NOV.- DEC. 2018
Early Ice Walleye Jiggin’
Simple Tips for Big Birds
Late Season Pheasant Hunting
ICE FISHING IN MINNESOTA IS SWEE T AND SIMPLE . Photo by Mille Lacs Area Tourism
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 1
The Taste Worth Hunting For
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 3
Start planning today to be part of the 100th Anniversary Pheasant Hunt!
Hunting Fashionably Late
PHEASANT HUNTING.............................................. 8 Minnesota
GOVERNOR’S HUNT.............................................12 Simple Tips for
The Future of our Waterfowl Heritage
FOWL TALK..................................................... 34-37
THE FALL MIGRATION.........................................38 Warrior Buck
A LOOK BACK AT 2017.......................................40
Pheasant Hunting Destinations
The Making of a
Sioux Falls, SD 14-15 Aberdeen, SD 16-19 Pierre, SD/Lake Oahe 20-21 Upper Oahe 22-23 Missouri River/Lake Francis Case 24-25 Mitchell, SD 26-27 Glacial Lakes of SD 28-29
Early Ice Fishing Nuances to
ICE MORE WALLEYES..........................................60 The Switch from Gas to Electric
ICE AUGERS...................................................................64 Jiggin’ 101 - Early Ice Walleyes
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BAIT.........................68 Marking Winter Locations
BEFORE ICE....................................................................72 Big Bites, Thin Ice
FIRST HARDWATER...............................................74 Are You
Santa’s Bag..................................................... 30-31 Hook & Hunt Chef..................................... 48-51 What to do
When Your Ankles Give Way .........................82
Special Ice Destination Sections
Explore Minnesota 52-59 Lake of the Woods 62-63
CEO/PRESIDENT: K.A. Lesnar MANAGING EDITOR: Paul Nester OPERATIONS MANAGER: Hosea Bennett COMPOSITION MANAGER: Catherine Krause Composition: Dan Brauer, Jesse Bierman, Dawn Giedd, Dustin Scheideler
Paul Nester - Paul@midwesthuntfish.com Brian Bashore - Brian@midwesthuntfish.com
• Explore MN - Joe Albert • Ducks Unlimited - Don Thorpe - Bill Marketon Passion for the Hunt Television • Avera Health • Pheasants - Jarett C. Bies Forever - Tayler Michels
• HSM - Kevin Dahlke - Mike Ferrell - Scott Olson - Alie Witthans - Shane Wepruk
The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be age unting ishing reproduced idwest in whole or in part without written permission ofovember the publisher. ecember
Note from the Editor
It is feeling like the weather wants to get winter here earlier this year. It has been cold in the boat this fall, we were wearing our November gear in October. The pheasant numbers in South Dakota are up and the hunting has been good. In this issue we have some tips on late season pheasant hunting. This is my favorite time of the year to hunt. Deer season is on and we have a great story on deer camps, I think everyone has some great memories of those nights spent in hunting camps. Explore Minnesota has some new options for fishing during the winter, check it out. As we move into December, it is time to make ice. We have some early ice fishing stories and tips to put the first ice catches in the bucket. Check out the two Ice Fishing Shows in Sioux Falls Nov 9-11, and Fargo Dec 7-9, we will have a special ice issue available at both shows. Get out and enjoy the fall hunting and fishing and gas up the auger, it won’t be long, and we will be on the ice.
facebook.com/ midwesthuntfish • Like our page! • Post your photos & much more!
Contributors Dennis Foster Josh Hagemeister Joe Henry Joel Nelson John Pollmann
4005 S. Western Ave - PO Box 5184 Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5184 Sales: 605-274-2640 - Fax: 605-335-6873 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.midwesthuntfish.com
Publisher/Printer: SIOUX FALLS SHOPPING NEWS, INC.
All copy, pictures and graphics are reserved and may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed 2018 and information given are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 5
SAVE THE DATES
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Be a part of the much-anticipated 2019 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic — the largest annual national convention and outdoor tradeshow focused on wildlife conservation, upland hunting, bird dogs, wildlife habitat management, pollinators and more! SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!
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Save the dates and join us in Schaumburg. Visit PheasantFest.org today! Reserve your room, purchase your event tickets and more! Become an exhibitor!
Page 6 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
HABITAT CONSERVATION DOESN’T HAPPEN BY CHANCE. PUBLIC HUNTING ACCESS DOESN’T APPEAR BY ACCIDENT.
We can make sure our public lands and wildlife continue to be a part of who we are, forever. But your voice must be heard. Join us and become a Pheasants Forever Member! For only $35 you’ll help us fight for public access, healthy habitat, and abundant wildlife.
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The Pheasants Forever Upland Field Shirt and Hunting Lanyard combo was created specifically for you – the active upland hunter. And because your membership is so critical, when you join or renew through this special offer you’ll receive this PLUS your normal membership benefits. This includes five magazines throughout the year, an exclusive membership decal & ID card, a 13-month Hunter’s Calendar AND – MORE!
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 7
Armed with common sense & premium ammo…
Late doesn’t mean late to the party. If anything, it means the party has just begun. A holiday, for the birds, as the hordes of hunters have largely packed it in for the year. Leaving what amounts to the cagiest birds of the lot, the survivors, to start settling in to predictable cover options.
And in great numbers too.
Many hunters simply do not realize how many birds are quite at ease lounging around in minimal amounts of cover while it is still warm. There is really no need to tuck into the thick stuff until absolutely necessary for thermal protection. In reality; it is a detriment to them to be in anything too course as it just tends to block their vision and dampen sounds that alert of approaching danger in the form of both 4 and 2 legged predators. Not just us ambulatory types either. They also face an aerial attack from the ever present and vastly over populated swarms of hawks and owls that are continually looking to swoop down upon their avian brethren. All they need is enough plant life to break their outlines on both a horizontal and vertical plane to be completely content early on. I simply cannot tell you have many times I have had the frustration of hunting during warm spells where it was difficult to scratch a few birds out of the absolute best of cover or food plots. Only to bust birds here and there while travelling to and from classic habitat. They simply do not need, nor do they care, to be in anything heavy. This is an adaptation that I see becoming increasingly frequent each season. I strongly feel that our wild birds are taking the concept of Darwinism Page 8 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 8
to new levels. Darwinism in fast forward, if you will. Big time dating myself here, but over the last 40 plus years of chasing tail here in South Dakota, I have seen our birds adapt and overcome many of our (as the hunter) supposed advantages in this deadly dance of pursuit. You see, they have taken their already formidable natural defenses and now have them fined tuned to regularly give us the slip. Natural selection is working to perfection here. It is immediate and permanent. The genetically inferior pheasants quickly fall prey to all manner of predators. They may elude the furry four-legged critters and winged menaces for the first few months of their lives. But, once we as the ultimate predator arrive on the scene each Fall; the last of the dumb ones are quickly eliminated. Some of what I am witnessing is that although well known for their running nature, today’s roosters are relying on their ground game even more. Basically, they seldom hold well (just ask any good pointing dog) with flight generally being the very last option. And, that is only when pushed and pinched into spots where air provides the only means of escape. Midwesthuntfish.com
...You can capitalize on closing time roosters
Inferior genes are quickly eliminated leaving the survivors to propagate their superior traits. These are the real trophies too. Big birds carrying a little fat and even more of their beautiful plumage to protect against the elementsâ€Śand shedding soft shot in the process. Tail feathers are at their longest stage as well. There is absolutely nothing better than seeing an oversized rooster in his full regalia literally dragging the tip of his tail through the snow. You can even see the tell-tale (or tail, you choose the spelling) signs of this in the snow on the outside of cattail sloughs and heavy tree claims in the form of two distinctive foot prints and a fine line right down the center. All roosters at this time of year can be considered to be mature. They are comprised of 2 and 3 year old veterans along with the new crop that has learned to survive to a completely adult state. With all of them at full strength in preparation for winter. These are the most explosive (and exciting) pheasants you will ever encounter. You can literally feel the powerful wingbeats as half a dozen, up to dozens, blast through small windows in the thickest of cattails and quickly catch any available breeze to be well out of range in a blink. The sensory overload this provides is what I relish as the very best upland bird hunting can offer. Proper preparation is most definitely in order to ensure you are knocking down a few and not just watching them sail away. Eliminating slamming doors, barking dogs, jabbering hunters, etc. is all common sense. Basically, all forms of stupidity should stay at home. Parking vehicles far from cover is key as well. A quarter of a mile away is not too far. Perhaps not enough on certain days. I have seen far too many times when blockers lazily pull the vehicles right up to the edge of cover with birds immediately popping up and away. Once this starts, there seems to be an upward domino effect as every single bird in the area will soon follow. This is the one scenario where they can be more prone to flight than foot.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 99
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A good strategy is to focus on small patches of heavy cover. Therefore, you can effectively surround the habitat and have all hunters start towards it at the same time. Dogs should be kept at your side until in the cover. If they like to bark or need continual voice control, leave them in the kennel as they are dosing out more harm than help. There is also absolutely no need for talk of any kind. Done properly, even if the birds prove to be extremely flighty, there is a good chance someone in your group will get some reasonable shots as they depart. Tight chokes and hot loads of heavy and hard shot are critical to harvesting limits in these conditions. On the subject of shots and shooting, I will relay a style I refer to as instinctive shooting. Meaning, one fast movement of the gun to your shoulder as you are swinging on the first bird to flush and almost simultaneously pulling the trigger. This is not time to be pondering leads, etc. The less thinking the better. No time for analysis or second guessing here. Quick shooters with killer instincts excel in these conditions. Practice in the offseason on clay targets with your gun held in a hunting position. Done properly, you should be instantly turning them to powder at close range. The next factor is what you are actually shooting at these tough old roosters. The smaller gauges in lively over and unders are all good and fine if you are an excellent shot in early season. Now is the time to break out the big guns. Namely, 12 gauge autos that are fed hot and heavy loads of hard copper plated shot. These birds often do not succumb to just one dose of pellets. A quick double tap is often needed to bring them down dead enough for retrieval.
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By far, the largest mistake I see hunters making is using inferior ammo. At this time of year, it is more important than ever. I will make an admittedly prejudiced recommendation on shells. As I run a pheasant hunting operation right in the heart of it all here in South Dakota, my very livelihood depends on the performance of premium ammo. To that end, I have collaborated with the folks at Rio to introduce the Royal Pheasant line. After witnessing my clients cleanly down several hundred late season roosters with the initial offering late last year, I am sold on the real world results. I start the season with the two and 3/4 inch 12 gauge version with one and 1/4 ounces of super hard and tight grouping number 5 shot at 1,400 fps. Within two weeks this is bumped up to number 4s. This soon gives way to 3 inch magnum loads of one and 3/8 ounces of 4 shot moving at 1,300 fps. This season when encountering extremely spooky birds, I will be using the Royal Turkey line churning out a full ounce and 3/4 of buffered copper plated shot at 1,250 fps for the super tight patterns and long-range killing power provided. Please note that premium does not need to equate to pricey. We want maximum shock to the roosters. Not sticker shock to our wallets. The beauty of these shells is that they retail for below 20 bucks a box and outperform most, if not all others, at any price point. There really is no excuse for not using the very best. If you are looking to bag some true trophy ringnecks this season, take my word as late is indeed great as it relates to roosters. Dennis Foster is an avid outdoor communicator who utilizes and is heavily involved in all forms of media, including Focus Outdoors TV. He welcomes questions and comments and can be reached via either of his websites www.dakotapheasantguide.com or www. eyetimepromotions.com.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 11
2018 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, Luverne, MN It’s been 8 years since Governor Mark Dayton initiated the Minnesota Pheasant opener that has now become a tradition in Minnesota. This 8th year of tradition would be the last under Governor Dayton’s helm and it was no doubt the largest to date. As we rolled into the beautiful city of Luverne, MN we were greeted with a picture-perfect snowfall setting the scene for what would be Minnesota’s largest Pheasant opener event to date. Governor Dayton had the foresight to bring the ample opportunities and the family tradition of Pheasant hunting back to Minnesota. This event was a cooperative promotion between the City of Luverne, MN, The Department of Natural Resources, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and many other organizations and landowners to make it all possible. And did they ever! This event was well organized from the beginning to end. Not only did they roll out the red carpet for all those in attendance they even greeted us with a marching band as they presented the colors at the opening ceremonies banquet. The event was packed with things to do from groundbreaking ceremonies for “Rooster Ridge” a 98-acre parcel donated to the public by the local Pheasant Forever chapter as well as the Blue Mounds State Park Prairie and Bison tour. Paul Nester (Midwest Hunting and Fishing, Editor) and I decided to take part in the trap shooting activity as we knew we needed to knock the rust off of not only our shotguns but our shooting skills prior to the Saturday morning hunt. I have hunted in several states in the Midwest but Minnesota was not one of them that came to mind for Pheasant hunting. Minnesota is known for some of their great grouse hunting but after what I saw on our morning hunt I would say Pheasant numbers are on the rise and your odds of a successful hunt are highly probable. After an evening of great camaraderie and good food followed up with some great music and conversation, we set out on what would be my first MN pheasant hunt. It was a very cool crisp morning with a fair amount of moisture on the ground making it the perfect conditions for our bird dogs to work the property many landowners gracefully donated access to us all for this hunt. With over 85% of the crops still unharvested in Rock County. And many of the lowland areas filled with water this was going to be a challenge. Upon arrival at our first location, we were greeted with a rooster flying over the truck into our hunting location. Hunting success is gauged differently by all, some want to shoot limits of birds many others just enjoy the time outdoors, for me personally it’s watching the dogs work the fields and watching other first time hunters take part in the excitement of that first cackle and flush of a rooster. Our group of 5 hunters and two host guides may have only yielded one rooster but the birds were plentiful especially with the conditions we were hunting in. The reports from many of the other 100+ plus hunters were the same. They all experienced a good number of birds but many were out of range and fleeing to the standing crops. Minnesota has done an excellent job of conservation in many areas to bring back the pheasant population and to encourage the next generation of hunters to get out there and enjoy what many of us have our entire life. The theme for Luverne, MN was “Love the Hunt” and I’m pretty confident the measurement of success from all of those in attendance was just that. They Loved the Hunt as much as we did. We would like to thank Governor Dayton, Explore MN, Minnesota DNR the city of Luverne and all of those that took part in planning and participating in this annual tradition as it’s a weekend we will always remember. To learn more about hunting in SW Minnesota and the many opportunities it has to offer go to http://www.swmnhunting.com/
Page 12 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 12
By Brian Bashore
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 13
Start Your Hunt in Sioux Falls
Southeast South Dakota offers access to millions of acres of public land for your hunting pleasure, lands such as Game Production Areas, CREP Lands and Walk-In Areas offer choice habitat for pheasants. Sioux Falls is located just minutes from many of these public lands and private hunting facilities for you to hunt. With over 700 restaurants, Sioux Falls can cater to everyone's taste. Choose from elegant, eclectic, and ethnic—or sample regional specialties such as hearty Midwestern steaks, gourmet game, or freshwater fish.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€¢ Page 15
Come experience the rush of pounding wings, bright skies, and the cackle of roosters as they explode into the sky. Memorable wing shooting experiences await you in Aberdeen, South Dakota!
