But when the Corp dredged, diked and wing-dammed the
Pull out your atlas and a ruler. Put one end of the ruler at the Delta Marsh, west of
Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find good duck hunting at any of the old, legendary
The “new” river bottom plan is certainly worth consideration. But a word of warning for the
The ice fishing proposition says this: you walk or drive out onto a several hundred (or thousand) square-acre lake, punch a hole through the ice and that ten square foot area beneath your hole will be swarming with crappies, or blue gills or, better yet, walleyes.
This dog won’t hunt for me. The odds of fish being under your chosen hole are just too long for this novice. Plus, moving to a different hole becomes a Mark X production because of a canvas or wood shelter. So you wait, doubling down that the fish will come.
Waiting pretty much describes my ice fishing experiences. Sometimes in horror. Several years ago a buddy talked me into ice fishing on the
After proving to me there was two feet of ice with his auger I felt some relief. But when I dropped my line into the water and my bobber slammed against the down river side of the hole, all I could think about was that same current carrying my body away under the ice. I’d float out from under ice somewhere in
One highlight of my ice fishing career happened on Mille Lacs. Another buddy showed me how to carve up an empty beer can just so. When the can was hooked on the line of a third buddy, who was out checking with ice fishing neighbors, it put up a remarkably walleye-like fight when that guy was alerted he had a bite. It was our only catch of the trip.
Here are my 2010 Outdoor New Year’s Resolutions. In the new year I resolve to…
Introduce a kid to the joys of turkey hunting.
Quit whining about the lack of ducks in
Take that pheasant hunting trip even if the weather looks iffy.
Do less gardening and more fishing on the
Plant an apple tree to replace the aging Haralson left by an earlier caretaker of this farm.
Learn to do more than the “yelp” on my turkey box call.
Become a subject matter expert on the duck food known as fresh water shrimp.
Know the rules of every hunting and fishing season before they start.
Obey those rules even when no one is watching.
Thank land owners more for the privilege of hunting on their property.
Learn to identify birds of prey and shore birds and pass that knowledge along.
Talk to more X-Box addicts about the high def joys of the out of doors.
Take my camera with me every time I go outdoors.
Train Doc at least 10 minutes every day.
For your wing-shooting-challenged duck hunting partner who insists on banging away at downwind teal…A Shotgun With Built-In Lead. (see photo) Hard to find but well worth the search.
For your fellow waterfowler who wears a necklace of five duck calls and can flare ducks with each of them…The Sound of Silence Necklace. You can make this gift yourself. Cut a two-foot long piece of decoy string; save five corks from wine bottles; whittle them down to fit the loud end of the duck calls; then string them on the cord.
For the claimer among your bird hunting buddies…The Claimer T-shirt. Features 100% cotton Mossy Oak camouflage background and large, bold, Dayglo letters proclaiming My Bird!. Comes in XXL only to fit your buddy’s ego. Imported from
For your pheasant hunting partner who empties his Remington at every flushing rooster but never pulls a feather... Frozen Capons. To replace the pheasants that capon flying.
For your hunting pal who bought a new Benelli 12 gauge because “it really reaches out.”…A Box of
For 22 years I’ve been granting or denying hunters access to my small farm in northern
Let’s assume you played by all the rules, enjoyed the hunt and now it’s time to say thanks. If you’ve been successful, ask if the landowner would enjoy a share of the harvest. And I’m not talking the minced bluewing teal or the neck meat from your buck. Deliver cleaned, wrapped and labeled game. The best you’ve got.
A follow up thank you note to your hosts is another good idea. I once sent a photograph of my daughter to a farm couple who hosted her first pheasant hunt. When we returned a year later, I was pleased to see the picture still posted on their refrigerator.
At Christmas time I send poinsettias to the landowners who hosted me during the past fall. Expensive? Yes, but consider the money you have invested in your hunting equipment, dogs, licenses and gas to get to your hunting grounds. A gift to thank the people who provided you a place to hunt is a small part of your overall investment in the sport.