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Some History on Bobcat Numbers in State’s South


VOL. 23, NO. 4


A Farmer Takes Stubborn Gobblers? Try a Look at Taking Walk-And-Talk Trick Life of an Animal Next Time a Tom Stalls

Turn In Poachers 1-800-847-9367 1 - 8 0 0 - TIP - W D N R

Inside News

Buying a license should be an even easier task in the future. See Page 4

Chippewa County Supports Land Swap

County supervisors want the landowner to keep promises. See Page 7

Waupaca Girl Races Family’s Sled Dogs

Nevaeh Johnson, age 9, placed in her first-ever sled dog race. The Waupaca youngster is looking forward to more training and racing with her family’s dogs. See Page 9

John Kassera, 63, of Rockland, shot a La Crosse County 10-point buck Nov. 5, 2015, that set a new typical archery state record at 1934⁄8 inches. Contributed photo

By Dean Bortz Editor La Crosse, Wis. — For the third time in four seasons, a Wisconsin bowhunter has broken the state’s typical archery record. This time around, it was John Kassera, 63, of Rockland, who shot a La Crosse County 10-point buck on Nov. 5, 2015, that eventually set a new state typical archery record at 1934⁄8 inches of antler. “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving hunter,” said Jeff Fechner, of the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club. Fechner and

(See Family Page 45)

FEBRUARY 19, 2016

five other WCCB members panelscored Kassera’s buck Jan. 23. The rack grossed 2015⁄8 inches. The net score of 1934⁄8 inches put it ahead of the 2014 Dodge County buck shot by Adam Hupf. That buck went 1916⁄8. Kassera’s buck had main beams of 306⁄8 and 305⁄8 inches. More than 42 inches of mass and five tines longer than 11 inches helped build the score, Fechner said. “Thirty-inch main beams? That’s huge,” he said. Kassera had no idea that kind (See Record Page 30)

Congress advisory questions are set

A family outdoor experience indoors? By Lee Fahrney Contributing Writer Fennimore, Wis. — The outdoor activities enjoyed by an estimated 400 youngsters in Grant County on Saturday, Jan. 30, were mostly held indoors on a blustery day, but some of the kids did head outdoors for some snowshoeing instruction and shed antler work with hunting dogs. The Grant County Outdoor Sport Alliance invited the kids to the “ag/auto” building at Southwest Technical College in Fennimore to enjoy activities such as archery, laser target practice, snowshoe instruction, shed-hunting techniques, fly tying and casting, and retriever dog handling. Kelly Tollefson, who serves in the primary role as president of the Outdoor Sport Alliance, points out that the event has broad community support. Tollefson also serves as a delegate to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress for Grant County, whose members pitched in to help at the event. Other participants included the Wisconsin DNR, River Valley Hunting Retriever Club, Trout Unlimited, and Southwest Technical College staff and students. Nathan Burt and his wife, Susan, brought their six children from Lone Rock about 20 miles away to enjoy the outing. They appreciate having a low-cost family outing in the middle of the winter. “It’s a great activity for introducing the kids to things they don’t always get to do,” Nathan Burt said. “And it’s free.” Derek Frank volunteered at the archery “range,” along with Green County DNR conservation warden Ryan Caputo and Conservation

Underwater Cameras Have Come a Long Way in the Past 20 Years

State boasts new record bow buck

call or text your tip to

DNR to ‘Go Wild’ With New License System



MIDWINTER PANFISH. If the extended forecast is accurate, any cold weather that would hamper anglers’ enthusiasm for ice fishing should be in the rearview. Milder temps will encourage fishermen to look for panfish from now until ice-out. See Page 22 to find out how to catch light-biting fish. Photo by Bill Lindner Photography

Upcoming Events Feb. 15: Fox, raccoon hunting closes. Feb. 29: Cottontail season closes. March 5: General inland fishing closes. April 9-10: Youth turkey hunt. May 7: General inland fishing opens.

Contents News................... Pages 4-14 Columns.............. Pages 15-17 Nature Page.............. Page 32 Fishing Report.... Pages 42-43 Classified Ads............ Page 45

Subscribe to Wisconsin Outdoor News 1-800-535-5191 or see Page 44

By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — The 33 Conservation Congress advisory questions set for this year’s spring hearings ask about more experience in the DNR secretary’s office, exempting fish and game law changes from Act 21, support for a conservation stamp, higher muskie size limits, and more. The hearings will take place in every county on Monday, April 11. Rob Bohmann, chair of the Conservation Congress, said to Natural Resources Board members at their Jan. 27 meeting, “These questions are the culmination of a year’s worth of work by our committees, our delegates, and ultimately our executive council.” Once again, the congress will ask whether the public supports returning the appointment of the DNR secretary to the NRB. A related question will ask whether those appointed to the top spots in the DNR secretary’s office should have a background in natural resources. The question reads: “Do you favor legislation that would require at least two of the three senior DNR managers (secretary, deputy secretary, and assistant deputy secretary) to have either an educational degree in natural resources management and five years of applied natural resources management or 10 years of applied natural resources management before they are appointed?” Another question involves the process of adopting hunting and fishing rules. After Act 21 became law in 2011, the time it now takes to adopt administrative rules (includ(See Congress Page 30)

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February 19, 2016

February 19, 2016

State Roundup


A LAW CHANGE THAT WOULD ALLOW SPORTSMEN TO CROSS RAILROAD TRACKS didn’t make it past Gov. Scott Walker’s veto pen during the last budget cycle, but a handful of legislators and at least two sportsmen’s groups have high hopes of seeing this change get fast-tracked and signed before this session ends. This piece of legislation started out as LRB 2303, but went to hearing in D EA N   B O R T Z EDI T O R Madison on Feb. 11 as Assembly Bill 876. The Assembly author is Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby. Co-sponsors are Rep. Robert Brooks, R-Saukville, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, Rep. Bob Kulp, R-Stratford, Rep. Ken Skowronski, R-Franklin, and Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel. Senate co-sponsors are Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, Sen. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, and Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield. Members of the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation have been fighting for this change for more than a year. The LCCCA’s Marc Schultz and WWF’s George Meyer have been following the issue closely after LCCCA members discovered in 2014 that a 2005 law change (Act 179) sought by railroads made it illegal to cross railroad tracks on foot. Although that 2005 law change applies to all railroad tracks statewide, the law became a real problem along the Mississippi River where sportsmen often crossed the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe tracks on foot to reach hunting, fishing, and trapping spots. The issue warmed up when BNSF railroad police first began letting citizens know that they would be enforcing the law at some point, with that point coming now. LCCCA and WWF members went to Nerison last year for help. Nerison wrote up a simple reversal and placed it in the budget, but railroads played the public safety argument and Gov. Walker vetoed the change. “This has cut off thousands of hunters, anglers, and trappers from traditional and safe direct crossings of the railroad tracks to hunt, fish, and trap on the river,” Meyer said. Keep an eye on this bill and call your legislators if you want to see it change. Remember, this law applies statewide. ggg ggg ggg I JUST WANT TO TAKE A SECOND HERE to say that I’ll be in Madison Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26-27, for the Wisconsin Fishing Expo at the Alliant Energy Center. The expo actually runs through Sunday, Feb. 28, but I’ll be blasting out of Madison that Sunday morning. You won’t be disappointed if you visit the booth on Sunday, though, because we will have former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Bill Schroeder at the booth from 10 a.m. until noon. You can tell Bill that you came there to see me, but that you’ll settle for his autograph and a photo. Wisconsin Outdoor News will have booth No. 712, so stop on by to say howdy if you get a chance. I won’t be in the booth the entire time, though. Dan and Jeff (that’s Urban Durbin and Heck Bast, as I call them) have me involved in a muskie roundtable that Friday night and a media gathering midday on Saturday. If I’m not at the booth and you have a message or would like to chat, just leave your name and cell number at the booth. I’ll track you down during the show. See you in Madison! Wisconsin Outdoor News welcomes unsolicited fishing and hunting photographs. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of photograph to: Wisconsin Outdoor News, 125 Kettle Moraine Dr. S, Slinger, WI 53086-9702 E-mail: Website:

Publisher: Glenn A. Meyer Editor: Dean Bortz (715) 358-8844 Associate Editor: Tim Spielman Managing Editor: Rob A. Drieslein Sales and Marketing Director: Evy Gebhardt Display Advertising: Bast, Durbin & Associates 262-644-7940 o r 800-975-3474 Classified Advertising: Patty Haubrick (763) 398-3453 or (877) 494-4246 Administration: Dianne J. Meyer, Sara A. Pojar, Jennifer Chamberlain Subscriber Services: Teresa Anderson, Stephanie Meybaum, Carol Soberg, Gloria Raymond Layout Supervisor: Ron Nelson Layout Associates: Don Dittberner, Ronnie Anderson, Dana Tuss Ad Production Supervisor: Cindy Rosin Ad Production Associates: Dana Tuss, Nichole Kinzer Web Master: Aaron Geddis Office hours: Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm Phone: (763) 546-4251 or (800) 535-5191 Fax (763) 546-5913 WISCONSIN OUTDOOR NEWS (ISSN 1076-0067) is published bi-weekly, 26 times annually, by Outdoor News, Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271. Periodical postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: $26.00 (one year), $48.00 (two years). Single copy: $2.50 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Wisconsin Outdoor News Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271


Copyright 2016


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“Wouldn’t it be easier if you just drilled the holes closer together?”


