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Issue 3 • Edition 3

Featured in this issue


• Mystery of Migration

By: Andrea Lee Lambrecht

• They’rrrre Baaack!

By: Dave Csanda

• Father Hennepin State Park

By: Jake Kulju

• No Child Left Inside By: Carolyn Corbett • 10 Steps to Better Jigging By: Ted Takasaki PLUS MORE! Read Online:

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It is late August at this writing, but you can feel it and even smell it if you are seriously anticipating the greatest of seasons. Some leaves are showing a hint of color, meadows are browning and in northwest Minnesota the amber waves of grain are becoming stubble. Wild rice is being harvested and local crops are nearing maturity. We are on the cusp of Fall, that glorious time of year for many of us, and especially for those of us who are hunters. We are blessed in Minnesota with a variety of hunting opportunities, more than most states, but often shorted by a fall that is not long enough to enjoy all that is offered. Beginning Sept. 1 we have the dove season that we waited for so many years to return. The most prevalent game bird, perhaps in the world, creates an early opportunity for being afield. The dove opener is followed by the early goose season, and that by the hallowed grouse opener on Sept. 13. The Ruffed Grouse, king of the game birds to many, is a tradition of long standing, and even mystique to died in the wool “partridge” hunters. The less hunted woodcock season follows a week later. And then there is the duck season, the pheasant season, the extended opportunities to hunt the wily whitetail, and even elk or moose for a lucky few in the far corners of our very special state. We are a state of plenty — plenty of outdoor opportunities, plenty of people, and plenty of challenges. Our outdoor heritage, outdoor traditions in this case, are a very significant part of what makes the Brainerd lakes area, and most of Minnesota, one of the finest places in the world to reside. We live outdoors as much as possible, and use the life style to attract tourists, residents, businesses and students. It is truly a great destination. But let’s return to fall, hunting and challenges. The strong and even emotional memories many of us share of the hunting experiences in our lives seem to usually end up with some reference to the “good old days” of hunting and fishing, days with greater access, more fish and more game. The pattern in our state and around the country has been for most game and fish agencies to be funded through license fees, duck stamps, and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Basically the consumptive users have paid the bill. Just hunters, not counting fishers and others, contribute over $3 million per day, that’s per day, to habitat programs around the country. Great strides have been made in many ways, the whitetail deer population as and example. Another would

by Mike Burton

be agricultural policy and Farm Bills that include the Wetlands Reserve Program and the Conservation Reserve Program. (Soil Bank to those my age and older!) Remember the pheasants in Minnesota in the 50’s? We also have some outstanding, species specific conservation organizations raising, and mostly spending, millions in the state to make a difference. But the challenge, in Minnesota and elsewhere, continues and is two-fold. The ranks of hunters are shrinking for a variety of societal and environmental reasons, while more people are concerned about, use and care about our forests, lakes, wetlands, water and wildlife. I can’t resist the need to insert a critical quote from Frank Miniter, writing in The Politicallv Incorrect Guide to Hunting: “Hunting isn’t just about the pursuit of prey, it’s also about building character and inculcating virtues. Hunting develops virtues in respect to the natural world that no other sport can. If this connection with nature is lost, the human race will lose a fundamental understanding of the world around us.” But it takes more than hunters to meet the needs in our great outdoors The challenge before us is to rebuild our capacity to care for and effectively manage these resources. Much is said negatively at times about our DNR and occasionally may be true. But I prefer the approach that we are blessed with many outstanding professionals in the wildlife, fisheries and forestry divisions, and it is the flawed system in which we make them work that is the bigger challenge. It is time to rethink the process of making talented people wait out an overly partisan Legislature, year after year, to plan and accomplish what is good for our outdoor traditions. We have the opportunity this fall to create a dedicated funding stream to meet the needs, we have the opportunity to create a business model- setting priorities and goals through a citizens’s commission, and the opportunity to let the professionals we employ rise to the new challenge of protecting, enhancing and expanding our outdoor Ttraditions. All of us, hunters and those who just truly enjoy the out of doors, can, for really pennies, make this happen by supporting the dedicated funding initiative. Enjoy the most glorious of seasons, whether it is simply the beauty of it all, the crispness of the air or the fall fishing. Or, like me, be exhilarated by the rush of wings, the smell of a wet dog, or the camp life with family and mends. But most of all, understand that all of us can play a positive role in protecting and enhancing our outdoor traditions. B

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Welcome ...................................... 3 Armed for Training....................... 6 They’rrrre Baaack! ....................... 8 Father Hennepin State Park ..... 10 Mystery of Migration................... 12 Antler Facts ................................ 14 Recipes ....................................... 17 10 Steps to Better Jigging ......... 18 No Child Left Inside ................... 20 Memory Lane............................... 22 Northland Arboretum ............... 23 Calendar of Events ................... 24


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Service Directory ....................... 25 Your Best Shot ............................ 26 STAFF: Publisher .................................. Terry McCollough Advertising Director ................... Tim Bogenschutz Copy Editor ............................................Roy Miller Special Projects Coordinator ..............Beth Lehner Maketing Coordinator...................Monica Nieman Magazine Layout ................................ Tyler Nelson Ad Design .......................................... Jeff Dummer, Andy Goble, Nikki Kronbeck, Tyler Nelson, Robin Tilleraas, and Molly Schroeder Sales ..................... Kathy Bittner Lee, Linda Hurst, Keri Larson, Krystal Lhotka, Kristine Roberts, Glen Santi, Carla Staffon, Jill Wasson and Dave Wentzel Outdoor Traditions is a trademarked magazine published by the Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 976, Brainerd, MN 56401. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. ®2006

