Published January 29, 2010, 03:56 PM

Snowmobile bash, fishing derby on slate of CLSC

The Cormorant Lakes Sportsmen’s Club, continuing to be a leader in alleviating the winter doldrums, will sponsor a snowmobile bash, next Saturday, Feb. 6.

By: Bernie Revering, Becker County Sportsman

The Cormorant Lakes Sportsmen’s Club, continuing to be a leader in alleviating the winter doldrums, will sponsor a snowmobile bash, next Saturday, Feb. 6.

Headquartered at the club’s facility on County Road 11 south of Audubon, it will be a day in the open, with the clubhouse featuring food and refreshment.

There will be snow games, music food and bonfires.

The Midnite Riders Old Timers Run will be featured.

Then on Saturday, Feb. 13, the Luke Gandrud memorial youth fishing derby will be held on Leif Lake.

You go out County Road 11, five miles south of Audubon and there will be signs to get you to Leif Lake.

For ages of 15 years and younger, tackle and bait will be furnished.

It will be fun for the entire family with hot dogs and pop on the ice.

BTD Manufacturing is a major sponsor along with the Cormorant sportsmen.

The contest runs from one in the afternoon, concluding at 3:30.

Prizes are in cash, too!

BCSC winter meeting

The officers of the Becker County Sportsmen’s Club advise all members of a general meeting, to be held at the American Legion club rooms at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Last fall’s deer kill is down

Deer hunters killed fewer than 200,000 deer during the 2009 seasons.

It is the first time since 1999 that the kill has dropped below that level.

The harvest breaks down like this: bow hunters took about 20,200, down 11 percent, while firearms hunters took 163,500 deer, and that’s down 14 percent.

Those out in the late season with a muzzle loader took 7,400 deer, down 23 percent from 2008.

Most of the decline was in antlerless deer.

The final tally isn’t at all alarming to the DNR with its managed area strategies.

The agency’s estimated kill was a bit higher but not much.

Most Minnesota deer hunters are pretty well satisfied with present management, as we still have more deer than the long-term average.

It wasn’t the best year, but we thought it was still pretty good.

Whether you scored, or if you didn’t, your view is apt to be slanted a bit.

Iron sights vs. scopes

While the dispute rages as to whether scopes should be permitted on more primitive muzzle loaders, there is a definite plus to irons.

That is, equipping a rifle with a peep sight. Personally,

I’ve done some very satisfying shooting with a peep sight.

I can remember using a Super Grade Winchester Model 70 rifle in 30-06 caliber.

It came from the factory equipped with a Lyman 48WJS mounted at the rear of the receiver.

It was just ahead of the ambidextrous safety.

Using it follows the theory upon which the peep sight is based.

That is, that the eye will automatically center the front bead.

It works!

I had only to sight through the peep and the bullet would strike where the front bead was centered.

It takes more time to tell about it than is the case of practical application.

The Lyman sight I had was an early one, patented about 1880.

Other very good makes that were made in America were the Redfield, Williams, and in very recent years, the Thompson-Center.

For lever action 30-30 rifles or the Marlin 36 or Winchester 94s, the sight was located on the rifle’s tang.

It was very close to the eye, and it complimented the relatively short range of those calibers like 30-30, 32 Win. Special, 300 Savage, along with the small calibers such as the 25-20, 22-250 Savage and the 32-20.

You didn’t need to focus on the front bead.

You merely shouldered the rifle, saw the front bead through the rear peep.

If your hold was steady, you would down a deer out to perhaps 125 yards, and that’s a really far piece, in the woods.

Hard water fishing has been good

Those of us who suffered through some cold weather in early January were rewarded with some nice catches of walleye, sunnies, and crappies.

I heard about a 14-pound walleye taken at Strawberry Lake, but I didn’t talk to the fisherman.

Little Detroit has yielded a few nearing nine pounds, and some pound size crappies were pretty common on the west side of Sallie.

The number of fishing shanties out on Little Detroit’s 12 inches of ice is impressive, but just a few fewer than in recent years.

Ottertail Lake isn’t real deep.

If you know this lake, it has walleyes that were hitting minnows at 18 to 24 feet.

Ottertail and Rush Lake are two places where Perham or Fergus anglers head for in the winter.

Feeding the pheasants

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the pheasants in Minnesota’s southwest.

They’ve been hard pressed to find food or shelter, since very heavy snowfalls and extremely frigid weather.

Local landowners noticed large groups of pheasants exposed in snow covered farm fields.

Some of them have begun feeding the birds.

The DNR isn’t totally in favor of this because people will start and stop the practice.

Once begun, there must be a continuance right up to spring when land is exposed, free of snow and beginning to provide food.

That probably means late April.

But people start and stop.

Pheasants Forever, the conservation group, endorses feeding plans for its county chapters.

Pheasants are tough birds, and can go for two weeks or so without food.

We need habitat — food is a secondary need.

Feeding does help, however.

Feeding pheasants on a successful scale usually means placement of commercial feeders at locations off public roads.

Some of the feeding has been on the state and federal wildlife areas.

Predators are also a continuing problem. Pheasants must endure foxes, coyote, hawks and owls, and feral cats.

Feeding the pheasants in the belt of counties north of the Iowa line and in an enlarged southwestern portion of the state has begun, apparently in earnest, this time.

Putting a five-gallon pail of shelled corn out near a county road isn’t going to do it.

Contributing to Pheasants Forever is a good way, as this group has pheasants in mind, has biologists and farmers as members, and is earnestly supporting relief for the birds.

An increase in fishing license fees

It’s possible! The DNR isn’t promoting it, but at the DNR Roundtable meetings on the first weekend of January, the proposal was voiced and discussed.

The Fisheries section is about $4 million short of its needs.

The cost of an individual fishing license is currently $17 and it has been about ten years without an increase.

People attending seemed supportive.

There was also talk of a three-year license, but wasn’t very that well received.

The cost of a three-year outlay for trout stamps didn’t set well either.

Adjusted for inflation, the current cost would be about $21 and a new fee would probably be about $4.

A $25 fishing license? How does that grab you?

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