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Boat Hunting Canvasbacks





Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 1



















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Page 2 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017








& Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 3

Special Destination Section

Pheasant Hunting Aberdeen, SD 14-16 Redfield, SD 17 Pierre, SD/Lake Oahe 18-21 Missouri River/Lake Francis Case 22-23 Mitchell, SD 24-25 Glacial Lakes of SD 26-27 Sandhills of Nebraska 37

Early Ice Fishing

Special Ice Destination Sections

Explore Northern Minnesota 54-61


Lake of the Woods 66-67 Special Fall Destination Sections Hunt & Fish Canada 76 Cover Photo: Nick Schertz of Tomahawk, WS, has consistently been a top stick for the USA Ice Team. Photo credit: Kelly Gotch Gotcha Productions


Early Ice Fishing

Public Land

Pheasant Hunting Pointers................................... 6

Safety and Strategy for

Containment and

Small Party Pheasant Hunting......................12

November Stealth Brings December Wealth:

How Can GPS

Make You a Better Hunter?..............................30

10 Techniques to

A Fun Challenge

Pronghorn Lessons..................................................34

Permanent DIY Fish-House

Persistence Pays off

Predator Calling Adventures..........................38

Going for the Gold

Boat Hunting for

Ice Season

Canvasbacks on the Mississippi River .... 42

Early Ice Panfish.........................................................50 Finding Ice Fishing Hotspots Now!...........52 Ice More Walleyes.....................................................62 Do’s and Don’ts...........................................................68 USA Ice Team................................................................72 Safety Equipment......................................................78

Minnesota Governor’s Hunt 33

Pheasant Hunting Photo: Tammy Bashore


Boat Hunting for

Santa’s Bag.........................................28-29 Gifts for the Outdoorsperson! Hunt & Hook Chef..........................46-49 Recipes for your Bag, & Catch

Canvasbacks on the Mississippi River


After Neurosurgery, Iowa Man Gets Back to Fishing & Building...............82

Magazine Team

CEO/PRESIDENT: K.A. Lesnar MANAGING EDITOR: Paul Nester OPERATIONS MANAGER: Hosea Bennett COMPOSITION MANAGER: Catherine Krause Composition: Dan Brauer, Jesse Bierman, Dawn Giedd

Marketing 605-274-2640 Paul Nester - Joey Craft -

Contributors Brian Bashore Jerry Carlson Josh Hagemeister Joe Henry Joel Nelson Buddy Seiner Brian Schumacher

Don Shumaker • HSM - Scott Olson - Kevin Dahlke • Avera Health

• Explore Minnesota • Tayler Michels Passion for the Hunt TV

The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and do not necessarily

Meet Our Contributors

Get to know some of these experienced hunters & anglers better and share their journeys


Note from the Editor

The weather is cooling down fast and soon it will be making ice. This issue we have teamed up with Explore Minnesota to highlight the Ice Fishing opportunities in the state of Minnesota. This sport is growing in popularity every year. Now winter can be an excellent time to take a fishing vacation and land that trophy fish and some for the pan. With all the high-tech equipment, and ice houses available for ice fishing today, there’s no reason to not head out on one of Minnesota’s countless frozen waterways in winter. Check out the USA Ice Team also in this issue. They will be traveling the world to win us the Gold. November and December can be the best time to shoot some pheasants. Check out the destination pages for some great opportunities to hunt these birds. Brian & Tammy Bashore offer up some great pointers on hunting public land. Enjoy the fall, I will see you on the ice soon. ~ Paul midwesthuntfish • Like our page! • Post your photos & much more!

4005 S. Western Ave - PO Box 5184 Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5184 Sales: 605-274-2640 - Fax: 605-335-6873 •


All copy, pictures and graphics are reserved and may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The opinions

Midwest Hunting & Fishing & Magazine. No part this magazine be P4agereflect 4•M idwest Hunting Fishing - Nofovember -Dmay ecember 2017 expressed and information given are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher.

No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 5

I have been an upland bird hunter for over 20 years and one thing that I can assure you is that the private land available to hunt is not becoming more abundant.

Many times late in the season, the bird can hold tight and without a quality dog you will walk right by them within a few feet without flushing the bird

Due to higher crop prices in the past, as well as, the ability to lease land for some pretty good change, it is making it more and more difficult for the average sportsman to find a place of solace to pursue their passion for the great outdoors. This is why I turn to the public land that is readily available not only here in South Dakota but across the entire U.S. There are roughly 640 million acres of public land in the U.S. and approximately 5 million in South Dakota alone. Much of this land is the vast open lands in the West but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a pheasant habitat haven just a few miles from your home awaiting you for your next hunting excursion.

6 Page 6 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

I hear lots of complaints about hunting public land so I’m putting together a few pointers to help you increase your chances on your next outing and hopefully you, too, will find that our public lands (Your land) are much better than you may have expected. For me, bird hunting has always been about watching my dogs work the fields and seeing them run free just as a bird dog’s spirit is meant to do. If you have never hunted with quality dogs you will be amazed at the natural instinct these animals display and you may never want to hunt without a good bird dog again. I personally would prefer to take my camera and my dog over my shotgun and no dog. I may be a bit bias as a German Shorthair Pointer owner, but I will honestly say any good bird dog is worth having if you are a beginner or a veteran bird hunter.

You will be glad you have a dog by your side. A quality dog is probably the most important factor when hunting public lands. Many of the hunters that hit the public spots don’t get to hunt too often so their investment in a good dog is limited, if at all. A good dog can come in just behind a group of hunters and pick out birds that the other dogs never caught wind of as well as work the birds to where you will get a good shot. Many times late in the season, depending on the weather, the bird can hold tight and without a quality dog you will walk right by them within a few feet without flushing the bird. Trust me when I say, a good bird dog is not only going to make your hunting experience a lot better and more memorable but will quickly become another member of your family.

What to look for as far as public land with potential birds being present? I look for a few particular types of habitat based on time of day and season as well as the amount of people in my group. Hunting solo or with 4 or more hunters will certainly determine the spots I will hunt. Early in the season I look for short grass located near milo or corn fields and will work the edges of those fields in the morning or evening. This particular field edge hunt is effective on a solo hunt as it’s nearly impossible to venture out into tall grass alone early in the season and cover it effectively. The bird’s first instinct is to run if possible so when hunting large grass fields you can rest assured those birds are running all over on you. You will encounter birds running the fence lines or field edges as well and that is where a good dog comes into play. Your dog is faster and will get the bird to pin down (hopefully) allowing you to catch up prior to its flush. Of course if you have a hunting partner to assist as a blocker then you’re in business. Always err on the side of safety when using blockers and know what’s in your line of fire. As the season progresses and the birds become more pressured, or educated, you will have to be a bit more stealthy and look for not so obvious plots of land. Of course the public land that is harder to get to is always at the top of my list hoping that it gets less pressure, but that’s not always the case.

When looking for plots of public land to hunt with larger groups, I will focus on CRP (Crop Reduction Program) or WIA (Walk in Area only) as these areas are in partnership with land owners and are usually larger tracks of land with working farm ground near by. Almost all states these days have public land atlases that show you where you can hunt, hike, fish and do other outdoor recreation. Take a moment to identify those lands near where you live or even where you would like to take your next hunting adventure.

As the season progresses and the birds become more pressured you will have to be a bit more stealthy and look for not so obvious plots of land

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 7 7

So keep in mind that these birds have seen and heard hunters for over a month now and are very weary of what’s going on. Always move into the field quietly and, if hunting alone, walk fast to catch the birds off guard. Avoid yelling at your dog and silence the beeper collar if you use one. Park your truck a good distance away from where you think the birds may be held up at and try to work your dog into the wind to those hot spots. When the snow is flying and the temperatures are frigid look for the some of the thickest cover you can find. And if you can find thick cover near food, then you have hit the jack pot. Many public areas will have food plots left in them for the winter so make note of these locations as you come across them throughout the season as spots to hit in late season. I look for marshy areas with cattails. Cattails make great shelter and the marsh can hold some open water for the birds. Usually the hunting pressure is pretty minimal by this time of year, but so are the

number of birds, so you may have to work at it a bit harder. And just the opposite of earlier in the year, I try to move slower now, allowing the dog some time to work the area. However, when you find birds in late season don’t be surprised to see several at one time. It will be crucial to be ready when approaching what looks like a hot spot. Pay attention to fresh tracks in the snow, the tracks can tell you where the birds are entering or exiting the field to a food source. If you don’t see any tracks in the area don’t stick around; most likely there aren’t any birds present. I usually hunt solo or with a very small group but on occasion I venture out with a large party of hunters (five or more). With this type of party, your options really open up and you are now able to hunt those large grass fields anytime of year as well as stage blockers at several locations to prevent the escape of running birds.

If you can find thick cover near food, then you’ve hit the jack pot. Many public areas will have food plots left in them for the winter so make note of these locations as you come across them throughout the season TH41_MidwestHunting_17.pdf 1 8/15/2017 11:20:34 AM as spots to hit in late season.









Page 8 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

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Usually the hunting pressure is pretty minimal by this time of year, but so are the number of birds, so you may have to work at it a bit harder

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When looking for plots of public land to hunt with larger groups, I will focus on CRP (Crop Reduction Program) or WIA (Walk in Area only) as these areas are in partnership with land owners and are usually larger tracks of land with working farm ground near by. Late in the year the crops are out and the birds will be holding tight; usually holding up near the field edges close to crops for easy access to the food left on the ground after harvest. Walking standing crops is also a great method with a large group of hunters as you will need those blockers to prevent the birds from running out the edges on you. I very seldom hit standing crop when I’m solo hunting unless it’s a very small milo food plot where I can see the whole plot from one end. The greatest thing about pheasant hunting is it can be different everyday and no two spots are the same. Birds will behave different in locations and you will almost always encounter something you didn't expect. As American sportsmen, we are blessed to have the abundance of public land available and much of this is credited to our conservation leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt, Ding Darling, Aldo Leopold and many others. These lands are your lands and your right to access these lands should not be taken lightly. It doesn't matter where you live in the U.S. as all public lands are just that “Public To All”.


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I try to move slower in late season, allowing the dog some time to work the area. When you find birds in late season don’t be surprised to see several at one time. It will be crucial to be ready when approaching what looks like a hot spot. Pay attention to fresh tracks in the snow, the tracks can tell you where the birds are entering or exiting the field to a food source.

Almost all states these days have public land atlases that show you where you can hunt, hike, fish and do other outdoor recreation. Take a moment to identify those lands near where you live or even where you would like to take your next hunting adventure. I can attest these properties are good for wildlife and for all of us. Our state agencies have done excellent work managing these lands on limited budgets for all of us to enjoy; so enjoy them and remember to pack out whatever you pack in. Don't leave a mess behind and be a good steward to lands that we all can share.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 11 11

When it comes to fall hunting preferences, I am definitely a bird man. I love working the big honkers in the fields, decoying ducks on the water and chasing the wily ringneck around upland cover. The geese and ducks will come and go as the migration takes place, but the pheasants pretty much stay put. Typically, their home range is about a square mile. And that’s it. Because pheasants are home bodies and do not travel far during their lifetime, it is imperative that hunters locate habitat that will keep the birds happy. Pheasants aren’t going to move far if they have the food, water and cover they need. For this reason, hunters that are working smaller sections of habitat must locate prime real-estate that offers the best bird holding opportunities.

Pushing a big cattail swamp in late season with two people can be an exercise in futility.

