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WHITETALES Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

SOIL TESTING BY J. WAYNE FEARS

FIGHTING INVASIVE PLANTS BY BRUCE INGRAM

FORKHORN FUN FACTS POST-SEASON JOBS ALL DEER DIEHARDS DO BY JOSH HONEYCUTT

SPRING 2019


About this

Issue

Pause, Reflect, then Plant As he usually is, MDHA State President Doug Appelgren was right on in his column this issue when he addressed transitions needed in our not only deer hunting world, but the traditional world of hunting and fishing—the consumptive realm. And, once again as per usual, Mr. President not only highlights to “keep the positive in our passion,” he urges that in the “change” we see in our hunting and fishing world, what with not only declining participation in the form of licenses, but the fall of hours put in and monies spent in partaking, we, as stewards of that time-honored heritage, must pause, reflect, then plant the seeds of outdoor wonder in our youth and “not yet” hunters and anglers lest we inevitably face a barren outdoor garden in the not so distant future. When Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in this world,” he might not have been thinking of hunting and fishing, but the message still rings as true to us as an old alarm clock on opening morning. The question is, do we rise to greet the day or sleep in and let the cards fall as they may� Those who care, those dedicated to the MDHA cause, of course, hit the floor running. In fact, we will even do (as we often have) the chores others neglect because we deeply believe in deer and deer hunting. This spring issue delves into the importance of providing essential habitat and food plots for our deer. It also stresses the importance of not only the planting, but the maintaining of these food sources by explaining how we must combat invasives and pests. While some of our articles talk about these as unwanted plants and plant ruining animals, MDHA tackles threats to hunting like hunter apathy and anti-hunting movements. Sure, we have our outstanding Forkhorn Camps, youth activities and banquets to share our hunting passions and generate interest for our youth and new hunters, but other modern distractions are leading to the dreaded dirge of apathy, the sinister song that is music to the ears of antis and antithetical to anyone who loves hunting. When you read this issue and revel in the “planting,” the “harvesting” of deer, the hallowed remembrances of deer country and camps past and the thrill of deer country and camps present and in the future, spotlight words like “optimal, support, living library, successful, fighting and dealing with.” When you do, you will get the gist of how spring is not only a rebirth of the natural world, but how it can be a beginning for young and not yet hunters. For sure, we as hunters want to hunt safely and successfully, but to reap our harvest we must first sow the seeds and before we sow the seeds, we must prepare the soil. There is an old Greek proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” So it is with the MDHA, we are planting the seeds of hunting’s future many of us know our grandchildren and their children will truly enjoy. When you think of life and our hunting heritage, remember what American clergyman James Faust once wrote, “A grateful heart is the beginning of greatness.” Whitetails forever. Rod Dimich, Editor

Whitetales is the official magazine of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to improving Minnesota’s whitetail deer population. The MDHA is exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Whitetales effectively communicates MDHA’s chief purpose “building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.” Articles and photographs portray the beauty, value and importance of whitetail deer while relating to the thrill of hunting the species. If you have a service or a product that appeals to deer hunters and enthusiasts, Whitetales is the best advertising medium available. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is pleased to present a variety of views in Whitetales magazine. The intent is to inform readers and encourage healthy discussion of important wildlife and conservation issues. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the view of Whitetales or MDHA. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers or their identification as members of MDHA does not constitute an endorsement. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association welcomes contributions from readers. All materials: manuscripts, artwork and photography must be electronically sent. Send all material to bri@mndeerhunters.com. Material should be a maximum of 150 words, articles a maximum of 500 – 800 words. If a reprint from a newspaper is submitted, permission must be obtained and an electronic copy must be sent. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.

2 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

WHITETALES MNDEERHUNTERS.COM

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS PRESIDENT Doug Appelgren > dougappelgren@mndeerhunters.com VICE PRESIDENT Gary Thompson > garythompson@mndeerhunters.com SECRETARY Robin Vogen > robinvogen@mndeerhunters.com TREASURER Denece Dreger > denecedreger@mndeerhunters.com AT-LARGE DIRECTOR Denis Quarberg > denisquarberg@mndeerhunters.com REGIONAL DIRECTORS REGION ONE Stu Weston >

REGION EIGHT Dustin Shourds >

REGION TWO Gabrielle Gropp >

REGION NINE OPEN REGION TEN Mark Lueck >

stuweston@mndeerhunters.com

gabe@mndeerhunters.com

REGION THREE Tim Mattson >

timmattson@mndeerhunters.com

REGION FOUR Garth Albers >

garthalbers@mndeerhunters.com

REGION FIVE Peter Lodermeier > lodrmr@gmail.com

REGION SIX Stephen Ranallo >

dustinshourds@mndeerhunters.com

marklueck@mndeerhunters.com

REGION ELEVEN Brent Thompson >

brentthompson@mndeerhunters.com

REGION TWELVE Jim Vogen > robvog21@aol.com

REGION THIRTEEN OPEN

steveranallo@mndeerhunters.com

REGION SEVEN Mark Nohre >

marknohre@mndeerhunters.com

MDHA STAFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Craig Engwall > craig.engwall@mndeerhunters.com EVENT & PUBLICATION COORDINATOR Bri Stacklie > bri@mndeerhunters.com �Independent Contractor

MERCHANDISE / ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Andy Bohlig > andy@mndeerhunters.com CHAPTER COORDINATOR Mercedes Akinseye > mercedes@mndeerhunters.com FINANCE COORDINATOR Renee Thompson > renee@mndeerhunters.com MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Kim Dobberstein > kimd@mndeerhunters.com GRANT COORDINATOR Kim Washburn > kim@mndeerhunters.com EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Leah Braford > leah@mndeerhunters.com

PUBLISHER > Minnesota Deer Hunters Association 460 Peterson Road | Grand Rapids, MN 55744 800.450.DEER (MN) / p: 218.327.1103 / f: 218.327.1349 EDITOR > Rod Dimich LAYOUT, DESIGN & PRINTING > Brainerd Dispatch, A Forum Communications company www.brainerddispatch.com | Brainerd, MN ADVERTISING > Andy Bohlig andy@mndeerhunters.com / 218.327.1103 x 17


Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

Contents

SPRING 2019

SOIL TESTING BY J. WAYNE FEARS

FIGHTING INVASIVE PLANTS BY BRUCE INGRAM

FORKHORN FUN FACTS POST-SEASON JOBS ALL DEER DIEHARDS DO BY JOSH HONEYCUTT

SPRING 2019

ABOUT THE COVER

A whitetail antler shed sits in the water of the spring melt. SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO

Departments

44

IN EVERY ISSUE

From the President’s Stand .... 4 The Outlook................................ 5 Capitol Comments .................... 8

FEATURES

Around the State ..................... 20 Forkhorn Fun Facts................. 26 MDHA Marketplace ................ 28 Deer Hunting Memories ........ 43 What’s Cookin’? ....................... 52

Gizmos, Gadgets, Garments & Gear..................... 53 Hidden Object Contest .......... 54 Daylight in the Swamp ........... 56 IN THIS ISSUE

Optimal pH Levels for Optimal Food Plots ................... 6 Jessica Graham

Support Your Local Gun Shops ................................ 18 Terry T. Clapp

Forkhorn Camps...................... 38

My Third Deer Camp. ............. 40 Ron Carlson

Tips ............................................. 48

10

Soil Testing - The single most important step to a successful food plot

14 30 34 44

Fighting Invasive Plants

By J. Wayne Fears

By Bruce Ingram

Post-Season Jobs all Deer Diehards do By Josh Honeycutt

Out of the Dark By Matt Soberg

Dealing with Food Plot Pests By Bernie Barringer

Rod Dimich

Member Story: Grandfathers and Fathers, An Underutilized Living Library .. 50

MDHA affiliates:

Rick Fowler

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 3


From the President’s Doug Appelgren / MDHA PRESIDENT

TRANSITIONS-FERTILE GROUND

As I write this in January and we transition from 2018 to 2019, it is time to pause and reflect. Generally, as we do this, we can find fertile ground for opportunity or positive change. We as hunters are familiar with transition zones, which include the landscape that moves from prairie/grasslands to the northern boreal forest. It also includes those edges we hunt (woods to meadow or woods to swamp) that are fertile ground for habitat. The “Trophy Shot” photo accompanying this article reflects transition with a picture of MN DNR roundtable hunters (that reflect youth, women and a more diverse population). Fertile ground indeed!  As we entered the New Year, we have new government leaders and agency heads. The Governor-elect, Tim Walz, found time during his first week in office to stop by the DNR Roundtable on Friday 1/11/19 to make some comments supporting conservation issues. The newly appointed DNR Commissioner, Sarah Strommen, opened the event with her introductory remarks and closed the session with hope and new energy. We will also be getting a new Big Game Program Leader as well when Barbara Keller arrives in February. New leadership styles, agendas and energy are all fertile ground for change, growth and opportunity.  The plenary speaker at the DNR Roundtable was Becky Humphries, Chief Executive Officer, National Wild Turkey Federation. She also served on the Steering Committee for the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Becky addressed the future of conservation funding from a national perspective. Yup, the old ways are no longer adequate and, yes, more change is needed. There is fertile ground for adapting

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our ways and energizing different methods. As hunter numbers continue to shrink, our political clout also shrinks, funding becomes less of a priority and the wild places and the wildlife that inhabits them diminishes. During the R-3 session, “Engaging New Audiences in the Outdoors,” we explored the work being done by DNR Outreach staff by Ray Ruiz and others in engaging Latino Communities. Listening, learning about different cultures and respecting the family influence are all hallmarks of progress here. Mark Norquist, GreenHead Strategies/ Modern Carnivore, along with Becca Griffith, a new hunter, then gave a presentation on “Recruiting New Hunters.” All agreed we need to reverse the trend by repositioning our message as to who is hunting and fishing, why we do it and increasing our relevance in today’s society. We need to remove the barriers by respecting diversity, listening and minimizing costs. It is essential we as hunters reclaim a leadership role in conservation as a core value in our culture. We must connect to conservation in all that we do, promote and demonstrate ethics and reach out to at least one person. Wow—lots of fertile ground here.  There remains great potential with “not yet hunters.” The Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model (ORAM) diagrams recruitment as first “awareness,” moving on to “interest” before “trial” actually occurs. This whole model has to “continue with social support.” This is where the need for mentors comes in! During her presentation, Becca Griffith talked about her personal process through this model and how important and critical a mentor was to her. 

In the evening of the DNR Roundtable, the R-3 Council was present as we hosted the session, “Become an Outdoor Mentor: Share your Legacy.” If the DNR advertised its “Learn to Hunt” programs more, they would find it difficult to fulfill the needs of enrollees because they don’t have the capacity to enroll more new hunters due to a lack of adequate mentor numbers. One of the barriers to becoming a mentor is the feeling you have to be an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have many new youth and adult onset hunters wanting to become mentors, which is encouraging. In the spring, the DNR will roll out three different workshops on “How to Become a Mentor.” Consider participating. You all have heard this message before regarding membership—if all of us became mentors and took one brand new hunter afield, we could double the number of licenses sold. Think of that. Transitioning capacity is a large challenge as we take R-3 seriously. This is the fertile ground that gets me excited and as I meet the new folks getting involved, it is truly inspiring. So, how will MDHA respond during all these transitions� It’s always a choice. BUT IN THE FACE OF ALL THE RESEARCH AND THE RAPIDLY DECLINE IN HUNTER NUMBERS, WE MUST. At the end of the day, do we step up to get involved in mentoring and make this next year transforming� What will our legacy be�  Keep the positive in your passion!


Craig Engwall / MDHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

THE TIME TO CONFRONT CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN MINNESOTA IS NOW!

If you haven’t given much thought to Chronic Wasting Disease in the past, it’s time to start paying attention. Since I last wrote about CWD a year ago, it has spread to two additional states and one Canadian province, bringing the total to 26 states and three provinces that have CWD in their captive or wild cervid herds, or both. In Minnesota, additional deer have tested positive for CWD at two captive cervid farms and the number of wild deer in southeast Minnesota testing positive has increased to a total of more than three dozen deer. There is little doubt CWD poses the greatest single threat to North America’s deer herd and deer hunting. Yet, there is a small, but vocal, group in the deer hunting community that makes the dangerous argument CWD actually poses little threat to the nation’s deer herd. This faction is generally represented through the views expressed by Dr. James Kroll, known as “Dr. Deer.” Kroll spends a great deal of time criticizing those state and federal game managers and scientists who argue states and hunters need to take early, aggressive action to investigate CWD, limit deer movement and test for the disease. Kroll also was hired by the American Cervid Alliance (the umbrella group for state captive cervid associations) to prepare a paper “giving the reader a clear view of what is known and not known about the disease in contrast to what some are merely theorizing about CWD by using non-scientific opinions, theories and beliefs to further a biased agenda.”  Before discussing Dr. Kroll’s theories and work, it’s important to recognize that MDHA, through its membership at the MDHA annual corporate board meeting, has expressed a strong desire to support

an aggressive approach to dealing with the presence and threat of CWD. This aggressive approach, taken by Minnesota and a number of other states, is reflected by the comments of a Texas state veterinarian following the recent detection of CWD in Texas whitetailed and mule deer: “Case studies in other states which are dealing with CWD reaffirm that doing nothing is plainly not an option,” said Dr. Bob Dittmar, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department veterinarian. “The outlook in those states where little or no action was taken does not look good. In contrast, Texas has committed to a more proactive approach that moves quickly to control the disease where discovered by limiting the movement of deer exposed to infected deer and by reducing or eliminating deer where the disease is proven to exist. Texas also establishes containment and surveillance zones where post mortem testing is mandated. We believe working with landowners and hunters to implement all reasonable measures to address this disease head on is the most important factor to our success thus far. Those in CWD areas can assist by providing samples to the department and harvesting deer to keep densities down.”  Back to Dr. Kroll. He was hired by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2011 to oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of the state’s fight against CWD. Under his leadership, Wisconsin gave up on fighting the areas hardest hit by CWD and in general took a passive approach to fighting CWD. The results of what has happened in Wisconsin with respect to CWD are disturbing and Minnesota must

do everything possible to avoid such an outcome. Let’s look at the numbers. As a point of reference, Minnesota has had more than three dozen wild deer test positive for CWD in four counties. Minnesota also has 398 captive cervid farms, of which eight have tested positive for CWD. Now consider the following numbers and facts from Wisconsin, which has 380 captive cervid farms: • There have been 300 CWD-positive tests at 24 deer farms.  • There are nine CWD-positive deer facilities still in business.  • Wisconsin now has more CWD-positive deer farms in operation than any other state.  • One cervid farm that is still in business has had 84 cases of CWD.  • There are 55 CWD-affected counties in Wisconsin.  • Wisconsin hunters have harvested more than 4,400 CWD-positive deer since 2002.  These numbers should serve as a gigantic wakeup call to those who care about the wild deer herd in Minnesota. Minnesota can’t sit idly by and let the same thing happen here. Far too much is at stake for our traditions and our local economy. MDHA will actively support aggressive actions by the MN DNR and the Legislature to protect Minnesota’s wild deer herd so future generations can enjoy the same traditions we have for decades. Please stay abreast of these issues through MDHA’s Legislative Bulletin so you can urge your legislators to support MDHA’s position on CWD and all issues that are vitally important to Minnesota’s deer hunters.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 5


A doe feeding in a food plot of purple top turnips and white radishes.

