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The Outdoors A place to Get it Together By Gary Howey

 

I have always been somewhat of a sports enthusiast. Competing in about every sport a person can imagine.

In grade school, it was track, baseball, and football, in high school track and football and once I moved to Nebraska it was softball. 

I no longer compete in any of these sports, not because I do not enjoy them, it is just that I have slowed down a bit and I do not move quite as fast as I used to or heal up as fast.  I still think I can do these things, but my body tells me different.

I still spend thousands of hours each year watching or listening to sports on the radio and TV, so I have not lost my love for these sports.

As a youngster, growing up in Watertown, South Dakota, an outdoor paradise where my father, grandfather and our neighbor introduced me to hunting and fishing, which was the start of my lifelong love of being in the outdoors.

Many of my fondest memories as a youngster were those that I spent learning about it from Glen Matteson our neighbor and excursions into the outdoors with my dad Cal and my grandfather Butch Menkveld. 

I have always enjoyed the outdoors and since my early years have really gotten into outdoor activities.

I love fishing, I am hooked, and enjoy fishing with a rod & reel, it does not matter what species of fish I am after.  I have been very fortunate to have an occupation where I can fish for walleye and catfish in several provinces of Canada and walleye as well as fishing for smallmouth bass on several of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. On one trip to Mississippi, I caught crappies while keeping an eye out for alligators and had time to spend hundreds of hundreds hours pursuing walleyes, northerns and bass in the many Glacial Lakes of South Dakota and on the Missouri River and its reservoirs.

Therefore, it just makes sense that I also bow fish for paddlefish and rough fish on the Missouri River after the invasive species, the Grass, Big Head and Silver carp trying to put a dent, it may be a small one, but every one out of the river is one less we need to worry about. 

  Invasive species, devastating are waters, devouring much of the plankton available as they have a voracious appetite, feeding continuously. These fast growing plankton feeders compete and to the baitfish, young gamefish, and our paddlefish.

To some the outdoors is not successful unless you get your limit. To others it is the time spent with friends, in that special place as Mother Nature awakens the World. (Outdoorsmen Productions Photo)

When it comes to hunting, another of my favorite pastimes, I hunt with a rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader and bow, pursuing pheasant, quail, waterfowl, turkey, deer, antelope, wild boar, bear, predators and elk. 
  My family has probably eaten as much wild game as any family.  It is lean, low in cholesterol and when taken care of in the field and prepared properly makes for some excellent eating.

However, it is not the fish or wild game that I bring home that keeps bringing me back, it is the outdoors. I know some people will find that hard to believe, but it is a fact.

I head outdoors to get away, to get back to reality.  I have learned many of lives lessons in the outdoors as I watched and listened to the world waking up when a squirrel is chattering at the birds that are  bothering him  and as I watched a doe and her fawn making their way from where they were feeding to their bedding area.

  You might say the outdoors is my therapy.   Many people go to a therapist to get things figured out, to get their life in order.  I guess I am from the old school and feel that a little peace and quiet along with fresh air will solve many problems.

When I am outdoors, I have a lot of time to think and reflect on what I have done right and wrong with my life.

There is nothing like hearing a tom turkey gobble or a pheasant cackle as the sun is coming up.  The sound of a bull elk bugling in the distance will awaken senses that you never knew you had.

When I first got into the outdoors, it was great to be outside, but I was of that age where I had to be successful, to bring something home, hoping to get my limit, to prove to my folks and myself that I had accomplished something.

  Now days, I do not need to fill my tags or my limit in order to get something out of a day in the woods or on the water, in the outdoors.  The time spent with friends and family camping, fishing or hunting allows me to forget about the deadlines that I have given myself.

 I do not worry about things when I am in the outdoors.  I know that those things will still be there when I return to my office, but the time I am outdoors is relaxing and invigorating to me, it helps me to recharge my internal batteries.

I get just as much of a thrill out of introducing someone to the great things the outdoors has to offer as I do from bagging a big buck or catching a nice walleye.

That is the reason I have been a Nebraska certified fishing instructor and a certified hunting instructor for twenty-five years.

Learning about the outdoors is not hard as those who love the outdoors and there are thousands of them, individuals who have spent time in every aspect of the outdoors, more than willing to help you to discover the outdoors.

 Conservation groups such as Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, The National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and other conservation groups all have youth programs.

 Most states have hunter’s safety instructors, bow hunter education instructors and aquatic education instructors that hold classes throughout the state, every year. 

The outdoors is not just a male thing as there are programs set up just for the women.   The “Becoming an Outdoorswomen” is a very popular program that is given several times each year in Nebraska as well as in other states.

  In our hunter’s safety classes, we always have at least six girls and women taking the course as women are the fastest growing segment of the outdoors.

Getting into the outdoors is not very hard to learn about and has something for everyone. The next time you feel like you need to catch your breath and get yourself together, look into the outdoors, go fishing, boating, kayaking, bird watching or just hiking as the sunshine, fresh air and tranquility of the outdoors can help you to get back on track.

  Good advice, after this hectic week, trying to get everything taken care of before heading north to our writer’s conference, I need a break, think I need to spend some quality time in the outdoors, so I am going to head out to the pond I hunt to see if any new doves have migrated south!

 

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Amazing Facts About Aquatic Invaders

We have been telling you about aquatic invasive species (AIS) all summer and what you can do to slow the spread of these nasty plants and animals. Now how about some simple and sometimes amazing facts about these aquatic invaders?

