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Becker County Sportsman column: The wolf pack -- an important part of MN's outdoors

It is a complex social structure with a definite hierarchy. It is usually a family unit consisting of a breeding adult pair and their offspring, subordinate adults, juveniles and pups. Normally there are seldom more than eight.

The wolf pack is led by an adult male, called the alpha male. The alpha female is the breeding female. Only one female in a pack has pups each year. The rest of the pack has a definite place in the heirarchy.

The wolf pack functions as a unit. There are displays of dominance using body postutuions, scent markings, howling and their rituals. The pups bide their time and move up within the pack. Some pups disperse, go it alone, or form new packs when they become adults. These become the lone wolf in search of a mate and territory, and the cycle begins again. If the lone wolf is unsuccessful in finding a mate or starting a new pack, they may be killed by other wolves or otherwise perish.

The wolf pack is one of the most disciplined organizations in the wild world, and one of the most fascinating. We do understand a lot of the wolf and his life, but we're always in search of more about the pack.

Lund boats remains afloat

But not exactly cruising as the market for watercraft is fierce, with such players as Alumacraft, Glastron, Ranger, Crestliner and Triton making boats for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

After World II, Ole Lind of Detroit Lakes, and Howard Lund of New York Mills and Perham, attempted to re-enter the market with their proven designs with all the curves and planes in the right places. Only trouble was that an upstart company named Alumacraft was ready with great hull designs, made of aluminum sheeting -- at a great deal less cost than the cedar strip designs of Lund and Lind. Both ventures closed down local plants. Fiberglass came in as yet another base material. Not only adapted to boat hulls, it came into wide use for body parts for snowmobiles, jet skis and off road craft.

When I went to Perham's Fort Thunder shooting grounds for skeet, I'd often squad with Howard Lund. Then reaching near ninety years of age, we shot lots of 20 gauge shells, and over cokes later, Howard Lund told of his business mistakes, selling his great hull designs to large eastern interests for what was considered big money. He always said that he should have had a financial advisor, with perhaps a royalty arrangement.

In any case, Lund boats held on with production going to aluminum and offering fishermen a 16 1/2 foot model, which was immensely successful. The manufacturer of Mercury motors of Michigan became the eventual owner of the Lund designs. Ole Lind's DL boatworks were never resurrected. Cedar strip boats were lost forever. Brubswick Corporation became sole owner of Lund.

Now Lund moves into fiberglass at its plant in Tennessee. The New York Mills plant will continue to construct the several popular designs that it now turns out, as well as continuing to produce lots of boats in Canada, as well.

The economy is suffering right now and finished craft are stockpiled at NYM and other places. A lower cost Lund can run beyond $15,000 when equipped with all the bells and whistles that fishermen and other boaters want today.

Stern drive models with Mercury 75+ HP can go over a hundred grand, and the trailer to cart it about another twenty grand. So the market for aluminum craft may give way to fiberglass, which many prefer. Bigger out-boards are better when aluminum is out of the picture and fiberglass, which adapts to quick changes in shapes, is employed. Howard Lund, my friend for a very long time, died a few years ago, nearly a century of lifetime. He was a designer and manufacturer. He did enjoy seeing watercraft scenes on the back covers of outdoor Life and Sports Afield, the name LUND prominently emblazed on the hull. Lund boats continue to hold an important place in the marketplace. It is unfortunate indeed that Ole Lind of Detroit Lakes was out of the picture. It, too, was a sound design, but met a less fortunate end.

The last hurrah for the Ole Lind Boat Works came in the autumn of 1941, when "Miss Detroit" a sleek wood and varnish hull made its last run across the local lake. You bought your ticket from John Peterson, who, with his wife Irene as chef, operated the big old white former hotel in the name of the Elks lodge. The place survived for a time, the Lind boat didn't!

Minnesota Waterfowler's winter meeting

The local chapter of MWA will hold its winter meeting tomorrow night, Feb. 25 in the basement meeting room of the Detroit Lakes VFW club. Convening promptly at 7 p.m. Come and present some ideas as to the disposal of the $400,000 cash gift, which the headquarters office recently received from a benefactor. This puts the MWA into an important position in its role as a waterfowl habitat protection agency.

Light goose hunting will begin March 1st

Minnesota's hunters will be allowed to harvest snow geese this spring. The season will be open from March 1 through April 30. Only the extreme western border will be productive. If you really want to get a few snows, a trip into the Dakotas will be necessary. But Minnesota will have its season. Electronic calls and unplugged shotguns are allowed. Non-toxic shot requirements are in effect, and most of the autumn regulations common to goose hunting will apply. Permits to hunt are free but there is a $3.50 application cost. Get the license at any of the 1,800 electronic licensing agents in the state. The spring harvest of snow geese in Minnesota has varied from about 600 in the early years to about 6,000 birds when the weather cooperated. By mid-April conditions improve and Minnesota hunters do take a few snow geese. Best bet is still south central North Dakota.