Optimal pH Levels for Optimal Food Plots BY JESSICA GRAHAM When I was 16 years old, my dad put a bow stand just north of the corn field on our farm. Once there the plan was to position myself between the deer coming out of the cedar bedding area and their food. It worked! A buck came down the path. When he was broadside at 20 yards, I drew my 40 lb. bow back and placed my top pin behind his front leg. I squeezed the release trigger and 70 yards later I had my first harvest with a bow. The use of the corn field as an attractant was my first experience in using agricultural activities to attract deer. Shortly after, my dad

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and I started planting food plots designed specifically for the deer. As an avid hunter, I have combined my passion for hunting with my farm background and agricultural knowledge. The results have been thriving food plots in all types of soil.

Why Soil Test? One of the most common pieces of advice regarding food plots is, “Get a soil test.” But why� Soil tests will reveal the pH of the soil. It is important to know the pH of the soil because pH affects nutrient availability. You

can actually have a fertile piece of ground, but the plants cannot take up the essential nutrients because the pH is rendering nutrients unavailable. pH is measured on a scale of 0-14. “Zero” is the most acidic reading, “7” is neutral and “14” is very alkaline. The pH scale is built on logarithms. Hence, a pH of 4 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 5. A pH of 4 is also 100 times more acidic than a pH of 6. Some plants need a specific range of pH to thrive. This includes plants commonly used in food plots.


Soil Testing Generally, there are a couple of different options for soil testing. You can most likely visit your local co-op or grain elevator and see if you can hire someone to do a soil sample for you. They will send off the soil sample, and then share the results with you. A third-party soil sample will cost roughly $10-$15 per sample submitted. Take one sample for every 3-5 acres of food plot.

Soil preparation of a seed bed for planting. You can also soil sample your area yourself. You will need some soil sample bags, a bucket and a soil probe. Use the soil probe to get a 6-inch core sample of the soil. Take 5-10 core samples per area (3-5 acres), mix the soil in a bucket and then place the soil in a sample bag. These samples will fill one sample bag. It’s best to mark on a map the locations corresponding with each soil sample bag and label the bag accordingly. This way you can see the variation across your locations and adjust the pH according to each food plot.

Return on Investment When you have the results of your soil sample back, talk with an agronomist or your county extension agent for recommendations specific to your food plot. Someone at your local grain elevator or co-op should be able to assist with nutrient recommendations and will help you get your pH in the correct range. Do not be afraid to ask them for more information regarding their recommendations. Optimum pH levels will assist in ensuring your hard work, preparation and planting will not be wasted. Sometimes calcium carbonate (CO3), a form of lime, can be found at your local farm store in bags. Applying bags of lime might be a good fit for a small food plot to raise the pH and decrease the acidity of the soil. Food plots can be expensive and labor intensive. Somehow, it usually ends up being incredibly hot when I go and seed a food plot. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to devote time and energy to food

A field of brasicas after pH establishment. plots, I want them done correctly. I want the money I invest in lime and fertilizer to yield a lush palatable field that is attractive to wildlife. pH controls nutrient availability to plants. This will limit the potential of your food plot and limit the number of deer you can support. You can have an abundance of nutrients, but they may not be available if the pH is not optimal. You should determine your goal. Do you want to be able to hold and feed the maximum amount of deer/ turkey� If so, try to achieve optimal pH levels. Below are ideal pH ranges for specified crops. This is for top production; the listed crop may be able to grow in pH levels outside the range. However, maximum production, and in some cases palatability, will not be

reached. Achieving the correct pH will be the first step in improving and maintaining a thriving food plot.

Crop

Optimal pH

Alfalfa

6.5-7.5

Brassicas

6.5-7.5

Clover

6.2-7.5

Corn

6.0-7.0

Oats/Rye

5.5-6.0

Soybeans

6.2-7.0

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 7


CAPITOL COMMENTS

The 2019 Minnesota Legislature convened on January 8, 2019. Democrats began the 2019 legislative session in control of two of the three branches of the lawmaking apparatus at the Capitol. The session began with new governor, Tim Walz, being the first Democrat in Minnesota history to succeed a two term Democrat. Unlike the last session when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, Democrats took charge of the House for the first time in four years and now hold a 75-59 seat advantage. In the Senate, Republicans appreciate a 34-32 advantage pending the outcome of a special election in District 11 on February 5.  At the top of the Legislature’s to-do list this session is passing a two-year budget deal by summer and prioritizing a projected $1.5 billion surplus. Additionally, legislative leaders and legislators will be focusing on sizable items such as federal tax conformity and additional tax policy initiatives, transportation, health care, education, and bonding. Multiple holdover issues from the past few years that didn’t pass the legislature will also be back on the table for consideration.  Although every session begins with legislative leaders talking of cooperation and opportunities for major bipartisan accomplishments, it inevitably seems to encounter a bumpy road to adjournment. As this session begins, Governor Walz and the DFL controlled House will face opposition from the other side of the aisle on issues like the state budget, transportation funding, health care, gun control and recreational marijuana, which may turn into heated battles in the coming months. Time will tell if both sides can compromise on these and other issues before the session expires in late May.  While the governor, legislative leaders and

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legislators will be focusing on their legislative priorities, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) will be actively engaged on several different fronts. The following is a partial, not comprehensive, list of some of those initiatives:

Chronic Wasting Disease

MDHA has grave concerns regarding the detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the wild herd and continues to support aggressive efforts to contain and eradicate this devasting disease. We will continue to push for additional funding of CWD related initiatives, rules banning the interstate and intrastate transportation of captive deer, requiring double fencing around deer farms, additional DNR efforts and other possible regulation to protect wild deer from potentially CWD infected deer farms. In addition, MDHA will also continue to support federal efforts requesting federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Interior to address the disease.

Deer License Fee Increase

In 2018 the DNR increased the annual resident deer hunting license fee from $30 to $34. The last time Minnesota raised these user fees was in 2013. Per the DNR, the proposed increases are needed to keep the state’s Game and Fish Fund and other dedicated accounts that provide 83 percent of the agency's budget from going into the red in the next few years. MDHA members believe a more rigid expense structure for deer license money would remove any doubts that hunters and deer get the management they deserve. Last session, MDHA support of the DNR’s proposed license increase was contingent on DNR’s commitment that $16, rather than the current $2, would be directed to the deer

BY CORY BENNETT, MDHA LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT

management account. In addition, deer license fees would continue to contribute $1 to the deer and bear management account and 50 cents to the emergency deer feeding/ deer health account. The wolf management account would be eliminated and the general Game and Fish Fund would get $16.50. Legislation will be put forward during the 2019 Legislative Session to reflect this agreement.

Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council will again appropriate over $100 million towards 38 habitat projects throughout the state that will have proposed funding recommendations put forth during the 2019 legislature. The council makes annual funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on money from the Outdoor Heritage Council which is funded by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. 

Wolf Management

Because the U.S. Congress has failed to pass a bill, wolves in the Great Lakes Region will remain under Federal Endangered Species Act protections as ordered by a federal judge a few years ago. However, bills are being heard that will once again grant the State of Minnesota the responsibility to manage the state’s wolf population. MDHA continues to work with our federal delegation and others at the federal level to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered List. We also maintain support of Minnesota’s continued hunting and trapping of wolves as part of Minnesota’s overall wolf management program. The constitutional deadline for adjournment of the 2019 Legislative Session is May 20th, 2019.


SOIL TESTING The single most important step to a successful food plot BY J. WAYNE FEARS

Tools needed to take a soil test are a garden trowel, bucket and soil test box or bag in which to send the soil test to the lab.

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I am sure many you who are involved in the food plot phenomenon have either voiced or heard the following laments, “Why are the food plots I plant pale yellow and not green like the ones on the property across the road? I have the same dark soil as my neighbor.” Or, “My neighbor kills more and better deer than I do. What is the problem�” These are some of the most frequent questions and complains I get from many food plot planters. My first question in response is, “Did you do a soil test to determine if you needed to lime the plot and determine the analysis and amount of fertilizer you need to apply to the plot�” More often than not they answer with, “What is a soil test�” Then they tell me when they planted their food plots they went to Lowe’s and bought a few sacks of the least expensive fertilizer and scattered some on each plot. Sometimes I am told they saved money and didn’t fertilize the plot at all because the dark soil looked fertile. Finally, they ask, “Why apply lime�” This is not only the wrong answer it is the reason many food plots fail to produce a healthy crop that will attract deer. Knowing the pH and nutrient content of your soil is the first step of a successful food plot. Food plots are grown on a wide variety of soil types, often on the same property, and fertilizer requirements can vary greatly from one plot to another depending on the chemistry of the soil. Some nutrients, such as nitrogen, can be over-applied resulting in imbalances in the soil and harmful effects on the environment. Some current fertilizers no longer contain phosphorus because it binds with the soil and years of needless applications have virtually eliminated the need to apply phosphorus to a food plot again. A soil test will give you the correct recommendations on each food plot based on the chemistry of that plot.

is alkaline. Most deer forage crops grow best at pH values between 5.8 and 6.5. Adjusting soil pH with lime within this range maximizes growth and increases yield, fertilizer efficiency, palatability of crops and herbicide effectiveness. When a soil pH becomes too low for nutrients to be released for the food plot plants, it is necessary to apply lime to raise the pH to the desired level. Soils with a low pH are much more common than soils with a pH that is too high. The best method to determine the pH of a soil is to get a soil test of a sample of soil from each food plot. The laboratory analysis of this soil sample will tell you how much lime, if any, needs to be applied to the food plot. Equally important, it will tell you how much of what analysis fertilizer to apply to the food plot for the specific crop you intend to plant needs. Lime should be applied about four months before the crop is planted. Lime is not water soluble and should be incorporated into the soil. Soil test should be done about every three years for food plots growing perennials and every two years for annuals. The recommended fertilizer should be applied when you are ready to plant the crop.

Lime Cost Reasonable In most areas where lime is required, a food plot may need 1 to 3 tons of lime per acre every other year, based on soil test results. Bulk lime may be purchased from many farm supply stores, delivered to the site and spread on the food plot with a spreader truck for a range of $15 to $50 per ton, depending upon how near lime quarries are located to the store. One of the first questions I often get, when a food plot owner realizes he needs to lime

Each soil sample should consist of a sliver of dirt about one-inch thick and about threeinches deep. It takes 20 samples, mixed and dried, from a food plot to get a good sample to send to a soils lab. his plots, is, “Can I go to the garden supply store and just buy lime in 40 pound bags�” The short answer is “yes” but what if your soil test results called for 2 tons of lime per acre. That would be 100 bags of pelletized bagged lime to buy at about $3.50 per bag or $350 per acre, load the bags on a truck, haul them to the food plot, unload it and spread it. A lot of work! If you can get it in bulk, you will be ahead of the game

Knowing the pH of a Food Plot is the First Key Getting the pH correct on each food plot is vital to having a successful crop that will attract deer. The need for lime and, if so, how much, is determined with a soil test that measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil solution. This numerical measurement is called the pH of soil. The pH range of a soil solution indicates whether it is acid, neutral or alkaline. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, while a soil pH below 7.0 such as 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5 is acid or above this measurement, such as 7.5, 8.0, 8.5 and 9.0

This simple illustration shows the pattern to walk and take soil samples in a food plot.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 11


and the spreader truck or tractor/ATV pulled spreader will do a much better job of spreading lime evenly.

How to Take a Soil Sample Correct collection of soil samples is extremely important. .The results of this test will tell you how to fertilize and lime the ground for proper balance of nutrients and optimum soil pH level. Time and money are saved when you apply only the amount of fertilizer needed. Over fertilization may cause harm to plant materials and waste your or your hunting club’s money. Here is how to take a soil sample: • Go to your local county agent’s office (Cooperative Extension Service) and get a soil test kit. There is a Cooperative Extension Service office in most county seats. The kit will consist of soil sample bags or boxes (get one for each food plot you have), information sheets and shipping box. Do-it-yourself soil test kits may be purchased from garden supply stores also. • Get the tools you will need to take the samples – a clean bucket and a clean garden trowel, spade or soil probe. • Following the information given in the soil test kit directions, go to 20 or more sites in each food plot to take small samples. One pint of soil is needed for analysis on each food plot. • At each sample site in the food plot, scrape off any plant material from the soil surface. Push the trowel into the soil 3-4 inches deep. • Discard the soil and cut an inch slice from the back of the hole. Place a slice in the bucket. Do this at each sample site. • When all the samples in the food plot are collected, thoroughly mix the slices. Air dry the samples overnight on a flat surface lined with clean white paper. Pour the sample into the sample bag or box. • Fill out the bag or box with the asked for information. Be sure to give each food plot an identification number, or name, and keep a record so the recommendation you receive from the soil lab can be associated with the specific food plot from which the sample came. • Send bag to the state-testing lab listed in the kit instructions. A small fee is usually charged, around $10, for each sample. Also, some large farm supply stores provide free soil tests to their customers.