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site. While there are reports that fewer kids are taking up hunting, the course calendar would indicate otherwise. After all, youths can’t buy a hunting license in Minnesota — and many other states — unless the training is completed. “Instructors throughout the state are gearing up for the rush,” said Michael Hammer, education program coordinator at the DNR. Cal White included. White has been teaching firearm safety in Brainerd for 20 years. He is in the midst of teaching a class — which started Sept. 9 and ends Sept. 25 — at the American Legion in Brainerd. “I like it,” White said. “It’s fun getting with the kids, telling them everything I know out of the book and from my mind. And you hear many, many stories.” In one story from a student, the boy’s uncle was shot while hunting, White recalled. The man survived, but regardless of the situation, the incident emphasized the importance of these classes to the kids. Still, White realizes he’s dealing with mostly 11-year-olds. “The biggest challenge (for the students) is coming to class and getting themselves certified. It’s quite involved,” he said. “They’ve got to read between classes. Some read, some don’t, and it usually shows up on their tests at the end of class.” A firearms safety training class is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays from Sept. 29 to Oct. 13 at Gander Mountain in Baxter (for more Lee R. Holck, a DNR firearm safety instructor, worked with information, call Dave Saatoff at 829a student during a previous firearm safety training class. 9112). Other classes were held across the area and state in August and early September and more are THE CLASSES WERE HELD IN THE OLD, DIMscheduled outside the area through late October. L Y L I T A U D I T O R I U M on the edge of downtown, the In Minnesota, hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must shooting portion at a makeshift range near the golf complete a DNR firearms safety training course — or course on the outskirts of the city. equivalent course from another state — before purchasAt both locations, the number of young hunter hopeing a license for big or small game. The course also is fuls was few. Not that hunting wasn’t a big deal with open to people who don’t hunt. youths in northwestern Minnesota in the mid- to late The purpose of the DNR hunter education course is 1970s. But, I’m guessing, it wasn’t nearly as big as it is to teach safe, responsible firearm handling in the field, now in that neck of the woods — and throughout Minin the vehicle and in the home after the hunt. Through nesota. lectures, hands-on activities and videos, students learn The times have indeed changed. about firearms, firearm safety, shooting fundamentals Now, it’s not unusual to see “CLASS IS FULL” posted and firearm and wildlife laws. next to a firearms safety training class on the DNR Web

DNR, youths embrace firearm safety training


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Photo provided by Brian S. Peterson

“While hunter education courses enable safer hunting, they also help hunters be more successful in their hunts and emphasize ethical hunting behavior,� Hammer said. “Subjects covered include hunter responsibility, wildlife identification and management, game care and more.� The youth firearm safety class consists of a minimum of 12 hours of classroom and field experience in the safe handling of firearms and hunter responsibility. Students must be 11 years of age before the class start date. Those 16 and older can complete the training through an independent-study online course or by acquiring an independent-study guide and workbook available from a volunteer instructor. Hunter education courses are recommended for anyone who spends time in the outdoors, whether they intend to hunt or not, Hammer said. One of the courses, survival basics, is intended to help in emergency situations. In addition, firearm safety courses provide

insight into how and why wildlife agencies manage resources — particularly by using hunting as a management tool. For more information and a complete list of classes, go to safety/firearms/index.html or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 2966157 or toll free at (888) MINNDNR (646-6367). Additional information on youth hunting opportunities may be found on pages 34-38 of the 2008 Minnesota Hunting ahd Trapping Regulations Handbook.

B R I A N S . P E T E R S O N , Outdoors Editor, may be reached at brian.peterson@ or at 855-5864.



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although most anglers would say that to get the big ones, you need to fish during spring and fall. Fact or fiction? There’s more truth to that statement than you might expect. Big pike are unique fish, closely resembling muskies in body shape, but with distinctly different personalities. Muskies, for instance, often suspend high in the water, near the surface, during the warm summer months. Big pike, by comparison, are usually conspicuous by their absence during the dog days of summer. Basically, it boils down to temperature preference. Muskies like warm water; big pike do not. As a general rule, once early-summer water temperatures in the shallows reach about 70˚F, big pike seem to GOOD PIKE FISHING,

disappear. In effect, they head to deeper, cooler water, suspending above or inside summer thermoclines, lying across basins, or shifting toward areas where coolwater springs enter a lake. Warmer temperatures just plain stress them out, and fish exceeding 10 pounds or so hightail it for cooler options, in areas where most pike anglers don’t fish. Thus, when you fish classic weedbeds, deep weedlines and shallow structures during midsummer, the biggest pike simply aren’t around. Yet they are occasionally caught around deep midlake rock humps, or by anglers trolling crankbaits in 25 to 30 feet of water. Freak accidents? No. Simply the results of anglers fishing where the big pike are at that time of the year. Yet along about late August, Mother Nature flips the pike switch back on. Basically, as fall approaches and the water begins to cool, it sends a message to big pike that it’s safe to come back shallow again. Once the surface temperature dips below 70˚F again, big pike suddenly reappear along deep weedline edges where they were absent throughout the heat of summer. Suddenly, the same places you’ve been fishing for bass, walleyes, even muskies, host big green toothy critters. The best places to find big pike are lush green weedbeds bordering the deep basin of the lake. Early on, the fish often penetrate up into the weeds, across the tops of the 6- to 12-foot adjacent flats. The easiest way to locate and catch them is to troll a large tandem spinnerbait, often called a muskie spinnerbait, across the weed tops. Just cast it out a short cast length behind the boat, shift your motor into gear, and troll just fast enough to keep the bait near the surface, perhaps occasionally bulging the top of the water. Rather than trolling in straight lines, weave the boat in S-shaped patterns across the tops of the weeds, called snaketrolling. This accomplishes several things. First, it checks different depth levels. Second, it brings your lure through areas off to the sides of your boat’s passage, minimizing any spooking of the fish. The best conditions are usually cloudy, windy days when pike are most active. Once you locate a weedbed that hosts pike, either troll it back and forth several times, or perhaps better yet,



