Dick Herfindahl: Pheasant hunting, deer hunting and fall fishing

Published 11:02 pm Friday, October 27, 2017

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl

We are slowly trudging our way towards winter and as true Minnesotans we will usually just accept it and move on. As the fall harvest continues we must be aware of large farm machinery traveling on our roads. The farmers are just doing their jobs, so when and if you end up following one of them just be patient.

For those who are still holding on to the idea that there can be one or two more casts before freeze-over you may be in luck. This can be a great time to catch some nice fish or maybe even that trophy you’ve been hunting most of your life. I can still see this old In-Fisherman TV show featuring Al Linder catching lunker walleye on open water while fishing on a northern Minnesota lake in November. He was vertical jigging using 5-6 inch sucker minnows and he seemed to be catching one after another.

Email newsletter signup

My father-in-law was always skeptical when it came to those shows. He said he thought they must have some way gotten those fish into a confined area and it was basically like shooting fish in a barrel. As an avid Al Linder fan I would defend him to the max because I just knew that my fishing idol would never do anything like that. In looking back, I really feel that my father-in-law probably said those things just to get a reaction from me.

Fall is actually the time of year when your chance of catching that “once in a lifetime” fish can become a reality. Locally, there have been some nice fish being caught on area lakes if you know when and where to wet a line. This is the time of year when gamefish are feeding hungrily on baitfish and the key to catching them is finding those baitfish.

Years ago my uncle Ben’s brother-in-law, Sam Katzung, would go to Lake Vermillion where he would help this commercial fisherman net whitefish. Sam told me that he would fish from the dock in the evening and would catch some nice walleye. Uncle Ben would go to Winnie in the fall and fish for northern and jumbo perch. Years ago I used to think of perch as unimportant, especially when we would go to Sand Lake which is a fairly large lake located near the town of Squaw Lake. We would always catch jumbo perch there but every one of those fish would be full of grubs. Some folks would say that those grubs wouldn’t hurt you once you fried them up but I am kind of finicky when it comes to eating a piece of meat with worms in it. The perch that we catch in the shallow lakes of our neck of the woods don’t seem to have any grubs in them. Perch are mighty tasty and are basically a smaller version of the walleye; my mouth is starting to water as I think about it.

Hunters are looking forward to higher deer numbers this season.

Hunters can register deer with a phone call, online or in person. Before registering a deer, hunters must validate their site tag. The validated tag must be attached to the deer when the deer is placed on a motor vehicle or an ATV, a vehicle or a trailer being towed by an ATV or brought into a camp, yard or other place of habitation.

Hunters will have additional opportunities to harvest deer this season thanks to a series of mild winters and conservative hunting regulations, which have resulted in rebounding deer populations across Minnesota.

Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 4, and there are 130 permit areas in 2017. Information about each permit area can be found on the DNR’s interactive deer map at mndnr.gov/deermap, and includes wildlife manager reports, regulations, and statistics about deer harvest and populations on a local scale.

Hunters are reminded to register deer before processing, before antlers are removed and within 48 hours after taking the animal, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Deer registration provides information that is essential to our ability to manage deer populations,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “Hunters are required to register deer and it’s a fairly simple process.”

Until next time: Take a little break from hunting and enjoy some late fall fishing, you may be rewarded.

Please take some time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today, also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.