Issue 3 • Edition 5
Featured in this issue
KEEPING UP A FAMILY HUNTING TRADITION BY: TIM ANDERSON
PLUS MORE! • Archers Tell Their Stories
By: Jim Kalkofen
• Lindy Riggin’ for Fall Trophies
By: Ted Takasaki
• Battling Bucks By: Bill Marchel • Deep Fall Crappies
By: Dave Csanda
• Your Best Shot
Read Online: www.brainerddispatch.com or www.brainerdoutdoors.com
YOUR OUTDOOR HEADQUARTERS
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MY OCTOBER LAMENT
I’m a summer person and I see autumn not as the introduction to winter, but the cessation of another summer. I know it’s not a discontinuation of the time I love so much — and I know that another summer will come — but, for me, it’s a sad one just the same. I am standing here today, gazing out over our windswept lake through a cold and persistent rain. Yesterday we put the pontoon away and now the dock looks bare and useless. It begs to come out of the cold water, too. The big ash tree by the water’s edge — that shaded the beach all summer — has lost all of its foliage, age, and its leaves now litter ter the yard and the he ee lake, while the tree stands skeletal and nd naked, almost emmbarrassed. The lily y pads by the dock k are all ragged, pale and sicklooking from summer storms and gnawing insects, trying their best to still stay afloat. A yellow rope tied to the dock that once ce was used to oat, now floats in the water, intersecure a paddleboat, twined with dead seaweed and a few snails. A forgotten, faded-yellow plastic pail sits on the beach, halfburied in the cold wet sand. Its matching shovel, once intertwined with a grandchild’s pudgy fingers, now stands, half in and half out of the water like a lonely sentinel. From across the lake, but far out of sight, a shotgun echoes; the hunt has begun. The waterfowl, that swam by the dock so many times this past summer, are due to be harvested like the fruits of the garden, for the purpose God intended them to be. Most of the cabins and homes are shuttered and empty. The squeals of small children playing and adults laugh-
by Mike Holst
ing have vanished with the summer warmth but, if you listen closely, you can still hear them echoing through the annals of time. The aroma of outdoor grills cooking delicious meats has been replaced with the smoky fragrance of burning leaves, woodfilled stoves, and fireplaces. Back yards that were ball fields are now a collection of blue and green tarps sheltering all of the now-parked toys of summer. With their bushy canopies stripped, the trees and bushes that sheltered the dark woods from sight this summer now offer a new glimpse into what had laid hidden from our eyes in their depths all summer long. Long-forgotten rotting logs, tree limbs and leaves litter the forest floor. Their decomposing bodies returning to the ground from w which they came, in a never-ending c cycle of life. Unl like mankind, the f flora seems to acce cept their wintry fa fate as a time to re and rejuvenate. rest Tim is not an isTime sue for them; they live and die in the mom moment, somehow kno knowing they will be reinc reincarnated to do it o all over again. As for b the birds and animals, it’s a time to think of shelte Either they go shelter. where they can survive or they burrow into mother earth and sleep away the winter. For me at least, there is a loosely held correlation between the seasons and our own fragile lives. I remember words from a song by Johnny Mercer that goes through my mind each and every autumn as I watch the colors. They go like this, “The falling leaves drift by my window--The falling leaves of red and gold--I see your lips, the summer kisses--The sunburned hands I used to hold.”
Welcome ...................................... 3 Spring Fever Inspires Adventure! Pt.2 .... 5 Deep Fall Crappies ..................... 8 Aquatic Hitchhikers ................... 11 Local Deer Hunters.................... 12 Family Hunting Tradition ........... 14 The Love Of Labs And Family! ... 17 Birding In Brainerd ..................... 20
LOCAL DEER HUNTERS
For The Love Of Muskies ........... 22 Seasonal Sensations.................. 23 A Walk On The Wild Side .............24
Battling Bucks ............................. 26 Lindy Riggin’ For Fall Trophies ... 28 A Way With Clays ...................... 30 Christmas Wish List ..................... 31 Service Directory ....................... 33 Today In The Outdoors.............. 33 Your Best Shot ............................ 34 Featured Products .................... 35
LINDY RIGGIN’ FOR FALL TROPHIES 506 James Street • P.O. Box 974 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-4705 www.brainerddispatch.com www.brainerdoutdoors.com Visit us on Facebook 4
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STAFF: Publisher .................................. Terry McCollough Advertising Director ................... Tim Bogenschutz Copy Editor ............................................Roy Miller Marketing / Special Projects Coordinator ... Nikki Lyter Magazine Layout ................................ Tyler Nelson Ad Design .......................................... Jeff Dummer, Andy Goble, Jennifer Fuchs, Lisa Henry, Angie Hoefs, Tyler Nelson and Cindy Spilman Sales..................... Kelly Carlson and Dave Wentzel Online Sales Manager .........................Beth Lehner 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. ®2010
On the cover: Pat Galdonik with daughter Sarah on her first turkey hunt.
SPRING FEVER INSPIRES ADVENTURE! WO
As promised in the spring edition of Outdoor
degrees with a head wind that kept the insects at bay. We had
Traditions, husband Jim and I embarked on a day long trail bike
lots of company. The trail was thick with runners, cyclists, and
ride. Inspired by spring fever and a spectacular spring and sum-
walkers. I must have nodded “good morning” fifty times before
mer season we decided to try a new adventure, a new way to
we had gone a mile and received as many welcoming smiles in
experience the outdoors.
return. Many of the riders we encountered were planning on a
WE DID IT!
The word that sums up our trip is “amazing.”! Why did we
by Sheri Davich
ride to Dorset and back, a pleasant 12- to 13-mile round trip.
wait so long to try cycling? As a runner I take back every de-
The scenery? Breathtaking! There were opportunities to stop,
rogatory thought I may have had about my cyclist brothers and
take pictures, rest on a bench if we chose. We passed forest,
sisters. I am a believer.
lakes, farms and dusty roads that stretched into the distance on
THE HEARTLAND TRAIL FROM PARK RAPIDS
Our adventure started in Park Rapids. The Heartland Trail is
our way to our first stop, Dorset. DORSET
an easy ride on a former railroad bed featuring minimal rolling.
Dorset is all about the bike, and food! Our first impressions of
It begins at a family-friendly park with a play area, basketball and
Dorset were “this place is hopping!” and “there have to be more
tennis courts, eating areas and restrooms. It would be a great
restaurants per capita in Dorset than in any place on the planet.”
starting point for a family day of cycling.
I wished we were ready for lunch because the choices abounded
The day was promising from the beginning. The weather was
— Mexican, Italian and American. We did stop and share an old-
perfect — blue skies, big puffy clouds, temperature about 72
fashioned ice cream soda, my first ever, because it was a day for firsts and calories are not a concern on an endurance day. There was shopping and even a place for bike repair. We topped off our tires, thinking it would make our work a bit easier. As we continued our journey to our next stop, Nevis, the number of cyclists and walkers dwindled. There was serenity on a Sunday afternoon. NEVIS
If Dorset is all about the bike, Nevis is all about the tiger muskie. It turns out we missed Muskie Days, a community celebration with live bands and activities celebrating the tiger muskie, by just one day. It must have been
Photo Provided by Sheri Davich
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some party because the town was recovering on the day we
believe what he was actually saying is that 30 miles were just
were there. There was scarcely a soul on the streets. On the
about all he would want to tackle.
next trip I will do my homework and see what community cel-
We ended our trip on the shores of Leech Lake, sitting on a
ebrations may be going on. It would have been fun to visit on
bench, watching the sailboats drift by.
one of those days.
OUR OBJECTIVES FOR OVUR DAY HAD BEEN AS FOLLOWS:
There were places to eat in Nevis, and I had to do the obligatory picture in front of the world’s largest tiger muskie. A short walkabout and we were off to our next stop, Akeley.
THIS ADVENTURE ED IN A DAY.
Mission accomplished! We left our Breezy Point home at
around 10 a.m. We were on the trail before 11:30 a.m. We ar-
The trail to Akeley parallels Highway 34 much of the way,
ranged for one of our sons to pick us up in Walker, bring us back
so there is traffic noise . We encountered the one snag in our trip on this stretch. A section of trail was closed due to some construction. For a brief and baffling moment we thought we would be bushwhacking. We found our own detour, though, and we were soon back on track. By this time we were ready for something to eat, but wouldn’t you know it, the restaurant in Akeley was closed. We improvised, sharing a personal pan pizza from the Clark station, seated next to our bikes in a piece of shade. It was the best pizza I’ve had in some time. It must have been the fresh air and the company. WALKER
The longest leg of our journey came between Akeley and Walker - about nine miles. Some of the best scenery of the trip was found here — ponds, secluded glens, wild raspberry patches that probably harbor the bears I was so hoping to spot, but no luck. It was toward the end of this stretch that Jim commented “these last few miles are uphill,” which they weren’t. I
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to our car in Park Rapids, and return to Walker for the family to enjoy the buffet together. We were there by 6:30 p.m.
that kind of day. IT’S YOUR TURN.
It would have worked just as well to have ridden half the
In making your plans, be aware that there are certain necessi-
trip, into Nevis and back from Walker or Park Rapids ( an “out
ties of the trail. We brought sunscreen, water, insect spray, a cell
and back”), and we would have eliminated a need for a ride. We
phone, camera, toilet paper and snacks in a backpack.We should
chose to do it this way so we could ride the full section of the
have brought antibacterial ointment and disposable wipes. We
trail between Park Rapids and Walker.
wore helmets and carried a bike lock to secure the bikes during
IT HAD TO BE INEXPENSIVE.
our stops.We did not bring a repair kit as the trail we chose had
Again, success! Our total expenditures for the day included
regular stops in civilization.
gas for the cars and food. Pedal power is free, as is all that nature
There is no better time than now to plan your own biking
has to offer.
adventure.The only way our day could have been better is if we
A NEW ADVENTURE WITH MY SWEETIE, HUSBAND JIM – A DATE.
had planned it for September or October.A day on the trail, with fall’s brilliant colors, awaits you!
Slam dunk! This day had it all — exercise, good food, and romance. In regards to romance, there were many opportunities for strolling hand in hand. Jim wanted to bike hand in hand on occasion but I said “No! No canoodling on the back of the bike!” I forgot the antibacterial. Crashing would have put a damper on an otherwise perfect day. We did steal a kiss under the Leech
S H E R I D A V I C H is a free-lance writer living in Pequot Lakes.
