Brute’s Bleat October 26, 2016

Summer and fall fishing for me is officially over as of last Thursday when I winterized the boat and motor and will push it into the backyard for the winter. George Palmer and I gave angling a final go Tuesday, again on Rock Lake; but we didn’t have the success we did in previous outings. Apparently, the sunnies moved from the hot spot or they were taking the day off. We ended up with 15 keeper sunnies and one crappie, but didn’t find any concentration of fish. Anyway, it was a good summer and, hopefully, hard water fishing will be better than a year ago. . . On Wednesday I loaded Vanna up in the car at 6:20 a.m. along with the minimal hunting gear we needed for the day and headed for Granite Falls. One WMA (Wildlife Management Area) we have enjoyed hunting in previous years because it contains a food plot, had a food plot, but it was harvested soybeans and I don’t think any self-respecting pheasant would choose that spot because of the lack of cover. Last year it was planted with milo. We flushed a couple of hens out of the adjoining grass and suspect the roosters were in a corn field on the other end. About 2 p.m. we were walking the edge of a WMA bordered by corn and corn stubble when Vanna pointed and we flushed a hen. Her next point was about as pretty as I’ve seen her when she locked up and wouldn’t move even as I walked in front of her kicking in the weeds. This time it was a rooster which we harvested with one blast of No. 3 steel shot. It was our first bird of the season and the only rooster we shot at. We saw a fair number of hens, but there is a tremendous amount of corn still standing and also some soybeans. Farmers are waiting for their fields to dry out and I suspect hunting there will get better when the harvesting is completed. On Saturday Vanna and I headed for Benson to hunt a WMA off Hwy. 9 which has held birds in years’ past. We got there about 11 a.m., but the parking lot had a hunting vehicle in it so we moved on. We lost interest in hunting when the temp got into the middle 60s and spent a couple of hours listening to the Gophers homecoming football game which they finally pulled out with a field goal in the closing minutes. We also stopped to visit with a couple of farmers who were combining corn. Neither had seen any birds while combining and they weren’t impressed with either presidential candidate. We found a WMA late in the afternoon with a harvested cornfield and a ditch on the south edge. It wasn’t loaded with birds, but I missed two roosters well within range which flushed ahead of us. I was not a happy camper!
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Mike Muller and Ken got back from a second hunting trip to Canada a week ago Saturday. Mike said it was wet, wet, wet because of a recent rain which had flooded a lot of fields and was encroaching on Jim and Val Baker’s property and home where they were staying. There were lots of birds and they harvested 37 Snow geese, 28 Canadas, 43 Mallard ducks, and three Ruffed grouse. Mike estimated there were 3,000 Mallards in one flooded field. He said it was difficult hunting because of the windy conditions and excessive water, but it was a good trip and they enjoyed the Canadian Thanksgiving Day dinner with Sam and Joanne Rowluk, their sons and spouses. Muller commented they harvested 30 Canada geese on their previous trip, not 50 as I erroneously reported.