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home : columns : ron kuecker August 19, 2017

8/27/2014 9:38:00 AM
As fall seasons approach, hunters are targeted

Ron Kuecker
Outdoors Columnist

At the local coffee spots, lately, when the talk turns to seasons, we are referring to hunting seasons not spring, summer, fall, etc. The annual parade of those seasons in Minnesota is set to begin with the dove opener on Sept. 1 and the early big goose season for our area on Sept. 6. They are followed by, in fairly quick succession, small game, archery deer, an early duck opener, fall turkeys, pheasants in mid-October and firearm deer in early November.
Now, quickly, let's take a look at what us poor, ol' hunters have to contend with in the lead up to the hunt. We are actually the targeted and no surprise. We are vulnerable adults. We like stuff, hunting stuff, that is. In fact, few could be considered more flawed than me.
I paused a moment the other day and realized how a canvasback duck must have felt back in the days of market hunting. We, in today's world, are the target of a multitude of professional marketers who really know their job. We deserve what we get; empty wallets, low bank accounts, maxed out credit cards and a garage full of decoys, jackets and boots. The guns and ammo are most likely in a fancy $1,000 safe next to our bed.
Just what does a modern hunting catalog present to us "suckers" this fall? The Mack's Prairie Wings 2014 catalog arrived a month ago. Inside was everything you might "need" to hunt ducks from ammo to Zippo lighters.
There were, in living color, 36 pages of decoys, full bodied to socks that filled with air when the wind blows. There were a half dozen pages of ammo of various types from .410 to 10 gauge. Clothing covered 27 pages with a new line of Wilderness Dreams camo under garments for ladies, some with pink trim.
But it remained for the duck call section to really amaze me or almost any sane person. There are 12 pages in that section with the Duck Commander crew of TV fame presenting 25 of their calls priced from 10 bucks to $180.
When it comes to duck calls I'll stick to my old wooden WA-33 call from the Faulk's boys who have been doing it for most of a century. I won't win any stage contests but if the ducks don't come in, it won't be the fault of the Faulk boys.
I'll just sit back, put my old call in the pocket of the new waterproof waterfowl jacket I bought at Cabela's in Rogers last week and let the spinning wing decoy I bought a few years ago do its thing.
One thing I won't buy, though, are the Dokken Dead Fowl duck foot earrings, orange in color, complete with aluminum duck bands. We do have our "limits". It's found in the 179 page, 2014, Final Flight Outfitters catalog if you are interested.
The Butterfly Whisperer
Whereas we had hundreds of Monarch butterflies staging in our backyard maples 12 years or so ago, I had been watching only one flit about lately. Then one morning, on the sidewalk between our house and garage, there it laid, on its side, near death.
I didn't know if it had been hurt, injured by a predator or stifled by some insecticide, maybe even normal death after egg laying. I picked it up carefully by the wings and discovered it absolutely couldn't use its wings or the legs on one side.
Heading for coffee at Center Stop that morning I took it along for old timers show and tell. Placing it on the small round table where we gather it remained totally on its side. John Holt, a regular, then placed the Monarch on the back of his finger, After a minute or so the beauty began using its feet then opened its wings, then open/close several times, then it flew away, straight toward the bug zapper. We got there first and diverted it away with our caps.
Then it flew toward a fluorescent light fixture and rested there. John got a step ladder, gently clasped the wings closed and handed it back to me. I headed back home, obviously a distracted driver, and released it in our backyard. It flew to the tops of the big maples and I've seen it numerous times since then.
We now call him John the Butterfly Whisperer. Say John, I found this near death, very large dragon fly in my garage this morning. . .
Windom park thoughts
For some reason our Windom Parks seem to be under attack lately. The south end of Island Park, that could be the best place for an enlarged riverside park, has already been converted to a campground. Beautiful, peaceful Tegels Park alongside Cottonwood Lake has been mentioned as a new campground. Ken Witt Park is now being recommended as a site to build a new fire hall and Dynamite Park, a county park on the northwest side of Windom may be put up for sale pending a hearing.
Almost totally, the people I have visited with don't seem to care for these conversions. They seem to ignore the intent of the people that gave them to the city and want to turn them into beehives of activity. My personal thoughts, especially at Cottonwood Lake, are this: Maybe if we had more places of peace and tranquility, with water rolling in or by, we'd need fewer prescriptions for Prozac and Zoloft.

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