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  1. Well the results for the 2020 Minnesota Bear Lottery have been posted, which has many of those who were lucky in drawing a permit starting to formulate a plan. One main question being, to hire a guide or not? As a licensed Master Bear Guide, we receive calls all throughout the year of people inquiring about Bear Hunting in Minnesota. As many of us know, Minnesota Bear Permits are issued by lottery only although there is a large portion of the state that is “no-quota” which allows you to purchase a tag over the counter. A majority of calls are from those who understand our points system and have started to accumulate points. However, we get several calls from those who are not familiar with it, they just know they want to do it. I, as a guide, not only have an obligation but I hold the privilege of informing and educating these people, and I am delighted with each and every call. Much like the one I received today. A gentleman from Tennessee had called, he was trying to plan a hunting trip for him and his son this fall. Having never applied for a Minnesota Bear Permit before I was more than happy to explain how the points system worked, the unfortunate circumstance that he had missed this years draw, the availability of possible surplus tags, and how Minnesota also has several well-known guides that service the “no-quota” area. It was at that time this gentleman asked the most profound question I have ever heard from a potential client. He said “Alice, what should I be looking for, and what questions should I be asking when I am looking for a guide?” First, before I delve into that, let me first explain the benefits of hiring a bear guide. Bear hunting is a very timely and tedious task. Not necessarily the hunt itself, but the preparation and work that is involved prior to the hunt. Bear baiting opens usually two weeks before the season begins. Baiting is just that, much like cattle coming into feed on a silage pile, you are providing bear with a food source. As we enter into fall, bears begin their entry into hyperphagia. This is where they are eating continuously to build up the much-needed calories and nutrients to sustain the long winter of hibernation that lays ahead. During the early parts of season bear can become very much structured and routine animals. The sound of the wheeler driving in and back out becomes more or less a dinner bell for them. It is important to maintain a schedule in baiting, if the bears are used to you coming in at a certain time, one missed day can cost you an opportunity as they will choose to move on to the next food source. Baiting is timely, should be structured, and can be extremely costly especially if you live outside of the area you are hunting. Having a guide who lives in and knows the area in which they are baiting and locations of what could be considered “prime” bait locations, as well as a guide who is able and willing to bait regularly and often are going to increase your chances of a successful hunt. Hiring a guide takes an incredible amount of stress and expense off your back, especially if you live outside your hunting area. So, what are some important questions to ask when you might be seeking a guide? Are you Licensed? This should always be your first question. The state of Minnesota requires all those who “guide” bear for a monetary exchange to be licensed through the state. Furthermore, there may be other licensing requirements needed depending on the type of land the guide operates on. For instance, if they choose to guide on any portion of Federal land, they will also be required to obtain permits from the USDA. There are significant penalties issued to those who guide without being licensed, sadly the clients, be it known or not, also may not exempt from certain consequences either depending on the situation. Are You Insured? This particular one is a little obvious. Hunting, as we all know can be very unpredictable, at times even dangerous. It is important to know that you are protected to an extent, as well as the guide. How often do you Bait? Every guide operates differently. Knowing your guides routine ahead of time can provide you with slight insight on what your expectations should be. As said previously, bears often become very structured to routine in the early days of season. Knowing you have a guide who baits regularly and often will further provide you with reassurance your chances are good. What is Your Success Rate? This is a straightforward question that can even be hard for some guides to answer, but in you knowing the results of previous seasons, you can gain more confidence in your selection. Beware of guarantees, an honest outfitter will give you an honest answer. Please keep in mind, and I cannot stress this enough… there is never a guarantee when hunting wild animals. There is not a single guide in this state who has had “lights-out, tag-out” every season of operation. It is important to remain understanding, and compassionate that each seasons harvest will reflect differently. If they admit they had a tough year at one point, ask them if they know the reasoning. Asking questions like “was it a heavy acorn crop that year?”, “What was the client like?”, “What would you have done differently looking back?” will be beneficial in knowing that other circumstances were at play, rather than faulty service. But if the numbers are staggeringly and consistently low, you might want to seek elsewhere, or consider your willingness and possibility to go home with an empty tag. How long have you hunted in the area you guide? There is nothing wrong