12 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Most soil test kits include a box to put each food plot soil sample in and a place to fill out information on the sample. A food plot, such as this one, that has been limed and fertilized following instructions given on a soil test lab report will offer deer a maximum of tasty and nutritious food. Deer will seek it out� • Your soil test results provide lime (pH), nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) recommendations for each of your food plots based on the crop you intend to plant. Follow the recommendations given on each food plot to the letter. If you have any questions about soil testing, ask your county

Cooperative Extension Service agent. The service is free and it can help you have outstanding food plots. Deer know the difference between a cheap hamburger and prime steak. The food plot planted following the recommendations of a current soil test falls into the prime steak category.

In remote locations an ATV can be used to spread lime and fertilizer at the soil test recommended rate.


FIGHTING INVASIVE PLANTS BY BRUCE INGRAM

I’ve always thought that I was a good steward of the 38-acres my wife Elaine and I live on and where I’ve often deer hunted since we bought the property in 1988. That is until one day five years or so ago when a friend and I were discussing possible tree stand sites. “Wow,” he said, “you sure have a lot of invasive plants on your place.” 14 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


I immediately disputed his claim, but my defense quickly fell apart as he pointed out the multi-flora rose growing along a seeded logging road, garlic mustard thriving in a hollow, the Russian olive choking out native plants at the edge of a food plot and, absolutely the most humiliating of all, the Japanese barberry I had purchased to plant in our front yard. An immense array of invasive plant species plague Minnesota land managers and deer hunters. Laura Van Riper, Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator for the Minnesota DNR, reveals some of the worst ones. “Buckthorn is one that many deer hunters talk about and it is very invasive in Minnesota,” she says. “It’s a small European tree that forms a dense understory and shades out many native species that are deer foods. One of the best ways to eliminate buckthorn is to spray an oil-based triclopyr ester herbicide around the tree’s base up to a foot. The oil in the spray helps it penetrate into the bark and get into the tree itself. “People can also cut the buckthorn and apply an herbicide to the cut stump. Herbicides that are effective on cut stumps include glyphosate based herbicides and triclopyr ester and triclopyr amine herbicides. If buckthorn isn’t treated with an herbicide, it will re-sprout and you will have more stems to deal with.” Buckthorn is a shrubby tree native to Eurasia and features black pea-sized berries and twigs with small spines. Van Riper says another harmful invasive is the multiflora rose, which is more common in southern Minnesota and has issues similar to that of buckthorn. This thorny shrub (which comes from East Asia and looks much like a cultivated rose with its leaves, arching and/or drooping stems, and rose hips) likewise can form dense thickets where native plants can’t do well. The biggest problems I’ve had with multiflora rose is this invasive often seems to spring up around fruit trees I’ve planted to draw whitetails. This rose family member also has come up at the edge of food plots and seeded logging roads. If multiflora rose becomes established, it can quickly take over large swaths of food plots and orchards. Be careful when you try to remove this invasive plant. This rose flaunts exceptionally sharp, stout, curved thorns that can penetrate deeply if you brush up against them. Van Riper lists the aforementioned Japanese barberry as yet another threat to state flora and fauna. With its small rounded leaves, spines and shrub-like appearance

(bushes are six-feet or under in height), barberry is fairly easy to identify. Bright red, egg-shaped berries appear in light summer and cling to branches until well in the winter. One land manager I know likes to conduct prescribed burns in areas with Japanese barberries. Another manager says to merely wait until after a significant rain event, then pull up the plants. They do come up fairly easily after precipitation. Also worthy of mention is there seems to be a link between Japanese barberry and increased populations of black-legged ticks (which cause Lyme Disease) especially when the plant grows in woodlands. Another member of our rogue’s gallery is garlic mustard. A native of Europe, garlic mustard has the lethal – and troubling – habit of sending forth chemicals that discourage butterflies from landing on it and plants from growing near its roots. Interestingly, garlic mustard was brought here as a menu item, as many people feel it takes like horseradish. Nevertheless, whitetails and many other wildlife species avoid it.

Garlic mustard is a major invasive plant in Minnesota. Fortunately, it can usually be easily pulled up. Garlic mustard features kidney shaped, scalloped leaves, a garlic smell and tiny white flowers with four petals. I never spray this plant as it is shallow rooted and very easy to pull up except during the driest of conditions. Interestingly, garlic mustard often does well in areas where deer numbers are highest. Since deer won’t browse this plant, it often overtakes large expanses of forests. One of Elaine’s and my favorite summer activities is to gather wild native berries. One of our mountain properties hosts numerous species of wild berries, so perhaps you can appreciate our anguish when last June while we were visiting a favorite patch, we found bush honeysuckle (native to Asia) thriving there. Several invasive honeysuckle species dwell in the Midwest and all can negatively impact native plants, outcompeting them for

Bush honeysuckle is one of the worst plants for Minnesota land managers to deal with. sunlight and nourishment from soil. Bush honeysuckle leaves are rounded and oblong and arranged opposite of each other. The flowers are tubular and produce nectar that attracts insects and butterflies. Honeysuckle leaves are frequently browsed by deer and the plants do form thick cover. Nevertheless, their habitat of crowding out other plants makes them a negative in any woodlot or food plot. There are native bush honeysuckles in the Midwest. So, make sure to identify your plant as one of the nonnative types before doing any control. One trick is non-native bush honeysuckles have hollow stems while the native ones have white pith in theirs. If you’ve ever walked through your yard and stepped on bull thistle, as I have, you already know about this invasive’s prickly leaves which can inflict considerable pain. This stalky Eurasian invasive can grow a yard or more tall and is adorned with purplish pink flowers. At this height, the bull thistle bristles with sharp spines. Don’t try to pull up this invasive even if you’re wearing gloves. Newly sprung plants can be dug up, but make sure you remove all of the tap root. For larger plants, spray with a chemical that has glyphosate as the ingredient. For more information on the state’s invasive plants, go to the MN DNR’s webpage on this topic: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ invasives/terrestrialplants/index.html

During the warm weather period, walk your land with a chainsaw, loppers, and/or spray bottle in hand. Be on the look-out for invasive trees or shrubs and be ready to do battle.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 15


Links Between Japanese Barberry and Lyme Disease One of the most upsetting things Van Riper told me is there are studies about a potential link between Japanese barberry in woodlands and increased ticks. As someone who has endured Lyme Disease, I found this very alarming. More information can be found at these websites. Many plants can be controlled by spraying a chemical with glyphosate.

Battling Invasive Plants

Van Riper encourages Minnesota deer hunters to help manage invasive plants. “There are lots of ways deer hunters can help,” she says. “They can follow the advice of PlayCleanGo.org: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks.” The website’s advice is to do the following: Remove plants, animals and mud from boots, gear, pets and vehicles. Clean your gear before entering and leaving the recreation site. Stay on designated roads and trails. Use certified or local firewood and hay. Van Riper also encourages land managers to plant non-invasive plants and manage invasive plants on their properties. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts can often provide advice as does the DNR. There are regional level sources of information as well, such as the Midwest Invasive Plant Networks landscape alternatives to invasive plants brochure and app. For more information: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/gardens/ nativeplants/suppliers.html. Van Riper concludes people can also be on the lookout for invasive plants and report them through the EDDMaps’ website https://www.eddmaps.org/midwest/ and its associated app called the Great Lakes Early Detection Network: https://apps.bugwood. org/apps/gledn/. These pages all have links to additional resources.  In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is the regulatory lead on terrestrial invasive plants through their noxious weed law (http://www. mda.state.mn.us/plants-insects/noxiousand-invasive-weed-program). The DNR pages also link to the MDHA.

16 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Chemical Control for Invasive Plants

Van Riper says most woody invasive plants are killed in methods similar to buckthorn. “Remind people,” she emphasizes, “to always follow the label on an herbicide; the label is the law. Use care and follow safety instructions.” To control invasive plants, I have two basic game plans. For a woody shrubs such as Russian olive, I use the cut and spray management technique. I take loppers (or if the shrub is especially wide in circumference, a chainsaw or hand saw) and cut the plant as close to the ground as I can. Then I use a handheld spray bottle filled with a triclopyrbased product to fully coat the stump. If there are nearby native plants, I take especial care not to have spray carry over to them. For invasive plants such as bull thistle or Canada thistle, I fully coat them with a spray that has glyphosate. After several weeks, I return to the site and check to ascertain if the plants are dead or if they have sprung up from the roots. Many invasive plants have especially long tap roots, so a return visit is often necessary. Battling invasive plants is now something I do spring through fall on my land. Sometimes I think I am about to win or have won my battle against some species of flora such as the time I declared to Elaine I thought I had killed all the Russian olive on our place, only to find later that week a very healthy shrub right next to our mailbox. Out came the loppers and the spray bottle. Please consider waging campaigns against the invasive plants on land you own or lease. For those folks who hunt on land other people own, ask them if you can remove invasive plants. I’m very sure their answer will be yes.

https://blogs.scientificamerican. com/guest-blog/barberry-bambiand-bugs-the-link-betweenjapanese-barberry-and-lymedisease/ https://www.pennlive.com/ wildaboutpa/2018/07/tickharboring_japanese_barber.html https://entomologytoday. org/2017/10/04/the-5-year-planmanage-japanese-barberry-to-keeptick-levels-low-reduce-lyme-risk/

Japanese barberry is one of the worst invasive plants in this part of the country.


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Support Your Local

Gun Shop:

Last Bastions of Freedom BY TERRY T. CLAPP

18 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


Ambiance is a word not often associated with hunting or gun shops. But, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s forever changed the gun shop landscape in a most delightful way. These gun shops are opulent and the epitome of one end of the gun shop continuum. These wonderful gun shops provide the hunter and outdoorsmen a taste of about everything. They are informal ensigns of hunting, fishing, and Second Amendment Rights. Still these bigger than life gun shops have one drawback, there is not one in every town. In filling a void in the gun marketplace, enter the local mom-and-pop gun shop. Here you can purchase a gun and ammo while friendly voices of freedom and conservation are heard. These gun shops come in a great variety of sizes and locations. Some have normal storefront street locations while others may be found as part of a pawn shop or other business. Some are located out of town in rural areas attached to a residence or as a free standing garage or other structure set off apart from the residence. Diversity in local gun shops makes visiting them a fun adventure. I tip my hat to all the gun shop owners of America. These are hard working folks who aren’t getting rich on our dime. They are the small players in mainly the lower tier of a very competitive gun marketplace. They compete against the largest gun dealers in America. This fact coupled with the controversy over gun ownership and possession is compounded by the burden of ever increasing amounts of paperwork regulation by the government. These are just a few of the major issues that make it difficult for the local gun shop to survive. These little shops need our support. And we need these little shops. These little shops scattered across America are community strongholds for support of The Constitution and of course The Second Amendment. Citizens’ Rights to Own and Bear Arms are epitomized in the small local All-American Gun Shop. Our constitutional freedoms, being the genesis for American "Exceptionalism," must be protected. Among the many bastions of freedom standing in the most direct line of fire from those who would destroy these freedoms is the little American Gun Shop. Patrons of the gun shop face political entities armed with a wealth of resources bent on pushing their agenda of negativism on all Americans. These are places where patrons of the gun meet to discuss firearms issues, buy firearms and related items. But beyond that, the people who gather at the little shops express feelings about hunting and wildlife

concerns. One such discussion I was part of involved the feral hog. Some hunters at the gun shop thought it was a good idea to hunt down the feral hogs and kill all of them. One of the farmer hunters thought that was the way to go too. Another landowner said The Conservation Commission recommended the capture of the wild hogs and was opposed to hunting them as it just dispersed the wild hogs even more. The discussions at least brought up ideas that some of us had not considered. If you have an opinion to share on a vanishing caliber or any community or family issue you might be impressed to share one or more of them in the ongoing discussions happening at any time in a small local gun shop. Little gun shops provide a friendly open platform for these types of discussions. The patron gun owners as well as the gun shop owners’ role in support of conservation in wildlife management as well as habitat is a given. I’m guessing sales in these local little shops generate more money for conservation and wildlife efforts than they do income for the gun shop owner. Pictures of Smokey Acres Trading Company illustrate the epitome of a small gun shop experience. It is everything that a tactical type gun shop is not. As close to tactical as it gets are a few ARs on the shelf. Incredible might not be the best word to describe it, but unique would be right there high on the list of descriptors. I’m firmly convinced it’s the happiest little gun shop anywhere. The open flow between the various rooms in the Smokey Acres Trading Company little gun shop creates a warm feeling since there are no walls separating the rooms. Vintage posters and quotes are an interesting part of the flowing decor. Ceiling trusses run though the shop appearing here and there. Dangling form the trusses are belts of 30 caliber ammo reminding me of WWII movies. The fine gun room is down home with as good of a selection of Ruger 10-.22s that you might find anywhere. You will have to look hard or ask if anything is priced over $1,000.00. That’s the nature of the shop. Folks that are attracted to this shop may only own a squirrel or deer rifle and a turkey shotgun. While another group of patrons may own many more guns than are on the shelves of the shop at anytime. It’s just that user

friendly, so all regardless of station all are beckoned to return often. At Smokey Acres it isn’t about selection of guns available it’s about all the intangibles, that sweet spirit that says you all come back anytime! The shop has a stone fireplace where an ageless John Wayne stands by to greet anyone who wants to pull up a chair. I’m sure The Duke would approve of the great gun talk that takes place around the fireplace. Visitors can sit down, relax, have a soda (still only .50 cents a can) or enjoy a hot dog and read some of the latest literature from the NRA. Browsing worlds of shooting literature while discovering local news with specifics about areas for hunting or fishing is ongoing. From the fireplace, you can enjoy the black bear and a bobcat that have found a resting place there among good friends. These are only two of the many of the mounts that are a part of the Smokey Acres experience. Throughout the shop there are white-tailed deer, bobcats, beaver, turtles, pheasants, coyotes, posters and famous quotes that are noteworthy, a collection of the owners’ old plumb bobs dangle from the trusses too. Several hides of wildlife are seen in the shop. You may come to your local gun shop to buy, sell or trade guns. You may want to see what the fair market value of your weapon may be. You may want to pick up some ammo. Service is the keystone of the local gun shop. This type of gun shop is very hard to find, but still like most of the locally owned gun shops, a visit is worth the effort. Most have a warm fuzzy personality all their own. Here all visitors find honesty and fairness are benchmark givens. Homespun local hospitality at its best with guns thrown in. When you leave you will ask yourself, “Does it get any better than that�” These memorable gun shops are great. This is what has always made America great. The momand-pop gun shop experience is one of free enterprise, conservation of natural resources, and most of all freedom.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 19


