Sure am looking forward to winter. Never thought I'd say it, but fall has dragged on way too long.
Saw mallards and geese on the river the other day. They should be heading south soon. My sister in Minneapolis says she has robins at her feeder. They should be getting out of here pretty soon, too. A DNR staffer in Brainerd told me he got a bear complaint a couple weeks ago. Guess there's always one last bruin that refuses to bed down until the snow flies.
And then there's my brother and his fish house. Drove by his place the other day and saw it in the yard. Suppose he'll be calling any day now and asking me to help him drag it out on the ice.
What's that? You say it's February and winter's almost over? Huh? Did I miss something? Wouldn't be the first time, but......it can't be.....by gosh if it isn't.....FEBRUARY 23!
No way! Say it ain't so, Marty Anderson, acting DNR wildlife area manager.
"Rarely do we have a winter severity index in the single digits," Anderson says, sounding nothing like a DNR manager in February. "The index usually reaches 30 to 50 by this time of year."
And what time of year is that, Marty?
"Even if the winter takes a turn for the worse the wildlife should survive well," he says.
Well of course, but isn't fall a bit early to make that prediction?
"During the Christmas Bird Count some of our volunteers smelled skunks," says Pam Perry, DNR non-game specialist.
Wait a minute, Pam. I haven't done my shopping yet. Christmas is still a couple weeks away, right?
"Even chipmunks are scampering around the woods," Perry says.
Switch me over to Marty again, would you please?
"Last year at this time the winter severity index was 37 and there was 10 to 12 inches of snow," Anderson says.
Right. Brutal November we had that year.
"This year the index is 7 with negligible snow," Anderson says. "That's the lowest we've ever had. It's almost as if we haven't had a winter."
Of course not Marty, 'cause we haven't yet. Excuse me while I get my brother on the phone.
"Let's get that pile of boards you call a fish house out on the ice and let winter begin," I say.
"Good to see you've promptly returned the call I left on your machine exactly two months ago," he replies. "Stop by some afternoon after work. I'd like to get the dock ready. Something tells me we're going to have a very early ice-out."
Wait a minute, bro.' That's ice-in. As in freeze up.
"And while you're here," he says before hanging up, "would you please get your portable deer stands out of my garage? They're cluttering the place up."
Geez, a little patience please. Fall isn't over yet. Deer hunting doesn't get good until there's snow on the ground.
Sure am looking forward to winter.
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