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stop the boat, set out your electric trolling motor, and start casting all around the boat. Large 1-ounce spinnerbaits (often referred to as muskie tandems), or large shallow-running crankbaits like Rapala Super Shads, Glidin’ Raps or X-Raps, are excellent options. Catching several fish exceeding ten pounds with a relatively small area is not unusual once you find them. As the water cools into mid-September, fall turnover drastically cools the water, creating a period of disruption in fishing patterns. Even so, pike tend to remain somewhat active in and around deep weeds, making them one of your better target species during tough fishing conditions. Once the water temperature cools to about 55 F, conditions begin to stabilize, and classic fall fishing patterns kick into gear. From this point on, all the way to freeze-up, big pike will tend to use the outer portions of weedbeds. The best areas have green, healthy weeds like cabbage or coontail; are directly adjacent to fast dropoffs to deep water; and often have some sort of structural irregularity in the deep weedline, like a pocket or a corner. For my money, I like steep inside corners falling immediately to 30 feet or more, with good weeds a half-cast from the dropoff. Pull into these areas, and your electronics often reveal baitfish suspending in the corner, just outside the weeds. When I see this, I know all the elements are present for success. While crankbaits and spinnerbaits still produce pike in cold water, I usually shift to heavy jigs, either dressed with large soft plastic tails like 8-inch Reapers, or tipped with large 6- to 8-inch chubs. I prefer pointy-nosed jigheads, either with an open hook for sparse weed conditions, or with a weedless head, like most heavy bass or muskie jigs, when the weeds are tough and hard to penetrate. I position the boat just outside the weeds and quarter a cast up 10 to 15 feet into the weeds, letting the jig fall until it settles onto the weeds. Then I tighten the line, raise the rod tip, and try to slide the jig off the weeds, allowing it to settle again. If it hangs up and won’t move, I lower the rod tip, tighten the line, and then give the rod

a quick upward jerk to break the weed fronds or stalk, letting the jig explode out of the growth, sail, and then settle again. This sudden explosion mimics a panicked baitfish, and often triggers strikes. Once the jig reaches the outside edge of the weeds, I pause my retrieve to let it settle to the bottom, fluttering enticingly as it descends just outside the weedline. This is where many strikes occur, so watch for your line to jump, and be ready for anything from a light twitch to a sudden slam and power run, depending on which direction the pike is moving. Followers tend to twitch the line on a strike, and continue moving toward you, often darting under the boat; those moving away from you, meanwhile, attempt to jerk the rod out of your hand right from the get-go. I like using a 7 1/-foot flippin’ stick spooled with about 20-pound monofilament like Trilene XT for this presentation. You could try nostretch FireLine, but I like a little stretch in the line to cushion the impact of sudden strikes. Just be sure your drag is set to allow the fish to run. They often speed out over deep water, suspending at the same level at which they bit. Three or four power runs are not unusual. After that, slowly pimp and lift them up toward the boat, and be ready with a substantial landing net. After you unhook and hopefully release the fish, get another cast right back out into the same area. Big pike travel in packs, and if one bites, chances are that more are around. Large, deep lakes like Mille Lacs, Gull, Whitefish, Pelican and North Long tend to produce some of the biggest pike in the Brainerd area. The combination of deep, cool water and cisco forage grows big pike, whereas in many other waters, you seldom see pike exceeding 10 to 12 pounds. Yet despite where you fish this pattern at this time of year, you can and will catch the largest pike in the lake. After 28 years as a magazine editor and TV angler at In-Fisherman, D A V E C S A N D A recently rejoined his old friends at Lindner Media, producers of Angling Edge Television, in Baxter.

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A Q U I E T L A K E S H O R E H I K E A L O N G one of Minnesota’s largest bodies of water is just over an hour drive southeast of Brainerd. Why drive all the way to Mille Lacs Lake when Brainerd is already surrounded with world class bodies of water? This peaceful park is situated on the quiet southern shore of Minnesota’s second largest lake. You can bury yourself in the pine forests, oak groves and rocky lakeshores in Father Hennepin State Park like few other places in central Minnesota. One of my favorite areas of the park is the trail out to Pope Point on the western edge of the park. From the beach parking lot he gravel path arcs north to the lake and heads west from the beach area toward Pope Point. The 0.5 miles to the point hug the rocky shore of Mille Lacs Lake and will treat you to beautiful vistas of the water and distant shore, all from the shady canopy of maple and basswood trees. The bugs can be a little thick in the early summer, but the view is worth it. Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest lake completely contained within Minnesota, and the bouldery habitat that characterizes its southern shore is home to all sorts of migratory birds, including the Common Tern, which isn’t common at all. When you reach Pope Point, an information kiosk will greet you and educate you about the uncommon Common Tern. The unique boulder habitat of Mille Lacs Lake provides the specific nesting and feeding habitat this rare bird needs to survive. Backtrack to the picnic area where you turned left and this time continue following the shoreline east. This tenth of a mile leads past the beach and picnic areas of the park. Just before the boat launch a spur trail to your left makes a quick loop on a small point. Venture out to the point for another view of mighty


Mille Lacs. When you rejoin the trail you will enter a thick maple grove. The tall dark trunks of these strong trees hold a high canopy of maple leaves, creating a shady, almost enchanted forest feeling. A campground is nestled among the trees, though on quiet days you would never even know it. A short ways from the maple grove you will come upon the Lakeview Campground. A system of trails leads all around this area near the boat landing and playground and parking areas. Walk past the first sign on your left for the hiking club trail and take the next right. About 500 feet down this path take a left into a red and white pine forest. This forest turf trail leads south, away from the lake and is lined with tall and whispering pine trees. Red squirrel, fox and the shy porcupine can be seen here, or at least signs of them. The path will cross the park road and begin arcing east. 0.4 miles from the campground a map kiosk near a stand of birch trees gives some natural and geological information. Continue east, remaining to the right at the next trail intersection. At the third map kiosk, veer left on the hiking club trail, staying to your left at each of the next two intersection. You won’t regret visiting this park. On a midsummer’s day with a gentle breeze through the trees, being out on the trail here is paradise. And when you’re dong walking around, enjoy a swim in the lake at the beach area, or just bask in the sun.

J A C O B K U L J U is a Minnesota-based freelance writer who also writes regularly for the Voyageur Press of McGregor. Contact him at

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bailing out too early. While tumbling temperatures are the impetus for most humans, what’s the driving force that sends birds to warmer climes? The mystery of migration has been one of the most interesting and intriguing subjects of nature. After centuries of speculation and decades of prodding and probing, some answers have surfaced through observation and research. What does prompt birds to migrate? Clearly, it’s a combination of physiological, environmental and behavioral factors. Birds are born with the – September Song, Words and music by Maxwell Anderson & Kurt Weill, 1938 instinct to migrate and migratory behavior is inherWHEN I WAS A LITTLE KID MUSIC WAS PART ited. This internal calendar O F M Y L I F E , my dad would play 45’s on a small reshows itself even in birds born and raised in captivity. cord player and we’d listen to radio when we’d go for They display a well-known migratory “restlessness” rides every Sunday. My ma always seemed to know during spring and fall in spite of the fact they have songs mainly from the “Ed Sullivan Show” we’d watch never migrated. weekly. Jukeboxes were popular, too, and both would Although the instinct to migrate is inborn, birds let me drop in a coin and punch the letter and number do not do so without the proper physiological stimufor the selection of their choice. lus. Dwindling day length is a major component comAll these years later I still know the words to many of mencing the urge to migrate. In at least some birds, their favorite melodies, including “September Song.” metabolic changes and the production of specific Every autumn I find myself singing it in a melancholy hormones that increase fat accumulation are related kind of way as I wander through my woods and wet- directly to photoperiodism (day length). lands. But don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year. You may wonder if dipping temperatures and diminNext to May, September and October are my favorite ishing food brought on by cold weather sends them months. winging. Yes, both do, but apparently these are not I bask in the peace and serenity of autumn and yet as influential as lack of sunshine for birds that truly there are unmistakable signs and sounds that tell us migrate rather than move just far enough south to obwinter is waiting in the wings. Among the most no- tain food. table is the increased activity in the sky. The midBirds also have an innate sense of their distant descontinental spectacle of raptor migration by the tens tination. Nature has somehow programmed a “map” of thousands peaks along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Only a few straggler non-resident songbirds appear • Custom Splash Guards in our yards by the end of October. Rafts of water• Replacement Glass for fowl take wing and Vs of geese heading south. I know Boat Windshields we’re on the final seasonal migration countdown • Custom Storm when the tundra swans and bluebills wing through. Windows & Screens I’ve even seen swans float from the sky onto the lake • Custom Mirrors ice in search of an open spot in late November. You may even know of early-departing snowbirds • Shower Doors who have already packed their campers and headed • Store Fronts 829-2881 to their wintering grounds in Florida, Texas and Ari1-800-726-8445 • Auto Glass zona. I personally think these folks miss some of the 18441 State Hwy 371 most spectacular weather and wildlife happenings by • Commercial Lock & Key Brainerd MN

“Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December But the days grow short when you reach September When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame You haven’t got time for the waiting game.”


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Photos provided by Andrea Lee Lambrecht

in the minds of young birds that guides them, without the aid of older individuals, to wintering areas. This point is illustrated in numerous species where youngsters leave the nesting ground long before the adults depart for warmer climes. However, some species, such as geese, would seem to have an additional advantage in reaching their journey’s end by flying in family formations with parents often leading the way. So once in flight, how do they orient and navigate? It is believed migrating birds use five main sources of information — the sun, stars, topographic features, the earth’s magnetic fields and odors. Solar and stellar positions are thought to be the most accurate as well as the most widely used. But what happens when the day or night sky is overcast? It may be under such conditions that birds switch to topographic mileposts, magnetic fields or wind direction, although the latter often leads them astray especially at night. While natural and manmade landmarks may also be used by generations of birds seasonally, confusion may result when nature or man alters these guideposts. Homing pigeons have been shown to find their way home by utilization of the earth’s magnetic field. One study of bobolinks revealed they have a deposit of magnetite, a magnetized iron oxide, next to nerve tissue in their heads, which may be used for navigation. Experiments with captive bobolinks

showed the birds were able to detect changes in artificial magnetic fields. The as-

sumption is they use this built-in tool in the wild as well. And, what’s this about navigating by odor? According to one reference, pigeons, petrels and a few other seabirds have been shown to do so, at least near their nesting grounds. New technology, satellite telemetry, DNA analyses, computerization and global sharing of information, increased interest and research have all added volumes of data to this field of study. I just touched on the subject. There are other aspects, such as how migration evolved, patterns of migration, when birds travel, flight techniques, flight power and speed, how high birds fly, preparing for the journey, timing, genetics and migration, routes and so much more that could be discussed. Although an enormous amount of knowledge has been gleaned about this fascinating phenomenon, I think it’s wonderful Mother Nature still holds a few pieces of the puzzle in her hand. May the mysteries of migration remain and may I always rejoice at the sweet sound of the canting calls of geese breaking the silence of an autumnal evening. And as for those sweet days, if you run into someone singing, “Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December But the days grow short when you reach September When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame You haven’t got time for the waiting game.” That’d be me.

A N D R E A L E E L A M B R E C H T has

been a naturalist and outdoors photographer for over 2 decades. Her articles and images have been featured in many publications including the Brainerd Dispatch. We are proud to display her work once again. This is the first time it has appeared in Outdoor Traditions.


Ph: 218.746.4555 Fax: 218.746.4558







ANTLER FACTS by Bill Marchel

Shed deer antlers are usually consumed rather quickly by rodents such as squirrels, mice and porcupines. ANTLERS HAVE INTRIGUED MAN SINCE HE FIRST PURSED DEER USING SPEARHEADS CHIS-

Centuries later, that fascination has not waned. If you hunt deer, you probably hope to someday bag a buck with huge antlers, a buck sporting 10 or 12 lofty points protruding from main beams that sweep high and wide. Antler growth on whitetail bucks begins in late winter, and originates from a plate on the skull called a pedicel. During growth, a soft blood-rich skin called velvet covers the antlers. The antlers continue to grow throughout the summer, and are fully grown by midAugust. During late August and early September, the antlers harden, and the velvet peals off, exposing the hardened bone beneath. The yearly process is complete when the antlers are shed during winter. Many people incorrectly refer to the headgear worn by the white-tailed deer that roam the North Country as horns. Actually, deer grow antlers, which are true bone, and are shed each winter and re-grown each spring and



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summer. Horns - for example those carried by sheep and goats - are made of keratin and, except for pronghorn antelope, are not shed. Occasionally, whitetail bucks grow non-typical antlers, those with unusual or odd points. Sometimes

The antlers of this whitetail buck displays two odd characteristics. A drop tine arcs downward off the buck’s left main beam, and notice the odd but graceful curves of the unusually long brow tines. Photos provided by Bill Marchel

bucks sport antlers with configurations so outlandish they defy nature. On a foggy morning a few years ago, I saw a buck who’s right antler appeared quite normal, but its left antler was a grotesque, jumble of bone that grew downward alongside the buck’s face. The antler had a “melted” appearance. Why do bucks sometimes develop such odd antlers? An injured pedicel usually produces and antler that protrudes from the skull at a peculiar angle, and such a deformity is usually permanent. Also, an injury to the body of a buck can cause antler deformities, usually to the antler on the opposite side of the injury. This phenomenon is known as “contralateral effect.” Perhaps the most common type of antler deformity is caused by an injury to the antler during the summer velvet stage. It is interesting that such an injury seems to be “remembered” and the anomaly will often develop in subsequent years. Biologists believe the purpose of antlers is for social ranking, not protection, since antlers are shed during winter when predators pose the greatest threat. Why aren’t shed antlers lying all over the woods? They are quickly consumed by other critters such as squirrels, mice and porcupines.

The left antler of this young buck grows down alongside its face and across the bridge of its nose, and still contains strips of dried velvet, even though the buck was photographed in December. The strange antler is likely the result of a damaged pedicel. For now, the deer seems to be in good health, but another year’s growth could affect the buck’s ability to feed?

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During spring and summer, developing antlers are covered with a blood-rich skin called velvet. The velvet is shed usually in early September.

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This buck has shed one antler. It will likely drop the other antler shortly after.


Antler size helps to determine the social ranking of a buck within the herd.

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2 cups chicken broth 8 grouse breast filets 1 cup flour garlic salt, oregano and basil to taste 1/2 cup chicken broth

(1) Combine the wild rice with 2 cups of broth 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan, cover and cook until tender. (keep warm) (2) Rinse grouse filets and pat dry. Pound the filets between waxed paper with meat mallet until tender, then combine with the eggs in a bowl. Let stand for 1 hour. (3) Combine the flour, oregano, garlic salt, basil and peper to taste in a bowl and roll the filets in this flour mixture, coating well. (4) Brown on both sides in 2 tb butter in a skillet. Then add enough broth to cover the bottom of the pan and simmer filets, covered, for 10 min. (5) Place 1/2 slice of cheese on each filet and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with the rice.

Cut thawed venison steaks into aprox. 1/2 inch cubes. Cut carrots in half or desired size. Cut onion to desired size (either diced or thin slices). Cut potatoes into approx. 1/2 inch cubes. Combine all ingredients into crockpot. Add 2-3 cups water and mushroom soup. Heat on high 4-6 hours or on low 8 hours (or until potatoes & carrots are soft, but not mushy & meat is cooked.)

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10 STEPS to Better Jigging by Ted Takasaki & Scott Richardson MOST ANGLERS BELIEVE THAT THEY A L L A B O U T J I G S just because jigs have been around ever since man first pinched lead shot on a hook. But, that’s just not so. Jigging basics may seem simple enough and mastering the fundamental of jigging technique can mean the difference between catching fish and not. KNOW

Try this 10-step program to better jigging.

STEP 1: STAY ON THE BOTTOM Lake, river or reservoir, walleyes relating to structure and current spend most of their time on or near the bottom. Choose the right-sized jig to keep your minnow, leech or nightcrawler down amongst them. Walleyes eat by inhaling the water around their target. A light jig may make it easier to engulf. But, be prepared to adapt. Jigs that are too small for the conditions may keep you out of the strike zone entirely. They may also make it impossible to keep your line vertical to sense light bites. Increase the weight of your jig as depth, wind or current increase. When in doubt, go heavier. There might even be times when only a 1-ounce jig will do. If you miss strikes with a big jig, add a stinger to increase odds of a hook-up. Try leaving the barbs of the stinger hook completely out of your bait. This will increase the natural action and appearance of your live bait. Smaller is usually better when working the shallows. In lakes, cast or flip 1/16th or 1/8th-ounce jigs to riprap or to pockets in the weeds. In rivers, use just enough






weight to take the jig to the bottom when you cast upstream. Lift it. The flow should move it downstream just off the bottom until it comes to rest again. Repeat.

