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  • 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…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    January 25, 2021
    Winter finally looks like it has arrived. So far, the wildlife of Minnesota has had a pretty easy go of it due to unseasonably warm temperatures and not a lot of snow. Mild winters can benefit a whole host of different animals, but not all animals see those same benefits. What benefits some wildlife will negatively impact others. I have often wondered how different species survive deep snow and…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    January 19, 2021
    Last week I wrote about the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund created by constitutional amendment back in the late 1980s when the Minnesota State Lottery was begun. It has done many good things but still funds too much research and not enough on the ground habitat and water projects for my complete satisfaction. About 20 years ago there was another movement started to create a special…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    January 12, 2021
    When is the last time you bought a lottery ticket? For some it is at least a weekly occurrence and for others the answer might be never. I am not a big gambler by any means, but I do buy a Powerball ticket every once in a while. I have no doubt that I will never win any money, but the Minnesota lottery does do some very good things with the money I spend. When the lottery started in Minnesota,…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    December 28, 2020
    I am not a big Facebook follower, but I was checking out a post I made on our chapter’s local Nobles County Pheasants Forever Facebook site. As I was scrolling across the past few days on my regular feed, I saw a re-post from one of my longtime friends, Bob St Pierre, who is a Pheasants Forever national employee. He reposted a picture of a young gal who had taken up decoy carving. There are those…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    December 21, 2020
    About three years ago I purchased a used tractor to fill the need I had when implementing wildlife habitat projects. I chose poorly with little experience, but after several large repair bills the machine was up and running. As a result, I then needed a building to store it in, and a medium-sized pole barn shed was next on the list. I built it bigger than I thought I needed and again, I was…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    December 01, 2020
    So the opening weekend of the Minnesota pheasant season is here and gone and it took until 8 a.m. that following Monday morning for my phone to ring with questions regarding hunting etiquette on public lands. For sure there are different common-sense rules when it comes to interacting with other hunters who all want to hunt on the same parcel of public land at the same time. The recommendations…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    November 10, 2020
    The firearms deer season started in most of Minnesota on Nov. 7.  In the southwest part of the state it runs for 11 days.  Other regions have different dates and season lengths. I am a pretty serious deer hunter but have not harvested a deer in over 30 years. This by no means indicates that I have skipped the opportunity to buy a license and take part in the hunt for any of those three decades. I…
  • By Scott Rall, outdoors columnist
    November 03, 2020
    In previous columns I have advised keeping a cell phone in your pocket and telling others where you were going to hunt in case of an emergency. And I’ve also written about falling on a stick and ending up in the emergency room. Well, I have a different story that happened just a few weeks back that makes this all the more important. I hope my bad luck can drive home to you how important it is to…
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