Don’t be fooled by Gudex’s claims By Dave Clausen

Wisconsin state legislators have proposed Senate Bill 493 and its companion, Assembly Bill 640 – the aquaculture bill. Senate co-sponsor Sen. Richard Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, commented in an email to a constituent: “As amended, this bill does three main things – it cleans up the definition of agriculture in state statutes and treats aquaculture as agriculture.” Sen. Gudex’s first point is correct. This bill does treat aquaculture as agriculture and puts it under the regulation of the Department of Agriculture. What he doesn’t say is that as agriculture, aquaculture is exempted from many provisions of the Clean Water Act, including the need to get a pollution control discharge permit, because as a nonpoint agricultural source, they are exempt from that provision. In addition, in Wisconsin agricultural enterprises are not required to institute best management practices to control pollution unless there is government cost-sharing. This puts the public on the hook for the cost. Gudex states: “It clarifies the permitting process for fish farms under the Clean Water Act, and helps the DNR and the aquaculture industry work together to protect the environment and still allow the industry to grow.” His second point is also correct in that it clarifies

the fact that as agriculture, aquaculture is exempt from many provisions of the Clean Water Act. How that helps the DNR keep the environment clean is unclear to me, but it does help aquaculture avoid paying for and being responsible for the pollution it creates. In a Milwaukee JournalSentinel article, Peter Fritsch, president of the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association, says the legislation would ease the way for his business to receive a variance from the state to avoid controlling the phosphorus discharge from his facility. In other words, send the problem and responsibility downstream. He continues: “It recognizes that aquaculture is a water-dependent activity and streamlines the process for fish farms to obtain wetland permits.” The third point does recognize that aquaculture is a water-dependent industry that requires clean water entering their facilities, but ignores the need for downstream waters to be protected from pollution. Streamlining in this case means removing much of the DNR’s ability to impose conditions that would protect the environment. Gudex also says: “I believe that this bill allows aquaculture to grow while simultaneously protecting the environment because the bill requires (See Commentary Page 50)

Letters to the Editor

Commentaries and letters are the opinion of the writers; not necessarily that of Wisconsin Outdoor News.

Wolves or people? Can our Republican governor do something about getting the wolves off of the endangered species list? He is trying to help fishermen with the walleye situation up north. Well, how about the deer population? Deer hunting up north used to be the biggest “bang for the buck” for businesses. That revenue helped carry them through tough times. With the warming climate now impacting snowmobiling, skiing, and other winter sports, it’s just making the situation that much worse. Beef prices are higher than ever. Heart-healthy

Online Opinions This issue’s question --------------------------------------------------------Do you support the DNR’s efforts to continue bringing in elk from Kentucky to build the Jackson County herd? A. Yes B. No

Online results from last issue’s question ------------------------Do you think deer and elk farms should be double-fenced? A. Yes 93% B. No 7%

Vote @ Discuss @

Attention Readers Wisconsin Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address and phone number. (Phone numbers and addresses will not be printed.) Letters should be under 250 words. Wisconsin Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to: Letters to the Editor, Wisconsin Outdoor News: PO Box 2180, Woodruff, WI 54568. E-mail:

venison is a staple in the northern diet, but it is also the No. 1 food choice of wolves. Food pantries don’t get much surplus venison anymore. This deprives low-income people of a healthy source of meat. There is a book out entitled, “The Real Wolf,” by Ted B. Lyon and Will N. Graves. What an eye-opener it is. The nonhunting population should read this book, also. I believe the animal rights activists and the Humane Society of the United States care more about wolves than they do about people. What a sad situation. Rich Biebl Winter

Kleefisch gone rogue? Are you kidding me? Just looking at Joel Kleefisch’s goose totals, there’s no way he was legal regarding possession limits. Eleven turkeys (See Letters Page 34)

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February 19, 2016

State DNR to ‘go wild’ with new licensing system By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — The DNR will start to “go wild” on Feb. 16, and sportsmen and recreational vehicle owners won’t be too far behind. Go Wild is a new DNR licensing system and more. Go Wild will be a new page on the DNR website, but the name also serves as the system’s logo, and slogan, for new internet sales that will help people get involved in Wisconsin’s outdoor resources via recreational activities. Hunters, anglers, trappers,

Terry Cochran, of Kenosha, arrowed this 13-point buck near Harrisville on Nov. 6. The buck green-scored 172 inches and had a 213⁄4-inch inside spread.

and anyone involved in obtaining licenses and permits, or registering a boat, ATV, or snowmobile, or attending safety classes will use the Go Wild system. For many hunters and anglers, the change will be noticed in March when they buy new licenses. Mark Rappe, of the DNR Bureau of Customer Outreach Services, told the Natural Resources Board on Jan. 27 that this will be a new era in terms of the distribution of licenses. “We started about four and a half years ago to meet with stakeholders from around the state and do our own analysis of other states to increase our flexibility and simplify our processes,” Rappe said. The goal is to make products and services easier to access. The DNR has been using technology since 1999, when it began the Automated License Issuance System, or ALIS. One goal with the new system is to use regular paper, rather than the long stream of green license paper, or perhaps to even go paperless. Final decisions have not yet been made, especially on the handling of tags for carcass tagging, but it is possible the state eventually could allow hunters and anglers to just use their driver’s licenses or a “conservation card” in place of a paper license. The new system, which should be operational in March, will include information on safety education programs, license purchases and permit applica-

Mark Rappe demonstrates the new customer-facing touch screen display that members of the public will see when they’re purchasing new licenses beginning in March. Photo by Tim Eisele tions, snowmobile, ATV, and boat registrations, trail access permits, electronic harvest registration, commercial licenses, and law enforcement information. Rappe said officials are working on one large, logical, seamless system that would handle all customer information, simplify access to products, and make things easier for customers. The new system will bring everything together into a “single shopping experience.” Customers will see every preference point they have for permit applications, can buy a license, register a boat, or report a harvest. They will be “ready to

go” at the end of the transaction. Customers will not have to wait to receive anything in the mail. This information could also be available on a person’s iPhone. Rappe said Go Wild “will be a gateway to all activities outdoors that the DNR sponsors.” License agents will receive new hardware, including a dual-facing monitor so that the person buying a license will have a screen on which he or she may see the information being entered. Making a customer screen available will help reduce incorrect entries. The extra screen also provides additional security, Rappe said. Customers will be able to enter information, such as their Social Security number, to access their license and not have to say it out loud with other license buyers in the room.

The transition will begin Feb. 16. In the meantime, the DNR and license vendors will continue to sell licenses throughout February. The new system will go “live” in early March. The Natural Resources Board also approved a Statement of Scope at the same meeting, which already had been approved by Gov. Scott Walker. This move allows the DNR to develop administrative rules allowing the agency to modernize its license system – to include modifying current requirements that will allow hunters to keep valid carcass tags in their pockets rather than attaching those tags to an animal. The DNR says that no fee increases are involved in the changes.

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February 19, 2016

Mixed Bag

Walker Signs Blaze Pink Law Madison (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill allowing hunters to wear fluorescent pink instead of the traditional blaze orange. Previously, at least half of all clothing gun deer hunters wore above the waist had to be blaze orange. This bill allows hunters to swap the orange for fluorescent pink. The bill’s authors have said the measure is designed to provide more options for hunters and attract more women to hunting, a rationale some female hunters have called sexist. The Assembly passed the measure in November, and the Senate approved it in January. Walker signed the bill into law Feb. 4. Assembly Approves Later Wolf Opener Madison (AP) — The state Assembly passed a bill Feb. 4 that would push the start of Wisconsin’s wolf season back by several weeks if the federal government allows the season to resume. Now, the wolf season begins Oct. 15 and ends on the last day of February the following year. Republican Rep. Al Ott’s bill would push the start date back to the first Saturday in November. Ott has said the current season conflicts with bird hunters and begins before wolf pelts are prime. Wisconsin has had three wolf seasons, beginning in 2012. The federal government placed Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014, however, prohibiting the hunts. Assembly Approves Water Development Bill

Madison (AP) — Shoreline property owners would have more leeway to dredge and build structures on water under legislation the Assembly advanced Feb. 9 despite concerns from minority Democrats that the proposals would harm the state’s waters. The bill would make sweeping changes to statutes and regulations governing construction in water bodies, with one of the biggest changes involving waters designated as areas of special natural resource interests, or ASNRIs. The bill would create a general permit allowing shoreline property owners to dredge 25 cubic yards of material from an inland lake and 100 cubic yards of material from outlying waters annually. Republicans control the chamber. In the end, lawmakers adopted the bill on a 57-39 vote. The bill goes next to the state Senate.

