising those skills over the summer.

That summer shooting league I meant to join and those trips to the range I put off suddenly have some urgency to them.

Every time I visit the range I am reminded by how much fun it is just to shoot for recreation. In my opinion, trapshooting, skeet and sporting clays are a much better way to spend money than with golf. I’ve never been much of a golfer anyways, but even the worst day of shooting beats the best day of golf.

Smacking a ball around for a few hours just can’t compete with firing on clay Frisbees flying through the air and exploding into pieces. Besides, away from the gun range I can use those skills while I hunt. Smacking a ball into a hole is hardly a skill outside the golf course.

If you haven’t kept up with your shooting this summer, then this is a great time to find that gun range near your house and get into shape. Bring the shotgun out, buy a case of target load shells, and commit yourself to not hunting until you’ve blown through all of them.

Practicing your shooting is critical for avoiding embarrassing situations like that miss on an “easy” shot. It’s also an essential part of being a true conservationist. It’s a waste of an animal to make a less than lethal shot that can lead to unnecessary suffering. Anti-hunters love inaccurate shooters because they make the sport look bad in the eyes of others.

On a selfish note, being a good shot makes hunting a much more enjoyable experience. Few people feel good lobbing three rounds of steel shot into the lake with nothing to show. At a dollar a shell, on average, those range fees quickly pay for themselves when you pound out a double on three shots.

Not only that, but the impressed applause you receive from the others in your hunting party provides for an added bonus. An inflated sense of self is not to be underrated!

In the past week, I’ve shot two rounds of skeet at the LakeShore Conservation Club near Brainerd and two rounds of five-stand sporting clays at Hunts Point near Pequot Lakes. Total investment of time? Just over an hour. Improvement of confidence for the fall? Tremendous. Cost? For everything from shells to range fees and gas costs, about $100.

The clubhouse at Hunt's Point is as nice as any country club

The clubhouse at Hunt's Point is as nice as any country club

My Dad came along with me so that only added to the fun and at the skeet range, my kids hung around near the clubhouse under the watchful eye of their grandmother. A two-year-old and four-year-old are hardly ready to shoot just yet but being around it, seeing it in action and learning gun safety are valuable experiences.

As the calendar hits September, and the opening morning of the early goose season arrives, I’ll definitely be a better shot and have more confidence in my ability to knock down a few feathered cows.

A few more trips to the range are definitely in store. There’s also the need to put a dozen or so rounds through the deer rifle and get the muzzleloader in shape as well. The time it takes is minimal as is the cost, but the payoff and fun are well worth it.

The Arts and the Outdoors Meet Again (every year)

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 6, 2012 - 11:35 PM

You have art hounds and coon hounds. Fine art hunters and big game hunters. 

Seems like an odd combination but it all works out at Game Fair over two weekends every August in Minnesota. 

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows and that seemed to be the case in 2008 when the arts and outdoors were joined together in a Minnesota Constitutional Amendment to raise the state sales tax a small fraction to benefit the two. 

Four years later and millions of dollars have been put to good use by both the arts and the outdoors...but that's not what this blog is all about. 

I contend that the arts and outdoors are no strangers to each other. The obvious reason is that most outdoors lovers also possess a fair amount of art that reminds them of the outdoors. Paintings, sculptures, photography, pottery, carvings and more are quite commonplace even at the shabbiest of shacks. Taxidermy is not just something dead mounted on a hunk of wood, well some of it is, but the finest taxidermy is definitely a work of art. Snooty art hounds might disagree, but when they realize how much work goes into properly mounting an animal (not to mention how much money is costs), they definitely respect the artistry of a taxidermist. 


All of those things converge in one place each year--the Game Fair held this year from August 10-12 and 17-19 at Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Ramsey, MN. In addition to all the exhibits related to hunting, dogs and other outdoor pursuits there is a lot of art. Enough to fill a barn and then some. 

No really. The Game Fair Art Barn is a very popular destination that has long been a draw. There's sculpture, paintings and taxidermy all under one roof. The Wildfowl and Decoy Carvers conduct daily demonstrations of their woodcarvings, and there are antler carvings created by Game Fair hostess Loral I Delaney herself. 