AROUND THE State Minnesota Deer Hunters Association

REGIONAL BOUNDARY AND CHAPTER LOCATION MAP

Region 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6

Chapter Min-Dak Border Roseau River North Red River Thief River Falls Riceland Whitetails Bemidji Area Itasca County Hibbing/Chisholm Woodland Trails End Carlton County Sturgeon River Arrowhead Wilderness Lake Superior Chapter Lake Vermilion Chapter Smokey Hills Fergus Falls Clay Wilkin Park Rapids East Ottertail Wadena Brainerd Cuyuna Range Whitetails Morrison County Lakes and Pines Bluewater Wahoo Valley Isanti County Wild River Rum River North Suburban

Chapter Code MDB RRC NRR TRF RCL BMJ ITS HCC WLC TEC CCC STR AHC WLDN LSC LVC SMH FFL CWC PKR EOC WDN BRD CRW MCC LPC BLW WAH ICC WLD RMR NSC

Region 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 13 13

Chapter Alexandria Chippewa Valley Sauk River Phantom Buck Pomme De Terre Crow River Two Rivers Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Central Minnesota Sherburne County Swampbucks Wright County/ West Metro Whitetails East Central Minnesota Minnesota River Valley Blue Earth River Valley Sunrisers Bend of the River Sioux Trails Deer Hunters Des Moines Valley Jim Jordan McGregor Area Quad Rivers Snake River Southern Gateway Southeast Minnesota Bluff Country South Central Minnesota South Metro Capitol Sportsmen’s St. Croix Valley

Chapter Code ALX CVC SRP PDT CRC TRC TCR CMC SCS WCWMW ECM MRV BEC SNR BOR STD DMV JJC MCG QRC SRC SGC SEM BLF SCC SMC CSC SCV

Calendar of EVENTS

MARCH DATE

16

What? No chapter in your area?

MDHA is always interested in forming new chapters. If you live in an area without a chapter and would like more information on forming one, please call 800.450.DEER.

23 30 APRIL

EVENT

Rum River Chapter Banquet at the Courtyards of Andover Event Center. Contact Ron Schleif at 763.753.5254. MN River Valley Chapter Banquet at Valley Ridges at Sand Creek. Contact Dale Tribby at 612.723.6057. Sherburne County Swampbucks Chapter Banquet at Friendly Buffalo/Marketplace Banquet Center. Contact Larry at 612.486.9836.

DATE

EVENT

DATE

EVENT

DATE

EVENT

1

Thief River Falls Chapter Banquet at the Eagles Club. Contact Al Newton at 218.681.1237. 6 Cuyuna Range Whitetails Chapter Banquet at the Hallett Community Center. Contact Grant Gibson at 218.820.3142. 6 Crow River Chapter Banquet at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. Contact Eugene Putzier at 651.247.3936. 6 Bluewater Chapter Banquet at Breezy Point Resort. Contact Brian Evenson at 218.851.4156. 6 St. Croix Valley Chapter Banquet at the Heights Hall & Club. Contact Mark Scioli at 651.703.2404. 27 Smokey Hills Chapter Banquet at the Frazee Event Center. Contact Lowell Bradbury at 218.342.2957. 27 Jim Jordan Chapter Banquet at Grand Casino Hinckley. Contact Scott Peterson at 320.372.0300. SEPTEMBER 21 East Central Chapter Banquet at Jack & Jill’s. Contact Felix Ramola at 763.262.7395. OCTOBER 2

20 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Hibbing Chisholm Chapter Banquet

Did you know... when spring deer shed their heavy winter coat it is replaced with a thinner red coat for summer�


DES MOINES VALLEY CHAPTER AND KILEN WOODS STATE PARK YOUTH HUNT 2018

This is the 4th year that the chapter and the Park have completed a very successful hunting opportunity for six youth. This year there were four deer taken, one on Saturday and three on Sunday. Sightings were slow on Saturday. The day was bright and temperatures were mild in 60s. This was not active weather for those deer with a winter coat on. Sunday had some change as the wind increased and temperatures were lower. The one deer taken on Saturday was late in the afternoon. It was a nice female fawn. Sunday morning had many things change. Kylee Johnson and Gavin Crissler scored early with each taking a nice buck. At lunch there were many stories of sightings, but no other shots fired. Aidan had commented that he saw 2 but all were out of range. Excitement was bouncing from each hunter with the anticipation of getting back into the blind for the afternoon hunt. Aidan was able to take aim on a nice mature doe. Bryson saw several doe and a buck but was not able to get a clear shot. Timmy did not have an opportunity on Sunday. He did have a buck playing peak-aboo on Saturday morning and again in the afternoon. All of the participants were very thankful for the chance to participate in the event and thanked the chapter as well as the state for the chance to use the park in a very special way.

TRAILS END CHAPTER DONATES TO CONSERVATION OFFICERS AT THE INTERNATIONAL FALLS FIREARM SAFETY DAY

The pictured IHEA gun sets were donated to area Conservation Officers Darin Kittelson and John Slatinski at the annual Trails End’s Fall Gathering for the International Falls Firearm Safety Field Day Training. The sets cost $1750 a set. Tom Worth and Henry Carey presented them to the COs. Tom has been a firearm instructor for over 45 years and Henry over 35 yrs. Congratulations to the always active Trails End Chapter and the very dedicated Tom Worth and Henry Carey for their exceptional efforts to help our youth�

NORTHERN COMMUNITY RADIO KAXE 91.7 GRAND RAPIDS 89.9 BRAINERD 103.9 ELY KBXE 90.5 BAGLEY/BEMIDJI

A mix of NPR news, regional arts, culture & public affairs programs, and a great variety of music

Authentic Local Radio Left to right; Jaydan Peterson, Windom; Gavin Crissler, Hopkins; Timmy Zuehlke, Okabena; Aidan Wendinger, New Ulm; Bryson Powers, Jackson; Kylee Johnson, Windom. Did you know... when fawns are born, the bucks are nowhere around�

comments@kaxe.org (800)662-5799 | kaxe.org

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 21


AROUND THE State

THE 2018 GOVERNOR'S DEER OPENER CELEBRATED HUNTING & HABITAT Next year's event will be in Fergus Falls! BY MARK HERWIG

The long line of radio stations broadcasting live from the 2018 MDHA Governor's Deer Opener in Hinckley, Minn. was humming on Deer Opener Eve. “Deer hunting is huge in northeast Minnesota,” said Craig Holgate, of WTBX FM Radio in Hibbing. “This is what people want to hear about this time of year, deer hunting. People are blaze orange crazy!” Holgate was one of 26 media representatives getting the word out about the opener at the 16th annual Governor's Deer Opener November 2nd at Grand Casino. The gathering, attended by over 300 MDHA members and supporters, was sponsored by the Jim Jordan Chapter, MDHA's largest chapter with over 800 members. The event is unique to the nation. “The best part of the Governor's Opener is always the general excitement of people coming together to share their passion for what we love to do so much—deer hunt,” said MDHA Executive Director Craig Engwall. “Then all the media coverage it brings to deer hunting really gets the word out to a statewide audience about what

22 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

deer hunting means to the state and about MDHA’s efforts for habitat conservation to maintain this cherished tradition.” Scott Peterson, president of MDHA’s Jim Jordan Chapter, said his chapter benefitted from hosting the Governor's Opener. “It is a great event for bringing new folks to our area and educating others around the state about what MDHA does for habitat and our hunting heritage,” Peterson said. “The event will also help our chapter pick up new members, sponsors, youth education and landowners interested in improving their habitat for deer and other game and nongame species of wildife.” If you want to help the Jim Jordan Chapter achieve even more for deer habitat and youth education pencil in its next fundraising banquet April 27, 2019 at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minn. Tom Landwehr, Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, an event partner, read a statement from (now former) Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who was unable to attend because of a hospital stay.

“Over the next several days, half-a-million Minnesotans will be honoring our state’s deer hunting tradition in deer stands across Minnesota. I can assure you, I would much rather be with you (than in the hospital).” Deer hunting participation in Minnesota dwarfs that of all other forms of hunting combined in the North Star State. Dayton, a hunter and conservation leader, also thanked MDHA for its “hard work” to make the opener event possible, along with other partners Explore Minnesota and the Hinckley Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The strong media presence was made possible, in part, by MDHA members who hosted several media folks on deer hunts. Hosts included Jack Almos, Dan Carlier, Roy Matson, Loren Rabe, Brent Thompson, Gary Thompson, Gerald Schmidt and my host Richard VonRueden. “It is fantastic MDHA is promoting deer hunting,” said VonRueden, a Jim Jordan Chapter member. “We need to get more young people involved in hunting and conservation.” Like many MDHA members, VonRueden

Did you know... early protein-rich green food is vital for healthy fawn births�


has made a lot of habitat improvements on his land, including 66 acres of planned forest harvests, planting hard mast trees and 16 species of soft mast trees and shrubs. VonRueden’s habitat work paid off for several of his guests, your author of this story who harvested a nice antlerless deer, his first in years (hide donated to Hides for Habitat)! Three other VonRueden guests also harvested deer. Other Opener events included a seminar on choosing the proper knife for butchering and glassing for big game by Tom Claycomb III, the story of the Jim Jordan Buck by John O'Reilly, the need for hunting mentors by Mark Norquist and MDHA’s Hides for Habitat Program by the Snake River Chapter. There was also a live butchering

demonstration by Bill Hesselgrave. Thanks to all who volunteered! A few weeks after the Governor's Deer Opener, I picked up some wonderful venison sausage, hamburger, jerky, bacon and brats from my local butcher. As I enjoy this organic, free-range, Earth-friendly protein over the coming months, I’ll be thinking fondly of MDHA’s annual event and looking forward to next year’s in Fergus Falls, Minn. I hope more of you will join us for this wonderful Minnesota deer hunting tradition with our new Governor Tim Walz! Editor’s note: Herwig resides in White Bear Lake, Minn. He manages his own hunting land in Carlton County.

Did you know... because of prevalence of green food near spring roads, vehicle/deer collisions are higher than winter�

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 23


AROUND THE State

TYLER NISS, HUNTER AND LEADER

QUAD RIVERS MDHA FORKHORNS ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY PROJECT

(Received the MDHA Youth Leadership Award in 2015) Tyler’s leadership is not limited to working with the Bend of the River Chapter in Mankato, Minn., it was also evident while hunting the family land last fall as well. Tyler was hunting with his dad (Scott) and grandfather (Darwin) this past October 27 near Preston, Minn. It had been a slow morning and not much was seen by anyone when Tyler asked if he could sit in the stand down along the creek. Permission was quickly granted as this particular stand had not been used yet during the season because it required a one-half mile walk to get there through standing corn. Not any easy trek, to be sure. The stand, however, is worth the effort as it overlooks a picturesque creek bottom and is close to a cornfield. Tyler sat in the tree stand from noon until 6:10 pm, but did not see a deer. Suddenly, just before sunset, a buck sneaked along the edge of the corn right into his shooting lane.  His shot was true and right on target and the buck ran to the creek and crossed it before going out of site. Tyler then decided to head back to camp for supper and go back later out to find his buck. Around 8 p.m., they went to the creek and Tyler walked right to the deer. It had only run about 50 yards.

The Quad Rivers Forkhorn’s section of the Adopt-A-Highway is from the junction of highway 27 and 73 to the city of Kettle River. Along with member chaperones, the Forkhorns pick up the litter along highway 73 in the spring and fall. Following the pickup there is a lunch. Not only does this program keep our highway section clean, it also promotes community involvement and opportunities for the Forkhorns and members to get to know each other. It teaches the Forkhorns not to litter. Each time a Forkhorn participates in the highway pickup, their name is entered in a drawing for a .22. They say good things come to those who work for it and this nice buck is definitely proof of that. Congratulations, Tyler, on harvesting this awesome buck. Your hunting memories will for sure include this one for many years. From your chapter, thank you for all of your help with MDHA. Enjoy the memories!

WILDERNESS HOCKEY TEAM OF CLOQUET SUPPORTS MDHA

During their home games on October 26th and 27th the Wilderness Hockey team wore these custom MDHA jerseys. They auctioned the jerseys off between periods as a fun way to kick off the deer hunting season.

