Our Outdoors: Boot Work

By Nick Simonson   That new boot smell is the hunter’s equivalent of new car smell.  The fresh scent of slightly greased leather emerging from the crackling beige wrapping paper is a signal that autumn is not far away.  Clean and bright stitching, unmarred by dirt, mud or rain and running in a dotted yellow…

Our Outdoors: Idiotic

By Nick Simonson   I’ve been prone to some idiotic moments in the outdoors, such as toting an unloaded shotgun racked over my shoulders on the way back from a long walk in the field, when all of a sudden birds start flushing; or missing a buck standing broadside at 20 yards with my bow…

Our Outdoors: Magic Moments

By Nick Simonson   Our time in the outdoors, much like life, is defined by the successes and amazing events that live on in memory and require no photograph or journal entry to remind oneself, or perhaps a group of close friends around the campfire, of what happened. A simple “do you remember that time…

Our Outdoors: Can’t Fight the Fever

By Nick Simonson   The tinny buzz of the mosquito hovering annoyingly close to my ear was almost enough to distract me from completing the draw on my bow string and setting up the umpteenth arrow of the day.  With a sideways exhale that pushed the micro-menace away for a few more seconds, I steadied…

Our Outdoors: Big Return

By Nick Simonson The late spring was no more evident than when the water passed my waistline while wading out in the delta of the inflowing feeder creek, looking for walleyes.  The chill was dampened through the stocking feet of my waders and the jeans I wore underneath, but as I reached into the floating…

Our Outdoors: The Role of Wetlands

By Nick Simonson As snow piles higher and higher across the region and cold temperatures refuse to lift, the one-two punch of a suddenly very real winter has many conservationists worried for wildlife.  Additionally, looking forward to an eventual melt, concern also rises in regard to spring flooding as coulees, drains, creeks and streams will…

Our Outdoors: The Winter Hunt

By Nick Simonson The overnight snows that clipped southern Minnesota turned the beige and black harvested landscape into a winter wonderland with a white blanket nearly half a foot deep.  In seasons past, when I played host and my friends would visit me on the post-Thanksgiving weekend, it was almost a certainty that the season’s…

Our Outdoors: Looking Up

By Nick Simonson More than a decade ago, I was introduced to still hunting for deer by a co-worker, Gene, before I married and moved away from my hometown.  Being a new deer hunter at the time, I was beyond the edge of my ability with the more experienced sportsmen in my usual group of…

Our Outdoors: Down in Flames

By Nick Simonson “When we get one on, it’s a Chinese fire drill,” my buddy John explained with a laugh as we motored out along Garrison Dam on the south end of Lake Sakakawea in search of the chinook salmon which are stocked annually in the reservoir and provide a unique, cold-water fishery that fires…

Our Outdoors: Generations

By Nick Simonson With a smack, the foam fly flopped over on the cast next to the silver metal of the boatlift at the end of the dock. A second later, a dimple appeared and the offering was gone, replaced with all the might of a silver-dollar sized sunfish which swirled and turned under the…

Our Outdoors: Fun With Fluorocarbon

By Nick Simonson While the number of people engaged in fishing activities has declined in recent years, it’s safe to say that those who remain in the ranks of anglers throughout the upper Midwest are armed with uncountable lures, amazing watercraft and technology that rides the cutting edge.  As a result, this concentrated core of…

Our Outdoors: Trail Cams Capture Excitement

By Nick Simonson With trail camera technology now a big part of most every dedicated deer hunter’s pre-season scouting rituals, getting a glimpse at that big buck (or several of them) patrolling a certain area provides a shot of excitement for the upcoming autumn, the opportunity to understand more about the animal’s movement, and a…