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Summer has come. It didn’t just walk in but instead strutted in and kicked the door down. Stifling heat, excessive rain and flooding hit us like a gut punch. So now fishing in a boat is more like being broiled on a grill over hot coals. Rains have washed out roads, taken lives and resurrecte…

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I wouldn’t generally consider myself to have had a white trash upbringing, although I was born in a trailer court. 

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If you believe the weather forecast, it looks like we will be in for another scorcher this weekend. Temperatures are slated to climb into the mid to upper 90s, with high humidity.

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The best season of the year is back--backyard BBQ season. Who doesn’t love cooking in flip-flops with an ice-cold drink in your hand? Outdoor cooking on the grill is easy and the unique flavors created by grilling are hard to beat.

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If you are reading this column I am guessing you like the outdoor life and all the benefits we pick up along the way like fish dinners, creamed pheasant, smoked duck and fresh apples off the tree. Planting apple trees is something I always wanted to do and after about 6 years of messing up I…

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We are nearing Independence Day, the traditional midpoint of summer. Saturday marks the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a day traditionally filled with families, food, fun and fireworks.

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Strawberries are in season and adults and kids alike love them. Picking your own is fun and nothing tastes better than local fresh picked. Bring the whole family for a fun activity.

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We have officially moved into summer fishing. The spawn is mostly over around here. We did manage to take a bunch of beautiful bull bluegills the other day and we released some big females with a few eggs in their swollen bellies. There are other indicators it’s summer. Fireflies are lightin…

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Gene Hill has a story in his ‘Hunter’s Fireside Book’ about rain. 

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Full disclosure: I’ll admit I’m an older white guy and because of my life experiences have precious little to offer in the discourse underway about racial equality. Like many of you, I am trying to make sense of the changing times and adapt while remaining true to who I am.

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The first time I had deep-fried cheese curds was in 8th grade. A friend was obsessed with them and it was all she talked about.  We went to the Minnesota State Fair together. I remember it well because it was the first time my mother let me go by myself. The first thing we did when we arrive…

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I’ve always admired tough guys. 

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Sunday is Father’s Day, a time to remember and honor the paterfamilias, father, the head of the household, Pop, Dad -- whatever his moniker at your house—Sunday is the day to pause and appreciate his contributions to who you are as a person.

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Many of you do not know much about me. You probably know I live in a small town in Wisconsin, I have four kids, and I really like food. 

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“If you want to catch walleyes there is only one thing you need to know,” said Ben Elfelt of Shafer, Minn.  His tongue-in-cheek reply was, “Where the walleyes are.” In this second search for the perfect boat, I talked to Elfelt, Polk County Park and Trails Coordinator, successful walleye gui…

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I hope you are enjoying summer and some respite from the cares of coronavirus and the national uproar for social justice after the death of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis.

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For some people it’s the magic of the water that attracts them. It could be the grandeur of the surroundings or chasing fish in a motorboat. For others it’s about exploring quiet waters with a paddle in your hand. I’ve always loved the quiet sports, simple non-motorized activities that don’t…

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The yellowed index cards my mother wrote her favorite recipes on are my most cherished possessions. The ones with more spots and faded words--they were her favorites. They don’t have any value to anyone else. The recipes themselves aren’t anything extraordinary or inventive. They’re simple r…

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and the middle of morel mushroom season. I grew up in a family of hunter-gatherers. I think it all started with my dad, Earl McClay Bennett, who moved to Wisconsin in 1949 with 6 of 7 kids in tow. I was the last kid, born a week before Christmas 1950.

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I wasted most of the day last Thursday. 

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The two big Tom turkeys were gobbling up a storm. Big Gobbler One from the hill behind me south a hundred yards gobbled when another gobbler suddenly answered back 100 yards to my north with a challenging call. It was like I was in the middle of a YouTube video. They were hot and I was excit…

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It’s graduation season. The school year is coming to a formal close and even though this year has been far from normal, the rites of passage are once again upon us.

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We spotted seven gobblers in the alfalfa field dancing up a storm for the two hens that seemed quite disinterested in their dance moves. John Travolta had something on these Toms with that cool white leisure suit in Saturday Night Fever. The scene did have an impact on my 11 year old wannabe…

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As we begin to come out from lock downs and seek to resume daily activities, I have been listening to varying viewpoints about next steps our society should take.

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I was shocked by what I found in the kitchen last week when I came home from work.  I have to keep reminding my kids our kitchen is not a college dorm. Crumbs on the counter, food globs covering the inside of the microwave, and fingerprint smudges across the front of the refrigerator do not …

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It was like they had just popped out of the ground, like they had been pulled from a hat. The entire flock of hens and who knew what else were all putting and purring and giving me the evil eye. But the fence line was so thick they couldn’t be sure what I was. Maybe they thought I was a stum…

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I’ve never felt bad for killing a turkey.

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“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” - Abraham Lincoln

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My brother and sister-in-law are the parents of two adorable little boys—well, adorable most of the time. Last week, my sister-in-law, who is a busy RN nurse, posted on social media she was having a sweet moment at home sitting with their youngest who is two. Suddenly, he stood up and farted…

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I never thought I’d get addicted to spring turkey hunting like I have but it happened. It’s all about the gobbling of a Big Tom Turkey that for me started in Wisconsin’s first year of turkey hunting way back in 1976! He is LOUD, gobbling up a storm to let everyone know he is out there. Thund…

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I mentioned WWII reenacting in last week’s column and I feel like I should elaborate a bit, since that isn’t exactly a hobby you gloss over when recapping your weekend on Monday morning at the office. 

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As we enter the second month of being on lockdown, there are signs that the extraordinary steps we have taken to isolate ourselves from the coronavirus are working. Rates of infection and death are down from the projections and flattening the curve worked.

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As soon as we stepped out of the car we heard gobbling. Not just one gobbler but several. I looked over at Brady, my 11 year old and he was smiling. Next came the loud yelps from a hen turkey followed by more gobbles that rattled through the calm morning. We seemed to have picked the right s…

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When I was a kid I had a friend who loved chocolate. 

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It’s been wonderful having my two youngest children home for the last few weeks. It’s like a gift of an extended childhood for the boys. We have been playing games, doing projects and cooking together.

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I was up at 6 a.m. this morning to go scout turkeys and get permission to hunt on private lands where I had spotted some turkeys the day before. I was driving around when I saw a half dozen big black blobs in the distance next to some brown blobs. Once I got my binoculars on them, I confirme…

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If your idea of trout fishing is striking off to some beautiful backcountry stream, complete with flowers and butterflies, to forget all about life’s difficulties and cast dry flies to over-eager rainbows, steer clear of the Brule River. 

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By several indications, it appears social distancing is helping to flatten the curve with the coronavirus. We should all be happy about this, but being socially distant to many may seem like the cure is worse than the disease, which is, of course, totally wrong.

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I’ve had a really hard time writing the last couple weeks. I feel like I have nothing to say or any worthwhile advice on cooking. It’s hard to come up with a new recipe that will inspire people to cook when you don’t feel like cooking yourself.