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In Focus

I enjoy the outdoors. I love hiking and taking in the ever-changing scenery. I’d rather sit by a bonfire than at a bar.

As far as hunting and fishing, I never got into that. And pretty much every attempt at these has failed miserably.

Shortly after moving here from California, when I was 12, I got an offer to go fishing with some new friends. It was my first time on a pontoon, so that was cool, but I knew nothing about fishing or the local wildlife here. I threw my line in the water and got a bite. I was excited to see my first Minnesota fish.

I reeled it in and instinctively grabbed the fish on top of its back so I could get the hook out. My friend looked over and told me to drop the fish, quickly. It was too late. The fish flipped its fin open in my hand, cutting my palm with the spikes. That was my first encounter with a sunny...what I considered an evil Minnesota fish.

My first time ice fishing with my significant other at the time and some of his friends started out well. Our lines were in the water and we sat at a crappy old card table playing a card game. The bell for my line started to ring. He and I ran over and pulled up a northern, covered in black spots. He released it before we even got a picture. I was kind of sad.

Not too long after that, I heard a bubbling noise. I went to the hole and saw air bubbles followed by a dark mass quickly approaching. This creature crawled out of the hole and into the fish house. I was terrified because I had no idea what it was. I ended up crawling on top of the card table. Everyone was laughing at me. The creature jumped back in the hole and disappeared. They told me it was a muskrat. I had never seen one before. They all enjoyed teasing me about it for years. That was the first, and last time, I tried ice fishing.

One year I accompanied my boyfriend at the time on a deer hunting adventure. We got up early and drove out to the middle of nowhere. Trying to walk through the woods in the dark was no easy task for me. We reached the deer stand, a platform in the tree, climbed up, and sat down. I kept dozing off. I gave up and headed back to the truck. Since it was daylight by this time, I had no problem following the trail out of the woods.

As I trudged along the trail, I came around a bend and was just a few short feet away from a large bobcat. We just stared at each other for a minute before he walked off into the woods. I jetted back to the truck. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered a bobcat.

Anyway, my boyfriend’s family ended up getting some deer. It was the first time I had seen how a deer is gutted and processed. I was holding on to a deer leg so his dad could gut the deer. He sliced it open and I was hit by an overwhelmingly foul odor that caused me to run off and puke. This is when I also learned what a “gut shot” was. Of course, they were all laughing at me. Yep, you guessed it, I am not a fan of deer hunting.

Back to the bobcats...when I first moved here I made friends with the neighbors and we would sneak over to the lumberyard and play hide and seek in the dark. It was a lot of fun.

One night I crawled on top of a stack of pallets and after a few seconds, I heard a shifting sound next to me. I thought a friend had the same idea as me and was hiding in the pallets. A short while later I heard my friends calling for me, saying I was the last one to be found.

So, who was next to me? I turned on my flashlight and there it was, asleep on the neighboring stack of pallets, a freaking bobcat. It cracked a yellow eye open to look at me. I damn near fell off that stack of pallets. I was totally done playing hide and seek for that night.

A few days later, I encountered, probably the same bobcat in my backyard, snacking on a rabbit. Yep, I am a bobcat magnet.

So, hunting and fishing are not my things. I will stay home where it’s warm and the only animals I have to worry about are my domesticated dog and cats.


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