STEP 2: CONSIDER THE FORAGE Although a light jig will often accomplish the primary goal of bottom contact, jigs with a bigger profile might still be the answer if walleyes are keying on larger forage. Don’t assume. Let the fish tell you what they want.

STEP 3: USE THE RIGHT TOOL Jig heads come in several shapes for a reason. Use the right one for the job. Ball-style jigs are most common. They work well in current or still water for casting and vertical jigging. Larger sizes can trolled or drifted. Swimming jigs have a long, flat design with the hook eye placed in front. They’re best for casting in weeds. Current cutters, or pancake jigs, are designed to be hy-


Photo provided by Ted Takasaki

dro-dynamic in moving water. They are great for rivers.

STEP 4: CHANGE COLORS Admit it. We all go to the water with notions of what should work. No where is that more apparent than in choice of colors. Jig heads and plastics come in a thousand hues. Yet, we insist on using the same old favorites. Just because something worked yesterday or even this morning doesn’t mean it will work now. Water clarity and light conditions change constantly. Use trial and error until you find a combination that triggers strikes. Try plastic trailers and without. Don’t forget maribou-type jigs, such as Lindy’s Fuzz-E-Grub jig. Don’t stop switching even when you start catching fish. If chartreuse or orange or pink or blue seem to work, try different shades of those colors to fine-tune the presentation and see if a slight variation will entice the biggest fish. If action stops, change up again. For starters, try brighter colors in stained or dirty water and darker colors for clear.

STEP 5: VARY LIVE BAIT, TOO Since jigs are one of the oldest, most effective live-bait delivery systems we have, we’ve developed “rules” over the years on when minnows, nightcrawlers or leeches should work best. Minnows are the choice in the cold water of spring and fall. Leeches are the favored bait in warm water. Nightcrawlers seem good across the calendar. But, don’t be afraid to break the rules. There’s been many times during spring floods when walleyes inhale worms and ignore minnows. See what works. The fish will let you know. A great jig to match up with live bait is the Max Gap jig. It features a wide bite hook gap to hook more fish.

STEP 6: ALTER JIG ACTION Walleyes will absolutely destroy a bait at times. At others, they don’t seem interested at all. Perhaps a cold front has passed through or the wind direction changed. Keep testing their mood. Attract the most-aggressive fish by popping your jig up, then letting it fall back to the bottom. Follow the jig down with the rod tip to keep your line taut in order to maintain control of the jig. Next, try a slow lift-drop, lift-drop. Then, drag it on the bottom or quiver it slightly.

STEP 7: CONCENTRATE Visualize where your jig is and what it is doing. Better yet, if possible, use an underwater fish camera to see exactly how walleyes react to your bait and what kind of structure and cover you’re fishing. We’ve found most anglers often “over-jig.” Use your jig as a tool to gather information. For example, try to feel subtle changes in the bottom. Spots where it changes from hard to soft can be a key area. Intense focus also helps when bites are so light that nothing at all is telegraphed up your


line through your rod. A slight movement or “heavy” feel may be all the notice you get. Set the hook at the slightest change.

STEP 8: SEE THE BITES Line watching is critical to detecting subtle bites and determining if your jig is on the bottom. If your line twitches, jumps, or stops before hitting the bottom, set the hook. Try using as light of pound test line as you can get by with. Use monofilament line for clear water conditions or clean bottoms. Power Pro super braided line works great for rocks and snaggy areas or jigging deep water. Spool your line on a spinning reel that has infinite anti-reverse and a reliable, smooth drag.

STEP 9: PRACTICE BOAT CONTROL Boat control is essential to good jigging. In current, point your bow upstream or into the wind and use short bursts from your electric trolling motor to match your boat speed with the water flow. Keep your line vertical below the boat and watch your rod tip for a slight bow to signal bottom contact. All rules have exceptions. There are places like the Rainy River where walleyes seem to prefer stationary jigs below anchored boats. Try that, too. To keep your jig on the critical “spot on a spot”, try mounting a transducer directly to your trolling motor which feeds data to your bow-mounted sonar. Humminbird’s new Matrix depth finders are an excellent choice when targeting specific fish on structure.

STEP 10: FISH FISH The best jigging mechanics won’t do any good if you aren’t fishing where the fish are. Study the map of lake or river section you are targeting to find likely spots using what you know about walleye movements in the calendar period. Along the way, stop at more than one bait shop for the latest word on where the bigger schools are located and for an idea of what presentations others are using. Ask questions at the ramp. Once on the water, move from spot to spot using your electronics to find forage fish and likely walleyes before you start to fish. These tips are sure to make you a better walleye angler. Jigging is one of the key fundamental presentations to master.

T E D T A K A S A K I is one of the country’s top pro walleye fisherman and a former PWT champion. Not only has Ted won many fishing tournaments, he is the CEO of Lindy Little Joe, inc. maker of fine fishing products.







by Carolyn Corbett

R E M E M B E R R A C I N G H O M E F R O M S C H O O L and out to the backyard to tromp through mud puddles or catch frogs or scramble up into a tree house? Something happened. Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation before them. They are more likely to download images of bugs and slugs or view the great outdoors on the Nature Channel than they are to head outside to interact with Mother Nature first hand. This estrangement from the world of nature has been dubbed Nature Deficit Disorder. WHY IS IT HAPPENING?

There are three primary reasons young people losing contact with the natural world. • Apprehensive parents who fear for their chil dren’s safety. Advocates of outdoor recreation, however, suggest that there are likely more predators online than outside.

• Overly structured “free” time. Sporting events, dance class, church, after school activities. Certainly these activities are important, but if every moment in a child’s life is organized and structured, there is little opportunity for spontaneous creative experiences, little freedom to play, explore and interact with the natural world. • No electrical outlets. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that children between the ages of 818 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day indoors using computers, video games, television and MP3 players. A 2002 study found that 8-year-olds could identify 25% more Pokémon characters than wild life species. Going outdoors means selfentertainment.

