In my last column I wrote about the importance of encouraging our youth to get involved in the outdoors. I cannot feel stronger about the need to promote this not only to show how much nature has to offer in entertainment but to also ensure future generations the opportunity to enjoy what our Minnesota heritage is all about.
I am very proud of the fact my two sons have introduced their children to the joys of hunting and fishing. I am proud to have had a hand in the fishing part and that I was able to pass on a few tips along the way. The boys are young adults now and as I look back to the times spent teaching them the little things about the sport, I have to wonder who actually got more from it, them or me? They were good students and when I think about the many times I took them fishing down at the channel and would have to either untangle a line or retrieve a lure from a tree, I realize it was a time that seemed to go by all too fast.
Those boys also like to hunt and that they learned from their dads or uncles and not so much from Grandpa. All four of them hunt waterfowl and small game, which shows me they are part of the future of the outdoors.
When my son Brian and I first bought the land on that little lake up north that supposedly had no fish in it, I made the boys a deal. I said I would give $5 to the first one to catch a fish. It didn’t take Trevor long to collect; he came up with an 8-inch perch and after that the kids had a blast. Over the years we have also caught some nice crappies and bluegills.
Whenever I am at the cabin I will think back to all of the fun times spent with the boys when they were younger. There are times when I can almost hear their laughter as they came running up the hill from the lake to show me the fish they had caught or to tell me about seeing a beaver or an eagle. Trevor, the oldest, could spot waterfowl and tell you what they were before I could even see it.
Over the years they would row the little boat I had bought out on the lake and would fish and swim out of it. Eventually their grandma bought a paddleboat that entertained them. The kids would fish and swim out of both the fishing boat and the paddle boat and they never seemed to get enough of it. Lifejackets were always mandatory for any activity involving the lake.
When we cleared the land to build the cabin, both my boys and all four grandsons had a hand in it. It was a lot of work but well worth it. There is no better feeling than being able to look at our place today and say that our family along with a couple of good friends built this cabin.
Campfires were also a huge part of any time we were at the cabin. We had campfires spring, summer and fall. There were times when we’d be up there over MEA break and there would be snow on the ground. This didn’t hinder anyone. We still sat around the fire in lawn chairs. I would go up there with Brian and the boys and they would get up early and buzz across the lake to sit in their blinds waiting for a flock of ducks to arrive. Whenever I heard shooting I could pretty much count on one of them coming back with a bird.
Now that the boys are older and have other things going on in their lives they don’t have the time or desire to spend much time at the cabin. Trevor went up there with me this year and Dylan was there last year, but that’s about it. Trevor and I planned on making another trip in August but it didn’t materialize. I now have two granddaughters to give a few fishing tips to and they were at the cabin with their dad Brad, Grandma and I this year. It was a good time and they really seemed to enjoy it so this old fisherman may be able to give them a few tips and keep the tradition going.
One thing is for certain, I will always have some great memories to cherish and lots of pictures to look at and reminisce. One day I hope to have a little family get together at the cabin with the whole gang.
Here are a few dates for hunters to remember:
• The lottery deadline for hunting antlerless deer is Sep. 8
• Youth Waterfowl Day is Sept. 10
• Early Canada Goose season opened on Saturday, Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 18
• Archery season opens on Sept. 17 and runs through Dec. 31.
Until next time: There is still plenty of open water fishing to be done; we have a great resource right here at home so take advantage of it. You will feel a lot of self-satisfaction if you take some time to introduce a youth to hunting or fishing.
Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops serving today.