P age 12 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 12

In my home state of Minnesota, the last ten years has been hard on the pheasant population. With the loss of more than a thousand square miles of CRP habitat, there simply are fewer pheasants because there are fewer places for them to call home. Because of this, many of the locations we target for roosters are quite small with most coming in at under a couple of hundred acres. Some areas of winter cover we work are actually less than 50 acres. Due to the small venues we hunt, our party of hunters is also small. Typically, our pheasant hunting crew will contain two to four hunters. Although I like the small group make-up, it does create some tactical issues that need to be addressed. Planning the strategies for hunting even a small piece of cover is extremely important. Containment is the first word that comes to mind. A pheasant’s first line of defense is almost always to run and not to fly. This is especially true when hunting later in the season. This fact should always be part of the strategy session put together for hunting a habitat plot. A number of times in my pheasant career, I have worked a stretch of cover with fresh snow on the ground. The snow has allowed us to track the movements of the birds as we push through the cover. I have been astounded at how far these birds will run before they flush. The flush often happens when they hit open ground and can no longer run in cover. Containment can be found in a number of different forms. Field roads, blockers, ditches, or plowed terrain can all serve as containment devices that are a catalyst for flushing running birds. The whole process of planning containment strategies can be compounded by the desire to hunt the dogs into the wind. There are times we pick our fields strictly by the direction of the wind. This isn’t always possible, but is desirable if we have multiple options for that day. The number of hunters in our group also plays a role in the locations we hunt. Pushing a big cattail swamp in late season with two people can be an exercise in futility. One may see a lot of birds but nothing close enough to shoot. Small party hunting has intimate qualities that I like. However, it does present some problems at times because there are not enough hunters to cover all of the escape routes. Pheasants are very good at finding places that hunters aren’t. Even so, we seem to get our share of birds. I guess having birds get away simply means there will be roosters around the next time we come. When you think about it, that isn’t all bad.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page13 13

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 15

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Page 16 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 16

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page17 17

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a hunt. Pierre’s location makes it the ideal place for the state capital and the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Pierre and Hughes County boasts one of the highest bird and harvest counts in the state of South Dakota.

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Pierre, P 18 age 18 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page19 19

Even though Oahe is known for its walleye and salmon fishing, it is also known for exceptional hunting. Canada geese, ducks, pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse are some of the most hunted species. This is a place where you can go fishing in the morning and finish the day shooting a limit of pheasants.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 21 21

Lake Francis Case is the large, gently winding reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota. The lake has an area of 102,000 acres and a maximum depth of 140 feet. Lake Francis Case covers just over 100 miles and has a shoreline of 540 miles. The rolling prairie terrain surrounding along Lake Francis Case is a peaceful paradise for outdoors enthusiasts, while the reservoir itself is home to all kinds of water recreation. Species of fish in the reservoir include walleye, northern pike, sauger, sunfish, yellow perch, common carp, black bullhead, channel catfish and smallmouth bass. Lake Francis Case cuts through grassy prairie and grain fields that provide habitat for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chickens, turkeys and geese. Hunters also pursue big game animals such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope. Source: Missouri River Tourism

Page 22 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 22

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 23 23

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South Dakota is one of the top two pheasant harvest states and claims the top number of birds per hunter per season. Located in the top ringneck range, Mitchell is regarded as one of the best pheasant hunting spots in the nation, a position it has maintained for decades. The highest concentration of hunting guides in South Dakota can be found in the Mitchell area, offering an excellent selection when planning your hunt*. *


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 25

Formed by the glaciers receding to the north over 20,000 years ago, this area of South Dakota is unique in its variety of family attractions, festivals, scenery, parks, hunting, fishing, outdoor activities and history. With over 100 great fishing lakes, you can fish a new lake every day.

Over the past several years, the fishing has been outstanding, some of the best in the Upper Midwest for walleye, perch and northern. Fisherman are coming to the glacial lakes area to experience some of the best fishing in our five-state area. Pheasant populations have rebounded and now present excellent bird numbers. Fishing & pheasant hunting along with great waterfowl hunting give you opportunities unmatched in other surrounding states.

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Page 26 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 26

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 27 27

Page 28 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 28

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When out scouting or shed hunting, and observe a sign of your quarry...

Scott Winkles from SCHEELS with a great Montana mule deer. Pictured with Scott is Jason Mitchell and Tayler Michels from Passion for the Hunt TV.  

30 Page 30 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Photo Credits: Tayler Michels Passion for the Hunt TV

Here are some tips on using GPS features that will help make you a more successful hunter. Mark waypoints on points of interest when out in the field. Whether you’re out scouting or shed hunting in the spring and summer, especially during hunting season. Always have a GPS along and every time you observe sign of your quarry, Map it. Over time, waypoints will add up and you will be able to identify patterns based on a compilation of your individual encounters. As time goes on you will become a more efficient hunter, knowing which types of topography to focus on and what contours the animals like to spend their time in. Essentially you can eliminate dead space where most likely the animals WON’T be and accurately identify specific types of areas where you’ve experienced encounters before.

Hunt planning is a huge part of each fall, putting together all the details of a hunting trip is a pivotal part of the process.  Reverting to the maps and compiling your waypoints will show you not only where to start but what to look for in terms of topography and habitat.  In a spot and stalk situation a GPS can make all the difference. Spotting a bedded animal at a distance and planning a stalk using information provided by your GPS is incredibly effective. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 31 31

Your GPS will identify topography that may not be visible from any given vantage point. What you see between you and a bedded buck isn't always what you encounter during the stalk. Things start to look different and it is easy to miss your mark particularly when you are crawling. Set a waypoint as close as you can to the location you want to sneak to. Plan a course of action based on the evident contours represented on your GPS map and you won't get turned around. You can use your range finder for more accurate distance estimations as well. Couple that with the distance and topography on your GPS and your stalks will no longer be a guessing game full of mishaps and hard lessons learned. Hunting techniques and strategies are changing with the times. Hunters are evolving with every new piece of technology invented. Studying the nuances of handheld GPS units is proving to be a revolution in hunting across the board. For expert advice on finding the right handheld GPS for your hunting applications, spend time with the hunting experts at Scheels to compare different units and software. There is no doubt that a hand held GPS can make you a much more successful hunter. Passion for the Hunt Television is a regionally broadcast television show available throughout the Midwest. This informative and educational half hour show features and showcases some of the greatest hunting opportunities in the region along with techniques, guests and tactics that viewers find informative and enjoyable to watch.

Handheld GPS loaded with the right software can maximize your efficiency when planning a successful stalk.

32 Page 32 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

2017 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Marshall, MN A New Pheasant Opener

For over 40 years I have enjoyed the excitement of opening weekend in South Dakota, until this year. This year I traveled to hunt with our neighbors in Minnesota. I was invited to attend the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, held in Marshall MN. I thought to myself what does Minnesota know about pheasant hunting, well I found out, they know how to hunt and to hold an amazing event. Governor Mark Dayton held his first-ever Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in 2011 and it has been enormous success. I have never seen a whole state come together to throw such a well-organized weekend event. This was a cooperative promotion between the city of Marshall, MN, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Explore Minnesota Tourism. State government, local communities, hunting organizations, and the tourism and hospitality industry work together to make it all happen. From sporting clays to social hours to banquets with amazing food and speakers, and of course a great well-organized hunt they did it all and they did it well. Governor Dayton is very passionate about habitat, and as we hit the fields I can see why pheasant hunting is a big part of Minnesota. Between land owners, public hunting areas and an unbelievable Walk-In-Access program, there are plenty of places to hunt. Over 150 hunters and their guides hit the fields on Saturday and everyone saw birds. Not all hunters harvested birds, but that is why they call it hunting. I want to thank my guides and my hunting party for a great memorable opening weekend hunt. And I also want to thank Governor Dayton, Explore Minnesota, Minnesota DNR and the city of Marshall for an opening weekend to remember. Thanks, and have a great rest of the season hunting—in Minnesota. ~ Paul

(Left) Governor Mark Dayton with Paul Nester

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 33 33

“All western game animals are fun to hunt, but antelope are a fun challenge and the very best on the dinner plate.” Kelly Burke Burke Ranch Outfitters, Montana Burke has been guiding and outfitting in northeast Montana’s Missouri River Country for more than two decades for elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and antelope. Like many western big game hunters, Burke has a passion for antelope and offers some hard-earned wisdom.

Know when to Fold ‘em

The excitement is undeniable when a good-looking buck is spotted right away in the morning. So many hunters will justify a stalk immediately without calculating all the risks. “Don’t even mess with a buck on flat ground with no sneaking opportunity,” says Burke. Even if a buck is bedded, the time it takes to crawl across a mile of cactus only to find yourself, NOT close enough, results in success about once for every thousand attempts. Moral of the story, only stalk bucks that give you a reasonable chance of success. Early season, before the rut kicks in, you can find mature solitary bucks still traveling along creek beds and around the contours of hillsides or water holes where you have a better chance of an ambush. If you can get better at identifying when a buck is “Un-gettable” you will spend less time digging cactus out of your trousers and more time looking for a winner. If you can get good at accessing the odds of a successful stock, you will be telling yourself “no” a lot but also definitely upping your batting average over time for successful stalks. Remember patience is a virtue. Don’t just focus on finding the right antelope, but also on finding the right terrain and waiting for that animal to make a mistake.

When to Decoy

A pro when it comes to decoying aggressive bucks, Burke simply says this "When you encounter a mature buck showing those first signs of rut consider that to be good time to try a decoy.” Signs of rut include protecting a harem of does from other bucks or aggressively chasing younger bucks away. Using a decoy that represents a smaller inferior buck should spark some attention and if you get just close enough to make him angry it could induce a charge. When an aggressive buck is convinced you are here to take one of his does, he’s likely to come charging at top speeds around 50 mph or more. It’s easy to get a little rattled in this situation, there are few things more exciting for a hunter to experience than this type of encounter so embrace the chaos and enjoy the moment. Don’t forget to use your range finder before you draw your bow. Its not unheard of for bucks to come to a decoy setup from across a hundred or more yards of open cactus country. Decoys can be a real game changer in that late august heat when stalking any closer just isn’t an option. Page34 34 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Photo Credit: Tayler Michels Passion for the Hunt TV


of the Great Plains is uniquely North American A legendary icon of the western landscape, these popular big game animals are suited well for the wide-open prairie and sage with incredible vision and a top end speed that ranks as the fastest land animal on the continent.

Commonly called antelope, pronghorn are not related to true antelope species of Africa & Asia. Pronghorn have lived in North America for millions of years, surviving glacial eras, volcanic ash winters, and predation by the now-extinct American cheetah. Today, pronghorn number over 1 million across North America. In some parts of the West they are common enough to take for granted.

The Pronghorn herd is an estimated 159,215 animals. An increase of about 21,000 over the 2015 estimate.

The population continues to rebound from its decimation by the harsh winter of 2010-2011.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 35

Water Holes

So many hunters associate antelope hunting with long sits by a water hole. There’s no denying the effectiveness of this strategy but it’s far from a silver bullet. "Hot, dry conditions are the obvious choice for sitting at a water hole,” explains Burke. “But there’s more to hunting water holes that people tend to remember.” Waterhole sits are typically all day sits where the most activity begins around lunchtime with another spurt of activity occurring an hour before dark. Hunters should anticipate long hot days inside a ground blind. Some hunters bring books or magazines to pass time but most importantly, bring plenty of fluids. Hunting waterholes needs to be strategic. The less water there is on the landscape, the better the hunting. If there are numerous waterholes and stock tanks, there are more options. If the dam is too large, the antelope can keep out of bow range. Less water is better but hunters can also play a few tricks like creating disturbances at nearby water sources like leaving a vehicle next to a water tank or using police tape to fence off a nearby stock dam. Antelope can become accustomed to ground blinds quickly so don’t be afraid to move them if necessary particularly to play the wind or get closer to the water that the antelope are using.