24 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Pictured above are: (left to right) Robbie Roach, Levi Mikrot, Ethan Kilichowski and RJ Frisch Did you know... an average fawn has around 300 white spots�


2018 Koehler Conservation Youth and Disabled Hunt

THREE RIVERS PARK DISTRICT AND MDHA HELD THE 9TH ANNUAL YOUTH MENTORED DEER HUNT

PROUD FORKHORN MEMBERS OF THE ROSEAU RIVER CHAPTER

42825 Harvest Avenue • PO Box 54 • Perham, Minnesota 56573 | Phone 218.346.3646 • PerhamSportsman.com

EAST OTTERTAIL & PERHAM SPORTSMAN’S CLUB SPONSOR YOUTH AND DISABLED HUNTERS

Each year at the East Ottertail Minnesota Deer Hunters Association annual banquet, four youth and disabled hunters are selected to participate in mentored deer hunts on the Perham Sportsman’s Club Koehler Conservation property located north of New York Mills, Minn. The EOT MDHA purchased the quality Banks elevated deer blinds utilized by these hunters. EOT MDHA Board members incredibly volunteer numerous hours supporting this program. The collaboration between the Perham Sportsman’s Club and the East Ottertail Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has again, without question, provided a once in a lifetime experience for young and disabled hunters!

ENDOWMENTS & DONATIONS: 11/13/18 - 1/8/19 ENDOWMENT FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Gary Thompson Mark Nohre Denis Quarberg HONORARY FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Cathy Niewind Jennifer Bury

HONOREE’S NAME Todd Look

HONOREE’S NAME Shawn Matteson John Bury

EDUCATIONAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Daniel Peterson

GENERAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Todd Wentworth Dennis Hebrink Paul Rice Nathan Hamme

If we inadvertently left you off the list or any corrections to the above list are needed, please contact us and we will make the appropriate corrections. Thank you.

www.TROPHY BUCK

foodplots.com

Specializing in building and maintaining FOOD PLOTS and

TRAIL SYSTEMS on your property.

Jim Sobolik - Deer River, MN

Office: (218) 246-9895 Cellular: (218) 244-3365

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 25


M�N�E�O�A T�R�E� H�N�I�G

L�K� T�O�T Lake trout possess a deeply forked tail fin and a slate grey to greenish body, being lighter at the bottom. Yellowish spots are usually present on the head, body and fins. The lower fins tend to be orangeish red with a narrow white edge. Younger fish will have 7 to 12 parr marks along their sides. Breeding males develop a dark, horizontal stripe on their sides. • Lake trout are the largest freshwater chars. • The largest lake trout netted was 102 pounds and 50 inches long. • The largest lake trout caught on rod and reel was 72 pounds and 59 inches long. • Average lengths are 34-36 inches. • Lake trout are a cold-water species. • Lake trout were highly populated in Lake Superior, but were almost eliminated by the sea lamprey. • Trout feed on zooplankton and small invertebrates at a younger age. Once they become adults, they eat mostly chubs, smelt and sculpin. • They live about 12-16 years, but can survive up to 25 years.

26 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Minnesota is 400 miles from north to south. This means hunters in southern Minnesota can be enjoying a leafy spring in mid-April while five hours to the north lakes are still frozen. Typically, green-up is fairly complete toward the end of May. Though the first two hunting periods are perennial favorites, many hunters favor early to mid-May dates. That’s because the weather is more stable, gobblers are still seeking non-nesting hens and competition from other hunters can wane as outdoorsy Minnesotans begin to cast their interests toward fishing. Typically, hunters harvest about 11,000 birds. The hunter success rate is about 30 percent. A safety training certificate is required for firearms hunters born after 1979, yet Minnesota offers a short-term exclusion to this requirement. To learn more check out Apprentice Hunter Validation at dnr.state. mn.us/safety/apprentice. Content provided by Explore Minnesota


T�P� F�R S�C�E�S�U� S�E� A�T�E� H�N�I�G 1. A surprisingly large number of people fail to find sheds simply because they’re not really looking. Stay off your phone and stay focused. 2. Some properties lack the habitat quality needed to hold deer during the late winter months when antlers drop. So, you may need to adjust where you are looking. 3. You’re not finding more sheds because you’re looking for antlers, full antlers to be specific. This might seem counterintuitive, but think back to when you first started deer hunting. When you first started out in the woods, you were likely searching for a full deer in the middle of the timber and many times you wouldn’t spot a thing. Eventually though, you trained your eyes to register the flat line of a back, a flicker of a tail or the black and white pattern of a deer’s face and nose. Once you began looking for pieces of deer, your sightings skyrocketed. The same principle applies to shed hunting, look for pieces of an antler, not the whole thing. 4. Don’t just walk the entire woods and get tired out. Deer typically shed their antlers in the places they spend the most time – those being bedding and feeding areas, so start there first. 5. Shed hunting isn’t much different from actual deer hunting in that there are certain pieces of gear that will greatly improve your chances of success. For shed hunting, high quality optics are probably the most important of these items. Content from Realtree.com

F�R�H�R�S I� T�E F�E�D

Elly Stortroen and Alex Pederson had fun opening day. Both are 8 years old and excited for 2019 hunt.

A F�W F�C�S A�O�T R�B�N M�G�A�I�N • All robins are not the same. The vast majority of robins do move south in the winter. However, some stick around — and move around — in northern locations. • Robins migrate more in response to food than to temperature. Fruit is the robin’s winter food source. As the ground thaws in the spring, they switch to earthworms and insects. While the robins may arrive when temperatures reach 37 degrees, this is because their food becomes available, not because the robins themselves need warm temperatures. • Robins wander in the winter. Temperatures get colder as winter progresses. Robins need more food when it’s cold and more and more of the fruit gets eaten. Robins move here and there in response to diminishing food supplies and harsh weather. If all robins wintered at their breeding latitude, there wouldn’t be enough fruit for them all. So, robins tend to spread out in the winter in search of fruit. Most hang out where fruit is abundant, but some take the risk of staying farther north where smaller amounts of fruit remain. • Robins sing when they arrive on their breeding territories. Sometimes robins even sing in winter flocks, due to surging hormones as the breeding season approaches. However, in the majority of cases, robins really do wait to sing until they have reached their territory.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 27


Marketplace

When you purchase MDHA merchandise you support MDHA’s programs and mission.

VISIT WWW.MNDEERHUNTERS.COM OR CALL 800.450.DEER 28 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


Post-Season Jobs Al A Seven-Step Plan to Your Giant 2019 Whitetail BY JOSH HONEYCUTT The hunt for big whitetails is never over. Hunting trophy whitetails is an endless journey that never truly ends. It’s all a part of the experience. And for the practical hunter, the work put in will equal the reward. Now is the time to put in that work. Here is a seven-step plan to kill a giant whitetail next season…and then some. Bedding Areas Bedding areas can be easy to locate as long as you put in the legwork. First, follow the trails you find around food sources. Not all, but most will lead back to bedding areas. You’ll know a bedding area when you find one. Beds will be everywhere. Telltale signs of beds will be oval-shaped areas where the leaves and vegetation are matted down. If it is predominately a doe bedding area, multiple beds will be found in close proximity to one another. If single beds are found, you’ve probably stumbled across a bedding area used mostly by bucks. And don’t forget to use your nose. You’ll smell a bedding area before you see it. There are two main reasons for needing to know exactly where your deer bed. The first is so you know to never penetrate these areas once the season opens. The second is so you know how to strategically hunt around these locations as deer move to and from food sources.

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Food Sources Start by pin-pointing areas where deer concentrate most of their time. Locate agricultural fields, mast trees, food plots, browse and anything else deer feed on in your area. Once the desired feeding destinations are located, determine where deer are entering and exiting the area. Worn trails within the timber will show exactly where your local herd is spending their time. Unraveling where deer are entering and exiting fields is even easier. Walk the perimeters of each feed field and look for trails leading to it. Most of the time, trails will serve as both entry and exit points. That said, in rare cases, some only act as one or the other. If it is mostly being used as an entrance, vegetation will be laid over in the direction of the food source. If it is an exit, it will be laid toward cover and bedding destinations. After locating trails on field edges, follow them back into the timber. Sometimes trails on field edges will lead back to meet on a larger, more centralized trail that connects to a bedding area. Placing stands at these “crossroads” is an excellent way to maximize


ll Deer Diehards Do sightings during a hunt. The need to feed is the driving force behind deer behavior. Everything revolves around it — even during the rut. It is the central focal point of deer movement all year long. And it should be the central focal point of your hunt plan. Something else to look for are smaller, less visible trails that parallel the larger more traveled pathways. In some cases, bucks will use these smaller trails that are farther back in the cover. Older and more reclusive bucks tend to follow paths of their own. These trails are their markings.

Water Sources Water is likely the most overlooked factor in deer hunting. Deer require water for survival. It’s one of three essential needs of a whitetail. In areas with an abundance of water, this isn’t as necessary and can’t be used tactically as effectively. Dryer areas are different, though. Concentrations of water mean concentrated populations of deer. This can be used as an advantage when choosing stand locations. If you’re having a hard time locating good water sources, consult a hydro map. It’ll show you where most water sources are located. That said, remember deer can drink from as little as a puddle. So not all sources will be visible on a map. Recent research shows most deer go to water before food when they rise from their beds of an afternoon. If they don’t have a water source in their bedding area, setting up between their bed and their cup of water can prove deadly. Where legal, creating water sources and placing them in strategic locations can be a great way to draw deer in and put them where you want them. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant, either. Simply dig a hole and put a kiddy swimming pool in the ground. Or, dig a hole, line it with thick plastic and cover the plastic back up. Tamp the soil and voila, you have a watering hole. Rut Sign There is no better time to scout for rut sign than now. Rubs are still visible and easy to read. Scrapes are slightly less so but can be found. Rub lines can be a dead giveaway of a buck’s travel routes. In most cases, they will lead from its preferred bedding area to its preferred food source. Rubs might also be found between two doe bedding areas. Scrapes will often follow the same patterns as rubs. They will also be found along field edges and close to food

sources. Many will be erased from sight by now. But those that remain, make sure to remember them. It is likely a scrape will be re-opened in the same area next fall. Year after year, bucks reopen scrapes in the exact same locations. Granted, not every scrape is in the same place. But many of them are. I would say nearly 50 percent of the scrapes on the properties I hunt will be in the same spot each season, under the same tree, with the same licking branch. That’s the wealth in remembering the ones you find. Know where they’ll be before bucks make them. Mark rut sign on an aerial map or GPS as you locate it. This will help you remember where you found it. It’ll also help paint a picture as to how deer use the terrain. Taking Inventory Keeping your cameras out once the season closes is paramount if your goal is year-round management. Posting cameras over food sources is a magnificent way to see which bucks on the hit-list remain to see next season. It also allows you to monitor younger bucks that might get added to it next fall. Agricultural food sources to concentrate on at this time are: cut corn, standing corn, standing beans, winter wheat, broadleaf food plots and any other available food sources in your area. Another overlooked place to put cameras is water. Deer have to drink. Winter can be a good time to take advantage of this need. As winter progresses, waterways increasingly freeze over. Stagnant surfaces freeze, but moving water does not. This is where you should be focusing efforts. Great places to post cameras are: spring-fed ponds, secluded streams near food sources, river crossings and places where creeks split and then come back together. By focusing cameras over food sources and waterways, lastminute efforts to find which bucks lived to see another season can be productive and get you excited for next season all at the same time. Take inventory of your herd. Keep all trail camera photos categorized and organized. Shed Hunting Shed hunting is an art. Just like hunting live deer, hunting sheds requires a game plan. It starts with observation. It is crucial you know your big bucks have thrown down their crowns before you ever go in to retrieve them. That requires both intensive trail camera work and scouting from afar. On these cold winter days, deer will need to feed. So, they will be visible in open agricultural fields before dark. On the flip side, you don’t want to wait too long to go in after them.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 31


Numerous animals such as coyotes, squirrels and other nutrient-seeking varmints will flock to shed antlers for the calcium and other minerals and vitamins they provide. This requires going in at just the right time to collect as many antlers as possible. Not all deer will shed at the same time. There isn’t a universal code all deer follow when dropping their headgear. There are too many biological factors that play in. Testosterone levels, geographical location, physical health, temperature, weather, age and nutrition are all big influences. So, when’s the right time to move in� Every season will prove different for every individual. That is why it is crucial we determine this for ourselves through scouting and trail cameras. Most bucks lose their antlers between late January and early February. That said, in rare cases, I have had bucks carry them into late March and early April. But most of these instances were younger bucks 1½ to 2½ years old. Once you’ve determined that most all of your target bucks have shed, it’s time to move in. I am a firm believer in searching every inch of ground you can cover, but there are certain places that tend to produce more sheds than others. Fence crossings are a great place to start. Antlers are beginning to loosen at the

32 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

pedicle. The jar from jumping fences and ditches can be enough to make them fall off. Tines brushing against the wire as they move underneath them will remove them as well. Also, look along trails leading from heavy bedding to food sources. Bedding areas to check will be: dense cedar thickets, south and east-facing slopes, coniferous groves and other forms of heavy cover. It’s cold. It’s windy. These areas are where bucks will go to escape the inclement weather. It’s also important to move into the bedding areas themselves. Deer are spending a lot of time here now due to pressure and bad weather. It’s only natural sheds will be found there. Don’t forget to walk the perimeters of all food sources on the property. Oftentimes bucks spend a fair amount of time on the edge before moving into the open. This leads to dropped antlers on the fringes of cover. Walk these edges. Bring your binoculars along and glass out into the fields as well; sometimes they’re in plain sight. Even though they are reclusive, whitetail bucks are creatures of habit, even when they don’t mean to be. Unless health issues or severe outside influences ensue, a buck will likely shed its antlers at the same time year after year. If you found a buck’s sheds last season, think back to where you found them.

Check that same place this year. It is very likely they will be in the same vicinity. Stand Selection Once you key in on where deer are most apt to be, mark these areas as places to focus your efforts next fall. Carry an aerial map with you while doing your post-season scouting and shed hunting. Make notes on the map of the things you find. Chart where major trails, rub lines, scrapes, food sources and bedding areas are. Once you have this information, incorporate wind patterns to decide where you need to hang stands for the following season. The good thing about winter is vegetation is minimal. So, once stands are hung, this allows you to see what you will see while in the stand next season. This is an excellent time to trim shooting lanes and manipulate cover. After doing so, use all of your newly found information to target next year’s deer. Go ahead and get your homework done now. When it comes to reducing pressure, the earlier you scout the better. Post-season scouting is extremely beneficial and well worth the time spent. In the end, there is no rest for the deadliest when trophy whitetails are the target.