Page 16 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
The Aberdeen area is one of the top producing areas in the state for the last 8 years for pheasant hunting. Aberdeen is sitting on the hot spot and have the number of birds to prove it. For a complete list of guides and outfitters go to HuntFishSD.com. The Aberdeen Area has everything you will need to make lasting memories! An Abundance of Game While Aberdeen has world-renowned pheasant hunting opportunities, other game hunting is available in the area. In addition to pheasants, the area has an abundance of other game including doves, geese, a variety of ducks, whitetail deer, wild turkey, and more. The Aberdeen area is home to a refuge where thousands of birds pass through or call home. Fishing For the angler, several beautiful fishing lakes surround Aberdeen providing ample opportunity to land the perfect catch while taking in a brilliant South Dakota sunset.
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If you are looking for hunting or fishing information covering NE South Dakota, HuntFishSD has it all. HuntFishSD is also a valuable resource for those corporate partners entertaining clients who want to chase some roosters while they are here doing business in the Aberdeen region. Key features of the website include promotion of Aberdeen restaurants, hotels, area fishing and hunting guides, private hunting lodges, and landowners. Midwesthuntfish.com
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 17
Aberdeen is located in the Glacial Lakes Region of South Dakota and provides an exciting variety of sport fishing opportunities. Anglers can catch walleye, northern pike, crappie, blue gills, bass, and perch, all in the Aberdeen area. Content provided by Aberdeen CVB
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 19
Pheasants are plentiful here thanks to the ideal weather, prairie habitat and nearby Fort Pierre National Grasslands. Pierre is also great for prairie chickens and sharp-tail grouse that share a similar hunting season to pheasants. Waterfowl, white tail deer and wild turkey are also popular in the area and have varying seasons.
Pierre's location makes it the ideal place for the state capital and the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Pierre and Hughes County boast one of the highest bird and harvest counts in the state of South Dakota.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 21
The Ringneck Pheasant hunting in the fall is as good as it gets, and with some of the best trophy walleye fishing on Oahe, this destination is a win-win for any sportsmen. If you are still looking for outdoor adventures you can try your hand at sharptailed grouse in the river breaks of the Missouri River, prairie dog hunting on the thousands and thousands of acres of the wide open prairies of western South Dakota, call in a coyote in the winter, or take a shot at the quick and agile antelope or the trophy mounts of the whitetail and mule deer that roam the prairies on either side of the river.
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SOUTH DAKOTA GAME, FISH AND PARKS
The first South Dakota pheasant hunting season was a one-day hunt held in Spink County on October 3O, 1919.
Taking a look back! Help the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks tip our blaze orange caps to the past 100 years of Outdoor Tradition, and start celebrating the next century. Show us how you are joining in on the fun by using
# M ySDT radition when sharing all your South Dakota experiences. Look for events across the state, like a SD Brewery Contest, a photo recreation challenge and other interesting ways to look to the past, and step in to the future with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 23
When it come to the outdoors in South Dakota, the Chamberlin/Oacoma area on the Missouri River provides some of the best pheasant hunting and walleye fishing you can find. The big decision when you visit this area is whether to get up early and catch a limit of world class walleyes before you go out and shoot a limit of pheasants. For the best shot at a cast-and-blast adventure, plan a trip between the opening day of the pheasant season and the end of November. Because of the 10 a.m. or noon pheasant start time, fishing can be a morning activity with hunting in the afternoon.
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Page 24 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 24
Some of the best walleye fishing of the season occurs during the fall hunting season. With easy access from Interstate 90 and one of the highest annual bird harvests and walleye catches, Chamberlain-Oacoma will become your top hunting and fishing destination in South Dakota.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 25
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 27
Some of the best year-round fishing in South Dakota can be found in the 120 glacial lakes in the northeast part of the state. This lake region also is the home to great pheasant, deer and waterfowl hunting. With the start of pheasant season, the start of some of the best fall fishing can be found across this region. So, if you like to hunt and fish, make sure you plan a trip to the Glacial Lakes Region of South Dakota.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 29
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The Hunter29 easily adjusts from 6 3/4” to 29” and is ideal for western hunters, spot-andstalk situations or anywhere long shots from the ground are likely. No matter the terrain or obstacle you can trust Swagger to help you shoot with confidence. Price $199 swaggerbipods.com/ collections/hunter-series/ products/hunter-29
V-Crate with 4 3600 or 3700 StowAway® Utility Boxes Engineered specifically for kayak fishing. The unique Vshape wraps the kayaker with storage on either side for easy access that requires little mobility. Each side features an open slot that holds 4 3600 or 3700 StowAway® utility boxes. Completing the side storage offerings, a convenient rail system sits on each outer wall to attach rod holders and other accessories. Priced $99 planomolding.com/v-crate
Providing high quality tungsten jigs, fly tied tungsten jigs, jig boxes, tungsten assortments, and boxed tungsten jig assortments. Tie-on some luck! 800-642-5213 Glencoe, MN www.luckydawgtackle.com email@example.com
SAGENSAW The SagenSaw is a compact, lightweight field dressing saw. It allows you to quickly and safely cut through the pelvic bone while cleaning big game without puncturing the colon or bladder. Safer than using a hunting knife and with the unique bumper, you’re not as likely to rupture organs. Also works wonders on the rib cage and leg bones. The SagenSaw I was developed to perfectly field dress deer, sheep, antelope and black bear. The SagenSaw II is 30% bigger and longer for elk, moose, and grizzly bear. Both SagenSaws come with a black sheath. For more information go to www.sageninc.com.
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AUTOMATIC BOAT LOADING & BOAT LAUNCHING SYSTEM The easiest way to load a V-hull boat. The system on Boat2Trailer.com allows for one person to load a boat in a matter of seconds all by themselves. No more hanging over the bow or getting into the water to load the boat. The automatic boat loading system replaces only the front roller on the trailer. This makes for a simple and easy installation. For more information please visit www.boat2trailer.com or call 605-321-0923 to order direct. Midwesthuntfish.com
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shuckslures.com • Milford, IA
MIKE'S GPS FISHING MAPS Let’s go fishing with Mike's Maps as your guide. Mike’s maps have hours of research and plotting to save you time on the water. Each lake has waypoints identifying structure not found on other maps, find structure - find fish. The maps are extremely durable, water repellent, flexible, scuff-resistant and they float. The Maps are easy to use, just choose a point number from the map, and put the latitude and longitude into your GPS and Have Fun. Mike’s Maps PO Box 1294, Huron SD 57350 605-352-0407 firstname.lastname@example.org • mikesmaps.com Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 31 31
Remember the Little Things for
SIMPLE TIPS FOR BIG BIRDS Those cold winds of fall have begun to blow across the Dakotas, bringing with them the first migrating flocks of mallards and Canada geese from the north. And when the wheels of the migration are turning, every day can bring opportunities to hunt these big birds over decoys, but there are challenges to hunting this time of the season as well. As the saying goes, “life is in the details,” and the same can be said for hunting late season ducks and geese. By paying attention to the small things, you can put more birds in the decoys this fall. Here are three ways to get it done: Patient Scouting Hunting the first migrating waterfowl of fall can make for excellent gunning over the decoys, but as exciting as it can be see fresh birds on the wing while scouting, ducks and geese that are new to an area will sometimes change feeding patterns rather abruptly, making your scouting all that more important. If you can spare the time, wait another day to hunt birds that are hitting a field, especially if you suspect that they are new to your area. See them in there again the next morning or afternoon? You know you’ve got a pattern worth hunting.
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A windy day will often find both ducks and geese seeking out areas in the field that are protected – low-lying areas or impressions behind hills or on the leeward side of a hill or other landform. Small changes in both situations, but significant pieces of the puzzle that will help you keep your decoy spreads realistic and stay one step ahead of those late season birds.
Make Some Motion If given the choice of bringing either a duck or goose call to the field or some form of motion, i.e. flag, jerk-string, spinning wing decoy to the field, hunters should think long and hard about choosing the motion over the noise. There is simply is no understating how important movement is to a decoy spread for both mallards and Canada geese. While spinning wing decoys get a lot of attention, the best bang for you buck in terms of motion in a decoy spread is a jerk string rig, like the one available from Rig ‘em Right. With a pull of a string, you create motion on the surface of the water that brings life to decoys on windless days and creates the illusion of a content, active flock of ducks. In terms of when to use a jerk string, you can basically follow the same rule used for a goose flag: the further away the birds are, the more motion you can and should use. As the birds get closer, the use of the flag should be toned down to mimic a bird landing – starting high and pumping the wings all the way down to the ground. When birds are close, hunters tend to put the flag down and for good reason – too much motion can send birds flaring the other way. But short bursts of motion close to the ground – similar to a goose stretching its wings – can be just the ticket to grab the attention geese that are thinking of sliding to the side or stopping short. Keeping It Real Every successful waterfowl hunter, whether he thinks about it or it not, is a keen observer of the birds he hunts. Keying in on the dipping of wings at the sound of a particular note from the call or identifying a pattern between roost and feed and staging pond – hunters know that by watching the birds closely, looking for small cues to their behavior, they’re more likely to see them feet-down over the decoys. As the fall progresses, more often than not, a hunter is battling cold, wind and snow – conditions that call you to pay attention to the details, as the changes in weather often prompt changes in bird behavior. When things get cold, geese in particular like to get cozy; landing almost on top of each other to get down and eat. Unlike early season hunts where decoys can be spread out, a honker hunt in the cold should feature a tighter packed spread with a landing area tight to the main body of decoys. If there is snow on the ground, geese will concentrate even more, some even lying down on the ground – a perfect time to use shell decoys or remove the bases on full-bodied decoys. Midwesthuntfish.com
THE ONLY KENNEL YOU WILL EVER NEED • Ventilation System • Light Weight • Stackable • Multiple Accessories
rufflandkennels.com Tea, South Dakota • 605-368-9872 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 33 33
By Bill Marketon, South Dakota Ducks Unlimited State Chairman
By Don Thorpe
There was a famous television commercial 40 years ago showing a Native American Chief looking across a polluted landscape as a tear rolled down his cheek. I often wonder if 100 years from now will there be a child in camo looking across a barren field where once a wetland teaming with waterfowl and other wildlife once existed as a tear rolls down his cheek. Or will that child be smiling as he sits with his dad, in a blind on that protected wetland as mallardâ€™s wing across the water to their decoy spread. Which version of the future occurs depends on what we do now. Ducks Unlimited has protected and conserved over 13 million acres of wetland and associated habitat over the last 82 years. But there is so much work left undone. The grasslands that support the duck factory in our own back yard are disappearing at an alarming rate. We are racing to help conservation minded landowners to protect native grassland thru grassland easements. We are seeing thousands of acres of CRP plowed black. From nesting grounds to the wintering grounds, habitat needed by waterfowl is at risk of being permanently lost. Ducks Unlimited is the only waterfowl conservation organization that delivers conservation projects across the entire North American continent. These projects protect and restore habitat that help fulfill the needs of waterfowl throughout their life cycle. You can sit on the sideline as our precious resources are taken over by urban spread, wetlands are drained and the native prairie is plowed under to be converted to crop land. Or you can rise with other concerned and dedicated waterfowl enthusiasts to take a stand to protect our Waterfowl heritage. We need your help! I am asking you to join your local DU committee to work for a future where those who come after us can experience the excitement of skies full of waterfowl. Please call me at 605-630-8696 or email dthorpe@ducks. org to join the DU Team. 3434 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 Page
The last week of September I was invited to participate in a migratory bird hunt in Saskatchewan. The hunt included geese (light & dark), sandhill cranes and ducks. What an incredible week it was. Every pothole had some type of bird in it. To multiply this, the prairie landscape was covered with many potholes and lakes. Most parcels of land averaged over a dozen potholes per section, almost fifty per square mile. Imagine your best day hunting during the migration, seeing the sky filled with waterfowl and migrating birds. That was every day in Saskatchewan. Birds were everywhere. There were so many mallards that I almost became a greenhead snob. On my last hunt, greenheads were the only ducks on my mind. There was one beautiful drake pintail that joined my eight-bird limit. Over the last couple of years, I have heard about how important all North America is to our migratory birds. Canada as breeding grounds, United States as breeding, travel and wintering grounds and Mexico for wintering habitat. Never would I have imagined how important our neighbor to the north is. Ducks Unlimited Canada is instrumental in conserving habitat for migratory birds. DU Canada owns over 300,000 acres in Saskatchewan alone. Through easements with landowners, they manage significantly more acres. It is not a simple task. Government conservation funds are not easy to come by in Canada. They rely heavily upon support from conservatists in the United States. They also apply for and receive significant funding from NAWCA (North American Wetlands Conservation Act). The US dollar goes very far in Canada. For example, a permanent Conservation Easement can be placed on an acre for less than $280 US dollars. That same easement in the US would be 8-10 times as much. Major donors to Ducks Unlimited have directed funds to be used in Canada to assist in this conservation effort. It is simply amazing what they are doing with our dollars.