with new areas, even more a new and energetic guide. But experience and local knowledge will definitely count in the field. How many hunters do you anticipate on guiding? Knowing the numbers of other hunters can help in what you are to expect, low numbers are often favored to avoid overcrowding if you are looking for a more personalized successful hunt, compared to large groups where you might seemingly feel like just another number. Are stand and transportation included? Some guides are all inclusive providing you everything but the weapon, whereas others will just simply toss the bait for you. So, make sure you know what your outfitter is providing. If you will be taken to your stand, as well as means of transportation. How many baits will I have? Minnesota issues a licensed outfitter 3 baits per licensed hunter, as well as 3 additional as the guide. Knowing that you have more options to go to if you find yourself sitting over a “dead” bait can make the difference. Are you First Aide/CPR Certified? Although this is no longer required by the state in order to hold a guide’s license, knowing you are with someone who knows how to respond appropriately and correctly in an emergency situation is not only comforting but important! What is your cancellation policy? Many guides require deposit upfront, and start booking well before season. Unexpected health, family, or work situations can arise at any time and may prevent you in taking the trip. Will you receive a full refund? Or perhaps a credit towards a future service? Exactly what is included in booking a hunt with you? Emphasis on “Exactly”. Prior to booking it is extremely important to know what is included. Some guides only bait for you where as some guides provide everything and more up to meals and lodging. First think of what it is you are seeking in this hunt. Maybe you like to join in on the fun of baiting, or maybe you are looking for a relaxing and exciting getaway, maybe you’re the type who will want to do everything yourself but struggle with the ability to bait in a realistic fashion. But be sure to know fully what is included in the rate you are paying prior to putting down the deposit. Can you provide references? Never be afraid to ask for references from previous clientele. Please note that very few guides will provide you with references to those who were unsuccessful, if you find one that does, that is a huge display of integrity and honesty. But don’t be afraid to ask if they had a reference for an unsuccessful hunter either. Ask for phone numbers and names, and in discussing with these fellow hunters ask what their experience was like? Did they have a good time? Were they disappointed by anything? What was the atmosphere at camp like? There is not necessarily right or wrong answers to any of these questions. These are simply just things to weigh and consider in your decision to hire a guide or not, and if so, in choosing the right one. Communication is key and knowing what to expect in the hunt before arriving is helpful so there are minimal surprises upon arriving. Whether you choose to do it yourself, or hire the right guide, the thing to remember is that everyday out in God’s glory of nature is a good day… kick back, relax, and enjoy the experience. Above all get out there and “Break the Chain of Routine!” Happy Hunting All!
  2. The 27th annual Reeds Rice Creek Gun Fair at Rice Creek will be April 26-28th in Little Falls, MN Event highlights: - Try out factory guns for FREE - Learn from factory reps - Sale on guns, ammo and more! - New kids & dog area with Daisy BB-gun course, kids archery, petting zoo, dog shows and tips from expert dog trainers - Polaris trail rides provided by Mies Outland For more information visit reedsgunfair.com
  3. Color - Green 3 Pin Tru glow site Stableizer Wrist Strap Release Wrist Guard Practice Arrows(12) Carrying Case Great Bow for beginners too. $275.00
  4. Well it's officially only hours away. Good luck to everyone who's hunting this year. Be safe. That waters cold. Those shotguns bite hard. Nobody wants to hear a horror story about someone here on the boards or anyone in the state for that matter. After all, it's just a duck, not worth getting hurt over. Most importantly HAVE FUN!!!! Enjoy the sunrise in the blind. Take a kid or a friend who's never been in the duck blind. Try a new spot or slew. Chase a band. But most of all enjoy yourself and the season. I realize that we have had a pair of early goose seasons and a youth waterfowl hunt, but this is the big one. Please share your experiences. Share pictures. Stop by and tell stories with as much or as little details as you feel like sharing. We will enjoy your successes and laugh with you at fails.
  5. 2015 Resident opener is this Saturday through Monday. Supposed to be really warm out this weekend so I will probably be limiting my hunts to later parts of the day not to risk working the dogs to hard in the heat. As for harvest, I have seen lots of beans going out the last few days and this morning as I drove in to work I saw my first corn field being harvested. I know the central portions of the state saw some moisture recently so it may take those areas a littler longer for the crops to dry out. I would expect the warming trend to help with that. If its going to be warm and hot I will probably not be hitting it to hard until the temps cool off. I like hunting late season better anyway. I have some time off of work scheduled around halloween so hopefully be getting a good fix of hunting then Good luck to those that make it out and be sure to report back here with reports and pictures of your hunts. Rooster!