Lake Poygan Sportsmen’s Club Donates $90,000 for Habitat Restoration

Madison — The Natural Resources Board accepted a $90,000 donation from the Lake Poygan Sportsmen’s Club to build a breakwall at the mouth of the Wolf River where it enters Lake Poygan. The donation will advance a DNR project totaling $378,700 to create a 1,170 foot breakwall extending from the shore into Lake Poygan. This wall will be the first of a number of structures to be built between the river’s mouth and the “Boom Cut” channel. The broken limestone structures will dissipate wave energy, stop erosion of the shoreland marsh edge, and allow aquatic plants to take root and grow, forming a quiet-water area with quality habitat for fish and wildlife. This first structure will serve as an engineering test of the construction technique and will be the cornerstone, anchoring the structure to the shoreline.


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DNR wardens on hunt for poacher who shot big buck near Shiocton By Kevin Naze Contributing Writer Green Bay, Wis. — The poaching last month of a Boone and Crockett-class buck on private land near the small Outagamie County community of Shiocton has local hunters and wildlife lovers outraged. Wade Wheaton, of Shiocton, a life-long houndsman, was among a group of eight coyote hunters afield when two shots were fired, one of which he believes led to the buck’s death. “Some people are trying to paint all of us as violators,” Wheaton said. “That’s not the case. This was one individual, a tag-along who has been eliminated from the group.” Wheaton said he saw the giant buck running across a field just after noon on Friday, Jan. 22, in the direction of who he believes shot the deer a minute or so later. “We all heard the shots, but none of us saw him do it,” Wheaton said. “He came on the radio saying he had shot at a fox, no, a crow – a fox and a crow. He couldn’t think of a lie fast enough.” Wheaton said there were no other hunters in the area at the time of the shooting. Wheaton started a GoFundMe page for the rest of the group – and all coyote hunters across the state seeking to see justice served to the poacher – that in little more than a week had raised $2,825 toward a reward fund. Shadows of the Wolf in Shiocton donated $1,000, and Wheaton said Whitetails Unlimited has pledged to match it.

Who has the head? Wheaton didn’t find out about the wounded whitetail until

Saturday morning. He believes the shooter went back to cut the head off. Retired DNR conservation warden Mike Young, of Shiocton, is one of many concerned citizens hoping the truth comes out soon. “Just because I’m not wearing a badge doesn’t mean I don’t care about wildlife,” said Young, who retired last spring. “It’s kind of hard to break 27 years of a habit. I’ve got contacts. I’m trying to help find out who heard what and who knows what.” Young said a group of eight individuals were hunting coyotes that day. Four in the group – a father, two sons, and a hired hand (farm worker) – were in one truck, he said. The second group heard the shots shortly after seeing the buck run across a field toward the other group, a quarter-mile or so away. Not long after, a passerby reported seeing a massive-racked buck alive, but wounded, in a field north of Shiocton near Kliner Road. The sheriff’s department was contacted and was asked for a car-kill tag. The deputy called DNR warden Ryan Propson, but Propson wasn’t available at the time. Instead, he said he would investigate the following day. On Saturday, Propson found a headless carcass of a buck in the snow, some shell casings on or near the road, and a single bullet hole in the buck’s body. DNR warden supervisor Chris Shea, of Oshkosh, said Feb. 11 that wardens were still investigating the incident and were following up on numerous tips from citizens. “A lot of the information from the community has been very beneficial,” Shea said. “We’re

thankful for that and are continuing to seek that out. Anyone who knows something can call our tip line – 800-TIP-WDNR – and can remain anonymous through that process.” Shea said evidence was collected at the scene. Propson noted a number of violations, but Shea wouldn’t comment further. He wouldn’t confirm if DNA evidence was taken from the carcass, if wardens knew the whereabouts of the head and antlers, or if an arrest was imminent. Young said he hopes someone will come forward soon. “I suppose they could charge the entire truckload as party to the violation,” Young said. “And, if they find that some lied, that adds obstruction charges. They’re digging a deeper hole for themselves.” Wheaton said the group had permission to hunt on the private land because landowners want the predator population controlled, but the poaching incident has shut down coyote hunting on this land and some other local lands. On the GoFundMe page, Wheaton notes, “As Houndsman For Justice, we participate in the time-honored tradition of pursuing coyotes with the aid of hounds. We have had a respected position within the hunting community. We are seeking the prosecution of the person responsible, not only to give justice to this potential Boone and Crockett buck, but to restore our reputation with the good citizens and local landowners of Shiocton and surrounding areas. We strive to help our local landowners keep their livestock safe by helping them with predator control.”

Central Wisconsin Sports Show is Feb. 19-21 Wausau, Wis. — The sixth annual Central Wisconsin Sports Show will run Friday through Sunday, Feb. 19-21, at the Central Wisconsin Expo Center in Rothschild. The expo includes seminars on most fish species, electronics, and outdoor cooking. There also will be a kids casting event and kids trout pond. For more info, go to Traditional Archers Banquet is Feb. 20 Madison — The Wisconsin Traditional Archers annual banquet will take place Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Marriott West in Middleton. Keynote speaker Jim Akenson will talk about spending 21 years in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. For more information, contact Jerry Leveille at Wisconsin State Hunting Expo is Feb. 26-28 Green Bay, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Hunting Expo will run Friday through Sunday, Feb. 26-28, at Shopko Hall in Green Bay. Seminars will cover a wide range of topics, including shed antler hunting, land management, predator calling, bear and turkey hunting, and, of course, deer topics. The DNR’s Jeff Pritzl will be on hand to talk about 2016 Wisconsin deer management. Admission is $8; kids under 12 are admitted free. For more information, go to Wisconsin Fishing Expo Carries on MFE Tradition, Feb. 26-28

Madison — Fishermen familiar with the Madison Fishing Expo will see a similar, but different, name applied to the show when they roll up to the Alliant Energy Center Expo Hall in Madison on the normal MFE weekend of Feb. 26-28. The speaker lineup includes Joe Bucher, John Gillespie, Tommy Kemos, Pete Maina, Rob Manthei, Eric Haataja, Marianne Husky, Pat Kalmerton, and Bill Schultz. The new “Muskie Friday” will offer three muskie seminars, including a roundtable format giving people access to well-known muskie nuts. As a bonus, anglers who attend Muskie Night will get a free pass to the expo the next day. New attractions include the Evergreen Grass Band playing all day on Saturday. An added attraction is Joe Bucher and the Young Guns, who will perform Saturday at 5 p.m. Go to

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February 19, 2016

NRB gives nod to Blue Mounds park ‘snowmo’ trail By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — The Natural Resources Board approved an updated master plan for Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties, and also approved a change in the 1,159-acre Blue Mounds State Park plan that will allow a snowmobile trail. At the Jan. 27 meeting, Diane Brusoe, DNR Property Planning Section chief, said the DNR was approached by snowmobilers who asked for a trail in the park to connect to other trails. The board then asked the DNR to review all the trails in the park. The park is the highest point in Dane County and provides camping, hiking, skiing, biking, and swimming opportunities. The Military Ridge State Trail runs along its southern boundary. As part of the plan amendment, the DNR proposed changes to an off-road bike trail system that includes creating a beginner loop system and made slight modifications of trails. This resulted in a 2.2-mile increase. Once completed, the park will offer 15.4 miles of off-road, singletrack bike trails. The existing snowmobile trail

was located outside the park, but the DNR proposed allowing snowmobile use in the park on a new 1.4-mile trail that will allow other uses during other seasons. “The original snowmobile request was to allow the trail through the Pleasure Valley Area, but the proposed route does not do that,” Brusoe said. She said the DNR was balancing challenging interests and proposed a new trail that should be better for everyone. Six people provided comments, with two in favor of the snowmobile trail, three against, and one neutral. Karl Heil, of Barneveld, was opposed to the snowmobile trail and trail realignment, saying the snowmobile trail is not needed because there are adequate trails, and snowmobiling and skiing are not compatible. “Cross-country skiing is the winter revenue generator for the park. Snowmobiles contribute no direct financial benefit to the park,” Heil said. John Koffel, of Ridgeway, said a new snowmobile route is not needed because a route already exists along Blue Mounds Road. Dave Newman, of the



Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, and Sam Landes, Dane County Council of Snowmobile Clubs, supported the new trail. They said the trail will connect Military Ridge State Trail with a snowmobile trail on private property. “We feel it is a good compromise,” Newman said. “Wisconsin state parks are there for everyone to enjoy.” Walter Hougas, of Capital Off Road Pathfinders Bike Club, said that he took no position on the snowmobile trail, but supported changes to the other trails. William Van Haren, of Friends of Blue Mounds State Park, opposed the snowmobile trail based on the money his group raises for the park and its impact on current park users. NRB member Bill Bruins said

the trail would only be open about 20 days (when there is adequate snow) each winter. The board approved the amended plan, adding 9.1 new miles of trails, Bricks including the new snowmobile trail at Blue Mounds State Park.