Awarded to SD Ducks Unlimited Additional funds will soon be available to SD landowners interested in improving soil health and enhancing wildlife habitat. DU’s new Soil Health Initiative is one of the projects that received funding as part of a $1 million grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. The grant will be spent on a variety of wetland and upland conservation activities in the Prairie Pothole Region of eastern SD. The Prairie Pothole Region stretches from southern SD to the Canadian prairies and is the most important waterfowl breeding habitat in North America. Soil Health Initiative funds will be available to eastern SD landowners interested in establishing cover crops, diversifying crop rotations, reducing tillage, conserving wetlands and planting grasslands.
One of the key aspects of the program is the importance of integrating cattle into cropland management. “Cattle and ducks get along just fine. We have long known that grasslands managed for livestock production also provide excellent habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species,” said Steve Donovan, DU’s manager of conservation programs. “Establishing cover crops on cropland and then later using those acres as livestock forage will provide similar benefits to wildlife while also improving soil health and providing additional income to producers.” In fact, DU researchers are already documenting the use of cover crops as nesting habitat by ducks, pheasants and other ground nesting birds. The grant also includes funds for various wetland restoration and protection projects, including the acquisition of conservation easements from willing landowners. The grant and partner contributions will enhance more than 30,000 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitats in eastern SD, benefiting waterfowl, ring-necked pheasants, white-tailed deer, songbirds, waterbirds and a wide variety of other wildlife species. Partners in the project include John and Cheryl Dale, the David and Margaret Grohne Family Foundation, James River Water Development District, Roberts Conservation District, First National Bank of Omaha, the SD Habitat Conservation Fund and SD GFP.
Ducks Unlimited Mexico also helps to maintain the mangrove forests that provide wintering grounds for many of our migratory birds. This land is conserved at a fraction of the cost of US real estate. I have yet to see this area, but I am certain to be impressed if Canada is any example. If you have not been to this North American waterfowl paradise, I would suggest a trip to Saskatchewan. The landowners are friendly. The hospitality at local hotels and restaurants is great. They welcome dogs in the hotel rooms, so bring your favorite retriever. Get ready to be inspired and energized. As hunters, we owe it to future generations to conserve our landscape. Please join DU to help us reach that common goal. Better yet, become a major donor and direct a portion of your funds to Canada and Mexico. For the Ducks!! Photos & Articles Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited Midwesthuntfish.com
35 35 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page
Articles & Photos Courtesy of Ducks Unlimited
DU Announces New
Ducks Unlimited is excited to announce a new opportunity for South Dakota landowners interested in improving farm profitability and wildlife habitat at the same time. Through this program, DU agronomists and wildlife biologists will help producers design longterm farm management plans that promote profitable agriculture while also benefiting wildlife, including waterfowl, ring-necked pheasants, white-tailed deer and other species. In addition to providing key technical assistance, DU may also provide financial incentives to producers to help implement new conservation practices. “It has been in interesting evolution in our conservation strategies since we hired Brad”, said Steve Donovan, DU’s Manager of Conservation Programs. The “Brad” he is referring to is Brad Schmidt, DU’s lead agronomist in South Dakota. “Brad has opened our eyes to all the potential that exists for promoting profitable agriculture and wildlife habitat at the same time on the same acres, something many wildlife biologists were trained to think impossible”, he added. The addition of agronomists to DU’s staff of wildlife biologists and engineers has resulted in the development of new concepts in waterfowl habitat management. One example is the use of cover crops to improve soil fertility. “Producers are starting to recognize the importance of increasing soil carbon levels and retaining soil fertility using cover crops, but those cover crops can also provide benefits to wildlife, including spring nesting habitat”, said Schmidt. Winter wheat also provides suitable nesting cover and while it is generally considered a low profit crop, producers are starting to recognize the value of winter wheat in a crop rotation plan because of the significant boost it gives to soil carbon, which then benefits the next crop grown on those acres. “The key to promoting both profitable agriculture and wildlife is to recognize the particular resources you already have on a property, manage those resources responsibly and implement a crop rotation plan that also meets the needs of wildlife”, said Donovan. One example of such a program is to use wetlands wisely. Wetlands, even wetlands that are partially drained, can be very difficult to farm. Input costs are often a total loss when a heavy rain will generate standing water and result in crop loss. A better use for wetlands is for grazing purposes. “When cover crops in cropland areas are grazed, which is good for soil health improvement, those cattle will also graze within wetlands embedded in those cropland acres, putting on pounds and generating profits for landowners, while also maintaining plant diversity in those wetland habitats, something wildlife needs”, said Donovan. Landowners interested in pheasants should be interested in this new program too, according to Donovan. “Ducks and pheasants often use the same habitats”, he explained. Cover crops and winter wheat can provide nesting habitat for pheasants. A field planted to season long cover crops, and then grazed during the late winter, can greatly improve soil health while also providing late summer brood habitat and excellent hunting opportunities for pheasants. Add to that scenario a few cattail wetlands that provide the best winter cover for pheasants and you have an ideal scenario to benefit ducks and pheasants, while also realizing farm profitability. “These practices can really benefit a producer’s bottom line, particularly in these tough economic times”, added Schmidt. “Improving soil health can significant reduce a producer’s input costs, while also sometimes resulting in improved yields. This combination is something you can literally take to the bank”, according to Schmidt. Landowners interesting in hearing more about this new program can call Donovan at (605) 633-0270, or any of the other DU biologists and agronomists in South Dakota. Page 3636 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
SD Ducks Unlimited
The South Dakota Ducks Unlimited State convention will migrate to the Pierre Ramkota Hotel and Event Center January 25 & 26th, 2019. Our theme this year is “Catch a Wave to Hawaii”. SDDU Convention is a celebration of conservation minded sportsman recognizing the importance of protecting not only South Dakota's precious wildlife habitat but habitat across North America. Our convention is open to DU volunteers, members and those who would like to become members, so make plans now to join us at the South Dakota Ducks Unlimited State Convention. This year we will host a Friday Night Luau, so come dressed in your favorite Hawaiian attire. Saturday highlights are General Business brunch followed by activities for all members of your family! Saturday, we conclude the convention with the South Dakota DU Gala featuring a fine meal and a live auction with original art and other DU collectibles. Register for the 2019 South Dakota Ducks Unlimited State Convention by Midnight December 31st and you will be entered in a FREE drawing for a Stevens 20 Ga. Shotgun!!!! To purchase your tickets online please at http://www. ducks.org/south-dakota/events. Midwesthuntfish.com
Come & support Ducks Unlimited in Your Hometown Join in the fun and attend your local Ducks Unlimited event! You can find a list of upcoming events on the South Dakota Ducks Unlimited web page at http://www.ducks.org/south-dakota/events. It is easy to locate your favorite event, just “click” on link and you will open a new page featuring full event information. There is even an option to register online for most events. The newest feature to the event info page is easy mapping available to direct to event location. So come have fun and support waterfowl conservation! Bring DU Home with you! Is DU in your Hometown? Ducks Unlimited volunteers have hosted events in many communities in South Dakota. Many new chapters have started in the last few years in small towns and have had great events. But DU has disappeared from other towns. We want you to have DU in your hometown. Help us get there! Contact: Don Thorpe Regional Director, 605-630-8696 or email@example.com
DU Hires New
Ducks Unlimited is excited to announce the hiring of Gratten Allen, an agronomist who will specialize in delivering DU’s “Soil Health Program” in northeast SD. Mr. Allen started working for DU in July and has hit the ground running. He will make his home and office in Webster, and he will be working with producers in the Bitter Lake watershed and surrounding landscapes on efforts to improve soil health and wildlife habitat by implementing a variety of conservation practices, including: promoting no-till systems, planting cover crops, diversifying crop rotations to include small grain crops like winter wheat, integrating grazing systems on cropland and many other practices. DU believes these practices will enhance wetland habitats and provide additional upland nesting cover for ducks, pheasants and other upland nesting birds. “I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the number of producers he has already contacted and developed projects with”, said Steve Donovan, DU’s Manager of Conservation Programs. Midwesthuntfish.com 37 Gratten Allen
DU Among Finalists For NRCS’ 2018 Excellence in
Ducks Unlimited was one of three finalists nominated for the 2018 Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as announced by Jeff Zimprich, NRCS State Conservationist, Huron, SD. “This year all three finalists have done amazing work to further conservation across South Dakota (SD),” he said at the time the nominations were announced. Ducks Unlimited has several cooperative ventures underway with the NRCS in South Dakota. These efforts are geared around promoting soil health improvement practices and monitoring the benefits of those practices to waterfowl and other wildlife species. The award recognizes excellence in natural resources conservation. “The award winner is recognized for working side-by-side with the NRCS to augment the value of the NRCS’ technical assistance and support implementation of conservation programs of the Farm Bill.” Their teamwork to blend resources of individuals, private organizations, universities, local, state, and federal government entities, has strengthened overall relationships. Most importantly these joint efforts are making a difference on the health of our natural resources. “Our partners have been incredible in their ideas and activities for helping SD’s farmers and ranchers," says Zimprich. For 23 years, the NRCS has presented the award at the state convention of the SD Association of Conservation District which was held in Pierre, SD, September 16-18, 2018. The three finalists for the 2018 award were the SD Corn Growers Association, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and the South Dakota Ducks Unlimited. While the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe was the eventual recipient of the award, it was still a great honor to be selected as a finalist for the award, said Brad Schmidt, DU agronomist who leads the soil health program. “It is an honor to be recognized by the NRCS for our work to promote soil health practices in the most important waterfowl habitat in North America”, said Schmidt. “When agricultural lands are managed correctly, using practices that protect natural resources, protect soil health, and promote long-term sustainability of these resources, wildlife will also benefit, something that everyone should be excited about”, he added. For more information on DU’s Soil Health Program, people are encouraged to call Brad at (605) 592-1277.
DU Major Donor
South Dakota’s Major Sponsor fundraising efforts were outstanding in 2017, under the guidance of Director of Development, Terry Kostinec, the state campaign committee produced astounding results. Team South Dakota rose to the #1 position in the Ducks Unlimited nation for the first time. More than $2.7 million to DU’s conservation mission was raised. The year 2018 has been “good for the ducks” also. Presently, 9 new Life Sponsors, 18 upgrades and 1 Feather Society member have signed on the dotted line. State Campaign Chairman, Maynard Isaacson said, “This South Dakota Campaign Committee has accepted the challenge to go ‘back to back’ as #1! We appreciate the outstanding support of all our Major Donors!” Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 37 37
Spencer Vaa, Major Donor
As we rounded a point, about 2000 Northern bluebills lifted as did our spirits!! Our cabin host, Bennett turned to us and said, “those weren’t there an hour ago!” I’m sure my smile could have been spotted from a mile away and all I could think of was “YES!!!”