Run & Gun

When the days are winding down and all else has failed, there comes a time when you pull all the stops. This is when a real run and gun approach can make the difference. A few lessons Kelly has picked up over his many years chasing speed goats includes some aggressive strategies that can work surprisingly well. Burke adds, “Follow a buck just out of sight until he gives you an opportunity to get close. Especially on a grazing buck when he’s not in a hurry, which is rare for an antelope, stay in striking distance just out of sight until he grazes over a hill. Then quietly and quickly rush up to the top of the hill. You can often catch that buck still in range as he strolls along with his head down and just maybe get a shot off before he knows you’re there. Another lesson Burke has learned over time that has produced countless close encounters is simply changing your profile when you need to clear crucial yards without the benefit of cover or terrain. “Antelope have incredible eyesight and can identify people with their upright profile,” explains Burke. If you find yourself in a position where you have no choice but to let the goats see you at a distance before you reach cover, be sure to crawl or bend over low the whole time moving slow. This will draw less attention and possibly convince the animals that you aren’t dangerous to them, allowing you just enough chance to make it to cover and complete your stalk.  

Antelope are an immensely beautiful big game animal that hunters quickly fall in love with. The stalks are exhilarating and there is no shortage of opportunity in many western states including plenty of public land opportunities. Antelope are perfectly designed for the wide-open spaces in which they live. Hunting antelope can be frustrating and humiliating and successful hunters often need to be versatile and persistent.

Page 36 36 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017


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Calling predators and other wildlife has provided me with many adventures for nearly half a century. The first fox I ever called in was lured in by one of those old Johnny Stewart record players that ran on flashlight batteries, back in the 60’s. The gray fox came in so quickly that I never got off a shot! It didn’t take me long after that to get with the program and be ready for whatever came.

The silver gray coyote came trotting through the sage flat quietly in the

loose, soft sand and then stopped behind a clump of brush about 75 yards from where I sat. I remember marveling at how well the colors of the coyote’s fur blended with the sage. I hit the bulb squeaker affixed to the forearm of my rifle a couple of taps and the predator once again headed my way. As far as I was concerned, this rabbit eater was as good as dead, he or she just didn’t know it. Ray Milligan, the renowned trapper, lure maker and hunting outfitter from New Mexico was positioned a short distance in front of and to the right of me. The roar of the Browning 3” magnum broke the silence. Ray was using my old A5 Browning that I had named “Smokepole” and I figured the coyote was down for the count. Old Smoke had accounted for a lot of dead coyotes, foxes, bobcats and turkeys from one side of the U.S. to the other. “I hit the dog hard”, Ray told me as I walked up. “I rolled him over and he went out of sight behind that clump of sage about 35 yards in front of me”. We looked for an hour and never found that coyote in the thick sage. We tracked it by a blood trail for a short distance and then lost it. We circled the area many times with no luck. A load of copper plated BB’s at 30-35 yards most always puts a coyote down hard if a good hit is made. Ray was disgusted, but I assured him that sometimes this will happen.

I became fascinated with the art of calling game and was hooked for life. Along with trapping, calling in predators, turkeys and big game has consumed much of my life. What’s even better is the fact that like trapping, calling animals has also helped me make a living in the out of doors. I’ve called in elk for clients I guided, called predators while doing damage control work and for the fur. Calling turkeys in for sportsmen has put quite a few meals on the table for me.

When the price of fox and bobcat hides began their rise in the 70’s, I incorporated calling into my trapping program and added much to my total fur sales. It was not uncommon for me to trap all day, call for about 2 hours after darkness settled over the land (in the eastern U.S.) and sometimes call for an hour or so before daylight. I called, called and called some more. I studied and I learned.

Failures often outnumbered successes,

but I never

gave up

’ hit it, but

eater the rabbit sage. k

thic 2017 eecember Page 38 • Midwest ‘O Hunting ishing - November -D ld Sm&oFke umaker found in th it: Don Sh 38 was never Photo cred

I had spent one day running a line of predator traps and decided to call on a piece of property that night. The place was hunted by deer and rabbit hunters on a regular basis so I didn’t want to set traps in the area. I stopped at a local diner at about dark and splurged with a hearty, “sit down” meal. A cold rain had fallen that day and I enjoyed the warm meal and hot coffee. An hour or so after dark I arrived at the first calling location, cut the truck off and sat for 10 or 15 minutes, letting everything get quiet once again. I then walked maybe a quarter of a mile along a bulldozed fire lane to a predetermined calling stand, a place where a logging road intersected with the fire lane. I always carried one of those mini-sized flashlights with me and only turned it on when necessary when walking to a stand. I backed up against a spruce pine and let go with a series of pitiful, gut wrenching crippled cottontail screams, using a double reed, mouth call. After a minute or so, I made the calls again. Before I let loose with the third series of calls I heard an animal approaching my position on the logging road at a rapid pace. I put Smokepole (the Browning A-5) to my shoulder and when the barrel mounted red lens light came on...

Now when some folks read about or hear of these successful hunts, they tend to think there is nothing to it. The old Shumaker woodsbum can call in or catch anything – anywhere, anytime. Truth of it is, I may enjoy one perfect, productive hunt for every 5 or 10 failed ones. There must be a hundred or more of calling videos on the market today and TV hunting shows air quite a few. Viewers watch the gurus of predator calling reel them in, one after another. It looks easy – a sure thing. What you need to know is that they only film the successful hunts! Years ago I used to give calling seminars all over the country and I often observed some students of mine who at first seemed a bit disappointed at what I used to call, how I did it and how very simple were my tactics. As with trapping predators, calling them in to the gun or camera is most often a simple act or procedure. You don’t need a wheelbarrow full of gear and equipment to get the job done.

I touched the trigger and the load of copper plated #4’s piled the critter up. I called for another 5 minutes with no further action, so I gathered up the prime gray and made tracks for the truck. Traveling along the old gravel road I was parked on for a mile and a half, I came to my next location. After the normal, “quiet down” wait, I walked along a gas pipeline right of way for several hundred yards and took up my position. In less than 5 minutes I had gray fox number two in the bag.

As Henry David Thoreau once wrote – “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

I saw a gray fox coming in on top of me

The largest bobcat I ever trapped or called, east or west, weighed 38 1/2 pounds. He was called in near a brushy thicket in Virginia using a diaphragm mouth call. I hadn’t been able to sleep well one night and was up at 3 A.M. After breakfast and a half a pot of coffee, I left the camp, headed cross country to the headwaters of a stream where I had traps set all the way down the stream, a distance of several miles to my camp. I had Smokepole with me and my red lens light. About a mile from camp, I stopped at a likely spot and made a calling stand. Nothing that I saw responded. I headed along an old trail for a mile or so until I reached an old grown up homestead surrounded by briar and wild plum thickets.

I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 5 A.M., about 2 hours before daylight. A heavy fog had settled upon the hills and vision was poor at best. The big tomcat came up to 12 steps in front of me before I spotted his eyes, then his body. He started easing his way around me and I shot him at roughly 20 yards with copper plated 4’s. When I hoisted the cat off the ground, I knew then that it was the largest of the many cats I had caught or shot. This took place over 20 years ago and I’ve never killed a larger one since, probably never will. I’ve heard of quite a few 50 or 60 pound bobcats that I knew wouldn’t go 30 pounds on a scale. With the essential trapping gear in my packbasket (a large one), it was not possible to stuff all of the cat into it. I slipped another shell into Smoke and headed along the woodsroad towards a small hay field about a mile distant. Where the road entered the field, I eased my pack off, waited for about 10 minutes and then began calling. Within minutes I had taken a gray fox that came galloping across the field. What a morning! A brother of mine lived less than a mile from where I was at, so after I tied the fox across the cat and pack, I headed for his place. I knew that he would be up and readying himself for a day’s deer hunt. He was amazed at the size of the cat and after seeing the fox, he said, “You must have been out all night”. I went in for coffee after I stashed my animals in his shop, ate a bit more breakfast and then headed for the trapline just as day was breaking. I arrived back at camp before noon with a good basket full of mixed furs and was one happy, contented soul. I thanked The Creator for letting me be what I was. After eating a sandwich and hanging up the fur to dry, I stretched out on my bunk for a nap.

I was dog tired, but I wouldn’t have traded places with any man on earth!

39 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 39

Years ago I did quite a bit of walking and calling, both in the east and the west. I found that many predators near roadways or easily accessible locations were call shy. Too many “bubbas” with electronic callers is my guess as to why this was. I still see it today. Often I would leave camp right after dark (in the east) and stay out all night, making an eight or ten-mile circle of some sort. I usually made a stand or call about every mile. Two to three predators taken per night was about average except for some nightly walks that produced zero for one reason or another. I don’t think we ever see half of animals that respond to a predator call when night hunting. In the west I enjoyed much success as a rule when calling coyotes, cats and gray fox in remote areas. I’m sure most of those critters had never heard a predator call before. I carried a 2’ piece of trapping wire in my coat pocket to use to hang a predator by the hind leg from a tree limb to skin. Toting 2 or 3 rank coyotes for several miles over rugged terrain was never my cup of tea. I would pack out a nice bobcat if I had pending sales to customers or taxidermists.

While hunting for a spring gobbler for camp

meat one year in New Mexico, I got the thrill of a lifetime. A deep throated gobbler had responded to one of my “cackles” and was headed my way. Every time I yelped, clucked or whatever, the old boy would gobble or double gobble and kept on coming. I could just about smell that turkey roasting in the oven of my gas stove.

I was catching a glimpse of the turkey here and there as he came on but he was still 60-70 yards out when out of the corner of my eye I detected movement to my left behind a large spruce tree. I remember thinking that a lessor gobbler or jake was coming in on the quiet like they sometimes do. The tree was no more than 20 yards to my left and the vocal gobbler was straight in front of me. All of a sudden the gobbler I’d been talking to let go of a series of “putt-putts” and headed for Arizona with much haste. Looking to my left, I saw why...

All of a sudden th for Arizona with e gobbler headed much haste!

A bear had come around the spruce and was giving me the bad eye! The beast raised up a bit on his hind legs to get a better look and to this day I still think he was as big as a grizzly, with a head on him big as a wash tub! In reality, he or she was probably about a 300-350 pound bear.

Shock and awe had hold of me for a brief moment but I soon came out of it

k off on a

too t and then r an instan me. fo ze o fr The bear ing run away from ak brush-bre

Page 40 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 40

I stood up and told the bear in a loud voice how he had scared the life out of me and had also ruined my turkey hunt. The bear froze for an instant and then took off on a brush-breaking run away from me. I could hear that bear “woofing” for a long ways.

I’m sure that bear still thinks or wonders about the big ugly turkey that spoke to him

I’ve called only two mountain lions in (that I saw) throughout my 50+ years of off and on predator calling. Neither of them were shot, one was out of range of the shotgun I carried and the other picked me off and high tailed it before I could get in a shot. One of the big cats was called in the Superstition Mountains area east of Phoenix, Arizona and the other was on the Carson National Forest south of Chama, New Mexico. I’ve seen quite a few lions taken with hounds and have many fond memories of hound hunting lions, but

just seeing the two that I called in was a

unique experience indeed I am indebted to all of the old-time predator hunters who taught me much

While they were masters of the game, they, like myself, often failed at the task of calling predators for any number of reasons. No amount of high priced gear will make anyone an instant success at calling predators. You have to pay your dues! If you are willing to be persistent at the game, the adventures are out there, waiting for you. I guarantee it. Quite a few times I’ve gotten doubles on coyotes and foxes, both red and gray Never have I scored a double on bobcats. Once I called in a Mama cat that had two younguns trailing a few paces behind her, but could not bring myself to kill any of the three. I didn’t think the two youngsters would have made it without the mother. The kittens couldn’t have weighed over 10 pounds each and must have been born later than normal.