Grantsburg OK’d

The NRB also approved a master plan for Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties that includes Crex Meadows, Fish Lake, and Amsterdam Sloughs wildlife areas. Wetlands cover more than 50 percent of the acreage and they contain more than 90 miles of roads that allow access. Waterfowl hunters are some of the major users, along with birders who come to see migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Brusoe said the properties contain northwest sands ecological landscape, which offers some of the best opportunities to manage open pine barrens. The plan calls for decreased

property boundaries on each wildlife area. The 28,553-acre Crex Meadows Wildlife Area has a boundary of 32,921 acres. That will be reduced by 524 acres to 32,397 acres. The 5,052-acre Amsterdam Sloughs has a boundary of 7,610 acres. That will be reduced by 2,127 acres to 5,483 acres. The 13,649-acre Fish Lake Wildlife Area has a boundary of 14,115 acres. That will be reduced by 40 acres to 14,075 acres. Bruins asked how many people from Minnesota use the area. Brusoe did not have numbers, but said it was “a lot of people.” NRB member Terry Hilgenberg followed up on Bruins’ question, saying that Wisconsin is providing outstanding facilities for its Minnesota neighbors, and he is a believer in user fees. Hilgenberg asked the DNR to look for creative ways to generate revenues from users, such as birders who don’t pay any license fees. “It’s an opportunity for these people to participate,” he said. “In the shrinking budget environment we are in, it is difficult to support big projects.” Hilgenberg also asked the DNR to look at increasing the number of boat landings, since only five were in the plan. Bruins echoed Hilgenberg’s concerns, saying too many people think the property was developed free of charge, and that is not reality. He encouraged the DNR to increase revenue streams from public properties. Bruins added that the DNR budget now has $90 million going to pay for principle and interest for properties, which the general public doesn’t realize. NRB member Gary Zimmer noted his concerns that sharptailed grouse numbers were declining on these wildlife areas.

‘Friends’ concern at park

During citizen participation, Claudia Bricks, of Friends of Kohler-Andrae State Park, told the board that her group did not want to see the Kohler Company destroy the 247-acre parcel that adjoins Kohler-Andrae State Park. Kohler is proposing to build its sixth golf course in Sheboygan County on land adjacent to Lake Michigan and the state park. Kohler has petitioned the DNR to obtain an easement on four acres of state park land. “In 1965 this land was part of a 500-acre parcel that was split in half. Half went to create KohlerAndrae State Park and the remaining half is this parcel,” Bricks said. “Both pieces of land contain the same unique and fragile ecosystem – wetlands and dunes.” If the permits are approved, the land will be bulldozed, she said, and Kohler will use high-capacity wells to pump millions of gallons of water from the aquifer to water greens. Bricks said this is the wrong location for a golf course. She said her group is not against Kohler or golfing, but they are against having a golf course built on this piece of land. The NRB also: • Approved an emergency rule to continue a daily bag limit of three walleyes with varying size limits in the ceded territory. An emergency rule for these regulations expired Jan. 26, and the permanent rule takes effect April 1, so this emergency rule continues the bag limit during those months not covered until April 1. The rule contained a small change, adding Balsam Lake in Polk County to the 18-inch length limit for walleyes.

February 19, 2016


Page 7

Chippewa County favors county forest land swap By Dave Carlson Contributing Writer Chippewa Falls, Wis. — Saying they trust a businessman’s pledge to continue restoring a lake and open his property to sick and terminally ill children and other youths for fishing, Chippewa County supervisors steered a controversial proposed county forest land swap deal to the DNR for the final say. If the county’s application for forestland withdrawal is approved by the DNR, county officials said the three-party deal would result in 180 acres of private land valued at $337,500 being purchased by Leland Christenson, of Eleva, who would then exchange that tract for 150 acres of county forestland appraised at $285,000. That county property is adjacent to 400 acres Christenson bought in 2008 and turned into the Christenson Family Trust LLC. He has said he’s spent millions of dollars building roads and dredging a bog on the property. He said he wants the county forest land in order to build a large dam, replacing two smaller dams that would flood county land, and to build a road off Hwy. M and Deer Fly Trail for direct access to his property. He said he will run a fish farm operation and grow wild rice on his property. The county’s Land Conservation and Forest Management Committee in late January by a 5-0 vote recommended to the county board to go ahead with the swap. On Feb. 9 after hearing testimony, much of it repeated from the earlier committee meeting, the full board by a 12-2 vote approved sending an application for withdrawal to the DNR. Ten votes were needed to approve the resolution. The DNR determines if the swap would result in a “higher and better use” of the county forest land, according to county administrator Frank Pascarella. The swap is contingent upon approval of the DNR, he said. Negotiations between the county, Christenson, and Peter Hanson, a farmer who owns the 180 acres Christenson has a purchase option on to use for the swap, have been ongoing since 2014. Originally, the county had put together a state Stewardship grant and other funding to buy the Hanson property. That deal was rescinded by the county after Christenson offered to buy Hanson’s land for the same appraised value. Both sides agreed to placing no restrictions in the proposed swap, Pascarella said. The board is taking Christenson’s word that he will not develop the county forest land, or sell it at a later date for development. Several sources who asked to remain anonymous said the county explored setting up a conservation easement with restrictions to protect the bartered property in perpetuity. In the end, the county wanted “to keep as clean a swap as possible,” Pascarella said. Christenson presented no written business plan to the county, he said. After Christenson’s attorney, Tom Bilski, of Osseo, and other citizen supporters defended his conservation track record, philanthropy, and civic involvements, Christenson told the board: “My hobby is restoring wetlands. I’ve been doing this for 37 years. I’m not a developer. I’m never going to develop this property. It’s going to stay in a family trust forever.” At the January land conservation and forestry committee hearing, Christenson assured

supervisors: “This will be the most spectacular piece of property in Chippewa County.” Attorney Ben Lane, who asked the county board Leland to send the Christenson proposal back to the land committee for more study, said adding restrictions “should not be a deal-breaker.” Lane further stated that trading the land would abandon public access to navigable waters in the area. County supervisor Mike Leisz, of Chippewa Falls, said based on testimony at two public hearings of the highly charged proposal that supervisors were justified in trusting Christenson. Leisz added that if Christenson doesn’t live up to his promises “the newspapers” will be after him. Supervisor Lee McIlquham, of Chippewa Falls, said he and other supervisors have put a lot of faith in Christenson. “Do it right, Mr. Christenson,” he said at the January session.

Dr. Tom Chisholm, of Chippewa Falls, said he was concerned about the development’s impact on water quality and the nearby Ice Age Trail, and with no business plan “we’ve left a lot to the imagination.” Heather Anderson, of Bloomer, said the streams and lakes could be impacted and added that the swap would alter her decision to give land to the county. Retired DNR game warden Dean Gullickson said the board of his 36-member umbrella group, the Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance, supported the project. “We can see no negative impact,” Gullickson said. Nick Haus, a botanist from Duluth, Minn., urged the county to close the deal to protect a 46-acre block of white cedars. The tract also has more diverse soil types that provide more for plant and animal habitat than the county forest property. “Chippewa County is getting an ecological and financial gift,” Haus said. In addition to gaining 30 acres, the county also would be able to harvest about $75,000 worth of timber on the 180-acre tract, officials said.

A area was logged in the Chippewa County Forest off of Deer Fly Trail near the proposed land swap site. Photo by Dave Carlson Steve Edge, the DNR’s regional forester in Eau Claire, said the county has 60 days to submit data for a withdrawal application. The DNR’s assessment of environmental, economic, and social impacts of withdrawing the 150 acres could take months by a team of natural resources specialists. Not having use restrictions on the transferred property will be considered, Edge said, but activ-

ities occurring on Christenson’s land not involved in the transaction are not part of the finding of fact review. A final decision will be made by the DNR’s Forestry Division headed by Paul DeLong in Madison, Edge said. If the DNR rejects the application, the county can appeal. The application does not go before the Natural Resources Board.

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February 19, 2016

Public input remains part of state’s rules process Citizens give up work, spare time to continue tradition of public input By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — Wisconsin citizens have a long history of being directly involved in the state’s law- and rule-making process, often by traveling long distances to testify at public hearings. Citizens continued this tradition recently when they testified during hearings on two controversial bills earlier this year before the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage and the Committee on Environment and Forestry. Development and commercial interests support the bills – Assembly Bill 600 and AB 603 – but every conservation group testified against the bills. Citizens from northern, eastern, and western Wisconsin traveled to Madison to oppose the bills. Hearings open with testimony from bill authors, followed by groups and lobbyists. Citizens wait their turn, usually testifying late in the hearing. Follow-up conversations with a few citizens who traveled several hours to testify in January revealed their concerns for the state’s natural resources and why they made the Madison trek.