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My heart literally sunk as I hung up the phone with my uncle. One line kept resonating through my mind:” there’s no birds around”. How can that be? It was mid October and the fall migration of diver ducks should have been in full swing in Northwestern Ontario. A hunt had been planned for months on Lake of the Woods and we were past the point of no return, so we decided to toss in the fishing rods too and take advantage of an amazing fall walleye bite if need be. I made the drive to Fort Frances, Ontario to pick up my boat and decoys with the plan being to drive to Lake of the Woods early the following morning. As any waterfowler can attest, I was triple checking my gear well into the darkness and had to go back outside at around midnight to look for something. That was when I had the first positive vibe. I could hear the swoosh of the red pines and when I looked up into the darkness, I saw the tops violently swaying back and forth. A Northwest wind had arrived, and the temperature was falling like a rock. The morning came as quick as it does with any duck hunt and we made our way to Morson, where we launched boats that were jammed to the gunnels with gear and began the trek to Big Island, picking our way through the troughs of whitecaps. We made a brief stop at Painted Rock Channel where Indigenous ancestors made their mark hundreds of years ago. I couldn’t help but wonder what life was like back then without cell phones and gasoline engines; a bit of nostalgia to say the least. As we continued towards our home for the next 4 days, a cabin nestled in the pines along the shore of Lake of the Woods, we saw what we were all longing for and were transformed into little kids bursting with jubilee for a few moments. As we rounded a point, about 2000 Northern bluebills lifted as did our spirits!! Our cabin host, Bennett turned to us and said, “those weren’t there an hour ago!” I’m sure my smile could have been spotted from a mile away and all I could think of was “YES!!!” We made our way to the cabin where gear was stowed, a fire was lit, and stories were shared into the night only to be interrupted periodically by the snap of jackpine smoldering in the wood stove. I relish any opportunity to hear the “back when” stories of waterfowl hunting. The sport has evolved from a simple time to a complex industry full of technology and gear. Waterfowl hunting is rich Midwesthuntfish.com in tradition and I always have an appreciation for the history lessons.
One old timer told a story of how he and his buddy shot a limit of bluebills from a boat tied off at a tree on an island around the corner from the cabin where we sat...no camo or decoys were placed, just thousands of ducks that wanted to be where they were...interesting concept, huh?! The following morning, we made our way to the boats in complete darkness. The engines were fired up and the morning air was filled with the odor of 2 stroke exhaust. I followed a black silhouette to our hunting location all the while the anticipation was building. We decided to set up on a point to the East of the “big water” which creates a natural funnel for birds heading out for their morning breakfast and hopefully big raft of Northern bluebills. There were going to be 6 shooters that morning, so about 6 dozen decoys consisting of blue bills, bufflehead and golden eyes were set around the point with a landing zone on each side. We used 3 motion decoys as well, placed near the landing zones to add a little more flash and gain the attention of passing birds. The sky began to lighten to the East and took on shades of crimson and gold, bringing the landscape into full view. The shotguns were loaded, and we anxiously sat in anticipation of our quarry. It didn’t take long before the first few flights of birds showed up and several mature buffleheads dropped into the spread. The morning silence was no more as steel was sent skyward and we were rewarded with some beautiful birds. The morning flight proved to be somewhat slow, so all but 3 of us decided to retreat to the cabin for breakfast and coffee. It had been a while since my uncle and I sat in a blind together, so we figured we’d ride things out and catch up. My uncle’s buddy Bennett opted to join us, and we sat for hours reminiscing of years past. Truth is, my uncle got me started in the waterfowl game about 30 years earlier on a Lake of the Woods not far from where we were sitting. As we sat sharing stories, something caught our eye to the Northeast, way off in the distance. “Hey, some birds working from the right” my uncle stated, as he peered through squinted eyes. We watched the birds for what seemed to be an eternity before we realized they were coming our way. And come our way they did!! A beautiful flock of greater bluebills dropped into our spread on a rope. As the wings flared we sat up and I picked out the specimen of a duck, a mature drake bluebill and squeezed the trigger. As my Beretta recoiled, I realized that the shot hit its mark as did my uncle and Bennett’s and several bills dropped into the dekes. This flight turned out to be the first of several as wave upon wave of bluebills poured in. The commotion garnered the attention of our bunkmates and they promptly returned to the blind for some of the best duck shooting I’ve ever experienced. And it all went down between the hours of 11:30 am and 2:30 pm! We ended up having spectacular shooting for the remainder of our trip, but the highlight for me came on the final day. I was the sole hunter who opted to abandon the warmth of the cabin that morning and any waterfowler who has hunted solo knows that the experience is one of itself. I made my way back to the point and set out my decoys only assisted by the lights of about a million stars. The lake was like glass and as I sat waiting for sunrise, it was hard not to reflect as I sat sipping my campfire coffee. I truly felt the richest I ever had in years, not financially but in life. The morning darkness gave way to a sunrise that was one of the most spectacular and perfect that I’ve ever had the privilege to witness and I really noticed the beauty of the fall colors. I always find myself on sensory overload when hunting alone and those memories are what keeps me grounded and returning year after year. The morning gave way to several flights of birds that dropped into my spread, only to be shot at with my camera as I soaked up the experience. See the truth is, for me the waterfowl experience is the culmination of a fall ritual, changing of seasons and new beginnings; sure, shooting birds is part of it, Midwesthuntfish.com but it’s not the sole reason I’m there anymore.
I can have a very memorable hunt and not even take the safety off. As I sat there admiring the birds work, my trance was shattered as I heard the whistling of a golden eye approaching from the West. I franticly slipped 3 rounds of steel into my Beretta and scoured the horizon until I saw him. A fully mature common golden eye, a bird I’d never shot before. As he screamed by I swung the barrel past and squeezed the trigger. My first attempt was behind, so I sped up the follow through and squeezed again, this time being met with success. And that was the way I chose the hunt and trip to end, on a high note harvesting my very first whistler and he was a magnificent specimen in full plumage. As I write this article, the 2018 season has just begun, and I can’t help but reflect on last year’s experience. I learned some valuable lessons not only from a technical standpoint, but also a bit about myself and how I’ve transcended as a waterfowler. First, timing is everything. We were very lucky that the birds showed up when they did and that we stayed in the blind all day. I can’t overstate the importance of scouting; it’s the single most important thing a waterfowl hunter can do to maximize opportunities for a successful harvest. Secondly, if you can’t put yourself where the birds want to be such as the big water due to safety concerns, then put yourself along their flight path to get there. Lastly, try to embrace the entire waterfowl experience instead of basing success on the number of birds going home. Sure, we’re all there to hunt ducks, but the memories are what last generations. The sunrise I had the privilege to experience on the final day of last year’s trip will forever be etched in my mind, however I can’t say that I recall each and every time I squeezed the trigger. I’m wishing you all a safe and memorable 2018 waterfowl season and remember to take someone new out to the sport, so you can and pass on the tradition.
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 39
A Look Back at 2017
Some of the most exhilarating hunting adventures I’ve experienced in my life combine Mule Deer with Archery. Compared to anything I’ve personally done in the outdoors, spot and stalk Mule Deer with stick and string is my personal favorite joy. I plan all summer, waiting for fall and the chance to stalk a mature buck. Motivated by big mule deer that gave me the slip in seasons past. The 2017 hunting season was going to be difficult for me. I had a busy schedule planned during a large part of the season that would completely black out all my weekends through thanksgiving. I was left with a handful of windows during the last few weeks of the season. Everyday that fall, it seemed I went to bed dreaming about December’s unpredictable weather.
Photo credit: Tayler Michels, Passion for the Hunt Television
Page 40 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 40
My work schedule was known early on so I knew my North Dakota archery hunting would come down to December. During the dog days of summer, I practiced with my Halon in full winter clothes. Layered up to simulate the wicked conditions I would surely be faced with in December. Not having any opportunity to hunt or even scout on account of my out of state Job weighed heavy on my mind but I can’t complain. To clarify, the job that so mercilessly takes me away each fall is guiding in Montana’s Missouri River Breaks Country. I pursue elk and mule deer on a daily basis along with the occasional bighorn sheep. One reality of guiding big game is that you spend your time without a weapon. The seasons in Montana kept me busy all through Thanksgiving. It was December when I was finally able to come back to North Dakota and prepare for my own “opening day” of 2017. All season, I had been cheering on from afar while my friends shared stories of success. Many trophies had already been laid to rest from bow hunters and gun hunters throughout the state of North Dakota. Now in December, it was my turn to get out on a cold windswept hill and glass for a trophy of my own. The week leading up to departure was filled with all the familiar feelings. Excitement and anticipation as I texted all my close hunting buddies. Receiving words of encouragement and reminiscing about past hunts ramped up the excitement even more. Pressure is also a familiar feeling, I always have butterflies in my stomach the night before a hunt. I can’t stop dreaming about what could happen. Praying I make just enough correct moves to get a big buck on the ground. The first surprise of this hunt however was the forecasted weather. Highs in the 40º range would equal a heat wave given it was the 9th of December. Warm temperatures this time of year can make for tough hunting. Post rut bucks will go to sleep in isolated places difficult to find in these conditions. My nerves were firing on all cylinders when Friday showed up and I headed out to a few favorite locations to glass. My good friend Matt was along on this hunt. Matt is a North Dakota native and accomplished mule deer hunter. I was lucky to have him with me. We also had the added challenge of attempting to film this hunt for an upcoming episode of Passion for the Hunt Television that airs on Fox Sports North beginning in July.
Passion for the Hunt Television
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 41
KONES KORNER Country Store
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There is no substitute for a sunrise over the Little Missouri Breaks, revealing miles of breath taking canyons. A landscape so raw. The sharp stems of grass speared through the shimmering layer of snow that blanketed the hills and ravines in front of me. Remnant layers of thawing snow and warm temperatures can make it tougher to find late season bucks. We knew we needed to stay mobile. Covering ground is the name of the game. When big bucks are rutting, the patient sit and wait strategies can pay off. The post rut conditions meant the deer would probably move less. If you want to contact one of these mature bucks you need to go find them. My strategy for this hunt was to sit no more than a couple hours glassing in a spot before heading to another lookout. Judging by the deer we saw day one it was obvious that the winter feeding patterns were in effect. Bedded deer were mostly up high catching sun out of the wind. Transitioning deer were lower in the drainages finding the best browse. Day one did not disappoint. I spotted a good number of deer. Even bedded up two mature bull elk which is a rare experience in North Dakota for me. Had a great encounter with two 3x3 bucks that fed past my ambush spot at 22 yards. Opportunities can be hard to come by. I went to bed that night questioning whether or not I made the right decision. If I end up eating tag soup, I would surely regret not taking a shot at one of those bucks. Early the next morning when the sky was still black and full of stars, I sparked the stove to brew a cup of coffee. Slowly turning the gas knob, watching the flame grow bigger and brighter in the morning darkness of camp. A hardy breakfast and a second cup of coffee made me wide awake. It was going to be a good day. I laced up my boots. We had a short drive to a fresh look out. Soon we were out hiking in the early morning twilight. Breathing that cool air as he hiked and waited for sunrise. The mornings in the badlands are incredible and the impeding sunrise was another miracle but we saw few deer. Finally after the third look out at midday...we saw him. A lone bedded buck in the shadows of a Juniper clump. He gazed upon the land below him. Big mule deer bucks can be so incredibly sly. He was hidden like a rattlesnake in tall grass. Small pieces of his rack were made visible only when the ferocious wind would blow branches out of the way. Never able to see his whole body, I could only guess what I was really looking at. My gut was telling me he was a good mature buck. I had to get a closer look at this buck. Located nearly a mile away, across a drainage, there were many difficult steps between us. The sun had heated up the air to above freezing but the powerful wind still bit at my face. A quarter of the way closer, I slipped up the hill to get another look. The buck was now on his feet and had moved into the sun. I couldn’t see everything with some cover in the way but my gut still told me he could be the one. Closing the distance half way, I was able to get another look and I could see the buck in full. With the sun casting a bright, beautiful glow across his body, my suspicions were confirmed. This was a warrior of a buck. The buck had the stature of a king with heavy shoulders and a long body. His belly had the tell-tale sag of an older deer. He was skinny now, his ribs shown a little through his tattered hide and loose skin on his neck suggested the rut had taken a toll. A wide and heavy 3x2 frame may not excite some trophy hunters concerned with score but to me he was an incredibly cool buck that had something I love...character.
