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Hunting Facts | MN Deer Rifles | QDM & QDMA | River Connectivity & Fish Migration


Contents Taking Flight 20 Family Farm Turns From

In This Issue

Dairy to Pheasants by Patrice Peterson

American Federal Expert 27 American Federal

A Father’s Legacy 30 Danlure Jigs

by Alicia Underlee Nelson

Maplewood State Park 36 Featured State Park




Hunting in Minnesota 6 Infographic

8 Choosing the Right Caliber

Ammunition Graphic

Off Road Action 10 ON MN’s OHV Trail System

by Alicia Underlee Nelson


Mark Your Calendar Minnesota Hunting Seasons Ice Safety 18 Infographic


Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017


Volume 1, Issue 1 • Fall 2017

BUSINESS OFFICE 118 South Vine Fergus Falls, MN



Compass Media

PUBLISHEr Kip Johnson


Winterizing 37 Anytime Plumbing

Brent Rogness

QDM & QDMA 38 Quality Deer Management and

sales manager

Quality Deer Management Association

John Burns

Testing Your Boundaries 44 Basics of the BWCA


by DdHardy

Kip Johnson

Favorite 50 Minnesota’s Deer Hunting Rifles

by Bill’s Gun Store

Sales staff

56 56


Restoring River Connectivity and Fish Migration Minnesota DNR by Amy Childers

Feet Down Waterfowl 60 Sportsman Spotlight

Jerry Shea 218.205.7454 Trista Larson 218.731.0255 Erin Hintz 218.205.2120

by John Miller

66 Service Directory

For advertising rates and information, contact Subscriptions available upon request

MAILING ADDRESS Compass Media PO Box 9761 Fargo, ND 58106



Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

FALL 2017 Lake & Home Outdoors




Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

recreational vehicles

10 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

Getting off the road is a rush Central Minnesota’s OHV (off-highway vehicle) trail system offers riders lots of ways to get a little muddy, get those endorphins kicking and explore the forests, lakes and prairies in the heart of the state in a whole new way. Most of the state’s trail network is open to ATVs. Some trails also offer access to off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-

highway vehicles (OHVs) like 4x4s, so riders can hit the trails on a sport ATV or a utility vehicle typically used for chores. If you’re thinking about investing in a new ATV, now’s the time to do it. Riders who haven’t tried an ATV in a few years are in for a pleasant surprise. “Machines are not as expensive as people think,” said Lee Bakken, General

Manager of Frontier Marine and Power Sports in Fergus Falls, Minn. He lists “the creature comforts like power steering and how smooth and comfy the suspensions are on new ATVs today” as well as “electronic fuel injection for easy starting and fuel economy” as industry trends that really resonate with buyers and make riding (especially for long distances) more enjoyable and economical.

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Picking a trail is almost as fun AS getting out and riding.

Once you’ve registered your ATV at your local DMV, make sure you’ve brushed up on ATV safety. Safety training is recommended for all riders, but successful completion of an ATV safety course with a riding component offered by the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) is now mandatory for riders born after July 1, 1987. The Minnesota DNR offers such courses at locations throughout the state. Successful completion of an ASI course in another state is also accepted. Riders under the age of 16 cannot operate an ATV on state trails or grant-in-aid trails. All riders under the age of 18 must wear approved helmets while riding on public lands, trails and water and while crossing roads.

Ready to get your own? These four wheelers and more can be found at Frontier Powersports in Fergus Falls, Minn.

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Once you’ve passed all safety hurdles, you can hop on the trails if you’re a resident of Minnesota. Riders on machines that are not registered in Minnesota will need to purchase a non-resident trail pass to access any ATV, OHM or OHV trails in the state. A 1-year pass costs $31 and can be purchased online at or by calling 888-665-4236. Non-resident OHV state trail passes are also available at DNR offices across the state during regular business hours. Picking a trail is almost as fun as getting out and riding. Bakken says his customers have clear favorites. “You have to get by Park Rapids and Brainerd and north to get the good trails,” he said. Central Minnesota has more than its fair share of ATV trails, so there’s no shortage of options to explore.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers an interactive map at that details the routes and the terrain, describes the level of difficulty and lists necessities like fuel stops, nearby restaurants and restrooms. “It helps them kind of see how many miles of

trail are there, plan if it’s going to be one day or two days and see where are the nearest conveniences,” explained David Schotzko, DNR Parks and Trails Area Supervisor, who is based in Bemidji.

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Schotzko doesn’t have a favorite trail, but mentions the Schoolcraft Trail south of Bemidji on Highway 71 as a popular option. The 29-mile trail links Lake George and the towering pines of the Paul Bunyan State Forest with lots of rugged terrain, including hills, bogs, ponds and other wetlands in between. Both ATV and off-highway motorcycles are allowed on the trails. (Be sure to check the trail map to see exactly which vehicles are allowed on which trails.) If forest riding is your thing, don’t miss Huntersville Trail in Wadena County. Much of the mostly single-track, 59-mile trail runs through the Huntersville State Forest and is accessible to off road motorcycles as well as ATVs. Moderate and difficult trails will challenge experienced riders, while the two-track and service road loops offer easier alternatives for rookies.

The Forest Riders Trail through Becker and Hubbard counties is another great option with lots of different scenery to take in and a variety of terrain to explore. Take 100 miles of ATV-only trails around lakes and rivers or cruise through Two Inlets State Forest and Smoky Hills State Forest. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderately difficult. New riders and off-road motorcyclists should check out the Fort Ripley Trail and Ripley Connection, with parking and trail access in Brainerd, Little Falls and Fort Ripley. The mostly level, 31-mile trail across Crow Wing County traverses treecovered hills near Sebie Lake and follows the old Burlington Northern railroad grade across the county. The Crow Wing South Loop also connects to Brainerd and the Pine Center Trails.

WCCO viewers picked Spider Lake Trails in Cass County as the best ATV trail in Minnesota back in 2015 and people have been buzzing about this trail network ever since. (It’s open to off-road vehicles and offhighway motorcycles too.) There are also free campsites, complete with picnic tables and fire rings, available on a first-come, first served basis. 14 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

The remote location appeals to riders who want to disappear into nature.


9/1/17 - 10/15/17


Bear Baiting Start Date 8/1//17

9/30/17 - 10/29/17



9/16/17 - 2/28/18

Rabbits & Squirrels

100A: 11/4/17 - 11/19/17 200A: 11/4/17 - 11/12/17 300A: 11/4/17 - 11/12/17 300B: 11/18/17 - 11/26/17


10/14/17 - 1/1/18


9/23/17 - 9/24/17

Duck season will again be open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones. North Zone: 9/23/17 - 11/21/17 Central Zone: 9/23/17 - 10/1/17 closes for five days, then reopens 10/7/17 - 11/26/17 South Zone: 9/23/17 - 10/1/17 closes for twelve days, then reopens 10/14/17 - 12/3/17

For complete up to date information, visit the Minnesota DNR website.

9/16/17 - 12/31/17

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Riders might need to decompress a little after tackling 29 miles of often challenging trails around lakes and ridgelines, over hills and through the Foot Hills State Forest. The remote location appeals to riders who want to disappear into nature. But, explained Schotzko, the TV coverage also increased interest in this particular slice of Minnesota paradise, which ramped up weekend attendance and made Spider Lake a place for the ATV community to hang out and connect with each other. “If you come on Friday or Saturday, there gets to be quite a few people that show up,” he said. “So a lot of people go there

16 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

to see what machines are out there and talk to other people that are like minded and share experiences.” That sense of community is exactly what Schotzko wants to see. He encourages riders to connect with other ATV riders they meet on the trails and to contact the clubs that maintain the trails they’re interested in exploring, since club members know the trails better than anyone else in the state. Clubs and a contact’s name and phone number are listed on the DNR website to help facilitate these connections.

