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Archive for the ‘Small Game’ Category


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“What makes me smile!”

Today‘s Featured Trip (Willow Creek Kennels): The weather planned for Saturday was 2-degrees above zero. It was cold — but soon, after huffing and puffing, my shotgun barrel was warm and the dogs went into action.

Little Falls, MN

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Each year, the summer heat lifts and the first fall breeze fills my head with excitement. This is a time for hunters, near and far, to dial in their groups, rig decoys, ready their best four-legged friend and put the finishing touches on the gear. Yes! This is a magical time — when we reflect on seasons past and prepare with anticipation for this years harvest.

With the 2011 hunting season upon us, there’s no better time then RIGHT NOW to start setting goals.

Having yearly goals is a great way to achieve success.

The same principles translate to everyday life. When we focus on something important — something we really want to achieve and work hard towards, we truly maximize our potential. From a hunting standpoint, you’ll soon realize that by doing this, you gain much more from the experiencee of planning. Before you know it — your skills, knowledge and overall enjoyment of the outdoors has also increased!

The goals you set — whether it’s herd management, shot proficiency, gaining greater knowledge or simply forming a better attitude; the fact is…it makes you a better hunter! The next step is to recognize what’s realistic (especially with the amount of time you have to invest with each goal).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for each season. Because I have new goals, I’ve matured as a hunter and a man. I remember some of my earliest goals: “Shoot my first grouse” or “hear a buck grunt.” Even as a bright-eyed youngster, I became less concerned with killing the buck I saw chasing a doe, but rather —  THRILLED with seeing the whole experience! I realized that it isn’t so much about the destination, as it is the journey getting there.

There are many ways to measure success. If you fall short of reaching your goal — what matters most is the experience you gain and lessons learned in the process. It will certainly give you a sense of accomplishment and a better outlook on what it means to “pursue game.”

Whether you enjoy chasing fur, fins or feathers — start setting seasonal goals and before-long, you’ll start to experience what I like to call, “Increased Hunting Success!”

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“2010 Minnesota Pheasant Hunting Over!”

A beautiful day and a great year spent hunting with friends.

FML Outdoors picture of the Day

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(From Left to Right): FML Outdoors Editor Scott Nelson, Brad Finstad — Chief author and negotiator of the bill to authorize the building of Minnesota Twins ballpark — Target Field, and U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen

Le Sueur, MN

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It’s pretty tough to beat a beautiful fall day on the grouse trail with great companionship in the likes of your best four-legged and two-legged hunting buddies. It’s even nicer when the birds are cooperating! Well that’s just exactly what many hunters across Minnesota are experiencing. For many hunters, ruffed grouse hunting is much like a right of passage. The sound of a flushing grouse is unmistakable and once heard — unforgettable! Many hunters can look back and recall the early years of their hunting career beginning with a pocket full of shotgun shells, walking along-side Dad down old logging roads and trails in hopes of bagging this elusive bird.

So far this season, wonderful weather coupled with birds at near peak population has kept many hunters returning to the woods and putting miles under their boots.

Successful reports are coming in from all over the state on both private and public lands.

Hunters are experiencing especially great numbers in the northland, with some local hunters near Duluth reporting upwards of 30 flushes a day! One popular hotspot seems to be the Canosia WMA, with many hunters reporting success on its extensive trail system. Those taking advantage of public trails along the north shore — all the way to Grand Marais are burning powder, spraying pellets and walking back to their vehicle feeling prosperous!

My golden retriever Gunnar and I have hit the trails in both St.Louis and Carlton county and haven’t had to put too much leg work in before flushing birds. We experienced great numbers of grouse and woodcock last season and so far this year is shaping up to be a good as well!

Considering the Ruffed Grouse ten-year population cycle and hunter success this season, now is the time to get out and enjoy the large constellation of upland birds!

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IMPORTANT! THIS MESSAGE IS TO ALL HUNTERS AND FISHERMEN.

Whether you have an upright or chest-like freezer — NOW is the time to protect its contents from melting and spoiling in the event you lose power or someone accidentally leaves the door open.

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way.

It’s was a very sad day — we just came home after a week vacation to an awful smell. We searched the house, sniffing the garbage can and refrigerator. We found some old moldy oranges. Thinking that was the odor…but as soon as I opened the door to the basement the stink grew more intense!

As I walked downstairs to the basement, I quickly found the source of the foul stench. I could see the freezer door open, as the light inside illuminated the adjacent wall. “Oh know!” I thought to myself. I opened the freezer door to find bloody venison and numerous fish fillets floating in their bags. Dripping on the floor and overflowing the drain — it was clear that the freezer door was left open for a whole week!

We had a lot of food packed into the freezer. There were days when it was hard to close the door. The door could have simply popped open allowing all the cold air to escape. Even with the freezer running constantly, it could not keep up with the warm air entering. If you find that your freezer is not working and the inside is above 40 degrees and you know it has been at that temperature more than two hours, then the food probably is not safe.

A Major Investment in Time and Money.

Here is what we lost:

  • Last years venison I had cleaned and cut-up and packaged within a 2-hours of shooting it.
  • Pheasants sought after in 2-feet of snow, hundreds of miles of driving and walking in -27º below temperatures.
  • Grouse flushed over my dog Abby just before getting stuck by a porcupine.
  • Walleye’s caught 12 miles out after traveling over a foot of water on top of the ice (scary).
  • And early spring crappies after waiting months for the ice to go out.

ALL A COMPLETE WASTE! (more…)

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