  6. Only $25,000 for a 1/6 share in a year round lake cabin on one of the best walleye lakes in northern Minnesota. Huge 9,000 acre lake. Excellent duck/goose hunting at rocky point on lot, great hunting, fishing and snowmobiling and ice fishing. One week every six weeks. Eight weeks of exclusive use per year with exchange privileges with the other 5 shareholders. Cabin is for shareholder use only, shareholder or immediate family must be occupying the cabin. No rentals allowed except to other five shareholders. Cabin sleeps six, with queen bed, bunk bed and queen sleeper couch, and sits on almost 2 acres/ 150 feet of shore line, sand bottom, with thousands of Chippewa National Forest land across the road. One RV hook up for family or guests. Operating costs split six ways, taxes, insurance, utilities, lawn care, snow plowing, repairs, etc. Interested outdoors persons only please. Great opportunity to enjoy the lake life. send private message for more info and pictures.
  7. My 2015 hunt will be limited to Thursday-Friday of this week, so obviously I've got my work cut out for me with the forecasted system blowing (literally) through. I started to do some research about hunting tactics in strong wind conditions, and I had to share with you guys an article that actually made me excited to hunt in the wind! http://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/cuzs-corner/2012/11/20/20-years-of-deer-research-on-deer-movement It's a few years old, but the research and findings are definitely interesting. Do you guys think it's true? Anyone out there bag a big buck with 15-20+mph winds? Did you sit and have them come to you, or did you get up and stalk? Good luck out there!
  8. The pictures are incredible. Any of you guys stumble upon something similar on public land?? Or are YOU part of the problem? County Cracks Down on Illegal Deer Stands County cracks down on enclosed deer standsThree years ago foresters for St. Louis County's Lands and Mineral Department reported a startling increase in the number of big, enclosed deer stands they were seeing on county land open to public hunting. The stands — some with stairways, roofs, generators, lights, heaters and windows — were illegal, but apparently that hadn't been made clear to many hunters. And it wasn't just elaborate construction. Some hunters were planting crops on public land to attract deer — so-called food plots. Others were cutting down trees to get unobstructed shots at deer — not just a few saplings but dozens of mature trees to create shooting lanes hundreds of yards long. The problem rose to the level of a county board workshop, and after a News Tribune story ran, the issue drew national headlines and attention. "We're getting over-built. We're seeing mansions out there; basically hunting shacks on stilts," Bob Krepps, St. Louis County land commissioner at the time, told the News Tribune in 2012. Since then, however, county foresters have been tearing down those hunting shacks on stilts, and posting others with warnings that they won't be tolerated. The Lands and Minerals Departments has developed a formal policy on what's allowed and what's not on the 900,000 acres of St. Louis County managed land. Some of the deer "stands" were really cabins; one was 20 x 18 feet. Another, discovered on county land, appeared to be three stories tall. Those most egregious examples are being torn down. "That was probably the biggest problem we had. Nobody knew the rules. We really hadn't developed any rules,'' said Jason Meyer, deputy county land commissioner. "Now that we've made it clear we have limits, it's getting better. We're posting warnings on the stands we find that are too much. Some guys are taking them down on their own. We're taking some down. I think we've got it under control." The new policy still allows hunters to place permanent stands on county-managed tax forfeited land. But hunters are warned that if those stands are unoccupied, they are open to the public to use. And no one can claim the exclusive right to any portion of the forest simply by building a stand; any hunter can sit in any stand on county land. Moreover, any stand with a roof or cover and any walls must be disassembled by Dec. 31 and remain roofless and wall-less through Sept. 1. And any stand torn down needs to be fully removed, or the owner could be fined for illegal garbage dumping. The county also is banning any cutting of trees for shooting lanes and any planting of crops to attract deer. Multiply thousands of deer stands with the hundreds of feet of cleared forest for shooting lanes and the total is adding up. Some of those shooting lanes are more than 30 feet wide and up to 700 feet long. In one area of county land it's estimated that a group of hunters cleared more than six acres of forest combined for their 47 shooting lanes. Thats a lot of trees that the county can't sell, and that's money out of taxpayer's pockets. One hunter was fined $139 for the timber he cut for shooting lanes, Meyer noted. County officials say they are staying clear of the ethical issue of hunting from inside what is essentially a building — the fair chase debate — but they do feel a stake in the ethics and legality of claiming public land for private use. "If they've built this elaborate deer stand are they going to be territorial about allowing other people in their area? Probably," Meyer noted. The county has drawn a line on what will be tolerated without banning constructed stands altogether. "We aren't against hunting. We aren't even against deer stands. But we don't want these big, unauthorized buildings in the woods," Meyer said. "So I think we've found a middle ground everyone can live with." Several other public-land managers have stricter rules on their lands. Carlton County bans any permanent deer stand attached to a tree in any way. Freestanding stands are allowed if the walls are not greater than 42 inches in height with a floor area under 32 square feet, said Greg Bernu, Carlton County land commissioner. Bernu said the issue of permanent stands on public lands may be solving itself as hunters move to portable, factory-built stands. "The local Chapter of MDHA (Minnesota Deer Hunters Association) in Carlton County supports a 'No permanent stand attached to trees' policy and has worked with new hunters about the benefits of portable stands," Bernu told the News Tribune. "I have seen a trend moving to the portables with very, very few new permanent stands recently constructed." Crow Wing County bans all permanent deer stands on its forests. Cass County bans any kind of nails, bolts or screws and says any stands that have those or damage trees will be removed. The Superior and Chippewa National Forests ban permanent stands but allow temporary stands to be left in the woods overnight, although they must be removed by the end of the deer hunting season. The Minnesota DNR bans permanent stands where hunting is allowed in state parks or state Wildlife Management Areas, where portable stands can be used but must be removed each night. The DNR — at least for now — allows permanent stands on state forest lands but discourages the use of nails. Permanent "structures" are illegal in state forests, which, like St. Louis County, means no roofs or walls. It's also illegal to cut any trees for shooting lanes in state forests. Since St. Louis County drew attention to the issue three years ago, the DNR has mulled banning permanent stands on all 3.1 million acres in 58 state forests. The agency raised the issue at the annual DNR Roundtable meeting in January, with a preliminary recommendation from the Forestry Division that all permanent stands be banned on state forests. Craig Schmidt, assistant director for forestry protection of the DNR's Forestry Division, said the DNR can probably move on its own to develop rules to ban permanent stands in state forests, but it also may seek legislative support. Either way, he said, there will be ample chance for public input. "We received a lot of comments (after the Roundtable meeting) both for and against, and need to do some outreach work before promulgating a plan," Schmidt said. "I don't anticipate any changes until the 2017 legislative session at the earliest." Meyer and Bernu said it's likely many counties will adopt whatever final rule the DNR develops for state forests, if only for consistency's sake. "I think we're okay for now, but we'll take a look at whatever the state does, if they make a move," Meyer said. "A lot of our county land is adjacent to and mixed in with state land, so it just makes sense to have the same rules." Public lands deer-stand rules St. Louis County Permanent or built deer stands are allowed on county-managed forest land if they are open.No roofs or walls on deer stands can be left between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1. Any structures with roofs and walls left up during that period will be torn down.Deer stands can't be locked and, if unattended, are open to the public to use.Cutting any standing trees for stands or shooting lanes, even saplings, is illegal and subject to prosecution for so-called timber trespass. Only limited pruning of small side branches is allowed.Planting any seeds or crops on county forest land is illegal and may be subject to penalty.Carlton County Stands may not be attached to trees in any way on county-managed forest land.Minnesota DNR-managed lands On State forests, permanent stands are allowed. Nails are discouraged and the DNR is moving toward enforcing a policy banning roofs or walls.In Wildlife Management Areas, state parks and state natural areas open to hunting, stands must be removed each night.The DNR is considering banning permanent stands on forest land, possibly by 2017.Wisconsin state lands All stands must be removed each night during the season on DNR-managed lands.Wisconsin county lands Varies with each county. In some, such as Burnett, stands must be removed each night. In others — such as Douglas and Bayfield — stands are allowed overnight but must be removed by Dec. 31.National Forests Permanent stands are not allowed. Portable stands may be left up for the season and must be removed at the end of the season.
  9. So who is planning to make the big trip to Nodak to hunt this fall? Lots of opportunities and prospects look promising across the board. I'm particularly looking forward to my first early-season sharp-tailed grouse hunt/camping trip. Haven't been after those rascals for a few years, so I'm due. Just hope they're still in their old haunts. Would be a nice surprise to see their numbers up again. Otherwise ducks and geese are in the crosshairs very soon. Another banner year awaits! Should be a good one.