Northern concerns Retired high school English teacher Maureen Matusewic, of Hurley, drove to Madison to testify on assembly bills dealing with water. “The biggest cost to me was probably the time and energy it took to study the bill, and then write something up and drive to Madison,” Matusewic said. She said she is not comfortable talking in front of a room full of people. Matusewic and her husband left Hurley at 6 a.m. that day and got to Madison at 10:30 for a hearing that began at 11 a.m. She was in the Capitol until she offered her testimony at 5:50 p.m. Her willingness to spend time learning about, and commenting on, the bills stems from her concern for natural resources. “It all started with the mining bill,” she said. “The mining bill opened my eyes to the way that little people don’t pay attention to bills, but now I have the time to learn about them,” she said. She watched as lobbyists came in and “pulled the wool over people’s eyes” with the mining bill. She found it difficult to

watch as other northern residents were led to believe the environment would be OK. Growing up in the area, she said she learned from a trapper about how easy it is to damage wetlands. She is concerned about spring waters and where areas of special natuOtt ral resource interest are located and believes Assembly proposals would make them vulnerable. “So, this is my time to take responsibility and help people muddle through the information,” she said. Matusewic said she and her husband are involved Cole with snowmobiling, ATVs, fishing, and silent sports, so they are not against outdoor activities, but they don’t like seeing legislation that will open isolated and sensitive places to dredging and degradation. She also was concerned about other bills that would allow fish farmers to use public waters and private developers to destroy Indian mounds. “From what we see, the Republicans have no respect for how water works,” she said. Karl Fate, of Rhinelander, has worked at a paper mill for 37 years, but was off the day of the hearing, which allowed him to drive 31⁄2 hours to Madison. He said he didn’t find out about the hearing until the night before it occurred, but the consequences of the bill justified his 7-hour round-trip drive time, $14 for the cost of parking, and personal time. “There have been a number of things going on that pose a threat to our waters, and the iron-mining law really got me thinking about it,” Fate said, adding that the mining law threatened the headwaters of several streams and rivers, which he believes was in conflict with the Public Trust Doctrine. “Filling or building above the ordinary high-water mark is in conflict with that doctrine and was at risk with these bills,” Fate said. “They (legislators) are trying to change the definition of the ordinary high-water mark and development on lakeshores, which is a threat to the well-being of our lakes.” Fate said that one of the things that triggered all of the proposed bills was Act 55

Mary Dougherty, of Bayfield County, drove to Madison in December to tell the NRB that she is concerned about the 10 million gallons of manure that will be generated annually by a CAFO that is to be located only miles from Lake Superior. Photo by Tim Eisele

(the most recent state budget), which doesn’t allow counties to set regulations. “The counties can’t exceed zoning regulations anymore, and a lot of counties went beyond that to protect their lakes, rightfully so, and now they’ve had that hard work stripped from them,” Fate said, adding that Act 55 had a “chilling effect” on public participation. “Right now we can’t even go to our county government to appeal for protection of our lakes. That was really negative.” Fate believes that in order to protect water, there needs to be good laws and public involvement. “A lot of these laws, like Act 55, are formulated to keep people out of participating. It restricts public involvement (in legislation) like the mining bill,” he said. “Local control and public involvement, in combination with water laws, are how we protect the waters of the state. We need all three of those things.”

Eastern concerns Joe Pyzyk, of Brookfield, took time off of work to drive to Madison to tell legislators about his disappointment with several bills. For Pyzyk, it was telling, because he said he has traditionally voted Republican, but he wanted to tell legislators that AB 600 is flawed. Pyzyk works out of his home and is a commissioner with the Big Bass Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District in Marathon County. He owns lake property in Marathon and Taylor counties. “I’ve sat through many shoreland zoning meetings on the impact of development on

lake property, so I feel pretty strongly on this stuff,” he said. “AB 600 and AB 603 were ridiculous,” he said. “I read this stuff, and I also took the opportunity to voice my dislike for Act 55.” “I was appalled at what the Joint Finance Committee did with Act 55. Shoreland zoning is not broken and did not need to be ‘fixed,’ ” he said. His comments parallel others, as well as some legislators who recognized that when the last state budget was passed with shoreland zoning changes, there were no public hearings and no discussion. Pyzyk said this policy change had no business being in the state budget. “It was basically railroaded in by the Republicans in the Legislature,” he said. “I don’t think there has been any law that has been passed in the last 25 years where I’ve been more upset. The counties should be doing this stuff, and they’re taking it away from the counties.” Pyzyk gave credit to committee chairman Al Ott, who acknowledged that the Legislature was trying to correct what the Legislature had done earlier.

Western concerns Forest Jahnke, from Rolling Ground (near Gays Mills), drove 2 hours to Madison to present concerns from the Crawford Stewardship Project. He spent the entire day waiting to testify on two bills. He was able to testify on one bill, but never did get to testify on the second because the hearing started late and he had to head home. (See Public Page 14)

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February 19, 2016

Waupaca fourth-grader lets her sled dogs lead the way By Greg Seubert Contributing Writer Waupaca, Wis. — Nevaeh Johnson may well be in charge on race day, but she lets her sled dogs lead the way. The 9-year-old fourth-grader from Waupaca competed in her first race Jan. 23 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and came home with a second-place plaque. Nevaeh – heaven spelled backward – and her family headed to the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race near Newberry, Mich. She faced three other competitors and was able to complete the 4-mile course, which started and ended at Muskallonge Lake State Park, in 18:39.21. “I was really excited and a little nervous at the start, but when I first started going, I felt pretty confident,” Nevaeh said. “It was easy.” She attended the race with her parents, Dean and Edna Johnson, and rode a sled led by two of the family’s Alaskan huskies, Mr. Incredible and Vera. Dean Johnson has run sled dogs for fun the past 25 years, but didn’t start racing until this winter. “We kind of graduated to Alaskan huskies, which pull much better and are a lot faster,” he said. “Once we got more, it was like, ‘Wow, we should race these guys.’ We’ve got them, they’re young enough, we’re always looking for things to keep them healthy, whether its backpacking, camping, riding with them on the bike, taking them wherever.”

“I was really excited and a little nervous at the start, but when I first started going, I felt pretty confident.” — Nevaeh Johnson “I practiced on the trails by my house,” Nevaeh said. “Sometimes, you have to swish around corners. They actually did pretty good. They stayed on the trail.” “I had a lot of reservations,” Dean Johnson said. “Our ability to train around here has been limited with the snow and trail availability. I never had her out of my sight. When we put her in the chute for the first time and they counted down, she was on her way, around the corner and she was gone. “We can’t do anything but wait the next 15 minutes until we started hearing, ‘The youths are coming back,’ ” he said. “I stood on a bale of hay and said, ‘That’s Nevaeh.’ I knew she was going to place. It was really exciting. To see the smile on her face, it was huge.” The Johnsons bought several of their dogs from Nature’s Kennel in McMillan, Mich., about 20 miles from Newberry and a sevenhour drive from home. “They’re generally 3 or 4 years old when we get them,” Dean Johnson said. “They’ve been trained.” Recent mild winters in central Wisconsin has meant heading up north to race. “With the bad snow the last couple of years here, we almost

have to get up north,” Dean said. “If we’re going to go up there, we might as well meet the other people and partake in the races.” Races are held in several Wisconsin communities, including Merrill, Antigo, Mishicot, and Wausau. “It’s kind of a dying sport,” he said. “I’m trying to get her a little more interested and see if she wants to race. She ended up having a lemonade stand this summer and we bought a sled. Then we went to a dog sled symposium and won a $1,000 sled at a raffle. Now we got this nice sled and four dogs that are really young and in shape yet.” The Johnsons began training the dogs in September with bikes on local roads. “She goes with me and can give them commands so they get used to her voice,” Dean Johnson said. The Johnsons brought Mr. Incredible and Vera to Nevaeh’s fourth-grade class at Waupaca Learning Center. “I gave a speech in my classroom,” Nevaeh said. “We talked about my race.” “My other kids that are 28 and 25, they grew up behind a dog sled, just goofing around and going camping with me,” Dean Johnson said. “They hiked the Ice Age Trail two years ago, so they have that adventure in them. “It’s kind of nice with very few kids in the sport,” he said. “You can go to these (races) and place. She was able to go there for the first time and get second place. There weren’t 10, 15 people she


Page 9

Dean Johnson and his 9-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, plan to Photos by Greg Seubert compete in more dog sled races this winter.  was up against.” Races with adults can have hundreds of dogs, but the focus is on the kids, according to Johnson. “A lot of emphasis is placed on the children,” he said. “They cater to the kids when they’re there because everybody knows they are the future of the sport if we want to keep it going.” Johnson competed in a recent four-dog race in Iron River, Mich. “We hope to get in four or five this year,” he said. “Maybe we’ll travel a little more next year. There are a lot out East, but there are enough around here to keep

us busy. There are also dry-land races that start in September, so you can race with your mountain bike or a scooter. Or, you can just have a belt on and run with your dog. Most of the sled dog clubs promote anything that have to do with getting your dogs out.” The dogs will get a little break once the racing season wraps up, but not for long. “We take them swimming or run around the dog parks,” he said. “The more they care about and love you, the more they’ll work on that sled. They definitely know it’s race time.”

