Brute's Bleat December 28, 2016

I’ve been keeping an eye on the creek that runs out of Lake Mary into Ney Park which is still wide open. Shortly before Christmas the County Park Service installed a bridge over the water on the park path to accommodate hikers, skiers, etc. Vanna and I tend to use the woodsy trail in the winter, mostly to get out of the wind, so we really appreciate the county’s efforts. (Photo by Harold Brutlag)

Last Thursday was too nice a day to not give late season pheasant hunting a try, so when I finished up some work I loaded up Vanna and the two of us headed west around 11 a.m. I didn’t have a destination in mind, but by the time I got to Willmar I thought Montevideo might be far enough. Our first stop was west of Gluek, a WMA I hadn’t hunted this year, but it had held birds in previous years. It looked good from a distance, but there was too much evidence of someone having hunted it that morning for us to trudge through the snow. We zeroed in on another WMA west of Montevideo that contained a corn food plot. Vanna got a solid point and the bird didn’t want to move even though I kicked around in the weeds and brush. Vanna didn’t give up, but she did move ahead which apparently was too much for the pheasant and a hen busted out. It would have been a great video! We hunted our way around the cattails which were pretty much filled with snow, so I stayed on the field edge. That was a mistake and I should have waded in with Vanna who put up a pair of roosters that would have been within range. A third cock flushed out behind us, but my steel shots didn’t phase it. It was a golden opportunity, especially late in the season, but I blew it! Later I talked with another solo hunter, from Rogers, who said he had seen a fair number of birds earlier that morning feeding. I drove to another WMA I was familiar with, but there was a hunter in it. I finished out the final half-hour road hunting, but the only thing I saw was a doe and a fawn coming out of a tree lot. That may have been my last pheasant hunt of the season, if the wind present Monday is any indication of what the weather will be like in the near future. The season ends Sunday, Jan. 1, and for me the first part of the season was the most productive, but I enjoyed it all. If it was just a matter of getting some birds, I would spend more time at one of the many pheasant farms in the area.
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I didn’t hear any thunder, as was predicted for Sunday night, but it was raining pretty hard and slippery when I let Vanna out about 8 p.m. I don’t have a clue as to the amount of rain we got, but by morning the wind apparently had dried off most of the driveway. Freezing rain can be treacherous, but we didn’t get any snow. I tried the west door of the Messenger Office Monday planning to take care of this column, but apparently enough rain accumulated on the bottom of the door and it was frozen shut. When I used the front door, I tripped the alarm system which caused some excitement, but found out it was working properly.
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East Maple Lake is producing some crappies and if you’re a die-hard angler, you may even catch some small walleyes in that part of the lake. My equipment is still in the garage, but that should change soon. . . My brother, Charles, was walleye fishing on Ottertail and said the ice was 8 inches in most places. He didn’t catch any walleyes, but admitted he was in the wrong spot, or as he put it, “I was too deep”. . .
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With the GOP coming into power in January, it will be interesting how many campaign promises President-elect Trump will keep. If they’re looking out for the environment, and I hope they are, I’d suggest they follow Teddy Roosevelt’s footsteps who took great strides in that department.

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