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It is difficult to over-emphasize the important of nature play. Experts are concerned that children will be at a disadvantage because of this disconnect with nature. Study after study make clear the benefits of good old fashioned outdoor play. The more nature exposure, the greater the benefits, including: • Improved cognitive development and language skills. • Improved awareness, reasoning and observational skills. • Increased collaborative skills. • Increased independence, autonomy and ability to deal with adversity. • Reduced stress levels and rates of illness. • Reduced instances of bullying behavior. • Advanced scores on tests of concentration and self-discipline. • Advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility. • Improved levels of concentration for youngsters with ADHD. ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY

According to Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder,” “Studies have shown that people who love the environment said they had great outdoor experiences as kids. If that ends, where will our future environmental stewards come from? If kids aren’t bonding now with nature, then who in the world is going to care about the spotted owl in 10 or 15 years?” Louv founded the Children and Nature Network as a vehicle for promoting the growing No Child Left Inside movement, which originally began in 2006 as a project of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. The No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI) is an organization made up of some 300 member groups from across the United States. The membership includes environmental, educational, business, public health, outdoor recreation and conservation groups who believe young people should receive a strong education about their natural world. “Children who spend more time outside before age 11 are much more likely to grow up to be environmentally committed as adults,” said Larry Schweiger, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, which is also a member of the NCLI Coalition. The coalition’s goal is passage of the federal No Child Left Inside Act. This legislation would authorize funding for states to provide

quality environmental instruction, extending the National Environmental Education Act and ensuring environmentally literate graduates. DO





Children experience the natural environment differently than adults do. Adults often see the outdoors as a background for what they are doing, a setting for their events and activities. For children, nature is the activity. It’s not a landscape, it’s an experience. Kids are unconcerned with aesthetics and quite concerned about how they can interact with nature. Do you remember… • Swimming, building sand castles, searching for agates, skipping rocks. • Catching crawdads, collecting bugs, chasing butterflies, hand feeding chipmunks. • Climbing trees, building forts. • Camping out in the backyard. • Searching for constellations in the night sky. • Rolling over logs to see what was there. • Digging holes, balancing on fallen trees. Continued on page 25




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IT’S FUNNY HOW CERTAIN THINGS CAN TRIGGER MEMORIES OF GOOD TIMES FROM YEARS A G O . Today I went to the gravel pit to shoot some trap with a few friends and shake the rust off. As I sat on my patio later in the day cleaning my shotgun, it reminded me of a hunting trip about 15 years ago. It was opening weekend for pheasants in southwest Minnesota. I was probably only 10 or 11, only old enough to walk behind the group with my little brother. We would follow behind our dad, uncles, and grandpa with our toy shotguns, waiting to take down any unsuspecting pheasants that dared to cross our paths. I remember the dogs being so excited once they jumped out of the trucks. Somehow they knew it was opener, too. The biggest thrill of the hunt was after the first flush, after the flurry of shots, when the dogs came back, their mouths full, eager to drop off their prize, and I got to carry the first rooster of the season in my game pouch. As the day grew long, my brother and I sat down in a




patch of tall grass to rest our tired legs while the rest of the group made a loop back toward us. As we were resting, eating bologna sandwiches and mini snicker bars, three does were kicked up by the hunting party and actually jumped over us! Quite a day. Indeed. Later on in the evening, as we sat around the campfire, I listened to my grandpa tell stories of pheasant hunts long ago. As I watched his eyes grow wider from across the fire with each tale, I soaked up every detail. As another pheasant opener looms around the corner, I can’t wait to hear the sound of the dogs in the field, the smell of gunpowder in the air, the feel of a warm rooster nestled in my pouch, and to tell stories of hunting trips long ago. J A K E L E H N E R is a field assistant for the Minnesota Conservation Corps, and he currently resides in Baxter, MN. Jake enjoys fishing, grouse and pheasant hunting, camping and being outdoors.



Approximately the same size of New York’s Central Park, the arboretum is the hub of these two growing cities. This beautiful green space, with an abundance of wildlife, gardens, forest, and trails, is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. The many interpretive trails and educational projects to explore, serve as an outdoor classroom. Since it first started, with the closing of the Brainerd dump in 1972, the arb has come a long way. In fact, the landfill area is being used to develop an environmental trail and an Apiary (bee yard) educational project. This bee yard, maintained by the North Central Beekeepers Association, is producing large amounts of honey. The Visitor Center is used 7 days a week for civic events, community meetings, weddings, and educational programs. It also serves as a center for many community clubs and organizations. Fall is a wonderful time to walk or run on the arboretum trails, or to sit and watch the seasons change at one of the beautiful scenic areas. Some favorite spots are the memorial garden

and waterfall, the Red Pine Plantation trail, North Star trail’s scenic overlook, and the gazebo gardening area. We truly are a “community arboretum”, valued by all. Come enjoy our “Central Park”.


Mark Your Calendars!

