Fall is time to relax, enjoy a campfire, reminisce

Published 3:16 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

This past week, I was able to spend a few days at our cabin with my son, Brian. We had originally planned to do some work on the cabin, but our stay wasn’t going to be long enough to start any large projects. It is sometimes better to relax and not have an agenda; this was one of those times, and it made for an enjoyable few days.

Brian is not one to just sit around and do nothing. He needs to be busy all of the time; I guess he has always been that way, even as a child. On the first day, the weather was cold with a biting northwest wind, but we enjoyed a nice campfire and reminisced about other fall trips. Looking back, this was actually one of the better trips as far as the weather goes.

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On our second day, we headed to a pristine little lake a few miles from our cabin. The lake has no cabins, but it does have some rustic national forest campsites that are available on a first-come basis. There is no cost for camping with the only stipulation being that your stay can be no longer than 14 days, and you leave the campsite as clean as you found it. There were folks camping in a couple of different locations on the lake and this time of year. They come to this area primarily for the grouse hunting, which has been pretty good this year.

We had taken our small boat to this lake and were fishing old school, meaning no electronics — just troll the weedline — which has always been my favorite way to fish. We managed to boat quite a few northern that day, but none were in the bragging range. We did have a few line breakers that must have been monsters according to my unwritten rule that if you don’t see it, the fish it can be as big as you want.

One of the campers had brought his boat, and he was doing the same thing we were: just trolling the weed lines. When we passed each other, we stopped the boats to compared fish stories. He was happy to share the fact that he boated 11 fish so far with 29- and 27-inchers being the largest. I could tell just by the excitement in his voice that this young man really enjoyed fishing. On a beautiful day with great fishing, what’s not to like?

All-in-all it was a great day spent bonding with my son on a beautiful little northern Minnesota lake.


DNR allows use of traps on public walk-in land

This upcoming trapping season the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has agreed to allow trappers the use of traps such as conibear or body-grip and snare type devices on public walk-in land. I have spoken with Kevin Auslund, president of the nonprofit sportsmen’s group Sportsmen Take Action about this on a few occasions, and he shared with me his feelings on the matter and what he felt could be a good compromise. He stated that the walk-in access program is primarily for pheasant hunting, although deer, turkey, duck and other small game is allowed. Our dogs, kids and hunters shouldn’t have to deal with 7×7- and 10×10-inch jawed conibears, kill snares and tongue traps on these properties.

On Oct. 3, a compromise offer was extended to Governor Dayton that would keep lethal traps capable of killing dogs from being used on the walk-in access public hunting program in exchange for allowing conventional leg-hold traps on these private landowner properties leased by the state for hunting pheasants and other game.

This compromise was offered by Auslund in a guest commentary article published in Outdoor News to its 50,000 readers. Auslund described this offer as a “win-win” compromise where landowners — and to whom they give permission — could still trap walk-in access lands with leg-hold traps.

Learn more about this issue by going to www.sportsmentakeaction.org.

I feel that a sportsman should be able to hunt with his or her dog on public land without worrying about the animal being killed or injured when being caught in a trap.

The fall colors are at peak in our area of the state so it’s a great time to slow the pace and maybe take a drive in the country or visit a park and enjoy the moment.

Please take a little time to remember those who served, those who are serving now and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.