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

Life in the Ice Belt (a poem)

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt under Recreation, Fishing Updated: January 2, 2012 - 2:17 PM
Life in the Ice Belt
In the north, winter’s lots of fun.
The heat is gone but not the sun.
The weather is harsh, people nice.
Plenty of action on the ice.
A barren wasteland, some believe.
Ice fishing offers us reprieve.
Above the ice, not much to see.
Below the ice, things are fishy.
Augers are a special ice drill.
They tap the ice, unlock a thrill.
Pop a few holes, clear out the slush.
Get ready to fish. Feel the rush!
Drop down a lure, give it a jig.
Watch electronics for something big.
A flasher shows action below.
A camera lets you watch a show.
Get a bite. Fish on! Set the hook.
Rod bent, drag screaming take a look.
Down the hole, as it nears you’ll see.
What’s on the line? Shout,  “Yippee!”
Guide the fish into the ice hole.
Reach down, grab it and get control.
Sunfish, crappie, perch, walleye, pike.
Take a photo for friends to like.
Ice fishing is such a fun sport.
Six months of winter, way too short.
The ice calls to you. Give it a try.
Ice fishing helps winter whisk by.   
Poem and photo by Ron Hustvedt

Poem and photo by Ron Hustvedt

Ice on Mille Lacs productive for those in the know

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: December 26, 2011 - 10:07 PM

 Tony Roach is well known for his ice trolling abilities on Lake Mille Lacs, to the point where he'll pop several hundred holes a day with his StrikeMaster and not even blink an eye. "I like to stay mobile on the ice and work locations in the winter as much as during the open water season which requires drilling a lot of holes," Roach said. 

Roach sets up his clients in the early morning hours Monday

Roach sets up his clients in the early morning hours Monday


This writer ventured out with Roach the day after Christmas, and three days after 20 anglers were rescued on the big lake when the ice they were fishing on went adrift. "You have to pay attention to the conditions out here at all times and you have to stay on top of the good ice that's out there," Roach said. 

Joining me on the trip were Bryan "Beef" Sathre of Fathead Guide Service, Jamie Dietman of Brainerd Signs and Steve Ladany of An experienced ice fishing crew, to say the least, our attention throughout the day was on the quality of the ice. Ice depths were consistent and all of the ice we fished was solid with depths ranging from eight inches to over a foot. 

Driving a Polaris Ranger 4x4 across the ice loaded down with three Otter sleds, camera gear, a ton of electronics, two augers and plenty of bait, we were ever cautious. It was a bit surreal watching the ice superficially crack as you drive over it but it is not as bad as it sounds. Earlier in the week, I walked across a frozen pond with six inches of solid ice and the same thing happened. According to the Minnesota DNR, six inches of ice is fine for a person walking as well as an ATV. Pressure on the ice causes small cracks within the layers. Those aren't the cracks that will do you in. 

Roach pointed us in the right direction as well as the folks at the baitshop in Malmo. The way to stay on top of the latest conditions is to utilize experts like Roach or the numerous baitshops and resorts that operate throughout the winter all around the lake. "Conditions are always changing out here but there's also been a very stable, solid area of ice that's been safe to fish on and productive as well," he added. 


Near Garrison there are tons of shelters out on the ice

Near Garrison there are tons of shelters out on the ice

Still, as Roach moves around, drilling holes for clients and roaming as he does to stay on top of the fish, he looks longingly at the ever-changing ice further out and wishes he could get out there. Right now, the perch and walleye fishing out near the middle of the lake is at its peak. The only problem is that the ice isn't safe enough to venture out that far. "It means we're stuck on this shoreline ice fishing the transition zones," Roach said. "While we're having some great fishing both for numbers and size, I can't wait for a solid cold snap to make the entire lake solid."


The ice fishing on Monday was better than being at work, which is to say that while it wasn't hot and heavy, a half dozen walleye came through the ice and as did a dozen jumbo perch. Buckshot rattle spoons in a variety of colors, so long as it included gold, were the best tipped with a minnow head. The eurolarvae and waxworm bite hasn't yet picked up though a few perch bit on rigs tipped with those tasty morsels. 

The author with a nice walleye that had to be immediately released

The author with a nice walleye that had to be immediately released


Those who venture forth onto the ice should follow a few simple rules: 1).Make sure to find out the conditions for the specific area you plan on fishing. 2) Pay attention to changing wind conditions as it relates to the section of lake youa re fishing. 3) Avoid crossing over pressure ridges and significant cracks in the ice. 4) Be sure that somebody not on the ice with you is aware of your location and estimated return time. 

Those who play the game right and follow all the rules can expect to catch some fish while also keeping safety at the top of the line-up. "It's still better fishing than sitting home on your couch," Roach said. 

For more photographs check out

Two trophy whitetails of 2011

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: December 18, 2011 - 10:48 PM

The 2011 deer hunting season is drawing to a close and all indications are that it will be pretty average for most hunters. The weather has been rather mild throughout the season and that's been fine for hunter numbers but late season lovers have expressed a lot of disappointment with the lack of cold and snow. 