Remnant layers of thawing snow and warm temperatures can make it tougher to find late season bucks. We knew we needed to stay mobile. Midwesthuntfish.com
When bucks reach a ripe old age and they begin their decent, not. I recognized the tree as one that I had ranged earlier. 60 yards I the size of the rack means far less than just appreciating the life told myself, which is yardage I practice religiously. With confidence I that they have lived. By now I knew he was the one for me and the settle my 60 pin behind his shoulder and squeezed the release. Every final plans to stalk this buck were discussed. Glassing the bucks hunting story has a part when time seems to stand still. The arrow surroundings and using my GPS, we agreed to approach this buck flew true. The buck jumped the string a bit. The hit seemed a little from above using a large cedar as cover. With a stiff 25 mph cross high but the blood immediately jumped out of both sides of the buck wind, the buck shouldn’t hear, see nor smell our presence before I as he tore off downhill into the drainage. With a heavy crash he was am hopefully able to push an arrow through his vitals. We nearly out of sight. reached our designated Cedar and took a knee. I couldn’t see the old Warrior yet. I was constantly ranging bushes and trees as they appeared in view, in case the Passion for the Hunt Television airs on Fox Sports North on buck simply showed up. I would have no time Sundays at 9:00 am from July through October. Watch past to range him so I would already know how far episodes on the Passion for the Hunt YouTube Channel. everything is. The wind was cutting the left side of my face. Matt was in my back pocket, matching me step for step, then knee for knee then hand for hand as we slithered into position undetected. Still no sign of the buck. It was difficult to peer through the branches of the The excitement was incredible and difficult to describe, Matt cedar. My excitement was confused when my eyes could not pick up agreed that the hit looked good but we needed to give it time before any sign of the buck where he was supposed to be. going after this buck. We waited about an hour before we went to Then all at once every hair on my body seemed to stand up. There check out my arrow. A clean pass through. Large amounts of blood he was. I had been scanning the open meadow 50 yards away when were casted across the white snow where the buck had run down my eyes focused on a small gesture from the bucks tail. He was into the drainage. The buck took a tumble down a 30 foot drop off standing 15 yards in front of us camouflaged by the Cedar. Much then laid to rest in the bed of the creek that meandered through the closer than we anticipated. He slowly walked into full view to my right, bottom of the drainage. He went about 100 yards and his stiff body headed downwind. I came to full draw. The buck hadn’t detected us proved he was dead within seconds of the shot. The old warrior of yet and kept walking. Not comfortable with a moving shot I attempted a buck was missing an eye and had scars on his face from years of to stop the buck with a small grunt before he winded us. The noise rutting and fighting. I waited all year for this brief moment. As we spooked him. He bounded back on his tracks where he came from. quartered and prepared the buck for the pack out, I couldn’t help but “Did I just lose him forever?” I asked myself in my mind. I stood stop once in a while to soak it all in. Truly the greatest way I could up without letting my bow down. Moved around the branches of the have used my 2017 archery tag. Cedar to see the buck bounce away. He trotted up next to a tree Along the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, in central Montana. and stopped broadside unsure if what he heard was dangerous or US Forest Service photo, by Roger Peterson
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 43
Above: A social get together after an ATV ride in the fall
As the mornings have gradually gotten cooler, and the leaves are sporting their brilliant fall colors, I find myself looking forward to my favorite time of year. Time at our Deer Camp. Over a warm cup of coffee from an old aluminum percolator pot, I sit on my porch at camp and think about how I got here. Deer camps here in northern Minnesota have been here long before my time and they are full of traditions and memories. I have been blessed to hunt across much of the mid-west states as a guest in many camps. Camps from nice lodges, to farms, and of course little shacks like ours.
HSM Outdoors Memories Made Guide Service
We took over an old abandoned camp in northeastern Minnesota in 2012. Run down and beat up, we knew it needed a lot of work. A 12x24 building with a porch in a stand of Maple trees in the middle of nowhere was now ours. The shack housed a small propane stove, two hide-a-bed couches, and a loft with a couple twin beds. An old parlor wood stove that burped out a puff of smoke every now and then, and propane lights. Primitive was an understatement. No running water or electricity. Moving forward, I sit here today with my cup of coffee, this deer hunting season, on the new porch my brother and I built. I look at the new bunk house addition with a shower. It can sleep 10. We now have a generator that powers our building with lights and a refrigerator and fans. A new wood stove that is more efficient. A sturdy wood shed to house firewood for two or three years. A new outhouse called the "Sithouse".
44 Page 44 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
Family and friends gathering at Camp 3 Finger for a big supper
Camp 3 Fing er found it in 20 , the way we 12. Lots of ha rd work has impr oved it and made it muc h better. We have spent a lot of time making our deer camp comfortable for us over the last few years. In that time, while doing all the work, we also made so many memories. It amazes me how easily memories are created around a place like such. Our camp has a foundation now. I am not speaking of the footings or actual construction of the shelter. I am talking of the family, and friends that join us. The traditions we have when we come here. Even some of the traditions our camp had prior to us in memory of the gentleman who built the shack. I don't think I have ever been to a camp that doesn't have a name. Most of them are extremely unique names that carry a sentimental meaning to their gathering place. For instance, our camp is called "Camp 3 Finger". Here is the story behind that. Dear friends of mine have their camp a mile or so away from mine. A gentleman used to hunt near my friends back in the 80's when my friends built their camp. This gentleman, Ron, really liked the camp my friends built, and he asked if he could have the plans for it. So, my friend Tony, traded the prints for a case of Blatz Beer. So, Ron built his camp pretty much identical to Tony's camp. Now, there was something special about Ron. Ron was a Vietnam Veteran. More importantly, he was a combat wounded Veteran. He lost most of his fingers and his sight in one eye during the war. Now, after spending some time with Tony and the rest of the deer hunters in the area, he got the nickname " 3 finger Ron", he was okay with it. Midwesthuntfish.com
A wintery Cam p 3 Finger buttoned up for another se all ason. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 45 45
ve Bar Maple Gro n o ti ia c Asso in d te a c lo N Finland, M
We find the fish and you catch them Phone: 612-643-0639 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: MemoriesMadeGuides.com Ron built his shack by himself with all rough-cut lumber, a hammer and nails with only 3 fingers! Unfortunately, I was never able to meet Ron. So, when we got the camp, we named it in his memory. Now, we have what I would call a traditional deer camp. It's in the woods, its full of blaze orange clothing and the smell of a burning wood stove. But a deer camp can be whatever people call their own. Campers, tents, barns or even their trucks parked at the end of an old logging road. I am so thankful to have a place to share my experiences and memories with family and friends. Some of these deer camps run three or 4 generations deep. Seeing old black and white pictures at camps with the "old timers" standing next to the meat pole with a couple of big bucks hanging. Or seeing an old blaze orange Stormy Kromer hat hanging in the corner in memory of one of the original camp members.
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Page 46 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
Our camp will continue to grow with people and memories and traditions. That is what it is all about to me. Spending time with family and friends. People who have never experienced this kind of life, that is a memory. We base this life around the hunt, however for me, it’s about the camaraderie and the friends. So, for those of you that hunt, enjoy the memories. Spend the quality time with family at your camp. Maybe bring someone new to share the experience with. If it wasn't for my Dad, and my uncles, and one of my best friends, and best hunting buddies, Tony, I certainly wouldn't have the camp I have today. Years of wisdom and guidance passed down to me. I am in the process of passing that same wisdom onto my daughters who join me at Camp 3 Finger. Good luck to you hunters this season. Be safe and shoot straight!
Photo Credits: Mike Ferrell/ HSM Outdoors/ Memories Made Guide Service
A snowy bonfire at Camp 3 Finger the night before deer opener
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 47
Prep 15 min. • Cook 55 min. • Ready in 1 hour, 10 min.
Ingredients: • 1/3 cup wild rice • 1 acorn squash, halved & seeded • 1/2 lb. ground venison • 1 tsp. cinnamon • 1 pinch salt & pepper to taste
Recipe by: Aaron
• 2 2/3 cups water • 1/3 cup cranberries • 1/2 cup brown sugar • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg • 1/4 cup butter
Directions: Preheat oven to 400º. Bring rice & water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to med-low, cover; cook until rice is tender, about 40 min. Meanwhile, place squash, cut-side down onto a deep baking dish filled with 1/2” of water. Bake in preheated oven for 40 min.; drain water and set aside. Bring some water to a boil in a saucepan, remove from heat. Add cranberries; let stand for 5 min., drain & reserve. Cook ground venison in skillet over med-high heat until thoroughly cooked & crumbly. Stir together wild rice, cranberries, venison, and brown sugar. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Turn oven to Broil. Rub inside of squash halves with butter; place cut-side up on baking dish. Stuff with rice mixture. Broil in oven 5 min. Prep 20 min. • Cook 3 hours • Ready in 21 hours, 20 min.
Ingredients: • 1 Tbsp. sugar-based curing mixture • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder • 1/4 tsp. onion powder • 1/4 tsp. whole mustard seed • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes • 1/8 tsp. liquid smoke • 1 lb. lean venison roast, trimmed
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Directions: Combine curing mixture, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard seed, ground pepper, red pepper, & liquid smoke in lg. bowl. Mix until evenly blended; set aside. Slice venison with grain into strips 3/16” thick, & 2” wide. Add to curing mixture; gently mix together until coated with mix. Place into plastic bag, squeeze out air, seal; or place into bowl & cover. Cure in frig for at least 18 hrs. Turn oven to 150 º. Spray 2 wire racks with cooking spray, and place onto cookie sheets. Squeeze excess liquid from venison; lay strips separately onto wire racks. Place into oven; cook until dried, 3-8 hrs. Meat is done when it no longer bends & pieces break off with ease, but not too dry. Can be frozen or kept in sealed containers in frig.
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Page 48 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
Recipe by: Jeff P.
Recipe by: Dave Eilts
• 2 lb. ground venison • 1 onion, chopped • 1 (6 oz.) box instant stuffing • 2 eggs, beaten • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire • 2 Tbsp. ketchup • 1/4 cup tomato-juice cocktail • 1 tsp. yellow mustard • 10 oz. morel mushrooms • 8 slices sharp Cheddar • 6 slices bacon • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan • 1 pinch salt & black pepper Preheat oven to 350º. Mix venison, onion, stuffing, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire, cocktail, & mustard in large bowl until combined. Place half venison mixture into a 9x11” casserole dish; pat meat into even layer. Spread morel mushrooms over meat; top with Cheddar slices. Spread remaining mixture over cheese; pat down to form even layer. Press edges together to seal in mushrooms & cheese. Arrange bacon slices on top; spread BBQ sauce over loaf. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until browned & thermometer reads 160º, about 1 hr. & 15 min. Drain excess grease; allow to stand 5 min.
Recipe by: EWEDIN31 Prep 15 min. Cook 1 hour, 15 min. Ready in 5 hours, 30 min.
Ingredients: • 1 lb. cubed lean venison • 1 tsp. salt • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper • 1 tsp. minced garlic • 4 slices onion • 1 Tbsp. minced green bell pepper (opt) Directions: Place the venison into large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, & garlic; toss to combine. Place venison into canning jar along with onion & bell pepper. Jars should be filled to within 1/2” of the top. Wipe rim with a clean, damp cloth; seal with lid & ring. Place jar into pressure canner filled with water according to directions. Affix lid; bring to boil with pressure valve open. Boil 5 min. before closing pressure valve. Bring to pressure of 10 psi; reduce heat to maintain pressure. Process 75 min., watching gauge closely so pressure stays at 10 psi. After 75 min., turn off heat; allow to cool until gauge reads 0 psi. Once pressure has subsided and canner is safe to open, remove jar to cool on rack. Jar will seal with a pop as it cools; refrigerate jar if it does not seal. Properly sealed jars may be stored in a cool, dark area.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 49
Recipe by: Nevada Foodies Makes 4
Ingredients: • 1 lb. ground elk • 1/4 lb. chorizo • 1 tsp. garlic powder • 1 tsp. kosher salt • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil • 8 slices Swiss cheese • 8 slices rye bread • Mayo Caramelized Sweet Onions • 2 lg. sweet onions, thinly sliced • 2 Tbsp. butter Thousand Island Dressing • 1/2 cup mayo • 1/2 cup ketchup • 1/2 cup sweet relish
Recipe by: Cabela’s
Ingredients: • 4 goose breast • 1 can diced green chilies • 1 carton of beef stock • 1 pkg. soft/hard taco shells
• 1 1/2 packets taco seasoning • 4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled • 1 can of beer • Your favorite taco toppings
Directions: Layer breast in bottom of crock-pot. Pour beef stock on top of until they are covered by 1/2”. Sprinkle taco seasoning in on top of stock and mix well. Add green chilies and bacon and mix well. Pour 1/2 can of beer into mix and stir it in. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Pull breast out and shred and add some of cooking liquid back into meat and mix. Serve like a regular taco with your favorite toppings.
Directions: Mix elk burger, chorizo, garlic powder, salt, coriander & fennel in large bowl. Refrigerate 1 hr. Divide into 4 portions; press each into 1/4” thick patty. Heat butter in skillet; cook onion over med. heat, stirring often until golden brown, 15-20 min. Heat oil in cast iron skillet; cook patties in batches until browned & cooked thoroughly. Remove; set aside. Heat cast iron skillet to med. heat. Spread thin layer of mayo on outside of each piece of rye bread; turn upside down. On 1 piece of bread, add 1 slice of cheese, then elk patty, caramelized onions, 1 Tbsp. sauce, another slice of cheese and close sandwich with bread keeping mayo spread on exterior. Place in skillet; weigh down with another foil covered skillet. Cook about 2-3 min. until bread becomes golden brown. Flip patty; weigh it down on other side until golden brown & cheese is melted.