Don Shumaker’s book “Journals of a Coyotero” is a MUST HAVE for any hunter. This book takes you into the real world of the coyote, a fascinating creature, indeed. Learn the true facts about how they live, what they eat and how they evolved into ultimate survivors. Go with the author as he writes about many of his adventures dealing with coyotes across America.

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To order send $20.00 plus $4.00 postage to Beth Shumaker, 1434 Copper Mine Road, Dillwyn, VA 23936. See more about coyotes on Don Shumaker’s Facebook page or email

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 41 41

Starting in central Canada and stretching to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Flyway is the name given to the route followed by birds migrating from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in the south. Lacking in steep mountains or ridges that might block flight paths, the region contains spectacular forests, grasslands and wetlands offering ideal conditions for large numbers of ducks, geese and migrating shorebirds. Nearly half of the bird species and up to 40% of the waterfowl of North America spend part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway.

As the name suggests, the Mississippi Flyway follows the route of the Mississippi River in the United States – North America’s largest river system. Originating in northern Minnesota, the slow-flowing river travels southwards for a distance of over 2,500 miles, cutting through, or forming a border for the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi before emptying into the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico.

One of my all-time favorites! Photo credits: Brian Schumacher

42 Page 42 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

A key element along this vital corridor is the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, which is a 240,000-acre, 261-mile refuge located in and along the Upper Mississippi River. It runs from Wabasha, Minnesota in the north to Rock Island, Illinois in the south. Millions of waterfowl rely on habitat along the Upper Mississippi River for breeding, migration and foraging utilizing its many wooded islands, sloughs, and hardwood forests. This famed refuge is well known for its waterfowl hunting and allows public hunting of migratory birds on more than 180,000 acres in accordance with local, state, federal, and Refuge regulations. Fifteen areas are designated as closed or restricted use totaling about 44,500 acres located along the entire length of the refuge. This closed area system was established to provide waterfowl with a network of resting and feeding zones and to disperse waterfowl hunting opportunities. Crucial migratory habitat for Canvasbacks and other diving ducks exists along the Upper Mississippi River, which consists of beds of wild celery, sago pondweed, stiff arrowhead tubers, small clams along with other invertebrates. The La Crosse District of the refuge encompasses Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi River with Pool 9 managed by the McGregor district. These three areas host one of the biggest concentrations of Canvasbacks in North America – up to 400,000 birds in some years from the last week of October through the latter part of November. This is where I call home and where with my friends, we hunt the Canvasback. In my opinion, they have rightly earned the title as “King of Ducks” because of their grace, speed, stunning appearance, and unparalleled table qualities. One of the fastest paced, exhilarating and effective ways to hunt the Canvasback and other “Divers” on the Mississippi River is from a layout boat. This style of hunting is a grand tradition with origins dating back to the market-hunting era. Much like the sink box gunners of old, the hunters conceal themselves by reclining inside anchored low-profile boats in deeper, open water amongst large spreads of decoys. This allows the hunter to be where ducks naturally gravitate as they flock to wide-open places to feed and rest. This behavior is reinforced by hunting pressure, as the birds quickly learn to avoid any patch of cover large enough to conceal hunters.

We use a traditional layout boat, which is ferried to the hunting area by a larger “tender boat”. Gunners take turns shooting from the layout and “manning” the tender boat, kept nearby to retrieve downed birds. When choosing a hunting locale, be aware of your state’s open water hunting laws. Wisconsin law, as it pertains to the Mississippi River, states all blinds (boats) must be securely anchored and located not more than 100 ft. from any shoreline including islands. Decoys on long lines anchored on either end with heavy weights are deployed on the downwind side of the layout boat. This practice called "Long-lining” is a practical way to rig a large number of decoys when hunting Divers. We rig our decoys on two, 100 ft. lines with 3 dozen decoys per line spaced 2 - 3 ft. apart. The decoys we utilize are Canvasback, Goldeneye, Bluebill and Bufflehead each equipped with a dropper line, which attaches to the long line with clips. This allows the decoys to move freely while floating above the long line. These strings of decoys act like a pipeline as often times, divers will follow the pipeline right into the waiting gunner. For added realism and concealment, an additional 4 dozen, traditionally rigged Can decoys, are positioned around the layout boat. Settle in so you can just see over the bow without straining your neck. This way, you can watch for incomers and be ready to shoot. Sit up only when ducks are in range and be sure you can rotate your body from the hips to swing on passing birds. They often appear out of nowhere, skimming low above the water. Observing a flock of Canvasbacks screaming towards you at eye level is a remarkable sight and the following scenario is one that all waterfowlers should experience. Swinging once over the decoys, the flock turns into the wind, wings cupped, feet splayed, rocking back and forth as they stall preparing to drop into the decoys. You pick out the lead bull Can with his black chest and Auburn head contrasting sharply with his snowwhite belly. You sit up, swing and fire, as the flock lifts up and turns on the speed. It takes practice to hit ducks from a sitting position in a bobbing boat but if you wait to shoot until they are almost ready to land, you will have relatively close range shots. After you do shoot, the rest of the flock will usually swing wide and go downwind, often times offering one last chance. Everything I know about waterfowlin I learned from the g, se guys. L to R: Ke ith Frye, author, Dan Krzo ska, Todd Pauly

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 43 43

If you are fortunate enough to knock one down, but don’t see legs kicking weakly skyward, be prepared to react quickly. The thing about Divers is - they dive and unless mortally wounded or have broken legs, they elude hunters very well. If a diving duck pops its head up after hitting the water, shoot it again — immediately. If it starts diving, pursue it in the Tender boat until you can safely and legally dispatch it. Exhaust every available legal effort to finish the job. When you do successfully harvest a Canvasback or other Diver, there are a few key points to keep in mind as often times these get bad reviews on the table. That’s a shame in my opinion because most taste great if you treat the meat correctly. In fact, canvasbacks might be the best-tasting duck on the planet. First, keep your ducks cool. Second, make sure to remove bloodshot areas from the meat then soak the meat in salted water in the fridge, changing often, to draw out more blood. Most important, remove all fat from the meat (unless you’re roasting a plucked canvasback) as even a small amount can add an unpleasant flavor. Then, cook them hot and fast to no more than medium rare. It’s a common site to observe thousands of Canvasbacks and other divers rafted offshore as waterfowl frequently gather in great numbers in open-water habitats. Traditionally, these areas have been difficult if not impossible to hunt. By providing effective concealment, layout boats open up a wealth of productive new hunting territory for waterfowlers. Hunting the Upper Mississippi River is definitely a world-class hunting destination and is rated in the top ten waterfowl hunting destinations in all of North America by Ducks Unlimited. Every waterfowler should experience a layout boat hunt on these famed waters at least once in their hunting career so they too can target what old-time hunters revere as the King of Ducks,

the noble Canvasback.

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P 44 age 44 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Brian Schumacher is a lifelong resident of the Minnesota Driftless Area and is an avid outdoorsman and ardent fly angler. His passion for fly fishing has taken him along with his wife and fellow fly fishing enthusiast, Janet Veit, to the streams of the high Sierra Nevada range in California to the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers in New Hampshire and many destinations in between. Brian is a fly fishing guide in southeastern Minnesota for The Driftless Fly Fishing Company in Preston, Minnesota, “The Trout Capital of Minnesota.” Go to: for more information. When a fly rod is not in hand, a shotgun will be accompanying Brian afield hunting turkey, deer, upland birds and waterfowl. Be it chasing puddlers and divers on his “home waters” of the famed Mississippi River to Eider, Scoter and Swans on the East Coast, a blind is where you will find him from September to December.




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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 45 45

Recipe by: Lupin Pooter

Ingredients: • 6 slices bacon, minced • 1 tsp. minced garlic • 2 lb. ground venison • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley • 1 egg, beaten to mix

• 2 Tbsp. olive oil • 2 shallots, minced • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce • Salt & pepper to taste • 6 hamburger buns

Directions: Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crispy. Pour bacon and grease into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool. Heat olive oil in skillet then add garlic and shallots. Cook and stir until softened, about 3 minutes; then add to bacon. Once cool, mix in venison, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg until evenly combined. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Shape the mixture into 6 patties and grill to desired doneness. Serve on toasted hamburger buns with your favorite toppings. Ingredients: • 2 Tbsp. olive oil • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic • 2 tsp. dried marjoram • 2 tsp. ground dried rosemary • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar • Salt & pepper to taste • 3 lb. venison, cut into 1/4” thick strips • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. pita bread, warmed Directions: Whisk together olive oil, cumin, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add venison strips; toss to evenly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours. Heat large skillet over med-high heat. Cook venison strips, 1/2 pound at a time, until meat has browned on the outside and is no longer pink on the inside, about 8 min. Serve on warmed pita bread. For an authentic Gyros taste— add Tahini Sauce! Ingredients: • 1/2 C. low-fat plain yogurt • 2 Tbsp. tahini, (sesame seed paste) May substitute tahini with Hummus • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice • 1/3 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley Directions: Combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley & 1/4 tsp. salt in a med. bowl, refrigerate. Page 46 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

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Ingredients • 2 lb. ground venison • 1 onion, chopped Recipe by: Dave Eilts • 1 (6 oz.) dry instant stuffing mix • 2 eggs, beaten • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce • 2 Tbsp. ketchup • 1/4 C. spicy tomato-vegetable juice cocktail (optional) • 1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard • 10 oz. fresh morel mushrooms • 8 slices sharp Cheddar cheese • 6 slices bacon • 1/2 C. BBQ sauce • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese • Salt & ground black pepper to taste


Ingredients • 2 lb. elk loin (backstrap), cut into 2 oz. pieces • 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder • 1/2 tsp. onion powder • 1/2 tsp. black pepper • 16 slices thick cut bacon Directions: Preheat outdoor grill for med. heat. Season backstrap pieces with liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder & pepper. Wrap each piece of meat with a strip of bacon, and place on a metal skewer. Cook on preheated grill until bacon becomes slightly burnt, and meat has cooked to med-rare, 15 to 20 min.