O�t o� t�e D�r� Effective wildlife conservation needs an open-minded and cooperative perspective to make landscape-scale benefits for all species. BY MATT SOBERG

"

I snapped a few photos, and not wanting to disturb this deer with its mom probably nearby, I continued on my way, assured that my morning’s thoughts had brought me out of the dark and into a brighter perspective on conservation.

34 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

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It might be the aging curmudgeon in me, but as I grow older, I’m noticing more and more ignorance in the world. I know it’s my own perception, but to me, a lot of people are “in the dark,” when it comes to life, society, and even understanding the world conservation these days. One day in early June, while on a Minnesota forest trail, I found myself “in the dark” too, both literally and figuratively. As I parked my truck, I hoisted my camera gear and tripod from the backseat. I slowly and quietly shut the door, to not spook the wildlife around me, and as the latch clicked, I could hear the sound of a ruffed grouse drumming on the hill in the middle of an aging aspen clearcut. He was already on the log, in the pitch dark, sounding his spring ritual for all the forest to hear. I was grouse hunting with a camera that day, and this drummer was my prime target. At the time, I was the editor and director of communications for the Ruffed Grouse Society, a national wildlife conservation organization. Photos like this were beneficial as we built traction online, on social media, and in the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine. Also, honestly, I was obsessed with my new pastime. The act of sitting within feet of a drumming log, watching a grouse for hours when all you see of the same bird in the fall is a split second of blurred feathers through the trees, is the most surreal of experiences. Through my work with RGS, I was primarily focused on our mission to preserve our sporting traditions for future generations by creating healthy forests for

ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and other forest wildlife. I was laser-focused on the young forest habitat necessary to support populations of grouse and woodcock, my favorite gamebirds. Aspen management and regeneration was this focal point in my Minnesota coverts. As the crow flies, the targeted drumming log was only a football field’s distance from my parking spot. I had a turkey blind set up about 30 yards from the epicenter of this male grouse’s world with a clear view of his drumming log display. Lugging my gear to the edge of the clearcut, I identified the small trail leading to the tent. Taking my time, I walked through the jail bars of aspen stems only when the bird would drum his spring beat. Birds that flush off the log from disturbance, from my experience, take too long to come back or don’t come back at all that day. I was hoping to sneak into my camera spot with as little pressure on this grouse as possible. As I got closer in the dark, I could barely see his silhouette on the log. After one more step and a crunch of leaves, he slowly walked the other direction to a large area of blowdown not too far in the distance. While he was away, I continued to the tent and settled in with the camera ready and a cup of Thermos coffee, patiently waiting for the “King” to again approach his throne. After only 20 minutes, slight sounds of crackling leaves caught my attention. As I peeked out the window, I could see this grouse cautiously come back. He hopped up on the log, situated his feet in just the right position, and almost immediately started

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 35


drumming again. He was right there! Although I wasn’t close enough in reality, I was so excited, it seemed like I could reach out and touch him. The thumping beat of every drum reverberated my chest, and I marveled at this amazing bird for having survived the harsh winter, dodged the hawks and foxes, and was brave enough to let the whole world know his specific location . . . all in search of love. The morning sun took its time to rise that day, and I like to think Mother Nature did that on purpose just for me. Ample sunlight for photography didn’t arrive for about another hour or so, but all the while, I sat with my thoughts as the forest awoke. The songbirds were almost deafening, in a good way. Turkeys gobbled on the roost just above the hill, flew down, and continued gobbling in their own lustful adventure. The grouse continued to drum, about every four minutes or so, for over two hours in total. I enjoyed every second. In between shutter clicks, I had a lot of time to reflect on the experience. This forest was managed to create diverse forest habitat, and the results for wildlife conservation were showing themselves to me that day. With my day job and lifetime passion for

36 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

upland hunting, I was personally so focused on the habitat needs for two species, grouse and woodcock, and was “in the dark” to what it really takes to create landscape-scale benefits for all wildlife. If we do it right, we can benefit the environment as a whole for all wildlife species. Over time, it may be argued that conservation organizations have operated with a silo mentality, and that was what I had been doing myself, focusing on my narrow scope. An open-minded and cooperative approach is what we need to get where we, and the wildlife, need to go. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has been doing just that with effective partnerships with numerous conservation organizations, such as the RGS, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and others, for the benefit of numerous wildlife species, and for hunters too. Eventually, the male grouse had enough that morning, and sauntered away, budding as he walked. I needed to get to work, so I slowly sauntered away myself, back to the truck. As I walked the forest trail, not 100 yards from the tar road, I noticed a red streak run across the trail ahead of me. I first thought it

was a fox, but wasn’t sure. With my camera ready, I slowly approached. I peeked over a small berm and saw the creature, a beautiful whitetail fawn, all by itself, it seemed, standing and looking at me with big eyes and white-backed spots. I snapped a few photos, and not wanting to disturb this deer with its mom probably nearby, I continued on my way, assured that my morning’s thoughts had brought me out of the dark and into a brighter perspective on conservation. In my own ignorance, I had forgotten about the “other forest wildlife” part of the RGS mission. The work done by MDHA, RGS, and other groups can, and does, have a broader reach than just benefitting a couple species, and that morning’s experience of witnessing a ruffed grouse drum and a whitetail fawn roam the forest—not to forget the songbirds and wild turkeys too—were perfect examples of success on the habitat landscape. These partnerships and expanded perspective are necessary as we move forward to make a difference for the future of wildlife in Minnesota.


38 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 39


MY THIRD

DEER CAMP THE HUNGRY BEAVER

SUGAR CAMP Morrison County, MN (est. 2013) BY RON CARLSON Editor’s note: This is the third and final installment of Ron Carlson’s deer camps. The first appeared in Fall 2018 and the second in our Winter 2019 issue. Whitetales thanks Ron for his insightful remembrances; they were very well received and appreciated by our readers. After deer hunting 20 years at the Budris Camp on the Canadian border and 22 years at the Carlson Shack in Aitkin County, it was the right time to create a new deer camp on our land in Morrison County. This would be my final deer camp and would combine the

40 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

many things I learned at the other camps over the past 40 plus years of hunting. Knowing what made a safe, enjoyable and sustainable deer camp, I intended to carry those traits and many traditions forward in the new camp. My wife and I had closed on the property in December 2012 and although we had obtained the building permit and started construction on the building in May 2013, I had planned on deer hunting at the Carlson Shack over in Aitkin with all my relatives until my Dad could no longer hunt. It wasn’t

until my Dad passed away in August that my mission began of having it ready for deer season that year. Being retired, my working on the new camp all day, every day, was the best therapy I could think of losing him just a week earlier. With many hours to think and remember all what Dad had taught me over the past fifty-five years, it was indeed a very bitter sweet time. How I wish he could have seen my new camp. With a lot of help from my best friends, our new camp was ready for the deer opener. One of them had lost their family deer lease


on “company land” up north the year before and his father had also just passed. So, they decided to close down their deer camp that was located on the corner of #1 and #6, five miles straight west of Effie. Their camp had been running for about 45 years with multiple generations of hunters so it was indeed a difficult decision for them. They had decided to start using their family lake cabin as a deer camp over by Sauk Center as they too had purchased some hunting property in that area in anticipation of changes. As with any deer camp, they had many things to get rid of that just happened to be things I required like cabinets, dishes, a wood stove, shelves, etc. The timing for both parties was ideal. Funny thing is I recall passing the Poganski Deer Camp which was right off the highway for many years while driving to the Budris Camp as a youngster. I would have never imagined one of those guys (and his son) would end up as a best friend and a member of my deer camp as I didn’t meet him until 1993 while coaching youth hockey together in St. Cloud. Far from complete, our deer camp was, however, functional by the first weekend in 2013. Although strange not having the regular guys at deer camp, instead, those that had helped build it were the new hunters. Sometimes things just come together. Most of those new guys were in a transition period with their deer hunting groups so the timing was right to begin anew. It was indeed the start of a new tradition. We saw lot of deer and harvested only three letting a lot pass by. We had ample venison to share but learned a lot about the land and how to best hunt it for future years.  When we finished, the camp was considerably different than that of the loggers' shacks we utilized up at the Budris Camp. It was still deer camp and we knew it would now serve a lot more purposes. However, still no electricity or running water and “roughing it” was part of the deer camp experience.  Our new camp got the name “Hungry Beaver Sugar Camp” because we use it also for making maple syrup. One of my prerequisites of the new property was ample mature maple trees. We now tap about 400 trees each spring. Today our camp is used year around by family and friends for all types of hunting, berry picking, target shooting, 4-wheeling, parties, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and just enjoying its nine miles of trails. The incredible amount of utilization of the camp is because my buddies and I all either

live or have cabins within a few miles of the property. Everyone has a key to gain access and is welcome to use it anytime. And believe me, it is used constantly. That is what’s wonderful about our group. Everyone participates in the work and the play. Also, with wonderful neighbors, we all keep a sharp eye out for one another’s properties. Today our camp has anywhere from six to nine hunters on any given day of the season, yet we have had several guests also attend. After missing the first three years of our new deer camp, my son Geoff, finally got home to hunt in 2016 due to his service as an MD in the USAF. To me, that finally made my new deer camp complete. However, he was the only person in the party not to even see a deer and he is most likely the best hunter of the group. That’s deer hunting. Again, this past season, duty called and he missed deer camp again.  At my son’s request in 2014, although he couldn’t make it, he asked if I would invite his father-in-law from Oregon. So, I did. Prior to attending, Matt had never deer hunted so although excited, he explained he was a little apprehensive. After his first-year at camp, he told me deer hunting wasn’t what he had expected. It was so much more relaxed and enjoyable than he could have ever imagined. The hours of quiet time in the stand was priceless. As a corporate executive, he stated he never got that much time to just sit, think and enjoy being surrounded by the sights and smells of the woods. However, the excitement and camaraderie when someone got a deer was incredible. When he left deer camp the first year he said, “Thank you for

opening my world to something I never imagined existed.” Like myself, he quickly learned the social element of being together is really what a deer camp is about and totally embraced it. He hasn’t missed a year since! With 17 stands spread out over hundreds of acres, our group can strategically cover a good chunk of the property. We also practice controlled deer management in our harvesting by being selective to maintain a healthy future population. At our camp, we also allow our least successful hunters to have first choice of their stands. This is to give everyone a better chance to participate in the harvest and hence the camaraderie. It is fun watching and listening to some of the hunters trying to bribe the others for a better spot on that year’s stand selection choice. All of our stands are shared equally. They are built, maintained and equipped collectively by the group. There are no private stands at our camp. We share the work and share the results equally.  Our camp has now enjoyed six successful deer seasons with best of friends, fathers, brothers, sons, in-laws and very soon to be grandsons. With hunters from 33 to 66 years of age, we senior guys are all now retired, allowing us to spend quality time together before, during and after the season. All of us are still with good health and realize these are the “good ol’ days” that years down the road we will be remembering.  As a youngster, the drive to the Budris Camp on the Canadian border took a day from the Twin Cities. I recall seeing the hunting traffic going north. The hunters, trucks, campers, etc. and their blaze orange

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 41


hats at the gas stations and restaurants along the way are a vivid memory. With each passing town like Cambridge, Mora, Aitkin, Grand Rapids, Deer River and then Big Falls, my excitement of getting to camp kept building and building. Today, it takes me only 10 minutes to get to camp, yet I still enjoy watching the traffic on Highway 10 going north. Seems like starting about the Tuesday before the opener the older guys hauling campers or trailers jam packed with 4-wheelers, coolers, etc. are on the road going to get the camp set-up. However, as the week progresses, the younger generations (who finally got off work) start driving past. The common dominator after all these years still remains the same, they’re wearing their blaze orange heading to a very special time in the woods. Although much has changed, much has stayed the same since I was 12 at the Budris Camp. The close proximity our hunting group has to our camp and being retired is a double bonus. We can now

42 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

spend considerable time there tending food plots, trails, working on or moving stands, enhancing property through selective logging, tree planting, scouting and just experiencing the sheer enjoyment of being in the woods and talking about the next deer season. Today, for our group the next deer season starts as soon as one ends. Now at 60, my 48 years of deer hunting have been very special for me. Those opportunities were created and provided by others for me. Now it is my turn to give back to my children, my friends, to the sport, to the land and to others who share the passion. I am hopeful to someday hunt with my grandchildren and repeat the many stories from over the years. Hopefully, the deer hunting bug will also be in their genes. “Deer Camp” has a different meaning to every hunter. For some it is a shack, others a lake cabin, or perhaps a relative’s farm, or a trailer house or a tent or even a converted school bus or today a portable ice fishing trailer; it just doesn’t matter! It is being

together, following a passion with family and friends for a special time each November. For myself, buying our property and creating my third deer camp has been a great blessing and has provided for more enjoyment than I dreamed was possible. If you’re on the fence about buying some land and/or just creating your own deer camp, I can’t urge you enough to pull the trigger, if you can. If you already have a camp, you know exactly what I mean.  Even though the names and faces are different from my first two deer camps as generations change over, the great memories of all the past years will always be with me. And with each approaching year, I so look forward to the fact new stories will be created and repeated hundreds of times in the future. So, indeed, even though all great things do come to an end, it is my intention that it’s going to be many years away for the Hungry Beaver Sugar (deer) Camp.


Do you have a photo of a cherished deer hunting memory? We'd love to see it!

Thanks for sharing!

Please send a digital photo in .jpg format to bri@mndeerhunters.com. If digital format is not possible, photos may be sent to: MDHA c/o Deer Hunting Memories, 460 Peterson Rd., Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Please include a description of who, when, where, etc. Each issue of Whitetales will celebrate our hunting heritage with your photos. Photos will not be returned.

