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ISABELLA, Minn.—Justin Bailey of Keewatin was hunting ruffed grouse near Isabella on Tuesday morning when a wolf chased his hunting dog out of the woods. "He was coming at me 100 miles per hour, and right behind him was a wolf, biting at his heels," said Bailey, 33. "They probably passed 5 or 6 feet from us." Bailey was standing at the edge of the road with his son, Andrew Bailey, 3, and his nephew, Brock Bjelland, 5, of Marble, whom he had brought along for the day of hunting.
The closest I ever got to Vietnam was a make-believe village in a grove of trees outside Fort Sill, Okla. It was 1970, and I was a jeep driver for a captain during my training as an artilleryman. Many nights, I'd drive him to "Vietnam Village," a supposed representation of an Army command post in the jungle of Vietnam. It was mostly darkened pathways among the thickets, lit only by red safety lights.
As pheasant and duck hunters prepare for their upcoming seasons, they'll do so knowing that their success depends in part on policies hashed out in the nation's capital. Specifically, the federal Farm Bill's conservation provisions have a direct correlation to the number of birds on the ground — or on the water. The amount of private land enrolled in the bill's Conservation Reserve Program, a staple of the Farm Bill, correlates strongly with duck and pheasant numbers, especially in Upper Midwest states such as Minnesota, the Dakotas and Montana.
EMBARGOED FOR ONLINE POSTING UNTIL 6 A.M. SUNDAY JUNE 18 DEER RIVER, Minn. — Clearly, this was the place to be. Fourteen fishing boats trolled in close quarters on Bowstring Lake north of Deer River. Ours was one of them on this idyllic morning in early June. A guy in the next boat wore a chartreuse T-shirt that read: "IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE FISHING TOO CLOSE." He had chosen the wrong day to wear it. At any given time, unapologetic anglers in two or three other boats probably could have read it.