Tales and Trails

Posted 8/18/21

OUTDOOR BY DAVE BECK The next 30 years You know that old white-tailed buck that has been around forever and then mysteriously disappears for a while only to appear later, out of nowhere?_Well, I …

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Tales and Trails




The next 30 years

You know that old white-tailed buck that has been around forever and then mysteriously disappears for a while only to appear later, out of nowhere?_Well, I guess I’m like that old buck. Just when you thought you’d seen the last of me, I show up out of the blue._My hope is that you’re as excited to see me as you are when you see that old buck.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Dave Beck and I have been writing an outdoor column for almost 30 years. How did I end up here?_That’s a great story. It started back in 1992 with The Shopper and eventually to another paper, and finally here at The Journal._Way back in the day I realized that I had a loyal following when I watched a guy clean a mess of bluegills. The Shopper was spread out on his fish cleaning table with my picture and column face up in the middle of the fish cleaning operation. After the fish were cleaned the guy wrapped up The Shopper, including my picture and the fish scales, and headed to the garden to repurpose the whole mess.

I really gave it some thought on how I should re-enter._Should I have a grand reopening with free hot dogs, balloons, and one of those inflatable air clowns with the crazy arms blowing everywhere? _Actually, the clown thing would be fun, but I decided to go back to my roots and share with you my very first article._When I submitted it, I was so sure that The Shopper would return it to me with a kindly-worded rejection letter. Fortunately for me, they didn’t. Here is the very first OTT. For you long term fans, it’s great to be back. For all of the newbies, I hope we are able to spend the next 30 years together. _


I am sure you are wondering who I am and what my qualifications are for writing an outdoor column. Well, my name is Dave Beck and I am an average guy who enjoys hunting and fishing. I was also in the right place at the wrong time or vice versa.

As for my credentials, I’ll only list a few:

•I once saw Miles Keller in a parking lot of a sports show;

•I’ve been to Canada three times (twice for fishing);

•In a fishing tournament, I finished 49th out of 53 total competitors (a proud day for my family); and

•My fish “DeLier” needle points to 2 pounds before you place a fish on the scale. This helps the ego and improves the quality of the catch for bragging purposes.

I could go on and on, but I am sure that you will agree that my resume can stand on its own merit.

Now that we’ve been introduced, it’s nice to meet you, but, it’s time to move on to more important things. Hunting season is now upon us. Has it really been a year since we’ve all worn camouflage for reasons other than its fashionable look? Personally, it seems longer than that; maybe that’s why when hunting season rolls around we try to do it all.

Just when you’ve gotten the deer figured out and your new portable tree stand is in exactly the right spot, duck season opens. Now you go out and shoot a nice brace of mallards and swear to do it again next weekend. The day brings back memories of big winds, bigger talk, and great hunts. So now you’ve mentally committed yourself to waterfowling. Everything is fine until your neighbor sees “Walter the Great.” “Walter” is of course the “Pope and Young” buck that has eluded hunters for years. Your good neighbor informs you that the exact location of “Walter’s” scrape line leads right under your new portable tree stand. So long ducks. “Walter” and your tree stand prove to be a chance meeting despite “Old Man Brown’s” testimony.

The rut comes along with no better results. Everything happens fast now. The Bluebills are in on Lake Pepin, the deer are moving, you have to move your tree stand one last time, rooster pheasants taunt you at the end of the driveway every morning, and lastly, of course, installing the storm windows.

Before you get a chance to do any of these things, you’ve got to sight in the deer rifle or shotgun. That’s the gun you haven’t shot since your last miss.

Thanksgiving brings relatives, great food, and hunting talk. The spiked buck you saw only days before has now become drastically larger with the pressure of the in-laws… “It was a big 8, maybe 10 pointer,” you blurt out using the one “automatic in-law addition rule” to your advantage.

Fall gives to winter with your bow never leaving the place you stored it before gun season. Twice you thought about grouse hunting and actually did go once. The one time you did go after grouse you came home with two squirrels and a rabbit.

As quickly as every season started, it is now over. You did it all, and for the most part, were successful. Still, something is missing. What didn’t I do? … The storm windows!_