Lake sign as we left Walker. We couldn’t help ourselves. It was
Extraordinary Rehabilitation Results.
The Medical Campus in Crosby. www.crosbycares.com
Photos courtesy of Sheri Davich
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DEEP FALL CRAPPIES by Dave Csanda
DURING SUMMER, CRAPPIES IN OUR BRAINERD
often suspend at the 10- to 20foot levels, near or along the deep edges of weed beds. Swimming a small jig at or just above their level allows you to locate and catch them with ease. Yet surprisingly few anglers realize how crappies behave during summer, and have a hard time catching them during June, July and August—chiefly because they fish on the bottom, below the level of the fish. But things change once fall rolls around. As the water cools, crappies drop deeper, and begin acting very much like walleyes. Meaning that they stop suspending, and start hugging bottom. Lo and behold, that’s when walleye anglers suddenly
LAKES AREA LAKES
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begin catching crappies by accident while fishing jigs or livebait rigs on bottom, around the deep edges of midlake points, humps and dropoffs. In essence, fishermen don’t suddenly become geniuses in September. Instead, crappies move to places where anglers are fishing. And because crappies school heavily in fall, once you locate a prime gathering place for crappies, you can usually catch a bunch of them. In fact, once the word gets out that a crappie bite is on, anglers often come out of the woodwork to catch them. In shallow lakes with basins that are less than 30 to 35 feet deep, crappies may simply drop to bottom, move out over the midlake basin, and begin to school heavily. As they do, they patrol general areas within their comPhoto provided by Dave Csanda
fort zone in search of, or following, schools of wandering minnows. They may also linger within areas where larvae emerge from the bottom. Criss-crossing the open water areas of the lake while watching your electronics will suddenly reveal large clusters of fish on and near bottom. Sometimes the crappies are tucked tight to bottom — within a foot or two; other times, you see a big ball of fish that’s 10 to 15 feet in diameter, extending from the bottom up. But you seldom see crappies as high off bottom as they tend to be in summer. In larger lakes with deeper basins, crappies are unlikely to drop down into 40 or 50 feet or more in fall. They seem to be more comfortable in the 25- to 35-foot range. So we look for them tight along the edges of structures that drop into basin areas that are less than 35 feet deep. In some cases, deep holes within bays are sufficient to hold crappies nearly all winter. The mouths of bays are also excellent. In deeper sections of the lake, pay particular attention to the tips of points, and steep inside corners at the bases of points where they meet shallow flats. In this instance, crappies may be tight to bottom right along the base of the dropoff. But more likely, they will patrol the adjoining mud basin somewhere nearby — but not too deep. So when looking for them, locate the base of the dropoff with your electronics, and then move out deeper a slight distance to check for the presence of fish nearby. Once again, they’ll readily show up on your screen as big schools of fish. Catching deep crappies is easy, sort of a subtler version of vertical jigging for walleyes. All it takes is an ultralight rod, 4-to 6-pound-test line, and a handful of small jigs. Most of the time, 1/16-ounce is about right. You can catch them on 1/32-ounce jigs if they’re fussy and not too deep, and should be prepared to switch to 1/8-ounce jigs if the fish are a little deeper, or windy conditions make it harder to feel bottom and bites in deep water. But 1/16-ounce does the trick most of the time. All things considered, using larger 1/8-ounce jigs equates to catching fewer fish. Lindy Fuzz-E-Grubs in white, pink/white or chartreuse are particular favorites, since they resemble both minnows and larvae, and have subtle marabou tails that breathe seductively, even when the jig is at rest. Plain
marabou jigs are another subtle option. So are VMC Hot Skirt Glow Jigs or Tinsel Jigs, although they’re usually best when tipped with a small crappie minnow for added attraction, inserting the hook upward through the minnow’s lips to keep it lively. For minnow imitations, consider using a 2-inch softbait like a PowerBait Minnow or curlytail grub, dressed on a 1/16-ounce jighead. The tactic is easy: Simply drop the jig to bottom, and when your line stops sinking, engage the reel, tighten up slack, and then lightly grip the line with your trigger finger to help sense bottom and detect light bites. When crappies are on or near bottom, gently lift the jig a foot or so, hold it there briefly, and then gently lower it back to bottom. Don’t pop it aggressively upward and then let it swiftly fall. Slow and simple is the rule. When you see fish on your electronics that are higher off bottom, simply raise your rod tip 3, 4 or 5 feet to lift the jig higher off bottom, and then hold it there. You never want to fish beneath crappies, where they can’t see the jig. Instead, you always want to position the jig at or slightly above their level, allowing them to feed forward or upward. When you get a bite, chances are it will be a sudden gentle weight or light tug, rather than a hard strike. Immediately sweep the rod tip upward to take slack out of the line and set the hook. Fight the fish to the surface, take it off the hook, and immediately decide whether or not you want to release it. Then get your jig back down for another go-round. Using an electric motor and precise boat control, you can hover over, drift across, backtroll through, and generally saturate the deep crappie zone with tiny jigs, over and over again. As you do, aggressive fish will rise to strike, and you can catch loads of fish in a relatively short time. And the more you get them excited, the more fish begin rising and actively feeding. The consensus is that if you target the highest, most active fish in the school, you’ll perhaps catch the most without spooking the others by pulling hooked fish up through the school. Then there’s the other school of thought, which suggests that the biggest, laziest crappies lie beneath the others, waiting for injured minnows to flutter down through the school. So it’s a judgment call: fish the top of the school for numbers, or the OPEN 365 DAYS
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bottom for potential biggies. Now, here’s the other deal on deep fall crappies. The fish are often heavily clu tered and vulnerable to overfishing if anglers harvest too many. Catch a few, but don’t overdo it. Observe posted possession limits, and don’t come back day after day to fill your freezer. Remember that fish in your freezer count toward your limit. So take a few to eat if you wish, and toss the rest back for the future. As you do, note if the fish are quick to recover, or have difficulty swimming back to the bottom. If crappies are caught too deeply —say 30-feet plus — their air bladders may swell due to pressure change, and they may quickly become unable to swim back down. Tossing fish back immediately often alleviates this problem, whereas waiting too long before releasing them aggravates it. If you see any indication that released fish are struggling near the surface, stop fishing for them. It doesn’t make sense to catch and release a bunch of crappies if they aren’t going to survive. Nearly all lakes in the Brainerd lakes area host decent crappie populations. From larger lakes like Gull, Pelican, North Long and Whitefish, to midsized waters like
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Edward and Hubert, right on down to small lakes that escape most angling attention, other than from a few locals. Rice Lake on the Mississippi has nice crappies that leave the main river current in fall to winter in smaller attached lakes like Little Rabbit, where jigging the 20foot basin produces loads of fish come October. The deep crappie pattern in our area begins once fall turnover occurs—generally mid-September--the water grows cold, and crappies drop deep and begin acting like walleyes. You’ll find the fish at first ice in the same places as well. Which begs the question, if crappies act like walleyes in fall, what do walleyes do at this time of year? The simple answer is, they often drop even deeper. But that’s another tale for another day.
D A V E C S A N D A works with Lind-
ner Media Productions in Baxter, Minnesota and is a veteran outdoor writer, seminar speaker and co-host of Angling Edge TV.
Photo provided by Dave Csanda
ZEBRA MUSSELS & SPINY AND FISHHOOK WATERFLEAS OUR LAKES ARE HOME TO ALL KINDS OF GOOD THINGS: FISH, BOATS, SWIMMERS, INNERTUBES.
In the summer months they’re where we spend most of our recreation hours. Unfortunately, they have also become home to plenty of uninvited guests. Their presence is now costing the country billions of dollars as they become spread from lake to lake by attaching themselves to boats, other fishing equipment and surfaces. Some of the biggest nuisances in our area today are zebra mussels and spiny and fishhook waterfleas. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) grow to the size of a thumbnail and have spread to many lakes and rivers in the U.S. and Canada. They cause damage by clogging water intakes and damage ecosystems and the sharp shells are a danger to swimmers. They can also attach to aquatic plants so it’s critical for boaters to remove all aquatic vegetation before you leave a lake. Zebra mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes in the late 80’s. They have since spread into the Mississippi River from Brainerd downstream. Zebra mussels mature within a year and multiply at an alarming rate. An adult female can produce up to 500,000 eggs each year. The adults can survive for days out of water. Over a dozen lakes in Crow Wing County have been infested with the mussels. Zebra mussels look like small clams with a yellowish or brownish D-shaped shell. They have dark and light-colored stripes. To report a sighting of Zebra mussels call your local DNR fishery. If possible note the exact location and place it in a sealed plastic bag. Water fleas are another increasing problem in area waters. The Spiny and Fishhook waterfleas appear in late spring and stay present in the water until late autumn. Water fleas live up to a week. In the spring, the population
comes from eggs that lay dormant over the winter. The fleas may be small but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a big impact on their environment and do a lot of damage. Their population can grow quickly and it’s possible for them to spread to other waters when eggs are moved from one body of water to another by attaching themselves to things like fishing gear. The long tail spines of these water fleas tend to become tangled on fishing lines and nets. Sometimes anglers are forced to cut their lines because there were so many water fleas attached they could not reel them in. Once spiny water fleas are established they are almost impossible to get rid of. Even though the females die out of water they may produce eggs that resist drying and can establish an entire new population. Signs are posted at boat launches to alert boaters and anglers of the threat of the fleas. Many areas official are working to educate water users about the threats of aquatic nuisance species. To report a sighting of either type of waterflea specimens are needed but it may be illegal to have them in your possession. Contact the local natural resource management agency for instructions. S H E I L A H E L M B E R G E R has a journalism degree. She is a mother of three, and contributes regularly to various local publications.
Officials count on the help of anglers and those that use area lakes to help with their identification and eradication. There are a number of effective steps that can be taken by boaters and anvglers to reduce the chance of infesting other bodies of water with water fleas, mussels and other invasive species. • Remove all visible plants and animals from your boats and trailers • Drain live wells and bilge water before you leave the access site. • Empty bait buckets on land rather than in the water. • Clean your boat, tackle, downriggers, trailer, waders, etc. with hot water. • Learn to identify zebra mussels, spiny and fishhook water fleas and other invasive species so you can report new sightings.
