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Ringneck Pheasant Facts By Gary Howey

  Even though the pheasant opener is still several months away, I am making plans for my first hunt as things have changed sine the close of last years  season

  As any hunter knows, habitat is the key to good pheasant numbers and over the last several years our pheasant hunting in Nebraska and South Dakota has changed, because of those years higher crop prices due to the disappearance of our habitat,.

  It was not all that long ago, because of our steep hilly terrain, where I reside, we had thousands of acres of heavy thick CRP fields not too far from town. Since that time, the price of row crops has spelled the end of much of that habitat.

  While I sit here working on this column, I cannot help but think back to the great pheasant hunting and the good times I had in the field.

  It seems like only yesterday, working my way along a meandering creek bottom that worked its way through a steep hillside covered by heavy plum thickets.

  As I approached the plum thicket, my black Lab Mo-Jo locked up, on point and seriously thinking about creeping in on a bird buried deep in the middle of the snarled mess of plum thicket and tumbleweeds.

  The bird seemed content to sit tight and wait for us to pass, but Mo-Jo would have nothing to do with and was having a hard time staying on point.  When I told him to “get it out of there”, he charged into the middle, flushing the bird out the opposite end.

  Unable to see the bird at first because of the thicket, I was not sure what the bird was, but cackle gave him away, I brought my my shotgun up and as he appeared the far end of the thicket, I dropped him with a load of number five shot.

  I praised Mo-Jo as he brought the bird back to me; a beautiful, long spurred rooster with long tail feathers, one of the nicest roosters I have ever taken and one that adorns the wall of my office to this day.

  My Lab did a great job of locating and pointing the bird, the flush with the bird cackling as he cleared the thicket was picture perfect as was the shot, making memories that I will always remember.

  I often think of this and other hunts for the South Dakota state bird, enjoying every one of those past hunts.

 Like any other things I pursue in the outdoors, I want to know as much about what I am after as it can help me to understand them more clearly. [Read more…]


Walleyes throughout the Season By Gary Howey

  Open water anglers have been not so patiently waiting for the ice to come off the Missouri River reservoirs, and once it does, a mass migration towards the river begins as vehicles pulling boats head out to take advantage of the “Pre-Spawn” bite and the first open water.

  The bite prior to pre-spawn on the reservoirs was slow as the fish were in their, “neither moving, nor eating much” winter mode.  

  Those who ventured out onto the ice of the reservoirs caught some good fish, using small jigs, jigging spoons and live bait rigs suspended just off the bottom all tipped with minnows.

    With the fall of the water temperatures, these fish moved into deeper water where both the males and females prepared for the spawn with the females finishing the development of their egg sacks.

  As the daytime temperatures warmed the water, with longer days and more sunlight, the ice started to disappear the walleyes begin to become more active and to feed more. 

  Walleye and sauger in our lakes and reservoirs moved up from the deeper water, into water adjacent to their spawning areas. During pre-spawn, fish feed very little, while they hold off the points and gravel bars, waiting for the spawning conditions to be right.

  This time, there will be some fish will bite, but one needs a ton of patience to catch these fish as we found out two weeks ago on a  walleye fishing excursion to Lake Francis Case.      

   Water temperatures were just above freezing at thirty-four degrees, with a slight breeze that came and went, as the wind died, the little open water we had went glass smooth, the fish became inactive and the bite died.

  The fish we caught were big, we caught them slowly jigging quarter ounce or smaller jigs tipped with larger minnows and live bait rigs worked along the bottom.

  We marked numerous fish on the points and gravel bars, loosing several we hooked when they threw the hook before we could get them to the boat.

  It was a tough bite as the four of us took seven big walleyes in a long day of fishing, not setting the world on fire, but giving us the opportunity to get on the water to escape those cabin fever blues.

  Walleyes living in the reservoirs, fed heavily in the late fall and as water temperatures declined, moved into deeper water where they conserved energy in preparation of the spawn. [Read more…]


Northeast Nebraska and Southeastern South Dakota Upcoming Events


* Saturday February 24-South East Mark Deffenbaugh Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet @ Minerva’s-Yankton, S.D. beginning @ 5:30 pm for more information contact Jason Kral @ 605-665-0444


* Saturday April 21-Friends of the NRA Banquet-Newcastle, NE. Fire Hall beginning @ 5:30 pm for more information contact selectpartsjeff@aol.com or call Jeff Attema @ (712) 212-5287


[Read more…]


Predators, a Major Problem By Gary Howey

The word predator means different things to different people; too some it could be a coyote, fox, bobcat, mink, weasel, raccoon, skunk and even mountain lions.

To waterfowl and upland game it is all of the above and these predators, especially raccoons, skunks and fox are the major reasons that wildlife numbers are down.

  Changes in agriculture in the upper Midwest have created numerous problems for nesting birds, as the habitat they need to nest is not there.

Predators, which produce very rapidly with many young, create large populations of critters out there after the birds.

