Scenes From Minnesota’s Youth Waterfowl Day Last Saturday

In Minnesota, as in many other states, the Department of Natural Resources has an early duck season to encourage youth participation in the sport.   While adults can supervise and assist for safety, only the youth can carry a gun and do the actual waterfowl shooting.   The theory is to get youth outdoors early before the chaos of the regular season gets underway.   It’s also intended to provide them with an opportunity for special instructional supervision to hone new hunting skills.

Unfortunately, last Saturday there didn’t appear to be many hunters out in the marshes down in the Faribault area.   The result was not many ducks flying and very little shooting opportunity.   Still, memories were made and it’s always a good time to get out to smell the unmistakable marsh air.

Images courtesy of Todd Rost.

Remembering 9-11-2001

So, what has changed in my life since the morning of September 11, 2001?

Lost Innocence

I used to get out of bed in the morning and not give much thought to world events.   Most happenings on the news seem so distant…with little, if any, impact on my life.   Not anymore.   Now in the mornings before I turn on the television news a part of me wonders what catastrophic event is currently taking place that I am now just about to hear when I click on the TV.   Yup, a part of me braces to anticipate the worst.   Even though we are surrounded by lots of good things that happen in our lives daily, it’s foolhardy to forget we are also immersed in a world of true evil.   Terrorists like to cast fear and worry…but they also like to act when we let our guard down and become susceptible to their insidious acts against mankind.

Increased Vigilance

Perhaps we were once naive to think it could never happen to our country…that some group of radical people could use the freedoms enjoyed in our society to cause so much harm against us.   But they did.   We watched it happen before our unbelieving eyes.   Like most others, I was glued to the television to see what would happen next.   It seemed as if I went through different phases upon learning of the terrorism act.   First amazement, next disbelief, then came an urge to be close to family and gather together all who were important to one’s life…and the emotions continued in the hours and days to come.   All in all, we became suspicious of everything and nearly everyone.   When people acted strange we would view it with heightened curiosity and seriousness.   Still do to this day.

Have A Plan

We never thought we would see a day(s) where the planes stopped flying (well, commercial ones anyway).   Indeed, 9–11 gave us a taste of what life would be like turned upside down.   Imagine if cell phones no longer worked.   Imagine if the Internet was completely out…or even spotty and unreliable.   Imagine if fuel and electricity…the very things that power our society were suddenly in very short supply.   How would we react?   Well, it caused me to develop a plan.   Family knows that priority number one is to assemble at our home as soon as possible.   Once we’re all together…we will then assess the situation and gather needed resources.   But the plan can only work when we are all safe and together no matter what it takes to make this happen.

Take Nothing For Granted

As many of you know I have become an avid ham radio operator in the past year or so.   While so many people laugh about what they perceive as playing with outdated technology, I see it more as a time-proven reliable technology.   In fact, what most hams practice for are the type of situations we hope we never have to use in reality.   In other words, if the world is relying on hams to communicate…it likely means some dastardly event has taken place to cause it and life will not be carrying on as we once knew it.   Yes, I have both the equipment and the know how to communicate over a wide area…and potentially around the world given the correct conditions.   Best of all, this can be powered by batteries and recharged from my vehicle.   As landline phones slowly disappear and we all depend on phones carried in our pockets…you tell me if you can’t imagine the potential problem with this situation.   Yup, don’t take things for granted and have a backup means to communicate.   Wise to have a backup for everything you do in life.

Greater Appreciation For All Men & Women Who Serve

I really don’t care what your feelings might be about why we went to war.   Nor do I care about the politics, at least to some degree, that are seemingly woven into all aspects of our life these days.   Yet, what I do care about are the fellow citizens who fight to keep us safe.   Whether soldiers fighting in a war zone…or cops fighting in some nasty cultural uprising…we have brothers and sisters doing a tough job for little reward.   They do it because they care.   We all need to appreciate that.   When is the last time you thanked a soldier for their service?   When is the last time you purchased a cup of coffee and a donut for a police officer?   We all owe these people a lot and it takes so little effort on our part to show some proper appreciation.   These are the folks on the front line acting as a buffer keeping us separated from evil.   They sacrifice so much to do what they do.   If there is one good thing that came out of 9–11 it’s that these heroes in our life have been given an opportunity to shine and be respected by all of us.   Let’s be sure to do that!!

Back At The Lodge — A New Podcast

One of my absolute favorite times in the outdoors comes at the end of the day when you are back in camp and rehashing all the memories made just hours earlier.   It’s a time when jokes are told…stories become legendary and occasionally a person gets to brag about what went right making others just a wee bit jealous.

When Michelle Scheuermann and I were trying to think up a name for our new podcast we wanted something with meaning.   We wanted something that quickly explained what the show was all about.   Indeed, the concept of being back at camp after a long day spent outdoors had a certain appeal…not just because it’s comfortable, but because sharing thoughts and feelings is what takes place when good friends gather in such places.

That’s how Back at the Lodge was born.   The concept of relaxing near a campfire with new and old friends alike.   It’s the time of the day when everyone gets to say what’s on their mind.   It’s a time when you sit near an open campfire (or perhaps a fireplace) and let those tired ol’ aching muscles in your body begin their recovery.   Yet, best of all…it’s when not only do you get to look back on what has just recently happened, but anticipate an even better tomorrow spent outdoors with brand new stories and experiences soon to tell.

I’m not really sure who’s idea it was to do a podcast.   I guess I will give that credit to Michelle.   Longtime readers of this blog might remember how back in 2006 and 2007 I produced 9 episodes of a podcast called The Sportsman’s Blog Podcast.   It was a fun experiment, but became very time consuming arranging guests and coordinating schedules just to produce.

As Michelle and I have learned, some things really don’t change.   Coordinating schedules can be frustrating as hell.   Because we live about an hour apart here in Minnesota, it means either hooking up midway at some noisy restaurant with our recording equipment or one of us driving to the others’ home.   Sure, we could more easily Skype our sessions and then use that recording, but so far we have resisted doing so as it sort of goes against the concept of meeting face-to-face “Back at the Lodge.”

So, what can listeners expect to hear by tuning in?   Ha!   That will change with any given day.   We don’t go into these sessions well scripted for the most polished audio recording possible.   We don’t want that.   We want you to feel as though you are joining us in a casual conversation that may involve current events, certain happenings in our lives, pet peeves, outdoor industry trends…I think you get the picture.

Occasionally, Michelle and I will invite others to join us on the podcast to get other perspectives on matters or to share a certain outdoor expertise.   With that in mind, we also encourage listener involvement.   Drop us an e-mail through our respective blog sites and we might use YOUR thoughts on a future episode.   We appreciate your feedback and we welcome the opportunity to engage our listeners in this fun auditory manner.

Well, enough of this introductory podcast talk.   How about we get down to business and listen to that first episode?   Please give us a listen and be sure to add us to your podcast aggregator so you don’t miss a single episode.   You’ll find us available in the following locations:

Thanks for listening!