2012 Minnesota Fishing Opener In Photos

Unfortunately, at the very last moment, I was not able to make my annual trek north for the Minnesota Fishing Opener this past Saturday.   The boat was packed, supplies were all organized, the family was all primed to go…but, alas, it was not meant to be.   As I have previously chronicled in this blog…my mother is currently in her waning days of life and we had to make the tough decision that it just wasn’t prudent to be 5–hours away (at Fish Camp) during this moment in time.

That being said, several of the other guys in my group did make the trek to Bemidji, Minnesota staying at the Finn-n-Feather Resort.   Here’s their weekend in pictures.   Enjoy!

(All photos courtesy of Todd Rost)
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Perhaps now you better understand why missing the Minnesota Fishing Opener is not something I plan to do next year or any year thereafter.

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

 

 

Thanks For Your Concern

Several weeks back I informed you in this blog how I had placed my mother into hospice (end-of-life) care and how I would likely be stepping away from regular blogging for a while during this process.   Several of you have reached out to me asking how things are going, so I will just give a brief summary.

Quite honestly, two months ago when I place my mother into hospice, my brother and I both agreed by all accounts she wouldn’t last long.   She had simply reached a point in her life where she wanted things to be over.   Being nursing home bound and requiring staff to feed, bathe, and do all of the day-to-day life needs simply caused her to lose her will to thrive at the age of 85.

I must say the process of watching a loved one creep toward their last breath is not very easy.   At times it is downright heartbreaking, at other times it is emotionally and physically draining, yet, with everything going on it has also been a period where I have done some deep introspection about death.   Heck, for that matter…maybe it would be more appropriate to say about life.

Those of us who are sportsmen often deal with death.   We take the lives of the game or fish we pursue, we sometimes have to make the excruciating decision to put our canine partners down.   Hell, if you’ve made it to middle age you may have already said “goodbye” to several hunting and fishing partners who have passed on.

Death is not easy.   It is also not predictable.   Yet, watching my mother inch toward “better days ahead” in a spiritual sense has certainly given me a greater appreciation for my life.   During the process I’ve learned as much about myself as I have about her wonderful time spent on earth.

Over the course of the past several weeks I’ve taken my time to grieve.   We’ve said all the “goodbyes” and “I Love You’s” a person would expect to hear from a caring family.   I’ve tried to spend as much time at her bedside as is feasible, yet carrying on with the other important facets of life—like family and work.

Indeed, my mind lately has been distracted and distant much of the time.   As important as blogging is to me…other priorities had taken on greater importance to my life at this moment in time.   I know most of you understand.

However, with all of this said…I’m reaching a point where I need to regain control of my life and attempt to bring it back into balance.   So much of my life has been “on hold” during the past several months anticipating something that isn’t quite happening at the pace I once expected it would.   To some extent, it is time to move on with my life.

In ten days the 2012 Minnesota Fishing Opener kicks off and I had considered breaking tradition and not going this year on my normal 5–hour trek from home.   Not the case.   As I have done all previous years in this blog, I plan to go and write about my experiences on the water during this special annual fishing weekend.

My mother, well…she continues to get weaker and hardly eats or drinks.   She has many more bad days than she experiences any good days.   From hour to hour I don’t know what to expect from her as her health and mental state fluctuates quite unpredictably.

In closing, I want to thank all of you for expressing your concern and your prayers.   My family appreciates everything and is strengthened by such heartfelt generosity.   On a bright note, I’m here to tell you I’m attempting to get back into the swing of posting regular pieces to this blog.   I hope you’ll cut me some slack and understanding if it doesn’t happen…but that is my intent.

Be strong & courageous.  Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Josh. 1:9

Jim Braaten

PETA’s Threats And Harassment Deserves Greater Sportsman Criticism

During my lifetime I’ve been witness to many despicable, deplorable acts perpetrated by one person onto another.   We all know nature can be cruel and relentless, but I contend that some within our Homo sapiens population have seemingly failed to get the memo on evolution.

Perhaps nothing better exemplifies my point than an experience I had about 15 years ago while working ambulance.   As I recall, we were dispatched to a residence of a person suffering severe panic attacks that were endangering her life.   In a nutshell, we discovered a 30–something year old woman who had been a sex slave to her neighbor for the past several years.   The woman, who had a teenage son, endured acts and behavior I simply cannot describe within this blog.  It was gut-wrenching…and tore my heart out more than you can imagine.

Why did she do it?   To protect her son from criminal prosecution.   Turns out the son had broken into the neighbor’s home and stole some items that were fairly petty in the whole scheme of things.   To prevent the neighbor from reporting the son and pressing criminal charges…the woman chose instead to endure a living hell, that, at times, even involved being locked in a closet for days on end.

So, why do I bring this up?   I want to give you some perspective.   When I speak of acts and words that I find utterly repulsive and beyond the bounds of our typical community standards, I know about what I speak.   I’ve experienced it first-hand.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a complete shock that in recent weeks I’ve been feeling those same sickening sentiments about a series of comments that posters have tried to make to this blog.   You see, some folks allegedly from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have viciously attacked my good friend, Michele Leqve, whom I first wrote about in the blog back almost six years ago.   Michele is credited as being the first woman to ever shoot a polar bear with a bow.   And because I defended her in my previous blog post…I also became subject to their relentless attacks.

Check out a small sampling of excerpts from the comments these people have tried to make (but were not approved for complete publication) on this blog:

“…disgusting pervertion of womanhood … i hope someone shoots her with a bow and arrow just after she’s been run to exhaustion….”

and this one:

“I’ll be impressed when the Bitch can shoot all you FUCKTARDS making you extinct.”

and

“… I hope you all have the experience of being hunted down and shot one day.”

Indeed, dozens of PETA-supporting folks tried to comment, but almost without exception their words were crude, repulsive and totally devoid of decency in attempting to make an argument debating their point of view.   Instead, these folks chose to use vulgar language and prove to me once and for all how they represent the pure hypocrisy of what they profess to be.

After all, how can a person ever truly believe in the ethical treatment of animals when they can’t even display common courtesy to their own kind.   Seriously, I can accept and tolerate the fact not everyone views hunting the exact same way as I do.   Yet, it appears the typical PETA member can show no tolerance in return.   I can even appreciate they might feel strongly the way they do…but when they cross the line and attempt to post such absolute garbage on my blog site they have just wasted those few minutes of their life and exposed a big flaw in their human character.

My friend, Michele, has been harassed to the point she had to change her e-mail and her cell phone number to avoid all the vicious threats.   I might point out that back in 2006 when Michele killed her polar bear she was on a legal hunt and the meat from the animal was taken and used by her Nunavut Eskimo guides.  Today, her trophy mount remains on display at a major sporting goods store in Canada for thousands to see.

I began this blog post describing how the perceived threats of one person can be so powerful it ultimately devastated the life of another person who was susceptible to such behavior.   In reality, I personally find it difficult to draw a distinction in my mind between the low-life person who would make threats to achieve any desired result—whether it be in an attempt to stop hunting by intimidation or to bargain for silence on filing a criminal report in exchange for perverse sexual pleasures.

Sometimes people are just downright mean and impossible to understand.  That pretty much describes my sentiments towards many who supposedly embrace the actions and behaviors behind the PETA organization.

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