Some of the finest artists in the country come to the Game Fair to meet their biggest fans (and customers). Attendees to Game Fair are thrilled to meet the artist of the print on their wall and the conservation stamp in their pocket. The person who has brought all of these renowned artists to Game Fair each year is Chris Knutson, owner of "Art Barbarians" in Rogers, Minnesota. Not only does he bring them out to chat with Game Fair attendees, he tells them to bring their brushes and canvas and let the paint fly. 

This year, Knutson will have renowned artists Scot Storm and Tom Moen in the Art Barn all six days of Game Fair. These guys are highly respected wildlife artists with numerous awards and publications of their artwork. Both are Minnesota artists and Knutson has worked hard over the years to especially promote Minnesota artists. Visit his website to see some of the galleries he has and videos with numerous artists. 



Storm has won the Federal Duck Stamp contest as well as numerous state duck stamp contests, including the Minnesota Duck Stamp in 2009 and 2004. Moen has won the state MN Duck Stamp contest twice as well in 1998 and again in 2007. Come to the Game Fair, look at their work and you'll know you've seen their work. Both guys are very nice, down to Earth and are there to chat with the public so come on out and meet them. They paint because they love to capture the moments in the field they experiences themselves and share with the world. 

Also in the Art Barn is the United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) Taxidermy Competition. Game Fair attendees can vote for their favorite taxidermy mounts and support the USSA as they raise money to grant fishing and hunting trips to children and veterans with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. Taxidermists will be on hand throughout the six days demonstrating their unique and highly skilled craft. Like painters, taxidermists capture the moments in the field so people can live them over again and again. 

Check out and be sure to follow GameFairUSA on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on who is out at the Game Fair. Other artists routinely drop by for the day and updates will be posted as developments occur. 

Since we cannot always be in the outdoors, we purchase art to remind us. 

Since we are not always successful in bagging our quarry, we purchase art so we can dream. 

Because we want to remember our successes, we preserve our trophies as we define them. 

Art and hunting are quite comfortable together indeed. 



First ever $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling Contest coming to Game Fair 2012

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 9, 2012 - 12:39 AM

 Calling all callers!

            Men, women and children who know how to purse their lips together on their favorite duck or goose call and make the sweet sounds of waterfowl are invited to the first ever Game Fair $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling Championship held Saturday, August 18 and Sunday August 19.
            This contest is one of the many events taking place at the 31st annual Game Fair held at Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Ramsey, Minnesota just northwest of the Twin Cities. Game Fair is a sporting event for the entire family in the real out-of-doors, situated on 80 beautiful acres of woods and water.
            With that level of payouts and prizes available in eight different calling competitions, the Game Fair $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling Championship will be one of the premiere calling contests in all of North America.

            Visit for details on payouts and prizes totaling more than $10,000 including a $1,500 top prize in each the Game Fair Open Duck Calling Championship and Game Fair Open Goose Calling Championship. Top prize in the Women’s Duck and Goose Calling Championships are $500 and $750 in the Two-Person Duck and Goose Calling Championships.
            Game Fair is a great event for the outdoors and preview to the fall hunting seasons with a lot of visitors who are awesome waterfowlers. “We have call manufacturers here, avid waterfowlers and lots of men and women who know how to sound like a duck and goose. This contest is a way to honor the sport and all entry fees will be donated to Minnesota Ducks Unlimited,” said Chuck Delaney, host and owner of Game Fair.
            Registrations are now being taken for the contest and callers interested in participating are encouraged to visit for forms, rules, payouts and event specifics.
            Game Fair 2012 runs two weekends each day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The first weekend is August 10, 11, 12 and the second weekend is August 17, 18, and 19. 

Wear sunscreen! Late ice tip-up angling for trophy pike on Lake of the Woods

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: March 13, 2012 - 8:27 AM



             The grips of winter are rapidly slipping across the southern two-thirds of the state. This is bad news for ice anglers who have been cheated out of a typical Minnesota winter this year.The good news is that, normally, it takes a lot more than a few warm days to put ice anglers out of commission along the northern edge of Minnesota.

