At the north woods in OctoberPublished 1:46pm Saturday, October 15, 2011
I am writing this column from northern Minnesota at the Community Center in Marcell.
This is a nice facility that offers me the opportunity to enjoy time up north and still be able to write a column.
Once again this year my eldest son, Brian, and I are spending time together at the cabin. I guess you could say that it has become an annual tradition for us. It actually started years ago when we would vacation as a family at Spider Lake, which is in the same area.
Brian had gotten into bow hunting for deer, and I was always a big fan of fall fishing, so we decided to take a week and rent a cabin at the lake and combine the two.
On one particular trip it was extremely cold and there was snow on the ground. Now this is not totally unusual for October but it made staying outside for any length of time kind of miserable. With the high temperature for the week only in the 30s we were limited in how much time we could spend on the water.
Dave, the resort owner who we had known for many years, gave Brian a tip on where to put his deer stand. It was actually a good spot and with all the public land you could pretty much go anywhere but Dave knew of a trail that the deer used and Brian set his stand up facing it.
He would get up fairly early and go sit in the stand for a couple of hours and then come back to the cabin to warm up and eat breakfast. After that we would head to the boat and out on the lake to fish for a couple of hours. You couldn’t really stand to be on the lake for more than a couple of hours because the cold would start to set in and pretty soon your hands and fingers refused to do what your mind was telling them.
Brain didn’t get his deer, and we didn’t catch a lot of fish but we still talk about what a fun trip it was. There is just something about the memory of warming up by that old oil stove in the cabin that makes that a special memory.
After we built our cabin we have once again renewed that tradition. Now we spend some time working on the cabin and still manage to do a little hunting and fishing. Brian has pretty much put his bow hunting days behind him and now leans more toward pheasant, waterfowl and grouse hunting.
Waterfowl hunting is something that all of my grandsons love to do. Trevor, the oldest, is as much into hunting as he is fishing and I don’t think he can ever get enough of either. I’ve heard he has found a recipe for making jerky out of goose meat that is pretty awesome. So far none of it has come grandpa’s way but I’m sure he will be happy to share it with me eventually.
This week at the cabin has been mostly work but we still have taken time to enjoy the wildlife that is still abundant in the area. I do miss the sound of the resident loons that usually reside on our little lake but I guess they’ve already headed south. We have a pair of osprey that have been spending time around the lake, and there are a lot of ducks on the lake this year and we’ve also spotted a few grouse.
There are also eagles in the area, in fact one flew directly overhead as we were working outside the other day. This is what spending time in the outdoors is really all about. It’s just fun to observe the critters of nature in their natural environment.
12 Minnesota state parks to close temporarily this fall for deer hunts
Numerous special deer hunts are scheduled to take place at Minnesota state parks this fall. Access to the parks will vary around the state during the hunts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Some state parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited public access, and some will be open only to hunters with special permits. The deadlines have passed for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts, which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options.
The DNR advises anyone visiting a state park during these hunts to wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing. Visitors should also check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive and look carefully for hunt-related signage.
“The DNR allows these annual hunts as a way to help control the deer population at state parks,” said Ed Quinn, resource management coordinator for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails. “When there are too many deer in one area, the native plants and animals can be negatively affected. Our goal is to ensure healthy natural communities.”
The DNR thanks park visitors for their patience and understanding at parks where access will be limited during the hunts.
The following parks will be open only to hunters with special permits (hunt dates in parentheses):
Afton State Park (Nov. 5-6)
Frontenac State Park (Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 19-20)
Lake Maria State Park (Dec. 3-5)
Lake Shetek State Park (Dec. 3-4)
Lake Vermilion State Park (Nov. 5-13)
Myre-Big Island State Park (Nov. 26-28)
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park (Nov. 26-27)
St. Croix State Park (Nov. 11-14)
Whitewater State Park (Nov. 19-20).
Wild River (Nov. 5-8)
William O’Brien State Park (Nov. 5-6)
Until next time get out and enjoy the natural wonders of our great Minnesota outdoors.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers.