The 30 pound cat in a 10 pound sackWORTHINGTON — I have spent the past two weeks trying to get a 30-pound cat into a 10-pound sack. There has been far more to do than time to do it.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — I have spent the past two weeks trying to get a 30-pound cat into a 10-pound sack. There has been far more to do than time to do it.
I had seven habitat burns I desperately wanted to have completed by the May 15th deadline and six still remain at this point. By the time you read this, it is my hope that four of the six remaining will be completed. Tomorrow is also the Worthington area Firearms Safety range day. This is the first year the program has utilized the DNR’s recommended online classroom portion of the class. Instead of six classes of two hours each at a prescribed location, the students complete an online course at hunterexam.com.
It will take a few years, but it is the intent of the DNR to get all of the classes in Minnesota to use the online version of the classroom portion, coupled with a more comprehensive multi-hour field day for participants. The difficult part of this transition is that we have no idea how many students will show up.
We normally run about 45 participants through the program, but with this substantial change we don’t know if those numbers will increase or decrease. There is no doubt it will take a few years to get all of the bugs worked out in the transition.
The range day is tomorrow and is only open to students who have completed the 12-hour online class and have acquired the formal certificate of completion. Those who have this certificate will arrive at the Worthington Gun Club at 1 p.m., and go home about four hours later with a temporary certificate. A wallet card will be mailed out a few weeks later.
Other programs have seen large increases with this change because parents are only required to haul the kids to one event. This reduces travel time and gas expenses — and allows young people to get a feel for what is required to go hunting without the commitment of giving up six nights that are usually full of baseball, choir concerts and all of the other springtime activities.
We have a great group of instructors, including Gary Kraemer, Scott Oberloh, Chad Nixon, Tim and Dave Tripp, Lonny Johnson and the designated paper-pusher, myself. If you see these guys on the street, give them a big thank you. Without them there would be no program in our area. The difference between a good program and a great one is the dedication of the volunteers, and these guys are the very best.
In addition to all of these efforts, there is the fishing opener coming up next Saturday, May 14. My fishing will be a little restricted on the opener as I am holding one of my Permit-to-Carry gun classes that day at the Worthington Gun Club. This runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so I will have to get my fishing in before or after those hours.
On a different front, you could say I have been lucky or unlucky, depending on your point of view. I got my boat out of storage four weeks ago and got it all ready for the 2011 season. I had planned to head out to the Missouri River by Chamberlain, S.D., and got rained out and blown off four weeks in a row. That is the unlucky part. The lucky part is that my boat is ready to go for the Minnesota opener.
A few items checked now will save you a lot of time and agony later. I always take a floor jack, which I have for just this purpose, and jack the wheels up on my boat trailer one at a time. I spin the wheel and listen for any undesirable sounds. I grab the wheel on the top and bottom and rock it back and forth. This action can determine if the wheel bearings need a little tightening. I have bearing buddies on my boat trailer. These are a cap for the wheel hub that covers the wheel bearings, and they can be filled with grease without taking the hub apart. You can add grease through a grease zerk on the outside.
These steps have drastically reduced the wheel bearing maintenance for the average boater. Even with bearing buddies, you still need to check and pack the wheel bearings every few years. Sitting on the side of the road for a busted trailer is about the least favorite thing that can happen on the opener. The list of other things to check includes the boat trailer lights. I carry a box of replacement bulbs that I get from Napa and they come in handy.
Every other boater will really appreciate if you start your outboard motor at home before you head to the boat ramp. The best comment I have ever heard — at a boat ramp with 20 other guys waiting impatiently to launch their boat — was a guy yelling to his buddy that, “it ran great when I put it away last year!” I would have omitted this fact if I was this guy.
The one thing that never surprises me anymore is how something can work great when you put it in storage and then magically die or break for no apparent reason at all. The fish locater that works great in October doesn’t work when you put it back on the boat in the spring is just one good example. The only way to avoid this phenomenon is to double-check everything before you go.
This is the time of year when an outdoors person wishes that some of these efforts could be done in January when there is nothing else to do.
I don’t know if I will be able to get the 30-pound cat in the 10-pound sack in the next few weeks, but I can say that trying to do so is a lot more fun when it’s sunny and 60 than when it’s raining and 40.
Good luck with what ever outdoor efforts you have in mind.
Scott Rall is the Daily Globe’s outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at www.dglobe.com.