Friday's Weekend Column

by James Glaser
October 31, 2003

It always seemed to me that the first snow came on Halloween night. I remember taking the kids up to International Falls to trick or treat and toward dark the snow would start to fall. This year it came a little early. Deer hunting starts in a week and many hunters like that "tracking snow." What I really think they like is to see the tracks of the deer in the snow, so that they know there are deer in the area they are hunting in.

No matter when that first snow comes, you always wish you had a couple more weeks of nice weather. I was on top of things this year and when that seven inches came on Monday, I didn't have to wonder what was buried under it. Sometimes in the past, I have had to wait till spring to find things I had left out.

The first snow puts the birds in a panic. They are working over the feeder until dark and in the morning they are there before first light. You have to kind of judge just how much feed to put out, because if the feeder is filled at night the raccoons start coming. If the feeder is in the yard, the deer will clean every bit left out for them.

It doesn't matter to the deer if your feeder in on the deck or if you have a yard light, they walk right up and take what they want, but the day deer hunting season starts, they are gone.

Hunters are seen every where now. Some are building tree stands and others are brushing out shooting lanes from the stand. The real avid guys have their hunting spot done months ago so the deer aren't spooked by new stands and the noise of people in the woods before the hunt starts. Some guys are sighting in their rifle a day before opener. Those shots are a real warning to any deer in a mile radius, that something is up.

I would have to guess that a couple thousand hunters will come to this part of Minnesota to hunt, maybe twenty thousand will invade the county. Ninety eight percent of the hunters are real sportsman that treat the woods like they should, are polite to everyone, and are a real pleasure to see year after year. Like every thing else in life, there are a few jerks that give the sport a bad name.

I read in the paper last week about some sixteen year old kid from Iowa that shot a deer with the worlds record non-typical antlers. It was written that he might get close to two hundred thousand dollars for the rack. A price like that could make a guy think about poaching a big buck if he saw one.

Now that we have had a few days of cold and snow, I am acclimatized already and that is nice. Working out side gets you ready for winter real fast like. The only thing that I don't like is the road conditions. I don't worry about going in the ditch, but I do worry about other people sliding into me.

Every year there is that new set of drivers that just got their license this year and this is their first time driving on snow and ice. It takes a while to learn about winter driving. Some people never catch on that you can't go as fast as summer. Sometimes the roads are so slippery you have to just creep along and about then some high school kid goes by you at fifty five and they can sail out a long way if there isn't a deep ditch.

I always carry a tow rope, a chain, a shovel, jumper cables, some candy bars, and a few candles. I never had any of that stuff when I first started driving, but I have learned that in Northern Minnesota is pretty easy to find yourself fifteen miles to the closest warm house and it doesn't cost anything to carry all that stuff, I have a good warm blanket too. I have never been in the position that I have really needed this stuff, but I have helped a fair amount of people that didn't have any winter supplies with them.

There is a unwritten rule for those that live up here. You see someone that needs help in the winter and you help. It does not matter if you don't know them, heck it doesn't matter if you don't like the people in trouble. You stop and help because they would do the same for you. Winter can be real pretty and sliding around in your car or truck can be fun, but it can also be deadly.

So I am ready for another winter. The house is snug and warm, we just put a pig in the freezer, we have lots of canned goods, I can get a deer if I want ( they are all over my yard) I just put new tires on the truck, and I have lots of work that can be done in my workshop right here at home. This is going to be a nice winter. Sure wish I had those two more weeks of nice weather though.

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