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LOCAL DEER HUNTERS
Share their Bow Hunting Passion
WITH WHITETAIL ARCHERY SEASON AROUND THE CORNER, THREE LOCAL HUNTERS TOLD TRADITIONS ABOUT THEIR START AND WHY THEY CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF BOW HUNTING. THEY ALSO OFFERED SOME INTERESTING PERSPECTIVES AND SAFETY TIPS.
Hunting and shooting bows since he was 10, Tim has four decades of sighting down a bow string for rabbits, raccoons, woodchucks, prairie dogs, turkeys, elk, mule deer, whitetails, bears, mountain fo li lion (record book 10th in the world), grouse, caribou, coyotes and foxes. He tries to shoot 20 to 30 aarrows each noon hour, and said, “Nobody practices enough.” Tim’s many weekend trips made with his mother, Sue, remain extremely memorable. His Pope aand Young record-book elk came in New Mexico when on a trip with her, and the two will head back aagain this season. He said, “Mom, at 71, still hunts, and was instrumental in my love of hunting.” One of his oft-recalled hunts came with his dad on a 20-degree below zero Colorado morning. Aside from the cold, Tim’s thoughts turn to a 13-point whitetail with a 23-3/8ths inch inside spread A that grossed 165 scoring inches. “The big buck came to my decoy, which I dressed with a skull cap, th tarsal glands and the saliva of other deer. It was a 21-yard shot. I was really into scents before it was ta a big thing in archery,” he said. When Minnesota closed the deer season in 1972, and the next year opened for bucks statewide, Tim decided archery was his game. “With a bow, I could shoot a doe or a buck, and I wanted to shoot T a deer. I really got into bow hunting that year. I haven’t missed a season since,” he said. In the 1980’s aand 1990’s, he hunted many states with a bow because it was easier to get tags and licenses. “Hunting during the rut in great areas was heaven on earth,” he said. d His sons, Luke, Levi and Zane, followed in his footsteps. They’ve all shot Pope and Young record bucks. This fall, in addition to local hunting, Tim and wife Coleen will hunt whitetails in North b Dakota. The owner of Acorn Millwork and Duffney Cabinets has many of his trophies on display at D his business on the corner of Highways 18 and 6, about 15 miles east of Brainerd. He invites hunters “Nobody Practices Enough!” to stop in.
Dave, the archery lead at Baxter Gander Mountain has been involved with archery his entire working life. A buddy who was video taping a deer hunt saved his life. “I fell out of a tree when I was 21, broke six ribs, two vertebrae and punctured a lung when I landed 25-feet down. Without my friend there, I would have died. They flew me from Walker to the Twin Cities, and I fully recovered,” he said. “My advice to all bow hunters is based on experience – wear a harness!” Dave’s been bow hunting, mostly in Minnesota, but hits Manitoba every year and will hunt North Dakota this season. He picked up a fiberglass long bow at a garage sale and learned on his own. He purchased his first compound at age 12, and said, “I’ve been a nut-case ever since.” His first buck came from the southeastern part of the state that year on a mid-October morning. A buck ran towards him and stopped 10 yards away. “I’ve been hooked since shooting that 6-pointer,” he said. He began hanging around archery pro shops and was offered a job fletching arrows at “A buddy saved my life.” age 15. At 18, he was in charge of a Sportsman’s Warehouse archery department. He moved to the Baxter Gander store when it opened because he loves this area. He cited three reasons why people get into bow hunting: 1. Bow hunting gives hunters discipline. They must be educated, practiced, and pay attention to small things. 2. Bow hunting gets people in the woods at a great time of the year — September and October. Less people; gorgeous time. 3. Young people feel part of something. They can be good at a sport. Dave said programs for youth are making a difference. Schools working with the National Archery in Schools Program exposes youngsters to the fun of archery. Kids can feel special at their skills; Dave emphasized, and said the Gander youth league for those six to 12 years old takes place every Saturday morning all winter. He said, “I spend lots of time with kids, and at Gander we sell more youth bows than all other bows.” About 200 times each year, he has adults come into the store and tell him they loved shooting bows in school and wanted to get back into the sport. For those and other hunters, he recommended all bow hunters carry binoculars, a range-finder, practice from the stand, control scent and wear a harness.
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Brent, owner of Beimert Outdoors near Pillager on Highway 210, got the bow hunting bug 20 years ago. His brother and a buddy got him started, and he quickly progressed into a full shop as part of his parent’s convenience store, bait and gas station. “I was able to order archery gear for myself through the store, and began helping friends with their bows. I read all the literature and learned all I could. For about 10 years, I built the archery corner into a legitimate business,” he said. His store on Highway 210 opened five years ago. A visit is worth it just to see the trophies displayed shoulder to shoulder. Included are two of his Boone and Crocket record bucks (taken with a bow) and five Pope and Young trophies. He also has a buck that scores in the top 10 of Minnesota non-typical deer. He listed three important aspects of bow hunting: 1. Patience – You will learn it. 2. Practice – You need to do it. 3. Spend time on stand – It’s rewarding and time equals success. Brent started with a compound, and said technology and accuracy has advanced dramatically. “We sell Mathews bows, the best in the world, and tell people they get the best gear when they spend a little more,” He said. The same holds for tree stands: more money means quieter and stronger stands. Best advice: “Every hunter should own and use a Hunter Safety system which is a vest and clip safety harness.” He has hunted in Canada, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin and will be in North Dakota and a few other locales this season. His expertise helped turn another chapter in his life. Last year he participated as the hunter in a couple “The key to big bucks is to let North American Whitetail TV shows. They are produced and filmed out of Brainlittle bucks go and grow.” erd’s In-Fisherman headquarters and aired on the Sportsman’s Network. He said, “There’s more pressure when filming a hunt. All of a sudden it’s a job. If you don’t produce, you don’t have a show. It’s double the work and double the scent with two people in adjacent tree stands.” Yet, he said, it’s so rewarding. He still likes climbing into a tree by himself, and with the schedules at the store, can spend parts of nearly 90 days in stands. Despite all the time in the deer habitat, Brent said he keeps learning every time out. “When you think you’ve got deer figured out, you don’t,” he said. His advice to all hunters, “Get the right gear and get it set up correctly. Then, practice for expert accuracy.”
IF THESE THREE EXPERTS COULD SUM UP THEIR MOST IMPORTANT BOW HUNTING TIPS IT WOULD BE PRACTICE, THE RIGHT GEAR, PRACTICE, SAFETY HARNESS, AND PRACTICE.
J I M K A L K O F E N has been in and around
boats all his life. He has been director of the largest walleye tournament circuits for two decades, and was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
STRUT ON IN Gas • Groceries • Bait • Liquor Licenses • Boat Storage — Open 6 am to 10 pm Daily — Corner of Hwy 210 West & County 18 SW Photos provideds by Jim Kalkofen
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KEEPING UP A FAMILY HUNTING TRADITION 14 F a m i l y
By Tim Anderson
AS A LIFETIME HUNTER, I’VE SHARED THE WOODS, THE FIELD, AND THE SWAMPS WITH A VAST ARRAY OF PEOP L E . Seems I’m always watching how people perform various aspects of the sport — from safety to techniques and strategy, and so on. I learn so much about the sport and about the character of people just by paying attention. It is an enjoyable thing to witness a family who is doing things right when it comes to ushering in a new generation of hunters. I recently met a young family who have been becoming fast friends… fast. I think they truly exemplify what it means to introduce kids into the sport of shooting and hunting in a healthy, safe and fun manner. Meet the Galdoniks: Pat and Cathy, son Garrett (10), and daughters Sarah (9) and Lydia (6). I interviewed them (informally) over a meal of grilled burgers and chicken on a stormy August night. I asked Pat how he got introduced to the sport. Pat: “My brother and I were snooping through a closet – I’d say I was about 10 years old – and we came across a gun. Curiosity led to us asking dad what the gun was for, which then led to some hunting. I walked behind carrying a BB gun while dad was pheasant hunting. Later, I carried an unloaded shotgun, and eventually, I was able to load the gun and hunt right along with my dad. But before this ever happened, I was grilled
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about safety… keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, making sure the safety was on when the gun was loaded, making sure to be extra safe when loading and unloading the weapon. And more.” Pat is especially passionate about hunting turkeys and geese. But don’t get me wrong, he will hunt whatever is in season and available, to the extent that not long after marrying his wife, Cathy, he took her out west to do some practice shooting on prairie dogs. Cathy: “It was the first hunting we ever did together. I was used to having those little varmints around from my years of living out west, but I had never shot them before. Farmers and ranchers welcome anyone who will come over and thin them out.” She recalls: “the first one I shot flew up in the air in more than one piece. I must have liked it, because I kept right on doing it. Pat seemed pretty impressed by it.” Pat keeps up the outdoor hunting tradition by bringing his children along early in life. Pat: “Kids learn by being taught verbally, but also by watching what is being modeled to them while loading and unloading by the car, walking through the woods, or hanging out in the blind or goose pit.” Pat is stringent about safety, just like his dad was. He recalled a story when he was hunting with his brother and a couple of colPhoto provided by Tim Anderson
lege buddies who didn’t have the same safety standards. As the two brothers were at the rear of the vehicle, a gun went off toward the front of the vehicle where the others were loading their guns and preparing to hunt. Pat’s mind began to race: “It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Luckily, no-one was hurt.” On to more happy things. After a nice meal and conversation with the adults, we moved to a living room filled with plants taller than me, and a vaulted ceiling lined with mammalian and avian species that Pat had collected and mounted himself. It’s a comfortable place, where bird dogs and lap dogs that are part of the family are allowed to snuggle on the couch. And the kids snuggled in too, eager to talk about things that excite them. The eldest child, Garrett, is now 10, and he has been around. When I asked him about his fondest memories, he told me about the turkey he shot at the age of 7 when he was with his dad down in Kansas. And then there was the goose hunting trip last season to Saskatchewan, Canada, where he got to drive the truck down an old field road. Garrett: “Turkey hunting this season was different. The first few days, we didn’t see much. I began to get
Legally, resident youths under 13 can hunt small game without a firearms safety certificate as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The only requirement is that they obtain a free license, either online or from a sad and discouraged because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get my turkey.” I’m thinking there was a little sibling rivalry fueling the emotions that day, because Garrett’s younger sister had bagged her first turkey just the week before. Garret continued: “Then my dad encouraged me to keep trying and not ever give up. On the next spot, my dad called in a huge tom turkey, and I got it in one shot with my 20 gauge!”