The website also lists links to various associations, including the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), the Amateur Riders Motorcycle Association (ARMCA) and the Minnesota Four Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA). These organizations offer numerous community rides and events to keep riders connected both on and off the trails.

These organizations offer numerous community rides and events to keep riders connected both on and off the trails.



Printed coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Not valid with any other coupons or specials

Printed coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Not valid with any other coupons or specials



Printed coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Not valid with any other coupons or specials EXPIRES END OF 2017-18 SEASON


18 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

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No one has written a textbook on how to run a pheasant farm. Michael Forsgren says it’s all been “learn as you go.”

What started out as a hobby on the Forsgren dairy farm near Pelican Rapids, Minn., almost 50 years ago has turned into a lucrative livelihood for this 4-generation farm family.

“My dad (Darrel) and my grandpa Carl bought a few hundred pheasant chicks, kept 10-12 hens for breeding, and built an incubator,” Forsgren says. “Grandma Myrtle would get up during the night to turn them, and they hatched way more than they expected, so they advertised and sold them. The next year the customers wanted more.”

That was 1968, and the business of pheasants continued to grow each year until 1979, when the Forsgren family began to focus fully on raising and selling pheasants – and got out of the dairy business. They’ve moved from the farm’s original location a few miles away and now sit on 138 acres. The land not needed for raising pheasants is rented out. “I don’t farm anything but pheasants anymore,” he says.

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Along with part-time help from his dad (who “retired” in 2004), and three summer employees, Michael Forsgren and his son, Cole, keep this self-sustaining operation running smoothly. They have their own breeding stock, pick their own eggs, and supply pheasants to a number of different customers, from sportsman’s clubs to hunting preserves. “It’s about genetics, it’s about feed, which I make myself, and it’s about hard work,” he says. “But I like the work and the type of birds we raise. I tell everyone it beats a day job.” On a weekly basis from mid-April to July 1, the Forsgrens set up a new barn and new space and get everything ready for the next hatch – selling 5,000 as chicks and keeping 5,000 and raising to adulthood.

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Chicks All of Forsgren’s birds start out in the incubators, and the 5,000 that are sold as chicks are shipped “fresh out of the incubator.” The chicks can live for three days without food or water as they absorb the nutrients in the yolk. They are sent by priority mail throughout the U.S. and can usually be delivered within two business days. “It’s an entirely separate and wider market for the chicks, since they can be sent USPS instead of delivered by us in our trucks,” he says. “We ship from coast to coast and even down to locations in South America.”

Full-Grown Pheasants

Pheasant Species

The other 5,000 chicks born each week stay on the farm until adulthood. For the first six weeks, they’re kept in a barn called a brooder facility, where they’re given a cycle of one hour of light followed by two hours of darkness. “When the light is on, they eat, drink and move around,” Forsgren says. “Then they settle down when the light is turned off.”

The two main types of pheasants bred for hunting in the U.S. are the Chinese Ringneck and the Kansas Blueback. Forsgren raises a more traditional Chinese Ringneck, which is slightly larger. Although the Kansas Bluebacks are faster, they also run more.

At only 10 days old, they can fly, and at six weeks, shortly before they’re moved outside to a flight pen, blinders are placed on each bird. These “little peepers,” which don’t hurt them, are clipped into the nostrils. They can see straight ahead, they can still eat and fly, but the blinders

“Mine tend to get up and elevate more,” he says. “Sometimes the game preserves prefer the birds that fly more quickly, but other farmers sell the Bluebacks – some customers choose to buy both types of pheasants.”

Avian Illnesses No game birds in the Upper Midwest were affected by the avian outbreak in the past few years. Although pheasants and other game birds were outside and exposed during that time, Forsgren says it appears that these birds have a stronger immune system than turkeys. Since that time, however, he has been involved in a voluntary testing program as part of the state’s Bio Security Program, sending in samples from his birds four times per year.

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help prevent the high-energy birds from pecking or hurting each other. A color coding system also identifies the birds by the week they hatched. At seven weeks old, the chicks are herded from the brooder facility to an expansive flight pen that allows about 25 square feet of space per bird. The enclosures are surrounded by wire mesh, and abundant natural cover provides protection from the elements. Once in the pens, Forsgren says these hearty birds have a very low mortality rate.

Who Buys Pheasants? North Dakota releases 8,000 – 10,000 hens into the wild every spring. South Dakota releases adult roosters into the wild. Sportsman’s clubs and game farms release birds for hunting. Private citizens raise or release birds on personal land.

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To prevent the catastrophic loss of birds from natural predators like fox, mink, hawks, and owls, all 75 of the outdoor pens have an electric fence around the bottom. In their worst incident of a fox getting into the pen, hundreds of pheasants were killed.

Although pheasants are considered adults at 18 weeks, Forsgren waits until at least 22 weeks to sell them. “On a mature bird, the tail is firmer if you wait longer,” he says. “We want the tails to be more set and hardened so they don’t fall out when transported.”

It doesn’t happen often, but the young birds sometimes escape these pens, and it takes a herding type of process with dogs and 4-wheelers to get them back in, especially since they don’t become domesticated, even in captivity. “I feed my birds once a week with my feed truck,” Forsgren says, “and every time we come into the pens, they run to the other side.”

Getting the birds ready for delivery involves herding them into the barn, darkening that barn, and then grabbing and loading them by hand. Starting the first week of September, Forsgren Farms delivers adult pheasants to Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and Montana. A typical order is 300-500, but they can haul up to 2,500 birds at one time.

Competition The Minnesota Game Breeders Association has about 50 members, and Forsgren serves as the president. “There are other farmers out there doing the same thing,” he says, “but the market is big enough that it’s not cutthroat – and small enough that it can’t be underhanded.” People in the industry share ideas and information, and so far there’s no need to advertise. It’s a niche market, he says, and the farmers and consumers have good relationships. As in any industry, pheasant farming is regulated by the government. The hatchery at Forsgren Pheasant Farm is inspected every year in the spring by the State of Minnesota, and they must keep records and file a yearly Game Farm Report.

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Jumbo Pheasants Approximately 500 birds per year are bred and butchered at Forsgren Pheasant Farm and brought to a processing location.

From Herds to Flocks

Unlike the Ringneck, these jumbo

As for Michael Forsgren, he was just old enough to throw hay bales when they switched from dairy cows to pheasants. That was fine with him. His work hours can be brutal, especially during fall deliveries, and he still works plenty of weekends, but he has “enough flexibility” and can take time off during the slow months of January and February.

pheasants are a plumper bird meant more for eating. Once processed, they’re frozen and stored at the farm until sold.

His son Cole has been excited about pheasant farming since he was a small child. Michael and his wife Lisa insisted that

26 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

Cole get a college education, but he was back on the farm full-time immediately after his graduation in 2013. Their other two children, Tucker and Grace, are still in college, and Cole’s wife Lindsay is expecting their first grandchild in October. There are no guarantees for the future of any business, but Forsgren Pheasant Farm is in it for the long haul. “Our business is to raise and sell pheasants, and we feel we are offering a good product and good service,” he says. “One thing I’ve noticed is that even when the stock market and real estate market took a dive, hunters will still find a way to go hunting.”



Purchasing or Refinancing a Home?

