Wintertime is a tough go for all wildlife and if hunters and trappers won’t be out because of the low fur prices, coyotes like this one will be feeding on our upland birds and small game, with their population being hit hard, sooner or later, they’ll eat themselves out of house and home, with disease and starvation becoming a common event. (Photo courtesy of Winchester Ammunition)
This has been one strange winter; temperatures have been quite decent, with the biggest thing being the wind.
Ice fishing in our part of the world was slow to start because there weren’t enough cold temperatures to develop good ice.
Now, there seems to be good ice on most ponds and reservoirs, with the Valentine refuge lakes starting to produce some good fish.
Waterfowl hunters on our Missouri River between South Dakota and Nebraska are doing well on Canada geese as part of the river remains open and the lack of snow cover, allows the geese to feed.
Those of us, who enjoy predator calling and trapping, had a pretty tough go of it, as the open winters have made it easier for those predators to find a meal, where they don’t need to come to an injured animal call to obtain a meal.
Fur prices were low last year with many hunters and trapping hoping for better prices found that the prices weren’t any better.
This along with the pandemic, and because of the air travel restriction, the biggest fur buying countries,
Russia, China, Korea and Greece weren’t able to get to the fur auctions.
Because of this, fur auction prices weren’t good; this along with the largest fur auction house in Canada declaring bankruptcy, with fur buyers and trapper’s furs already at that auction, many fur buyers lost a lot of dollars and no longer buys furs.
One of things we all need to remember if they’re more predators out there that are competing for the limited amount of food available, they’ll put much more damage to our upland game population, let’s hoopoe that there are still some conservationists out the working on the predator problem.
The ice fishing in our area started out a little slow, but north of us in northeastern South Dakota, northern Minnesota and North Dakota there’s been good ice and the bite has been decent, with the Glacial Lakes of northeastern South Dakota has had a decent bite as have many of the lakes in Minnesota and North Dakota.
I’ve been told that the best bite is coming on Tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms or part of a minnow as well as with Northland Puppet Minnows and Jiggin’ Raps worked from a few feet of the bottom are producing well.
There are several Boat Sports and Travel shows still going where you can find the newest boats, motors, electronics, tackle & gear.
It’s not a bad idea, if you haven’t already gotten your rods, reels and other tackle ready for the upcoming spring, as when we’re out and about, many times when we change baits, the get pitted into a tackle bag or other storage locations and it’s much easier to unclutter and clean everything inside and not when you first hit the water.
I hope to have a lot more time on the water this year and I hope we all have a decent year, see you all on the water.
Gary Howey, Watertown, South Dakota, now residing in Hartington, Neb. is an award-winning writer, producer, and broadcaster, a former tournament angler, fishing and hunting guide and in 2017 inducted into the “National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame”. He developed and was the Producer-Host of his award- winning Gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series for over 23 years. The series airs throughout the Midwest on the MIDCO Sports network, News Channel Nebraska and on numerous other independent television markets
He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.garyhowey’soutdoors.com, www.outdoorsmenadventures.com, with more information available on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E. Howey, Outdoor Adventures radio show and Team Outdoorsmen Productions.