Both father and son shared a tear that day – one for joy and relief — and the other for a different kind of joy, with a little bit of what I call “good pride” mixed in. Garrett learned some valuable life lessons that day having to do with two big P’s: Persistence and Perseverance. Pat: “It was fun to see the passion and desire begin to well up in Garrett when we were unsuccessful, and after I encouraged him. And then his hard work all paid off. That is something that I can really relate to… especially when it comes to hunting.” Enter the eldest daughter, Sarah, who is 9. When I show up to visit, this “girly girl” is in a pretty dress with her hair done up. She’s wearing rubber boots to go with her dress around the hobby farm, and greets me with her favorite chicken in her arms. Her eyes lit up when I revealed some collector dolls that my adult daughter no longer wanted. This one could do it all… at least that was my first impression. The story goes that Sarah was curious what this hunting stuff was all about, and I think she was craving some one on one time with her daddy. So one day early last spring, she stated, “Daddy, I want to shoot a turkey too.” Pat practiced with her, first with the .22 rifle, and then the Remington 11-87 20 gauge autoloader.
license vendor. Ten- and11-year-olds can hunt big game using archery or firearm with the same free license. There are numerous special opportunities for youth in Minnesota. Consult your hunting regulations for details. Pat: “I like the controlled atmosphere of the turkey hunt. I do not turkey hunt when the kids are, so my attention is fully on them. We choose a specific place to hunt, and I sit down against a big tree. Garrett and Sarah sit right between my legs, and lean back against me for support. My mouth is right there to whisper directions in their ear… here comes the bird…lets aim a little more to the right… time to take off the safety… do you feel like you’re pointed at the head… then go ahead
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and shoot.” Sarah: “ I was excited to go hunting. I usually don’t wake up that early in the morning, but that morning I heard Daddy out in the kitchen making coffee. I came out dressed in the camouflage that he laid out for me the night before, and he was surprised. It was fun to be out in the woods before the sun came up, and hear all the birds singing.” Things came together for them on their first morning of hunting. Sarah: “My dad and I were in the woods and we heard a turkey gobble. It sounded like it was over by the car where we had parked. We sat down and my dad called and pretty soon we saw a red head come over the small hill. I tried hard to be quiet and hold really still. It came right down the trail, until it was within twelve yards. My dad helped me to aim, and then I shot it.” Guess my first impression was right.
Pat: “I was trying to whisper instructions to Sarah, and found myself hyperventilating to the point of being breathless. I was that excited. I get an even bigger thrill now when my kids are successful hunting – it’s much better than doing it myself.” I asked the two of them to try to communicate to me what that hunt did for their relationship. They seemed to be struggling for the words, so I turned the question on the matriarch of the house. Cathy: “There was a noticeable difference to those two after that turkey hunt. I think they bonded in a much deeper way. There were more hugs, and longer looks when their eyes met. Not that she wasn’t before, but Sarah is even more secure, and more trusting of her dad now.” Then Cathy laughed… “and, Sarah became obsessed with everything about turkeys for at least a week. She drew pictures of turkeys. She showed off the beautiful iridescent feathers that she collected from her bird. She even slept with a stuffed turkey.” And last but certainly not least is Lydia, who turned 6 last May. Now that we were away from the table, she had finally stopped harping at me about my poor table manners. I asked “girly girl No. 2” what she thought about all this hunting business and she stated simply, “I want to shoot a gun.” I believe she will, and it won’t be long. So there you have it… a great example of what can be done when it comes to getting children into the sport of hunting and keeping up a family tradition. Fathers. Mothers. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Brothers. Sisters. Mentors. It matters not so much what other people think, or what others have done. You know your child better than anyone else, so you be the judge of when they are mature enough to hunt and handle firearms safely. Follow the laws, make some great memories that will last a lifetime, and watch your relationships blossom.
With over 30 years of experience in being "obsessed with fishing" T I M A N D E R S O N is the owner ot Tim Anderson’s Big Fish Hunt Guide Service. Specializing in Giant Musky Hunts on Lake Mille Lacs, and the surrounding Brainerd Minnesota area Lakes.
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Photo provided by Tim Anderson
The Love of Labs and Family! DENISE AND ROB BABCOCK’S BUSY FAMILY LIFE REVOLVES AROUND THEIR LOVE OF
The Captain, still going strong at age 11.
L A B R A D O R R E T R I E V E R S . The Babcocks live in Lake Shore where they own and operate The Captain’s Kennels. Denise and Rob’s love for the breed began 13 years ago when they purchased their first Labrador, Cocoa. They became involved in canine events and before long were addicted! They decided to make their passion an official way of life in 2002 when they purchased a kennel on the Iron Range. They moved to the area and relocated their business to Lake Shore in 2007 so they could be closer to family. The Babcocks raise Labradors for showing, hunting and pets. In addition they offer a training services in obedience and hunting. The operation keeps the entire family – mom, dad and the four children (Two sets of twins!) – hopping. “Working with the
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dogs gives our kids a wholesome way to keep busy,” said Denise. “Our daughter, Dallas has been showing in conformation since she was 11. She is 17 now. All three boys enjoy hunting with Rob. They also participate in hunt tests and volunteer at club events.” If that isn’t enough, there are always chores to help out with,” Rob adds. “Operating a kennel is similar to running a dairy farm, it is pretty much 24/7.” It is hectic but Denise feels like it is a win-win for her family. She is a self-proclaimed animal lover. “I can’t kill anything – well maybe mosquitoes and flies – I even relocate spiders. So when I met Rob, an avid hunter and fisherman, raising dogs allowed us to spend time together doing something we both enjoy.” When someone is looking for a dog, Denise suggests they contact only a reputable breeder. “A reputable breeder is interested in quality not quantity. They are usually breeding dogs to enhance certain characteristics they are looking for in the breed,” she said. “It is okay to ask the breeder what traits they are trying to develop in their dogs,” Denise said. The foundation stud used in the Babcock’s breeding program has been Captain Morgan. They first owned the dog’s mother. “Captain is everything we could have hoped for,” said Denise. “He has the looks of the classic Labrador: head, coat and tail. But his personality and intelligence along with his determination and desire to please is what makes him a prime example of what we feel every Lab should be.” The Captain’s accomplishments are remarkable. He has competed and placed in field trials, Hunt tests and earned several AKC Judge’s Awards of Merit. Captain earned his Master Hunter title at the age 3 and quali2001 he fied for the Master National title. In title after achieved his Companion Dog (CD) only eight weeks obedience training. day, at To age 11, the Captain is still going strong and is still R o b ’ s b e s t hunting b u d d y. “We feel blessed to love,
The Babcock’s son, Cole and the Captain. 18 T h e
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own and be the breeders of this phenomenal boy!” Denise adds. Another interesting aspect of the Babcock’s breeding program is the use of foster homes for their puppies. “We like to have our dogs live with families. It allows them to be exposed to children, interact with others and be exposed to a lot of different experiences. It is much better than simply being in a kennel and it tends to make good dogs even better.” This is an opportunity for a family to get a wonderful dog, and for the dog to have a great family. The foster family gets to keep the dog when she is officially retired from breeding. Rob says the most important thing an owner can do for a hunting dog, any dog for that matter, is socialization. “Take the puppy with you whenever you can, introduce him to as many people and experiences as possible. Socialization. That and positive reinforcement are critical during a dog’s first seven months of life.” Training dogs came as natural to Rob as, well, as a Lab takes to water. “There are a lot of good resources on the Web or books people can read on training for those who lack the expertise but many just don’t have the time it takes to train their dog, so they bring them to me.” Rob offers training for puppies in basic obedience, hunt testing and handling. “Training a dog involves teaching a dog to obey you even when it is sometimes against his own instinct,” said Rob. “That is why clear communication and positive reinforcement and trust are important parts of the process. We also focusing on enhancing those instincts that make for a superior hunting dog like retrieving and tracking scent.” Rob also provides private lessons for gun dog owners for hunters interested in developing their skills to better communiin cate ca with their dog in the field. Denise and Rob encourage people who own retrievers and an are interested in learning more about working with their th dogs to check out a retriever club. There are several local and regional clubs in the state. The Babcocks belo long lo to several. Besides the National Labrador Retriever Club and the Labrador Retriever Club of the Twin CitCl ies, ie they are actively involved in the Marsh and Meadow Hunting Retriever Club located in Lake Shore at Hunts H Point near Pequot Lakes, Central Minnesota Retriever Po Club in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota Iron Range Retriever Cl Club in Virginia and Mississippi Headwater Retriever Cl Club Cl in Bemidji. Many clubs offer Hunt tests. Hunt tests were developed op in the 1980s by hunters who wanted to title their dog and show case its hunting capabilities without investing the time and resources needed to compete with professional and amateur trainers at field trials. The American Kennel Club developed the retriever-hunting test. Titles are offered in three classes: Junior, Senior and Master Hunter. In the Junior Hunter test, a dog is required to
make single marked retrieves on land and water. During the test, the dog’s handlers may hold the dog by the collar at the line. The Senior Hunter tests consist of double marked retrieves on land and in the water, and also include a simple blind retrieve on land and water. No restraint can be used on the dog at the line for this test and the dogs must “allow an honor” which means the dog must sit still and allow another competing dog to retrieve without The Captain retrieving a pheasant. interfering. Finally, the Master Hunter tests dog must disregard its own instinct and instead solely consist of multiple marked retrieves and blind retrieves rely on and obey the handler’s voice, whistle or arm sigon land, water, and combination land and water as well nals to direct the dog to where the dummy as a or bird fell. The blind is really a team effort double blind retrieve. Only an experienced and exbetween the dog and its handler to make a tremely well trained retriever can achieve the Master successful retrieve. Hunter Title. To clarify, a blind retrieve is picking up a bird or dumM E L O D Y B A N K S lives in Nisswa, MN my bumper that the dog did not see fall and requires a where she works from her home-based office higher level of training. During the blind retrieve the as a graphic artist and writer
“Belonging to a club is a great way to learn more about retrievers and training. Besides being a lot of fun, it gives our kids and dogs real life experience in the field and owners have the chance to meet a lot people who can help answer questions and offer advice,” said Rob.