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February 19, 2016

NRB approves acquisition of 118 acres Feds call Bayfield County hog farm plan under scrutiny By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — The acquisition of 118 acres at no cost to the state, large hog farms, and a tribal teen program were topics of discussion during the Natural Resources Board’s December meeting. The NRB approved adding 37.6 acres in Bayfield County for the natural areas program for $520,000. The parcel, purchased from Scot O’Malley, is at the mouth of the Bark River and will allow more access to Lake Superior. The cost will be paid by a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The parcel, located 3 miles west of Cornucopia, includes 25 acres of upland woodland and 13 acres of lowland woodland. A two-track that connects Hwy. 13 to the shoreline will provide access to 1,000 feet of Lake Superior shoreline. A small parking area will be developed. The purchase will provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other activities. Bill Bruins, board member from Waupun, noted this will become part of a natural area. He wanted to be sure there would be no attempt to restrict access. Doug

Haag, DNR real estate director, confirmed there is no restriction, though overnight camping will be prohibited. The board then accepted the donation of 80.2 acres in Adams County from James T. Barg. The land, 12 miles north of Adams in the town of Big Flats, includes 8 acres of wetlands and 72 acres of lowland woods. Access is through Beaver Avenue, on the south boundary. The land will be open for recreation, and will be used for forest management. The landowner will have to have it assessed to obtain a property value for his donation, which is thought to be about $200,000. Surrounding the land is a 7,449acre Forest Legacy easement the DNR previously purchased from Plum Creek Timberlands. NRB member Fred Prehn, of Wausau, said this donation was an “incredible value” and a good addition for the state.

Hog farm concerns Mary Dougherty, of Bayfield, made the board aware of concerns she and residents in Bayfield County have about the proposed 26,000-hog Badgerwood confined animal feeding operation. “Bayfield County is referred to as Wisconsin’s crown jewel,” she told the board. “We have Lake Superior as our northern border which holds 10 percent of the

world’s fresh surface water.” An Iowa farmer has submitted an application to begin the operation with 100 boars, 7,500 sows, 4,100 market-weight pigs, and 14,625 piglets that will produce 10 million gallons of manure annually. The CAFO would be operated in the Fish Creek Watershed, which flows into Lake Superior. Dougherty said she has concerns that the DNR CAFO specialist is responsible for watching 77 CAFOs in 15 counties, and that this employee is located more than 200 miles from the Bayfield site. “I am concerned that the littleto-no DNR operational oversight and the self-regulating of CAFOs will result in disastrous consequences for Lake Superior,” she said, adding that this is a time for citizens and elected officials to stand together in defense of clean air and water. She quoted a resident of Kewaunee County who said that “there is no compromise when it comes to clean water.” Dougherty said more than 30 percent of tested private wells in Kewaunee County are polluted with nutrients and nitrates from 16 CAFOs in that county. She said the 702 jobs in the area that are the result of tourism are at risk from the 27 jobs created at the CAFO.

Dougherty said she realizes that state law allows CAFOs, while their millions of gallons of manure pollute water and air. She acknowledged that DATCP rules allow for CAFOs and asked NRB members to speak up on behalf of Bayfield County. NRB member Preston Cole, of Milwaukee, asked the DNR to get in touch with Dougherty to be sure she knows about anything the DNR can do.

Tribal youth In other matters, the board also heard that the DNR is authorized to create a tribal youth program to involve them in natural resources management. The budget offers $250,000 per year for a program for youths ages 13 to 19 from the state’s 11 tribes. Tribes may apply for grants, with a 50 percent match, to provide teens education on trapping, shocking fish, tracking wildlife, forestry, wetland ecology, and more. This past summer, more than 50 tribal teens participated in the program. The DNR will be receiving reports on the activities. Participants reported that the program increased their interest in natural resources. Cole suggested the DNR get tribal teens together with Conservation Congress and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation youth leaders at some point.

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off use of aircraft for cranes By Associated Press Milwaukee (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will stop supporting the use of ultralight aircraft to help young whooping cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida each fall. Officials announced Jan. 22 that this season’s ultralight-guided flights to the birds’ winter home will be the last. Operation Migration, the Canadian-based nonprofit group that has led the migrations for 15 years, has opposed the end of ultralights, saying the program has helped cranes survive. But USFWS officials say the birds haven’t been successful in producing chicks and raising them in the wild. The effort has spent more than $20 million to establish the flock that’s distinct from a larger flock of whooping cranes migrating between the Texas Gulf Coast and northern Canada. The final decision to end the public-private effort was made in Baraboo during a meeting of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, according to Pete Fasbender, a Minnesota-based USFWS field office supervisor. “The real short answer is that we felt that this was in the best interest of the birds,” he said. Nearly 250 whooping cranes have been released in Wisconsin since 2001. USFWS officials say about 93 are currently alive, but only 10 chicks have survived to fledge. Experts in crane biology have concluded that the use of aircraft and other human interaction are having a negative impact. Since 2005, the chicks that fledged and were born in the wild came from only five pairs of adults, the USFWS said. “Why aren’t the others getting it?” Fasbender asked. “The common thread is this lack of parenting skills.” The partnership includes Operation Migration and staff from the Baraboo-based International Crane Foundation, the largest crane conservation organization in the world. Barry Hartup, director of veterinary service, said the crane foundation agrees with the changes, which include limiting human interaction with chicks and minimizing a practice where costumed humans help care for chicks. “We have to find ways to reduce the element of artificiality,” Hartup said. The decision is a setback for Operation Migration, which has staff in northern Florida, just short of the final destination of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The ultralight migration this year has lasted more than 100 days. Joe Duff, chief executive officer of Operation Migration, posted a comment on the group’s website that said: “It is sad to see the end of aircraft led migration. There will be many people who will be disappointed, and even a few who will celebrate. But those reactions are all about people and our mantra has always been, it’s about the birds.”

February 19, 2016


Page 11

Iowa County petting zoo puts spotlight on CWD, fences By Dave Zeug Contributing Writer Spring Green, Wis. — Peck’s Farm Market East, the award-winning farmers market near Spring Green in Iowa County, has something for everyone, according to its website. With the variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, specialty foods, and horse-drawn wagon rides to the public, it lives up to the billing. The business is also the home of a small, 1-acre licensed deer farm, although with the recent discovery of a CWD-positive deer inside the business’s single-fenced farm, the future of the remaining deer on the farm is uncertain. Farm owner Richard Peck made it clear their deer farm isn’t like other farms that raise deer for financial gain through selling animals to shooting preserves or breeding operations. “We don’t hunt these deer, breed them, or sell them. Because of where we are in a CWD zone, we’re quarantined and can’t move any (live) deer from our enclosure. We’re more of a petting zoo than a traditional for-profit deer farm,” Peck said. “We’ve only got seven white-tailed deer, seven fallow deer, and one bull elk on the property. No deer have been brought into here or left here alive since 2002 when CWD was discovered in the area.” That’s why the positive test of a 11⁄2-year-old buck found dead inside the fence is unusual. “The yearling buck died from a puncture wound from a bigger buck and it appeared to be healthy,” Peck said. “Any deer leaving the farm needs to be tested for CWD, and we were surprised when it came back positive. “We’ve had other deer die over the years, and they all have been tested and came back clean, but this one came back positive. As of now, the bigger buck and all the rest of the deer appear to be healthy.” Peck said he isn’t sure how the deer became infected, but he does have a theory. “We think it may have come from a wild deer contacting our deer through our fence. We see tracks in the snow coming right up to the fence and there are a fair number of wild deer in the area,” he said. “Again, we don’t know for sure, but since we haven’t moved any live deer in or out of here for years, we can’t think of any other



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way our buck could have become infected.” The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection announced the discovery in a Jan. 29 news release after the test was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The farm has been quarantined since 2008, when wild deer in a 5-mile radius were diagnosed with CWD. The DATCP Animal Health Division’s investigation will examine the animal’s history and trace movements of deer onto the property to determine whether any other deer farms may have exposure to CWD, according a news release. DATCP officials were at the farm Feb. 5, according to Peck. “They couldn’t have been nicer, they were very polite, almost sympathetic to our situation,” Peck said. “We don’t know yet what’s going to happen to our remaining deer. We’re waiting for DATCP to tell us. They even told me (CWD prions) could be in the soil of my deer farm.” While through-the-fence transmission may never be confirmed as the infection route, it seems to be the most likely avenue. Because

of this, fears of through-fence infections at other single-fenced deer farms where CWD has been detected and depopulation has not occurred – and where no wild deer are known to be infected – is a concern to those who fear CWD transmission to wild deer. Additionally, it’s a concern of deer farmers who have healthy herds near areas where infected wild deer have been found. Jarrod Washburn, a retired professional baseball player and deer farm owner, shared his concerns in an earlier interview when he said his Burnett County farms are double-fenced. “That way I can protect my deer from any diseased wild deer or escapes (of his own animals.)” When contacted about the recent discovery in Iowa County and the possibility the deer was infected by a wild deer outside the fence, Washburn had more comments. “When I read it I figured the same thing – that it was infected by a wild deer because of his location. There are other doublefenced operations (besides mine) around the state. Unfortunately the research is starting to show that it may not matter. While it does prohibit the contact with the wild deer in the area, there is

nothing that can be done to stop … the prions being transported and passed through birds of prey feces, as well as plant matter. I know I have a hard time keeping the darn crows out of my feeders. If there are wild deer in the area that have CWD and that crow has eaten on a carcass from one of these infected animals, then my double fence doesn’t do anything to help stop that,” Washburn said. Dave Clausen, former chairman of the Natural Resources Board and retired veterinarian, has followed the research on CWD for years. “I have to agree with some of Jarrod’s comments,” Clausen said. “Prions can enter or leave a fence on contaminated soil tracked in or out, as well as soil that’s carried by water. However, when one evaluates risk, the idea is to concentrate on the most likely risk that you have a chance to do something about. Single fences allowing deerto-deer contact seems to be one of the most likely routes of exposure. There are also more likely to be escapes due to (single) fence failure, as evidenced by the escape of two CWD-positive deer from the Eau Claire County deer farm this past year. “Basically what the most recent

