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FLANNEL —SHIRTS

A magazin for and e ab out lo c outd o ors al men

Man of the Land LIFELONG HUNTER, FRAZEE NATIVE AND HUNTING LAND SPECIALIST JASON ZIEGLER CONSIDERS HIS JOB A WALK IN THE WOODS

ALSO INSIDE

VERNDALE HUNTER SURVIVES WEST NILE VIRUS | YOUTH FISHING LEAGUE MAKES WAVES | A YOUNG HUNTER GETS REFLECTIVE | AND MORE!


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FLANNEL —SHIRTS

CONTENTS

CONTRIBUTORS Carter Jones cjones@perhamfocus.com Michael Johnson mjohnson@wadenapj.com

4 SURVIVING WEST NILE VIRUS: A year after suffering a near-fatal

mosquito bite, Verndale hunter Ron Wicht is finally almost out of the woods

8 HOOKED ON FISHING: New youth league is getting a growing number of kids interested in angling

MAGAZINE EDITOR Marie Johnson mtjohnson@dlnewspapers.com

12 LAND MAN: Lifelong hunter and hunting land specialist, Jason Ziegler, is a leader in deer herd stewardship

16 THE BUCK STOPS HERE: A young hunter from an old hunting family reflects on missed shots, but not missed opportunities.

PUBLISHER Melissa Swenson mswenson@dlnewspapers.com

will return again in April

PAGE DESIGN Chris Johnson cjohnson@bemidjipioneer.com

18 TALE FROM THE TAVERN: A true hunting tale, submitted by a reader 19 THE GATHERING: ‘World’s largest fish decoy show,’ The Gathering, 21 HOME BREWING: Getting started with the essentials

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Surviving

WEST NILE VIRUS BY MICHAEL JOHNSON For Flannel Shirts

A year after suffering a near-fatal mosquito bite, a Verndale hunter is finally almost out of the woods

R

on Wicht has been an active outdoorsman for most of his life. From deer and elk hunting to chopping wood and working on the farm, he lives to be out-

side. Naturally, he’s had many close encounters with wild animals over the years. But it wasn’t until a run-in with something much tinier than any deer or elk — and much more unexpectedly deadly — that he ever felt like his life was in danger. “It was horrible,” he recalls of the experience. Today, a year after it happened, he’s still recovering.

A deadly diagnosis For five years, Ron had been putting in for a bear tag to hunt on his property north of Aldrich, near Verndale. Finally, by his fifth year, in 2018, he had gained enough preference points to earn the tag. His excitement mounted as he baited and set up his hunting spots for a big northwoods bruin. Just days before the opener, however, Ron got bit. No, not by a big bear, but by an itty bitty mosquito. It was just an annoying itchy spot at first, like all mosquito bites. Nothing unusual. But within a couple days, Ron felt sick. His wife, Kathy, says he started to speak gibberish and act very confused. He was taken to Lakewood Health System in Staples with a high fever. 4

His physician, Dr. Ryan Kroll, ordered a brain scan, CT scan and lumbar puncture, Kathy recalls. The brain scan showed encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Ron was sent by ambulance to St. Cloud Hospital, to the neuroscience floor. He was unable to raise his arms by then, and his confusion continued. Another lumbar puncture was performed and he went into respiratory distress. He had to be intubated and rushed to the intensive care unit. Eventually a trach was put in, along with a feeding tube. Ron was diagnosed with West Nile virus. “The lumbar puncture was key to diagnosis,” Kathy says. Once the doctors determined it was West Nile, Ron was taken off antibiotics and simply given Tylenol for his fever. For a time, he was covered in ice packs in an attempt to keep his body temperature down. “I was just devastated,” Kathy says of seeing her husband on the edge of life. Ron doesn’t remember any of that. He was in a comatose state.

Recovering and celebrating life Ron remained in intensive care for four weeks. After that, he was transferred to Regency Hospital in Golden Valley, and it was there that, about six weeks after becoming ill, he finally came to. He was down 60 pounds, and could hardly move. Continued on page 6 Flannel Shirts 2019


“It made me appreciate each day a little more. I’m lucky to be here.” -Ron, on surviving West Nile virus

Michael Johnson / Flannel Shirts

Ronald Wicht rarely goes out and about these days without his trusty sidekick Bernie (a mini Bernedoodle) and a can of mosquito repellent within reach.

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Continued from page 4 He couldn’t remember anything. But as he was told what had occurred, saw how much weight he had lost, and realized his lack of motion, the seriousness of it all started to sink in. His dream of enjoying retirement with some time out in the field looked to be out of the picture. He would be hospitalized for four more months, and faced a long recovery beyond that. Eventually, with the help of a physical therapy regimen, Ron started to make his way back. He returned home on December 28 — “ a glorious day,” as Kathy puts it. It was a year on August 28 since Ron was hospitalized. He stopped physical therapy in July, once he was able to get around on most flat surfaces without the use of a cane. He’s been going on walks with his new pup, Bernie, a mini Bernedoodle that acts as a therapy dog of sorts, keeping Ron on the move, including regular rides on the side-by-side. On July 28, his 73rd birthday, Ron’s family threw a “celebrating life” party in his honor. More than 50 friends came to celebrate with him.