Web sites: Captain’s Kennels: www.captainskennels.com Marsh and Meadows: www.marshandmeadows.webs.com Hunt’s Point Sportsman’s Club: www.huntspointclub.com Central Minnesota Retriever Club: www.centralminnesotaretrieverclub.com Minnesota Iron Range Retriever Club: www.mirrc.org Mississippi Headwaters Retriever Club: mhrc.netfirms.com
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BIRDING IN BRAINERD
THE BRAINERD LAKES AREA IS KNOWN AS A POPULAR VACATION AND RECREATIONAL DEST I N A T I O N W I T H Y E A R R O U N D A C T I V I T I E S by many throughout Minnesota and the Midwest. The Brainerd Chamber of Commerce uses “its gotta be the water” in their advertising. People are drawn to the beauty of the water and the variety of activities it offers. The woods and water in the area also attract and provide unique wildlife viewing opportunities for many resort guests and cabin owners. Bird-watching has grown to be the second largest recreational activity in the United States with Minnesota being one of the top destinations. Minnesota has 87 counties and over 25,000 bird species that have been documented within the state. The number of species recorded for Crow Wing County currently stands at 298. It is ranked No. 24 out of the 87 counties for the most species recorded in the state. As more and more people start to participate in the activity of bird-watching the
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list of species will continue to grow. With a growing population and increased development in the Brainerd lakes area, hearing the haunting call of a loon or catching a glimpse of wildlife, such as the reclusive wolf, may become less common. However, even with the changing lakeshore and landscape, there are still many wonderful places to visit and enjoy nature. Within the area there are over 850 miles of multiuse trails with year-round opportunities to view, photograph, and enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. Many of the scenic trails wind through and around the area’s many forests and lakes providing suitable habitat for birds and other wildlife to be viewed. Some of the best wildlife viewing can be enjoyed at our state parks and state forests such as the Crow Wing State Park and the Pillsbury State Forest. The Brainerd lakes area also has a designated Important Bird Area (IBA) known as the Northland Arboretum. Also recommended is the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area. This location can
Photo courtesy of Judd Brink
produce many good sightings, especially during bird migrations in the spring and fall. Crow Wing State Park is located miles south of Brainerd on Highway 371. The park is over 3,000 acres in size and draws over 45,000 visitors annually. The state park bird checklist shows 230 species with over 100 breeding species documented. Several habitats are found in the park (such as hardwood forest, pine forest, and prairie) which create unique and diverse bird populations. A visit to this state park at any time of the year to hike some or all of the 18 miles of trails can be a very rewarding experience for the outdoor enthusiast or avid bird watcher. A stop at the visitor center to pick up a park map and wildlife checklist is a great way to start your adventure. Also make sure to ask about their bird-watching kits that are available to be checked out. Each kit includes a bird book, binoculars, and bird checklist. Pillsbury State Forest is Minnesota’s first state forest and was established in 1900 by Gov.John Pillsbury. In 1903 it was used as the first tree nursery in the state. Now the state forest is over 25,000 acres in size with over 25 miles of trails that cover most of the varied landscape and terrain. Over 175 bird species have been recorded throughout the seasons with spring and fall being the most active. The Northland Arboretum, located within the city limits of Brainerd and Baxter, was designated as an Important Bird Area in 2006. The 500-acre arboretum was once a landfill for the cities of Brainerd and Baxter, but has now been restored back to a grassland habitat. An Important Bird Area (IBA) is a site that provides essential habitat for one or more breeding, wintering, and/or migrating species of birds. The IBA Program is designed to be voluntary and science-based in order to identify and conserve bird habitats. The arboretum draws in about 20,000 visitors a year who take advantage of the protected green space between Brainerd and Baxter, two growing and changing communities. Each year during Mother’s Day weekend the arboretum conducts its annual bird count for the IBA. Both members and non- members gather to observe and document what they see and/or hear throughout the many habitats found here. The arboretum also features a demonstration site featuring the DNR Landscaping for Wildlife Project. Bird feeding stations and native wildlife- friendly plants can be viewed from a gazebo. The arboretum checklist of birds contains 165 species. Some of the birds that you might encounter include various Warbler and Vireo species as well as a Bald Eagle nest. Minnesota’s first DNR Landscaping for Wildlife site can be seen at the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area
in Crosslake. This WMA is one of many wildlife-viewing locations provided by the “Birds of the Byways,” a guide to bird watching along the Paul Bunyan Byway. The brochure includes a map and bird-watching checklist for about 20 locations between Pequot Lakes and Pine River. This area covers over 100 acres of woods and several small ponds with native plantings to attract wildlife. On a recent bird watching trip, I found many species from Osprey to Golden-winged Warbler. This
indicates that the fall migration has taken flight. The Minnesota Ornithologist Union is our state’s bird club. It provides daily information on various species of birds and where they are being reported. You can also find out about bird watching festivals, birding events, and just about anything related to birds in the state of Minnesota at http://moumn.org. If you enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some new adventures or locations in the area to visit and watch wildlife, maybe one I have listed can provide you with a new experience. I would recommend visiting during the spring or fall to observe the bird migration and view a wide variety of species. You may also want to contact the listed areas for more information as some may have updates on what has been reported. So enjoy all the woods and water in the Brainerd Lakes area as well as the hundreds of birds that call this area their home!
J U D D B R I N K is the owner of MN Backyard Birds and offer birdscaping packages using bird feeding stations for your enjoyment. He installs and maintains bird feeding stations for commercial and residential customers in the Brainerd lakes area. He also leads bird guided walks and tours for the above locations. Judd Brink can be contacted at email@example.com.
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FOR THE LOVE OF MUSKIES And Muskie Lures!
M.I. Youth Profile: Dawson Barringer by Terri Fierstine RECENTLY I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF INTERVIEWING BER-
the father and son team behind Intelligent Design Lures. Dawson is a member of the Brainerd Lakes Chapter and will turn 16 this month. Many readers will remember Bernie as the editor of MUSKIE Magazine from 1997-2001. Bernie is in charge of marketing the products on his trips throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Dawson is the young inventor and talented builder of the Muskie Maverick Intelligent Design spinner. This young man from rural Backus had a well-defined love of fishing from the age of 6. He became interested in muskie fishing and said, “I begged dad to take me fishing.” The passion started early and runs deep. By the time Dawson was 7 he wanted to learn everything he could about muskie fishing. How the lures worked to catch fish, which lures attracted muskies and how to create his own fishing lures. Bernie recognized the strong interest that his son Dawson had in muskie fishing and took him fishing on many different lakes in Minnesota, plus Lake of the Woods and Wigwam Lake near Nestor Falls, Ontario, Canada. In the summer of 2009 Dawson took a trip to Iowa with his brother Cody. While visiting friends they went to work detasseling cornfields and Dawson earned $700 to start up his American Dream — creating and making muskie fishing lures. Dawson spent the entire $700 on many different fishing lure components and began experimenting making different spinners and bucktails. None lived up to his satisfaction or expectations until he made the Muskie Maverick. By then he had spent the entire $700. He had to borrow money from his dad to order more components to build the first 100 Muskie Mavericks. Bernie and Dawson visited local bait stores and secured orders; 1,300 Muskie Maverick lures have been sold so far. Many kids have built their own lures, but how many have designed, built and sold 1,300 in the first few months? Experimenting with the different components of wire, lure styles, blades and colorful skirts was just the beginning. This is a family business in the workshop; Cheri, Dawson’s mother, cuts the plastic shrink NIE AND DAWSON BARRINGER,
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tubing and a pool table serves as the “parts table.” Sterling, Dawson’s 13-year-old brother, helps with building the lures and Dawson pays him by the piece. Bernie, Dawson’s father, provides the company’s marketing and promotional support. In the workshop he has map of Minnesota and Wisconsin with locations of all of the sporting goods stores that carry Intelligent Design Lures. Dawson has a wire bending machine to twist wire for lures that are being constructed, hooks hanging up with plastic shrink tubing that are ready for the next component and a wall of completed colorful lures on display. Dawson can produce about eight lures in an hour. Dawson’s brother Ben designed Dawson’s website (www.hotmuskielures.com). Note that when you submit a photo of a muskie you caught on a Muskie Maverick to their website, you’ll receive a free lure from Intelligent Design Lures! All of this work takes time, so Dawson has to complete his homework after school and then rush to the workshop to continue on his other homework, his labor of love – building muskie lures! Dawson estimates that he works about 7-8 hours per week but this fluctuates with orders and parts that he has on hand at the time. He started out with prototype lures last September and has fine-tuned the best lure to catch lunker muskies. He is looking forward to this summer. He has four exciting trips planned to Canada to do plenty of casting for muskies. Doug Stange, editor of In-Fisherman Magazine, named the Muskie Maverick one of the hot muskie baits for 2010. This is a bait designed and manufactured by a 16 year-old muskie fisherman! At a recent Brainerd Lakes Chapter meeting, chapter member Greg Kvale tested the Muskie Maverick in a pool demonstration and said, “the bait looks good in the water and it is very well made and of great quality ”. The Mule Lake Store near Longville stocks the Muskie Maverick. In a recent conversation Mike Underwood, store owner and a muskie angler, stated, “The Muskie Maverick should sell very well, the color assortment is great and the lure components are of very good quality”. When I asked Dawson about the biggest fish he has caught, he responded, “It was a silver blue pike that measured 40 inches long caught while muskie fishing.” He has yet to catch a large muskie, however, he has caught a number of smaller muskies; enough to fuel his muskie fever. His favorite Minnesota lakes to fish are Mann, Baby Lake, Mantrap, Lake Alexander and Big Detroit. I also wanted to find out if he had buddies that had the same fishing interests as he does and he exclaimed, “Yes, some of my friends enjoy fishing but not to the extent that I do”. The Muskie Maverick is a very well built lure with quality blades, epoxy head, holographic skirt, and weight forward to deter hooking the trailing hook of the lure on the leader while casting. There is also a point of articulation in the shaft of lure that will help in preventing a muskie from throwing a lure when it shakes its head and bending of lure shaft. Dawson is continuing to look into the future of muskie bait manufacturing and has a couple more unique ideas for upcoming baits for which he did not want to divulge his design ideas. The Muskie Maverick is available in the local market of Walker, Hackensack and Longville and many other locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Please visit their website (www.hotmuskielures.com); you’ll be glad you did. Good fishing!