Back row: Kyle Strand, Joe Whalen, David Whalen, Brett Zimowicz, Steve Goulet, Mike Mischke; Center row: Bion McNulty, Brady Strand, Arnie Hendrickson, Tom Goulet, Dan Mischke, Braeden Mischke; Front: Scott Strand Photo by Bob Whalen

Sisters Leah and Becky near Squaw Lake, Minn.

Norm Kelzenberg from North Suburban Chapter.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 43


Dealing with

FOOD PLOT

S T S E P BY BERNIE BARRINGER

Rodents and other small mammals may be doing more damage to your food plots than you realize. Here’s how to alleviate the problems.

Coons are easy to catch in a cage trap baited with an attractive goodie. They are creatures of habit so simply set the trap near their sign and you’ll have them.

44 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


When most of us think about the reasons our food plots fail or thrive, we usually point to things like fertilizer, weather, soil types and timing of plantings. But, there are factors

working behind the scenes that can cause damage to your food plots as critters large and small use these plots and some of them can cause significant reductions in the productivity of your efforts. From insects to birds, food plots can be damaged from the moment the seed hits the ground until the usefulness of the forage is complete, but in many cases, small mammals are doing the most damage and much of it is hard to see from the surface. Let’s take a look at a few of the primary culprits, examine the extent of the damage they do and explain some actions that can be taken against them.

Pocket Gophers Damage: Pocket gophers are abundant across much of the whitetail’s range and the mounds they make are a common sight in Minnesota. These mounds cover up small plants which will cause the plants to die. Pocket gophers feed on bulbs, roots and tubers and often consume brassicas from below, without much evidence from above, other than leaves turning brown from lack of moisture. Their tunnels channel needed rain water away from the surface to deep areas where it can’t do the plants much good. Control: The best way to eliminate pocket gophers is to trap them. Several clutch-style traps have been developed specifically for catching gophers and are available at most any hardware stores or farm stores. I have caught them with several brands and styles of traps, but over time I have switched almost entirely to the EZ Set model. Surprisingly, these are one of the more difficult traps to set, but they are very effective. With these traps, I have limited misses and most gophers die quickly and humanely in them. Catching pocket gophers is quite easy once you learn where to set the traps. Here in Minnesota, they go to work as soon as the frost goes out of the ground in the spring, and that’s a great time to trap them. I plant brassicas around the first of August and as soon as the plants begin to show up, the pocket gophers arrive and I will once again remove problem individuals. If you look closely at the gopher mounds, you will see that they form a line of sorts. The gophers pile dirt on the top of the ground as they clear out their tunnels and the mounds form a linear pattern. It stands to reason the mounds on the end of the line are the most active. If you set a trap at the right mound,

Pocket gophers can do significant damage to food plots by eating the plants from the underground up. Trapping them with clutch traps is easy and very effective at removing problem individuals. you will normally catch the gopher within 24 hours. If you have trouble determining which mounds are the most recent, just put a footprint on each mound and come back the next day. There will be at least one new mound to trap. The hole below the mound can be hard to find, but with experience, you can look at the shape of the mound and stick a probe right into the hole. Otherwise, just dig around until you find a soft spot and you will quickly find the associated tunnel. Clear out the tunnel with a small shovel or your hand. Set a trap and slide it inside the entrance to the tunnel. Within a foot of the surface, all tunnels will have a fork in them. Do not push your trap too far into the hole or it may be at the fork which will offer the gophers a chance to crawl right over it. I stake down my traps, not because I think the gopher may get away with my trap, but because a coyote or fox may find it and run off with the gopher and the trap. I like to cover the hole with a board so the tunnel is dark. This keeps predators out and offers the gopher a sense of security so it goes about his business without suspecting a trap. Gophers are most active at night so check the traps early in the morning so you can dispatch any of the critters that did not quickly die in the traps. You will find most strings of mounds are the domain of just one gopher, but occasionally you may catch two and even three from the same system of tunnels.

Ground Squirrels Damage: One of the most common

small mammals in the Midwest is the 13-lined ground squirrel. They seem to be everywhere; you’ll see them along roads and in any pasture. They are commonly called stripers or striped gophers, although they are not a member of the gopher family. They dig small holes which lead to underground tunnels where they sleep and store food. These holes are part of the problem they cause. The tunnels drop straight down before turning to the side and a deer’s lower leg fits right in the tunnel. Deer can sustain serious leg injuries from stepping in one of these holes.

Ground squirrels create holes that are the perfect size and depth to injure a deer’s leg when stepped in. Many times when we see a deer with an injured foot or leg, a ground squirrel hole did the damage.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 45


The guilty party who dug up my food plot and ate a lot of the corn in front of my scouting camera. Additionally, the damage these critters cause to food plots comes in the fact they love the small shoots of plants as they emerge and these little vermin can kill hundreds of plants a day by nipping them off as soon as they come up. You may ask how much these 1/4-pound buggers can actually eat. The problem is found in the way they fill their overstuffed cheeks with succulent nodules and haul load after load of them back underground to their storage chambers. The damage can be extensive in some areas. Control: Because these ground squirrels are active during the day, the best way to rid your food plot of them is to shoot them. My sons have enjoyed lying at the edge of the food plot with a scoped .22; the target practice on these little varmints is good preparation for hunting. They have excellent eyesight and will dive underground at the slightest movement. If you want to take a more utilitarian approach, a 12-guage loaded with birdshot will take them out, from up to about 50 yards. When hit with a .22 anywhere but in the head, they normally dive in a hole and you don’t know for sure if you have killed them, but when hit with birdshot they are usually lying in a heap right there. I have to admit I enjoy the challenge of hunting these pests, which adds to the pleasure of knowing I am doing something good for my food plot and my deer herd. I’ve invested in a scoped .17 caliber rifle with a bipod and now I spend some warm spring afternoons sprawled out on the grass near my food plots, doing my part to rid the property of these pesky critters. The

46 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

usual M.O. is to walk out to a food plot and observe where the ground squirrels dive underground when they see me coming. I set up with my crosshairs on the hole and wait patiently. Rarely do I have to wait more than 15 minutes before a little head pops up and mischievously looks around. Bang.

Raccoons, skunks and groundhogs Damage: The only real food-plot crime committed by groundhogs, often called woodchucks, is they compete with the deer animals for the plants in the food plot. Skunks mess up food plots by digging for grubs and uprooting plants. Raccoons are also guilty of this and they can do some real damage to corn crops. While the amount of damage a family of raccoons may do to a large commercial corn farming operation may be negligible, once they get into the corn in a food plot, their nocturnal raids can cause significant damage. Raccoons will pull down entire corn stalks and take one or two bites out of the ear of corn to gauge the stage of maturity. They love to eat the corn when it’s in the milk stage and there’s a short window where the bandits do the most damage. But their bites on each ear invite insects that can ruin the entire ear of corn. Plus, the fact the stalk is often broken off when pulled down means it will quickly die before the corn itself is mature. Additionally, anyone who provides supplemental feed for deer or places piles of grain in front of scouting cameras to take inventory of the deer on their property

knows how much raccoons can add to the costs of doing so. Raccoons are prolific and are common carriers of distemper and rabies so keeping their population at a manageable level is always a good idea. Control: I don’t get too excited about removing groundhogs from my food plots because their damage is not significant unless the population gets out of hand. Still, when opportunities arise to reduce their population, I do so just as I do the ground squirrels, by shooting them. I primarily control raccoons during the fall trapping season when their pelts have some value. I hit my property pretty heavily with traps and snares for a couple weeks each fall to reduce their numbers. Outside of the trapping season, when I find a skunk or raccoon is tearing up my food plot, I simply put out a box trap with something really good smelling in the back corner of it. This may surprise you, but a coon is a real sucker for a half-slice of bacon. Put the bacon in the back of the trap in a position where they can’t reach it with their dexterous front feet to pull it through the wire. Make them walk into the trap to get to the bait and they will oblige. While our food plots are intended to assist deer, other critters are helped as well. Wholesale killing of all other animals using the plot is not the objective, but some diligence in reducing the population of food plot pests is an honorable goal. These simple tips should help you do so, with the added benefit of getting you out to enjoy the property during all times of the year.


MDHA TIPS

BY ROD DIMICH

TIP

#1

TIP

#2

TIP

#3

“Don’t be the �tumble’ in �tumbledown.’”

If you are wondering what “tumbledown” means, just think of “dilapidated, ruinous, decrepit or ransacked.” If you think these adjectives might describe you on the last day of deer season, you would probably be spot on. For our purposes, however, we are talking about the spring conditions of your deer stands. Even though they got through last season, that was last fall and a winter wrecking ball of heavy snow and other moisture might have stretched your old trusty stand to its safe limits. It’s like air in a balloon; everything is fine until it pops! Spring is the best time to take stock of your stand’s trustworthiness as come fall the mantra mostly seems to be, “Good enough.” Poke for rot. Shake for sturdiness. Surveil for general safety, always keeping mind you will have heavier boots and clothing on in the fall. Then, if necessary, replace and rebuild accordingly. If you have doubts, and stick with the “good enough,” keep in mind the number one reason for emergency room visits during deer season is falls from the stand. Be safe, don’t be a statistic.

“Mineral licks are deer magnets.”

Like root beer floats to we normal humans (we are totally aghast when we encounter someone who doesn’t like them) mineral licks are pretty much irresistible to deer. Licks are not only the cupcakes of the woods and fields they add vital trace minerals to our whitetail’s fascinating diet. Although they are still called “salt licks” due their origin on farms where salt blocks were put out for the cattle, today’s blocks and pellets have traces of necessary minerals added. How and where they are placed is open to debate, but the consensus, principally in the forested areas, is a stump. Block or pellet or granules� We say support your local feed stores and sporting goods stores/departments and put out all three. Which brands are best� Why gamble, don’t go by ads or sponsored pros, they will tout their brands. Ask around. How many sites� Again, we say the more the merrier. Even though deer rarely visit them during season, by putting one at each stand, you not only serve more deer and spread them out, you will create trails by which they will travel come season.

“Put wings on your deer stands.”

Okay, we don’t literally mean bird wings or even Harley/Davidson logos with wings, what we are saying fits nicely with famous birder Roger Tory Peterson’s quote: “Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” So it should be with deer stands. How many times, in fact, have you spent hours of love labor preparing a wonderful deer stand only to find out it was in the wrong place� Lots, we are sure. To alleviate this, go to light metal portable stands that tip up against trees, are secured safely by self-locking straps and then tipped down after the season or be moved when said stand was in the wrong place. Moreover, these portables may be used where permanent stands are not allowed. If you are wondering, by the way, what in the blazes our picture is…a “railroad spike” from the good old careless days now fully grown in and ready to either break a chainsaw chain or severely damage machinery at a paper/pulp plant.

48 Whitetales | SPRING 2019


MEMBER

Story BY RICK FOWLER

GRANDFATHERS AND FATHERS, AN UNDERUTILIZED LIVING LIBRARY

The editors of the Outdoorsman’s Handbook, published in 1920, included in their introduction, “Our readers will find this book a handy reference manual covering a wide and complete range of the techniques of outdoor life. Indeed, one that they will refer to constantly to refresh the memory or to learn the gist of some new branch of the great game not taken up before.” I would add an addendum to this handbook: Take the time to listen to those who have had a wide and complete range of outdoor experiences, be it fathers or grandfathers. These are living libraries full of information that need to be tapped before it’s too late. “I remember…” These two words can often open a historical glimpse into the past that is not always in books and magazines. For hunters and anglers, these words represent a first-person account of what it was like to harvest game and land fish back in the decades before high-tech gear and the seemingly endless drive to show off the “biggest” came into vogue. One such living library is 93-year old Joe Zofchak (the author’s father-in-law) who in his over eight decades of enjoying the outdoors has compiled volumes of fishing and hunting memories. Joe hunted whitetails for 70 plus years, starting from 1939 to 1944 until he entered the service during WWII and then resumed his hunting exploits from 1946 until 2013.

50 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

In those seven decades of hunting he recalls, “Yeah, I got a few bucks. Nothing too big! In fact, I shot more does than bucks back then. To me it was more about what was happening around me in the woods than getting a deer. People don’t realize just how busy the woods are. It’s a show in itself.”

