Brute’s Bleat: November 6, 2013


Judging from the numerous Happy Birthday wishes that came my way as a result of the Halloween birthday notice in last week’s Messenger, I’m convinced newspaper advertising is alive and well in Maple Lake.  And with that said, many thanks to all those who were so kind to acknowledge my birthday, including my family and relatives. That goes ditto to the Messenger staff for the birthday cake, card and their wishes for many more.      .        . 
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Cole Trager, 14, and son of local postmaster Ed Trager, hunted deer in a mentor hunt in Sibley State Park near New London along with ten other kids and their parents Saturday, Oct. 26th.  Ed said they used a ground blind (turkey tent) and Cole passed up seven deer before he connected on a large doe with his shotgun at 10:30 a.m. This was the fifth deer Cole has harvested, his 3rd in Minnesota and two in South Dakota commented his dad who said it was a great time. He said the ground blind worked out well with a shotgun, but may be too confined for a compound bow.  This weekend Ed hunted at Camp Ripley in the second weekend of the permits-only hunt. He was one of 2,500 permit holders and passed up on a 6-point buck Saturday because he figured it needed to grow another year or two. As it turned out that was the only deer that came his way on both days.  He said there were 181 deer harvested there the first weekend and approximately 80 last Saturday.  He figured there were just too many hunters there on Sunday despite the strong wind, commenting it seemed like they were only about 100 yards apart in tree stands.  Because of that it wasn’t the kind of archery hunting he enjoys and he doubted if he would do it again.  He felt he would prefer western Minnesota where he estimated he would see more deer and not be hunting in a crowd. 
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A phone call from my brother, Charles, on my birthday included a report on a recent walleye trip to Baudette and Lake of the Woods.  He they fished out of the Morris gap, had three days of great weather and caught lots of walleyes, although many of them were small.  There were five angling out of two boats and he estimated everyone caught at least 100 fish. His largest was 21 inches and the record for the group was 25 inches.  He turned me down when I asked if he wanted to go pheasant hunting this fall.  “Too many aches and pains, I’ll stick to fishing,” he said.  
On Friday Anna and I went down to Montevideo for a one-day pheasant hunt.  Pheasant usually go out to feed at sun-up and I was baffled when I saw a rooster fly out of a WPA at about 10 a.m. into a corn field across the road.  Apparently they’re wising up!  I walked half of that WPA anyway which looked good because it had a field of unharvested sunflowers on the east side and a patch of sorghum as a food plot as well as corn on two sides, but we didn’t flush any birds.  We worked several other Walk In Plots that looked like they had potential, but didn’t put up any pheasants.  About 4 p.m. we stopped at a WPA (Waterfall Production Area) and hunted the standing corn side which was  more rugged.  It should have paid off and I did have one good shot, but as the saying goes, no cigar! I kept track of the roosters we put in the air, five, and nearly all of them came after 4:30 p.m.  Vana had a couple of points, but it was either old scent or the birds just plain ran away from her.      .       .       Daryl Hennen and I planned a half-day hunt for Sunday, but with the wind predictions of 40 mph gusts we decided to put it on hold for a better day.  I took Vana for a walk in the east part of Ney Park that afternoon and it looked like a mini-blizzard from all the cattail fluff the wind was blowing off the Lake Mary swamp WPA.  It would not have been pleasant hunting in those conditions.    .    .    Minnesota’s firearms deer season opens this weekend and we wish them all a safe and successful hunt as they make their annual pilgrimages north or west. Veteran deer hunter David Mooney said he will be among them in their tent. Considering he’s roughly 90, he probably holds the local record for years of participation, especially camping out.