Chris Marvel

American Federal Bank

Once you decide to purchase or refinance, the first step is to meet with a lender to determine if it makes financial sense to refinance, or the loan you may qualify for, if purchasing. Many Realtors require clients to obtain a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter prior to making an offer. The documentation you will typically need to provide is as follows: • Last two years of tax returns • Paystubs for the last 30 days • Last two months of bank statements • Last two years of W-2’s • Most recent retirement account statements • Driver’s license

It is important to include all pages of the above documents. I encourage the borrower(s) to bring everything in, and I will make copies and determine what pages I need. The purpose of providing the documentation is to verify income and asset information provided by the borrower(s) on their loan application. After this information is reviewed, the lender may have follow up questions such as explaining any large deposits and/or recent credit inquiries. Once all the information has been gathered, it will be reviewed by an underwriter to determine if the borrowers have the ability

to repay the loan, sufficient cash reserves, and the funds needed for their down payment, if purchasing. It is important to remember that once the loan application process begins, the borrower(s) should not apply for any new credit as a credit report is usually run just prior to the closing date and any new debt or inquiries could jeopardize the final loan approval. It may seem like a daunting task, but an experienced lender can guide you through the process of securing a loan for a new home, or help save you money by refinancing an existing mortgage.

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PHEASANTS AKC Yellow Labradors Axel and Piper are two of the Forsgren’s four dogs. Besides family pets, they were bred for hunting and retrieving. They’re also working dogs who assist with some herding of the birds from the pens to the barn and back again. Once a year, the Forsgrens breed these two AKC yellow labs and have a litter of pups. It’s a “fun hobby” that adds to the farm’s personality and charm.

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Danny Lorentz was many things. He was a father, an auto-body shop owner, a hog farmer, a hunter and an avid fisherman. He was also an outside-the-box thinker. While he was undergoing treatment for colon cancer, Danny spent a lot of his time pondering how to reconfigure a simple item in his tackle box – the fishing jig. He thought about it when he was on the water. At home, he puttered around his Wadena garage, tweaking and adjusting until the product in his hands matched the one he envisioned in his mind. The hook

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on Danny’s jig was attached to a rotating ring – a simple design detail that made a huge difference in the water. He would later receive utility and design patents for his creation, a product that reimagined the standard jig. “The patented, unique, split ring swivel design allows the bait you use to have a more realistic presentation to the fish,” explained Danny’s son Ivan Lorentz. The design uses the motion of the bait to mimic the natural movements of the bait in water.

Sadly, Danny lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 2012. But his idea lives on as Danlure, which is the name of both his innovative jig and the company that makes them. Since his passing, the company has grown to produce jigs in five sizes and 20 colors at its Wadena headquarters. The Danlure jig not only offers a realistic look to trick fish, it also offers anglers a lot of flexibility at an affordable price. “When it comes to fishing, there are many different

scenarios that will present themselves at any point of time,” said Lorentz. “The vast selection of Danlure jigs offers the angler to choose the color, size and style of hook that will compliment their fishing preferences.” Danlure jigs work for both trolling and jigging. Sizes range from 1/16 oz jigs (ideal for panfish) to 1/2 oz jigs for deep water and river fish, with a range of sizes suitable for snagging walleye, bass and northern in between. Any kind of bait works with the Danlure jig – minnows, nightcrawlers, leeches and even corn. Lorentz recommends that anglers consider their bait preferences and the differences between the two hooks Danlure jigs offer (the Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp and Eagle Claw TroKar Revolve hooks) and decide what works best for them.

Anglers using live bait gravitate toward the first option. “The Lazer Sharp hook keeps live bait alive longer because these hooks reduce excessive puncturing of the bait,” he explains. Anglers that want to keep their bait options open might opt for the TroKar Revolve hook, since it offers good bait retention. Customers were quick to respond to the jigs at the sports shows where Ivan Lorentz promoted and demonstrated his dad’s creation. Within the first year, there was a Danlure jig in tackle boxes in every state and in several Canadian provinces. Good sales at sports shows were a start, but Danlure would need a solid business plan to grow and thrive in a competitive market. Lorentz knew it was up to him to take the business his dad started to the next level – and he knew he’d have to continue to learn on the job.

He enlisted Julie Anderholm, a business consultant for the North Central Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Brainerd, to help him refine his business plan and implement his strategy. A big break came in 2015. Now, said Lorentz, “Danlure jigs can be found in many local bait and tackle shops and in more than thirty Mills Fleet Farm stores throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.” That accomplishment helped Lorentz nab the SBDC North Central Region Business of the year in 2015. Anderholm said Lorentz has other strengths that are equally vital to Danlure’s success. “The one thing that kind of sets Ivan apart from other small businesses I work with is that he has a very good grasp of social media and the benefits it can provide a small business,” she explained. “He does his own content and he’s good at linking posts on his own.”

“The patented, unique, split ring swivel design allows the bait you use to have a more realistic presentation to the fi sh.”

Ivan Lorentz

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Want to try out your very own set of Danlure jigs? Visit for ordering information.

34 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

Lorentz took his ability to connect with people he met at sports shows and at stores across the Midwest and used those skills to cultivate an impressive social media following. Over 40,500 people follow Danlure’s Facebook page for fishing updates, stories and photos. The company’s Instagram page boasts over 1,460 followers and the Danlure brand is also active on Twitter. The fact that every Danlure jig is made, assembled and packaged in America is a point of pride for Lorentz. “He’s very committed to American made and keeping it as local as he can,” said Anderholm. “He’s super passionate about that. He probably could get his product produced cheaper somewhere else, but he’s committed to keeping it American made.” This American pride and the scrappy, do it yourself, family business success story

resonates with Danlure customers. And it’s helped spread the Danlure narrative (and the company’s sales) into new territory. For anglers who don’t live or travel in the Midwest (which Lorentz fondly calls “God’s country”), the sales team takes phone orders at 218-371-1568 and e-mail orders at And of course, the online store at never closes. Danlure donates jigs to community groups and supports local cancer and veterans’ charities. That’s all part of preserving Danny’s legacy, Ivan Lorentz explained. He “was a believer that everyone was ‘good people’ and demonstrated his kindness for others through donating to several worthwhile causes,” he said of his dad.

grown over the last six years to include new, honorary family members. Because when customers order jigs from Danlure, Lorentz considers them part of the Danlure family. He loves to hear stories about anglers snagging fish with his company’s jigs and spending time with their family members and friends on the water all across North America. Helping people spend more quality time with their loved ones and catch more fish is exactly what Danny Lorentz would have wanted. And as long as anglers want affordable, effective jigs and to have fun fishing with the people that matter the most in their lives, Ivan Lorenz said his company’s success – and his dad’s legacy – will thrive. “With many great and loyal customers and supporters,” he said, “the future is bright.”

This Wadena family business, which started with a father’s innovation and expanded despite a family tragedy, has

“He was a believer that everyone was ‘good people’ and demonstrated

his kindness for others through donating to several worthwhile causes.” Ivan Lorentz on his dad, Dan

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Featured state park Maplewood State Park showcases the colors of fall and sweetness of spring

Located near Pelican Rapids in westcentral Minnesota, Maplewood State Park offers visitors a broad range of outdoor activities including camping, biking, swimming, fishing and horseback riding. In the fall, drink in the remarkable red, yellow and orange leaves while enjoying a picnic lunch, taking a hike or driving the park’s scenic Park Drive. In spring, enjoy the sweet smell and taste of pure maple syrup. Maplewood State Park sits near the edge of the Red River Valley, and the hilly land provides an excellent vantage point of lakes and valleys. The majestic hardwood maple trees, as well as basswood and oak, contribute to the splendid fall color explosion. The park is located on the cusp of western prairies and eastern forests. This varied landscape hosts a mixture of native plants and animals that live throughout the prairie and forest.