“It made me appreciate each day a little more,” he says of surviving West Nile virus. “I’m lucky to be here.”

Hoping for another hunt Ron still struggles with breathing and has to be on oxygen at night, but as of early August he said he was almost out of the woods. He has regained about 20 of the 60 pounds he lost during his hospital stay, and says he may add more as he continues to strengthen. Considering his first ‘go’ at walking lasted just seven steps, he feels much stronger now. Certain tasks are still difficult, including raising a firearm. While he can hold a gun in place, he has trouble lowering his head to see through the sites. He’s working on that, and is hopeful that by this coming deer season, he’ll be back on the hunt. He’s also looking forward to one day riding his motorcycle again. He says his Harley Davidson has been missing the road while he recovers. “It’s just a slow, slow process,” Ron says. “It isn’t a daily (improvement), it’s a weekly (improvement). It’s tiny, little steps.” He and Kathy are thankful for all the help they received while he was recovering, and they hope to spare someone else from going through a scary experience like they did by spreading the word about the importance of using insect repellent. “Repellant is a must for hunters and outdoor people,” Kathy says. While Ron didn’t like to use spray before because of the smell, he says he’s not concerned about that anymore. Now he knows there are more important things to worry about. “We spray ourselves like crazy,” he says. “People have to protect themselves.” Ron put in for a bear tag again this year, and while he expects he’ll have to wait another five years before getting a second chance at that bear hunt, he’s just happy he’s still around to get a second chance. And when the time for that hunt does come, you can bet he’ll be wearing plenty of bug spray. Michael Johnson is the editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal. He may be reached at mjohnson@wadenapj.com or 218-631-2561.

Michael Johnson / Flannel Shirts

Ronald Wicht has been a hunter most of his life. Bear is an animal he particularly enjoys hunting. This big fella made Ronald’s hair stand straight up as it walked within 10 feet of him. He named it Bruno and recalls how he lured the bear in with cooked meat.

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THE SPREAD OF WEST NILE

West Nile virus has a five to 10 day incubation period. Ron Wicht hadn’t gone anywhere outside of the local area, so the virus is assumed to have come from a mosquito at or around his own property. He may have been bitten while on a tubing trip down a river near his property. West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in some people, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. However, most people who are infected experience either no symptoms or only mild illness. The virus usually circulates between mosquitoes and birds in Africa and Europe. However, in 1999 an outbreak of West Nile encephalitis was reported in New York City. Since then, the virus has spread to 48 states and the District of Columbia. The virus was found in Minnesota in 2002 and remains a public health concern.

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control

Only female mosquitoes suck blood, while the males typically feed on nectar and plant sap.

WEST NILE IN MINNESOTA

In 2018, 63 cases of West Nile virus were reported in Minnesota, slightly more than the median number of cases per year (49) from 2012 to 2017. • 39 (62%) cases were hospitalized and 35 (56%) cases had a severe illness affecting the central nervous system (encephalitis or meningitis), including two fatalities in older adults • 44 (70%) cases were male • Median age was 62 years (range, 21 to 91 years) • 21 West Nile virus-positive blood donors who did not have any symptoms of illness were also identified Michael Johnson / Flannel Shirts

The Wichts now keep an assortment of mosquito repellents at hand, and they advise others to do the same.

“It’s just a slow, slow process… It’s tiny, little steps.” -Ron Wicht, on his recovery

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Hooked ON FISHING

NEW YOUTH LEAGUE IS GETTING A GROWING NUMBER OF KIDS INTERESTED IN ANGLING BY MICHAEL JOHNSON For Flannel Shirts

Submitted Photos

Boat Captain Jerry McCullough, left, fishes alongside young anglers Cody Wheeler and Makalyn Sibert on Big Pine Lake.

A

passion for fishing was instilled in Norm Gallant long ago by his father and grandfather. Now, WadenaDeer Creek’s Athletic Director is passing that passion on to his own children — and others, too. It’s long been the case that some kids just don’t have the means to get out on the water, and they grow up without a close connection to fishing. But the recent growth of high school fishing teams is changing that. Today, a large group of volunteers, including Gallant, are spreading their love of fishing with youth from all around the area, thanks to the formation of the Heart O’ Lakes Fishing League. The League formed in West Central Minnesota in 2018 and now includes teams from more than 20 schools, including schools in Perham and Wadena-Deer Creek. Those teams pair up seasoned adult anglers, or “Boat Captains,” with high school students, helping them learn the ropes of fishing. Since the start of the League, participation has skyrocketed, from 16 schools and 280 students in 2018, to 22 schools and 450 students in 2019. About 25 of those students came from Wadena-Deer Creek this year. Their coach, Erik Osberg, says about 16 of them consistently made it out for the once-a-week fishing outings. Because of the League’s growth, Gallant, who serves as the assistant coach, says the students are spread out into four to five different teams that fish on five different lakes. It’s a lot of traffic for just one lake when these shuttles of boaters Continued on page 10 8

Madelyn Gallant and Boat Captain Greg Malone are seated with Maddie’s 33 1/2-inch northern from Big Pine Lake. Flannel Shirts 2019


For most of the kids, it’s the first time they are on the water… You can just see the excitement in their eyes. -Mitch Anderson, Boat Captain for Perham