Iowa County situation demonstrates is that CWD-positive deer farms that are not depopulated do pose a risk to the wild herd surrounding them,” he said. “DATCP’s mission and concern pertain only to agriculture. They’re not charged with protecting wildlife.” We have a Catch-22 situation here,” Clausen said. “DATCP doesn’t care about the wild deer herd, and DNR, who has that responsibility, seems unwilling or unable to exercise even the few tools that were available to them. The people and the deer both end up being the losers here.” Clausen was referring to the recent legislation that was passed involving lessening state requirements for deer farms. In this case, the U.S. Department of Agriculture strengthened the regulation of deer farms across the country while the Wisconsin DNR moved in the opposite direction. One of the justifications the DNR used in advancing this position was with the strengthened, federal regulations, and the additional costs, some smaller deer farmers might release their captive deer into the wild, potentially spreading CWD on the landscape.

Page 12


February 19, 2016

Sawyer County residents hear similar tune on duck dam By Dave Zeug Contributing Writer Hayward, Wis. — The fate of what’s known in Sawyer County as the “duck dam,” a failing structure on the Totagatic River in northwest Wisconsin, recently brought outdoor advocates to a meeting at the Sawyer County Courthouse. A decision about the future of the 62-year-old dam in need of extensive – and expensive – repairs or potential removal needs to be made. Sawyer County zoning and land conservation staff, along with a handful of local duck hunter and trappers, represented the interests of Sawyer County. They want the dam repaired, which would maintain the flowage that’s part of the 272-acre Totagatic Wildlife Area. Mike Zeckmeister, DNR Northern Region wildlife supervisor, and Bill Clark, the Northern Region environmental review supervisor, represented the DNR. “The dam was built in 1953,” Zeckmeister said. “Now it’s an aging and failing dam. It was never designed to be a bridge, but became one without any official sanction. This spring we started to lower water levels to reduce documented safety hazards, but realize it’s critical to the public and loggers to have access across the river. By working with the Department of Transportation, we were able to ensure a bridge would be built just downstream of the dam.”

This bridge, however, would not be in the form of a dam. Zeckmeister said it would cost $475,000 to repair the old dam. “That kind of money is scarce in all levels of government. We need to compare the benefits of keeping the dam in place to the costs of repairing it to the level needed. If the dam is removed, and it’s not a done deal yet, we acknowledge there would be trade-offs. It would help restore the river to its original condition. Fish could migrate to the Nelson Lake dam (a couple of miles upstream), and it would create fish spawning areas, which are all good. Some fish species may improve, but some may decline if the dam is removed.” Surveys of the fish population in the flowage showed that while there were sport fish there, it couldn’t be describe it as a great fishery. “There doesn’t appear to be a lot fish anglers would pursue in the flowage,” Zeckmeister said. Locals do know that the flowage can have good crappie numbers at times. Wild rice is another desirable natural resource on the flowage, but currently there’s very little of it, possibly because of the water depth. “The flowage was too deep to provide good habitat for stands of rice. It’s possible that if the water levels drop, we may get

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Jonah Sande, of the Hayward area, and his dog, Dekes, are pictured at the Totagatic dam boat landing during the youth duck hunt last year.  Contributed photo more wild rice, which duck hunters obviously would like,” Zeckmeister said. Joel Clapero, chief of the Hayward Police Department and an waterfowl hunter, wasn’t so sure. “I hunt the property two or three times a year. It’s very close to town, which makes it accessible for morning hunts prior to work,” Clapero said, adding that the flowage was the first body of water he ever hunted in Sawyer County while hunting with his brother-in-law and father, who were his mentors. “My main concern with losing this unique body of water is that there are very few, if any, other bodies of

water containing a huge cattail marsh in this area. This wetland is home for furbearers, and the small pockets of open water in the cattails provide roosting cover for waterfowl. “I’m concerned that if the water is lowered, most of the area will just become filled in with cattails and almost become virtually inaccessible to hunters and trappers. I also appreciate the concern over the staggering price to replace the faulty dam,” Clapero said. In response to a trapper’s comment about the flowage being a good area to trap muskrats, Zeckmeister acknowledged there were muskrats on the flowage, but added, “I’m a trapper

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too, and most of my muskrats are caught on river systems. I think there will still be muskrats to trap, and expect if the dam is removed, beaver will move in and build their own dams. This can be beneficial to furbearers and ducks.” Clark is also the DNR’s Northern Region liaison with the DOT and has spent years working with the DOT on other projects. “If we decide to move forward with this project, contractors building the bridge could also remove the dam, which would save taxpayers a lot of money because they’re already on site,” Clark said. Clark also handled a question from a Nelson Lake property owner worried about drought cycles when releases of water into the river would lower water levels on the highly developed Nelson Lake just upstream. “Would we be forced to let water into the river and out of the lake?” he asked. Clark said the river could not be allowed to run dry, but wouldn’t be run at a normal flow during drought years. Nelson Lake was formed by another, larger dam upstream on the Totagatic River. Zeckmeister and Clark also had concerns over too fast of a drawdown of the flowage water because of sediment moving downstream. Besides addressing the safety concerns surrounding the dam, the current slow drawdown would reduce this. “There will always be sediment going downstream, but we need to try to minimize it,” Zeckmeister said. Dale Olson, the Sawyer County Zoning and Conservation administrator, was concerned the DNR wasn’t being held to the same standards as other dam owners. “We’ve been keeping our dams (in Sawyer County) up as we’re supposed to, but when I see the water level lowered and looked at the (online) surface water data viewer, it says the dam has been abandoned. It doesn’t appear the DNR is being held to the same standard,” Olson said. “If the surface water map says that, it’s a mistake,” Zeckmeister said. Zeckmeister and Clark also were asked if the DNR was planning on bringing this to the public again. “Yes, we are. If we do an abandonment, there would be an open process with public informational meetings. We’ll take public input at that time,” Zeckmeister said. “There has been no decision made yet. This isn’t the first time we’ve met with the public. We’ve met with the (impacted) towns in Sawyer and Washburn counties. We’ve been trying to meet with people and we’ll continue trying to meet with the public. We’ve tried to keep Sawyer County informed, although the pathway to construct a bridge is ongoing,” Clark added. After the meeting, Olson said, “I think this is a done deal. There’s no reason to go to battle over it, although when public hearings are held, we’d like to at least see if any other entity might step up. Maybe some other less expensive lowhead dam could be put in place. We understand the cost of doing business, and this is a small dam in the middle of nowhere without any shoreland structures,” Olson said. One potential and less costly option would be a simple rock dam to help keep flowage water levels up, but other options haven’t been studied in depth.

February 19, 2016

Beyond Wisconsin

North Dakota Archery Deer Permit Deadline Approaching Bismarck, N.D. — Nonresident hunters may apply for 2016 any-deer bow licenses through March 1. Tag applications are available on the North Dakota Game and Fish website. NDGF has made 281 licenses available for the 2016 season, which represents 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The applications must be printed and sent in to the NDGF.

South Dakota Sportsmen Debate Nonres Waterfowling Bill Pierre, S.D. (AP) — Some residents are pushing back against a bill that would expand nonresident waterfowl hunting in eastern South Dakota. Rep. Dick Werner’s bill would add five counties to the Missouri River unit where 1,500 three-day licenses are available each fall for nonresidents. In the past five years, fewer than 500 nonresident licenses have

been sold each year for the unit. Werner said the extra licenses should not go to waste and could help stimulate the economy of north-central South Dakota. Chuck Dieter is president of the South Dakota Waterfowl Association. He says the proposal would ruin the hunting experience for many residents.

South Dakota Non-Trophy Bison Hunting Begins at Custer State Park Spearfish, S.D. (AP) — The non-trophy bison season in began Jan. 25 to remove excess cows and bulls from the herd. The cows are selected on fertility and average 1,000 pounds, while the bulls are 2 years old and average about 950 pounds. A non-trophy bull permit costs $2,256, and a cow permit costs $1,756. Permits are available to residents and nonresidents. There are 15 non-trophy bull and 10 cow permit holders this season. Each of them gets to keep the meat, head, and hide of the bison they kill. The non-trophy bison season runs through March 11.


