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Scott Rall: Sometimes it's good to be wrong

BY SCOTT RALL The Globe outdoors columnist Julie Buntjer, the award-winning reporter for this paper, did a great job of filling in our readers about the activities that were part of the Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener in Luverne last Saturday....

 

BY SCOTT RALL

The Globe outdoors columnist

Julie Buntjer, the award-winning reporter for this paper, did a great job of filling in our readers about the activities that were part of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Luverne last Saturday.  There were far too many activities to be able to cover them all.

I would like to share another aspect of the festivities that I was quite a bit closer to. When the Luverne group started considering the application to host the MGPHO, the soon-to-be event chairman, Rick Peterson, called me for some information as we had hosted this event in 2014.

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I made a commitment at that time and said we would help in any way we could. I called a few folks with dogs and some hunting land that was close to the Rock County line. I committed those resources as a base from which the Luverne committee could build from.

They applied and were awarded the event to be held one year later. They started all of the normal processes, and I explained to Rick that if he could find enough Rock County participants that the Nobles folks I had committed would just silently back into the shadows.  

We were there if they need us, but I considered us the backup bench players. This was a Rock County event.

As it turned out, the community of Luverne came together in a way that I have not seen in the eight years I have attended this event. Literally almost every business in town got behind the effort and Luverne raised almost $100,000 to put on the best show ever. Every sign, be it an electronic one or the old-fashioned individual letter ones, had a welcome hunter’s message on it when the guests arrived in town.

Almost every store front had the logo in their windows and even the porta-potties have a governor’s hunt decal on the door.

They blew this event out of the water. In addition to the highest level of community participation I had seen, they also pulled off a hunt for the guests that netted 26 birds. Now 26 birds may not seem like much, but many of the guests are not your rank-and-file sportsmen and women. They are media personalities and other invited guests.  

The group that hunted on my property raised 15 roosters and bagged only one. As the day unfolded I was so happy to be wrong about one thing. I had expectations of a very poor hunting season. I had only seen nine pheasant chicks in the 90 days prior to opening day. I would normally have seen 100. The 10 inches of rain we received in the first 10 days of June spelled doom for many young pheasant chicks.

Reports from all over the southwest part of the state were 10 times better than I expected.  My own hunting results of the past few days also proved my initial expectations completely wrong. There are birds out there in greater numbers than I ever imagined for the 2108 season.

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There was one group of hunters this past weekend that I followed with great interest, and that was the ladies mentor hunt.

A gal by the name of Kristi Coughlin was in the lead on helping a group of women enjoy a pheasant hunting adventure. They ranged in age from 14 to about 77. Some had hunted before and others had never participated.

Women make up one of the fastest growing segments of hunters in Minnesota and nationwide.

Kristi is an information officer for the Minnesota DNR and a very experienced hunter. We have been friends for a long time. The ladies received some shooting instruction the day earlier and were ready to “get ‘er done” on Saturday morning.  They had hunters hosts with both pointing and flushing dogs and these gals knew how to handle a dog.

I looked over the spot they were visiting the day before and the local landowners in Rock County really handed up some fabulous hunting properties. They had landowners from nine of the county’s 12 townships participate by allowing hunters on their property.  

This is a great testament to the Rock County farmers and ranchers. In the end, the gals did not bag many birds. Conditions were very wet and there was enough wind to make shots for a new hunter more difficult.

The local veterans of Rock County also had their own special spot to try to bag a ringneck, too.

There is no way to say thank you enough to those who risk their lives for this great nation.  Nobles County Pheasants Forever is hosting a Warriors Never Give Up hunt this very weekend as another thank-you to those great heroes.

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The season looks to be much better than initial expectations and I am making plans to take a young guy hunting next week.

All I can say is it is great to be wrong on my season expectations and when the history books are read years from now they will have a big star by Luverne, Minn., as having hosted one of the best MGPHO events of all time. Great job to Rick Peterson and entire Luverne GPHO event committee.

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