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Continued from page 8 come on and off the water, so splitting them up helps control congestion. Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson is on the board of directors for the League, and is also a Boat Captain for the Perham team, which landed in third place in the final tournament this season, just behind Fergus Falls and Barnesville. He says that in the first year of the League, the teams were divided into northern and southern divisions, but in 2019 they had to switch to five pods. If the growth continues, they’ll consider another pod for 2020. Anderson says they were approached by FargoMoorhead schools to join up, but it would have been unmanageable. While the current growth is beyond what was expected, he says they can manage what Boat Captain Jesse Tintes hoists in a pike caught by Grace Gallant while they have. Lauryn Gravelle and Summer Pettit keep their lines in the water. Students compete against other schools at many different lakes throughout the region. It’s multispecies fishing, and kids can compete locally all the way to a national tournament. Fish are worth points based on their size, and all fish caught are released. Anderson and Gallant agree it’s kind of walleye country around here, but their aim is to help kids catch whatever they want. “For most of the kids, it’s the first time they are on the water,” Anderson says. “They wouldn’t know what type of fisherman they want to be.” They learn basic things like how to hold the rod or how to remove a hook. Some are brand new to the sport, while others are comfortable driving the boats. In their current format, the board is sort of writing the rules as they go, tweaking things here and there as they learn more about what works, according to Anderson. The goal is to instill fishing skills and a passion for the sport in each child taking part. The Heart O’ Lakes Fishing League event on Rush Lake in 2019. The sport draws in students who aren’t interested

(Left) Wadena-Deer Creek student Grace Matthiesen holds a blue gill pulled from the depths of Otter Tail Lake during the finals of the most recent Heart O’ Lakes Tournament. (Right) Madelyn Gallant with a big blue gill from the finals on Otter Tail and connected waters. 10

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in more traditional sports like football or basketball, and it’s offered during the summer months so it doesn’t compete with the many activities already going on during the school year. “Our kids have so much to do,” Gallant says. “But I hope we can keep it growing and hopefully it just builds a passion to get on the water.”

Not just for the kids

“I think sometimes we get so caught up in the next big thing in lures or presentation in fishing, we forget that some of the oldest, most simple things are still really good,” Gallant says. “Some of our best nights were had by kids trolling a spoon or watching a bobber with a split shot I hope we can keep it and a worm. A guy just needs to growing and hopefully it relax and remember that.” just builds a passion to “The joy and excitement in just get on the water. catching fish was rewarding to see, as well,” he adds. “It didn’t matter if -Norm Gallant, Boat Captain kids were catching 6-inch bluegills or for Wadena-Deer Creek 20-inch walleyes, they just enjoyed it and had a good time. It was fun.”

The League would not be possible without a lot of volunteers. Boat Captains can take up to three young anglers with them on the boat, but that’s still over a dozen captains for each of the pods. Captains are not paid for the gas or bait they use. Yet the volunteers, some professional guides, some just guys who love to fish, continue to take part because they enjoy it as much as the kids, and that’s saying a lot. “I get a thrill every night,” Anderson says. “When you see the kids get off the boat, run down the dock with their score sheets... Immediately they are mingling with other teams and talking about their stories. You can just see the excitement in their eyes.” Osberg says getting to be a Captain was a hoot for him. He says helping new anglers learn the sport really put things into perspective for him. While he typically deploys an immense knowledge base when he goes out to catch fish for himself, for one young angler who just wanted to score some sunnies, he simply fished from a dock.

Growth not ending soon “Eventually, I think just about every school in West Central Minnesota is going to have a team,” Anderson says. “There are a lot of these alternate sports coming,” Gallant says. “I think you’re going to keep seeing that.” And not being a Minnesota State High School League sport, schools still have the freedom to do things as they want, and they hope to keep it that way. “We’re going to look to keep growing, as long as we can grow,” Gallant says. “We’ll just have to see. We’re going to have to get creative.” Michael Johnson is the editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal. He may be reached at mjohnson@wadenapj.com or 218-631-2561.

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The Perham Fishing Team poses during a recent outing as part of the Heart O’ Lakes Fishing League.

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LAND

MAN BY CARTER JONES For Flannel Shirts

Lifelong hunter and hunting land specialist, Jason Ziegler, is a leader in deer herd stewardship

Marie Johnson / Flannel Shirts

Jason Ziegler and his dog, Floki, on Ziegler's acreage near Frazee.

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J

ason Ziegler closes his eyes and smiles thinking about the first time he shot a buck. “I certainly remember that feeling like it was yesterday,” he says. “I’ll never forget that feeling until the day I die.” Sitting in a row of hay bales with his dad, 12-year-old Jason watched four does emerge from a treeline. “You have to be patient,” his dad whispered. “The buck is coming, the buck is coming.” After he cracked off a shot, Jason says, he got so excited he blacked out. “It seemed like I’d waited an eternity to actually be the hunter and pull the trigger,” he says. “It was such a strong feeling of accomplishment, pride, every other word in the dictionary that will never be able to describe that feeling.” Today, as a hunting land specialist for Whitetail Properties, Jason provides the opportunity for sportsmen all over Minnesota and North Dakota to have that same kind of experience.