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Directions: Preheat oven to 350º. Mix ground venison, onion, stuffing mix, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vegetable juice cocktail, & yellow mustard in large bowl with your hands until thoroughly combined. Place half the mixture into a 9x11” casserole dish; pat mixture into an even layer. Spread morel mushrooms over loaf; top with cheese slices. Spread remaining half of mixture over cheese slices; form an even layer and press the edges together to seal in mushrooms & cheese. Arrange bacon slices over meatloaf; spread BBQ sauce evenly over loaf. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven until loaf is browned and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loaf reads 160º, about 1 hr., 15 min. Drain excess grease; let stand for 5 min. before serving.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 47

Recipe by: FYRECRACKER Recipe by: rmdalrymple

Ingredients • 2 tsp. salt • 1 tsp. ground black pepper • 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves • 1 Tbsp. crushed dried rosemary • 3 Tbsp. olive oil • 4 potatoes, cubed • 2 pints fresh/frozen blueberries • 1/2 C. water • 1/2 C. apple juice • 1/2 C. white sugar • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped • 3 slices pancetta/bacon in thin strips • 6 shallots, thinly sliced • 1/2 C. sliced shiitake mushrooms • 2 lb. bok choy, sliced • 4 (8 oz.) boneless duck breast halves • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil • 1 Tbsp. butter • 2 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar Directions: Preheat oven to 375º. Spice Blend: In small bowl, mix together salt, ground black pepper, thyme & rosemary; set aside. Place cubed potatoes into a 9x13” baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. spice blend over top of potatoes. Toss potatoes until evenly coated with oil & seasonings. Spread into a single layer across bottom of baking dish. Bake 35-40 min. Meanwhile, stir together blueberries, water, apple juice, sugar, & jalapeno in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, then reduce to low; simmer until mixture reduces to consistency of syrup, about 10 min. Cook pancetta in a large skillet over med. heat until crispy. Remove pancetta to drain on a paper towel, leave drippings in skillet. Add shallots & mushrooms to skillet; stir & cook until soft and beginning to brown. Remove & set aside. Increase heat to med-high; place bok choy in skillet. Stir & cook until leaves are wilted and white stalks are tender, about 5 min. Return shallots, mushrooms, & pancetta to skillet, turn off heat; set aside. Rinse duck breast halves; pat dry. Rub remaining spice blend onto both sides of breasts. Preheat a large skillet over med-high heat, add vegetable oil & butter. Place breasts in pan, skin & fat side down. Do not move breasts until skin is deep brown, about 5 min. Turn breasts; cook until internal temp of the thickest part is 160º. Remove from pan; place on plate covered with foil to rest for 5 min. Place skillet with bok choy mixture onto med. heat to warm thru. Slice each breast diagonally into 1/2”strips. Divide bok choy mixture among 4 plates; drizzle each with 1/2 Tbsp. of aged balsamic vinegar. Arrange sliced duck on top of bok choy mixture; ladle on blueberry sauce. Page 48 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Ingredients • 1 large skin-on, boneless duck breast half • 1 small yellow onion, sliced • 1 Tbsp. olive oil • 2 Tbsp. honey • 1 (8 oz.) tub goat cheese spread • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. pre-baked pizza crust • Salt & pepper to taste • 10 oz. fontina cheese, shredded • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary Directions: Preheat oven to 450º. Cut several slits into fatty skin of duck breast. In a skillet over med. heat, fry skin-side-down for 10 min. Flip & continue to cook in its own fat for 10 min. more. Remove from pan. Carefully remove skin using a sharp knife, then slice; set aside. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook onions in olive oil over med. heat until translucent & soft, about 5 min. Mix in honey; continue to cook until brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 min. more. Spread goat cheese evenly over pizza crust. Season with salt & pepper. Then layer with caramelized onions, fontina cheese, duck breast slices and rosemary. Bake in preheated oven until cheese in center of pizza is completely melted, about 10 min.

Recipe by: Nevada Foodies

Ingredients • 2 goose breasts, in 1” cubes • 2 C. fresh pineapple, in 1” cubes • 6 slices of bacon Goose Marinade • 1/2 C. Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet Teriyaki Sauce • 1/4 C. low sodium soy sauce • 1/4 C. pineapple juice • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger • 1/4 C. cilantro chopped • Pinch of red pepper flakes Directions: Cut goose breasts into 1” cubes, put in Ziploc bag; add teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Marinate for 1 hr. or overnight. Cut bacon & pineapple into 1” pieces. Using metal or wood skewers add goose, bacon and pineapple. Repeat until done. Heat grill to high and be sure that it’s hot. Place goose skewers directly onto grill. Cook 2-3 min. on one side. Turn; continue to cook until meat is med. rare and bacon is cooked. Remove from heat; serve hot with cooked rice or quinoa.

Recipe by: jillywilly

Recipe by: SHIVERDEN

Ingredients • 1 C. honey • 1 C. butter-based wing sauce • 1/4 C. all-purpose flour • Salt & black pepper to taste • 2 eggs • 1/4 C. butter • 6 skinless, boneless pheasant breast halves, cut into strips Directions: Preheat an oven to 350º. Whisk the honey & wing sauce together until smooth; set aside. Season the flour to taste with salt and pepper; whisk, and set aside. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth; stir in pheasant strips. Remove pheasant strips from egg, and gently press into flour to coat; shake off excess flour. Melt butter in a large skillet over med. heat. Cook pheasant strips on each side until golden brown & crispy, about 3 min. per side. Toss pheasant strips in wing sauce; pour into a 9x13” baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until pheasant has absorbed sauce, about 20 min.

Ingredients • 2 Tbsp. butter • 1 clove garlic, minced • 1 small yellow onion, sliced • 1 goose breast • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce • 2 C. chicken broth Directions: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; sauté for 5 min. Add goose breast; brown on both sides for about 5 min. Place goose breast in slow cooker and add Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken broth to cover (approx. 2 C.) and cook on high for 6-8 hours, or until meat falls off bone. Shred with a fork; mix with your favorite BBQ sauce.

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Recipe by: deb

Ingredients • 2 lb. pheasant breast, cut into strips • 1 tsp. meat tenderizer • 1 C. all-purpose flour • Seasoned salt & pepper • 1/2 C. dry potato flakes • 1/2 (16 oz.) pkg. buttery round crackers, crushed • 1 egg • 1/2 C. milk Directions: Preheat a deep fryer for 375-400º. Sprinkle pheasant meat with meat tenderizer; pound lightly with mallet to make pieces uniform and same thickness. In a med. bowl, combine flour, seasoned salt, pepper, potato flakes & crushed cracker crumbs. Mix well & set aside. In a another med. bowl, combine egg and milk; whisking until smooth. Dip pheasant meat strips into egg mixture; dredge each strip into flour mixture. Coat thoroughly; lay on a plate so strips can be transferred to deep fryer. Place strips in deep fryer set at 375-400º until golden brown.

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605-332-0214 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 49

With the waters of the Ice Belt beginning to freeze over, we are well on our way to putting boots on ice in the near future. Many ice anglers choose to target bluegills, sunfish, crappies and perch, once the ice is thick enough, as these species have congregated in and along shallow water weed beds and are still looking for the last bits of good insects, bloodworms, and various other food sources. Once winter takes full hold, the plants will begin to die off and scatter the fish as food, shelter, and oxygen are depleted. This is also the time when safety above all else must come first in our minds before even planning a trip onto the frozen water. As excited as we all get once we see the thermometer drop and hear about those first ice reports (I being one of them), as the saying goes, no fish is worth going through the ice for. Nearly every state outdoor agency recommends at least four inches of good ice on the lakes before we set foot out onto them. Once it gets to that point though, it’s game on! It is important to make sure you have the proper safety tools and have prepared for the worst in case it does actually happen. Be sure to review safety videos on how to get out of the water should you fall in. There’s dozens of videos online that show proper ways to getting yourself out of the water and back to the safety of the shore. Pack a spare set of clothes in your vehicle, keep them there all season. Never go out on first ice by yourself. Having a buddy with you could save your life if you were to break through. Also, bring a safety rope with you. Clam Outdoors makes a safety rope specifically for ice fishermen and I recommend it to everyone on the ice. Wear a life jacket, or at the very least, have one with you that could be thrown. If you have one, be sure you’re wearing one of today’s ice fishing suits that have buoyancy properties in them designed to keep you afloat if you were to break through. These suits are an extremely wise investment.

Page 50 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017


Having a spud bar to check the ice ahead of you, wearing spikes around your neck at all times as well as having ice cleats on your boots are all good ways to help keep you safe on early ice or help you to crawl to safety if the worst should occur. If you’ve taken all of these steps into account and are prepared for it, then start looking for those good panfish locations! Weed areas are still green and lush at first ice and are havens for panfish to hang around. If you know where you found them in the fall, chances are very good those same places will still be holding pannies at first ice. Look for those areas on lake maps or on your phone if you have a contour app like Navionics on it and had marked them. Look to target the edges of the weeds first, where there is an obvious transition from weeds to sand, gravel, or mud. Panfish, especially bluegills, will hang out along those edges. Fishing in the weeds themselves can be a challenge due to the amount of clutter that will show up on your Vexilar screen. You will need to fine tune it to show the least amount of clutter while still being able to see your lure. This can be done by lowering the power and the sensitivity to reduce everything that is sending a return back to your transducer. When you can find the best setting, you will have no problem bringing fish in or seeing them. The Weed Mode feature on the Vexilar FLX-28 is perfect for this kind of fishing, thanks to its ability to limit the clutter on your screen with little effort other than twisting the dial. Finding open spots in between weeds can be a gold mine and having your unit able to find and read these spots is well worth the time you spent getting it there. When fishing the weeds, it is important to have the right gear to do the job and do it quickly. Here is where tungsten lures come in handy. Their ability to punch through weeds and get to the fish fast is a well-known quality these days, due to the density of tungsten over lead. Having a smaller sized tungsten jig is also great when fishing with today’s microplastics, as the jigs allow for better cadence control when you match the proper plastic to the size of the jig. With plastics now coming so far over the last several years that they are almost better than live bait now. They move, jiggle, and sway with the slightest rod tip movement and stay soft and supple even in frozen conditions. Most of the time, I don’t even use live bait anymore when going for panfish. The confidence I have in them grows more and more each season as newer pieces continue to come out.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 51 51

I started gathering ice fishing intel in September, but some of the best intel on where I begin my ice fishing season is happening now in November. The boat is never put away until late November or even early December, especially recently with our warm drawn out Fall weather. Stuck between pheasant hunting trips and late season guide trips, I’m looking for the best early season ice fishing spots with my boat and sonar. Let’s face it, there is no easy mobility on the ice, not nearly as easy and efficient as open water mobility in a boat. And keeping fishing efficient and productive is top priority. What about last years’ spots? Rule number one: Never rely on last year’s fishing spots, let alone last week. They call it fishing memories, not a good idea. Use memories and fishing patterns as a starting point only. Using the Lund, the on board Vexilar FL-28 (Yes, I use my Vexilars all summer), and the Humminbird Helix 10, I can scout early ice fishing options on up to 4-5 lakes in a day. Not to mention, I’m creating a plotter trail and actually saving a few coordinates at the same time. I also carry a note book to make detailed notes about what I have found. I’m not a spot saver, but it is easier when your plotter/routes are jumbling up the screen. I always save my “routes” for future reference to create accuracy on the contour lines. Yes folks, do not trust your “lake chip” even 80%. Doesn’t matter if it’s Humminbird or Lowrance. The “lake chips” are often close, but not 100% “true”. Pick a depth, (I usually choose the weed line), follow it with the boat and create a line, then compare it to the chart on your screen. That’s how you find the hotspots. Between you and me, I hope the maps never get accurate. The picture I’ve included clearly illustrates what I’m trying to describe. The actual shape of the two underwater mid-lake points is clearly much different than the “chip chart”. The grey lines are my boat route tracing the same depth. Within the picture I had found 3 spots to place a fish house, loaded with fish: Bluegills, crappies and walleyes. Areas like this will hold fish all winter. First the fish will be in shallower weedy flats and on the weed lines during early ice, then slide out to more oxygen rich deeper water later in the season when the weeds are shot, using the bottom or suspending—or both. I just saved hours of walking around, or driving around, with an ATV and dropping a “ducer” on the ice every 15 ft. Page 52 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 52

I try to find a minimum of 9 spots on each lake to ice fish. I look for three spots for early ice, three for mid-season, and three spots for late season ice fishing. That gives me enough areas to place a bunch of fish houses. Not next to each other. Dodge the crowds just in case they may be near “community holes.” But most importantly, multiple areas of safe ice for travel. So yup, I will accumulate around 45 potential ice fishing spots if I scout 5 lakes. Try do that walking around dressed like the Stay Puffed marshmallow man. Give ice fishing in your boat a try, if anything use it as an excuse to winterize the boat, not to mention get some really late season open water fishing. It was in early November 1990 when I first used my boat and a pile of Jiggin’ Raps to find my early ice walleye spots, and I still do it today! Lotsa Fish and Lotsa Fun! Captain Josh Hagemeister. Minnesota Fishing Guide Service. 218-732-9919, 320-291-0708

First, the fish will b in shallo e we weedy fl r ats Then on the weed li during m ne id-ice on the g dotted w rey eedlin boat trail e

The actual shape of the two underwater mid-lake points is clearly much different than the “chip chart”. The grey lines are my boat route tracing the same 14 ft. weedline depth. Within the picture I found 3 spots to place a fish house.