            I wouldn’t dare venture out on most lakes in the metro area but there was little concern driving the truck several miles onto Lake of the Woods, specifically Muskeg Bay, this past Saturday morning to do some late season trophy pike fishing.

            My group accessed the lake from the beautiful city of Warroad where we stayed at the Patch Motel (named after a strawberry patch).  Lake of the Woods is a high-quality fishery with healthy numbers of smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie and northern pike, not to mention plenty of trophies for each of the gamefish species.
            I spent the first 30 years of my life never having fished the big lake, but in the last few years I’ve tried to get up there at least once a year. Since time is limited and opportunities must be carefully selected, this late ice bite has to be my favorite.
            Minnesota’s Canadian border is the last stand for winter. The ice between Baudette and Warroad is usually the last place to ice fish anywhere in the country.
Targeting big pike
            While the walleye and pike seasons are closed on nearly every one of the 10,000 lakes, they are open on Lake of the Woods. Spring is still in the air and the fish are beginning to transition from their winter haunts to their spring spawning grounds.
            Big pike are beginning to move towards the river mouths to spawn in the backwaters and wetlands. As they prepare for that rigorous journey, they stage off the mouths of the rivers feeding on the abundant supply of food in the lake as well as in the mud. That’s right, in the mud.
            Hibernating frogs take refuge in the mud and are dormant, making for a tasty, pre-spawn morsel that hungry pike are willing to nose through for a meal.
            Frogs aren’t the only meal on the menu with plenty of baitfish located throughout the lake. Schools of tuliebee are a pike favorite and many of those are still located throughout the main structure of the lake. A lot of anglers focus on the rivers right now, but many are realizing that some of the biggest pike in the lake are still cruising the mid-lake structures in search of tulibee, the energy bar of the baitfish world.
         My guides for the trip were Bryan “Beef” Sathre of Fathead Guide Service and his good friends Tim, Sandy and Sabin Rasmus. The Rasmus family staked a claim on the ice with a sleeper house while Sathre and I were land-lubbers who commuted to the ice Saturday and Sunday from Warroad.  
            The snow pack on Lake of the Woods was not very high but it was quite difficult to get around anyplace without being on a snowmobile or a plowed road. Our road was maintained by Jon Asp of Jon’s Plowing Service and K&A Hide Away Sleepers who spends his winter keeping a well traveled road open from Swift Ditch almost to the Canadian border. 
            The pike bite was solid Saturday morning with three fish in the neighborhood of 40-inches hooked and released by 9:30 a.m. A few other fish caught throughout the day were of a smaller size but still fun to catch and impressive nonetheless.
            One of their secrets for big pike success is the use of dead baits rather than live minnows. Smelly dead baits with lots of natural oils are their favorites like herring. These deadbaits can be purchased from baitshops and bait dealers who much follow very strict guidelines with regards to packaging and size.
            These large baits are affixed to a tip-up using a predator rig featuring a double yoke harness for putting two treble hooks in the bait. A benefit of the larger bait is that most of the pike you hook are still holding it in their mouths by the time you set the hook. This allows for easier hook removal, less time for the pike to be out of the water and an easier release.
           Pike of all sizes roam Lake of the Woods from little 12-inch “hammer-handles” all the way up to monster pike beyond 50-inches in length. By most angler’s standards, anything over 30-inches is a high quality pike and anything over 40 is a trophy.
            This size-class of pike is a rarity these days throughout the nation which is why it is such a phenomenal fishery. There is a protected slot limit on the lake and any pike between 30 and 40 inches must be immediately released. A needle nose pliers with a wire cutter, jaw spreader and multi-use tool are the essentials for assuring a quick release of these big pike.
            Big pike take a long time to grow so anglers are strongly encouraged to release those giants they catch over 40 inches. For those who want a wall mount but don’t want to kill a fish, a cloth tape measure is the best tool. Accurate measurements of the length of the fish and its girth, along with a decent photograph, are enough for taxidermy artists to create a fiberglass replica. These replicas look just as good as a real fish mount and last forever as compared to a mount that can deteriorate over time.
Worth the drive
            Lake of the Woods normally retains quality ice throughout the month of March and, in some years, well into April. This winter has been anything but typical and even though there were a solid 30 inches on the lake, the current warm up could make conditions along the shorelines quite slushy.
            The best thing is to call ahead and find out what’s going on before venturing up. Just because one of the landings is no longer accessible doesn’t mean all of them are and many resorts provide shuttle service via ice-track machines known as Bombardiers that can go through most anything.
            High temperatures for the upcoming week are in the 50s but nighttime lows suggest there will be some refreezing, thereby slowing down the thaw. It takes a lot of heat and sun to knock down three-feet of ice.
Just make sure to pack your sunscreen—that sun is as intense in March as it is in September. When it’s sunny on the ice you can get a burn twice as fast because of the reflection. You won’t need much, just enough for your face.  Trust me on this one!
For more information on the Warroad Area contact or call 800-328-4455. Additional information on the Lake of the Woods area can be found at 