Love for the land Having grown up on a dairy farm between Perham and Frazee, hunting has been a part of Jason’s life for as long as he can remember. His father, grandfather and mother headed out every season. Before he was old enough to hunt himself, Jason would go sit out with his dad every opening morning. He recalls one year his dad didn’t want to let him go

along, due to a nasty blizzard. But Jason wouldn’t have it. “I insisted, and enjoyed every second of it, even though it was 10 below zero,” he says. His transition from farm boy to real estate agent didn’t happen overnight. After finishing his college football career playing outside linebacker at the University of North Dakota, Jason worked in manufacturing before finding a job as a sales manager at Hudalla Associates, an outdoor manufacturers sales firm in Perham. It wasn’t until he bought his own first piece of property that he decided to go into real estate. “Not to beat the guy up that had the property listed, but my experience was less than desirable, to say the least,” Jason says. “If this guy can sell land, look out.” He realized that he could do better, so he pursued his real estate license. That was nine years ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. “I physically do not have a job. I wake up every morning and don’t go to work,” he says. “I get to walk land for a living — how do you beat that?” His passion for the outdoors shines through in every one of his property listings. The days of making a cliché “sportsman’s paradise” listing with one picture taken from a truck window are over, he says. Those don’t do the property or the seller justice. “Every time I’m on a property, I try to look at it from my perspective,” he says. “If it was my property, what would I do with it?”

Submitted Photo

Jason and his daughter, Paige, with a buck Paige shot. Jason says hunting alongside his kids is one of his greatest joys. Flannel Shirts 2019

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I’m not out there just killing every deer that moves. It’s more about being involved with nature, and increasing habitat. -Jason Ziegler

Carter Jones / Flannel Shirts

Jason poses for a portrait in his home office with his dog, Floki.

Evolving sportsman From his wood-paneled home office northeast of Frazee, Jason is surrounded by more than a dozen different trophy whitetail mounts, along with elk, bear, bass and a marlin. As he gets older, his motivation to hunt continues to change. When he first started, it was all about learning to hunt and being in the woods. Freshly out of football and in his early 20s, Jason saw hunting as a competition between himself and whatever animal he was hunting. “If I was successful, it was like winning an award or a championship,” he says. “The bigger the animal, the bigger the adrenaline rush.” Now he’s come around to enjoy each and every experience, and the comradery hunting brings with family and friends. “It’s more about the experience versus actually having to harvest something,” he says. “It’s something that revolves around bringing everybody together.” Moving forward, Jason anticipates he’ll get to the point where it’s not about hunting at all, but just getting away. To him, hunting is about a lot more than just killing an animal. “It makes you understand it’s bigger than just you and the animal,” he says. “It also teaches you, the harder you work and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”

He has bagged the seventh biggest black bear ever shot with a bow in the state of Minnesota, plus a bobcat, an elk and antelope. “Those are some top-end adrenaline rushes, but bar none, the first time I ever sat with one of my kids that had killed something, that experience outweighed all of them put together,” he says. Jason describes the moment his oldest daughter, Cassidy, shot her first buck as “pandemonium.” A buck emerged while he was crammed into a tiny little box stand with Cassidy and his wife, Sheila. “I know for a fact my heart was racing harder than both of them put together,” he says. After the buck went down, there was some serious celebration. “I guarantee the neighbors on either side of us could hear us yelling,” he laughs.

Working toward a healthy herd

At this point in his hunting life, Jason passes up on young bucks, opting to shoot only mature bucks that are 4 to 5 years old. This philosophy helps to balance out a herd, and eventually leads to bigger racks. “If you go out and shoot every buck you see, you’re only going to have 1.5-year-old deer,” Jason says. “That’s not necessarily good from an experience standpoint, and a healthy Raising the next generation deer standpoint.” Jason considers himself a whitetail guy through and through. Without a group of adjoining landowners adhering to the “I always told myself once I shot my first 150-inch whitetail, same guidelines, luck is the only factor that allows a buck to I would explore and do other things, but I always come back,” mature. “When the orange army comes out to play, there’s all of a he says. 14

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sudden thousands and thousands of people out in the woods at the same time,” he says. “When you’re a young deer, you’re not smart enough to get away from them.” Jason has worked to start several grassroots cooperatives in the area that aim to give adjoining landowners a set of guidelines that control and influence a deer herd. “It would amaze you what you can do with a deer herd,” he says. “You can literally change it in two or three years.” Under the guidelines, veteran and first time hunters are allowed to shoot whatever they want. “It’s for guys like myself that have killed a million 2-year-old deer. Let’s let these deer grow up,” he says. “Just that alone will increase the age structure of your deer herd.”

instead opting to sit in a stand with his wife or daughters. With the rest of his family at deer camp a couple miles to the east, Jason says the text messages start flying in around noon with updates. The public’s perception of hunters “just wiping the resource off the face of the earth” is wrong, according to Jason. He says hunters are easily the largest conservation group in the world. “If you were to take a tour of my property, it’s not just about shooting an animal,” he says. “I’m out here providing food for the critters, improving their habitat, making them feel safe, so I know I have a resource that’s not going to be depleted.” When asked if he considers himself an activist, Jason says he doesn’t need to have a badge of honor, but he hopes Leading by example people see that through selling land and hunting, he’s ingraining others If the trophies in his office are any into that atmosphere. indication, Jason is serious about “I like to lead by example,” he says. hunting. His season kicks off every year with “I’m not out there just killing every deer that moves. It’s more about being bear camp on Sept. 1 and doesn’t end involved with nature, and increasing until Dec. 31. Everything culminates with whitetail habitat.” Carter Jones is a reporter at the rifle season in early November, which Perham Focus. He may be reached at he calls his “Superbowl.” He doesn’t even buy a rifle tag, cjones@perhamfocus.com.