Then out in the oxyg en rich deep e water du r ring late ice

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page53 53

IT’S JUST YOU, the line you drop through a hole in the ice, and the fish you pull back through the hole. No boat, no motor, no casting, no trolling, and typically no depth-finder or other high-tech equipment. In its purest form, ice fishing is sweet and simple. If it’s a nice day, you might sit on a bucket on the ice that doubles as a crappie cooler. Or you can sit comfortably on the edge of a bunk inside a heated ice house with a stove and electricity, sipping schnapps and playing cards with your fishing buddies. At that point, the toughest decision is whether to put your minnow on a jig, or a bare hook. (Or, since one angler can legally drop a line in two holes at once, fish one hole each way. Problem solved.) Photo courtesy of: Mille Lacs Area Tourism

Page 54 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 54

By James Riemermann

More than 150 Minnesota lodging and guide businesses rent ice houses, or include it as part of a lodging/ice fishing package. Lake of the Woods, on the Canadian border, is one of the most popular and productive ice fishing lakes in the state, with resorts and other businesses renting ice fishing houses out of Baudette, Warroad and Angle Inlet, a tiny resort town on the northwest corner of the lake that can only be reached by driving through Canada (or by snowmobile over the frozen lake). One resort on Lake of the Woods—Zippel Bay Resort out of Williams—operates the Igloo Bar, with beer, wine, mixed drinks, a simple menu, and the option of jigging for walleye from your bar stool. Walleye, crappie, northern pike and eating-size perch are ice fishing favorites, but you can catch almost anything in the winter that you can catch in the summer. Walker’s Leech Lake is home to the International Eelpout Festival, in late February, dedicated to one of the ugliest fish in the world. The eelpout, also known as the burbot, is related to the saltwater cod and cooks up quite nicely, fried into beer-battered eelpout nuggets for sale at the festival.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 55 55

There are also sporting events like eelpout curling and rugby, live music and other on-ice shenanigans. Other lakes with ice house rentals include Lake Mille Lacs out of Isle on the southeast corner of the lake, Onamia on the southwest and Garrison on the northwest; plus Lake Winnibigoshish and its smaller twin Little Winnibishoshish. Ice house rentals are also available on many lakes in the Brainerd Lakes area, on the edge of the western end of the Boundary Waters out of Ely, and the eastern end along the Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais. You can also do it on your own on any lake known to be good for ice fishing, by just drilling a hole in a good spot and sitting on a folding chair or a bucket. Both gas-powered (recommended!) and hand-powered augers are available at many larger sporting goods and outdoor equipment stores, as are folding pop-up shelters for one person or several, and portable heaters.


Page 56 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 56

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Options run from small, simple four-holer shacks to larger minicabins with stove, stereo, bunks and a bathroom area. Some are designed for overnight stays, though more anglers spend their nights at a resort or motel off the lake. Ice houses are typically heated, often with predrilled holes and bait and tackle provided, including “rattle reels” that let you know when you’ve got a bite. The resorts take care to place the ice houses where fishing is best, often moving the houses over the season as the hot spots change. What’s provided differs from business to business, so make sure to ask what you need to bring with you.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 57

A variation of ice fishing is spearing in a dark house, where you make a large hole in a likely spot and wait for a larger northern pike to cruise by. Several businesses on Lake Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, and the Whitefish Chain of Lakes north of Brainerd rent dark houses and everything you need for this exciting sport. Ice fishing tournaments and related festivals and events around the state can be a good way to meet up with people who love the sport and can give you tips. In addition to Walker’s Eelpout Festival, there’s the Grumpy Old Men Festival - Feb. 24 in Wabasha, Polar Fest - Feb. 8-19 in Detroit Lakes, and Beginner Ice Fishing seminars at regional parks in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs.

Couple going ice fishing on Lake Waconia Photo courtesy of: Laura Dekowski

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Page 58 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 58

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Page 60 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

5th Annual Minnesota plays host to hundreds of fishing tournaments every year. These events range from small-scale local fishing derbies all the way up to professional touring walleye and bass circuits. Fishing contests are popular— each year the DNR issues nearly 400 permits for fishing contests. The DNR regulates fishing contests to protect fish and fish habitat, to restrict activity during high use periods, and for the safety of the participants. Regulating contests helps reduce the potential for conflicts with other water recreationists at public access sites, on the water and ice.

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 61

“Man, we are seeing a lot of fish coming through on the electronics, but they are just not eating” If you have spent time ice fishing walleyes, there is a good chance this has happened to you. The fish may not be eating, but the question is, can we get them to bite. There are definitely ways to increase your catch. Adding these techniques to your “walleye tool belt” will certainly put more fish on the ice.

The end result of paying attention to your presentation, both for your jigging line and your dead stick. Photo credit: Joe Henry

Page 62 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 62

Consistent starting point

Good electronics are a key component to catching more fish through the ice. Having an arsenal of tools in your tool belt when that big red mark appears and is reluctant to eat will up your catch. Photo credit: Joe Henry

Jig, jig and let it sit in the strike zone. Jig, jig, jig and let it sit in the strike zone. This technique catches thousands of walleyes. Yet, there are times when the walleyes and saugers seem a bit unresponsive. What then? That’s when it is time to mix it up.

Pound the bottom Rattataptap When you see that fish come in and it isn’t whacking ya, try shaking your rod tip as fast as you can. I also take and tap my fingers on the butt of my rod as fast as I can sending vibrations down to the lure. This often induces solid “tap” or that extra weight of an eye or sauger.

Thrill of the Chase When a walleye is watching your lure, but not hitting it, try jigging the lure while raising your lure higher and higher in the water column. This emulates the prey trying to get away. When that fish is following up, don’t slow down! Keep the lure rising just ahead of the chasing fish. Either that fish will fly up, close the gap and hit your lure, or, that fish will come off the bottom a bit and go back down. When it goes back down, try teasing them up again or try another strike inducing technique. A tip, use your reel to raise your lure in the water column vs. your arms. If you use you raise your arms to raise the bait, there is nothing left to set the hook when the walleye hits and pushes your lure up.

Another successful technique to not only get fish to bite but also to attract fish is pound the bottom with your lure and lift off slowly. This will not only give off vibrations in the water, but also stirs up the mud or sand representing some living creature the walleye are often used to eating. Be ready when you lift off the bottom as if there is any extra weight, set the hook. Sometimes the walleyes will grab on subtly and it takes a good stick to detect.

Rip em When fish seem sluggish, I often go against the grain and rip a Cicada or other type of vibrating blade lure. This aggressive 3 foot jigging motion gets that blade bait vibrating and even when things are slow, one of two things will happen. Either out of nowhere, a bright red line (fish) will appear on the electronics. This fish is hot and all I need to do is put my lure in front of the fish, jiggle it and most of the time that fish nails it. The other scenario is the erratic vibration will pull the fish in and they will end up swimming over to my dead stick and the bobber goes down. Either way I win. My favorite color on Lake of the Woods is gold with dark green tape. I also like the smaller sizes.

Go micro

When fishing gets tough and I cannot figure the fish out, one technique that has helped me fill the bucket is going small. Often times I will take a very small panfish sized Swedish Pimple type lure and add a wax worm to it. I will work this close to the bottom and have actually done very well when others can’t touch them. I know one friend who actually keeps some freeze dried wax worms in his arsenal in the event he has to turn to this unexpectedly. On many occasions, this turned out to be the ticket. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 63 63

Work the combo Jigging a lure with live bait of some type has typically produced the majority of walleyes for me. I will say that some days, the dead sticks or bobber lines will out produce. Under a dead stick I either like a gold or glow jig type lure with a live minnow, or a plain hook with split shot set above it with a live minnow.

Change it up! The bottom line, when you know there are fish below you and they are not biting, do something different. First, try different presentation methods with the same lure. Next, switch colors or sizes. Finally, change the lure.

Simple jigging I know some great ice anglers on Lake of the Woods who will always have one line rigged with a jig. They either hook the minnow through the head or thread the hook through the mouth, out the gill and through the mid section of the body (for a better percentage of hook sets). No bobber is used. Often, after jigging, the rod is set on the top of a 5 gallon pail so the rod tip is in good view. Often times, the tip of the rod will go down just a bit. Set the hook. A few times of watching this technique out produce a jigging spoon got my attention.

“When fish seem sluggish, I rip a Cicada or other type of vibrating blade lure. This aggressive 3 ft. jigging motion gets that blade bait vibrating. My favorite color on Lake of the Woods is gold with dark green tape.” ~ Joe Henry

Tipping lures with bait I normally tip my jigging lures with a minnow head or the tail section of a minnow. Frozen shiners, fatheads and crappie minnows are staples for me. I like the way the fatheads and crappie minnows stay on the hooks when I am jigging. I like the scales and smell of the frozen shiners, but am careful to hook the piece of minnow in a spot that will hold as they are more fragile and will come off easier. With the frozen shiners, pinching them off behind the gills and carefully hooking the shiner head without creating too big of a hole so the bait falls off is the key. I also use the tail section, as hooking through the backbone of the minnow is very secure and has good flash.

Reef-Runner Cicada, gold

The author with a big Lake of the Woods walleye that fell for the teasing them up method. When your electronics show a fish that isn't responding to your offering, change it up and ice that fish. Photo credit: Joe Henry

Page 64 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 67

It’s the time of year when ice heads across northern climates start thinking of their winter plans. Maybe it’s the onward march of the calendar towards fall, or maybe it’s just that ice can be a comforting thought when the mercury is stuck in the 80s and 90s.  Whatever the reason, people now are building their own permanent shelters, or remodeling old ones, including myself.  A buddy and I are converting an enclosed single axle trailer into a makeshift summer and winter threat that will both haul over tar, and sit on top of ice. This article is aimed at the do-it-yourself (DIY) crowd, so hopefully you can take our mistakes and learn from them! as e your door time to mak possible. DO take the as g in tt l-fi d wel wind-tight an

DO invest in quality lighting. Spend the money and buy lowdraw LED bulbs or light bars that diffu se light evenly throughout the house.

DON’T forget to include all of the simple comforts of home.

DON’T forget portable rattle reels.

