Betsy and I own a second home in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. It not only provides us with more time for our children and grandchildren, it has given me ready access to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison to deal with health issues. Over the years, I have stumbled over good stories right under my nose, and today is no exception. The Mount Horeb High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) has an on-going event that could hopefully impact most of our South Dakota high schools.
The last time I went to Texas, we passed a signboard near the border that read, "Don't Mess with Texas." I believe it. You might recall that a few years ago I was involved in a parking violation while attending the Dallas Safari Club expo. Because of their shoddy treatment, I vowed never to return to Dallas again.
Current snow geese numbers far surpass our habitat's ability to support them, and thousands upon thousands of square miles of prime tundra have transformed into mud flat waste because of the geese. That's why our U.S. Fish & Wildlife people have totally eliminated a limit number on spring geese, thrown out the limit on a shotgun's magazine capacity, and encouraged the use of electronic calls for spring hunting. I fully support snow geese control.
For Betsy and me, our current lifestyle no longer makes owning a dog very practical. For one thing, we are often on the road. For another, we live in town, and our dog would have to be penned or leashed. My dog would be a hunter, and he/she would have to have freedom, to my way of thinking.
While my being a South Dakotan is mostly about good people with conservative Christian values and a strong work ethic, our deer hunting is also a part of it. To give you some idea of how important deer hunting is to me, I'd like to paraphrase what Tom Kelly said about turkeys in his classic story, "Tenth Legion." Even at 76 years of age, every November makes me twenty-something all over again.
No cell phones, no laptops, no iPads, no Nooks. I'm not big on technology, but that's not unusual for a guy my age. My disdain for these devices carries over to my passion for hunting and fishing. Other than a rudimentary depth finder, my boat is void of electronics. My hunting gear doesn't even include a range finder. However, I will admit that I've considered spending some of my Cabela's points on a Vexilar ice fishing graph.
Ice fishing on Devils Lake — to me, this is what the words "envy" and "covet" are all about. Tom, my Wisconsin son-in-law, and eight of his buddies just got back from two-and-a-half days of ice fishing on Devils Lake, North Dakota. It was their 15th year of making this annual sojourn to an ice-fishing clime that has often included Canada in the past. I would love to tell you that the action was hot and heavy, but it just didn't happen.
I can only speak for myself, but right now is my least favorite time of the year. As far as ice fishing is concerned, the ice is precarious. Coyotes are no longer prime. I could fish the open water north of Chamberlain for walleyes, but I don't generally travel that far to fish, and finding someone to go along isn't near as easy as it used to be. On the plus side, nice days are more frequent, and there's open water at Pickstown only 12 miles away. The walleyes are hit or miss, but the odds can be tilted in one's favor by going early or late.
Thanks to Joyce, my sister-in-law, I have a wonderful new book entitled, Hunt, Gather, Cook by Hank Shaw. The book presents a broad range of fishing, hunting, and foraging activities in a relaxing, refreshing style that makes for enjoyable reading. You might be familiar with Hank Shaw. At the recent three-day Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Sioux Falls, Shaw conducted a wild game cooking seminar.
While waiting on the front steps of our Wisconsin home for my fishing partner last summer, a fox trotted out between our home and the home next door. Unconcerned with my presence, he looked at me and proceeded to cross the street. Our chance meeting got me to thinking about fox encounters over the years, and just how broad a territory foxes roam on this planet of ours.