The change in the landscape has made it easier for the predators to find the nests, especially since the amount of nesting cover in some areas is down and in other areas nonexistent.  Much of the available nesting cover is the smaller tracts, which makes it easier for predators to find and destroy nests.

    A couple of years of years ago, that fur prices were up and it seemed like everyone, even those that never trapped or hunted furs were out, creating a multi-million dollar fur business.

Now days, you see raccoons and other furbearers lying along the roads, when just a couple of years ago, you seldom saw a raccoon or coyote left there.

The reason for this was simple; people picked them up because they were worth up to $35.00.

However, times have changed and fur prices are low as a big raccoon may only bring a couple of bucks.

  The antis would like you to believe the reason that fur prices have dropped was their demonstrations and under-handed tactics.

  The truth is that the countries that purchased the majority of our furs are no longer the big buyers they used to be.

Russia and Europe were the two largest purchasers of furs and we all know what happened to Russia.

  In Europe, we were shipping huge quantities of furs overseas; this hurt the price of the furs produced by their in country fur farms.

Since the European nations subsidize their fur farms, they needed to do something to slow down the importation of furs, so they banned the importation of furs from animals that taken in traps.  This protected their farmers allowing them to get higher price for furs raised on the European fur farms.

  With less a demand for furs, fur prices have dropped to all time lows. [Read more…]


The Redlin Art Center To Unveil the Painting, “Sunrise”, the first of three special paintings in “The Farewell Collection”

Renowned wildlife and American artist Terry Redlin left a tremendous legacy of beautiful art for generations to enjoy. On Monday, April 24, the anniversary of Terry Redlin’s passing, the Redlin Art Center will add the original oil painting, “Sunrise”, to the gallery.  It is the first of three special paintings Redlin was working on before he passed away.

This collection of paintings, now referred to as “The Farewell Collection”, gives us a rare glimpse of Terry Redlin’s work while in process. These three paintings were near completion when illness resulted in the artist’s decision to retire. Because of the desire from his collectors to see, enjoy and collect everything Terry Redlin created, we are pleased to offer this unique opportunity to experience a piece of art the artist was still working on. The Farewell Collection consists of three paintings, “Sunrise”, “Sunset”, and “After the Storm”, and will be released over the next three years. The original oil painting, “Sunrise”, will be on temporary display within the Redlin Art Center beginning April 24th as a tribute to an artist – and a man – admired and loved by so many.

In  this painting, Redlin returned to the style he referred to as “romantic realism”. His focus was the landscape as seen from “a bird’s eye view”. Although not finished with the fine brush strokes and intricate detail he was known for, this beautiful painting invites us to imagine what the artist may have added to the painting next; and to reflect upon the man who became known as the “master of memories”. When asked about his art, Terry always said,

“I’m a small town boy. Always was. Always will be. All I ever wanted to do was hunt and fish and wander the woods. Nature was my favorite teacher. The beautiful outdoors and the many memories of my childhood fascinated me. I remember the stories told around the kitchen table and the evening campfires. I dream about those long ago times and attempt to re-create them as truly as memory and imagination will allow. How fortunate I’ve been to spend my life creating memories of these distant times for others to enjoy. I only hope that my art is worthy of the subject.”

Through his art, Terry dreamt of long ago times. He re-lived experiences. He reminisced about people he knew.  Now, it is your turn. Imagine what this serene scene might include and what memories it holds for you. We invite you to lose yourself in the art of Terry Redlin and this special piece, one of Terry’s last gifts to collectors. 

Admission to the Redlin Art Center is free






Shallow water walleyes love crank baits By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.
WEBSTER, S.D. | I don’t think there is a more fun way to catch walleyes than by casting crankbaits on spinning tackle.
And the best time to do that is right now. The big female walleyes have recovered from the rigors of spawning and are back in the shallows, feeding up big. Find a windy shoreline on the right lake, and you’ll have action to dream about.  The Webster area is full of lakes and sloughs that fit the description of the “right” lake.
Last week, Gary Howey, of Hartington, Neb., and I met with Cory Ewing, of Waubay Lake Guide Service, to film a segment for Howey’s “Outdoorsmen Adventures” television show and to get fodder for our newspaper columns.
We’ve fished with Ewing a number of times over the years, and that guy is so tuned into the fishing here that every trip has been an exciting fish catching experience. This trip was no different.
Although the lake that gets the most attention right now is Bitter Lake, an overgrown former slough that is currently South Dakota’s biggest natural lake, we chose to fish a 200-acre nameless slough with no boat ramp. Ewing met us at Perebooms Cafe in Webster with his 16-foot boat in tow. I knew then we were heading for the boondocks.
As we motored out of town, Ewing told us, “We need that wind to blow. That will bring those big fish into the shoreline.”
We dropped the boat trailer over a 3-foot drop to reach the water and before long we were casting the shoreline.
“There’s some really nice walleyes in here,” Ewing said. “And there are lots of northerns and some perch.” [Read more…]