Page 68 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 68

The adage “measure twice, cut once” applies here in many ways; perhaps from a construction perspective, but also from a general ice-fishing planning one as well. Think long and hard about the way you use a hardside ice-shelter in the winter, and especially how you fish out of one. I prefer to be out on the open ice, but also appreciate and enjoy modern comforts afforded by a well-heated space that offers fixed seating and more room. Still, if you’re like me, knowing that you’re already confined to a small space on the ice, you’re pulling overtime thinking of ways to offer as many fish as many looks as possible.  To me, that means individual anglers jigging from a direction or area that they’re comfortable in, along with a combination of rattle reels and even tip-ups outside to round out the spread. Livebait vs. deadbait, deadbait motionless vs. deadbait jigged, etc., etc., etc. These are the kinds of fishing experiments you’ll be running inside the house, so you should setup the house for maximum flexibility. To me that means portable rattle reels that can be interchanged from hole to hole at the drop of a hat. It also means that depending on how many people you’re fishing with, the amount and configuration of holes used may be drastically different. If children will be in the house, un-used, or lots of holes spells wet legs and early leave times, so consider covers of some sort. Heat and the direction or power of heat is always an issue in any house. It always seems like there’s either too much, or not enough, so invest in low-draw fans that keep the heat off the ceilings and moving around the entire house constantly. Also be wary of setting lines too close to heat sources, first because of the obvious burn dangers, but also because it’s not very comfortable sitting in front of the furnace on full blast. Do invest in quality lighting, as most folks get a few incandescent lights, or rope-lights, then call it “good enough” stating, “I can always wear a headlamp after dark.” Go the extra mile, spend the money and buy low-draw LED bulbs or light bars that diffuse light evenly throughout the house. My experience is that rarely is there enough good light to tie knots, unhook fish, and find the jig you’re looking for. Also, take the time to make your door as wind-tight and wellfitting as possible. The door gets the most abuse in any ice house. It’s kicked, swung against the house, and the handle is banged repeatedly, all while the forces of extreme cold, heat, moisture, and resulting ice make it difficult to work as intended. Good quality insulated doors are now easier to find, so consider spending more on

something that will last. I grew up on a farm, and must regularly resist the urge to unleash my inner wire, bail twine, or duct tape fixes. Perhaps the best advice I could give any DIY’er, is to realize both the limits of your ability, and to recognize a better mousetrap when you see one. I encourage talented carpenters and woodcrafters to design everything from more efficient shelving, to beautiful wood interiors, rod racks, and even cabinets. I strongly discourage using 2X4s and other wood scrap to fashion items such as a door latch. They make effective and time tested versions of these every day, with many options to fit several budgets. Case in point would be Fishhouse version 1.0 from last winter. My friend is an HVAC contractor, and has plentiful tin at his immediate disposal. Our first hole sleeves then, were metal. At first, they worked extremely well, and were somewhat disposable with how much ducting he has lying around. That was until they froze or the auger blades would nick the edges and practically shred them. Enter another alternative, the venerable five gallon bucket. While a great budget option, they offered a sizable “lip” that extended above the floor, creating trip and toe stubbing hazards at every turn. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you have a house full of ice-holes, and each one of them has this lip, you’re walking real estate becomes far less than you might expect.  Getting the screw down covers with snap-on lids and removable hole sleeves, did not prove to be free like the buckets were, but did offer far more flexibility, comfort, and ease of use. More importantly, it means our ATV can be driven right on top of the hole covers and we can use the fish-house to also haul. Lastly, don’t forget to include all of the simple comforts of home.  Racks for drying items, hangers for a pliers, ruler, or jaw spreaders, and small shelves up high for putting food or other items away are some of the last things thought of. Ideally, for some, it’s best to just fish the house somewhat bare, and then add things on an asneeded basis.  However, if you’re like me, you forget the drill and screwdrivers each time, and end up focusing only on the fishing. Not a bad thing, as it’s the primary reason you’re out there, but the best permanent houses for fishing are not coincidentally the ones that are best thought-out. 

DO Screw down covers with snap-on lids and removable hole sleeves offer far more flexibility, comfort, and ease of use.

ns that keep low-draw fa DO invest in and moving s the ceiling . the heat off e constantly entire hous around the

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About Joel Nelson

Thirty-some years ago, I was lucky to be born into a farm family with a strong work ethic and love for the land. My folks were too busy farming and raising three boys to spend much time hunting and fishing, but they encouraged my passion for the woods and water that took root in me from a young age. Some of my first memories of the outdoors include chasing squirrels and rabbits up the hill, and fishing for chubs in the "crick" below our house. From there, Grandpa Stanley honed some skills and taught patience while I'm sure exercising plenty of his own. Those first memories were fuel for a fire that burned from the hills of northern Wisconsin to the mountains of Yellowstone. From the small waters of Southern Minnesota, to the big windswept waters of the north, I fished wherever I could.        I learned more than I thought there was to know, and have come to understand that the only true way to preserve knowledge is to share it. Now, I find myself trying to follow in their footsteps, as I teach my own children the lessons that have been so graciously handed down to me. In the process, I've found joy and satisfaction in not only the pursuit, but the partnerships. In not just the acts, but the experience. I feel a strong sense of purpose in sharing those adventures with fellow sportsmen and outdoors-women. Without the people that did so for me, I am confident that my life would somehow be less whole for it.

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The airhorn sounds through the crisp March air. 4� hand augers simultaneously cut through the Wisconsin ice like...well... a sharp auger through ice. Heavy insulated rubber boots kick away the perfectly formed ice shavings as the auger is launched from the hole. The chess match begins as competitors sprint to place their second flag, and secure their desired fishing area. Palm rods (glorified chopsticks with a tiny zip-tie-like strike indicator resting on the tip) gingerly present hair-like fishing line and micro tungsten jigs to whatever awaits. Every fish matters, and all fish count.

This is the world of competitive ice fishing, and USA Ice Team is looking for the next group to go after gold.

Photos courtesy of USA Ice Team

72 Page 72 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Winners of World Ice Fishing Championship: Gold to UKRAINE, Silver to LATVIA Bronze to RUSSIA

The United States has been competing on a international stage since the 90s in different events. USAngling, of which USA Ice Team is a part, is America’s representative on the world scale. If you want to fish competitively, you must go through USAngling. They got into ice fishing for the first time in 2009, and what they found, completely surprised them. “Just don’t come in last. That’s what we were told our first year,” said Mike McNett coach of USA Ice Team. “I thought, come on! Give us more credit than that! But they were right...Everything was different.” USA Ice Team got dead last in 2009. The United States has the best hook and line ice anglers in the world. They proved it the next year when the World Championships landed in Rhinelander, WI. USA Ice Team took the gold. To them, though, world champions win medals overseas, something they have yet to do in nine years of competition. So what’s the big deal? Ice fishing is ice fishing, right? Wrong.

“That first year we were the only ones using reels. They all had palm rods and smaller [fishing] lines. They were throwing their palm rods and hand-lining fish in,” said McNett. “We needed to learn the international system to compete on the world stage, and we’ve done that.” Let me give you a quick run-down on how world competition works. There are no electronics, no power augers. Five anglers (along with 1 alternate) and 5 spotters (angler advisers monitoring the other competitors and suggesting strategic moves to their fishing teammate) try to catch as many fish as possible out of designated zones. When the horn sounds, anglers place one of their 2 flags to secure a fishing hole and a 5 meter (16.4 ft) radius around it. As long as that flag is there, no other angler can drill a hole nearby. Once competition begins, an angler may drill as many holes as desired and move their two flags throughout the heat to secure locations, or block other countries. Total weight is the name of the game, and smaller fish overseas can often mean that the team who catches the most will come out on top. Speed and strategy are big parts of the game, too. The proof...Ukraine. Their top angler is a spotter. HE DOESN’T FISH! Yet, he has helped turn the Ukrainians into a powerhouse in world competition. Myron Gilbert, a competitive angler and legendary guide from Michigan, has competed with USA Ice Team since the beginning. He is one of the best, most intense anglers they have. This year, though, he’s relinquishing his position as an angler to be a spotter. A move that resembles what the top teams in the world are doing to find success.

Ice fishing overseas doesn't produce the trophies we're used to seeing at ice fishing tournaments! But this is still a nice one!

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page73 73

“When they’re winning world championship after world championship...It’s like watching Tom Brady, maybe pretty soon you better emulate that,” said Gilbert. “I see good things for 2018. I don’t know what will happen, but I want to win a medal so bad overseas...Somehow, we’re going to get it done!” The 2018 World Ice Fishing Championship location has just been selected. Kazakhstan will play host to the world’s best next March. Tryouts are about finding those with the skill sets necessary to bring home a medal. They all understand what is on the line. “I’ve been competitive ice fishing for 10 years, and I can’t say that there has been a tournament day that I haven’t been nervous one way or another,” said Ben Blegen, an angler from Becker, MN. “When I get out on the ice and I drill that first hole, instinct takes over and the nerves are gone. We all know how to get the job done.”

Ben is apart of a field of anglers vying for a chance to represent their country on the world stage. Tryouts consist of 2 fishing days simulating world competition as closely as possible. Anglers fish 3 heats on different areas of northern Wisconsin lakes, catching as many fish as they can in each heat. The angler with the most fish wins the heat, and receives a point equal to the place they take. If you get 1st place, you get one point, 5th place gets five points... and so on. The angler with the lowest points at the end of the two days will win a spot on the team. It came down to the final heat, but Ben, made the cut. “To come in the top three is always something to be proud of,” said Blegen. “Just to be a fisherman on Team USA is one of the biggest achievements in ice fishing, and I’m feeling really good about that.” Ice fishing season is right around the corner, and USA Ice Team will be fishing for gold. Follow the team by liking their USA Ice Team facebook page or visit There you can learn about the history of the team, and make a donation to help make this dream feasible for all involved. These anglers are paying out of their own pocket to represent their country on the world-wide stage. Any contribution to the team will help lower their costs. Fish Stories will be following the team to Kazakhstan in 2018, and posting audio stories along the way. Stay tuned to the Fish Stories podcast, or to find out if USA Ice Team can bring home a medal overseas. USA! USA!!

the Total weight is , or deciding fact h and smaller fis n ca as se over often mean that the team who t catches the mos will come out on top.

Page 74 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 75

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Living in the northern half of the nation, winter seasons can have a very unusual fall/winter transition, especially for anglers that like to get onto the early ice. The cold weather skims over the lakes and as the ice is firming up, a spell of warm weather comes and melts anything that has formed. When the cold finally settles in the lake can get a couple inches of solid good ice. Then we get into the snow storm phase that dumps up to 2 feet of the white stuff onto this good ice. This weighs down the minimal ice and water comes on top to form slush and an insulating layer, which is not what the ice angler wants to see. Then comes early winter weather when spring days show up with rain, wind and warm temperatures. This is a good thing at the beginning, as this will melt the snow but it also softens the ice considerably, so if you throw a stone out onto the ice it would go through. Also, the shorelines may open back up and it will take a number of days before any ice will be acceptable for walking. If you are unsure or nervous about venturing onto the ice, as “no ice is safe”, then it may be better to stay home and do other things. For those that are out there searching for fish, there are a few items that you should have along so that if the worst were to happen, you can either get yourself out of a bad situation or someone will be able to assist you. Safety equipment should include a spud bar, PFD life preserver, rope, ice picks and a floatation cushion. These items pack very well into any sled and should always be taken along so you can get access to them to help save your life. Water in the winter time is very cold with only a short period of time before hyperthermia sets in and you don’t have the ability to use your arms and legs to get out of a bad situation. To start off the SPUD BAR is a very important piece of equipment —especially early in the season. This looks similar to a spear, but is a long bar with a chisel on one end. You hold the spud bar in your hand and hit the chisel end into the ice in front of you as you take each step. If you hit the ice and the chisel doesn’t go through, the ice is a little thicker there. If you hit the ice and the chisel goes through, you better back up as you may fall Page 78 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 through that area. 78

Spud Bar

If you are hitting the ice and it seems solid, chisel a hole through the ice and check the thickness as you go along. This way, you have an understanding of the thickness and a gauge as you are walking along. This is very important, as ice does not freeze uniformly and one spot you may have 4 inches and ten feet away you may have only an inch or two. Springs in the lakes cause this as well so using a spud bar is very important. Many anglers don’t think about a PFD life preserver for ice fishing adventures but one should be packed in with your gear. We use these in the summer for saving our lives if we fall into the water—why not in the winter? If you break through the ice and are in the water, and don’t get out fast, you will start losing the ability to use your arms and legs. By having a PFD preserver on when you are in the frigid water, this will keep you floating so someone can find you on the ice and help you. This is always an item that should be brought along. We all have ropes in the trunks of our cars or the back of the pickup. Why not grab them when heading out onto the ice? Many don’t think about a rope, but this may be one of the most important items to be packed on the ice sled. A rope is very useful for throwing out to an angler in distress, allowing you to stay away from the questionable spot. Having a hook or clip on the end is good. This way the person in the water can wrap the rope around their upper body, clip on the rope as opposed to trying it to hold onto the rope as they are being pulled out. Rope length should be a minimum of 20-25 feet and longer is always better. When rescuing a person in the water you don’t want to get too close to the edge where they broke in as you may break through as well. Always have a rope along and a boat seat cushion. You might not think about it when sitting in your ice house, but you may be sitting on one of those floatation cushions. These are not PFD’s but they float and definitely are a huge help if trying to rescue someone. These usually have straps that will aid

the person in the water with something to hold onto. To use with the rope, wrap the rope around the cushion and clip the end and snug it tight around the cushion. Now you will be able to throw this out to the distressed person and give them something that floats to hang onto and its also adds some weight for you to throw the rope out to them. The final item that is a must in any ice traveler’s arsenal is ice picks. These are hand grip sized handles that have a pointed sharp pick end. These are used after you have broken through the ice and are hanging onto the edge of the ice. These should be carried around your neck so they are easily accessible after falling through and getting your bearings on what has just happened. Place an ice pick into each hand with the pick point end down towards the ice. Hit each pick into the ice and using your arms, try to pull yourself out of the water. Continue doing this one hand at a time, each in front of the last and once you get your movement going forward, you will be able to pull yourself out onto the top

Photo Credits: Kevin Dahlke HSM Outdoors

of the ice and to safety. Never stand up when getting out of the water. Instead, roll away from the hole until you are on thicker and safer ice. These are just a few items that every angler should bring and they don’t take up too much room in your Safety on the ice is number one and if nervousness is overwhelming to you that may be a sign that you should stay clear of the ice. Ice is NEVER safe and should always be ventured onto with caution in every step you take as it only takes one step to get into a dangerous situation. Be very careful out there! Once a good base is down, there will be plenty of time for fishing through the ice—but patience must be taken until we get to those days. Think safety at all times on and around the ice and always pay attention to others out there. You may not need help, but there may be another out there that will. Have a safe ice season and come back and enjoy another next year.

There will be plenty of time for fishing through the ice, but patience must be taken until we get to those days. - Kevin Dahlke

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page79 79

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D Dakota Angler Ice Institute.................... 71 Dakota Tackle........................................ 65 Dakota Sioux Casino/Results Radio..... 27 Dimock Dairy........................................ 46 Distinct Builders................................... 77 Doug’s Anchor Marine.......................... 51 E Easy Loader - Custom Molding Services............................... 11 Explore Minnesota Tourism.............. 1, 84 F Fillet Maker........................................... 76 Fischer, Rounds & Associates, Inc....... 21 Fish Monkey........................................... 2 Patrick Flanigan’s Spray & Play Tour.... 44 Fred’s Beds........................................... 67 G Gary’s Gun Shop................................... 11 Glacial Lakes Guide Service................. 27 Glacial Lakes SnoBear.......................... 70 Greater Minnesota Rentals................... 59 H Hardkor Outdoors................................. 29 Hundred Acre Wood............................. 59 I Ice Castle Fishing Classic.................... 61 ICNUTS................................................ 65

P Pheasant Cove Outfitters...................... 21 Pheasants Forever, Inc............................ 9 Pond Tini................................................ 5 R Rainy Lake CVB.................................... 55 RC Hunting Store................................. 16 Ramkota - Aberdeen, SD...................... 14 Ramkota - Pierre, SD............................ 19 Ramkota - Watertown, SD.................... 26 Red Rossa Italian Grille........................ 20 Renner Corner...................................... 49 S Sagan, Inc............................................. 29 Sharkey Fish Houses............................ 75 Don Shumaker - Coyotes..................... 41 South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.... 23 Speedy Worm....................................... 71 T Taphouse 41........................................... 8 V Viking Bay Resort................................. 56 Visit Bemidji CVB................................. 57 Visit Grand Rapids................................ 56 W Woman River Camp ............................. 76 Z Zippel Bay Resort................................. 66

J Jeff’s Ico O Miniums............................. 67 Jim River Ranch................................... 17 K Ken’s Superfair Foods........................... 14 Keslar Kennels...................................... 37 KK Bold - Grand River Casino.............. 21 Calvin Klein Custom Knives................. 29 Kones Korner Inc.................................. 45 L Lake Country Guide Service................. 75 Lee’s Meats........................................... 47 LD Hotrack............................................ 29 Lucky Dawg Tackle............................... 29 Lynn’s Dakota Mart............................... 18 M Max & Erma’s....................................... 14 Mettler Implement................................ 24 Midwest Hunting & Fishing................. 80 Mike’s Maps......................................... 29 Mille Lacs Area Tourism....................... 60 Minervas - Aberdeen, SD..................... 16 Minnewaska Bait & Tackle.................... 58 Mitchell (SD) CVB................................ 25  N Northland Fishing Tackle...................... 28 Nutri Source......................................... 32



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Get to know some of the experienced hunters & anglers that contribute to Midwest Hunting & Fishing, and share their journeys...

Brian Schumacher is a lifelong resident of the Minnesota Driftless Area and is an avid outdoorsman and ardent fly angler. His passion for fly fishing has taken him along with his wife and fellow fly fishing enthusiast, Janet Veit, to the streams of the high Sierra Nevada range in California to the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers in New Hampshire and many destinations in between. Brian is a fly fishing guide in southeastern Minnesota for The Driftless Fly Fishing Company in Preston, Minnesota, “The Trout Capital of Minnesota.” Go to: www.minnesotaflyfishing. com for more information. When a fly rod is not in hand, a shotgun will be accompanying Brian afield hunting turkey, deer, upland birds and waterfowl. Be it chasing puddlers and divers on his “home waters” of the famed Mississippi River to Eider, Scoter and Swans on the East Coast, a blind is where you will find him from September to December.

Joe Henry As a long time guide, licensed charter captain, and tournament angler, Joe Henry has made fishing a part of his everyday life. Joe “cut his teeth” on MN lakes and rivers and has guided and fished walleyes throughout the nation. Joe’s home water is now Lake of the Woods, which he has fished for over 25 years. Professionally, Joe is an outdoor communicator and a media member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW). His professional background combined with his many fishing credentials lead him to his current role, Executive Director of Tourism for Lake of the Woods.

Tayler Michels from Passion for the Hunt Television. Passion for the Hunt is a regionally broadcast television show available throughout the Midwest. This informative and educational half hour show features and showcases some of the greatest hunting opportunities in the region along with techniques, guests and tactics that viewers find informative and enjoyable to watch.

Captain Josh Hagemeister, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service. Captain Josh has been a professional Minnesota fishing guide for 20 years. His extensive guiding time on the water takes him to some of the best fishing areas throughout the state. Throughout his guiding career he has also worked as an instructional fishing guide for InFisherman Magazine's Camp Fish, co-hosted and produced the "Outdoors Minnesota" TV Series, provided an extensive seminar series to many community education groups, published a sportsman's outdoor newspaper, excelled in many fishing tournaments, and has become an extremely versatile multispecies fishing guide and angler in the process.

Predator Control Expert, Don Shumaker, called in his first gray fox over 50 years ago and has been a trapper for 59 years. The author has spent his life outdoors guiding, hunting, trapping and as a predator control professional, as well as writing books and conducting seminars on predator calling. Don has travelled North America in the pursuit of predators and has been accompanied by some of the nation’s top predator callers and trappers. He has recently published Journals of a Coyotero, a look into the fascinating world of the coyote. The book illustrates how they live, eat and survivor against all odds. Don takes you along on his years of adventures calling with coyotes across America.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 81 81

Article courtesy of When Mike Wilson and his wife, Kim, started the summer of 2016, they had big plans and much work to do. They found a Spirit Lake, Iowa cabin and bought it, and since it’d sat unused for several years, they knew they’d have plenty of refurbishing to do. But a tingling, radiating pain that descended from Wilson’s shoulder to the fingertips of his right hand made that work nearly impossible. At times, Mike felt waves of pain ripping through his shoulder and neck. His elbow would go numb, then feel like it was aflame, then tingle. It was robbing him of a lot of life’s joys. “I went up to the lake to fish, and the pain was so bad, I couldn’t even flip a jig with my normal rod and reel,” Wilson said. “I tried another smaller pole, but the pain was just too much. I ended up having to go home.” Wilson accessed his medical doctor for pain relief but nothing seemed to really help. He and his wife wondered if they would even be able to get that cabin in good shape and enjoy it. But when his wife’s coworker shared information about her husband's positive experience with an Avera neurosurgeon, Wilson scheduled an appointment. “Kim’s coworker’s husband had seen Dr. Maggie Carmody, and while I had concerns about the risks that would go along with a surgery of this sort, I was really suffering,” he said. “I did some research and while I had some shots in the neck that helped, I really felt like I needed more care.” Dr. Carmody’s recommendations for less invasive treatment were helpful in the beginning in hopes of alleviating symptoms and the need for surgery. Wilson said that she was up-front and knowledgeable, sharing her experience as well as discussing the risks and benefits of the procedure. He also appreciated the fact she wasn’t rushed. “She took plenty of time to walk me through all aspects of what she wanted to do, and we went over the images together, and she explained what she’d do during the surgery,” Wilson said. “The shots had helped, but the pain would just return. This offered a chance to have it fixed.”

“I went up to the lake to fish, and the pain was so bad, I couldn’t even flip a jig with my normal rod and reel... I ended up having to go home.” Page 82 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 82

Maggie Carmody, MD, a neurosurgeon with Avera Medical Group, said Wilson’s case was one that is pretty common. Degeneration in some of his vertebrae led to pinching of nerve tissue and that pinching is what led to the numbness, tingling and pain. Since a more conservative approach – therapy and steroid injections – had come up short, she said Wilson was a good candidate for the procedure. “He had a lot of right-arm pain and issues with his arm, and we suspected the nerve roots coming off the spine and the bone’s pressure on them was causing the numbness and pain,” she said. “I proposed that we use bone and a plate to relieve the pressure. We needed to address two herniated disks that we noted on the images.” Just a day after the 2 1/2 hour surgery, Wilson said a majority of the pain in his arm had vanished. After his few-days stay in the hospital, he had some residual pain from the surgical incision, but none of the sidetracking pain and discomfort that had wrecked his plans for fishing and renovating the cabin. Six months later, Wilson is back at it—working hard on his cabin with his wife. He also proudly showed off some pictures of a slew of walleye he caught—so that right arm is back in angling shape as well. He can again flip a jig. He will return to work this fall in Spencer, Iowa, where he serves as a school resource officer. “I’d encourage anyone who faces what I did to ask a lot of questions—I’m really pleased with the professional care I had with Dr. Carmody,” Wilson said. “The condition I had could have become permanent, but the neurosurgery has me back to 100 percent.”

“The condition I had could have become permanent, but the neurosurgery has me back to 100 percent.”

Mike Wilson

4.5 million patients need medical care for shoulder pain yearly in the U.S.




A complex system of bones, joints, ligaments and tendons choreographs every movement throughout your day. Where you get care for your body matters. Turn to the experienced team at Avera Orthopedics, where technology and orthopedic care, sports medicine and recovery meet to support your every move. MAKE YOUR MOVE TO THE LARGEST ORTHOPEDIC PHYSICIAN TEAM IN THE REGION — AVERA ORTHOPEDICS. Source: A Nation in Motion

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017 • Page 83


It’s just you, the line you drop through a hole in the ice, and the fish you reel in. In its purest form, ice fishing is the quintessential #OnlyinMN winter sport.


Page 84 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - November-December 2017

Midwest Hunting & Fishing Nov/Dec 2017  
Midwest Hunting & Fishing Nov/Dec 2017