Ingredients: • 1 10 lb. whole, skinned goose • 11 oz. shredded potatoes • 2 (32 oz.) jars sauerkraut with liquid • 2 cups applesauce • 4 Tbsp. brown sugar Directions: Preheat oven to 350º. Clean goose. Poke holes in goose with paring knife. Place breast-side up onto broiler pan/roasting rack; cover loosely with foil. Bake 1 hr. in oven, or until very tender. Remove; cool. Combine shredded potatoes, sauerkraut, applesauce, & brown sugar in slow-cooker. Remove meat from goose, leaving in large pieces. Add to mixture in slow cooker. Place lid on cooker; cook on high for 3-4 hrs.
Page 50 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 50 2018 Recipe by:
Recipe by: karab Prep. 1 hr., 20 min. Cook 5 min. • Ready in 1 hr., 25 min.
Ingredients: • 1 cup steak sauce • 1 cup whiskey • salt & ground black pepper • 1 lb. bacon strips, cut in half • 6 duck breasts, deboned & cut into cubes • 1 box wooden toothpicks Directions: To make the marinade, stir steak sauce & whiskey together in a bowl. Pour marinade into resealable plastic bag; add duck cubes. Seal bag, turn once or twice to thoroughly coat duck, and place in the frig for 1 hr. Preheat grill to med. heat. Soak toothpicks in bowl of water at least 1/2 hour to prevent burning. Remove duck from marinade; discard sauce. Wrap piece of bacon around each duck cube; secure with a toothpick. Cook preheated grill until bacon is crisp and duck is no longer pink, turning once, 5-10 min. Place on serving plate, cool slightly, and serve. Midwesthuntfish.com
Recipe by: Spencer & Serena
Prep. 15 min. • Cook 10 min. Ready in 55 min.
Ingredients: • 1/4 cup Worcestershire • 2 Tbsp. olive oil • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic • 1/4 tsp. black pepper • 8 skinned, boned duck breast halves
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Directions: Stir together Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, hot sauce, garlic, & pepper. Add duck breasts, and toss well to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 min. to overnight. Preheat grill for med-high heat. Grill duck to desired doneness, about 5 min. per side for medwell, depending on size, and temp of the grill.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 51
Ice fishing has a devoted following in Minnesota, where towns of fish houses pop up each winter across the state’s thousands of lakes. Thanks to advances in equipment and the availability of rental fish houses, it’s never been easier to get started in the sport.
Hei Photo by Alyssa
Page 52 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 52
But fishing through an 8-inch hole in the ice isn’t the only way to hook a trophy. For anglers seeking a little more variety in their winterfishing program, Minnesota offers a number of options for open water fishing, even when the majority of lakes in the state are frozen solid. Like during other times of the year, winter anglers targeting open water can do so from a boat or the shoreline. Whatever their approach, safety must be the key consideration. The water temperature may not be low enough to freeze, but falling in can result in a lifethreatening situation. Life jackets are essential. Assuming you’ve taken the proper precautions, and are dressed sufficiently warmly, it’s time to learn firsthand how enjoyable it can be to spend a winter day on the water. Following are three great places for doing so.
There are shore-fishing options along the Lake Superior shoreline from Duluth all the way to the state’s border with Canada. While Lake Superior freezes over Photo by Stu Bernu from time to time, it’s a rarity. As a result, anglers can fish the lake all winter long. The lake is home to a variety of trout and salmon species, though winter shore anglers focus primarily on steelhead rainbow trout, which are native species, and Kamloops rainbow trout, which are stocked for anglers to catch. Both species remain relatively close to the shoreline throughout the winter, putting them in reach of shore fishermen. For anyone who wants to learn more about winter shoreline fishing on Lake Superior, look for winter shore casting clinics offered by the Minnesota Steelheader group. Photo by Alyssa Hei
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 53 53
While backwaters of the Mississippi River freeze during the winter, the main river remains open and provides year-round open-water fishing options to boat and shore anglers alike. From Lock and Dam 1 in Minneapolis all the way south to Lock and Dam 8 in Brownsville, anglers target walleyes and sauger throughout the winter months. The fishing is quite similar to summer river angling in that jigs and minnows fished around wing dams and other structures tend to be productive. Anglers who arenâ€™t picky about what they catch can cast out from shore and catch fish ranging from sauger and walleyes to sheepshead and smallmouth bass. Places where warm-water discharges enter the river can be extremely productive and produce multiple species of fish.
Photo by Ron Hustvedt
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54 Page 54 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
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The bluff country of southeast Minnesota is beautiful at any time of the year, but it is especially picturesque when there’s snow on the ground and the streams are running cold and clear. Few of these streams are big enough for boats (though canoes and kayaks can be used in some areas), so anglers either fish from the shoreline or don a pair of waders and walk in the water. Southeastern streams are known for their fantastic fishing for brown trout, though anglers should note they aren’t allowed to keep any fish from the streams during the winter months. Check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fishing regulations for season dates. The DNR also offers maps that show where winter anglers can fish.
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Whereas fish houses can keep ice fishermen warm, open-water winter anglers have no such option. One of the best ways to beat the cold is to stay active, by walking up and down the shoreline, or by taking time to participate in another activity altogether. Geocaching, for example, can be done throughout the year, and no matter where people are fishing, there’s likely a cache to be found nearby. People who really want to have a winter adventure can incorporate winter camping into their fishing trip.
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Page 56 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 56
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 57 57
Take your ice fishing to the next level and participate in an ice fishing festival. From small community contests to festivals that draw 10,000 people and give out $150,000 in cash and prizes, there’s an ice fishing event for every style of angler. Here’s a sampler of festivals happening across the North Star State this winter; find more at exploreminnesota.com/events.
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Page 58 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 58
JANUARY • Loon’s Landing Ice Fishing Contest (Talmoon), Jan. 12 • Owatonna Bold & Cold, Jan. 18-27 • Spicer Winterfest, Jan. 18-Feb. 10 • Celebrate Chisago Lakes Winter Blast, Jan. 24-27 • Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza, Jan. 26 • Fairmont Lakes Foundation Ice Fishing Tournament, Jan. 26 • Lake Benton Sportsmen’s Club Ice Fishing Tournament, Jan. 26 FEBRUARY • Scorpion Homecoming & Ice Fishing Contest (Crosby), Feb. 2 • American Legion Community Ice Fishing Contest (Park Rapids), Feb. 2 • Mad Bobber Ice Fishing Contest (Madison Lake), Feb. 2 • Sleep Eye Ice Fishing Derby, Feb. 3 • Otter Tail Co – On Ice!, Feb. 8-9 • Ham Lake Snowbowl, Feb. 9 • Ice Castle Classic (Montevideo), Feb. 9 • Get Hooked Ice Fishing Derby (Luverne), Feb. 9 • Cass Lake Winter Challenge, Feb. 9 • Wintercade’s Veteran Appreciation Ice Fishing Contest (Litchfield), Feb. 9 • Ducks Unlimited Ice Fishing Contest (Garrison), Feb. 16 • Fishing for the Cure (Alexandria), Feb. 16 • International Eelpout Festival (Walker), Feb. 21-24 •Grumpy Old Men Festival (Wabasha), Feb. 22-23
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 59 10/1/18 7:43 AM
Be Different. It is easy to gravitate to your favorite lure that is your “go to”. If you are fishing by yourself, maybe a smart start. If you are ice fishing with others and they are using the same lure or presentation, start out using something different. Being different will help you and your fellow anglers better understand what the walleyes want that day. Typically, a certain lure, color, bait and presentation will emerge as a pattern and others can then mimic what is working. Hard to Get. Sometimes walleyes are just like humans, they want what is hard to get. When that mark on your electronics is not responding to your normal jigging cadence, mix it up. One of the most successful teases for a walleye is what seems to emulate an escaping baitfish. Shake your lure while at the same time raising it up in the water column. When the fish starts to respond and rise up with you, do not stop! Keep it fleeing away, much like a minnow would do in trying to escape a predator. The tendency is to stop the lure so the walleye can catch it. Don’t do it! This usually turns the walleye’s aggressiveness off. Keep just ahead of the predator, mark my words, they will close the gap. Often times, a walleye will chase your bait half way up the water column or more. When they eat, they crush it pushing your bait up giving you slack. Be ready for it and set the hook! When raising the bait in the water column, use your reel vs. lifting your rod with your arms. If you have raised your arms up too high, you not only have nothing left to set the hook with, if you are fishing in a fish house with a lower roof, you will actually hit the roof of the fish house with the rod when you set the hook. Using your reel to control the depth of your lure will keep your arms in the best hook setting position.
Walleye fishing can be challenging. The little things we do as anglers while fishing walleyes through the ice are often the missing elements in icing more walleyes.
Photo Credits: Joe Henry
Understanding that walleyes and saugers are often more interested in a fleeing lure vs. a lure held right in front of them can be key in teasing them into eating. This sauger chased and inhaled a Flutter Spoon tipped with a minnow tail raised up in the water column. P age 60 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 60
There are times when a walleye or sauger will chase you way up and slowly drift back down to the bottom. Don’t get discouraged. Go after them again. Many times the walleye or sauger will respond numerous times before deciding to actually eat. Good electronics for ice fishing helps tremendously in understanding how the fish are reacting. Learning what each walleye wants and how they want it is invaluable. I grew up using a Vexilar and wouldn’t give it up. Electronics are an important part of icing walleyes and gives ice anglers a big advantage. Be Aggressive. There is a time to speed up and a time to slow down. Getting erratic and aggressive with search lures, swimming baits, vibration baits and larger spoons can trigger the eyes to eat. This might mean pounding the bottom, fast high lifts with uncontrolled drops, constant shaking and jigging higher up in the water column. Much like a crankbait, going after the reaction strike can trick walleyes into hitting your lure when a normal presentation would not work. Midwesthuntfish.com
Ice anglers who hunt walleyes through the ice know the feeling. Watching a promising thick line come through on your electronics, it holds for just a moment while you are poised, ready to set the hook to only watch it slowly fade away. In spending many hours playing the game, there are certainly a few ways to “tease” walleyes and saugers into getting their teeth into your offering and ultimately putting more fish on the ice.
Chill Out. Of course, the opposite approach of targeting more neutral fish is to go more finesse. That might mean smaller lures, tipping your lures with smaller pieces of bait, less action while jigging or even setting your jigging line on a bucket simply watching for the rod tip to bend ever so ever slightly. Some very good ice anglers actually prefer watching their rod tip vs. using a bobber as they feel it is easier to detect light biters. Deadsticking. As much fun as it is jigging up a nice walleye, it is also fun being productive and catching as many fish as possible. This is why most ice anglers targeting walleyes will have down a deadstick, or a bobber line in addition to the jigging line. Some walleyes and saugers simply prefer a lively minnow vs. a lure. Some might be in a neutral mood and in other cases, it might just be their preference based on what they are eating, the pressure system, clouds or sun, how deep they are, etc., etc. The bottom line is we don’t always know why something works, but it just does so we keep using it. Consider these techniques to “tease” more eyes into taking your deadstick offering. Raise it up! Similar to how walleyes will chase a lure up in the water column, I have friends who swear by keeping their deadstick offering, which is usually a hook or walleye ice jig with a live minnow, a few feet off of the bottom vs. 6 inches to a foot off as would be the norm. The thought again is, walleyes are used to feeding up when eating baitfish and this represents what they are used to doing. Many times I have set my rod down momentarily on a bucket or chair and watched a walleye slowly rise way up and take the offering. Keeping your deadstick offering high can be productive when the norm is not. Dead bait. It is one thing using dead bait such as frozen emerald shiners on Lake of the Woods when jigging. It is another when deadsticking. Walleyes never cease to amaze me. Recently while fishing in a permanent fish house on Lake of the Woods, a friend purposefully chose the dead minnow from the minnow bucket for his deadstick line vs. the live. Most anglers use a live minnow on the deadstick. In this case, as the other holes weren’t setting the world on fire, he thought he would try it. Keeping his offering in the strike zone 6-18 inches off of the bottom, it was the hottest hole in the house. Who would have guessed! Walleye fishing can be challenging. Learning special nuances will trigger walleyes into eating vs. watching that mark on your electronics slowly disappear which can really change the day for the better. The little things we do as anglers while fishing walleyes through the ice are often the missing elements in icing more walleyes.
Good electronics designed for ice fishing are absolutely a game changer.
Understanding if there are fish below you, where in the water column they are and how they are reacting or not reacting to your presentation will increase your success as an ice angler. Midwesthuntfish.com
The author with a nice Lake of the Woods walleye that fell for some teasing. Being willing to adapt to the mood and behavior of walleyes can lead to a good day of ice fishing. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 61
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 63 63
Electric ice augers have been the craze of the winter fishing market for the past decade or more, but recent advances in batteries have accelerated that surge.
