Brute’s Bleat: September 10, 2014

 

One of the nice things about this summer are the lack of mosquitos, deer flies and gnats which have been almost non-existent in Ney Park as well as our backyard. I don’t have a clue why this has happened, usually rain and mosquitoes go together and we’ve had plenty of rain.  On the other hand, the rain has given the grass a boost and it seems like the wild flowers in the park have also benefited from the moisture and are at their peak as we head into fall.  The cooler days make this a great time for hiking in the parks and I’ve noticed some renewed energy from our English Setter, Vanna, who concentrates on trying to find some pheasant scent or anything else that smells good to her.  She did come up with a couple of points, one last week, a rooster and hen, on one of our more early walks. Of course when that happens she has a burst of energy that carries through for the next quarter-mile. I get excited, too, but somehow I don’t get the same boost of energy she does!  I talked briefly with Pastor Culynn Curtis’ father about the pheasant situation in South Dakota before church Sunday. He felt the dry spring they had in the Mitchell area should have been good for the birds during nesting. He said he hadn’t been up north yet (Miller area), but he’s seeing more hens in the road ditches.  That convinces me the birds came through the winter well. The game and fish department is predicting the pheasants are up by 23% in South Dakota which should make Kip Blizil and his group of pheasant hunters who hunt the Huron area happy.  
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After walking Vanna Saturday morning in Ney Park it seemed like too good a day to waste doing yard work like mowing the lawn, and it would be better to go fishing.  Vanna apparently liked the idea, too, and immediately jumped from the back seat to the front seat of the Suburban and took up her spot on the passenger side.  She makes a good fishing companion and usually spends most of the time watching the loons, other boats, or dogs that tend to bark from the shore.  We went to Clearwater Lake that day with plans to catch a mess of sunnies for supper. What we didn’t plan on doing was competing with 75 two-person teams who were in a contest for Northerns that day. We knew the lake would be crowded when we saw all the pickups and boat trailers parked in the old Turtle Bay Club (presently closed) parking lot. Clearwater is a big lake, but it seemed like the bay we planned to fish was one of the more popular spots for the contestants.  One team commented their largest of three Northerns allowed was 28 inches and they were trying to improve on their total catch.  We did a lot of moving around trying to locate some keepers and in the process caught two Northerns, neither of which would have been contest material.  I sorted out six keepers by about 2 p.m. and decided I’d had enough of fishing in a crowd.  The contest anglers showed more respect for my anchored boat than the pleasure boaters who seemed content on blowing the carbon out of their carburetors as they zipped by.  Heading back to the public access we noticed a flotilla of boats and pontoons on a sandbar enjoying what will probably be the last good day for that type of partying this year.  Sixty years ago I might have stopped!  Anyway, the 12 fillets were more than ample for my evening meal which I shared with Anna. Vanna also got a taste for being such a good dog on kind of a hot day. 
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I noticed both the Mpls. and St. Paul dailies had stories about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), how it all happened and what the future might hold.  I’ve never been there to see the beauty of it all, but I did make one camping trip to the Lac La Croix boundary area which has a lot in common.  Anyway, the writers were concerned about the future of the BWCA, mostly because it’s not being used as extensively as it has been in the past, especially by the younger generations.  Because of that they feel changes could be made to the park which would make it less of the wilderness area than it was intended to be.  One writer also alluded to efforts to make the BWCA more accessible.  There was also a hint to watch out for allowing industry to move in which would be detrimental to the pristine quality of the BWCA.  Both writers had great admiration for the area and the opportunities it provides for campers. Neither wanted anything to happen that would change it from what it is now.