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T E R R I F I E R S T I N E is an advertising
sales representative and contributing author for MUSKIE Magazine. Terri lives in Walker. For more information about Muskies, Inc. please visit their website: www.muskiesinc.org Photo Provided by Terri Fierstine
MUSHROOM WALNUT SAUCE 3 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. minced shallot 1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms 3 tbsp. ﬂour 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 1 pt. half & half (2 c.) 1/4 c. chopped toasted walnuts
Melt butter in saucepan; saute shallots and mushrooms until tender. Blend in ﬂour, mustard, salt and thyme. Gradually stir in half & half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.
MINNESOTA WALLEYE AND WILD RICE 2 lb. walleye ﬁllets 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 4 slices bacon, diced 1 c. chopped fresh mushrooms 1/4 c. minced onion
1/3 c. minced celery 2 1/2 c. cooked wild rice 2 tbsp. snipped parsley 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tbsp. butter, melted
Cut ﬁllets into seving size portions; place in well-greased baking pan. Sprinkle ﬁllets with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. In skillet, fry bacon until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, onion and celery; cook and stir until tender. Stir in cooked rice, 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon a heaping 1/2 cup of rice mixture on top of each ﬁllet. Drizzle melted butter over rice.
ALL SEASON FLANK STEAK 1 ﬂank steak (1 1/2 0 2lbs.) 1 med. onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 rib celery, chopped 2 tbsp. butter 2 c. day-old bread cubes 1/4 lb. ground pork 3/4 tsp. chilipulv
1/2 tsp. hot pepper ﬂakes 1 tsp. each: thyme & marjoram Salt to taste 2 tbsp. vegtable oil 1 1/2 c. beef broth 1 c. beer 1/2 c. water 1/3 c. ﬂour
Cut 1/2 diagonal deep slashes across the surface of steak (pound if desired). Saute vegatables in butter and let cool. Add bread crumbs. Combine pork with seasonings. Knead with hands. Spread over steak. Add bread mixture, pat ﬁrmly and roll up. Tie or secure ends with skewers. Brown meat in large skillet. Drain off drippings, and beef broth, beer and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turn occasionally. Remove meat and strain broth if necessary. Combine ﬂour, water and broth. Cook until thickened. Serves 6.
Bake covered in preheated 350 degree oven until ﬁsh ﬂakes easily when tested with fork, about 20 minutes.
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A WALK ON THE
Wild Side GENE SQUIRES’ DREAM MEAL CAN’T BE OR-
In fact, the main dish has to be hunted, shot and skinned before it can be enjoyed. But Squires says a smoked black bear shoulder roast is worth the effort. “I start with a dry seasoning rub on the roast and then coat it with olive oil. It’s refrigerated for a couple of days in a large Ziploc bag.” Squires uses a his own secret blend of spices for the rub but says Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick is a solid alternative. When he’s ready to cook the bear roast, he injects it with another home brew of balsamic vinegarette, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey and garlic salt. Then it goes into a coal smokker for about five hours until the he center reaches 170 degrees. Squires enjoys his smoked bear with garlic roasted baby red potatoes and grilled asparagus brushed with butter. “It’s pretty darn good,” he proclaims modestly. Growing up on a farm between Brainerd and Crosby, Squires says he and his older brothers often went hunting for dinner. “My grandma would send us off to find snapping turtles when I was 7 or 8 years old. Snapping turtles really catch themselves. You just put a stick in front of them and they grab on to it. Then you take your hatchet and lop off its head.” “My grandma could really cook that snapping turtle. She would par boil it to release the meat from the shell. DERED IN A RESTAURANT.
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Then she would slice it like roast beef and make it into a stew with homegrown vegetables,” Squires said. “That meat really had its own flavor and texture.” Other times his grandma would fry the snapping turtle in a skillet with onions. “Turtles were easy to find. They weighed 8 to 10 pounds and were about the size of a big serving platter.” In addition to turtles, Squires said the creek and woods around his family’s hog farm yielded all kinds of fish and birds as well as deer and bear. He says the wild game was a welcome change from pork. Sq Squires now lives in Pillager and makes a living as a con contractor and insurance adjuster. But he still hunts whe whenever he has a chance with his family. Processing the meat is also a family affair. “When I was a kid, we had aunts and uncl and cousins come togethcles er to butcher what we had sh Everyone did their part. shot. In one day, we might process ten deer and a couple of bear. We still do it like that today.” S Squires says preparing and eat eating wild game starts with l cleaning l i the h meat. “If you look at the old Gerproperly man meat cutters, they hung the animals, draining the blood, until the meat was aged. You can’t rush it or you get that gamey flavor. We have a spot in a small grain shed where we can hang the meat until it’s ready. We remove the hide, hang it and make sure it doesn’t freeze. I wipe the carcass inside and out with vinegar. It kills off the tallow or fat and allows the surface to cure a little faster. “
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As farmers, the Squires family was used to butchering pigs and cows. Gene says wild game isn’t much different. “We get chops and steaks out of certain areas. Tenderloins from the interior and roasts are the larger areas where the leg pivots. Everything else we grind up and make burger or sausage.” For those who didn’t grow up in the woods, anything that doesn’t come on a Styrofoam tray covered with h plastic is exotic. Enjoying a wide variety of wild d game is an annual event at Lakewood Evangelicall Church in Baxter. Community life Pastor Paul Johnson says their Beast Feast attracts nearly 400 people. All of the game is donated and the churchmen take over the kitchen. “I was amazed at what people were willing to cook and eat,” Johnson said. “Lots of venison and duck and goosee and pheasant and grouse alongg with all kinds of fish. We havee bear and beaver and elk and antelope.” Johnson admits some are squeamish about trying some of the food but their curiosity wins out. “The beaver chunks wrapped in bacon were very popular. At the Beast Feast our motto is ‘If you wrap it in bacon, they will come.’ And they do.” There are gourmet offerings like grouse in cream sauce over pasta shells. But Johnson says the basic ingredients in most dishes are the meat and a little seasoning. Items are deep fried, barbequed over wood, smoked in coal smokers or over a gas grill. Most importantly they are labeled before they join the buffet table. It may be the only place in town where you can end up with a plate of beaver, bear and bacon. John Ring of Baxter often provides the exotic fare for the feast. He says the Brainerd area is a mecca for game. “ Our family eats squirrel, muskrat, rabbit, beaver, pheasant, grouse as well as venison, bear, moose and elk,” said Ring. He estimates about a fourth of their meat comes from the wild. “Squirrels and rabbits taste like chicken. We shake and bake them or fry them. They’re a bit chewier than chicken.” Ring says one of his favorite treats at deer camp is squirrel roasted over an open fire. “They’re easy to clean. Once you remove the head and paws, you have single unit to cook on a green stick.”
For most wild game, cooking low and slow is the way to go. Ring says seasonings also make a big difference. “Seasoning really helps for beaver. It’s pretty good on the grill. The trick is to soak it in brine solution and it really turns out well. It’s delicious.” Ring says wild turkeys are making a comeback in the area and the young birds are very tender to eat. Ring has been bee hunting and trapping since he was a young boy growing h up on a farm in Ohio. When u he first came to Brainerd to h work with Timber Bay, he had w no idea of the outdoor opportunities. nit ““It turns out everything I love was right here,” Ring remembered. clear ber red “It is so clea that everything God puts on the table is His provision. But it’s even more evident th when you are hunting it yourself and you recognize wh that God provides it all.” th Ring loves almost all of God’s creatures but even he Rin has to draw the line at skunks. “Besides the obvious odor, skunks may carry rabies and that just makes me nervous,” Ring said. “I trap them but I am not a skunk eater.” The Internet offers a wide variety of recipes for wild game including skunk. A quick look turned up “Bakersfield Bear Stew,” “Oriental Armadillo,” and my personal favorite, “Paw’s Chicken Fried Beaver.” This family recipe calls for cutting the beaver into “serving size portions” before heating it in shortening and bacon grease. The beaver chunks are seasoned, rolled in cracker crumbs and then cooked until browned and tender. The cook notes that her grandpa likes his chicken fried beaver with corn fritters, scalloped potatoes and pecan pie for dessert. Or the less adventuresome among us might consider enjoying the fritters, potatoes and pecan pie and skipping the beaver.
A journalist, R A C H E L R E A B E N Y S T R O M worked as a reporter and talk
show host on Minnesota Public Radio for almost 20 years. She currently serves on the Crow Wing County Board as a commissioner.
A New $ Tradition
Best Bait Prices - Tackle - Rods - Reels - Combos - Guide Service - Snacks Photos provided by Rachel Reabe Nystrom
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Battling Bucks Now and then the two combatants would pause gasping, antlers intertwined, and with hate in their eyes, but neither was willing back down. IN THE WORLD OF THE WHITE-TAILED DEER, NOVEMBER IS THE BREEDING SEASON.
Deer hunters call it the rut. It’s when bucks meet does, with romance and procreation on their minds. It’s also the time bucks meet bucks, but with a much different outcome. One dreary November afternoon I witnessed such an encounter; an all out battle between two big whitetail bucks. It was not a sparring match, nor a playful test of strength by two immature deer. Instead, the engagement was a knockdown, drag-out confrontation between adult bucks — a fight to the death if either animal should be afforded the opportunity. I was downwind of the buck brouhaha and managed to slip within a mere 20 yards of the two combatants who were so engrossed in the skirmish they remained oblivious to their surroundings. One buck had a massive body and 12-point antlers, the other was a slightly smaller buck that sported a wide rack with 8 points. For a while the fight seemed to be a draw. Numerous times the battling bucks would pause with antlers intertwined and heads held low, mouths agape, panting heavily. As I rotated the focus ring on my telephoto lens, I could see the whites of their eyes as they strained to look forward. The air was heavy with the strong smell of deer musk.