Page 64 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 64
Following national trends in everything from home and garden tools to our vehicles, there are definitely some things to like about electric-powered ice augers. Gas, oil, and everything that goes along with carbureted small engines can be messy and troublesome, but electric is no silver bullet and can come with its own complications. Like any tool, there are scenarios where it shines, and like any discipline, few products can serve all purposes equally well. After running many models of both electric and gas-powered augers, here’s some rationale to what I plan to run and why. Gas augers have longevity on their side. The engineering concepts have been tested, tried, and re-created to serve about any interest an ice-angler would ever need, and more importantly, the mistakes attributed to poor design have been for the most part weeded-out. De-compression valves make them easier to crank, pre-mixed gas and oil combinations make them easier to fuel, and laser-sharp curved blades make them cut faster by shaving ice rather than pulverizing it like the chipper models of old. Still, anything with gas can leak, flood, or otherwise create issues when subjected to the conditions we as ice-anglers put our augers through. Not to mention, the burning of said gas, especially in confined areas like a fish-house is alone enough for many people to consider the switch to electric. The upside to gas however, is that it’s a very efficient power source when compared to our current electric offerings, meaning if you’re drilling lots of holes through thick ice, electric batteries may not get you as many holes punched as your gas auger once did. At the end of the day, that may or may not be a deal-breaker for anglers that fish well into the late-ice period when extensions are often needed for the northern portions of the ice-belt. Though it’s a small percentage of ice anglers, for the dedicated hole-hopper who punches more than 100 holes in a sitting through thick ice, stick with gas for the time being.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 65 65
Lithium battery technology has carried electric augers much further in recent years, with faster charging and more importantly, longer battery life that simply leads to more holes in thicker ice. For the exclusive hard-house angler who punches a handful of holes in a shelter, then maybe a few tip-up holes outside, about any electric will do and I see few reasons to own a gas auger. That’s a strong statement I never thought I’d utter, but after a few years of electric auger use under my belt, I’ve found the market to be full of great options to serve that need. Decisions on gas vs. electric are much more difficult for ‘tweeners like myself. For early ice, I’m roaming the shallows and punching lots of holes, which eventually gives way to more portable house fishing and then mid-winter drop-down or permanent shelter fishing. As ice grows thicker and fishing gets tougher, especially on the big walleye and perch factories of the north, success is often predicated on drilling many holes and actively finding fish. Then, the late-ice period hits with fewer holes needed, better fishing found, but thicker ice encountered.
While it would be difficult to select one auger to excel in all of those scenarios, I’ve seen and tested enough to know that the top-end Lithium powered electric augers can serve nearly all of my ice fishing needs. For that reason, I’m throwing in on the electric craze myself and running a 40V version as my primary auger for this ice season. It’s been a long-time coming, yet I’ve been reticent to switch until now because of the sheer number of holes I drill in an average ice outing. I’ll still tote a gas auger on the handful of occasions I’m ice trolling late season up on Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, Upper Red Lake, or Winnipeg, but those are relatively rare scenarios to the way most people fish on most lakes. I’m not talking about cordless drills with adapter kits or the electric versions which utilize a 12V lead-acid battery. These units have their place, but to truly cover all of your bases for an entire season on ice, I’m talking about a dedicated ice auger with an affixed high voltage, high amperage, Lithium power source. The kind that’ll drill 100 holes per charge, be exhaust-free inside or out, and make ice chips fly with the push of a button. These units are as light or lighter than the comparable gas version, and the cutting power doesn’t make you wish you had your old auger back. If you’ve been torn between the performance of gas and the many benefits of electric, a few new offerings on the electric side of the market may provide you the impetus to switch as well. While I know that the technology will get better and better, allowing me to eventually have all of my cake and eat it too, the benefits of electric have now grown too great to sit it out another year.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 67
Photo Credit: Captain Josh Hagemeister
Back in the day, the go to ice jigging bait for walleyes was a silver Swedish Pimple. The other option was a Kastmaster. Today, the shelves at the local bait shop are decorated with hundreds of icy fish enticing vertical jigging options geared towards helping you catch the big one. For many ice anglers, the choice of what to drop down the hole can be quite overwhelming. Actually, it’s quite simple if you understand just a few key points in regards to the jigging lure itself and how to match the lure to the walleyes aggressiveness. Let’s keep this simple and break down the multitude of ice jigging lures into 3 basic groups. The groups of jigging lures are based on the action/characteristics of the lure themselves and the general activity level of the fish Drum roll please...The three basic jigging lure groups are: 1. Swimming/gliding lures, 2. Updown lures and 3. Basic jig heads (like your favorite lead head jig you use all summer long). Let’s quickly chat about each category and the basic application. 1. Swimming or gilding lures. Swimming or gliding lures themselves make up the most aggressive lure group of the three groups. After the initial upward pull (usually 1-2 ft), these lures swim or glide up, then out to the side as they begin an unpredictable darting quarter to full circle type pattern downward as it settles back to its original starting point. Let it sit still for 10-15 seconds, then “twitch” it about 5 seconds, let it sit still again for another 10-15 seconds and repeat! That’s a lot of action fishing through a hole in the ice! Common examples of these lures are the Jigging Rapala, Salmo Hornet, or the Moonshine Shiver Minnow. I use these lures 90% of the time to catch aggressively feeding fish of all species—like a hot crappie bite, “golden hour” walleyes, or pike in general. The other 10% of the time I use swimming/gliding lures to trigger fish that are not aggressive at all. Can you say deadly on finicky walleye? In other words, this group of lures can be quite versatile. Keep the colors basic. Bright “fire tiger” type colors in stained water, golds/oranges/glow in tanic stained water (i.e. Lake of The Woods/Rainy), and the classic silver/black, gold/black, white, perch, silver/ blue in clear water situations. Fish the baits “naked” or tipped with a small minnow head for scent (a big minnow head can ruin the action). Experiment with different upward pull lengths and pause time in between your customized jigging sequence. I hang ‘em up on a lighter monofilament line like Berkley Trilene 8-10 lb. test tied directly to the lure or with a small cross lock snap to make switching lures faster. Generally, once I settle on particular lure, I will remove the snap and tie it direct. 2. Updown lures (yes I just created that word) are just that. When pulled upward at a fast rate, they basically travel straight up flutter or dart just about straight down. These lures are typical “flashy” chrome colored lures. Silver and gold on almost all of them. I think that classic Christmas song “Silver and Gold” by Burle Ives was actually about these lures! Classic examples of these lures are the Swedish Pimple or the Kastmaster. The JB Weasel is another example. Just about any jigging spoon falls into this group. This group of lures is in my opinion the most versatile in regards to catching active or inactive fish. I probably catch 75% of my walleyes throughout the winter using this lure group. I also tend to use smaller sizes (1.5”-1/8 oz. type of stuff) to help catch numbers of walleyes and those bonus big perch. I use the same line as I do with the swimming/ gliding baits but a small cross lock snap is always used in this case. I also recommend tipping the bait each time with a fresh minnow head. Minnow tails work too, but the heads are better most of the time. I start with a more aggressive jigging approach using 1-3 foot upward pulls, let it settle and sit for 5-10 seconds, twitch for 3 seconds, let it sit for 5-10 seconds, then another upward pull. That’s where I start, and I tweak from there depending on the bites. Gold or silver with a little blue, glow, green, orange or white will do the trick in the color department. 3. Basic jig head. Yup, the jigs you in your left in your boat now in storage you should go get. My summer tackle is in my ice box and my ice tackle is in my boat. There’s a hint. I use jig heads through the ice the least amount amongst the three groups. However, they are very important in catching non-aggressive fish. Slowly tapping the bottom with a 1/161/4 oz. jigs (1/8 oz. seems to be most consistent) tipped with a whole minnow (lip hooked or threaded onto the hook). The entire lead head jig approach is less invasive.
Page 68 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 68
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€¢ Page 69
Slow short lifts, resting on the bottom, hovering and twitching a few inches off the bottom. With the jigs I use 6 lb. test Berkley monofilament. I like the stretch in the line which offers less resistance to help a non-aggressive walleye “inhale” the bait in easier. This combined with a lighter action rod and a slow rod tip will help put more fish on the ice. A jig set up in this fashion can easily be used as a dead stick. Pull the fish to you with an Updown lure and watch them smack the dead stick. Pretty basic but deadly. By adding jigging lures to your “bag o’ walleye tricks” this ice fishing season (use them in the summer too!), I’m confident you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
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Page 70 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 71
We all are using mapping technology for finding and marking our fishing locations on the open water. But how many are using that same technology when the water turns hard and we are trying to find specific locations for our winter fishing?
Paper maps don’t seem to be the norm anymore with all the GPS units and smartphone applications that are available. If you don’t use your GPS in the winter from your boat, those mapping applications on your smart device will come in very handy. But to keep your fishing trips on the ice productive, open water work will have to be done, so that information will be accurate and ready, once we set foot onto the ice. Keeping your smartphone application on and handy while fall fishing, you can set those isolated fish catching locations quickly and have them readily available come winter fishing. Another invaluable option that should be exercised as well is keeping up to date fishing journals, so that you can look back at a certain time of the season and refresh your memory as to what the fish were doing and where they were at. Page 72 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
These journals can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, it comes down to what information is valuable to you for the future. Time of day, weather, baits, locations and anything else that helps you to piece your fishing trip together for being productive. The key is to write these up as soon as you are done fishing, so that pertinent information doesn’t get lost. Now we will move back to the smartphone mapping applications that was talked about earlier. Many of these applications allow you to set waypoints on them for future use, just like you do on your boat’s GPS system. So, while you are fishing this fall on the open water, as you place a waypoint on the boat GPS, do the same thing on your smart device’s application. More times than not, where we find the fish we catch in the later fall time frame, these fish will still be relating to these same areas as the water turns hard. Having these locations marked on your device’s application, which is in your pocket, will save you from having to drill numerous holes trying to find these fishable areas. Key locations that fall fish use, always depend on the species as well. Crappies will congregate in the basins in the fall, and they will still be using these locations come the ice season. If you have these waypoints marked on your device, within a few holes drilled, you should be into catching them quickly. Midwesthuntfish.com
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There are many locations that will be marked as you are fishing and catching. Some of these typically are contour inside turns, deep water humps, irregular weedlines, isolated rock piles and any other structure items that should be pinpointed on the open water for quick finding on the hard water. As you mark your locations, you can make a note to each point as to the fish that are there or anything that will remind you why that point was marked. By keeping your information up to date, you will have confidence when you hit the first ice, as to where the fish are and then it only comes down to you for catching them.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 73
With our lakes and ponds beginning to freeze up if they aren’t already, it is a great time to review our safety precautions and equipment before we venture out onto that first ice. Clam float suit? Check. Boot cleats and neck spikes? Double check. Spud bar? Of course. Life jacket? Check. A change of clothes should you fall through? Yep. Keep a set in your vehicle all season, even when the ice is well over a foot thick because you just never know if or when you might need a dry set! Watched an ice exit video? Always. Something that I always do before heading out on my first ice trip of the season is watch YouTube videos on knowing how to get out of the water in a quick and calm way should I fall through. This is something that every ice angler should do before venturing out onto first ice. A little review could go a long way towards keeping you alive if the worst should happen. It’s standard these days that most state outdoor departments recommend that the ice should be at least four inches thick before venturing out onto it. And there are many among us who probably even wait for it to be thicker before considering going out onto it. But there are those of us, including myself, who venture out on hardwater well below this minimum recommendation.
74 Page 74 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018
The lure of that first iced fish, that first powered on Vexilar, or that first drilled hole can be extremely enticing. We do take our well-being into our own hands when we do this, so it is important to take every, and I mean every, precaution before that first step onto the ice. Why do we tempt fate on thinner ice when any normal person would probably wait it out? Because first ice can be one of the absolute best times to catch fish, as they gorge themselves on what remains of their food sources before the deep winter ice sets in and the lack of sunlight kills off most of the plant life that provides sanctuary for their food.
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The fish are fattening up and will go after lures aggressively as if it could be their last meal. This is one of the best times of the year to use large rattling baits, flashy spoons, or other large profile lures, as fish like walleye, pike, and bass are looking for larger meals to fatten up on.
This same mentality holds true for smaller species such as bluegills, trout, or perch. Panfish spoons and jigs with larger insect plastics on them can weed out the smaller fish and attract the larger ones in a school who are eager to bulk up on larger presentations. Green weeds are always a good place to start at as well as shallower water. Clearer ice can be beneficial for seeing weeds without drilling, but you must also not move around much as any movement can be seen easily by upward looking fish. Have you ever been on ice so clear you can see ten feet under it to the weeds on the bottom? Several small lakes and ponds around the Black Hills provide such an opportunity at first ice. The hard part can be deciding what to bring out and how light to pack so as not add a lot of weight or use things that make more noise. Speaking of noise—make sure when on thin ice that you’re packing very light. One or two rods, minimal tackle, your Vexilar, and, of course, your electric drill fitted with a K-Drill auger on it. I run a Clam Conversion kit mounted to an 8” K-Drill blade and it is the ultimate in ultralight and quiet ice hole drilling. The K-Drill has become very popular over the last few years and if you’ve used one, you know why. With the explosion of lighter electric augers, having a K-Drill on the business end of your drill powered auger gives you a lot of drilling power for under fifteen pounds! As we prepare to take our first steps onto the hardwater this season, remember that safety needs to be priority, number one, regardless of how good you think the ice may be. Travel light but spare no expense on your safety. The early ice bite is one of the best times of the year to find and catch big fish, as they prepare for the leaner winter months to come. Take advantage of it while you can. Just be smart about it. Here’s to a safe and very successful ice fishing season!
