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Over the years I have always asked myself many different questions pertaining to nature and wildlife. Luckily, I didn’t ask the questions out loud, nor did I mumble what I thought to be the answers out loud, for this could very easily have resulted in a visit to a shrink. Fortunately for me and any other person curious about what goes on in the outdoors, there is a magazine called the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. This magazine is published six times a year and is all about the many natural resources we have in this great state of ours.

One question I have asked myself many times over the years is, how do you tell the difference between a raven and a crow and is there a magical dividing line that says “no crows beyond this point” or when do crows start being called ravens? In the latest edition of the afore-mentioned magazine, one writer explains the difference between a raven and a crow and the range at which each will travel. He says that if you are traveling north on I-35, ravens will start to appear at about the Pine City area and north where crows can be found in pretty much any area of the state. This writer also went on to say it is not uncommon to see crows and ravens together.

Some of the main differences in the two are that a raven is about twice the size of a crow and it also has a deeper, throatier kronk or quorak call compared to a crow, which makes a more screechy type of caw sound. There are other differences, but these are a couple of the more noticeable ones

This answered a question I have often asked but never bothered to research for myself. I really do think this magazine is a valuable asset for anyone interested in our state’s natural resources.

With all the information available to a person online I find it refreshing to be able to pick up a book and find so many good articles about our states resources. I am still “old school” when it comes to reading because I like to have the story in print and in my hand.

Nature is always a mystery in itself and something that many try to and most can’t actually predict what will happen next. Fishing is a great example of the unpredictable nature of our environment. A guy can have all the latest technology like a big, fast boat with graphs, flashers and underwater cameras, but if the fish aren’t hungry, they won’t be biting.

For years our family would camp and fish at Spider Lake and I can recall this older gentleman who lived on the lake. Each evening he would take his little fishing boat and go a little ways from his cabin and anchor on the edge of the weeds where the lake narrows before going into the next part. He would be there every evening catching fish as the folks with the big boats and all their electronics flew past him on their way to the far end of the lake where the fish must be.

Every evening he would be in his fish house cleaning his catch while the folks with all the toys were in the lodge talking about how tough fishing was. This is not always the case, but most of the time when you know the lake it makes it that much easier to catch fish. On one particular trip to Spider the old guy was not around, so I decided to check out the area where he always fished and found that just outside the weed line there was a small rock pile which explained why he was catching walleyes in that spot when no one else even gave it a second thought. I am kind of set in my ways when it comes to another fisherman’s “hot spot” because any time that old boy was on the lake I steered clear of “his” spot. It does seem kind of funny how a person always seems to think that you have to go as far as possible away from camp in order to catch fish when in all reality they may be only a cast away, but then where is the adventure in that?

Speaking of a cast away it looks like our area “hard water” fishermen are out in full force on our local lakes. I have heard some mixed results from catching walleye through 3 inches of ice in the channel to some jumbo perch being caught on Fountain along with an occasional bass, small walleye and northern. It wasn’t that long ago there was a regular village of fishing shacks on the channel by Frank Hall Park. Unfortunately the last big freeze-out meant re-stocking and starting over once again. The old saying “that’s water over the dam” must have meant that there were a few fish in that water, because there are some larger fish being caught in the channel that couldn’t have been from the recent stockings.

Until next time, be careful when you do decide to venture out because no ice is ever 100 percent safe.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, n not only during the holiday season but for the rest of the year. They are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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