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Jason Ziegler with a mountain lion he hunted.

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Inching my way around a corner on the trail, I saw something moving in front of me. Raising my rifle and peering through the scope, I saw the unmistakable view of antlers panning back and forth as a buck foraged for food. I lined up the crosshairs, took a deep breath, and fired… -Carter Jones

The Buck

STOPS HERE A young hunter from an old hunting family reflects on missed shots, but not missed opportunities BY CARTER JONES For Flannel Shirts

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he clink of a cord turning on a lightbulb wakes me up. Taking a deep, sleepy breath, I turn over and try to get away with snoozing for five more minutes. Uncle Dave quickly ruins that idea by rousing us all up. “Come on everyone, you need to be at your stands before the sun comes up.” With a groan, I pull myself up, shaking blood into my legs with every step down the bunk bed. After scarfing down eggs, toast and a splash of coffee, it’s time to get suited up. I stuff a handful of granola bars, a doe call and a book into my backpack. The stove is already pumping out heat, so I step through the screen door to get some fresh air. A thin layer of frost is sprinkled on the grass, extending up into the surrounding evergreen trees. After putting on the requisite underlayers and blaze orange overlayers, I sprinkle some doe urine on my boots, grab my grandpa’s Winchester lever action 30-30, and head into the woods.

I grew up looking at this gun, peering into my grandpa’s rifle cabinet in his den, dreaming of the day I would be able to join him for my first hunt out at “The Shack” north of Orr, Minn. Like most hunting families, the sport is ingrained in our identity. It’s actually the only reason my family came to 16

America to begin with. At the turn of the century, my great-great-grandpa was killed while duck hunting in Denmark. This tragic accident forced the orphaned Jorgensen siblings onto a boat bound for New York City, and eventually they settled in Hutchinson, Minn. When my grandpa started going to Orr to hunt with his dad, in the early 1940s, deer practically bounded right into his lap. This definitely isn’t happening anymore. Hard winters and wolves have pushed the herd south, leaving a sparse population spread over the vast wilderness. Over the past 10 years, I’ve barely seen a deer, let alone bag a trophy buck. The first couple years, I sat in my stand on high alert, bolting up at the sound of a squirrel crunching a leaf. My first sighting was a doe. It crept up behind me when I was sitting on top of a large hill that had just been cleared for logging. Slowly turning my head around, I saw it, less than 20 yards away from me. When I raised the rifle and attempted to take aim, it bolted out of sight. The year after that, I went to the same spot. Just as I sat down behind a rotting tree, I heard something in the dense forest directly in front of me. It sounded a lot different, and a lot bigger than the squirrels that had previously fooled me. Continued on page 18 Flannel Shirts 2019


My dad and uncle Dave chat with my cousin Kyle and brother Colton (l-r) after a morning of deer hunting.

Military and First Responder Appreciation Program As a way to honor the service of men and women in uniform, Husqvarna created the Military and First Responder Appreciation Program.

23rd Annual Show

THE GATHERING 2020

At Husqvarna, we support the uniformed men and women who serve our communities and nation. As a way to honor their service and sacrifice, we created the Military and First Responder Appreciation Program. If you’re an active or non-active police officer, firefighter, EMS/paramedic or member of the United States military, you can save on powerful and innovative Husqvarna products.

Participating Husqvarna dealers can offer you 10% off the MSRP of any Husqvarna product. Whether you’re starting a business or maintaining your own property, you can count on our equipment.

To qualify, you must: Currently serve or be retired from a branch of the US military and possess a valid military ID, or Be a veteran who receives VA benefits and have a valid Veteran Identification Card (VIC), or Be an active or retired police officer, firefighter or EMS/paramedic

Visit your local Husqvarna dealer to learn more. Most importantly, thank you for serving! Merickel ACE Hardware · 630 Ash Ave NW · Wadena, MN 56482 · (218) 631-3570 Flannel Shirts 2019

SPORTING COLLECTIBLE, ART, DUCK AND FISH DECOY SHOW BUY-SELL=TRADE PERHAM COMMUNITY CENTER

April 18th & 19th, 2020 Saturday 9 am to 4 pm • Sunday 10 am to 3 pm Admission $8.00 Adults, Kids Free CONCESSIONS, GUN RAFFLE, SILENT AUCTIONS WORLD AND NATIONAL DECOY CONTESTS AND EXHIBITS!

