Brute's Bleat September 16, 2015

It was good to hear the pheasant population in Minnesota is up 33% statewide. The DNR had this to say about pheasants in Minnesota. “Favorable weather conditions led to a 33-percent increase in the number of Minnesota pheasants compared to last year at this time. However, the 2015 pheasant index is 39 percent below the 10-year average and 59 percent below the long-term average. Habitat loss continues to be the main factor in a long-term decline of the state’s pheasant population, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.” It takes programs like the Soil Bank from years past or the more recent Conservation Reserve Program to provide the habitat necessary to maintain good pheasant numbers in these days of intense farming. Hunters will find more birds this fall in the southwestern part of Minnesota according to the maps the DNR has available, but they won’t be all over. I guess that’s why it’s called hunting!
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In other wildlife matters Vanna and I came across four turkeys in the middle of a township road northeast of Maple Lake Sunday. They were small and either this year’s hatch or year-old hens. They were close enough to get Vanna’s attention through the windshield of the Fiesta. Heading north on County Road 8 last week a pair of Trumpeter Swans and four offspring were trying to cross that highway. One adult was in the middle of the road so we slowed down almost to a stop to let them cross, but the adult apparently had a change of heart and herded the family back into the swamp from which they had come. They are the heaviest living bird native to North America with a wingspan that may exceed 10 ft. Their snow white feathers, black beak and black feet make them distinctive over other swans. . . I managed to get out fishing on Saturday afternoon on Indian Lake, a lake I hadn’t fished all year and very seldom before that. It was a good choice and provided a lot of action. I was trying for sunnies and ended up with 15 that filled a quart freezer bag to the brim when filleted. I was fishing in 15-17 feet of water using pieces of a leech until they were both used up. Then it was nighties or artificial bait. I had fun with a 26-inch Northern on my light rig and a couple of bass broke up the afternoon’s action. Nick Pawlenty, who’s been working at the Messenger recently, showed me pictures of a large 30-inch Northern and a 2 1/2-pound Walleye (right) he caught while fishing out of Sauk Centre. The walleye made me drool.

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I was shocked to hear co-worker Samantha Zuehl (or Sam, as we call her) and her friend, Trever, lost their South Haven home in a fire Friday afternoon. Neither one was home at the time, but they lost all of their belongings as well as their first house. Two pet dogs also perished in the fire which I’m sure Sam held a special attachment to. I say that because my dog, Vanna, is somewhat a frequent visitor to the Messenger office and Sam always has seemed to have a kind word or would stroke her head before she’d get busy at her computer. I wish them well as they pick up their lives from the tragic loss.

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