Our Outdoors: Mingo Modification

By Nick Simonson The gentle up-and-down motion of the gulf waters against our walk-on charter boat sitting a few miles off the coast played with the thick line of my borrowed saltwater setup.  Between my brother and brother in law, I watched for the tap-tap-tap coming up from a hundred feet below on the beefy…

Our Outdoors: Getting Closer

By Nick Simonson The darkening grayness of the overcast sunset hour crept down from the buttes along the small valley formed by the feeder creek and river where my bow stand rests, near their junction.  The rising north winds carried flurries into my eyes which I blinked away. I looked down at the frosted the…

Our Outdoors: United in Orange

By Nick Simonson Blaze orange is the color that binds us as hunters at this time of year.  While we all may don the most visible shade known to man to let members of our hunting parties, or those in others know of our presence, the color serves as a common bond. It is a…

Our Outdoors: The Time We Have

By Nick Simonson I watched the gallon and price counters on the pump slowly tick up, up, up.  I estimated that I’d need about 28 gallons, with the tank of my pickup sitting at just below a quarter and impatiently ticked off each one.  Unwilling to test the limits on the back portion of the…

Our Outdoors: Ways of the Wind

By Nick Simonson Every autumn has a week where the winds of change blow through the upper Midwest, and this one is it for the current season.  With gusts in some places touching 50 miles per hour at the start of the week, the shift toward cooler weather was obvious, as hat-removing gales were a…

Our Outdoors: Getting Trained

By Nick Simonson It happened suddenly, coming up out of a yellow-leafed draw, my lab puppy, Ole – which until that point had lazily wandered in and out of the grass, kept pace behind my boots, and attempted to bite the other dogs in our opening weekend pheasant hunting group – took off.  He switchbacked…

Our Outdoors: Inflection

By Nick Simonson “To put it in perspective, we’ve harvested ten birds in the first two days of the season,” I said in response to the truck-cab recap of the first weekend of pheasant hunting, “last year, in our only walk on day four, we bagged eleven.” Our group’s total was indicative of what the…

Our Outdoors: Early Season Pheasant Tips

By Nick Simonson Since the cold end of last year’s pheasant season, hunters have eagerly awaited opening day, and now, mere hours away from it, we’re so close we can almost hear the crackling of the dry autumn grasses underfoot and the cackling of a flushing rooster in front of a hard-charging dog.  The start…

Our Outdoors: Fall Fever

By Nick Simonson She came into the north end of the field with that certain nervousness, her grey coat shivering off the dew around her hips and white-knobbed knees while she warily glanced back into the creek bottom stand of orange and yellow boxelders and ash trees on the trail behind her.  The doe’s demeanor…

Our Outdoors: A New Routine

By Nick Simonson Fall is a busy time.  Even more so if you’re a hunter ready to hit the field after several months off, or an angler looking to squeeze in a few last trips on the water before the season’s chill locks things away until next spring. On top of that, there is a…

Our Outdoors: How We Help Habitat Now

By Nick Simonson Numbers are down across the board for pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge in the upper Midwest.  In states like North Dakota and Montana, it was the persistent drought this summer which hurt hatching chicks straight out of the egg.  In Minnesota, a rainy spring in the state’s pheasant belt prevented a…

Our Outdoors: Sense of the Hunt

By Nick Simonson Amid on-again-off-again training for an upcoming half marathon (which will be run at a leisurely pace this year, I can assure you) I found myself headed to the stand in the white glow of my LED headlamp for the opening of North Dakota’s deer archery season.  Stiffness in my legs and left…