Bad Timing

After an unseasonably warm opening weekend, Minnesota’s deer season is starting to feel right again. Colder weather. A skiff of tracking snow here and there.

Unfortunately, I’m out of the field, recovering from surgery on a detached retina. Someone is going to have to shoot my deer for me. I may get out next week just to sit in a stand for a few hours, but I won’t be pulling a trigger this year.

This blast of cooler weather may send some ducks our way. Bad news on the duck front from Lake Winnibigoshish this week, with the die-off of bluebills, apparently after eating snails carrying a trematode, or fluke, that kills the ducks. You can check the complete story in Tuesday’s Duluth News Tribune or online at

Steve Cordts, the waterfowl staff specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, filed this story in his weekly migration report last Thursday. I found it interesting: "While hunting last weekend, a group of four tundra swans (all
immature) landed about 150 yards from the decoys and preceded to swim in. They
swam straight toward ‘Otis,’ who was the only mallard decoy amongst 70
scaup/ring-necked decoys. ‘Otis’ was the name written on the bottom of the
decoy when I found him years ago. The swans surrounded poor ‘Otis,’ began
hissing at him, thrashing at him with their wings, and pecking at him with their
bills. Eventually, they spotted me and a quivering yellow dog in the boat and
swam off. After a few minutes, I noticed that ‘Otis’ was off for a swim. The
thrashing he took must have broken his decoy line. He never did fit in very
well, so as he floated away down the mighty Mississippi in search of his
rightful owner, I wished him a hearty ‘Godspeed’ (and to watch out for