  10. Well the week off in the central part of the state is coming to an end. I am looking forward to being able to hunt evenings soon. It will give the goose a chance to hunt after school a few times. That's going to be sweet. The local flock of geese by the house has settled down again. They have gotten bigger in numbers as well and are focused up on cerial grains one day and chopped corn the next. Still returning to water mid day and again late, 10:30pm-ish. So they are feeding well into the night. Looking at my counter the start to this year is on pace with last year bird wise. I have taken my first widgeon and Greenwing teal this year. I have also seen my first canvasbacks. On the bonus side I have hunted many new places and shared the blind or field with a lot of new faces this season. With the collapse of the deer herd I the area my family hunts the chance to hunt waterfowl has really brought the joy back into it for me. I hope those of you who are taking advantage of being out are enjoying and respecting the adventure.
  11. Ok, let's hear the stories good or bad and see some pictures. The season has officially started !!! I opened the season on Bastic Bay, Lake of the Woods. There was a flock that was flying the creek at 6:15-6:25am for a couple days so I figured they were as good a target as any considering I had no decoys to deploy. 5:45 found me walking across the neighboring resort parking lot kayak on my shoulder and away we go. I was well clear of the resort and campers by legal shooting light and slowly working my way up the creek.... Had 4 pairs work up the creek from the lake well above tree top level at about 7:15am. By 7:30 I got happy feet and started back toward the main lake and the rice fields at the mouth of the bay. When I reached open water I found geese returning from their morning feeds about 1/2mile off shore. Bummed I headed back up the bay to get out of the kayak and track down a hot cup of coffee. At 9:30-9:45am as I am hoofing the kayak back across the parking lot... You guessed it, the flock of 12birds I had seen the previous two days flies down the creek at no more than 15' off the surface of the water. Snookered again....
  12. I got a Facebook bump today with photos from 10 years ago. They were pictures of me and my buddies, with piles of geese around us from successful early season field hunts. Boy, did the memories come rushing back! I was in college at the time at UND. How I graduated in four years with a degree still boggles my mind. We literally spent a minimum of four days a week either scouting or hunting. It was an incredibly irresponsible, exciting, fun and unforgettable time of my life (that's me, second from the left on a pretty regular hunt for our group): Field hunting was literally all we did. Didn't matter the time of year or what we were after -- if it meant getting ducks and geese, it happened in a harvested field of some kind. The lone exceptions were a diver hunt to Stump Lake (back before it connected to DL) and our annual "defecate Duck Shoot," so nicknamed because we'd hit a random pond and whack whatever came by. Well, life goes on. Friends moved away, and I soon found myself 75 miles south and in new territory. My first few years were spent getting to know the area. I actually had a few decent field hunts, too! It was exciting times again (me with my first solo limit in the new town, circa 2009): Then, son No. 1 came along. Wow....just, wow. I love him dearly. More than I could ever have imagined, but he quite literally turned my world upside down, especially when it comes to hunting. I no longer hunt every weekend from September to January, and when I do my days are primarily limited to half-day excursions. And my waterfowling has completely changed. I can't remember the last field hunt I was on. With time such a rarity, scouting runs are few and far between. My field decoys and layout blinds are no doubt covered in dust and home to God knows how many critters. I find myself, almost unequivocally, hunting water for both ducks and geese. I know this is frowned upon in my neck of the woods, especially with everyone worried about "busting the roost." However, I know that I can grab a bag of decoys and my dogs, run to a pond just before first light, and have a good chance at birds while still being home before noon. Just can't say the same about field hunting. It's gotten to the point where I'm actually playing with the notion of selling all my field stuff. It's just taking up space, and I likely won't be using any of it for years....if ever again. Plus, the competition for fields in North Dakota is incredibly fierce, whereas the myriad ponds and sloughs are virtually untouched. I feel like I'm merely taking advantage of severely underutilized resources. So what are your thoughts? Anyone experience anything similar? And should I sell all my field stuff or just keep it in the attic in case, one day, I get the chance to go again? (Mandatory shots of the wirehairs waiting on some more ducks to decoy):
  13. http://gfp.sd.gov/news/news/august/27.aspx good news I guess, about what I expected with the mild winter and good spring. Glad to see an improvement despite numbers still below the 10yr avg. Wont be long now until season starts. This is my favorite time of the year. Good luck to everyone this fall! ROOSTER!
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