Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag

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It’s kind of ironic that I came across a red fox road kill while driving west of Annandale on Hwy. 55 Wednesday morning and Don Dittberner saw these five kits near his Otsego home the same day. The fifth one is kind of behind the fox on the lower right. Don photographed them Thursday morning while they were romping in the snow. While the kits were inquisitive their mother ran off quickly. Don said the fox family had their den in a culvert. Over the weekend residents became more aware of the kits and enjoyed seeing and photographing them.

“The red fox has a litter of one to ten pups between March and May every year. The young are born blind and aren’t able to open their eyes until they’re about two weeks old. After one month, fox pups are weaned off their mother’s milk and start eating pre-chewed food. After about seven months, young red foxes are able to hunt on their own and leave their parents in search of their own territory. Some foxes have been known to travel up to 250 km to find a suitable home.” (This paragraph taken off the Internet).

It was interesting to read that a fox’s tail makes up one third of their body and is used to keep them warm in the winter. They never had a very good reputation while I was growing up in Ottertail County, no doubt because they are predators. They liked farm yard chickens as well as pheasants chicks. Besides humans, coyotes are their natural enemy which helps keeps their population in check.

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Wednesday last week, the turkey season opened and Anna and I saw a small flock of about 15 on the west side of County Road 8 north of Silver Creek while we were headed for St. Cloud. I should be carrying a camera in the car and recording some of nature’s bounty. . .

I fished on Rock Lake one afternoon last week for a couple of hours on kind of a catch and release effort for a future trip that may not materialize since that lake is losing it’s shoreline ice big time. I was sitting on a pail fishing out of an open hole, caught a 9 in. sunny, held it up for a fellow angler to see, then tossed it into the snow only to hear a plump and slight splash as the fish disappeared. The hole was hidden by our last snowstorm. Normally I would have been upset, but remembered it was a catch and release effort. Sunday afternoon I teamed up with Daryl Hennen and his grandson, Evan. We fished on Lake Mary first, compliments of John Wurm, and moved around to three different spots. We had to do some sorting, but the fish co-operated for a couple of hours and then tappered off. Even measured one of my sunfish and a perch which were both 8 1/2 in. Evan figured we should try Maple Lake and we found enough shore line ice off the old carp trap to get out on the lake. There was some slush ice from the 55-60 degree weather, but the solid ice is still about two feet deep. The sunfish weren’t very far down, a couple feet under the ice, and visible if you hunkered over the hole. Evan had a Northern pestering him until he chased it off. We all caught fish and the secret was to find a hole with some weeds. Daryl caught one dandy crappie to add to our mixed bag. John, an angler from Maple Lake, was also fishing and gave us a thumbs up to let us know he was catching some fish which prompted us to stop walking and start fishing. Another angler in another group was in his short pants enjoying the warm day, but he spent the majority of the time in his blue clam fish house. . . Because it’s so late and so warm, ice fishing won’t last much longer, especially with rain in the forecast for Thursday!