Dick Herfindahl: Governor attends pheasant opener in Luverne

Published 10:36 pm Friday, October 12, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


I am going to change it up a little this week and not mention the weather to lead off my column. Oops!

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With an optimistic outlook, Minnesota’s pheasant hunters were focused on Luverne this weekend as the city hosts the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

Minnesota hunters are hoping for good fortune in the field after the 2018 roadside survey found a 19 percent increase in the pheasant index.

Governor Mark Dayton will lead the opening weekend festivities, which highlight the many community assets Luverne has to offer. It is the eighth and final year Governor Dayton will attend as governor, who inaugurated the event in 2011.

Minnesota will once again have a youth deer hunting season:

Youth ages 10-15 can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 21, in 28 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“Youth deer season is about giving kids a unique opportunity to get out into the woods with a parent or mentor,” said James Burnham, DNR recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator. “Many students get a couple days off school for teacher workshops during the youth season so the break is a great time to go hunting and help share the passion for being outside that so many of Minnesota’s hunters and anglers have.”

Youth ages 10 through 15 must obtain a firearms deer license. Youth ages 12 to 15 need to have completed firearms safety or, if not, can obtain an apprentice hunter validation.

During the youth season, a parent, guardian or mentor age 18 or older must accompany the youth and only need a license if the youth is taking advantage of the apprentice validation option. Party hunting on a youth license is not allowed – so youth must take and tag their own deer.

I am a strong advocate of any program put in place by the Minnesota DNR to get our youth involved in the many outdoors activities that are the foundation of our outdoors heritage. Hunting and fishing were a large part of my days as a youth, which ultimately led to many years of enjoyment as an adult. Our youth are the sportsmen and women of tomorrow and will be vital in carrying on our outdoors heritage. Taking the time to share our knowledge with youth is a valuable tool for ensuring that they will have these sports to enjoy for years to come.

I have mentioned in previous columns of how I still have camping at one of those three remaining spots on my bucket list. Over the years I have often thought about doing that and hopefully one or more of my grandsons or one of my sons will be on board with doing that next summer. When we take the trip to Spider I will usually pack a lunch and we will pull up to one of those sites that is not occupied and have our version of shore lunch. This has become a family tradition and one that I always look forward to.

Although there are always exceptions, most sportsmen treat their environment with respect and most are conscious of what effect they can have on our resources if they abuse them. When we mentor our youth in the outdoors we should always be sure to teach them to be mindful of the negative effect abusing public property can have. I have witnessed first-hand what can happen when two campsites that were free to anyone who wanted to use them were abused or trashed. The .S. Forest Service has three “free” campsites available on Spider Lake on a first-come basis. These campsites are free and the only restrictions are to leave them clean and limit your stay to 14-days. There were originally five sites; because some “non-sportsmen” decided it would be cool to trash them these sites are now closed to everyone. Who pays the price for this? Those of us who respect nature and are true sportsmen, that’s who.

Until next time, we still have some nice weather ahead, don’t we? Take a little time to enjoy the fall colors and always be mindful of the farm work going on when driving on any country road.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the wonderful freedoms we enjoy today.