Photo Credits: Scott Olson, HSM Outdoors Dr. Auger
Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 75 75
E HSM Outdoor Memories Made Guide Service
Imagine, you are on early ice… how comfortable with your gear are you? I am not just talking about your line and jigs, yet. I am talking about your outdoor wear.
Are you prepared to survive if you fall in?
Nobody is ever really prepared for how you will react if this does happen, but you can protect yourself and better your odds of survival, one incredible measure is having the proper suit. The technology in float suits has come an immense way. I encourage everyone – early, late or any ice in between (because we all know no ice is ever safe ice) – to spend the extra money for peace of mind. Clam Outdoors is at the forefront of this technology. This year they introduced the Rise suit for men, and the Glacier suit for women. Its patent pending ‘Motion Float Technology’ assists the wearer if they should fall in. Along with a float style suit, you should always wear ice picks to help pull yourself out. These picks range from $6 to upwards of $22, as an inexpensive option to save your life. These need to be checked every year to make sure they are not rusted together. A way to prevent this, is to spray them with graphite spray. A couple other things you need are an emergency throwable rope – self-explanatory, but make sure you check it annually, as ropes can fray. As well as a spud bar to test the ice thickness in front of you. Once you have these, use them! It is always better to have them and not need them, then to need them and not have them. Next, how comfortable are you with letting the biggest fish you’ve ever caught through the ice break off? We all hate when we know we have a big one on (let’s be honest – they all seem like a huge fish because you can’t see it) and the line snaps because you have old line on that has gotten kinks in it or nicks from reeling and scraping the edge of the ice hole. Every season you need to peel your old line off and put new stuff on, this will help to protect from unnecessarily losing that fish of a lifetime or even if it’s a smaller fish; dinner that night. Everyone has their own preference of what is best, but that’s exactly what it is – a preference. There are many great brands of line, my only advice is if it’s cheap, you pay for what you get. A question I get asked a lot is “What’s the difference between mono and fluoro?” The application depends on what you are fishing for, rod, tackle and how you want to fish. Monofilament floats, so for a finesse bite, as well as tightlining, this is a great application of this line. Sunline makes a fantastic mono Frost ice line for CPT-Clam Pro Tackle, this product or Stren Crappie Mono are my preferences. With fluorocarbon, you get more of a response as it sinks faster. It reacts faster so you can change your cadence without line lagging. age 76 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 76 P
So just remember, Mono = float, Fluoro = sink. If you are a walleye angler and use braid, make sure you spool a cheaper mono for a backing so that your braid doesn’t spin on the inside of the spool. Braid has a coating on it, and when it is on the spool, it has a tendency no matter how tight you get it, to spin on the spool. Moving onto the reel portion. Have you checked the reel seat, how is that looking? If you have one, give it a check, wipe it down for dirt, and tighten it up. However, you may not have a reel seat. Why is that you ask? The short answer is the new quality blanks sometimes have shorter handles hence no reel seats. Reel seats make for a bulkier handle and hence you lose sensation and have a heavier rod. Make sure if you don’t have one and you were previously using medical tape or binders that you replace them. Do yourself a favor and check into Cold Snap Reel Wrap bands or Clam Outdoors Pro Wrap. Both offer a great hold without worrying about ruining cork or leaving impressions on foam. Now, when it comes down to your jigs, before heading out to the ice, go through your jig box. Pull out the rusty ones and use a file to sharpen and clean them up. Or a great alternative is to not let them get rusty in the first place. You know those packs you get when you buy new shoes, a purse, or medicine? Keep them! I always put a packet of silica in my jig box at the beginning of the season and switch it for a new one at the end of the season. This helps prevent them from rusting. Or you could just be lazy, throw out the bad ones and help the economy by buying new ones. And, well, who doesn’t need new jigs!? How about your Vexilar or electronics? Have you charged your battery at all this summer!?! Well now is the time! Plug it in, charge it up, and make sure it holds a good charge. Vexilar has a smart charger available for purchase. This charger stops the battery when it has a full charge, so it does not over charge nor overheat. While that is getting juiced up, pull out that tried and true Vexilar and give it a once or twice over. A few things to check out are your screen, cord, and transducer. Make sure your cord does not have any exposed line, knots – yes, I have seen this (insert eye roll), or kinks. And while you are checking that out, peruse your transducer. Midwesthuntfish.com
We find the fish and you catch them Phone: 612-643-0639 Email: email@example.com Web: MemoriesMadeGuides.com Midwesthuntfish.com
Photo Credits: Alie Witthans/ HSM Outdoors/ Memories Made Guide Service
77 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 â€˘ Page 77
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Make sure it is cleaned off for a good read and has no visible cracks. Take a moment to wipe down the screen and if all looks good, then you are set for your electronics. If not, then give Vexilar a call or stop on into their building in Bloomington, MN. They have a top-notch customer service department, who are among the best at getting your flasher where it needs to be. Oh yes, we cannot forget about your auger. These can be a nemesis when they are dull or don’t want to start. We will start with the good ole gas auger. You either end your season with a full tank of fuel or you run them out of gas and store them for the season. Fill it with fresh gas if empty. Or if you left it full, it’s a good idea to empty it and fill it with fresh gas so the carburetor is not gummed up. Next check your spark plugs, air filter, and fuel lines – check for dried or cracked lines. If all looks clean, then you should be set for the season. My preference and easiest for use and reliability is the Clam Drill Auger Conversion, also affectionately known as the drill plate. As with both augers, make sure you have a sharp set of blades on – and always use a cover when not in use. Cold Snap makes amazing covers for K-Drill (which I use), Nils, ION, and many more. It’s always a good idea to have an extra set of blades in the vehicle with an allen wrench so you can easily switch them out if needed. With the drill plate, you will want to check your auger and make sure it is tightened up. Look at the motor shaft where it is attached to the plate and see that the set screws are tight. Also, look and make sure that the drill is flat against the vertical bracket, not loose. If you have multiple batteries, have those charged up and ready to go. If you have a soft sided cooler laying around your house dig it out. This is a great place to store extra batteries for your drill. I throw a disposable hand warmer in, or a stainless-steel bottle with hot water (in a towel or plastic bag in case it may leak) to keep the batteries warm. This keeps them running longer.
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 79
ADVERTISER INDEX A Aberdeen (SD) Convention & Visitors Bureau..................................................19 Aero Trailers...........................................29 Al’s Oasis................................................25 Arnesen’s Rocky Point Resort.................62 Arrowwood at Cedar Shore Resort - Oacoma, SD............................25 Arrowwood Resort Hotel & Conference Center - Alexandria, MN.......................52 Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes - Brainerd, MN......................................52 Avera Health...........................................83 B Backtroller Boats/ Tiller Assist................78 Big Frig...................................................11 Black Velvet / Republic National...............2 Boat 2 Trailer.....................................31, 69 Boomers Outback Hotel..........................28 Boyds Gunstock.....................................47 Brainerd Jaycees....................................58 Brookings Powersports..........................69 Brown’s Hunting Ranch..........................22 C Chase on the Lake..................................53 Church Tackle Company........................79 Circle Pines Motel..................................65 Cliff’s 1 Stop & Outdoor Store................28
Club House Hotel & Suites - Pierre, SD .21 Coborn’s, Inc..........................................26 D Dakota Tackle..........................................78 Dakota Sioux Casino..............................29 Dimock Dairy..........................................51 Doug’s Anchor Marine............................66 E Easy Loader/Custom Molding Services.10 Explore Minnesota..............................1, 84 F Fargo Ice Fishing Show-32 Degrees......71 Federal Cartridge Company......................5 Fillet Maker.............................................81 Fischer, Rounds & Associates, Inc.........20 Fort Randall Casino & Hotel...................24 Fred’s Beds.............................................62 G Gary’s Gun Shop.....................................14 Good Spirits...........................................15 Great Lakes Marine.................................79 Greater Minnesota Rentals.....................55 Greater Sioux Falls Outdoor Show.........15 H Hundred Acre Wood...............................55 I Ice Castle Fishing Classic......................58 Ice Institute - Dakota Angler, SF.............70
R Ramkota - Aberdeen, SD........................16 Ramkota - Pierre, SD..............................21 Ramkota - Watertown, SD......................28 Red Rossa Italian Grille..........................21 Renner Corner........................................48 Riverside Point Resort............................56 RuffLand Kennels...................................33 S Sagen, Inc...............................................31 Sanford Health/ Lawrence & Schiller.............................13 Shucks Lures..........................................31 Sodak Sport & Bait...........................17, 26 Source Outdoor Group - Plano...............31 Source Outdoor Group - Swagger..........31 SD Ducks Unlimited......................... 34-37 SD Game, Fish & Parks..........................23 Speedy Worm.........................................70 Striker Brands, LLC................................59 T Taphouse 41...........................................15 V Vexilar.................................................3, 73 Visit Grand Rapids..................................54 W Waubay Guide Service...........................67 Whitetail Properties................................43
ICNUTS..................................................81 J Jeff’s Ice O Miniums...............................62 K Kabetogama Lake...................................54 Ken’s Superfair Foods.............................18 Kones Korner Inc....................................42 L Lee’s Meats.............................................51 Linder’s Hideaway Cabins......................63 Lynn’s Dakota Mart.................................20 Lucky Dawg Tackle.................................31 M Midwest Hunting & Fishing...................80 Mike’s Maps...........................................31 Minervas - Aberdeen, SD.......................16 Minnewaska Bait & Tackle......................56 Mitchell (SD) CVB..................................27 N North Central Food.................................49 Northland Fishing Tackle........................30 P Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby....................................................57 Perch Eyes Guide Service.......................65 Pheasant’s Forever................................ 6-7 Pioneerland Gun Show...........................46 Pond Tini................................................81
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 81
What to do when your
One bad ankle sprain can linger in your life and lead to pain and the unnerving feeling that your ankle is about to give way. One-third of people who suffer an ankle sprain may experience chronic instability of the ankle. Many people assume it’s just part of getting older, or another spot where arthritis is taking its toll on the body. But ankle instability is its own condition, and it’s one that can be addressed.
Page 82 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 82
“The feeling that comes with ankle instability is unsettling, and often painful. But many people just assume they have to endure it,” said Garrett Wobst, DPM, a surgeon with Avera Orthopedics Aberdeen. “Many people try some self-treatment approaches, such as an over-the-counter brace or physical therapy. In many cases, it has little effect.” Understanding What It Is – And Is Not Ankles provide the day-in, day-out support for activities from walking to sports to heavy labor. “Arthritic ankle pain is not the same as instability. That pain will be dull and chronic, more like a recurring ache,” said Wobst. “Pain from instability will present quickly, especially when you’re walking on uneven surfaces or climbing stairs, or engaging in side-to-side movements.” Arthritis is a condition itself, and can arise from infection, traumatic injury, underlying disease or wear on a joint. Instability often comes to a person’s life because of injury – think a bad ankle sprain. “There’s really no way to predict who heals quickly and is fine after a sprain and who doesn’t,” Wobst said. “We have had older people who recovery 100 percent and then had someone in high school who developed ankle instability – they had one bad sprain and the ankle was never right after that.” Getting Relief Instability of the ankle can last a lifetime – and treatment approaches can be straightforward. Physical therapy and braces for the ankle – whether custom-made or not – often are the recommendations a primary-care doctor or specialist like Wobst would recommend as first steps. “Some people will try steroid injections in the hopes they will develop the necessary response and reduce the frequency of the occurrence,” he said. “The next step would be MRI, or in some cases a stress radiography imaging sequence, to identify the issues in the ankle.” Relieving It Once And For All Imaging usually will lead to surgery. The instability is most often caused by torn ligaments in the ankle that never properly heal. With a procedure, these important ankle connections can be rebuilt and alleviate the underlying issue. “What happens in a patient with instability of the ankle is that the muscles in the area are doing the work the damaged ligaments no longer can do,” Wobst said. “That’s why the pain and issues of feeling it ‘go out’ occur more often when you’re tired or after a longer day. It doesn’t tend to loosen up or feel better with activity like an arthritic ankle might.” With an arthroscopic procedure and repair of the ligaments, the ankle can be stabilized. The symptoms will diminish. “Many people face ankle instability, but unfortunately, most just tend to live with it,” said Wobst. “We can repair the tears and have it repaired for good, so that unnerving feeling of giving way is a thing Article courtesy of of the past.” Avera.org Midwesthuntfish.com
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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018 • Page 83
Itâ€™s just you, the line you drop through a hole in the ice, and the fish you pull back through the hole. In its purest form, ice fishing is the quintessential #OnlyinMN winter sport.
P L A N Y O U R M I N N E S O TA VA C AT I O N AT E X P L O R E M I N N E S O TA . C O M Page 84 â€˘ Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2018