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Once during the altercation, the larger of the two bucks flipped the other on its side. His downed rival recovered in flash and avoided being gored by pointed antler tines. The power, speed and agility displayed by both bucks were truly amazing. They handled themselves like the well-conditioned athletes that they were. The struggle lasted for perhaps five minutes before the smaller buck broke free. The deer hightailed it directly at me, his opposition in hot pursuit. For a quick moment I thought I might be the unwilling third party in the deer dispute. But at the last second, a scant 15 feet away, the lead buck spotted me and bolted to the side. At that point, the larger of the two bucks stopped and emitted what deer biologists call the snort-wheeze, which in buck deer language is the ultimate insult. Instantly alerted to the clicking of my camera, both bucks spotted me and turned and trotted away, panting heavily as they left. The larger of the two bucks displayed a slight limp but neither of the deer was hurt badly. Alone now, I realized dominance had just been established between two adult whitetails. At least for now, the big 12-point buck had proven himself to his apparently younger and slightly weaker opponent. I also realized I was the sole attendant with a ringside seat at an event seldom seen by humans.
Above: When whitetail bucks fight, they try to upend one another by getting low and flipping over their opponent. Above, the larger of the two bucks is attempting to do just that. Right: It was an intense battle. At this point, neither the larger buck on the left, nor its opposition seemed to have the upper hand. Below: The victor. At least for now, the larger buck with 12 point antlers had proven himself to a worthy, but weaker opponent.
B I L L M A R C H E L is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer who lives near Fort Ripley. His work has appeared in many regional and national publications and he writes a monthly column for the Brainerd Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos provided by Bill Marchel
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LINDY RIGGIN’ FOR FALL TROPHIES By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
THE BOAT TRAFFIC ON LAKES AND RIVERS TYPICALLY SLOWS DOWN AFT E R L A B O R D A Y . The kids are back in school. Moms and dads are thinking about putting deer meat in the freezer. But the best walleye fishing of the year still lies ahead. The Chicago Bears aren’t the only “Monsters of the Midway” gearing up for action. The months of August, September and October are the transition period from summer, when anglers tend to settle for smaller, easier-to-catch eating-sized walleyes, to autumn when true trophy-sized fish become more accessible and vulnerable. It didn’t matter if it was a lake or reservoir, when the water warmed, many of the biggest walleyes in the system headed to deeper water where they suspended to hunt baitfish. They became harder to find. Location is hit or miss. The finer points of trolling, a key summer tactic, aren’t easy for everyone to learn. But, the beasts begin migrating to shallow water on structure as water temperature drops. They’re actively feeding as they beef up for winter. As we ease from late summer to fall, it’s the right time to catch, photograph and release the fish you’ll want to model for a graphite replica for the wall. It’s possible to catch 10, 11, or 12-pound walleyes at many of the well-known walleye destinations as well as those secret spots only you and a handful of friends know about. That’s not to say they jump in the boat. Older fish didn’t make it to a ripe old age without having the instincts to avoid danger. Other factors also come into play which offset the fact that walleye location is more predictable. The bigger fish may have hung together when they were cruising open water feeding on clouds of baitfish that numbered in the millions. But time starts taking its toll on the food supply by fall. Predation and disease and other factors cut the number of smaller fish. Trophies walleyes fan out to fend for themselves. Connecting with the loners can be a trick. At the same time, presentations must be done with pinpoint accuracy this time of year. The best trophy waters are often clear-water lakes where fish generally are in deeper water much of the time. The reasons everyone doesn’t have a replica of a 30-inch walleye on their wall is that catching one is often a matter of putting a bait down 20 to 60 feet in a space the size of a medium-sized
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automobile and convincing one of the wiliest members of the walleye community to strike. But if you are willing to spend the time, we have a method that works. DA RIG
Remember two things: Nothing beats live bait, and big bait equals big fish later in the year. The baitfish that are dropping in number are also increasing in size. Forget minnows just 2.5 to 3.5 inches long. Buy BIG bait, chub minnows that are 5 to 8 inches long. Any thought you have that chubs that size are too big will vanish the first time a small walleye whacks one. The key is to build-up a rig that will take bait that size down to the bottom in deep water and hold it in the strike zone. Leave small sinkers at home. Use Lindy slip sinkers up to an ounce. Switch to NO-SNAGG sinkers for rocks. Add a bead to protect the knot. Make sure to use good quality beads that move freely on the line. You want nothing to offer resistance when a walleye picks up the bait. Debate has raged over how long snells should be ever since Ron Lindner first invented the Lindy sinker. He kept his short, down to 2 feet to control the bait. Keep it short, perhaps 3 feet or less, in rocks and in cold fronts
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Photo provided by Ted Takasaki
when the walleye’s mood may be sluggish. Lengthen the snell up to 5 feet over smoother bottoms, clearer water, or when walleyes are aggressive and willing to chase livelier bait. Big hooks are needed; a 1, 2 or 1/0 aren’t too large. But, use a thin wire hook that will leave the bait unhurt and able to swim. After all, that’s the action that will attract a walleye. Yes, you’re fishing for big fish, but don’t use a pool cue to do it. The rod should have backbone enough to set a hook far below the boat and to fight big walleyes. But, they should also have a tip flexible enough to vibrate when the baitfish begins to panic when it’s getting “eyed”. A St. Croix 7 foot, medium-action rigging rod is a great choice. Eight-pound Tuff-Line Dura Cast is a good pick for line. DA LOCATION
Big fish haunt steep breaks on structure in fall. One reason – the food is there. Baitfish migrate along the steeper breaks. They pause and congregate on the turns where the points swing outward or they move out and around the tips of points. The best structures border deep water. Check the map for deep basins in natural lakes. In reservoirs, look for points that reach the channel. Just so we’re on the same wave length, our definition of “steep” is a one foot drop for every one foot out. Yes, that is pretty dramatic. But that’s where the fish are. Walleyes can move easily from deeper water, attack their food and go back to the safety of deeper water again without spending a lot of energy. Once several potential spots are identified from the map, check them out with the sonar. Look for baitfish. Then slow down and look for big marks that could be walleyes. Don’t worry if you don’t see any. As long as the baitfish is there, they will be, too. Walleyes can “hide” from the sonar by laying near rocks or tummy down on the bottom.
your sonar. Feel a strike? Feed the walleye some line and wait. We know how hard that is, but big chubs are big meals and it takes time for a walleye to get it down. If all you feel is weight, chances are the walleye has picked up the bait but hasn’t eaten it yet. Lift the rod slowly to give the walleye the idea the bait may be trying to get away. The result might be a reaction strike. Do not try to horse trophy fish. Instead, make sure your drag is set loose and take your time. A 10 pound fish could take 10 minutes to bring to the net. Have a good Beckman net on board. Remember, don’t net the fish. Net the water around the fish. If you look at the fish, odds are you’ll hit it with the net and knock it off the hook or the hook will tangle in the net and the fish will yank free. Either way, it’s da biggest mistake you can make. As summer fades to fall, suit up and rig up to tackle one of these monsters of the midway.
There is a trick to rigging. It’s summed up by two words. Boat control. A slow, precise presentation is critical. You can back troll. Or you can use an electric trolling motor on the bow. In high wind, couple the electric trolling motor with the gasoline kicker on the rear to stay on the drops. Start in the shallower water and move down the break. Since walleyes feed up, fish can see dinner coming and have time to react rather than having your chub move by them from the back and below. Stay vertical over the bait to help with the hook set. As important, you also know where your rig is in case you hook a fish. Enter a waypoint immediately. That fish may have company down there. Once you’ve zeroed in on the productive depth, you can stay there using
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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.
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A Way With Clays
Sam Sherman took aim during his league shoot Aug. 3 at the Lakeshore Conservation Club near Nisswa. THAT SAM SHERMAN IS DEAF ISN’T THE STORY
Well, it’s part of the story, or part of how this story came to be told. No, this story has to do with his eye. Sherman, 31, is in his first year of league trap shooting at Lakeshore Conservation Club. He’s shot a gun most of his life, but never shot trap before this year. In his first league shoot this year, he hit a respectable 12 out of 25 targets on the 16-yard course. He’s improved most every week since then, and in week 11 of league Aug. 3, he shot his second consecutive 23. As in two short of perfection ... a 92 percent success rate. “To get a 12 right off the bat is not bad for someone who hasn’t shot (trap) before,” said Dale Walz, the manager at Lakeshore. “His hand-eye coordination is great. He caught on quick.” Sherman, of Brainerd, lost his hearing to spinal meningitis when he was 16 months old, but it hasn’t kept him from doing what he loves, including snowmobiling and flying — he said he has his student pilot certificate. And shooting. “My eye and concentration,” he said, through an interpreter, of his strengths in regard to shooting trap. “Blind people can feel better and smell better ... I see and use my hands (better). “I like the feeling of the power of the gun. And I like to practice to hit things.” It was warm and sunny with a slight breeze — good shooting conditions — when Sherman arrived at Lakeshore the afternoon of Aug. 3. In practice just before his league shoot that day, Sherman scored an 18, so hopes of tying his previous league high weren’t, well, high. “Usually my practice is better than my league (shoot),” he said. “I usually shoot 22, 23 in practice.” After the Aug. 3 league shoot, Sherman was all smiles HERE.
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as he waited for his score to be tabulated. “I was ready,” he said, still smiling broadly after the shoot. “I have a better sense of where to point from practice,” he said of his improvement. “After this (league) I will be a lot better. My goal is to get over 20 (every week). My average is about 19.” While this is his first year of league shooting, he shoots noncompetitively year-round. “I shoot in the winter in a sand pit near here (Lakeshore) or behind the airport,” Sherman said. “I don’t like to hunt ... I just don’t like to kill things. “My dad hunts for grouse and I have hunted grouse,” he said, adding that he’s never shot a grouse — never even seen one — while hunting. “Trap really helps for bird hunting. I don’t know, I might hunt deer this year, maybe with friends.” As for why he only just now started league shooting, Sherman explained that he only returned to Brainerd about three years ago after attending college at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. He’s currently employed by Sorenson Communications, which is based in Utah and provides communication offerings for the deaf and hard of hearing. But Sherman is making up for lost time on the shooting range, and in a hurry. “It (trap shooting) is real fun,” he said. “I think next year I’ll do it again. Maybe skeet, too. And I start double trap (later in August). It is really fun, a good way to socialize, and real competitive. And relaxing.”v 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 855-5864. To follow him on Twitter, go to www.twitter. com/brian_speterson.
