Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! An old saying that we used to say in the Navy while bouncing around on the ocean. The water everywhere part is certainly true for our area of the state this past week or so. I cannot remember the water levels ever being quite as high as it was this past week and I can never remember trains not running because the tracks were under water. I hope that anyone who was affected by the flood waters had only minimal damage
In taking a little break from talking about high water I want to remind folks that the small game season for hunting rabbits, squirrels, partridge and grouse is open and the waterfowl season is in full swing right now. Most of our avid duck and goose hunters are already well aware of this so this is old news to them.
I remember one fall, quite a few years ago, when my son Brian, who was into bow hunting at the time, had asked me if I’d like to ride with him over to the Bricelyn area to see one of his favorite hunting spots. As we drove to the woods the air was cool and crisp and the sun was shining brightly on the fall colors making them seem even more colorful. As we walked through the woods the fallen leaves crunched under each step that we took as we inhaled the cool, crisp fall air all the while gazing upon the rainbow of colors that decorated the woods. This led me to realize how a person could enjoy spending time in a deer stand.
We are lucky that in Freeborn County alone there are thirteen Wildlife Management Areas available for hunters, trappers, bird watchers or lovers of nature to enjoy. These are open to the public and offer sportsmen and outdoors enthusiasts alike a place to enjoy nature at its best.
In Minnesota there are 1,440 public wildlife areas - divided into over 1,600 sub units - with 1.29 million acres of habitat across the state. These WMA’s provide:
*Recreation for hunters and trappers, including small game, big game and waterfowl.
*Wildlife watching opportunities include: upland birds, waterfowl, mammals, and more.
The 13 WMA’s in Freeborn County listed on the DNR website are as follows: Ann & Leo Donahue, Bear, Carex, Geneva, Halls Lake, Magaksica, Manchester, Pancium Prairie: Grass Lake Unit, Panicum Prairie: Shell Rock Unit, State Line, Upper Twin & Wo Wacintanka. You can get more in-depth information on each of these on the DMR website: www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/index.html.
Anyone can take advantage of these parcels of public land that have been set aside for our enjoyment. They also give deer hunters access to land for both the archery and firearms seasons.
I have visited a few of these WMA’s over the years and a few years ago I took my two oldest grandsons, Trevor and Taylor, to the Grass Lake site to do a little duck hunting. I dropped them off and was told to return in about two hours. When I returned they had not gotten any shots but had seen some ducks that were just out of range. They were satisfied that they had hunted even though they had gotten no birds on that day. WMA’s can be beneficial in getting our youth outdoors and not only involved in the sport of hunting but it also gives them the opportunity to enjoy nature.
Getting a youth involved in hunting doesn’t have to involve much more than small game. Hunting for squirrels and rabbits is a good way to introduce them to the outdoors experience and can eventually start them on the way to hunting larger game.
Until next time, now that the small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are open, it’s the perfect time to visit one of the Wildlife Management areas in the county and introduce a youth to hunting. Don’t forget there is still a lot of good fishing ahead before the water hardens.
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.