Brute's Bleat April 6, 2016

We’re in the fickle month of April when the golfers want to get out on the nice warm days only to have their hopes dashed by a wicked north wind and some snow flurries or a icy rain. It’s the unpredictable weather April is well-known for at a time when Minnesotans want to get in their gardens or the farmers are itching to start field work that puts a damper on spring fever! I did notice a lawn had been mowed in Clearwater Saturday, but on second thought, it probably was more of a vacuuming effort than mowing. There were a pair of wood ducks in my neighbor, Wally’s, tree last Friday, apparently scouting the neighborhood for a wood duck nest. There are several in the neighborhood so they can pick whichever one fits their fancy. I’m hoping they can see the one I put up in our back yard a year ago. I summerized the snow blower last week and any snow we get from here on out will have to wait until the sun shines. There were remnants of Friday night’s flurries in Ney Park Saturday morning and we had another dusting early Monday morning. I ran into Bruce and Jan Bakeberg in Ney Park Sunday morning where they were walking their dogs. Bruce, a retired former MLHS coach who teaches Driver’s Ed, commented he’s been seeing a number of groups of pheasants this spring, besides those they have been feeding, which was music to my ears because I haven’t seen diddly, or for that matter, heard much crowing.
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I noticed a road kill turkey on Hwy. 55 East last week which reminded me the season begins April 13. I’m not a turkey hunter, but Jason Revermann had a story in the March 30 issue of Minnesota Outdoor News about this being an opportune time to scout for birds in your hunting area. His opening paragraph said, “During the winter, turkeys tend to flock up in large numbers, leaving many of your hunting areas either flooded with birds or completely vacant of turkeys. With the early spring of 2016, expect the large groups of turkeys to disperse earlier and be easier to find throughout your normal hunting grounds.” As for scouting he said, “Head out to areas you plan to hunt and listen for gobblers sounding off before the sun begins to rise. You can accomplish this from quite a distance, you don’t have to see turkeys to know they are there.” . . . I’m sure the accomplished hunter is familiar with the patterns turkeys have when it comes to the spring mating season, so good luck whether a novice or a veteran. And by all means play it safe, everyone is wearing camouflage. I was amazed at the huge number of sights (scopes, etc.) available for turkey hunters considering most of those elusive birds are harvested within thirty paces.
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Some may call it merchandising, but I prefer to call it plain greed and I’m referring to the NCAA basketball tournament which ended Monday night. The collegiate games were on regular TV up until the semi-finals Saturday and finals Monday when they were only carried on cable, dish or whatever other pay TV was available. It was a disappointment and I can only assume it was a matter of how the NCAA could make the most bucks off these games! Regardless, I’ve put a message in my memory bank to get involved with something else next year rather than the Sweet 16. Now I’m wondering if I’ll remember it a year from now.
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Anglers may use only artificial bait when fishing Mille Lacs this year. According to the DNR “they may not possess any other bait that is live, dead, frozen or processed. Artificial bait such as Gulp is allowed. Only anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge may possess and use sucker minnows longer than 8 inches.” The bait dealers will be taking quite a hit, but long-term it might be what’s necessary to bring back the walleye population in that popular lake.

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