Issue 3 • Edition 3
Featured in this issue
ANTLER FACTS BY: BILL MARCHEL
• 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: www.brainerddispatch.com
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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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the NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE
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ANTLER FACTS Your
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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. See page 26 for details. 4
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506 James Street • P.O. Box 974 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-4705 www.brainerddispatch.com Cover photo by Bill Marchel
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
â€œWhile hunter education courses enable safer hunting, they also help hunters be more successful in their hunts and emphasize ethical hunting behavior,â€? Hammer said. â€œSubjects covered include hunter responsibility, wildlife identification and management, game care and more.â€? 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 â€” particularly by using hunting as a management tool. For more information and a complete list of classes, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/ 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@ brainerddispatch.com or at 855-5864.
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