Silver and Bighead Carp

  • These species have the ability to leap 10 feet when startled.
  • These two species are the most important fish, worldwide in terms of total aquaculture (grown on fish farms for food) production.
  • One bighead carp can produce over 2,000,000 eggs.
  • In an effort to make the fish more appealing to Americans, the fish has been renamed silverfin or Kentucky tuna.

Zebra Mussels

  • These freshwater mussels were originally native to the lakes of southern Russia and the Ukraine.
  • They have a lifespan of 4-5 years.
  • An adult female zebra mussel can produce 30,000-40,000 eggs in each reproductive cycle and over 1 million eggs a year.
  • Most zebra mussel predators don’t live in North America. An adult crayfish can eat 100 zebra mussels a day. Smallmouth bass also are a predator.

Rusty Crayfish

  • Their name derives from the two rusty sots on the sides of their back.
  • Typically larger than other crayfish species and can grow to over 4 inches from their eyes to the tail.
  • Will displace other native crayfish species.
  • Females can carry up to 200 fertilized eggs under their tail.
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South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks new geo-fensing

Earlier this week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) launched a new geo-fencing technology feature within the outdoor mobile app to alert anglers and boaters to pull their plugs at Lewis and Clark in the southeast part of the state.

A geofence is a virtual perimeter that you can draw around any location on a map, and target customers who enter that location. This new feature allows us to reach not only anglers but recreational boaters as well.

The goal is to trigger anglers and boaters to pull boat plugs at the right time and place. This technology has been enabled at these boat ramps: Lewis and Clark Marina, East Midway, West Midway and Gavins Point. 

If a boater or angler comes within 100 feet of these four boat ramps, an automated alert will be sent to their phone reminding them of South Dakota’s aquatic invasive species regulations.

It is essential that the user have location services and notifications enabled for the outdoors mobile app on their mobile device for the new feature to function properly. 

Thank you,

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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Jumping Fish and Anchored Mussels…Who Knew?

We have been sending emails to you all summer, trying to keep you informed of the laws and what South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is doing to try and slow the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in our great state.

We thought with the dog days of summer upon us, we would lighten the mood a little with a few interesting facts about AIS.

1. Asian carp were brought to the U.S. in the mid-1970’s to help clean commercial catfish rearing ponds, but did you know that in terms of aquaculture (producing fish for food),these carp are the fourth most produced fish in the world? They are a valued fish for eating and are extinct due to overfishing in much of their home range. Here is a video showing how to clean and prepare silver carp.

2. Asian carp are vocacious eaters of plankton and can eat 20%- 40% of their body weight in the micro-organism every day!

3. Although they prefer lakes, they require large rivers for spawning.  The eggs are semi-buoyant and it is believed they must remain suspended in the water column to survive. [Read more…]

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Boat plug, bait and fish transporting rules for South Dakota.

 

As summer kicks into full swing, we would like to give you a fresh reminder on the boat plug and bait and fish transporting rules for South Dakota.

DRAIN PLUGS: Boaters and anglers are required to open or remove all drain pluge or similar devices; except when in the boat ramp parking lot or when the boat is being launched and loaded.  Plugs must remain out of the boat during transportation and storage.

BAIT: Bait and fish may not be transported in water taken from a lake, river or stream. Bait may be transported in water taken from a lake, river or stream while in route to a fish cleaning station only if the cleaning station is located within the parking lot area and must be drained prior to leaving the fish cleaning station.

FISH: Anglers have three options for transporting whole fish for cleaning at home or at a cleaning station not within the boat ramp parking area:

  1. In a container –  (not a part of the boat) that is filled with domestic water (tap, well, bottled or ice).
  2. On ice – in a cooler or pull the plug on their livewell and fill it with ice (plug must remain out).
  3. Dry – put fish in an empty bucket or pull the livewell plug before leaving the boat ramp and let it drain while traveling.

Remembering these simple rules will help keep South Dakota’s lakes, rivers, ponds and streams free from invasive species. 

Stay educated, stay informed and help current and future generations slow the spread of AIS in our great state. You can also visit sdleastwanted.com at any time to learn more about what you can do!

 

 

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Anglers in South Dakota are Reminded Not to Move Lake Water When Fishing

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) would like to remind anglers of the new rules regarding fish and bait transportation.
Bait can only be transported away from a water body in domestic water (tap water, well water, bottled water, ice). Boat anglers can wait until they reach an immediately adjacentfish cleaning station to put their bait in domestic water. They can dump out the lake water and fill their bait bucket up with water from the fish cleaning station or water they brought with them.
A shore angler can do the same if they are able to access the domestic water source at a fish cleaning station that is immediately adjacent or if they bring domestic water with them.
Unused minnows should be poured into the fish grinder at a cleaning station or drained and disposed of in the trash containers at the boat launch or cleaning areas. It is a violation of state statute to dump unused minnows into a water body in South Dakota.
The new regulations are featured online at sdleastwanted.com; here anglers can also learn more about transporting their bait through a three minute video tutorial. GFP staff and volunteers are also available to help answer any questions.
“As much information as we provided up front on the implementation of these new regulations, we know there are still going to be questions,” said Kelly Hepler, GFP Secretary. “I would encourage people to call our offices or ask a GFP employee if they are in any way uncertain of how to comply with these new regulations. We are trying to ensure everyone who wants to enjoy South Dakota’s waters can do so with the confidence that they know these new rules. These are big changes and our staff are a great resource and willing to help field customer concerns.”