BOTH GYMS WILL BE FULL! SPONSORED BY KLN FAMILY BRANDS 17


Continued from page 16 Squinting into the blackness, I heard a loud snort and a hoof stomp on the ground. Freezing in place, I heard it again. Was there a buck right in front of me? Trying to keep it interested until the sun came up, I pulled out my doe call and let out a low bleat. After what felt like an eternity, it ran off, never to be seen again. A couple years later, I switched up my strategy and started stalking the woods. Rather than waiting in a stand, I was going to find one on my own, I thought, just like my grandpa had done to shoot all of his deer. Inching my way around a corner on the trail, I saw something moving in front of me. Raising my rifle and peering through the scope, I saw the unmistakable view of antlers panning back and forth as a buck foraged for food. I lined up the crosshairs, took a deep breath, and fired. After waiting a few minutes, I went to the spot. Turns out, I missed. The light from my flashlight bobs up and down the trail, illuminating a silver tunnel in the pitch black, eerily quiet forest. I step out of the way when I hear Uncle Dave’s four-wheeler coming up behind me. He passes by with a wave and a nod of the head. After trudging up the trail, I make it up and into my stand just as the sun is turning the sky’s blackness into a light blue, visible through the fingertips of the branches overhead. Within the next hour, shots will pierce the air all around me, but none of them will come from me. Taking my gloves off, I run my fingers along the gun’s cold metal. The dark finish on the wood is peeling on the edges, but the peep site is as accurate as ever. My grandpa says he has shot dozens of deer with this gun, including the trophy buck in his den. Year after year, the hunt itself becomes less and less important. Rather than keeping my eyes peeled for a buck, I’m happy to sit perched up in a tree, enjoying a quiet moment alone. I still stalk the trail on the way home, hoping to get lucky. But at this point, bringing a deer home with me would really just be an inconvenience. Now my grandpa is in his 90s, no longer strong enough to make the trip up after over 75 straight years. Even though he can’t be there anymore, he’ll still be the first person I call, if or when I do get that first buck.

Of note

► In 2016 in the U.S., 11.5 million people ages 16 and older enjoyed hunting; of those, 8 percent were male and 1 percent were female ► The number of hunters decreased by 16 percent from 2011 to 2016 ► Hunting expenditures totaled $26.2 billion *From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

My great-grandpa Magnus Jorgensen (center) sits alongside my grandpa, Glen Jorgensen (left) during a hunting trip in the 1960s.

Carter Jones / Flannel Shirts

(Left) My brother, Colton, poses for a portrait on the eve of the hunting opener. (Right) My dad, Rob, poses for a portrait during a hunting trip.

Year after year, the hunt itself becomes less and less important. Rather than keeping my eyes peeled for a buck, I’m happy to sit perched up in a tree, enjoying a quiet moment alone. -Carter Jones

TALE FROM THE TAVERN TRUE STORY. A few years back, while having a drink in a local tavern, I happened to meet two brothers who had just returned from a deer hunting trip. When asked by me how they had fared, one brother started to complain most vigorously. He stated that their hunting was ruined by “those darn ostriches” making so much noise running through the woods. I expected a joke to follow that remark, but none 18

came. He insisted the aforementioned “ostriches” were at fault for their lack of success. I asked if they were on a game farm where nonnative species were kept. He said “No,” that they were on public land. Finally, his brother piped up and said they were “Partridges, not ostriches,” to which he replied, “Partridges, ostriches… whatever!” To this day I can still see those ostriches in my mind, running through the woods. -A Wadena area reader

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Youth Duck Decoy Contest to be held in Perham ‘World’s largest fish decoy show,’ The Gathering, will return again in April The Midwest Nationals Youth Duck Decoy Contest will be held April 18-19 in Perham, in conjunction with The Gathering: 23rd Annual Show of Sporting Collectibles, Art, Duck & Fish Decoys. The contest is open to anyone age 18 and under at the time of the event. The featured decoy for 2020 will be a drake blue wing teal. The decoy may be made from wood or cork, or a combination of the two. Decoys will be judged by a team of judges and swim tested. Judges will look for the decoy to right itself in a tank and will also look for clean craftsmanship and rate each artist’s rendition of species likeness. Entries may be carved from a decoy kit. Ribbons, certificates and cash payouts will be given for 1st through 5th places. Cash payouts are $200 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd, and $50 for 3rd through 5th. The contest will be held at the Perham Area Community Center, at 620 3rd Avenue SE. Registration will be located in the second gymnasium starting Friday, April 17, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., and Saturday morning from 7-8 am. Registration is free in all youth classes. Judging will take place that day and awards announced that evening at the N.F.D.A. Awards Banquet at The Cactus, 43521 Fort Thunder Road, Perham. Tickets are $35 for the meal and program. It is not mandatory to attend. The banquet is the annual fundraiser for the National Fish Decoy Association. Decoys will stay on display in the contest area until 3 p.m. Sunday.

Those who cannot attend or register in person may send their entries with another person, who will be responsible for registration and returning the decoy.

About The Gathering The Gathering is billed as “The World’s Largest Fish Decoy Show,” and it is! Collectors come from across North America to attend. Thousands attend to buy, sell, trade or have appraisals done. This annual event fills two gymnasiums at the Perham Area Community Center. The front gym usually has 90-plus vendors and about 160 tables of merchandise for sale. Enthusiasts can find almost anything in the realm of outdoors sporting collectibles, art, duck or fish decoys. The entire back gym is the contest area, and hosts the following events and contests: John Jensen National Fish Decoy Contest, Bob Johnson Memorial Junior Fish Decoy Contest, Casey Edwards National Gunning Bird Contest, Texas Worlds Fish Decoy Contest, P.A. Keystone World Cup, North American World Cup of Fish and Duck Decoys, and The South and North Dakota Nationals of Fish Decoys. Carvers from across the Midwest attend and compete. Visit www.nfdadecoys.org for more information. The Gathering vendor registration will be held that Friday from 6 a.m. - 3 p.m., with decoy registration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The general public can attend Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adult admission is $8 per day and youth are free.

