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the outdoors

  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    July 20, 2021
    With the increase in popularity of off-road recreational vehicles, I am seeing more and more side-by-sides running around the counites where I live. The units I am referring to are like 4-wheel-drive golf carts. Polaris Rangers and others made by Arctic Cat, Yamaha and Bombardier are all commonly seen in southwest Minnesota. I have seen many of these units that have had the off-road tires removed…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    July 13, 2021
    It is not very often that legislators call me. I call them regularly, but total solar eclipses are more common than a legislator calling me. About 20 years ago Sen. Jim Vickerman, a gentleman I really respected, called me about wolves, a subject that hardly ever comes up in the ag land zones of Minnesota. Wolves have been listed, then delisted, then listed again about a half dozen times over the…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    June 29, 2021
    Anglers that are most attentive to the littlest of details are the ones who normally have the biggest and best fishing stories to tell. I will give you just a few examples of ways that extra attention to detail can make a measurable difference in the day’s catch. The first would be the basics of fishing lines. Many casual anglers have one or two rod and reel combos that they use for every…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    June 08, 2021
    I recently made the seven-hour drive to Upper Red Lake in Minnesota. I figured this was about the 15th time I had made this annual trip to the best walleye fishing in North America. It is a father-son experience I cherish. For those of you who can remember back that far, the walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake collapsed from overnetting and to some extent overfishing by anglers back in about 2000.…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    June 01, 2021
    I never really figured out what I wanted to do after high school until I was about 28 years old. After graduation I took a few years off from schooling in the sales and marketing arena. I sold cars and then newspaper subscriptions. At age 28 I decided I wanted to be a regional fisheries manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. However, this would have required six more years of…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    May 25, 2021
    I recently spent a few days in western South Dakota shooting prairie dogs. This was a great trip and the subject of another column in the next few weeks. I was wondering what other kinds of creatures made a life on the grazed grasslands of this part of the state. As I was researching what those creatures might be, I came across a question that I just could not answer. “What is the difference…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    May 20, 2021
    The great Minnesota fishing opener was May 15. I have participated in this annual event about 25 of the past 30 years. When I was younger, I would start at the midnight opening bell. I entered every fishing contest in the area for the competitive challenge. Today my fishing exploits have far more to do with who I am with and which lake I am on than how many fish I could catch in a day or even a…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    May 04, 2021
    What time is it? It is food plot time. Conservation work is kind of like the fashion industry; you are always working about two seasons ahead. You do fall work to prepare burn breaks for the spring burning season. You plant food plots now in order for wildlife to have a food source three seasons from now in the dead of winter. On average, food plots make a measurable difference in wildlife…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    April 27, 2021
    I just love it when it finally gets to be 70 degrees and the sun shines. My last wildlife ride included a ground hog, a new bald eagle nest, one mink, tons of Canada geese, raccoons, American kestrels, turkey vultures, turkeys, numerous white tail deer and a few mergansers and wood ducks utilizing my nesting boxes. My favorite, though, is the big and bad ringneck pheasant. Male ringnecks, called…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    March 30, 2021
    Spring is upon us and prescribed fire season will be here and gone in the blink of an eye. Fire scares the heck out of most people and it should. Utilizing fire to benefit wildlife habitat is not something you can pick up in a weekend or two.  I have been active in prescribed fire projects for almost 20 years. Still today, I have a very high respect for fire, and this is the primary reason that…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    March 16, 2021
    When you spend your free time in the conservation universe, there is normally very little down time between seasons. The ice fishing season closed at the end of February, and in a short window of about 30 days I am heading into the heart of fire season. When it comes to managing grassland habitats, there is nothing else that can have such a positive impact as fire. Before human settlement, the…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    March 09, 2021
    I have just finished up my northern pike spearing season here in Minnesota.  From an opportunity perspective I had a pretty good year.  I made it out to the spearing house about 15 sits. To me a sit is a spearing opportunity that lasts anywhere from about 3-5 hours. I spear-fished on four different bodies of water this winter. A few weekends were spent up in Crow Wing County near Brainerd and the…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    February 23, 2021
    How many of you have a license plate on your car or truck that has more than a few letters and numbers?  The answer is a lot of you do. The Habitat License plate has been around for a long time and every vehicle I have owned since their inception has one on it. The first one was a light brown plate with a few deer depicted on it.  They now come in many different varieties including moose, bees…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    February 16, 2021
    It seems outdoors types tend to be pretty non-engaged in most conservation issues in our state’s capital — until a regulation change hits close to home. I used to be one of those types, but not anymore. By the time most of these issues get enough press to make the average outdoor person aware — or outraged by them — they are all but a foregone conclusion. By then most of the public comment…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    February 09, 2021
    This is one of those times of the year when you are trapped between watching fishing shows on TV and wondering why the fish don’t bite nearly as well as they did back in December. I have an idea for a project for one of the next weekends when the temperatures are expected to hover around that 0-degree mark. It is a project that very few people ever do, and if they do, they don’t get thinking…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    February 02, 2021
    It was a little over six weeks ago that I shared with you the trials and tribulations of raising a high energy Labrador puppy.  My pint-sized powerhouse is not all that little anymore. He is 7 1/2 months old and has lost the cute puppy breath and replaced it with the “you should have seen what I found and ate in the back yard” breath. When I am picking a puppy from a litter, I always try to…
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