Formal 'business proposal' leads to approval of fishing trip request

An engineer friend with two young daughters recently came up with one of the more creative approaches I've ever witnessed for convincing his wife to let him take an ice fishing trip to Devils Lake.

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An engineer friend with two young daughters recently came up with one of the more creative approaches I've ever witnessed for convincing his wife to let him take an ice fishing trip to Devils Lake.

He submitted a written request just like he would a business proposal, complete with chapters that included an Introduction, Goals and Objectives, Scope of Work, Schedule, Budget and Key Personnel.

It was all very official looking and as an objective bystander, very convincing.

A few highlights:

Under "Introduction," my engineer friend started by listing Devils Lake's reputation as a great hunting and fishing destination.


"Taking a child fishing at Devils Lake ND can create memories that last a lifetime," he wrote in his request. "Also the experience is likely to produce a more rounded experience than dinner and dancing. Time together for father and daughter can be especially memorable."

The last sentence sealed the deal, I'm guessing, since it meant he also planned to take his oldest daughter along for the adventure. He's done this before, of course, with considerable success. That likely explains why it's nearly impossible to get the girl out of a boat once she's on the water.

This, I've witnessed firsthand.

Still, there's no room for complacency when it comes to lofty business proposals, and he followed up the introduction with this paragraph, listed under Goals and Objectives:

"The goal of this project is to create a fantastic Devils Lake pike fishing experience for a 7-year old girl," he wrote, listing a series of objectives planned to achieve the goal:

n Gather necessary supplies and fishing gear.

n Transport supplies to cabin at Devils Lake ND.

n Drill holes and set tip-up equipment.


n Catch pike.

Under Budget, he listed a total cost of $150, including gas, supplies, food, beverages and transportation.

"To approve the above scope of work and budget, please send a reply," he wrote.

As a testimonial to the quality of his planning and persuasion skills, my engineer friend received a reply from his wife -- who also is an engineer -- within 20 minutes:

"Thank you for your submission," she wrote. "All proposals were evaluated by a team of eight qualified and impartial reviewers. Your proposal is accepted, with the following correction and suggestion:

"The Research Participant and Recipient of Memories in this case is actually to be 8 years old during the period of performance.

"Have a nice day."

Whether the aforementioned ice fishing trip actually happens depends at this point on the whims of Mother Nature. In the time since the father made his original business proposal, ice conditions on Devils Lake and other bodies of water have deteriorated to the point where access might be a challenge.


That technicality aside, my engineering friend -- or "project manager," as he referred to himself in his letter -- deserves an "A" for effort. Even if the proposal hadn't been accepted, it wouldn't have been from lack of creativity.

Every parent who hunts and fishes could learn from the proposal and consider adding it to their bag of tricks.

After all, it's hard to argue with giving a kid a quality outdoors experience.

Dokken reports on outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 148; or send e-mail to .

Related Topics: FISHING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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