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Some of my exploits (such as breaking through five inches of ice) have been well-documented on this forum. I thought it would be interesting to hear some of the dumb things that we've all done on/around this lake. They can be funny, serious, life-threatening, just plain dumb, or a combination. I figure that we can all learn a bit while sharing some embarrassing moments.


Mine is a split-decision:


Dumb Candidate #1) Around 5yrs ago, we all headed up for fishing opener. A buddy that used to co-own the cabin got there first with other guys from the group. There was a few inches of fresh snow everywhere. Nobody shoveled the dock or stairs before I got there. I didn't bother either as I was the late-comer. Throughout the weekend the trampled snow turned into ice with each step. Fast-forward to the day everyone was leaving and my buddy slipped on one of the last steps, falling on the corner of a stair tread, and broke several ribs. As the host, I sure felt like crap for not taking charge of things once I got there and getting things shoveled. It sucks seeing a friend get hurt and knowing it was preventable.


Dumb Candidate #2) This summer I took a bunch of nieces and nephews for ATV rides back in the woods. They all had a great time. On the last of five trips, I was a little too excited and went faster along the trail. At one point the edge of my left front tire caught a log and turned the handlebars sharply. In the end, I spent portions of many weekends this summer replacing tie rods and a demolished cv joint on my 2002 Polaris. That was my penalty for being dumb but a good lesson learned.

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Mine are pretty mundane.   One was only a potential oopsie and the other one was real.      


First the potential... Was on a canoe trip to Quetico one spring.   Water was pretty cold, not ice out cold, in the 50s   On the way out we had to paddle across Nym and Batchewung.   I think it was Batchewung, and there was a pretty good stretch of open water, and the wind was blowing.    In our defense, it didn't look that bad, but it was once we got out a little ways.   We kept going.   We made it across but it was very close, had a fair amount of water in the canoe by then.     If we would have dumped, we would have died, since we were a good ways from shore and the water was cold and no help available.   


Then the actual.    I was doing something under the soffit of my cabin, so used the section of extension ladder I had to get up there.  Ladder was a little long but I did it anyway.   Didn't fasten the bottom of the ladder in any way.    Splat it went on the deck, me aboard.    Broke my arm, dislocated shoulder.     It is really hard to fish with only your left arm...   Right arm in a shoulder restrainer.



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Oh so many, but I will keep it to my worst 3 on Vermilion (associated photos follow).  Hope I don't win (or lose?).


1979 - duck hunting in Stuntz Bay with my friend in a 17 foot square-stern canoe, a decoy cord got caught in the 6hp Johnson prop.  Rather than going to shore to untangle, I attempted to free it on the water by tipping the motor up and reaching back.  When I started losing my balance in this awkward position, I decide to slide into the water rather than tip the entire canoe and my friend.  Finished setting up for hunting and left my friend in the blind while I went back home for dry clothes.


1981 - water-skipped my dad's 1973 Arctic Cat Cheetah 340 snowmobile over 70 feet in the Stuntz Bay little narrows.


1998 - in late March I went to fish lakers on Trout Lake on an extremely foggy morning.  I was dragging my portable fish house loaded with gear (close to 100 pounds total) on the rear bumper of my 1993 Polaris Indy 440.  I left McKinley Park two hours before sunrise and headed for Canfield Portage.  When I reached a shore I followed the shoreline but didn't find the portage.  This was before I had a GPS and visibility was very limited due to darkness and fog, so I spent the next 1½ hours looking for the portage.  During this search I crossed open stretches of water 5 times going around points while following shorelines.  When it finally started getting lighter I realized that I was on the east end of Pine Island.  I then went around the back side of Pine and made it to Trout Lake well after daylight.  Only caught 5 eelpout that day.