Photo provided by Brian S. Peterson
CHRISTMAS WISH LIST Christmas Suggestions for the “Outdoors” People in Your Life IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO BE THINKING ABOUT
— as in what to give outdoors guys and gals in your family. If you haven’t been tagging along at the heels or in the boat, and didn’t hear the “I wish I had a …” all year long, consider the options listed below. They could make your buying-decisions much easier. Shoppers who plan ahead have more opportunities to save money. They have more choices of brands, models, colors and sizes. Living in the Brainerd lakes area, shoppers need go no farther than the “main drag” to find everything. With shopper’s paradise centers of Gander Mountain and Mills Fleet Farm just north of Brainerd, Reed’s in Walker and south of Mille Lacs, S & W Bait Shop, Ace Hardware, Menard’s, Home Depot, Beimert Outdoors on 210 near Pillager, Tutt’s in Garrison, Sportland Bait in Nisswa, Oars & Mine in Crosby, Angler’s Angler s Pro Shop in Crosslake, Walmart and other stores, the gear listed in this article can be purchased locally. a ased Those who wish to avoid the crowds should begin their Christmas-buying season early. Christmas is on a arly. Saturday this year, which means Christmas C Eve day will be a crazy day in the stores. Relax a on Dec. ax 24, make plans for church, and d afterwards, surprise those outdoorsy r rsy folks with gifts they will use and ene joy — and remember you for years a ars to come. CHRISTMAS
Multi-Tool Knife: Essential in every veery hunter’s pack. Buy stainless. Buyy a known brand name like Leatherr rman or Gerber. From about $25 to $90. More tools = more money. If in doubt, get a multi-tool with the basics. Comes with a belt holster. Treestand Safety Harness: s s: They’re light-weight, one-size fits fiits most, and prevent accidents. The Th he book, Tree Stand Hunting, reports r rts that approximately 5,000 people p ple receive disabling injuries annually allly when they fall from treestands. From r rom $70 to $170.
Compass: Pin-on or pocket. Hunters always need one more compass. Great for youngsters. Starting at about $3. Deer Drag Harness: Shoulder strap and/or harness make dragging a breeze. From about $10. Ratchet Straps: Never enough of these in the truck or ATV. Buy a kit with 3 to 6. Get the kind that can be tightened with a crank rather than the “pull-tight” type. From about $12 for the kit. Tree Hooks: Only about $1 to $3 each, these small, reusable hooks for hanging gear make treestand-sitting more enjoyable. Binoculars: This is the most versatile tool required for the outdoors. From the deer stand to backyard bird watching, a good pair of binoculars could be a family gift. From $200 $20 to $2,000. My favorite since the first year th they h were introduced is the Nikon Monarch, 8 x 42 in black. My first pair was so good, that most mo o of my friends now own a pair. Less than $300; look for rebates. $3 3 Binocularr Shoulder Harness: Keeps binocularss tight to chest while walking and stalking; easily raised to eye-level in an ine stant. About $25. A Fleece Flee Tops: Enough said! Technology Hits Underwear: If you Tecc thought binoculars were versatile, tho o take taa a look at high-tech underwear tops and bottoms. These marvels of clothing technology keep a person dry (wick sweat to outer layers) keeping a person much warmer. Perfect layering system w can caa be worn under regular long johns, jo o or in combination with other o high-tech clothing. Popular name is Under Armour. They were the pioneers; many others are now competing to keep folks warm while walking the dog, shoveling the walk, attendd ing high school scho o games, going on hay rides, ice fishing and hunting. Loose or tight fit. From hu u about $30 per pee piece, and worth every penny. Handheld GPS: Mark routes, deer crossings, G
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stands, property boundaries, trails, truck location and much more. From $200, and at this price-point, the Lowrance Endura leads the pack, in my opinion. Its predecessor, the I-Hunt, has been in my pack while in Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, the UP, Canada, Arkansas and here in Minnesota. And, I’ve come back every time. Garmin is also popular. Pay more, get more features, but start with the basics. Runs on AA batteries. Pack of Batteries: A hunter will appreciate a big pack of AA batteries. Watch the promotions and buy two. Head Lamp: LED head lamp on harness that fits over a cap, or lights that mount on the bill of a baseball cap. Doubles for ice fishing. From about $15. Electric Knife Sharpener: Three-stage knife sharpener will take care of hunting knives, fillet knives, pocket knives and kitchen knives. Wives, this could keep all your knives sharp, while making the “guy” think it’s only for him. About $90 to $130. Gift Card: When in doubt, give a gift card and let the outdoors guys and gals buy exactly what they need. FOR ICE FISHERMEN:
Ice fishing is right around the corner, and here are a few items to consider. The clothing items mentioned above will double for ice fishing. Other items to consider: Ice Fishing Line: Berkley FireLine Micro Ice Fused Crystal. A 50-yard spool runs about $7. For bluegill, perch and crappie use 4-pound; build up the spool with rubber bands and use only 12 to 15 yards per reel. A small swivel and a couple feet of 2 or 4-pound mono leader complete the deal. Ice Jigging Spoons, Northland makes the Fire-Eye Minnow, the Buck-Shot Rattle spoon and the Macho Minnow spoon. All fish-catchers. Smaller for crappies; larger for walleyes. Ice Panfish Lures: Lindy Techni-Glo Genz worms and Fat Boys and Northland Gill Getters for waxxies. Northland Bro’s Bloodworm and Slug Bug don’t require bait
and catch just as many fish - smaller size for bluegills; 2-incher for crappies. Mimic Minnow Fry great for open water or under the ice. Rods: Northland Trick-Stick Ice combos from $30 to $40; Frabill Bro Series combos - micro and UL for panfish; light and medium for walleyes, from $30 to $45; and the economy version, the HT Ice Blue rod which is a very “soft” rod. It acts like a built-in spring bobber on the tip (24 and 30-inch models are perfect). Note: Those who’ve used Ice Blue rods once always buy more. Auger: So many options. For panfish-only anglers, look at 7 and 8-inch diameter augers; for panfish and walleyes, the 9-inch blade; and for lake trout and northern pike, the 10-incher works best. Strikemaster and Jiffy are the biggies. In addition to typical easy-starting gas motors, take a look at the electric models. $300 to $600. Tip-Ups: Frabill and HT make two of the most popular. Consider some $10 tip-up lights. Tall Bucket with Padded Seat: About $20, and worth every penny. Mouth Spreader: An essential tool for about $3. Sub-Zero Lubrication: For reels, at about $6 per container. Shelter: Buy for the size of the family and the truck that will haul it to the lake. Consult with the person who will receive it. Starting at about $300. Sleds: For ice fishermen who walk out or are constantly on the move. Great for towing gear behind an ATV. From modest to huge, from about $50 and up. Merry Christmas!
J I M K A L K O F E N has been in and around
boats all his life. He has been director of the largest walleye tournament circuits for two decades, and was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
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6th Annual National Chainsaw Sculpting Invitational
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9 Fall Arts & Crafts Festival - BHS
Lakes Area Growers Market
Haunted Trail at 23 Fox Season Northland Arb Badger, Opossum 22-23 & Raccoon Season Oktoberfest at Ruttger’s Prairie Chicken Bay Lake Lodge 22-24 Season
Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010 Crosslake Days 2010
Lakes Area Growers Market
Crosslake Days 2010
Zoo Boo - 8th Annual Trick or Treat 3rd Annual Cage of Terror
For more information or more events, log on to:
Reach 43,000 homes with your 1x2 ad. Service directory Form can be faxed to (218) 829-7735 or contact your sales rep (218) 855-5828 Directory Ad for 1 issue - 1x2 $75 BUSINESS NAME: CONTACT: ADDRESS: PHONE: Your directory can also be viewed online 24/7.
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Your Lynn Thomas,
It was a hot summer day when these two squirrels decided to take a siesta on my g my y window. front deck. I shot this through
SSend d a slide lid or print i t tto “Y “Your B Bestt Sh Shot” t” B Brainerd i d Di Dispatch, t h P P.O. O B Box 574 574, 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. Deadline for the summer edition is November 23, 2010. 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.
Upload your favorite outdoors photos at http://spotted.brainerddispatch.com/ 34 Y o u r
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Guys talk. Normally about hunting, grills and who’s got the fastest sled in 2011 Arctic Cat Z1 Turbo town. Mention you have a Z1 Turbo, it’s end of story. That’s because the Z1 Turbo is the fastest production snowmobile on the planet. In fact, a race-prepped Z1 turbo did 137 mph on an asphalt track in upstate New York. That’s 177 horsepower. Harnessing all that smooth power is the lightweight and rigid Twin Spare chassis. Choose between the fast and luxurious LXR or the performancedriven Sno Pro, with aggressive FOX Float 2 shocks. But whichever you choose, it doesn’t matter. When Speed is a part of conversation, you’re the one everyone’s talking about.
When you’re looking for the most exceptional value in an ATV available today, look no further than the MXU 500 4x4 IRS. New for 2010 the MXU 500 incorporates a totally new redesigned chassis with anti-sway bar and class leading independent front KYMCO MXU 500 4x4 and rear suspension for precise handling in the most extreme terrain. The reliable single cylinder 499cc 4-stroke DOHC water-cooled engine now includes an Keihin 36.5mm carburetor with auto choke for Áawless cold weather starting in any elevation. Power is delivered to the wheels by our maintenance free sealed shaft Ànal drive including smooth automatic CVT transmission with reverse. Shift on a Áy 4x4 traction helps conquer tough off-road conditions while our front Differential Lock is a Áip of a switch away for the most extreme off-road conditions. Large world class disc brakes both front and rear for secure controlled stops, 2” receiver hitch, and easy-to-read multi-function digital display complete the package.
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FOR THE BEST DEAL ON AN ARCTIC CAT® SNOWMOBILE.
Vacations can be hard to come by these days. So grab the Mrs. and head out on a personalized trip down the trail. With plush accommodations like heated seats and handgrips, the proven smooth ride of the Twin Spar™ chassis and the powerful Z1™ 4-stroke engine, a trip on a T Series is the best vacation you’ll ever have. So take the trip of a lifetime – over and over again. Come in now or visit acticcat.com.
8194 Fairview Rd. Baxter, MN 56425
Always wear a helmet and don’t drink and ride. ©2010 Arctic Cat Sales Inc., ®™ Trademarks of Arctic Cat Inc., Thief River Falls, MN 56701.
Outdoor Traditions Issue 4 Ediiton 5 • Keeping up a family hunting tradition • Archers tell their stories • Linfy riggin' for fall trophies...