Anybody who has ever hunted the late season, with some consistency, comes to enjoy the regular schedule whitetail tend to keep when December does what it's supposed to do. Coldness and snow force those deer into some regular habits of movement and feeding. When it feels like November most everyday, those deer don't tend to alter their schedule very much. Why does it need altering? After the firearms season, a lot of the more mature bucks and does shift to an almost exclusively nocturnal schedule. 

My 2011 deer hunt was also an average one full of opportunities and should-haves rather than much success. Friends and relatives fared much better I'm happy to report. Take this one, for example. 

My dad's cousin David Hustvedt shot this buck on October 22, 2011 with his compound bow near Blackduck, MN.  The buck was an eleven-pointer with a 18.5 inch spread weighing in at 180 pounds fully field dressed.  Hustvedt took the shot at a heart-racing distance of 10 yards and it's the largest buck he's shot with his bow. It's one he had been watching for a long time on his trail camera.


Another great deer was arrowed by a former student of mine. Brody Boese of Elk River has been bowhunting for only a few years but has managed to do quite a fantastic job in a short time. In addition to bagging a few does this fall, turning 16, getting his driver's license and having his braces off--Brody arrowed a massive drop-tine buck the Sunday of the firearms season. 

I'll provide a full rundown of the epic hunt in an future blog cowritten by Brody and myself. The photo below should do enough to whet your appetite until then and his story is a lot of fun. Being both an outdoor writer and a teacher affords me some fun stories to share with my students and this is one of my favorites. I was in my deer hunting woods hunting when my phone buzzed in my pocket with a text from Brody. His text said he stuck a nice buck and wanted my advice on how long to wait for it to go down. We exchanged a few messages and then I didn't hear anything for a few hours. 

Adding to the drama of the story was a rather ridiculous Facebook debate that launched earlier in the weekend. Apparently, one of Brody's "friends" was ribbing him about the lack of a trophy deer at this point in the season. The anonymous "friend" posted some pretty dumb remarks and I joined the conversation for a bit before departing it due to the ridiculousness of it all. That kid had to eat some crow come Sunday when word spread fast of Brody's trophy. If you have a great deer hunting story from 2011 get ahold of me and we can share some blog space as well. Post a comment here on the blog if you want to share! 


Brody Boese of Elk River with a trophy drop-tine buck he arrowed in November

Brody Boese of Elk River with a trophy drop-tine buck he arrowed in November


Meet the Hudson Bay Bound women after their historic journey that continues to its next phase

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt under Adventure travel, Environment, Recreation, Minnesota History, Events Updated: September 19, 2011 - 12:04 AM

 For Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren, paddling the 1,800 miles from Fort Snelling to Hudson Bay was just one part of the journey known as “Hudson Bay Bound.”

            That phase of the journey, which lasted 85 days, ended on August 25 in York Factory, Manitoba along the shores of Hudson Bay. Raiho and Warren enter the history books as the first women to complete the journey, inspired by Eric Severeid’s book “Canoeing With the Cree” first published in 1935.
            “The end of the Hayes River was a magical experience and we are happy that we accomplished our goal,” Warren said. The journey began June 2 at Fort Snelling, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.
            The first phase included planning the entire trip while wrapping up their senior year of college at St. Olaf in Northfield and competing in a run for the Ultimate Frisbee national title.
Arriving at York Factory at Hudson Bay

Arriving at York Factory at Hudson Bay

            “A lot of expeditioners spend months of time planning and we did all that while keeping very busy and are so glad that everything worked out,” Raiho said. “Now it’s time to share that experience with others and hopefully inspire them to take their own outdoor adventures,” Warren added.
            The trip doesn’t feel like its over because their arrival in York Factory only sparked the beginning of yet another journey. “For one thing, we took a float plane from York Factory to Gillam and then took a 36-hour train ride to return to Winnipeg where our friends from Menogyn picked us up and returned us to Grand Marais,” Raiho said.
            In early September, Raiho and Warren gave a presentation of their journey to paddlers from all over canoe country at Stone Harbor in Grand Marais. The presentation went so well, they have been asked to share their story with others. “It would be fun to do some public speaking both from a motivational speaker role and sharing what we saw from an environmental perspective—a few offers have come in and we are open to others,” Warren said.
            Warren and Raiho want to be sure that everybody who is interested attends their celebration party this Thursday at the Bloomington REI from 7 to 8:30 p.m. “We’ll tell the story of our trip including video, photos and music provided by us,” Warren said.
            There will also be an auction for a Langford Prospector canoe from Stone Harbor, the canoe they used to make their epic journey. Proceeds from the auction, in addition to the other money they raised along their trip, will be donated to the YMCA’s Camp Menogyn. “People can make donations at the event as well if they are interested and we hope that we can raise at least $10,000 for Camp Menogyn so they can provide outdoor adventures for a lot of young people,” Raiho said. 
            Those who cannot make the event are invited to check their website at for photos, video and the entire blog of their trip along the way.
            The actual canoe they paddled to Hudson Bay is not the one up for bid because of its historic value but it will be on display at Stone Harbor in Grand Marais for years to come.
Ann Raiho looks out over Hudson Bay while strumming a tune