Complimentary Grand Start® Breakfast Indoor Pool with Hot Tub On-Site Lounge/Bar

Winter Getaway

Stay 2 nights receive $25 off Stay 3 nights receive $35 off Stay 4 nights receive $50 off The longer you stay the more you save! Book Direct and SAVE!!!!

Located seconds away from the trails. Bring the Snowmobiles. Bring the Skis. Bring the Family. Perham will provide the FUN!!!

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Food With Attitude

lunch specials • 11am–1pm

$10 Sandwich of the day with choice of side

happy hour • 3-6pm & 9-close MONDAY - 1/2 PRICE BOTTLES OF WINE ALL DAY 1/2 price select apps from 9-10pm $450 domestic pints all day • $350 during Happy hour

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The Essentials of

HOME BREWING H

ome brewing is a rewarding hobby that’s skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. A 2017 survey from the American Homebrewers Association found that 1.1 million people in the U.S. brewed their own beer at home. Forty percent of them had just started doing so in the previous four years. Perhaps due to the craft beer boom, which has seen professional brewers experiment with new styles and ingredients, many people have discovered a passion for beer they never knew they had, ultimately motivating them to try to make their own beer at home. As prospective home brewers gain more experience, they might want to expand their horizons and purchase more advanced equipment. But the following are the basics that novice home brewers will need to get started. Fermenter: Fermenters hold the wort as it ferments into beer. Airlock and bung: The airlock inserts into the top of the fermenter, allowing carbon dioxide to escape without letting contaminants in. Some fermenters will require a bung to secure the airlock. Brew pot: Sometimes called the “kettle,” the brew pot is where the boiling process takes place. The size of the batch will dictate the size of the brew pot, but the larger the batch, the larger brew pot brewers will need. Heat source: The pre-boil volume needs to be heated up, and a kitchen stove might suffice as a heat source for small

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batches. But the AHA notes that, as batch size grows, a more powerful heat source might be necessary to ensure timeliness of the heating process. Siphon/tubing: Siphon/tubing makes it easy and less messy to move hot wort and the finished product around. It’s possible to lift and pour the hot wort and finished product, but that increases the risk of spillage. The AHA notes that auto-siphons are an option some home brewers might want to consider. Cleaner: Home brewing materials need to be cleaned thoroughly after each batch. The AHA recommends avoiding scented products, as scents can linger, potentially affecting the flavor and aroma of the finished product. Sanitizers: Sanitizers prevent microorganisms from adversely affected brewing equipment. Brewers can create their own sanitizer by adding one ounce of bleach per gallon of water, or they can purchase sanitizers at brew shops. Hydrometer: The AHA notes that hydrometers, which measure the gravity and sugar density in water, are not technically necessary to brew beer at home. However, hydrometers allow for close monitoring of fermentation and let home brewers calculate specifications like alcohol content. These are the essentials necessary to begin a home brewing operation. More information about products necessary for home brewing, including mashing equipment and the bottling process, is available at www.homebrewersassociation.org. 21


Your Perfect Partner®

OFFICES IN:

Perham • 218-346-7672 Pelican Rapids • 218-863-8723 www.MNLakePartners.com

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Linda Stoll, Julie Barb Steve Barb Broker Bormann Backstrom Backstrom Grunewald

Arland Schultz

Trisha Satter

Corinna Carla Valerie Douglas Richardson Bushaw

Megan Stoll

Blossom Kawlewski

Kayla Smith

218-849-5590 218-841-3664 218-205-6286 218-205-6286 218-850-2049 218-849-3086 218-298-4416 218-831-4415 701-219-1465 701-306-2771 218-838-6992 218-841-8541 218-841-0023

55 ACRES of Prime Hunting Land located just South of Deer Creek! Property features mixed land of high ground, some lowland, meadow and open. The creek that runs through it boasts lots of Deer Tracks and Activity & Great place for a deer Stand! Big bucks have been pulled from this & surrounding hunting land each year. An RV is already set for camp! Build your dream home up front and enjoy the hunting, hiking and wildlife! 20-28095 $110,000

39 ACRES, Rural Battle Lake-Maine Township, Otter Tail County: 39 +/- acres of mostly tillable land. The cropland is leased through 2022 at $75/acre after which you can continue leasing it out, farm it yourself, or turn it into a beautiful building site/hobby farm overlooking the 2nd Twin Lake. Approximately 1000’ on the lake provides lots of wildlife/hunting opportunities. #20-26681 $120,000

24 ACRES, Rural Pelican Rapids – Land borders Prairie Lake. Approximately 24 acres with approximately 1450 feet of lake frontage on the west side of Prairie Lake. The property borders Prairie Lake on the east side and Co Hwy 9 on the west side. #20-26648 $110,000

SEASONAL RUSH LAKE CABINS- Approx 2 acres and 600’ of shared frontage. There are 1-3 bdrm cabins available. Enjoy lake cabin living without the maintenance. These cabins sit right at the water’s edge. After a successful day of fishing, fry them up and when it’s time to relax in the cabin you’ll be listening to the waves and loons right from your bedroom window. Several cabins available starting at $64,900.

