Although not originally from the Rainy Lake area, Ernest Oberholtzer was one of its fiercest advocates. A nationally-known conversationalist, Oberholtzer was named by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as one of the 100 Most Influential Minnesotans of the 20th century. Today, his legacy lives on through the Oberholtzer was born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1884. In 1909, he made a trip to the Minnesota-Ontario border lakes and took his first extended canoe trip through the border lakes and the Rainy Lake watershed in 1909. These voyages made such an impression on Oberholtzer, he would dedicate his life to protecting the area and the traditions of its native people.
In 1913, Oberholtzer (known by many as “Ober”) moved to Rainy Lake, and in 1922, purchased Mallard Island, which would be his home for more than 50 years. His environmental achievements include:
Oberholtzer was also an author and spoke fluent Ojibwe.
“These trails of the north are a sermon in harmonious living. They tell not only of a race in conflict with [Western] civilization but of their whole philosophy and outlook on life. We have so much to learn from Indians and no better place to learn it today than portages worn smooth by our Indian predecessors.” Ernest Oberholtzer
Today, Oberholtzer is considered a leading advocate for the preservation of the Quetico-Superior lake area and an advocate of the Native American culture in that region. Before his death in 1977, a large plaque was installed in rock at the highest point of Mallard Island. The memorial reads, "This island was for fifty years the home of Ernest Oberholtzer, pioneer in the effort to save the wilderness, devoted Atisokan to the Indians and cherished friend and companion. 1973"
After his death, several of Oberholtzer’s friends established the Oberholtzer Foundation, which continues his legacy of conservation and wilderness protection.
We are into the middle of October and ruffed grouse hunters are starting to flush more birds as the cover has been coming down. Cold and wet weather lately has limited the number of hunters willing to get out.
Fall color watchers are seeing the peak pass them by, although there are still some green leaves. By about October 20th, they will all be gone.
Birders can catch all sorts of migrating waterfowl from swans to geese, and as a reminder, if you hike any of the trails you should wear some blaze orange for safety.
Weather has been a factor for Rainy Lake and Rainy River anglers. While few folk are getting out, those that find the window of opportunity are finding walleye, northern pike and crappie at varying depths around the submerged structure in Rainy Lake. Crappie are also being caught in the west end of Black Bay and up into the Rat Root River.
This post was brought to you by Rainy Lake Guide Association.
Like introducing your kids to fishing, taking them deer hunting can be a fun, exciting experience loaded with memory-making opportunities. If your aim is to nurture a love of the outdoors and hunting in your children, it’s important that first hunts are enjoyable for all. Here are some tips and tricks to make the adventure go as smoothly as possible so everyone will want to return next year.
Although deer hunting season is a limited time (usually two to three weeks in Northern Minnesota), you’ll want to get your hunt on the calendar early to avoid scheduling conflicts with other family activities. Doing so also generates excitement, which is half the fun of any adventure.
Consider a Youth Hunt
Each season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stipulates a special Youth Deer Season, usually one weekend several weeks before the official firearm season. The main benefit of these special hunts is the opportunity to make it all about your kids. Since adults aren’t allowed to hunt, you can focus 100 percent of your attention on helping your new hunter have a great experience. Check the MN DNR website for hunting season regulations, including youth hunting dates.
It’s not uncommon for adults to decide “it’s just easier” to do all the prep work themselves. But planning meals, determining your driving route, packing sleeping bags and rounding up necessary gear is also part of the experience – and it’s fun!
Get some Shooting Practice
Long before you embark on your hunting adventure, make time for the shooting range. Every young firearm hunter should have at least one good shooting session, and preferably two to three, before his or her first hunt. Stay positive while your kids learn to aim and fire. Your patience will help grow their confidence, which will benefit them in other areas of their lives as well.
Outfit Them Properly
While it’s OK to outfit kids with hand-me-downs, be sure they have gear that will work well for them. Kids need to be able to move freely in jackets and pants, while keeping warm, and it’s imperative that boots fit properly. Nothing can derail a hunt faster than wet, frozen feet. Mittens or gloves and a hat are also bare necessities, as is a deer rifle fit specially for them.
Provide Creature Comforts
All kids are different, but most of them (at least my boys) are quite concerned with their stomachs. When you’re up early, it’s important to feed them at home, in camp or on the drive. I can’t eat that early, but kids sure can. Bring plenty of food for the hunt too. If you’re in a blind, that’s easy. It’s harder to eat in a tree. Take decent food, not candy but sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly anyone?), crispy bars, granola bars or wholesome cookies.
Know When to Call it a Day
Remember: your goal is to provide an enjoyable first hunting experience that will spark a life-long love of the sport. Kids’ attention spans are short, they get hungry, and they can’t walk as far as you. Be flexible and patient. If the weather is miserable, it’s better to call off a hunt than have an experience
that’s memorable for all the wrong reasons.
While bagging that first deer may be top-of-mind for kids, take time to show them the other wonders of hunting. Star gaze, identify bird song and animal tracks, note the sounds of the forest, and celebrate the little things that you’ve come to love about spending time in the great outdoors. Above all, enjoy your time together.