Minnesota’s Mentored Youth Wild Turkey Hunt Needs Your Help!!

Do you know a youth age 12 to 17 who yearns to be a “first” time wild turkey hunter here in Minnesota?   Perhaps you know a youth who also wants to learn more about turkey hunting and is willing to attend a pre-hunt orientation session to start gaining these necessary skills?   If so, have I got an exciting opportunity for some lucky kids.


That’s right.   Applications are currently being taken by the Minnesota DNR, but the deadline is less than a week away (application must be received by 2/13/12).   To download the application and review the complete details, please link HERE.

This is the 10th consecutive year the Minnesota DNR has teamed up with the National Wild Turkey Federation to provide mentors for qualified youth who desire to experience this unique outdoor challenge.   Over the years, more than 1,500 new wild turkey hunters have been successfully introduced to the outdoors thanks to volunteer adults who show the youth a safe, responsible experience out-of-doors.

A mentored youth turkey hunt is often the best way for first-time hunters to discover how to tag a tom.

To be eligible, a youth hunter must be the proper age on or before April 21; have a valid firearms safety certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.   Please note the program is for first-time turkey hunters only.   Any youth who has previously purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is not eligible.

Most hunts will occur April 21-22, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season.   Nearly all youth will hunt on private land thanks to the generosity of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained permission.

Participants will be selected through a random lottery.   Applications, maps and general information for the special youth wild turkey hunt are available online HERE.

Now for the important part.   I have it on good authority that so far this year applications for this special hunt are way down—as much as 40 percent compared to last year, for various reasons.   That means there’s a lot of willing, qualified mentors who could be missing an opportunity to make this program work unless we all take time to act now by encouraging a youth to get involved and to apply.

It’s worth noting that the average success rate for the mentored youth hunt in Minnesota is approximately 42 percent.   That’s a full 10 percent higher than the regular hunter success rate.   Why?   Because these youth get paired up with some experienced, skilled hunters who typically do extensive scouting before the actual hunt.   These volunteer adults know the importance of providing a positive experience, so not only do they dedicate their time, but often their best locations for the hunt, as well.

If you have additional questions about this great opportunity either post your question in the comments section below or contact Mike “Cold Front” Kurre at the DNR.   Michael.Kurre@state.mn.us

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Seriously? A $750 Spinning Reel?

Okay, this item is not new as it appears to have been on the market for at least a year…but I just noticed it while perusing my recent Cabela’s catalog.   At first I thought it must be some kind of misprint.   I mean, could a spinning reel possibly cost $750 and not be 14 kt gold plated or diamond encrusted?

Well, it appears so.

With a $750 price tag, the Shimano Stella Spinning Reel will not be found in the arsenal of every angler.

Now, keep in mind you’re reading this from a guy who once spent $129.99 for a spinning reel that was on sale and I thought that was an extreme extravagance.   I remember walking from the store feeling a bit guilty and second-guessing the purchase.   Even at that price I sure as heck did not tell my wife how much I just spent.

And apparently I’m not alone.   In reading over the few comments shown on the Shimano Stella reel, I noticed 3 out of 5 purchasers commenting made mention of their wife.  One had to have his wife revive him with smelling salts, another acknowledged not telling his wife the actual cost and a final person stated his wife eventually saw the price at the Cabela’s reel counter, so he finally got busted.

In fact, I found it somewhat amusing how this last guy not only disclosed the price to his wife by accident…but somehow found a way to purchase three more for a total of four luxury reels.   Yes, four spinning reels each costing more than all the fishing reels I’ve purchased combined.

Agreed, maybe I’m just out of touch.   Heck, shooters have their fine shotguns sold at ridiculous prices.   Bowhunters have their high-priced bows.   So, why not anglers with some state-of-the-art high-tech equipment with a price tag to reflect it?

I’d like to hear what you think.   Would you ever purchase a spinning reel costing $750?   If not, just what is the upper limit on how much would you spend on a reel to enhance your angling experience?   Does it take this sort of high-buck equipment to bring out the best angler you can be?   Please comment below.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Art Shanty Project 2012

These days most of us call them fish houses and with the portable pop-up style structures or ice house trailers the days of the solid wood-built ice shanty seems to be steadily losing popularity among wintertime anglers.   Well, that is not the case within the art community here in Minnesota.


Chances are good you'll never fish out of an ice shanty that looks like a robot...but here's proof you could.

The Art Shanty Project is a four-week long art exhibition (ending today) and you can learn more about it HERE.   Essentially it is “an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be done.”

Okay, that is the official explanation taken from the art group’s literature.   After seeing first-hand this interesting display of structures, I’d say it slightly pokes fun at those of us who erect structures on a frozen lake in search of fish…but more importantly it pokes fun of those of us who recreate in the frozen tundra where the lakes only stay open maybe eight months each year—if we’re lucky.

A man (or woman) has to do something to pass the time…so, why not build a temporary home on a frozen lake.

Whatever the case, check out my complete gallery of pictures showing a wide artistic display of what your next ice fishing shack could look like if you feel artsy.   Indeed, these structures focus much more on fashion than they do on piscatorial pursuit function.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.