Column: Thin ice is dangerous dont become a statistic

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 24, 2006

Dick Herfindahl, It&8217;s Minnesota! Here we are on Thanksgiving weekend and we have been basking in spring and early fall-like temperatures.

I&8217;ll take it! Anything that will prolong the inevitable winter weather is a good thing.

We do need some precipitation this winter to replenish our soil and help our lakes and streams regain some of the water levels that have been dwindling the past few years.

We are pretty lucky in this part of the state especially compared to most of the northern third of the state. A winter with some heavy snowfall and an early rainy spring would really help get the moisture back in the soil.

On another note there just isn&8217;t going to be any safe ice for a while, especially with the near record highs we are experiencing. This is the time of year when kids want to test the ice that is forming thin layers on our lakes and ponds. It is a most dangerous time of year because the ice may look safe but rest assured it is not going to be thick enough to be considered &8220;safe.&8221;

As far as I am concerned there is no totally safe ice. Maybe that&8217;s why I haven&8217;t spent a lot of time ice fishing.

There is just something about the sound of ice crackling underfoot that makes me edgy.

As kids we used to test the ice on the &8220;crick&8221; pretty much all the time. I always managed to go

home with a wet foot or at the very least a wet pant leg or two from going through the ice in the shallow water.

Along with the getting wet thing came a certain amount of scolding from Mom.

That was a minor thing compared to the unforgettable feeling of a cold, near frozen foot as it began to thaw while being held in front of the heat register.

Those days are fun to look back on now but in all reality there was always a certain amount of danger that we were totally oblivious to. That&8217;s why kids should be warned about the dangers of venturing out onto any lake, unless there is a parent with them to make sure the ice is thick enough to be considered safe. There are too many stories of people driving on thin ice and losing their vehicle. You may lose more than a vehicle if you don&8217;t use a little common sense. Be careful and you wont become a statistic.

Four inches, is the minimum thickness experts recommend for walking on. Ice safety guidelines also recommend a minimum of five inches of new, clear ice for snowmobiles and eight to 12 inches for a small to medium-sized automobile, pickup or SUV.

We must remind our kids and grandkids that if they are playing outdoors they should always stay

away from the water &045; frozen or open unless there is an adult with them.

Here are a few outdoors reports from around the state on some hunting results and also of ice

conditions to the north of us.

BLACKDUCK &045; There is ice on Upper Red Lake. About 5 inches 1/2 of a mile out. Some guys are catching some pike on tip-ups and a few reports of walleyes coming in. Other area lakes had ice, but the wind broke it up. Some might try to sneak out on bays, but be very careful of the ice right now. Deer numbers are up from previous years.

HACKENSACK &045; Just over 1,100 deer have come in this rifle season, 230 pounds still being the

biggest. This is up from last year. About 55 have come in for archery. There is some spotty ice on area lakes, but nothing fishable.

LAKE OF THE WOODS

&045; The weather here in Baudette has been beautiful with mid 30s to upper 40s during the daytime and in the lower 20 overnight. Whether you were hunting or fishing this past week it has been a favorable time for adventuring outdoors. Anglers on the river report great fishing, catching their limits in no time flat. A thin sheet of ice covers the bay and inlets, with the river and big lake still open. Pending the next seven to 10 days, we should be seeing ice on the big lake in just a matter of time. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all Minnesota fishing regulations before you drop your line. The lake will be ready soon!

RED WING &045; Walleye and sauger are still biting down at the damn on hair jigs and minnows. Red or blue head with white tail or chartreuse seem to be the colors. With the warm weather this week, the walleye fishing should continue to be good. Also some crappies at Baypoint park area.

Pheasant hunting has been good and a lot of nice deer have come in this season. Deer numbers are up over the previous years.

WINNIBIGOSHISH &045; The open water fishing has just about come to an end for this season. Ice fishing is only a few weeks from now and this is the best time to get your gear ready.

We&8217;re starting to get a little ice and you can sense that things are just about ready to pop. The deer season looks like it will be a very successful one and the hunting in the Deer River area, to Squaw Lake, across to Effie and down to Marcell was good to excellent. A lot of nice bucks were taken and there were a lot of happy faces.

Until next time good luck, play safe and enjoy theoutdoors experience. Remember to keep the troops that are serving our country in your thoughts and prayers.