Jeff Hughes

For 37 years, Jeff Hughes has been the managing partner at Wild Wings of Oneka private hunt club in Hugo. An avid outdoor sportsman, he's on the board of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance and the North American Game Bird Association.

Finally a Kids Event Parents Can Afford

Posted by: Jeff Hughes under Recreation, Birding, Fishing Updated: April 30, 2010 - 8:55 AM

Wild Wings of Oneka Hunt Club in Hugo along with many great MN Outdoor organizations will host the MN Outdoor Youth Expo for kids and families on Saturday, May 22nd, 9am -6pm & Sunday, May 23rd, 9am – 4pm.

The Outdoor Youth Expo, organized and sponsored by Wild Wings of Oneka, offers youth and families the opportunity to get outside and meet over 60 outdoor organizations, experts and educators. Activities for kids will include horse drawn hay wagon rides, laser shooting and firearm safety, a mock pheasant hunt, archery, casting, fly tying, birds of prey demonstrations, bird & fish identification, nature walks, geocaching, ATV rider safety education, canoeing, kayaking, water safety education, dog handling and training, farm animal education and bicycling safety and demonstrations. Kids may also try their hand at various sports such as climbing, golfing, lacrosse, basketball, hockey and baseball. Educational seminars and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the event including an appearance each day by Rich Wieber who incorporates bicycle safety into his exciting stunt show.
Why are we hosting this expo?  Simply because we are investing in our future generation and outdoor traditions.   This expo’s goal is to help young people develop a lifelong passion for the outdoors.  Doing this has become more important as an increasing number of children have become used to the instant gratification of our electronic world. They are now growing up spending little time outdoors. That’s why bringing these organizations together at the Youth Expo is so important.   These experiences offer a foundation for a lifetime of rewarding recreation and awareness of nature.
The expo hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, May 22nd and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 23rd.   Visitors may choose to come for a few hours or stay for the day, but should plan to wear their walking shoes as the expo is laid out completely outdoors over 65 acres of wooded trails and open fields. Food concessions will be available for purchase.   Admission is $5.00 for adults (16+), free for kids and parking is free.   Most activities within the expo are free.  Our intention is to make this event very affordable for families to have a day of fun learning and playing together outside.  More than 60 exhibitors will be at the event to include the MN DNR, John Glen Cadet Archery, Kicking Bear Camp, YMCA Camps, 4H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Bunker Park Stables, Walton’s Hollow Petting Zoo, Benson Airport’s Young Eagles, Wildlife Science Center, Pheasants Forever, MN Duck & Goose Callers Association, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Wood Duck Society, On-line Retrievers, Wings North, CR Trail Users Association, Gander Mountain, Wild Mountain, the MN Wild, the MN Timber Wolves, the MN Swarm, and the National Guard just to name a few. 
We hope you'll come out and join us for this experience.   Directions and more information can be found on the website at www.mnoutdooryouthexpo.com.   
 

Passing on the Tradition

Posted by: Jeff Hughes under Events, Family Fun, Outdoors Women Updated: November 17, 2009 - 2:44 PM

It has been quite a hunting season so far.  In early October I took my 13 year old grandson to North Dakota for some pheasant hunting, and waterfowl.  We had a blast!  He managed to bag his first North Dakota rooster about 25 minutes into the field, I don’t know who was more excited, him or me!  We made a set for ducks on a small farm pond, and we had a flock of about 100 green wing teal that came right in, and my grandson  managed to bag his limit, what a rush!!  We shared the memories of the hunt on the way home, and shared some personal thoughts, and stories, and I was amazed at how small the two generation gap had become on this trip.

 

I was delighted when Kody (my grandson) said that he would like to go deer hunting with me.  I picked him up the night before, and we both attended the obligatory meeting on the eve of season with all the old hunters that had been hunting together for 30 years.  He managed to get along with the old guys even though he was the rooky of the group, and the center of some joking!   On opening day we were up at o dark thirty, and in the stand waiting and trying not to shiver from cold, and excitement.  At 7:19 a young fork horn buck walked under the tree, and Kody slipped his gun over the railing in the stand, and one shot the animal cleanly.  I can tell you the adrenaline rush for me was unbelievable.  As I remember back over the years, of my personal hunting, I do remember all of the firsts I took, where I was, who I was with, and all the circumstances surrounding that particular moment.  Because I am in the hunting business, I have had the privilege of seeing many firsts in the fields, but nothing in  my forty year history of the hunting club business prepared me for the tremendous feeling of being with my grandson on his first!  It is indeed a tremendous privilege to be able to pass on this heritage from myself to my son, and now to my grandson.  I am proud to be a hunter, and play my part in the ongoing conservation of the species that occurs every year.  I am overwhelmed that my son, and my grandson will carry on this tradition long after I am gone.  I feel that I have done a good thing, and this tradition will be handed on for generations to come!