~ Landscaping Design/Water Features Class – September 29th ~ Haunted Trail – October 25th & 26th ~ Annual Meeting – October 30th ~ Winter Wonderland “Light Festival” Presented by Brainerd Sertoma November 27 – December 31, 2008 For information on upcoming events and programs, go to our website at or call (218) 829-8770. Photos provided by the 2008 Children’s Outdoor Education Camp

A r b o r e t u m 23

Outdoors O

today in th


Labor Day Bear Season Morning Dove Season


Arts in the Park

















13 Deer hunt









O’Reilly/Snap-On Bracket Drag Racing Series

4 Moose Hunt - Northeast Season






10Haunted House & 11 Trail - The Farm on St. Mathias 10th & 11th Haunted Corn Maze - Brainerd 10th & 11th






Turkey - Fall Turkey Hunt 1st Season

O’Reilly/Snap-On Bracket Drag Racing Series



Early Canada Goose Season

Wednesday Night Street Drag - BIR



Disc Golf Classic

- Archery Season Sm. Game Season Grouse Season






Deer Hunt - Camp Ripley Archery Hunt 2nd Season

17Haunted House & 18 Trail - The Farm on St. Mathias 17th & 18th Haunted Corn Maze - Brainerd 17th & 18th











Deer Hunt - Camp Ripley Archery Hunt 1st Season

Deer Hunt - Early Antlerless Deer Opener Pheasant Opener

Haunted House & Trail - The Farm on St. Mathias 24th & 25th Haunted Corn Maze - Brainerd 24th & 25th

Prairie Chicken Season Oktoberfest at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge


Badger, Opossum and Raccoon Season Fox - Gray and Red Fox Opener

Halloween Haunted Corn Maze - Brainerd

For more information or more events, log on to:

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Directory D

Continued from page 21


• Learning to identify trees, wildflowers, animal tracks, bird songs. • Watch an ant colony . • Ice skating and tobogganing.


Eagle Ridge




Free play in natural environments encourages youngsters to experiment, explore, imagine their own ways to play, develop responsibility and make decisions. Natural elements provide for creative interaction. The more diverse the outdoor setting, the greater the opportunities for open-ended play: woods, gullies, digging areas, log piles, stumps, boulders, water. Kids love outdoor shelters such as tree houses, clubhouses, forts and playhouses – all manner of nooks and crannies that offer privacy or hiding places. Traditional wooden structures are just one choice for a hideaway. Another spot kids love is the space beneath the deck. Tall grasses interspersed with some bright flowers provide perfect privacy for the younger set. An open space in the planting allows room for kids to squeeze into their “cave�. Sunflowers can create another seasonal play place. A sunny spot about 5x9 feet planted on three sides with sunflowers and runner beans, morning glories or some other rapid climbing vining plant is all it takes. When the sunflowers reach a good height, a string tied around the heads will join them together. The twining plants quickly cover the string and the youngsters have the most interesting play space in the neighborhood. FUTURE IMPACT

Environmental advocates worry. Children who grow up without experiences of fishing in the lily pads, boating on area lakes or camping under the stars might not, as adults, find environmental conservation to be a priority. Will nature-disconnected children care about protecting the environment when they are nature-disconnected adults? It seems unlikely. Few people value what they know little about. The future is in the hands of our children. So are computer keyboards, video games, and the remote control for the TV. Please. Send them outside.

C A R O L Y N C O R B E T T is a free-

lance writer and editor with 12 years of experience. Carolyn currently lives in Brainerd where she writes for various local publications and creates content for web sites.


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D i r e c t o r y 25

Your Tasa Lekivoll,

Best Shot

Columbia Heights, MN Taken on a road trip to North Dakota. The mother crossed the road in front of us, the fawn panicked and laid down on the side of the road. It was beautiful.

Send a slide or print to “Your Best Shot” Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 574, Brainerd, MN 56401. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your materials returned. Do you enjoy taking photos? Do you have a favorite image of an eagle, flower, sunset, or how about your favorite hunting partner? Here’s your chance to share it with readers of “OUTDOOR Traditions.” Send it along with a two-sentence explanation as to where, why, and how it was shot. Both could be published online and in the 50,000 copies of our new quarterly magazine, “OUTDOORS Traditions.” Each issue will have an “editor’s pick” contributed photo, including a credit line of the photographer’s name and portrait if available. If your photo is not chosen, all appropriate images will be included on the “We Spotted” section of our website. They will be displayed there for three months, running concurrently with the season and/or until the next “OUTDOOR Traditions” publishes. Deadline for the summer edition is November 21, 2008. The Dispatch will collect images quarterly (spring, summer, fall, winter). After each issue of “OUTDOOR Traditions” publishes, we will then place the images on our website.

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Offers are good on new and unregistered units purchased between 7/23/08 and 9/30/08. Offers are available only at participating Polaris dealers. *Rebates vary by model and are available only on select ATV and RANGER™ vehicles. **Offer is subject to credit approval. Applies to purchase of new Polaris vehicles made on the Polaris Installment Program between 7/23/08 and 9/30/08 with loan terms of up to 72 months. Fixed APR of 2.99%, 6.99%, 9.99%, and 12.99% will be assigned based on credit-approval criteria. Examples of monthly payments over a 72-month term: at 2.99% APR, payment is $15.19 per $1,000 financed and at 12.99% APR, payment is $20.07 per $1,000 financed. See dealer for complete details. WARNING! ATVs can be hazardous to operate. Polaris adult models are for riders aged 16 and older. Polaris youth models of 90cc are for riders aged 12 and older. Polaris youth models of 50cc are for riders aged 6 and older. For your safety, always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing and be sure to take a safety training course. For your safety and training information in the U.S., call the SVIA at (800)887-2887. You may also contact your Polaris dealer or call Polaris at (800)384-3764. The Polaris RANGER general-purppose off-road utility vehicle is not intended for and may not be registered for on-road use. ©2008 Polaris Industries Inc.

Glossy_Fall 08.indd 4

8/27/08 1:19:49 PM

Outdoor Traditions Fall 2008  

Outdoor Traditions Issue 3 Edition 3 • Antler facts • Mystery of migration • They'rrre Baaaack • Father Hennepin State Park • No child left...

Outdoor Traditions Fall 2008  

Outdoor Traditions Issue 3 Edition 3 • Antler facts • Mystery of migration • They'rrre Baaaack • Father Hennepin State Park • No child left...