In addition to remarkable scenery, you may chance across an amazing array of wildlife from beaver and rabbits to cuckoos and cerulean warblers. Fishing is popular and anglers can take advantage of eight lakes. The park offers programs for all ages and is a destination for popular events such as: Leaf Days. An annual celebration of fall colors, hosted by the Friends of Maplewood State Park, that includes activities such as nature crafts, rope making, corn shelling and wagon rides, as well as workshops on how to make a bird feeder, apple juice or a duck decoy. The Leaf Days celebration takes place from 10 am to 4 pm on September 23, 24, and 30 and October 1. Maple syrup demonstrations at the “Sugar Shack.” A springtime ritual (usually March-April) when the maple tree sap begins to flow. These events, in partnership with the Friends of Maplewood State Park, attract more than 400 students and

adults who learn about pure maple syrup production using sap from the park’s magnificent stand of sugar maples. In 2017, the outdoor venue was replaced with a Sugar Shack building thanks to Friends of Maplewood State Park, which funded the project through public donations. The Sugar Shack is now the centerpiece of Maplewood’s maple syrup interpretive program. Maplewood State Park Highlights • 10,279 acres • Eight large lakes • 150 bird species, 50 mammal species and 25 kinds of reptiles and amphibians • Hiking, horseback, cross-country, snowmobile and snowshoe trails • Rentals include boats, canoes, snowshoes • Reserve the picnic shelter for a special event • Skiers can warm up in the park warming house • Two boat launch areas • 71 drive-in camp sites; 32 electric camp sites; 3 backpack sites, 24 horse camp sites; Group camp can accommodate up to 30. • 20 miles of horse trails • Five camper cabins available for rent For information on Maplewood State Park, visit _ parks. The park is located at 39721 Park Entrance Road, Pelican Rapids, MN 56572. The phone number is 218-863-8383. The daily entrance fee per vehicle is $7, or you can purchase a year-round Minnesota state park pass for $35.

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Living on the lake is filled with beautiful sunsets, time on the water and memories with family, but with lake living comes the responsibility of proper maintenance to protect against the winter’s harsh conditions. The importance of looking to a professional should not be overlooked. As autumn approaches and your thoughts turn to winterizing your cabin or lake home, consider Anytime Plumbing, Fergus Falls’ newest plumbing company. Anytime Plumbing has over 18 years of experience in both plumbing and cabin closing/maintenance. New owners Ben

Formo and Matt Larson share a wealth of knowledge that will help ensure your home is ready for the winter. They also specialize in plumbing services, remodels and drain cleaning.

your home. There are many items that can be easily overlooked, such as well pumps, water softeners, water heaters and other household appliances.

Anytime Plumbing has a few things for cabin and lakehome owners to remember.

Hiring a professional with the proper equipment and experience can make your transition from winter to spring a breeze.

Shutting down a house or a cabin in the fall is an important process that is sometimes overlooked. Improper winterizing can result in freezing and bursting of pipes, causing costly repairs and damage to

So instead of worrying about potential costly repairs and headaches when you return in the spring, consider calling Anytime Plumbing this fall to properly prepare your lake home.

FALL 2017 Lake & Home Outdoors 37


What is QDM? Quality Deer Management (QDM) is a management philosophy/ practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of yearling bucks combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and landowner desires. 38 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

A successful QDM program requires an increased knowledge of deer biology and active participation in management. This level of involvement extends the role of the hunter from mere consumer to manager. The progression from education to understanding, and finally to respect bestows an ethical obligation upon the hunter to practice sound deer management. Consequently, to an increasing number of landowners and hunters, QDM is a desirable alternative to traditional deer management, which allows the harvest of any buck, and few, if any antlerless deer. QDM guidelines are formulated according to property-specific objectives, goals, and limitations. Participating hunters enjoy both the tangible and intangible benefits of this approach. Pleasure can be derived from each hunting experience, regardless if a shot is fired. What is important is the chance to interact with a well-managed deer herd that is in balance with its habitat. A side benefit is the knowledge that mature bucks are present in the herd – something lacking on many areas under traditional deer management. QDMA – It’s Where Hunters Belong Since 1988, QDMA has worked to promote sustainable, highquality deer populations, wildlife habitats and ethical hunting experiences through research, education, advocacy, and hunter recruitment. QDMA teaches deer hunters how to improve local deer populations, habitat and hunting experiences. To enhance the fun and excitement of deer hunting, QDMA encourages the protection of the majority of yearling (1½-yearold) bucks combined with an appropriate harvest of does, when necessary, to maintain a healthy population in balance with habitat conditions and hunter desires. We also believe hunters who have never killed a buck should be able to choose any buck that makes them a happy hunter, and most QDMA staff members killed a yearling for their first buck.

When a deer population is socially and nutritionally balanced, hunters witness the full range of social behaviors. • “Bachelor groups” of bucks can be observed in summer. • Rubs and scrapes are more common in the woods. • Hunters witness more buck fights, see more bucks

chasing does, and more often hear vocalizations

like grunting.

• Calling techniques like rattling are more productive. • Overall, the rut is more apparent and intense, leading

to a more enjoyable hunting experience and higher

hunting success.

• Other benefits include dramatically increased success

at finding shed antlers, which also leads to greater

knowledge of travel corridors, bedding areas and

feeding habits.

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PHEASANTS Working with habitat and planting food plots increases a hunter’s connection to the earth, to wildlife and the outdoors. Many QDMA members report happily that hunting becomes a year-round pursuit instead of being limited to hunting season. Of course, there is also the benefit of having a better chance of seeing and harvesting a mature buck, because more are present. Given good nutrition and other benefits that are part of a socially balanced deer population, bucks can express their full antler potential in each year of their life.

In today’s North American hunting culture, antlers are the most common and easily visible symbol of hunting achievement, but for QDMA members, many other rewards and benefits are equally cherished. That’s why we at QDMA measure success in memories, not in antler inches. QDM Myths Misconceptions are a fact of life, but QDM seems to attract more than its fair share. From the myriad of inaccuracies attached to QDM here are two of the more popular ones: QDM is just about big antlers, and QDM requires killing numerous does. Let’s address each misconception individually. By definition, QDM is a management approach that protects young bucks and harvests the biologically appropriate number of antlerless deer. This balances the deer herd with what the habitat can adequately support. When applied correctly, this results in the proper number of deer for the area, balances the herd’s adult sex ratio and age structure, and provides fantastic hunting opportunities. When applied improperly, it can result in disappointment, frustration, criticism and disagreement among hunters.

Myth 1: QDM is Just About Big Antlers Antlers are cool. With respect to prehistoric art, it is clear we have been fascinated by antlers for at least 50,000 years. While some modern hunters take this fascination too far, the majority do not. Thus, we don’t need to apologize because we enjoy viewing, photographing, measuring or collecting antlers. However, QDM is not just about bucks of any size or even just about deer at all. QDM involves Four Cornerstones and includes herd management, habitat management, hunter management and herd monitoring. QDM is about managing the deer herd to have the proper number and age class of each sex, managing the habitat to provide high-quality forage and cover, educating hunters to be better natural resource stewards, and collecting data on the herd, such as harvest or observation data, in order to make wise management decisions (such as the proper number of antlerless deer to shoot each year). Thus, QDM is more encompassing than just focusing on deer, and especially on only large bucks. From a buck perspective, QDM strives to provide a full complement of age classes rather than only having young animals. In simplest terms, you can accomplish this by protecting the majority of yearling (1½-year-old) bucks annually. Yearling bucks are generally the easiest adult

deer to kill during the hunting season, and affording them protection during the year they grow their first set of antlers goes a long way toward improving the age structure of the herd. You can go ahead and start shooting 2½-year-old bucks as part of your QDM program. Compared to yearlings, they are more difficult to harvest, so you’re far less likely to overharvest this age class. That means some will slip through to become 3½ years, 4½ years, and older, so you should have a full complement of age classes by just protecting yearling bucks.

This is where all QDM practitioners begin their journey. Some managers will then choose to also protect 2½-year-old bucks. Is this still QDM? Yes, and it’s still QDM if he/she advances one step further and protects 3½-year-olds.

the rate of buck harvest success. This range of management intensity is often referred to as trophy deer management, and relatively few hunters have what’s necessary to achieve success and remain satisfied with results over time.

However, trying to protect all bucks up to and including 4½-year-olds gets more difficult because bucks die of many causes. More acres under management will be needed, more effort must go into habitat improvement and doe harvest, and fewer hunters will be satisfied with

Here is where some of the QDM confusion arises. From a buck harvest perspective, all QDM programs strive to protect the majority of yearling bucks, but it is up to the individual manager whether he/she starts harvesting bucks at 2½, 3½, or 4½ years of age. This flexibility is one aspect FALL 2017 Lake & Home Outdoors 41

making QDM applicable to such a wide array of hunters and deer herds. Do you need to protect every yearling buck? Absolutely not. The QDMA fully supports youth hunters having the opportunity to shoot any legal deer; yearling bucks included. Taking some yearlings is fine as long as you protect the majority of them. Fortunately, protecting yearling bucks is much more common today than in past decades. In 1989, 61 percent of the antlered bucks shot in the U.S. were only 1½ years old. By 2015 that number had dropped to 34 percent! (See page 7 of QDMA’s 2016 Whitetail Report, available at, to see how your state/province compared.) Myth 2: QDM Requires Killing Numerous Does Many QDM pioneers have been quoted as saying, “Shoot every doe you can, and then shoot three more.” Such statements were generally true when spoken, but times and situations change, and as managers we need to adapt to current conditions.

In the past, many programs benefitted from aggressive antlerless deer harvests, hence the recommendation to shoot all available does. However, as deer herds are reduced, similarly aggressive harvests are less necessary or advised. In addition, predator populations are increasing in many areas of the U.S. and Canada. Expanding coyote, black bear, bobcat and wolf populations are important mortality sources, and in some cases new mortality sources, for deer herds. The take-home message is the appropriate antlerless harvest for a property should be determined locally. The local deer density, habitat quality, mortality factors (predators, winter severity, vehicle kills, etc.) and landowner goals all impact the number of antlerless deer that can or should be harvested. These factors vary annually and thus antlerless harvest goals should also be determined on an annual basis. Based on the above factors, some QDM programs will require large antlerless harvests, some will require moderate antlerless harvests, and some

will require minimal or even no antlerless harvests. It’s as incorrect to state that all QDM programs require large antlerless harvests as it is to state that all hunters hunt from a vehicle, or over a food plot, or in a swamp. In Conclusion QDM encompasses much more than just antlers or even shooting deer. Herd management is only one of the Four Cornerstones of QDM. Many critics incorrectly equate QDM to antler restrictions, trophy deer management, or excessive doe harvests. Hopefully you realize those accusations are false and are now better armed with information to refute such assumptions. Also, these claims completely overlook the efforts expended on the other three Cornerstones. Millions of acres of improved wildlife habitat, more educated sportsmen and women being better ambassadors for hunting, and all the deer data collected to establish realistic buck management goals and determine appropriate antlerless harvest rates.

Hopefully, even those who disagree with protecting yearling bucks can appreciate a QDM practitioner’s habitat management, hunter education and herd monitoring efforts. 42 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

Traditional Deer Management Under traditional deer management, any antlered buck is harvested, regardless of age or antler quality, and few does are harvested. Deer managers often refer to traditional deer management as “Maximum Buck Harvest Management.” This is the strategy that every state in the country historically used. This strategy may work when the deer herd is below the habitat’s carrying capacity but fails when the herd equals or exceeds the carrying capacity.

Quality Deer Management Young bucks are protected from harvest, combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to produce healthy deer herds in balance with existing habitat conditions. QDM is first and foremost about having the biologically appropriate number of deer for the habitat. If a habitat will support 30 deer per square mile, QDM says put 30 deer per square mile on it, but don’t put 30 deer on habitat that can only support 20. (Of course, habitat can be improved so it can support more deer). QDM also improves age structures by allowing bucks to reach all age classes – not just 1½ and 2½ years. QDM accomplishes this by not shooting the majority of yearling bucks each year.

Trophy Deer Management Trophy Deer Management (TDM) is the approach where only fully mature bucks, 5½ to 7½ years old, with high scoring antlers are harvested (with the exception of low-scoring middle-aged bucks) and does are aggressively harvested to maintain low deer density and optimum nutrition for the remaining animals. TDM is not practical in much of the United States, and the strategy is negatively viewed by much of the hunting and non-hunting public.

Traditional Deer Management

Quality Deer Management

Trophy Deer Management



5,000-plus acres

Buck Harvest

Mostly young bucks

Mainly 2.5-4.5 year-old bucks

Fully mature (5.5-7.5 year-old)

Doe Harvest

Few, if any

Adequate number

High Number

Adult Sex Ratio

Generally heavily skewed towards does

More balanced ration, though still favoring does

Nearly equal ratios

Deer vs Habitat

Deer her often greater than habitat’s carrying capacity

Deer herd in balance with habitat’s carrying capacity

Deer herd often less than habitat’s carrying capacity

Moderate-severe habitat damage

Minimal habitat impact

Minimal habitat impact




Acreage Requirements

Influence on Habitat Deer-Human Conflicts

The seven items above show how the different management strategies affect our deer herds and habitats. Each strategy is unique and shouldn’t be confused with the others. For example, QDM is as different from TDM as it is from traditional strategies, even though many hunters and non-hunters incorrectly consider QDM and TDM to be one in the same. Each strategy has its place in deer management, but evaluation of the deer herd

and habitat is necessary to correctly choose the strategy that will be most effective at producing a healthy deer herd and healthy habitat. Traditional deer management works when the deer population is below the habitat’s carrying capacity, and the goal is to increase the deer herd and provide recreational hunting. TDM works best when the goal is to produce mature, trophy-class bucks with highscoring antlers. QDM works best when the deer population is at or exceeding the habitat’s

carrying capacity and the goal is to improve the health of the deer herd and balance it with available habitat. Fortunately, QDM also provides tremendous hunting opportunities, and unlike TDM, is a realistic goal for most hunters. See more at: hRjhpzjD.dpuf

FALL 2017 Lake & Home Outdoors 43


written by DdHardy

44 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

It’s as if the passage of time has passed by Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. Discover what the world used to be like by jumping in a canoe and being inspired.

Looking for the ultimate getaway? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area offers a picturesque, adventurous escape from the demands, deadlines, beeps and buzzers of everyday life. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness measures 1.1 million acres. The area is one of the most protected wildernesses in America. There are no roads. No towns. No airports. All you see is water and woods. It wasn’t until the 17th century that Europeans first entered this wilderness west of Lake Superior. They were looking for a route to China and the huge beaver pelts that could be sold for a fortune. The only safe way to travel the waters was in a canoe. The name Boundary Waters comes from the United States-Canada border that meanders along the region’s northern edge of the region. Not much has changed in the past 300 years or so. The area has been well protected by legislation, including the 1964 Wilderness Act, which returned this vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to its pristine backcountry heritage. Outboard engines are outlawed on almost all of the 1,000 lakes. Aircraft are not allowed to fly less than 4,000ft high. The roads and people who lived here

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PHEASANTS have disappeared. In their place have been established over 2,000 campsites, 12 hiking trails and 1,200 miles of canoe routes.

There are around 250,000 visitors annually but it’s hard to notice, as the area is so vast and signs of human presence are few and far between. Look down when you fly high above it and what you will see is a green carpet, occasionally cut into by glaciers from years past. When you are on the water it feels like you are in another time. Nature becomes the world and we humans are lucky guests. Before You Start As soon as you’ve committed to planning your trip, get a permit for your specific entry point. Limited quantities are available, and entry point permits can fill up quickly, especially on popular days. Typically, a date in January is when permit registration begins for each year. Choose a route based on your interests. There are several waterfalls, pictographs and points of interest. You may also want to consider how many rods each portage will be on your route. Once your permit is locked in, don’t forget to pick up a map of your route. ROD A unit of measurement. 320 rods equals 1 mile 1 rod is 5.5 yds.

There is an abundance of elements to consider when planning your Boundary Waters trip. Clothing and food rank among the most important as you prepare. What to Wear Aside from everyday basics, there are additional clothing items you will want to include to ensure you are ready for all types of weather and conditions. While traveling light is essential, there are a few things you’ll want to be sure to remember:

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Sunglasses - Reflection off the water can wreak havoc on your eyes and put a damper on your canoeing excursion. Swimsuit - This one may seem obvious, but when planning a camping trip, it can be easy to get stuck on the camping element and forget about the fact you will be spending hours on or near water. Bringing a bathing suit ensure you have a garment with you that can become wet and dry quickly. Bandana - The versatility of a bandana makes it a must-have for any BWCA trip. They are especially useful to cover areas of your skin around your face or neck that would otherwise be exposed to excessive sunlight. Water Shoes/Sandals – With every portage, you’ll be required to unload and load your gear from the landing area. Wearing water shoes or sandals will allow you to easily enter the water without worrying about ruining those nice hiking boots (which can be packed away in your bag). Also, remember to consider the conditions you’ll be adventuring in. What does the forecast look like for the week? Rain? Chilly nights? Extreme wind or heat? Each of these factors can affect what you pack. Consider using a portage pack to combine your gear into larger loads, as well as protecting it from the water and rough terrain. There are a variety of outfitters that will allow you to rent any items that you may be missing. When you leave civilization behind, remember you will have to portage whatever you bring, with the accompanying weight of a canoe on your shoulders! Expect to do a lot of lugging with gear on your back and feet on the trail as you will need to carry your canoe between lakes. There are literally hundreds of these portages, as they are known between the lakes. The majority of portages are as short as 5-10 rods, while others stretch to well over 300 rods.

PORTAGING Carrying your canoe and gear from one lake to the next.

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KEVLAR CANOES Made of a woven composite fabric that is amazingly light and strong.

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Packing Your Food Packing your food in a practical manner is also important. Again, while traveling light is key, you also need to make sure each meal is packed with protection and purpose. It’s a good idea to Ziploc your food, label it, and include everything for a single meal into each bag. There’s nothing more annoying than digging through your pack for three different bags that are partially responsible for one meal. To discourage bears and other wildlife from your carefully planned meals, be prepared to hang your food container, as well as garbage, from a tall tree branch well out of reach of these animals. A good water bottle and plenty of clean water will fend off dehydration. Make sure you have a method planned ahead for producing clean drinking water, to protect yourself from the parasite, giardia lambia. This can be accomplished by boiling your water for 3 to 5 minutes, treating with chemicals, or using one of a variety of water filters.

As you paddle, you’ll discover it’s not just canoeists who frequent the Boundary Waters. There are fishermen here aspiring to land some of the best walleye, northern, bass and trout in the world. If you get the chance for a shore lunch, it’s a treat. You’ll find your freshcaught walleye tastes even better when surrounded by some of the most aweinspiring natural surroundings the planet has to offer. Remember to keep in mind principles of leave no trace. The wilderness should be left in the same condition or better as when you found it. Also, no metal cans or glass bottles are allowed in the BWCA. Before you start in earnest, it’s helpful to paddle a smaller portion to get used to what is to come. With over 1200 total miles of canoe routes, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to practice. With two people paddling, it’s possible for a Kevlar canoe to average three miles an hour. Rest assured, the rhythmic motion will become second nature after a short while.

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PHEASANTS Gliding through the water, everything around you is water or stone or wood. The shorelines are covered in red pine. The air has the scent of pine and campfire smoke. Granite splits the forest. There are granite bluffs that stand a good 10-stories high and rise from the depths. In addition, there are flat rocks the size of tennis courts cresting a few feet above the water. The lakes that make up the Boundary Waters are mainly lined with granite. There are fault lines running through the Kahshahpiwi and Man Chain Lakes, creating perfectly straight greenstone and granite shorelines. Vera Lake is

surrounded by jasper, an opaque reddish-brown semi-precious stone. Pink batholith granite is all around Ensign Lake, and boulders blown off the side of a prehistoric volcano lie at the bottom of Kekekabic Lake. In one granite cliff between Crane and Sand Point Lakes there is a series of dull red pictographs. These handprints and depictions of a large moose are many hundreds of years old. The Ojibwe artists created the images by combining hematite with sturgeon oil. This mixture chemically binds with rock and will likely last for thousands of years.

Into Canada The Quetico is the Canadian half of the Boundary Waters. Don’t forget your to apply early for your RABC permit. Near the Canadian Customs, the border is marked by a series of silvery benchmark spikes embossed with U.S. on one side and CANADA on the other, such as the one that has been driven into a boulder on the rocky islet on the southern end of Lac La Croix. In the middle of this island area is a pile of rocks that were once a Native American lookout station. It is placed in the middle of the fur traders’ route.

RABC PERMIT Needed to enter Canada. Apply at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your trip.

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No matter what route you choose, be on the lookout for northern lights. If you are lucky, you’ll experience one of the most spectacular views of the aurora borealis that exists. Auroral displays most commonly appear in amazing displays of pale green and pink colors. When speaking of the Boundary Waters, Ely is the unofficial capital city. Here you will find an abundance of canoes and kayaks along the houses and outfitters that line Highway 169. Other popular areas include Sawbill and the Gunflint trail – a 57 mile scenic highway starting in the small town of Grand Marais and ending at Saganaga Lake, with several outfitters and entry points along the way.

There is one current threat to the pace and tranquility of the region. After more than 10 years of lobbying, a Chilean mining company, Antofagasta, aspires to build a huge sulfide-ore copper mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The fears are that the wilderness’s currents could carry toxic pollution from this mine into the lake area. The forest service, along with tens of thousands of Boundary Waters’ supporters, have made their concerns known. The project’s future does look less likely every month. But the fact it has even been considered a possibility underlines doubts

RESERVATIONS Visit to make reservations.

people who know this place have about the integrity, values and good sense of the 21st century’s so-called civilization. After just a short time in a canoe on the Boundary Waters, everything that isn’t pure nature feels very strange. The distractions of everyday life are simply washed away. When you reach the end of your excursion, sounds as simple as a car door shutting seem unnatural.

There comes a time when we’re beckoned back into the modern world, but as anyone who has visited the Boundary Waters will tell you, one of the best things about returning home is embarking on the planning process for your next trip. FALL 2017 Lake & Home Outdoors 51


Written by Joe DeConcini Bill’s Guns Shop and Range

New hunters often ask us our opinion on the best rifle for whitetail hunting in the Minnesota area. While it would be wrong to say that just one model is the best choice, over the years, we have learned that Minnesota hunters value accuracy, reliability, and quality. The glossy walnut stocks, engraving, and polished blue finish of more expensive firearms might look great in the safe, but our hunters want a rifle that also puts venison on the table.

Ruger American Rifle .270 Winchester 22 Inch Matte Black Barrel Black Composite Stock 4 Round

Tikka T3 Hunter 30-06 22 Inch Barrel Wood Stock Bolt Action

Axis XP Youth Package .243 Winchester 20 Inch Barrel Matte Black Finish Synthetic Stock Muddy Girl Camouflage Finish 4 Rounds 3-9x40mm Riflescope Mounted

Like what you see? Gun images and descriptions from Bill’s Gun Shop & Range in Fargo, ND.

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Just as important as the firearm is the choice of optic and ammunition. Whether a novice or experienced hunter, you’ll want to find a combination that adds up to a successful hunt and a purchase that you will enjoy for many seasons to come. It is crucial to have a good quality scope, especially one that won’t fog up on chilly November mornings. When it comes to ammunition, we only stock what has proven most accurate and effective for humanely harvesting your deer.