Ann Raiho looks out over Hudson Bay while strumming a tune

            Sharing their trip with others is only part of the next phase. As recent college graduates, both Raiho and Warren are in the middle of one of life’s great journeys. T
Once January rolls around, Inver Grove Heights native Raiho will be heading to Colorado State University of Fort Collins to pursue her master’s degree in ecology.
            Warren, on the other hand, will be job searching as she travels to Madison, New York, Washington, D.C. and her hometown Miami, Florida. “I’ll be back in Minneapolis as well and would love to work here if the right opportunity presented itself,” she said.
            One of the most commonly asked questions of the pair is what they plan on doing for their next wilderness adventure. “I have a cousin who is going on a seven-week trip next summer with Camp Menogyn so I told her in 2015 she can come with Natalie and I on another trip somewhere,” Raiho said.
            Where that trip will take them is another story yet to be told. Topping their historic journey to Hudson Bay will probably not be the goal but getting out there and doing something is always better than sitting around doing nothing.
            Raiho and Warren hope that others are inspired by their journey to do just that.  

Share your fall 2011 waterfowl hunt here

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: September 11, 2011 - 9:32 PM

The members of Team Spoonbill (my duck camp)

The members of Team Spoonbill (my duck camp)

The early goose season is a few weeks old, and the early Youth Waterfowl Day has come and gone. The September 24th Minnesota waterfowl opener is rapidly approaching as are many other state openers.

I don’t know about you, but it’s an exciting time to be a fan of hunting ducks and geese and I really hope you take the opportunity to share your hunt with the world by commenting on my blog. I invite kids, first-time hunters, grizzled veterans, old men, young women and everybody else to post their favorite experience from the 2011 waterfowl season.
So far this season, I’ve been out goose hunting in northern Minnesota with my father and had a great hunt with four birds down. I’m looking forward to a Minnesota waterfowl opener and then a few trips out to North Dakota. I’ll be sure to post the results of my hunts but want to urge you to do the same.
Feel free to talk about your bag but don’t forget the great stories about the one that got away. I always love telling stories about the great retrieves my dog Maddy makes, how about your dog? Then there are the missteps, the follies and the sheer madness of duck camp.
Please post your story below and then post it on your Facebook, Twitter or simply send an e-mail to your friends. Invite them to post theirs as well and let’s do all that we can to tell as many stories as possible from the 2011 waterfowling season. 
If you happen to bag a spoonbill, pay a visit to the "Team Spoonbill" page on Facebook. Become a fan and post your photos as well. 
The Team Spoonbill logo

The Team Spoonbill logo

Make somebody's year with a simple gesture

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt under Fishing Updated: August 17, 2011 - 2:24 PM
Every fish is a trophy when the fishing is meant to bring smiles to everybody's faces

Every fish is a trophy when the fishing is meant to bring smiles to everybody's faces

Few people understand the significance of the things that they do in their lives. Little things like kind gestures and volunteering a little bit of time might seem insignificant at times but they are anything but that. Scott Roesner was reminded of that the other day when he fielded what started out as just another mid-morning phone call.

Any catch is a trophy but there are some true trophies caught as well

Any catch is a trophy but there are some true trophies caught as well

As chairman of the Brainerd Lakes Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries, his phone has been ringing a lot lately but not as much as he’d like. The chapter’s annual event is coming up on August 27th and there are not enough volunteers just yet to make the event as successful as he’d like. The phone call was from a woman who has been participating in the event for the past few years and was excited that it’s coming up.
She told Roesner that people need to hear what huge differences can be made in someone else's life by caring just a little bit more for someone else than ourselves. “It was one of the best phone calls I’ve ever had,” Roesner said.


The woman began by saying "The Fishing Has No Boundaries annual event is the number one thing I look forward to every summer.  It is so much fun!"  She then said, "It is the foundation of mental health for me.  And I think it does the same for everyone that is disabled. These sort of things are what keeps you mentally sane." 
Roesner said she wanted him to share her thanks to each and everyone that is involved with Fishing Has No Boundaries.  In closing, she said, "Fishing Has No Boundaries is very significant because it brings a lot of life back into our World. Thank you so much for doing that for us."
If you’d like to be a part of this event and this experience, please sign up today to help make this event a success. We are in dire need of boat captains and volunteers. Please go to and find the form under the volunteer tab. Print it and fill it out but don’t mail it. Time is short and it needs to be faxed to 218-828-2618 or e-mailed to
It takes a lot of people to make the event possible and more volunteers are needed to make August 27th a success this year.

It takes a lot of people to make the event possible and more volunteers are needed to make August 27th a success this year.


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters