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2017 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener By Gary Howey

  Jack, the DeBruyckere’s English Setter methodically worked his way through the thick CRP cover, as he picked up the running birds scent he would pause and then move forward slowly as he worked his way towards the running bird and the end of the field.

   Jamie DeBruyckere indicated “He’s getting birdy” as she moved up behind the dog, as Jack, had the bird holding tight.

  We were attending the 2017 Minnesota Governor’s Hunt held this year in Marshall, Minnesota.  On this hunt, KWAT Outdoors radio host Don Fjerstad, Watertown, S.D. and I team up with Arlyn and Jamie Bruyckere on their CRP field about 5 miles outside of Marshall.

  This was seventh annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant hunting opener, Minnesota Governor Mark Drayton created the Governor’s hunt in 2011, his first year in office and in 2015 he convened the Minnesota Pheasant Summit introducing a ten-part action plan to expand pheasant habitat and increase the number of pheasants in the state.

  The pheasant opener would kick off Saturday October 14 and there were other events held on October 13.

  On “Friday the 13”, Don and I headed to the Sporting Clays range at Shooters Sporting Clays to try our luck on their Sporting Clay range  Going on at the same time, on the opposite side of the property the SMSU High School Trap Shoot Challenge was going on.  In this event, the top ten participants from five Minnesota High School Clay Target leagues would face off in a 250-target showdown for the bragging rights of this inaugural event.

  If you are not familiar with Sporting Clays, there are several throwers strategically placed out in front of the shooter where several clays come out from the throwers in several directions, which include one on the ground, the Bouncing Bunny, simulating the shots you might face in the field.

   It had been some time since I had been on a Sporting Clays course and it did not take me long to remember why I had not pursued this sport, as it was not pretty, but it was enjoyable.

  Also on Friday, we had an opportunity to attend the dedication of the James Meger Memorial Wildlife Area just down the road from Marshall. Pheasants Forever and more than a dozen other conservation groups and large donors made this Memorial Wildlife Management Area (WMA) possible.

  The memorial honors the late James Meger, from the Marshall area who was a renowned wildlife artist. His artwork raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife habitat as well as conservation groups.

   This WMA lies along a creek with a 155 acres of public access land located just a few miles northwest of his hometown, where the land will bear his name and have one of his works of art at its entrance.

   Marshall, in Lyon County as well as this area of southwestern Minnesota actively promotes hunting and outdoor recreation. One will find numerous public hunting acres within 25 miles of Marshall, as there are 37 Walk-In Access areas totaling just less than 3,000 acres, 20 Waterfowl Production Areas with approximately 3,779 acres and 132 Wildlife Management Areas with another 24,407 acres of public access hunting land. In Lyon County alone, you will find 47 Wildlife Management Areas totaling 11,184 acres. All are open to public hunting.

  As the 10:00 am start of the 2017 Minnesota pheasant season approached, we made our way out to one of the fields that we would hunt.  Approaching the drainage ditch and field, I talked with Arlyn about the land we would soon be hunting.  Arlyn indicated, “we have several areas with good habitat; this one has 10.8 acres of thick CRP, a shelterbelt and a drainage ditch running along the edge of one side of the property for a total of about 35 acres.” [Read more…]


Return to Zippel Bay Gary Howey

  With the onset of fall, the colors on Lake of the Woods and Zippel Bay begin to    change to take on their beautiful fall colors. (Gary Howey Photo)

   As I walked from the log cabin, the calm waters of Zippel Bay mirrored the colors of the Northwood’s trees lining the far shore line.

   In the distance, the beckoning call of Canada geese resonated throughout the bay as the flock made their way out to feed.

  We had traveled north on I-29 through northeastern South Dakota and Watertown, my old stomping grounds on our way to the annual Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers conference on Lake of the Woods and had headquartered out of good friend s Nick and Deanna Painovich Zippel Bay Resort.

  While we were there, Nick had invited us to do some walleye fishing with him him and Jase Lamberson one of the charter boat captains for the resort.

  That afternoon as we made our way through the bay out into Lake of the Woods, and we could hear the gulls chattering on Lighthouse Point as Lake of the Woods opened up before us.

   Moving out onto Lake of the Woods, it was obvious that this was “big water” the sixth largest freshwater lake in the United States, which created the border between Minnesota, the United States, Manitoba and Ontario Canada.

  The Lake is enormous, 68 miles long, 59 miles wide covering 1,679 miles with 65,000 miles of shoreline with more than 14,552 islands found throughout the lake.

  We passed several groups of anglers as we worked our out to where Nick and his other charter boat captains had been fishing. Just outside of the bay, we could see all modes of fishing craft, charter boats, big fishing boats as well as a few kayakers working the rock piles in search of walleyes.

  Moving from our old lacation into an area not too far from several other Zippel Bay Charters who were busy landing fish out of the 29-foot depths.

  We rigged up, using one quarter-ounce jigs tipped with frozen shiners starting to work our jigs in and among the rocks for walleye.

  It was not long before Jase indicated that he had a bite, he set the hook on our first fish of the trip, one of those nice walleyes that would make for some good eating.

  Then it was my turn as I connected with another fish, a close cousin to the walleye, one of the hundreds of thousands sauger that call Lake of the Woods home.

  As my fish came into the boat, Nick set the hook on another nice walleye, one in the 17-inch range

  The bite continued as we boated some good fish, with the larger ones we released back into the lake to fight another day.

  Jase had the hot rod and continued to pull walleye and sauger up from the depth, but Nick and I were not far behind.

  When the bite slowed, Nick heard from other charters on the lake that there was a good bite not too far from where we were, we pulled the anchor and moved in that direction.

  Once we arrived we could see several boats and charters anchored in the thirty-foot water over the rock piles that were scattered across the bottom.

  As before, we would be jigging among the rock piles our jigs tipped with frozen shiners and no sooner than our jigs hit the bottom, Nick set the hook on the first big walleye, a healthy 18-incher with Jase and I each landing good size walleyes in between sauger.

  On this day, all of the boats and charters around us were into the fish, with nets coming out of the boats continually bringing fish into the boat.

   It did not take our crew long to put the fish we were looking for in the boat, with several healthy 15 to 17-inch walleyes as well as our limit of sauger.

   With the onset of fall, the colors of Zippel Bay will become brighter and more beautiful with the fall walleye and sauger bite going strong. [Read more…]


More Gun laws What about those we have? By Gary Howey

  Whenever a gun is involved in a tragedy, some individuals and groups cry out and push for the banning of all guns more gun laws.

  There are numerous movies coming out of Hollywood that are about psychotic killers. The actors who argue for more gun laws in order to stop the violence are the same people that are responsible for all of the violence seen on television and in theaters. 

  Then there is the so-called video games available on-line, they are not the Pac Man games that we had when we were younger. Many of these video games are violent games where the players shoot and kill as many people as they can, and definitely not normal human behavior.

  Let’s be honest, do “real” people really want or even think that more gun laws or banning them all together will solve the social problems that we have?

  The deranged individual that shot up the Las Vegas concert and  massacred concertgoers did not worry about laws, he broke about every state and federal law there is and I doubt that a few more laws would not and cannot be enforced would deter this sick individual!

  More laws are not the answer, because law enforcement cannot enforce the laws that are on the books now and numerous times, when they try there are so many loopholes in our justice system that allows criminals to go free.

  I have never claimed to be a psychologist or a therapist, but that big part of the problem as I see it and many others do, goes back to the way the individual was raised and the parenting or lack of it. 

  When I was growing up, my folks did their best to teach me the difference between right and wrong.  If I did something wrong, I paid for it.  My folks looked out for me but if I goofed up and deserved being punished, spanked I got it and believe me; I deserved every one of them. 

  Was it cruel and unusual punishment?  I do not think so as I deserved it!  I knew if I did something wrong, I was in deep and serious trouble and was going to pay for it in the end.

  The laws we have and new gun laws will not deter someone who has mental problems, they can only be helped if someone, whether it be a family member or friend forewarn someone who can help or stop them before they harm others.

  Those wanting more gun laws seem to think that by creating another law makes our country safer, making the U.S. a better country.  Laws such as those taking away or limiting our second amendment rights are not going to stop violent crime.

  In the school shootings that happened several years ago, the individual that committed the shooting had propane canisters, shrapnel and other things used to make bombs in their rooms. 

  I can honestly say that these things are not what normal kids would have in their bedrooms. Wouldn’t the “average” parent after seeing these things in their child’s room, be alerted that something was wrong, I would hope so, but not in this instance. 

  Does anyone truly believe that more laws would have stopped any of these shootings from occurring? 

  I don’t think so!  Those that do, have no idea how the judicial system is suppose to work.  They figure that if a law is made, all of our problems will be solved.  I cannot believe that anyone believes that more laws would have stopped the Las Vega’s violence or any of the tragedy’s deranged people have brought onto society!

  We have plenty of gun laws, the laws that we have need to be enforced and the judges we elect, need to quit giving these criminals causing these problems, robberies, assaults and murder a “free” ride where the criminal has more rights than those they harmed or murdered. They need to be punished, not given a “Time Out” as some parents do to a misbehaving child; they need to be put “AWAY”. 

  What good will more laws do when criminals know that no matter what crime they commit they have a good chance of serving little or no time.  Some might be sent away a year,  be given a slap on the wrist, a small fine or allowed to plea bargain down to time served, released on parole only to get out and repeat many of the things they were sent to prison for in the first place?

  We need to have judges that do their job not just to sit on their rumps and to slap the criminal’s hand when they should be punished.  They need to hit the criminals where it hurts the most.  Take away their freedom.

  I and other people are tired of hearing about the rights of criminals and terrorists.  What about the rights of the victims and their families, those that have been robbed, raped and murdered, don’t they have any rights?  Unfortunately, at times it does not seem that they do!

  Criminals and those deranged individuals who want to kill and hurt others will commit the crimes, robbing, rapping and killing people even if they cannot acquire a gun, doing it with anything they can get their hands on.

  Some people do not consider baseball bats, knives, screwdriver, hammers and even cars as weapons. All of these items can and do kill people and in the hands of someone that is out to rob, harm or kill you they are deadly!  So do we ban all of the above-mentioned items?  [Read more…]