B-14 HMR Hunting & Match Rifle .308 Winchester 20 Inch Threaded Barrel 5/8-24 TPI Matte Blue Finish Bergara HMR Molded Stock with Mini-Chassis 4 Round

Model 11 Trophy Hunter XP Package 6.5 Creedmoor 22 inch Blued Barrel Composite Stock Mossy Oak Brush Camouflage 4 Round Nikon 3-9x40mm Riflescope Mounted

Here is a short summary of our favorites, both old and new.

The bolt-action rifle is by far the most popular choice for local hunters. They like the simplicity, ruggedness, and accuracy. Even beyond most typical distances for Minnesota whitetail hunting this is a versatile firearm, whether hunting close from a wooded stand or at longer ranges across a field. Brands such as Savage, Remington, Tikka, Bergara, and Browning have found favor in our state

and represent the majority of what is sold. Caliber choices are typically the venerable 30-06 Springfield, 270, 243 or 308 Winchester, but new chambering such as the 6.5 Creedmoor are now becoming more popular. Topped with a Leupold or Vortex scope with 3-9 power magnification, you’ll have a combination used by thousands of your fellow hunters across the state with great success.

APF Pro Carbine .308 WIN 16� Barrel Magpul Accessories

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Model 336 .30-30 Winchester 20 Inch Barrel Blue Finish Walnut Finished Hardwood Stock with Pistol Grip 6 Round 3-9x32mm Scope

The second most popular is the leveraction rifle. Primarily represented by Marlin and Henry, these rifles are typically shorter and more maneuverable in dense woods, sometimes earning the moniker “Brush Gun.� This rifle is quick and sometimes a more reliable action than most semiautos. It has no magazines to replace or misplace; the lever gun is a hardy rifle that stands up to hard use in the field. Topped with a lower magnification scope such as a 2-7 power, or even with iron sights, this is a rifle that you can get to the shoulder and on target fast. Chambered in 30-30 or the harder hitting 45-70, the leveraction has been an iconic Minnesota deer rifle for over 100 years.

When a very fast follow-up shot is desired, the semi-automatic rifle should also be considered. While generally more expensive than others, semi-auto rifles such as the Remington Model 750 or Benelli R1 are still favored by many hunters that want the chance, if needed, to place a second shot on their target very quickly. This option is normally also available in the top calibers listed on the previous page for bolt-action rifles.

Model 1895G Guide Gun .45-70 Government 18.5 Inch Barrel Blue Finish American Walnut Straight Stock 4 Round

M6A2 5.56mm 16.1 Inch Barrel LWRC Skirmish BUIS Sights MOE+ Pistol Grip Bravo SOPMOD Stock Patriot Brown Finish 30 Rounds

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Finally, the Modern Sporting Rifle, or MSR has become another one of the most popular choices. Minnesotans have truly embraced this American firearm as a great alternative not just for home defense and target shooting, but for hunting as well. The AR-15 and AR-10 rifles come in a staggering variety of calibers, colors, and

Nordic AR-15 Platform .300BLK OUT 16 Inch Barrel Free Float Fore End Adjustable Stock

configurations, many purposely built for hunting. Calibers suitable for Minnesota deer hunting such as 300 Blackout and 308 Winchester are manufactured by Stag Arms, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Daniel Defense, and even locally by Alex Pro Firearms. The MSR should be considered especially, if you like to customize and accessorize your hunting rifle. There are a wide variety of accessories that are easily mounted to these rifles and the optics used on more traditional options are just as easily mounted on the MSR as well. Whatever rifle you are considering, take the time to ask a professional to guide you through all possible options in order to help you make the most informed decision possible. In the end, the goal is to make the decision that best suits you, so that you can enjoy a great Minnesota tradition.

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river management

by Amy Childers, DNR river systems information outreach specialist

Rivers and streams function like flowing arteries. They provide migratory pathways for fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and other species. Both the unrestricted flow of clean water and a diversity of habitats created by varying water depths and bed materials (gravel, sand, boulders, and woody debris) are key to supporting diverse aquatic ecosystems. Fish require a variety of habitat types depending on their size, body form,

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food sources and spawning and shelter/ cover needs. Some fish (such as redhorse sucker and darters) spend most of their time in the faster flowing, shallow, rocky areas, called riffles. Other species (such as walleye, catfish, and rock bass) spend more time in the deep, cool, slower moving pools. The deeper pools also provide critical refuge during the cold winter months and during the low-flow, warm summer/fall months. Many of the small minnow species stay in the shallow areas where flows are slower and they

can avoid predators. Fish of all shapes and sizes seek cover and forage along banks with vegetation, downed trees, exposed roots or overhanging vegetation. Survival of riverine animals depends on the connectivity of their required habitat types - connected backwaters, flooded floodplains, spawning riffles, lakes and wetlands. Just like migrating birds, fish and aquatic organisms migrate long and short distances, upstream and downstream, throughout the year to reproduce, forage

and recolonize. Walleye, for example, migrate out of the lakes every spring to spawn in the rocky riffles, or to escape low oxygen conditions in shallow lakes or wetlands during the winter months.

Barriers to Migration Some fish, including the mighty lake sturgeon, will migrate remarkably long distances - hundreds of miles. These long-lived species spawn in the spring in steeper riffle and rapids habitat. They will travel hundreds of miles to search for, or return to, the fast flowing, rocky waters of their spawning areas. Unfortunately, lake sturgeon were extirpated (locally extinct) by the late 1800s from the entire Red River Basin. Dam construction over fishing and habitat degradation contributed to the lake sturgeon demise. Other fish and aquatic species were eliminated by barriers as well. Stream surveys analyzed by the Department of Natural Resources Fergus Falls River Ecology Unit showed that an average of 41% of the fish species downstream of dams were absent upstream of the barrier. When the dams were removed or modified, the majority of these fish species returned.

When addressing the issues caused by dams, dam removal is the best option for fully restoring stream

rock arch rapids are designed to:

health. However, in some cases


complete removal is not an option

for various reason, including the need to maintain lake/river level or to retain reservoir sediments. In these cases the dam is retained or lowered and a


ramp of rock is constructed below the


dam. A boulder arch design, called

a rock arch rapids, is built upon the

Direct flow and energy to the center of the channel away from the banks. Create step-like drops in water level with less than one foot of drop per arch. Provide fish passage with resting pools for all fish species in all flow conditions.

rock ramp.

When complete dam removal is not an option, the dam is retained and a ramp of rock, called a rock arch rapids, is constructed below the dam. An excavator is used to place boulders in an arch design on the rock ramp constructed downstream of the existing dam.

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In an effort to restore lake sturgeon, enhance the native fish community and make the rivers and lakes a safer place to fish and boat, the DNR is partnering with local communities to “Reconnect the Red� by removing or modifying dams throughout the basin. Similar efforts are taking place across the state and country.

Dam Modification Tools Recognition for the need to restore our river ecosystems comes at a time when the dams scattered throughout our river networks are reaching the end of their operational lives or are no longer fulfilling their original purposes. Dam owners, such as electric companies and municipalities, face the dilemma of repairing an aging or unsound dam or removal/ modification. The owner must weigh the ongoing costs of maintenance, repairs and liability to human safety with lower cost, long-term alternatives. The DNR serves as a consultant in many cases, providing input and comments. The agency has expertise in river ecosystems, dam modification and removal and has funding opportunities when alternatives that restore river connectivity are selected. Where dam removal is not possible, dam modification becomes a fish passage 58 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

alternative. Dams can be modified into nature-like fishways in two ways: rock ramps and bypass fishways. Rock ramps with a rock arch rapids design retain the impoundment behind the old dam structure, but replace the vertical drop with a set of man-made rapids. They are best suited to dams under 15 feet tall and have been constructed on in-channel and lake outlet dams to maintain upstream and downstream water levels. The dam is replaced with a long, gradual rock ramp consisting of arches of large boulders that spread out the vertical water drop and gradually step down water levels. Some of the key benefits to rock ramps include restoring fish passage and habitat, providing whitewater recreation, eliminating the dangerous hydraulic undertows, reducing downstream erosion and removing dam failure potential and maintenance costs. Rock ramps have been constructed at Dunton Locks in Detroit Lakes, Lions Park in Frazee and dams in the Breckenridge, Crookston, Fargo and Cass Lake areas.

A second option is the bypass fishway, where a scaled-down stream is constructed around the dam. These structures provide fish passage for the entire fish community and other aquatic

MNDNR began stocking lake sturgeon fingerlings in the Red River Basin in 2002. Dam modification projects that improve fish passage on the Red River and its tributaries are critical to re-establishing natural populations of lake sturgeon in the Red River Basin.

(above) This dam on Otter Tail River in Lions Park near Frazee was modified in 2003. The dam was 5 feet tall and 80 feet wide. (left) A view of the rock arch rapids after modification. Walleye and white sucker have been observed migrating through the fishway.

species while providing steeper gradient habitat. Bypass fishways can be used at high dams provided there is enough area for construction.

A bypass fishway was built around Diversion Dam in 2002 on the Otter Tail River near Fergus Falls. A culvert through the embankment connects the reservoir to the fishway to allow fish passage. Trap net sets in the reservoir end of the fishway have documented upstream passage of 30 species of fish.

Many Successes, Many Connections While fishways do not restore all river processes affected by dams, they do provide significant benefits to river ecosystems. To date 35 barriers have been eliminated via dam removals and fishways throughout the Red River Basin. Only two barriers remain on the main stem of the Red River – one near Drayton, ND, which is to be modified into rapids in the near future, and one on the Red River near Selkirk, Manitoba. Critical spawning habitat in the Roseau, Middle, Red Lake, Wild Rice, Buffalo and Otter Tail rivers has been reconnected to the main stem - the Red River of the North. As the Red River is being reconnected to its tributaries, lake sturgeon are being stocked annually and have been documented throughout the Otter Tail River system, with angler reports of a few fish over 50 inches. The success of the DNR’s river restoration efforts will depend on continued efforts to reconnect, restore and protect the river network. River health can be significantly improved by removing dams, adding buffers, storing water on the land and restoring ditches to streams. By opening the river arteries, lake sturgeon can reproduce and thrive once again possibly reestablishing populations with 100-300 pound lake sturgeon roaming the Red River and its tributaries. Dunton Locks between Muskrat Lake and Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes. The dam was replaced with a rock arch rapids in 2001. Several species have been observed passing and spawning in the rapids.


Fergus Falls native Connor Lausch decided to turn his goose-hunting passion into a service to help others with an enthusiasm for hunting when he opened his guide service, Feet Down Waterfowl, in 2012 at the age of 19.

Lausch was born and raised in Fergus Falls. Growing up, he hung around with guys who hunted, and they began taking him out when he was eight years old. He knew some people who were guides, and figured running a guide service was something he could do on his own, which paved the way to starting the business.

Feet Down Waterfowl is an entirely mobile operation that runs professionally guided waterfowl hunts out of Fergus Falls. They have hunts from early season lay-out hunts to late season hunts in fully enclosed, heated pit blinds. They were featured in “The Goose Society III� DVD by Molt Gear.

They constantly scout the birds and run several different blinds in the Fergus Falls area. They can accommodate groups ranging from a single hunter to groups of nine per field. Feet Down Waterfowl runs five different underground, heated pit blinds. At each

pit they run 300 to 1,000 full-bodied and shell decoys. They also set up layout blinds in fields where they use several trailers full of decoys. When a group books Lausch as their guide, he gets everything set up beforehand, so on the day of the hunt he can meet them the morning of and head out to the blind.

Mike Harvego, Trent Toso, and Tarin Lehn also work with Feet Down Waterfowl as guides. Harvego has more than 10 years of experience guiding hunts for Canadian geese in Fergus Falls and Rochester, Minn., in the fall, and Missouri snow geese in the spring.

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PHEASANTS Toso and Lehn are the main guides next to Lausch. “They have worked with me for several years,” Lausch said. “They have the same passion and drive that I do to have success in the field.” The regular season runs from the end of September to late December. Hunter requirements include: a small game license and state and federal waterfowl stamps that are signed; a plugged shotgun; and camo clothing suitable for all weather conditions. The shot they recommend for large Canada geese is steel #2, three-inch BB or BBB.

According to Lausch, the Fergus Falls area is perfect for goose hunting. Otter Tail County is considered to be one of the best waterfowl habitats in the country with more than 1,000 lakes and over 1,100 miles of rivers. “Fergus is renowned for goose hunting,” Lausch said. “The area sees a lot of birds because it’s part of the Central Flyway, and Fergus has a warm-water plant which keeps the birds around late in the year.” Lausch said he generally works with people who are from Minnesota, primarily close to Fergus and the Twin Cities area.

Custom Feet Down Waterfowl goose call

“We take calling very seriously. We’re all hunters and want to see success just as much as the customers.” Connor Lausch 62 Lake & Home Outdoors FALL 2017

“Fergus is renowned for goose hunting. The area sees a lot of birds because it’s part of the Central Flyway and has a warm-water plant which keeps the birds around late in the year.” Connor Lausch

However, people from across the United States have booked Feet Down Waterfowl as their hunting guide. Lausch said he’s had customers from California, Texas, the east coast, and even Alaska. Traveling from Alaska to Minnesota is a long way to hunt geese, so what sets Feet Down Waterfowl apart from other hunting guide services? Lausch credits their genuine passion and experience with hunting waterfowl.

When asked about his favorite memories since opening Feet Down Waterfowl, Lausch said it’s great taking someone out for their first hunt and seeing them get their first bird. One cool memory stands out from the rest. He got to take 90-year old World War II veteran Herman Ratelle out hunting in October of 2013. Ratelle is a decorated veteran who was awarded the purple heart. He was a part of the 14th Armored Tank Division and lost his leg in Germany, 1945.

“We go out of our way to make sure everything is right,” Lausch said. “I’ve been a competition goose caller for many years and work with good goose callers. We take calling very seriously. We’re all hunters and want to see success just as much as the customers.”

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PHEASANTS Another experience Lausch cherishes stems from his time hunting with his buddies in high school. They went out hunting and set up shop on a frozen lake, rather than in a field.

“Otter Tail is one of the capital areas in the state for holding a large amount of Canada geese,” Lausch said. “Generally, we’re always going to have birds here.”

“My buddies and I used to do a lot of hunting over the ice with decoy birds right in close, which made for some fun memories,” Lausch said.

Though the business isn’t moving to different areas, its customer base continues to grow. “We continue to expand through several repeat customers and by word of mouth,” Lausch said.

Due to the prime location of Fergus Falls for waterfowl, the plan is to keep his business around Otter Tail County, rather than expanding to other parts of the state.

Lausch begins after Labor Day weekend for the start of the Minnesota early season and runs until late December. Lausch and company run clients throughout the

Construction of a pit blind

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entire season, but says their best hunts come during the middle of November to the later part of December, after the conclusion of deer hunting season. “Prime time occurs right when deer hunting is over,” Lausch said. “The middle of November is usually the beginning of the big push of the migration.” Though goose hunting in Minnesota does not have a year-round season, Lausch stays busy by working on decoys, and leasing for fields when he’s not at his other job with Minnesota Motor Company.

One of Feet Down Waterfowl’s five different underground, heated pit blinds.

“Prime time occurs right when deer hunting is over. The middle of November is usually the beginning of the big push of the migration.� Connor Lausch
















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L&H Outdoors - Fall 17