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A Czech gun company you've never heard of

Since the Soviet Empire was dismantled a few decades ago, the individual countries have successfully reestablished themselves. One of the best is the Czech Republic. A very large and prosperous arms and ammunition manufacturer is Ceska Zbrojovka Brod, which has been incorporated in the U.S.A. as CZ-U.S.A., and this unit imports guns for sale here. Czech manufacturing, design, and engineering is equal to anything in Germany, and the guns are a delight indeed. I had the chance a few weeks ago to see the entire line at a large gun retailer in a Twin City suburb.

The fit and finish is first rate, even on the lower priced models. Prices range from $200 to $3,000 and include center fire rifles, over-under and semiautomatic shotguns. Of course, this is made possible because of much lower wages paid to skilled workers in a developing country. Designed by Americans, they'll sell well, marketed with such names as mallard, pintail, Upland and Woodcock.

The over under at $1,100, for example, rivals Beretta's Silver Pigeon, which costs over three grand. The line offered is vast, so if you're ready for a fine gun, Turkish walnut, highly figured, get one with trap or sporting configurations.

Turkey hunting in Minnesota is just great

The five separate sessions of turkey hunting are underway. If you're one the fortunate hunters who were drawn, it is best to go with an experienced hunter of the cautious and wary toms. There are techniques that are proven and successful.

It is best if you hunt from a tent blind, use a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun fitted with a screw-in turkey choke. This produces a concentrated pattern of large sized lead or steel shot, and will bring down a big tom within about 35 yards or less, which is a usual distance. Several styles of calls are used, and it is usually successful in drawing the quarry near your hen and jake decoys.

Don't expect a wild turkey to be like a Butterball, however. The meat is much more dry and quite dense. Like most wild game, its different, but is very delicious and worth the effort in trying for one. After you down your bird, the others in the group will attack it vigorously. At times, there is opportunity for a couple of hunters to score at the same time. Turkey hunting is different and it's just great. Good luck hunting.

For the first time, a hunter 17 years old is able to buy a Minnesota spring turkey hunting license. The DNR made the change in order to boost license sales. It has been reported that there has been much success by young hunters in taking wild turkeys this spring.

When plowing under, the CRP

When converting their farmland from CRP to cornfield again, landowners should consider leaving buffer strips at the edges of fields, and around shore or pond lines. These are poor croplands, and the areas can be of very considerable benefit. Landowners will continue to receive an annual soil repayment and incentives for enrolling field edges into the CRP. The continuous CRP practice is named CP-33 on the government's books. Planting CP-33 areas has met with great success in studies in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

The plastic revolution

Sixty years ago, there was a turnaround in baits for fresh water fishing. Live bait was being replaced by wooden lures with treble hooks. Popular lures that appeared in tackle boxes were the Bass-Oreno, Pikie Minnow, Fred Arbogasts Dare Devil and many others. They caught on quickly and found favor on the hot, slow fishing days of Minnesota's July and August. They didn't entirely replace the live bait bucket, but hundreds of tackle manufacturers had success in selling wooden lures.

About 30 years ago, plastics replaced the wood lures. One of the first to be successful was the Rapala. Made in Sweden, this sleek little lure was originally made in colors, which attracted walleyes, but today they've generated into odd shapes, and in untold numbers of colors. It was made of plastic. Today there is a myriad of designs and colors, and many anglers are ditching live bait in favor of plastic lures.

The new plastic lures have shapes that accelerate their action when trolled in fishing waters.

Live bait has always been hard to beat for a lot of fishermen and many won't switch to plastic lures -- not very long, anyway. But the truth is that at certain times of the year, plastic lures are hard to beat.

Plastics work well in small lakes with little understructure or weed beds. The modern era of plastics is probably the largest and fastest growing segment of the open water fishing season. So keep that minnow bucket handy, but don't ignore those flashy packages of lures for sale at the tackle dealer.

Officers of the gun club

Members of the Becker County Sportsmen's Club have elected a slate of officers for the year 2010. Reelected President is Brett Friesen. The vice president is Jeff Alberts, while Perry Nodsle continues as secretary. Arland Wisted repeats as the Secretary-Treasurer.

Registered Trap Shoot next weekend

It isn't really all that much different from local league trap shooting. Only real difference is that the shooting results are sent to the Amateur Trap Shooting Association, at Vandalia, Ohio. Becker County Sportsmen's Club will stage its 51st annual registered trap at their local shooting grounds east of town along Highway 10.

Staged from May 29-31, the shooter may choose whatever part of the 800-target program he or she wants. Shooters participating will come from their hometowns in the Dakotas and from Manitoba. Over $1,500 in added money and trophies will be awarded in 16-yard singles, doubles and handicap trap shooting.

A groaning table of the most delicious hors d'oeuvres will be enjoyed by those attending, all free on Saturday evening when shooting has completed for the day. This table d'hote is sponsored by Midwest Bank and catered by Central Market.

All local trap shooters are urged to attend this competition, which when ATA rules are used, there is an equalization in force. You compete with the shooters of your own ability. It's great fun and it provides shooters the opportunity for comradeship and friendly competition.