Nearly 1,200 youth turnout for 21st annual Perch Derby on Lake Bemidji

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: March 4, 2012 - 9:43 PM
            Bryan “Beef” Sathre is a local fishing guide and with Fathead Guide Service and Promotions and also a teacher in the Cass Lake school district. He’s a passionate angler who is especially passionate about getting kids on the water and on the ice to enjoy the outdoors. “I love promoting the sport of fishing! It’s great to see the kids get off the couch and away from the video games to learn more about the outdoors,” he said.
            A total of 1,192 kids did just that on Sunday, March 4 on the southeast side of Lake Bemidji just off the shore from the new hockey arena. The kids all participated in the 21st annual Paul Bunyan Perch Derby hosted by the Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association’s Paul Bunyan Chapter of which Sathre is the vice president.
            Add in parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts and there were well over 4,000 people on the ice participating in the event during a beautiful early March afternoon.
            “This is my sixth year being involved with the event and we try to make it bigger and better every time around,” Sathre said. In his first year as a volunteer, Sathre said there were around 700 kids involved. The all time record is 1,300 and this year was just shy of that.
            The event began 21 years ago as a small group of individuals looking to get kids on the ice and the event has only grown from there. “We always try to get more than 1,000 kids out there but it depends on the weather as well.” Last year, while a snowstorm dumped four inches on the area, they still managed to have more than 800 kids show up.
            Supporters of the event included StrikeMaster ice augers, Marcum electronics and a whole host of local businesses. “We gave away 125 bikes that were sponsored by local businesses showing how committed the community is to making this event a success,” Sathre said.
            Tons of prizes were given away at the event as a way both to attract more kids to the event but also to provide them with some of the tools they need to have more success on the ice. Almost 400 prizes were given away throughout the event.
            Bluewater Outdoors provided all the bait for the event free of charge and also provided many of the raffle prizes along with Taber’s Bait and Gander Mountain. All kids under the age of 15 were also provided with a free meal on the ice courtesy of the Paul Bunyan Chapter.
           The kids fished for two hours and at least 50 perch were registered, the largest one being an 11.6-ounce perch caught by Hunter of Bemidji. While plenty of chunky jumbo perch roam the depths of Lake Bemidji, Sathre put the StrikeMaster augers to good use in only five to seven feet of water.
            Why so shallow? “It’s a numbers game. The big jumbos are out deeper right now but there are a mess of very hungry perch in the shallows and we want these kids to catch fish rather than sit there and wait too long,” he said.
            Sathre said six-inch StrikeMaster augers were used to prevent little feet from stepping in a hole and making for a wet experience. “Safety is very important with kids on the ice and that is true when you just have a few kids out there much less well over a thousand.”
            High School students from nearby communities of Blackduck and Cass Lake helped out, some of them even fished the event when they were younger and now are helping carry on the tradition.
            “We are looking for volunteers to help out with next year’s event so if anybody is interested we’d love to hear from you,” Sathre said. The chapter’s website is on Facebook, as is Fathead Guide Service which includes updates on the event. Prospective sponsors and volunteers can also Sathre directly at 218-766-0095.

            “I can’t say how much fun it is to get all those kids on the ice,” Sathre said. “Even though it’s a lot of work, the support of the community and all those smiling faces today makes it well worthwhile.” 


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