BIG PINE LAKE CABIN- 400 feet of frontage on 4,725 acre Big Pine Lake. Rustic 2 bedroom seasonal cabin with knotty pine interior. Whether you are fishing this well known walleye lake or taking in the beautiful sunsets from the lake shore, you will be sure to enjoy the tranquility this location has to offer. #20-26228 $159,000

LAKE 605-Good fishing & great views from this frontage on Lake 605. Approx 7.75 acres w/600+- shoreline & 40x64 Foltz building. Handicapped accessible, spacious 1997 3 BD, 3 BA home w/attached 2 car garage. Many updates including new natural gas HVAC & on demand water heat, gas dryer. #20-26416 $524,900

S LAKE LIDA-Western log home on private lot with great views of the lake & Maplewood State Park. Vaulted beamed ceilings & soaring windows are a focal point in this 3BR/3BA home featuring a loft & family room in walk-out basement, & oversized double garage w/shop. Maintenance free wraparound deck & balcony off loft. #20-26439 $455,000

We turn visitors into locals. After all, we love this place too. If you’re looking for a cabin or vacation home here, we’re the ones to see.

CRYSTAL LAKE-- New development on the north shore of Crystal Lake! 307’’ lake frontage on Lot 7 with a beautiful building site close to the lake. Mature trees, mostly level lot, with perfect elevation! Good hard bottom swimming. Plat map and covenants are attached. #20-26577 $300,000

LAKE LIZZIE-186’ of frontage on private lot, ready to build your new home on! 8.7 acres providing privacy with an amazing view & minimal elevation to beautiful, hard sand bottom. Lot is surrounded by a mix of beautiful trees, home to deer, birds, & other friendly wildlife. These large building lots are hard to find on premier lakes like this & have been cleared, & are ready for building! #20-26034 $399,000

TOAD LAKE-Yr Round, 4BR home w/163 feet of excellent swimming frontage. Asphalt driveway, cedar siding, 4-car att garage, sauna & hot tub. Home features vaulted ceilings, gas frplc, finished LL, lakeside decks, & beautiful landscaping! Private lot with mature trees. #20-27412 $475,000

RUSH LAKE CABIN-Cozy cabin on Perfect lot to Big sand frontage. 2 Bed 1 bath cabin featuring central air, propane furnace, deep well and septic with drain field. Boat house with fish cleaning room on waters edge. Furnishings included, ready to move in and use. #20-27917 $249,000

DEAD LAKE: 3BR/3BA home with att garage & det 28x48 metal bldg w/shop. Large 2.5 acre wooded lot w/private driveway. Main level features laundry, master suite, open floor plan with large kitchen island, gas fireplace in living room, & sunroom. Walk-out bsmt w/family room. Includes fish cleaning hs & stge bldg. #20-27598 $449,900

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JASON ZIEGLER West Central Minnesota Land Specialist

(701) 367-2376

jason.ziegler@whitetailproperties.com CONTACT JASON TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUYING AND SELLING HUNTING, FARM, RANCH AND TIMBERLAND

W H I T E TA I L P R O P E RT I E S . C O M Whitetail Properties Real Estate, LLC | dba Whitetail Properties | Nebraska & North Dakota DBA Whitetail Trophy Properties Real Estate LLC. | Lic. in IL, MO, IA, KS, KY, NE & OK - Dan Perez, Broker | Lic. in AR, CO, GA, MN, ND, TN, SD & WI - Jeff Evans, Broker | Lic. in FL, OH, & PA - Kirk Gilbert, Broker | Lic. in NM & TX Joey Bellington, Broker | Lic. in IN - John Boyken, Broker | Lic. in LA, MS, GA & AL - Sybil Stewart, Broker | Lic. in TN - Chris WakeďŹ eld, Broker | Lic. in TN - Bobby Powers, Broker | Lic. in AR - Johnny Ball, Broker | Lic. in SC - Rick Elliot, Broker | Lic. in NC - Rich Baugh, Broker | Lic. in MI - Edmund Joel Nogaski , Broker

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Quality Trailers and Service in Your Backyard. Cutting Edge specializes in trailer sales along with a full service and repair shop. We have a stock of Trailers from your simple utility trailer to the most demanding equipment trailer to get the big jobs done! Call us today for our current inventory or questions on a special build!

43761 426th Street | Perham, MN 56573 | 218-346-5004 Monday – Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm | Saturday 8:00am – Noon

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Profile for Perham Focus

Flannel Shirts  

A new magazine for and about local outdoorsmen. Man of the Land: LIFELONG HUNTER, FRAZEE NATIVE AND HUNTING LAND SPECIALIST JASON ZIEGLER C...

Flannel Shirts  

A new magazine for and about local outdoorsmen. Man of the Land: LIFELONG HUNTER, FRAZEE NATIVE AND HUNTING LAND SPECIALIST JASON ZIEGLER C...

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