He remembers his first Upper Peninsula Michigan deer camp vividly. “We had been invited up to a friend of one of my brother’s camp near Munising after the war, around 1946. There were 12 of us, my dad, five of my brothers and a few cousins. We lugged up two large military tents. One was used for the kitchen and supplies while the other was used for sleeping. We spent a week there and got a few deer. One thing I clearly remember was the partridge. Dozens of them surrounded our blinds every day. You don’t

see pats like that today.” Joe can also recall fishing camps too. “I remember ice fish camp at Higgins Lake (Michigan) in the late �40s early �50s. There were usually 12 of us there also. Most were fishing two tip-ups apiece, but some were jigging for walleyes and pike inside the make-shift shelter we would erect by backing two vehicles close together and then using one of the tents we use for deer camp to connect them. It was toasty in there once the little stoves were lit. Yeah, we would even eat out there. We always caught a lot of fish during those trips especially on our home-made tip ups. My brother John made a pattern from a commercial tip-up and then we formed our own out of oak, made the reels out of plastic and tied them together using undergarment material from women’s corsets. They were higher than normal so you could see them from a distance.” Indeed, Joe and his brothers were very creative and handy. In fact, they made numerous lures, especially for their trips to Canada of which there were many, 30 straight years to be exact. “We would take a group to a resort near Armstrong, Ontario every late spring or early summer. Sometimes there would be more than 10 of us and sometimes less. I would make my own cowbells because I knew we were going after lake trout. My brothers and I would also


make Daredevil like lures and spoons made out of stainless steel and copper. If we knew we were just going after walleye, we would bring out the crawler harnesses we had made a couple of weeks before our trip. Those were great adventures and we caught plenty of fish.” He also remembers spearing whitefish on Higgins Lake during the late �40s through the early 60s. “We had 14-foot boats with a small horsepower motor, three guys in the boat, a homemade lighting system and our own crafted spears. The guy in front readied the lights as an attractant (he would submerge them) and also did the spearing. The guy in the middle was directing our route and the guy in back operated the engine. We limited out every time.” Joe, his brothers and other family members did much of their deer hunting around the Grayling (Michigan) area. He had purchased a plot of land in the Higgins Lake area before his enlistment in the Navy and after returning from the war, a cabin took shape on the purchased lot. He remembers many years setting up blinds near clearings formed by oil companies in the Crawford County area. “They would leave the knots from trees they felled all over the place to make room for their rigs so we would pick them up, put them in 55 gallon barrels, put them in our stove, light them and that would be our heat in our little camp. They would burn for hours.” During one camp, they glassed over a 100 deer in a nearby ridge one early morning. “It was a couple of days before the opener so we thought this could be a good sign. We didn’t see one set of �horns’ in all those deer. I don’t think any of us got a deer that year. Funny huh�” He remembers another camp and a freak snowstorm that left two feet of snow on the ground. “I told myself it was going to be a long day if I shot a deer a long way from camp with all this snow. Then out of nowhere a nice doe came out the cedars giving me a shot. Lo and behold after being shot this deer started to run toward me. In fact, it came within 10 feet of me then went over. I didn’t have to work too hard to get that deer out of there after all.” There is a common connection between Joe and his exploits. That is family. “All of

my hunting and fishing trips were family oriented. There were always brothers, cousins and nephews along for the ride. To me it was more about having a good time than having a good harvest.” Today, most of Joe’s grandkids appreciate what the outdoors offers too. A few hunt birds and all of them enjoy fishing and the camps and stories that accompany such outings. Joe has been to our U.P. cottage the past two years for grouse hunting. He doesn’t trek the woods anymore, but enjoys the two-track roads the group travels on and the chance to share his expertise with his son, his grandchildren, son-in-law and friends. Joe still enjoys sitting around a campfire and “chewing the fat” as he says. He can remember duck and pheasant hunting in Genesee County, his first gun and his last

hunt as if it were days ago, around the glow of a late-night fire. Though many of his friends and relatives have passed, his tales of being in the forest and on the water with them are distinctly vibrant. In my nearly 30 years of being his son-in-law, I have never grown tired of his listening to his tales. He has offered the following bit of wisdom many times over during those three decades. “Take kids fishing and hunting. Get them out into the woods. Enjoy everything that’s out there.” For those of us who have a passion for hunting and fishing and for those of us who have a passion to pass on our love of the outdoors to our children, these are truly words to REMEMBER! It’s not always books off the shelves we learn from. Sometimes it’s living libraries.

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 51


What�s Cookin�� BACON WRAPPED STUFFED VENISON BACKSTRAP

BY LEGENDARY WHITETAILS

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • •

Deer backstrap – pounded flat Bacon – thin sliced Cream cheese Garlic powder – not salt Salt and pepper Steak seasoning of your choice Mushrooms Jalapenos – sliced in small slivers Onion – sliced in small slivers Toothpicks

Instructions:

1. With a meat mallet, pound meat until flattened. (Butterflying meat with a knife first speeds up process.) 2. Dust the backstrap with garlic powder, seasoning salt, kosher salt and pepper. 3. Spread cream cheese on one side of meat, sprinkle with jalapenos, onions, and mushrooms. Add some shredded pepperjack if you’d like.

4. Roll meat and wrap with bacon and secure with toothpicks. Place in glass or ceramic baking dish. 5. Bake or grill until bacon is done. (400°F for 30 min in oven). Set to broil to crisp bacon. Grill over medium high heat. 6. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing – if you can wait that long!

VENISON PHILLY CHEESESTEAK BAGEL BITES

BY LEGENDARY WHITETAILS

Instructions:

Ingredients: • • • • • • • • •

6 mini sized bagels, halved 1lb. venison steak (thinly sliced) 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup onion, diced 1/2 cup mushroom, diced Salt and pepper, to taste Olive oil 2 cups shredded provolone cheese

52 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 2. Cut steak into thin slices, if it’s hard to slice thin, chill steak in freezer for 30 minutes before cutting. 3. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat (cast iron preferred), add venison steak pieces once oil is hot, sear on a high heat for 1-2 minutes, then remove steak from pan. 4. Keep the juice from searing steak in the skillet, and add pepper and onion, cook for 3-4 minutes, then add mushrooms. 5. Add steak back into skillet, then season with salt and pepper. After everything is mixed well, remove the skillet from heat, set aside. 6. Place bagel slices on a greased baking sheet, then put a scoop of meat and veggie mixture on each bagel slice, and top with shredded Provolone cheese. 7. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400ºF until the cheese is melted and bagel is crispy on the bottom. 8. Serve immediately.


Gizmos, GADGETS, Garments & GEAR

Argo releases line of ATVs

Argo has a line of ATVs out and they are worth a look. The Xplorer series features a 503cc single cylinder 4-stroke engine feature Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), single overhead cam and liquid cooling with an auxiliary fan that provides consistent performance in the most demanding conditions. This engine is clean and delivers class-leading horsepower and incredible torque. In addition, the ATV features electronic power steering. All conveniently set from the digital display, the Tri-Mode Speed Sensing Electronic Power Steering (TMSS EPS) not only senses the ATV speed for varying levels of assist, the rider can select no assist, minimum assist and maximum assist steering. The suspension is a Double A-arm front and rear suspension which delivers premium comfort and control in all conditions. On all Xplorer models they mount the shocks to the lower A-arm for maximum shock performance and a wider range of rider comfort. Fine-tune the suspension for individual riding styles and load carrying with adjustable coil-over-spring settings. The front and rear racks on the Xplorer models are made of heavy duty steel that outperform composite racks and easy to secure large loads with a 165 lb capacity on the rear rack and 99 lbs. on the front rack. Finally, the instrument gauge is a digital display and features odometer, speedometer, trip odometer, RPM, EPS setting and fuel level. Surrounding the display are easy-toidentify indicators for transmission position, high temp, low battery, high beam, low oil pressure, check engine, 2wd/4wd and differential lock indicators. This ATV is worth a look in a market flooded with choices. Learn more about Argo outdoor equipment by visiting their website at: argoxtv.com

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Go to www.peetdryer.com to find your nearest dealer MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 53


HUNT

Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

it down!

Look for an icon shaped like the one above in this issue of Whitetales and, when you find it, send us the page number, along with your name and address. If you are correct, your name will be entered in a prize drawing from MDHA. Email bri@mndeerhunters.com Submission deadline: April 1, 2019

Winner of the Winter “Hunt It Down”

Rick Kramer of the Brainerd Chapter found the hidden hot chocolate mug on page 39 of the winter issue and was the lucky winner of an MDHA Camo Mesh Back Truckers Cap. Congrats Rick!

PLEASE REVIEW Your Membership Information Today.

The magazine label indicates your membership status. Please check it to see if your address is correct and when your membership expires. To renew your membership or make corrections, call the MDHA State Office at 800.450.DEER. Address changes are a major concern and we need your help to correct them. On occasion, the office gets calls because a household is getting duplicate magazines or shouldn’t be getting a magazine at all. What may be the reason for this?

54 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

SOIL TESTING BY J. WAYNE FEARS

FIGHTING INVASIVE PLANTS BY BRUCE INGRAM

FORKHORN FUN FACTS POST-SEASON JOBS ALL DEER DIEHARDS DO BY JOSH HONEYCUTT

SPRING 2019

Questions, concerns, thoughts� Address letters to: Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Attention: Letter to the Editor 460 Peterson Rd. Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or email: bri@mndeerhunters.com

POTENTIAL REASONS:

• Renewal forms or banquet tickets are illegible and get entered incorrectly. • J.J. Jones is Jerry Jones, same person with multiple memberships. • A life member passes away and the state office is not notified.

SOLUTIONS:

• Call the office to inquire at 800.450.DEER. • Check with your chapter officers or regional director. • Check your magazine’s mailing label to see if it is accurate.


Daylight IN THE Swamp

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 56

log deer shack in northern Itasca County from trees you and your brother planted back home in 1959 as a 4-H project; the sauna, of course, was added two years later. Deer camp to your family is food plots, tree friendly deer stands, planned timber harvests, hosting new hunters/ outdoor writers and sharing the experience of an “off-grid” wilderness experience.

MSSEC built in 1999-2000 hosts U.S. Olympic Rifle Team.

Summer MDHA Board retreat at Subigosh Lodge, Bena, Minn. Dan Splitstosser, DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam, Region II Administrator John Guenther and Jack Todd. Sponsored for 21 years by Ed and Rose Schmidt. You have been busy, belonging to: Itasca County 4-H programs, United Way, Blandin Male Chorus, MDHA, OWAA, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl Association, Izaak Walton League, Bemidji State Foundation Board, Minnesota Shooting Sports Education Center (Director 20012003), National Ski Patrol for 47 years, Lion’s Club International, American Tree Farm System, Forest Stewardship Program, Rapids Riders ATV Club, NRA, Itasca Gun Club, Zion Lutheran Church and Itasca Community Television Board. Whew!

Steering committee for the MSSEC at the Grand Opening with U.S. Rifle team coaches. For MDHA, you have been a rock. Here are your accomplishments: one of the ten

founding members, 1980, Itasca Chapter State Director, 1981, Whitetales (you coined the title), co-editor/columnist, 1984-2018 (Minnesota Buck Sense), hosted and sponsored summer Executive Board retreats at Subigosh Lodge for 21 years, worked with Deep Portage Conservation Reserve to establish the Forkhorn Camp program, initiated camo-blaze orange legislation, six years on executive board of directors, vice president twice (two-year terms), president (two terms, secretary/treasurer, one yr.). You also designed the masthead on MDHA’s official publications – newsletter and magazine. As MDHA president, you attended the National Governors’ Conference on Hunting in Little Rock, Arkansas, which resulted in bringing the BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) program to Minnesota with MDHA regional director Jean Bergerson becoming state coordinator. You are not only a longtime MDHA Life Member, you have also received the MDHA Distinguished Service Award, MDHA Life-time Achievement Citation, DNR Golden Anniversary Achievement Award, Grand Rapids Jaycees Outstanding teacher, Allis Chalmers Environmental/ Conservation Education Award, NRA Conservation Magazine of the Year, 1990 US West Outstanding Teacher and Minnesota Education Association Merit Award for educational television. 

Because you are well known for your wit and wisdom, here are some of your favorite quotations. On mentoring, “Just as the twig is bent, the tree is inclined” (Alexander Pope, 1794) and on life, “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” (Groucho Marx, 1982). When asked for your present quote, you went with an “Edism”: “Stay positive and vertical.”

Large Mammal Curriculum – an all inclusive educational kit developed in cooperation with MDHA and U of M for use in Minnesota secondary schools. Thank you, Ed, for sharing your incredible life and talents with us. We salute you as an original and an MDHA icon! And from the bottom of my heart, Ed, thank you for being such a great co-editor, awardwinning columnist/true friend for 38 years and helping ferry Whitetales from the mimeograph machine to the polished publication we have today. Whitetales, whitetails and MDHA forever, Ed!

MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 55


Daylight IN THE Swamp

BY ROD DIMICH

ED SCHMIDT, THIS IS YOUR LIFE! MDHA founder, life member, officer, Whitetales co-editor/columnist for 38 years, Ed Schmidt, this is your life! You were born and raised and live in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, almost entirely on your beloved Pokegama Lake. As a youth, you were active in 4-H, receiving awards for Itasca County Outstanding 4-Her and the Minnesota Key Award in 1960. You also supported your kids as they became 4-Hers. You have been married to your wonderful wife, Rosalie Beth, for 55 years, have three children – Elizabeth Ann Matzke (nurse), Paul Edward Schmidt (safety engineer), Sara Marie Schmidt Boldon (graphic artist) and have five grandchildren.  You graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1960 where you were class president and active in track, gymnastics and

You owned and operated Grand View Studio 1985-2018, creating educational, promotional and training programs, including the intro/promo for MDHA, “Common Cause for Whitetails,” for MDHA’s 35th Anniversary (historical documentary). MDHA President 1993-1996. baseball. You received an AA degree from Itasca Community College in 1962, followed by a BS from Bemidji State University in 1964 and in 1971, an MS degree in Science Education and Environmental Studies. You then taught elementary education in Silver Bay, Minnesota (1964-1969) and Grand Rapids (1969-2001), plus teaching technology education at Grand Rapids High School (1998-2001). You were also the DNR Northeast Regional Coordinator for environmental education programs (19711976), including hosting teacher workshops on survival and outdoor skills and statewide orienteering competitions.  In your “spare” time, you taught Minnesota Advanced Hunter Education classes, presenting workshops on deer, grouse, emergency first aid, fishing skills, duck hunting and were a Firearm Safety Instructor, ATV Instructor and Snowmobile Safety Instructor. Talk about a Renaissance guy! 

Ed the hunter.

Ed the deer camp cook.

56 Whitetales | SPRING 2019

Teaching a simulation canoe trip with the �Wilderness Meal� during the award winning environmental week.

Grant proposal for the Whitetail Deer Resource Center. You developed an interdisciplinary/ integrated week-long environmental education program based upon the National Wildlife Federation’s theme of the year for elementary students, which ran annually for 23 years and was nationally cited by Allis Chalmers for innovative conservation education. Your hunting career started when your family moved to Pokegama Lake and you received a Crossman air rifle to eradicate chipmunks, hunted ducks with your dad and began deer hunting with him at the age of 11, no gun, but a tag-along. At the age of 12, armed with a single shot Stevens shotgun/ slug you became a real deer hunter. No deer, but you relished the good campfires and roasted sandwiches cooked over a pine stump smoky fire. You then shot your first deer at the age of 13, a doe at 80 yards using a Remington pump 32-20 and were hooked on deer hunting for the next 62 years. Thanks to your family, the tradition continues because in 2006 the family built a CONTINUED ON PAGE 55


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Whitetales Spring 2019  

Whitetales Spring 2019  

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