 

Yours for better hunting and shooting

 

 

    Jeff Hughes

Tales from a Game Bird Farm - The Time Bomb

Posted by: Jeff Hughes under Equipment, Family Fun Updated: October 14, 2009 - 9:59 AM

As I am, I know you’re all anxious for hunting season!  During this time, I like to reflect on where things all begin.  It brings me back to when our farm operated as a hatchery and events that still make me smile.  Read on for some great humor, where it all begins....
The year is 1975, and we had a new employee that I was breaking in.  It was a Friday afternoon and back in these days Friday afternoon was transfer day.  Let me explain: In 1975 during the spring we hatched game birds at Wild Wings Hunt Club (a lot of game birds) primarily ring neck pheasants and mallard ducks.  On transfer day we had to take all of the eggs that were due to hatch out of the incubator and place them in covered hatching trays in the hatching machine.  We did this on Friday because all of the eggs were set to hatch on Monday our shipping day.  The reason that all of the eggs were transferred is because the hatching process is a messy ordeal with chick fluff, egg debris, and egg jelly all over the place.  So the hatchers had to be cleaned and disinfected every week after each hatch.  Now on transfer day, the eggs had been in the incubator turning and warming at a comfortable 99 1/2 degrees for about three weeks; sort of slow cooker, if you will.  Before the eggs went into the incubator, they were all cleaned and disinfected.  Now occasionally a cracked egg or an egg that had sucked in some bacteria would get put into the incubator.  When a cracked egg or contaminated egg gets into an incubator you end up with a very sensitive little time bomb waiting for the slightest movement to go off.

On this particular day Gary (he hadn’t earned his nickname yet) and I were transferring eggs into the hatching machine.  Gary was going on talking about something that had to do with chicks and how cool it was to see young birds, etc.  I mentioned to the young farm boy that he might want to keep his mouth shut and not talk too much during the transferring procedure.  I further explained to him about the potential ticking time bombs we were handling.  He did not heed my warning and continued on in his idle chatter.  I think you know where this is going!  Not five minutes after the warning did we have an egg explode it sounded like a 22 rifle had been fired in the hatchery!  The stench from the exploded duck egg was mortifying, and as I looked up I could see the young boy gagging and running for the door.  You guessed it most of the gelatinous goo, from the exploded egg, had gone right into his mouth.  After losing his lunch outside,  the transferring procedure continued in a reverent silence!  Using this experience as a teaching tool transfer days remained silent from this day forward.  You can’t put a price tag on this kind of fun!  Until we see you again we remain.  Yours for better hunting!  Jeff Hughes

See You in the Fields this Fall - Are you ready?

Posted by: Jeff Hughes under Equipment Updated: September 16, 2009 - 9:51 AM

With mornings cool and shorter days, I look forward to the pending hunting season with great anticipation.  This time of year finds me going through my pre-fall regimen.  I started running my dogs 3 to 4 times a week about the first of June.  I try and do a mile or two.  This gets myself and the dogs in shape for hunting season.  As September draws near, I start doing some bird work...even the old dogs need a refresher...shooting a few pigeons and then using some game birds.  It is easy to get birds from a local shooting preserve that is open-to-public.  In addition, they usually have a place you can run your dog.  Contact the Department of Natural Resources to get a list of these types of preserves in our state.

Two years ago, we had a really warm opener and I’m sure you heard the reports about many dogs dying in the Dakotas from overheating.  Take some time to get your dog in shape and you could avoid a tragedy like this.  If you don’t have time to work the dog yourself get a hold of a trainer or call a reputable dog handler or friend and get your hunting partner in shape.  It's a worthy investment.

 

With the pre-season in mind I always do an equipment check;  dog collars with the proper identification, non toxic shot (because you just never know where you will end up), dog food carrier, water dish and 5 gallon water container, dog first aid kit(which includes: E.M.P skin toughened and glue suture, suture kit, disinfectant, some horse bandages, flea, and tick spray, bute, or aspirin, etc).  I get all my clothing gathered and ready for any kind of weather; blaze orange for bird hunting and camo for waterfowl.  I keep my clothing for different types of hunting in plastic tubs with lids and labeled them.  These makes it easy for the next season, as all I have to do is get the tub and check its contents.  I am ready to go!  You can only haul so much gear, but if you plan for the unexpected you shouldn't’t have emergencies you can’t handle.  Also, make sure you coordinate with you hunting buddies.  If one person is taking an extra gun, maybe you don’t need to.  If one of the party is taking a 5 gallon water jug, maybe you don’t need two!  A lot of the excitement and the build of anticipation of a hunt is in the planning and getting ready to go! Don’t miss out on this part of the tradition!  See you in the fields this fall!

 

Yours for better hunting and Shooting,

      Jeff Hughes
Wild Wings of Oneka, Hugo, MN

      

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