Brute's Bleat November 30, 2016

Just in case you may think I’ve lost my enthusiasm for hunting pheasants and have switched to woodpeckers, that just isn’t so. For the past couple of weeks a pileated woodpecker, like the one shown, has been buzzing around our neighborhood apparently in search of food. They’re a pretty bird and a quick check on the internet had this to say about them. “The pileated woodpecker is a large woodpecker native to North America. Roughly crow-sized, it normally inhabits deciduous forests in eastern North America, the Great Lakes, the boreal forests of Canada, and parts of the Pacific Coast.” That makes it sound like it’s out of place in ML, but hey, it adds some color to the winter gray. . . Now getting back to pheasant hunting a planned trip to the northwestern corner of North Dakota was going well until we hit a snag in the weather Sunday. We, Mike and Ken Muller, myself and three dogs, were on our way by about 7:30 a.m. leaving in that morning’s fog and somewhat apprehensive about the weather reports for North Dakota. We stopped in Sauk Centre for breakfast and Ken monitored the weather on his smart phone which didn’t paint a very pretty picture at all, but we felt the snow-storm might skirt the area we planned to hunt. By the time we got to Fergus Falls predictions of a blizzard were showing up and we’ve been in enough inclement weather in ND to know they’re nothing to fool with. With snow and wind of 30-plus mph and stronger gusts predicted for Monday and Tuesday, we decided those kinds of conditions weren’t for us and we turned around at the Big Chief Restaurant. All three of us were disappointed with the turn of events, but I think we made the right choice. I didn’t unpack my bag and suspect we’ll make an attempt again when the weather stabilizes. Anyway, we enjoyed the ham sandwiches Mike had prepared and the banana-nut cupcakes Janis sent with us. . . . Mike Muller, Rick Heberling and I were caught in a snowstorm and high winds a number of years ago in North Dakota. We got some birds, but we were much younger then and I remember hunting around an abandoned farm-stead where we found some roosters even though the conditions were terrible. We were wearing face masks and didn’t stay out of the Suburban very long. . . Another time Daryl Hennen, his dad, Ken, and Ron Rassat, drove on snow and icy roads from Jamestown nearly all the way back to ML, which was in October. The rest of us continued to hunt out of Bowman and were far enough south not to have been affected by that storm. The moral of the story, if there is one, is it’s important to watch the weather conditions!
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Puttng up outside Christmas lights for decorations was a lesson in patience for me when about half of the multi-colored bulbs refused to sparkle as in years past. I made an attempt at finding the problem, but it seemed like an exercise in futility and I ended up purchasing a couple of new strands. Believe me that made the job much easier and, hopefully, they will last for several years. I noticed the buds on the bushes I hung the light on were swelling up and showing a new green color. This has happened before and I’m wondering if the harsh cold winter, which is bound to come, means the budding process will have to start all over, or do these live buds “weather the storm”. . . I noticed a fellow picking up a bucket of minnows at H & H Sport Shop Saturday morning and heading back to his Ranger boat. It was a fairly mild day, but I was wondering if he might have had a heating unit in his boat to ward off the chill!
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Is anyone feeding the numerous cottontail bunnies that are spending the winter in town? They like to nibble on young bushes and it might be wise to wrap them with some type of burlap if they are starting to prune your bushes.

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