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Edited by JerkinLips
Correct spelling.
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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • gimruis
      I did not participate in the youth hunt growing up because it didn't exist.  I went on opener like everyone else.  The early seasons and special youth regulations are relatively new.  Do I think that having the youth duck season a couple weeks inhibits my success as a duck hunter?  No, not likely.  I don't think there's enough pressure to have an impact.  But that's not the point.  I believe that every hunter or angler that wants to hunt or fish should be able to.  You buy a license and you can do it.  You can make opener about teaching your child to hunt too.  I know this because that's what happened to me.  The early deer season is another topic for another day.   Duck hunting has really gone down hill in about the past 8-10 years.  When I first starting doing it, I'd see flocks of mallards that I haven't seen anymore.  Hundreds of wood ducks early in the season too.  Recently its just a fraction of that now.  In the same spots I hunted years ago too.  They just aren't there anymore.  Its partially my own fault because I don't scout anymore and try to find new, more productive spots.  I think many of the ducks that used to migrate through here have changed their migration route to the west.  Something is going to have to change dramatically for me to start doing it again.   Thanks for your work in the health care field this past year, Kettle.  We are greatly appreciative of your work more than ever.
    • gimruis
      OK so where do they park if the ice isn't thick enough to drive on then?
    • Wanderer
      Yah, no kidding!  Heading the Winnie this weekend.  Wife signed us up for a GTG for a wheelhouse group.  About 100 confirmed attendance. 😲   The most important thing I packed was the 4 wheeler! 😄
    • monstermoose78
      Looks like we lucked out with the weather compared to what they were talking about. See you all on the ice this weekend!!
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      Since y’all are weighing in.   I don’t have a grand opinion either way on the youth season.  Honestly for those I know, it seemed more important to the adults than the kids they took.  I understand that’s not universal with all kids so I doubt I’ll stand against it even though I do prefer level playing fields for everyone as @gimruismentioned.  Teaching kids to earn something is a life lesson in itself.     Teal - I still see a good percentage of BWT on opener compared to other ducks so I know there’s still plenty that haven’t left.  I’m more worried about the misidentified young of the year others that will get tossed or not retrieved when shooters realize they dropped non-teal.  Look no further than the splash duck rule for support.  A couple bonus teal so we can get “our fair share”?  OK, doesn’t sound too bad.  Same difference as shooting them for more days.   No trolling motors in WMA’s.  Paddlers still want to have a place to get away from motor hunters.  We’re supposed to be creating or at least maintaining opportunities in this state.  Don’t take quiet enjoyment away completely.  And by quiet enjoyment, I’m speaking of pressure not the noise of a trolling motor...    Spinners OK all the time, sure, why not everyone has them by now.  Again a level playing field.   The statewide open water rule is the single change I’m most interested in.  I’m all in.   Oh yeah, split season: I’m fine with it.  I’ve given up firearms deer hunting for ducks before and will keep doing it if I have ducks to chase.
    • Kettle
      I definitely appreciate your opinion and can see your point of view. Can I ask if you were as a youth able to participate in a youth hunt as I know relatively speaking it is fairly new.   You are definitely right, hunting is not what it used to be. I myself don't even waterfowl hunting in MN anymore. Ironically speaking I grew up hunting a faimly farm. On bad years my family would attribute the poor numbers to me youth hunting but there were years where I hunted the youth opener and on the standard opener we had limits for 12 individuals, seeing this and reading data I do believe that the youth opener has minimal to zero impact on hunting outcomes two weeks later. To this day I can say I harvested one wood duck, one mallard and two teal in my three years of youth day and didn't even shoot a box of shells in those three years. I have hunted early teal in Iowa in early September and saw large migrating flocks of teal, hundreds, bluewing teal, the mass majority are out of MN by our main opener and if lucky enough some individuals harvest green wing teal as they are late migrators compared to their cohorts. Covid definitely pushed more people into the outdoors but as an emergency medicine physician assistant and former paramedic I am glad people got out and enjoyed the outdoors versus congregating indoors. 
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