Department warden Jon Stephens recommended $1,060 in fines and a 3-year loss of hunting privileges. Gros was cited in October for reckless endangerment, trespassing, failure to tag big game, and wasting or abandoning big game. He is accused of gunning down a trophy buck in someone’s yard while they were at home. Without the plea deal, proceedings against Gros will continue at a Feb. 22 hearing.

Idaho Deformed Mountain Lion Killed by Hunter Weston, Idaho — A young male mountain lion was legally harvested recently in the Weston area about 8 miles southwest of Preston, Idaho. It was observed attacking a dog on a landowner’s property. Within three hours of the attack, the hunter began tracking the lion with hounds and shot the cat that same day. The dog involved in the attack survived. The lion had an unusual deformity – fully-formed teeth and what appeared to be small whiskers growing out of hard fur-covered tissue on the left side of the animal’s forehead. Idaho Fish and Game says it’s possible that the teeth could be the remnants of a conjoined

Wyoming Judge Rejects Poacher’s Plea Agreement Jackson, Wyo. (AP) — A circuit court judge rejected a plea agreement for a man accused of killing

Page 13

This mountain lion had teeth and small whiskers growing on its forehead.  Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game twin that died in the womb and was absorbed into the other fetus. It is also possible that deformity was a teratoma tumor, composed of tissue from which teeth, hair, and even fingers and toes can develop. They are rare in humans and animals. a trophy deer in a Jackson Hole residential neighborhood. Ninth Circuit Judge James Radda ruled Feb. 3 that Travis Gros, 29, has to pay more than a $250 fine and $40 court costs. Wyoming Game and Fish

Montana Judge Denies Bid to Halt Yellowstone Bison Hunt Billings, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a bid to halt the hunt and capture and slaughter of bison migrating from Yellowstone National Park. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl on Feb. 5 turned down an injunction sought by a wildlife advocate and a journalist who sued to gain access. Federal and state officials plan to kill up to 900 bison this winter through slaughter and hunting. It’s part an effort to prevent the spread of brucellosis.

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February 19, 2016

Assembly GOP asks AG DNR to ask for public’s aid in for an opinion on wells simplifying fish reg changes By Todd Richmond Associated Press Madison (AP) — Assembly Republicans asked Wisconsin’s attorney general Feb. 2 for an opinion on the extent of state environmental officials’ authority to regulate high-capacity water wells, a move that could resolve the debate without legislation as lawmakers rush to end their 2-year session. The Assembly Organization Committee voted 5-3 to ask Republican Brad Schimel for his thoughts on whether a 2011 state law prohibits the DNR from imposing any conditions on well permits not expressly laid out in statute. The request, authored by Speaker Robin Vos, asserts that the DNR is imposing so many conditions on well permits that the agency has created a “substantial” backlog in permit requests, and the issuance of new permits has come to a standstill. “We hope that your opinion can be delivered as expeditiously as possible given the urgency of the backlog of high-capacity well permit applications,” Vos wrote. “Inaction on these permits hinders economic opportunities and job creation. Your input is essential as the state considers legislative action on this issue.” State Justice Department spokeswoman Anne Schwartz said Schimel would comply with the request. DNR spokeswoman Jennifer Sereno said she was checking that day on whether the permit application backlog Vos referenced exists, and, if so, what has caused it. The GOP and environmentalists have argued for years over the extent of the DNR’s authority to regulate high-capacity wells, which the agency defines as wells that can pump at least 70 gallons per minute. But the issue has come to a head recently as more

factory farms sink high-capacity wells to hydrate their herds and other farmers look for large-scale irrigation methods. The DNR has received nearly a dozen applications for high-capacity wells in the past month alone. Conservationists fear the wells deplete groundwater, lakes, and streams, particularly in the central sands region. A state appeals court ruled in 2010 that the DNR has broad authority to consider how high-capacity wells might harm Wisconsin waters. The next year, Republican legislators passed a law prohibiting state agencies from imposing permit conditions that aren’t expressly laid out in state statute. Later in 2011, the state Supreme Court upheld the appellate ruling, saying the DNR has general authority to police the wells. But the justices didn’t consider legislators’ response because it didn’t become law until after briefings and oral arguments were complete. A circuit judge ruled in November that the DNR needs explicit authority to impose conditions. Republicans have written a pair of bills dealing with high-capacity wells; one would allow the DNR to impose conditions but only to ensure a well doesn’t harm navigable waters, and the other would let people rebuild, replace, or transfer ownership of high-capacity wells without state approval – but neither has gotten so much as a committee vote. Time is running out: Vos wants the Assembly to end its work by the end of February so lawmakers can hit the campaign trail. A Schimel opinion that says the DNR lacks authority to impose conditions could wrap up the issue without legislation.

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By Tim Eisele Contributing Writer Madison — The DNR will ask the public at the spring hearings if the way that fishing regulation changes are made – and the public notified of these changes – can be simplified. The questions were approved by the Natural Resources Board on Jan. 27, and will be asked by the DNR at the spring fish and game hearings that will take place in every county on Monday, April 11. Normally the DNR asks a long list of fishing questions, but because of changes in legislative scheduling when Scott Walker became governor, the annual rules proposals are now held at spring hearings in oddnumbered years. Following approval by the NRB and then legislative review, this means it takes over two years for regulations to become effective. Thus, the DNR Bureau of Fisheries Management will be asking only two advisory questions this spring. If there is adequate public support, the DNR will develop alternate regulation change processes that will then have to go to the NRB.


(From Page 8) “It’s really important (to testify) because there is still a chance to change or stop the bills,” he said. “Local control issues are especially important.” He said he’s seen bills dropped due to public opposition. “You can be effective if there is enough push-back from a wide group of people,” he said. He said one problem is that the DNR now testifies for information only. In listening to DNR employees testify, Jahnke said, “It is a shame to see our state agency be gagged and not able to say what they need to say on important issues.” Jahnke is concerned with efforts to give more latitude to big industry and big developers, while local residents who have lived in areas for a long time are overlooked. “They are chipping away at our public resources and removing protections,” he said.

From ‘the listeners’ Those who listen to the public, including Ott and Natural Resources Board member Preston Cole, stress the importance of hearing what people think. Ott, R-Forest Junction, chairs the Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee. He has been in the Assembly for 30 years. He said public testimony is

The DNR’s Kate Strom Hiorns told the Natural Resources Board that the agency would like to obtain public feedback at the spring hearings on ways to simplify local fishing regulation changes. Photo by Tim Eisele These could be similar to some temporary regulation changes, which require public notice, a public hearing, and then posting the new regulations at waters that are affected. The first question asks if the

valuable because the public brings its perspective, which can be different from legislators’ perspectives. “Sometimes they challenge where we are at on an issue, and that is exactly what the process is about – to make us think about a perspective we hadn’t thought about,” he said. Ott said citizens bring their firsthand experiences and legislators can’t understand everything about every issue. “They bring a diversity of ideas and opinions,” he said. “Many times they think they aren’t heard, but it still is absolutely necessary for people to express themselves.” He uses an analogy of a physical in a doctor’s office, where the doctor has to check all the vitals to determine a person’s health. The doctor has to check more than just one thing. “This is really checks and balances, and it is necessary on each issue,” he said. “Come and express your thoughts and ideas, and get us to ask questions. Don’t be intimidated by the process, but express your opinions,” Ott said. He believes bill amendments often come from public comments at hearings. “And, remember, legislators are also human. We are struggling to do our best,” Ott said.


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DNR should have a local public input process, separate from the spring hearings, and then post a local notice to change a regulation on a specific species on inland waters. Kate Strom Hiorns, DNR fisheries policy specialist, told the board that this would give the DNR more flexibility to provide a quicker response to changing conditions. The second question asks if there should be a local public input process and then posting of a local notice when a fish species has a consumption advisory. This would allow the DNR to change regulations in response to changes in consumption advisories. If there is adequate public support for these two proposals, the DNR will return with specific rules proposals at the 2017 spring hearings. The public could then review the exact proposed steps, and, if approved, would then return for review by the NRB. Hiorns said the proposals were described to the Conservation Congress Executive Council in January, and members were in favor of the concept.

Members of the public also come before the NRB and give their thoughts on proposals or just air general concerns at each meeting. Cole, of Milwaukee, has chaired the board during the past two years. He said he’s passionate about inviting people to present comments. He frequently reminds the public that it’s their job to offer their thoughts. It’s the board members’ job to listen. Cole said public testimony is codified in the board’s rules. People are asked to come and tell the board what is on their minds. “As a board member, I have heard some of the most compelling arguments that people can make in three minutes,” he said. Cole has heard people concerned about water quality, children asking the board to protect the environment, and industry representatives asking to streamline regulatory actions. Board meetings are broadcast live on the internet. Cole thinks that is important so that the public knows what is going on. “Personally, (public testimony) is what excites me most about my job,” he said. “You never know what you will get, but we do know that it is important to them to travel as far as they do.” When the McKenzie Environmental Education Center changes came up, Cole said 70 people showed up to let the board know how important that facility was to them. For anyone who is thinking of appearing before the board, Cole said, “Just be open and honest. The board is just seven members who believe in natural resources and care about the state, so it is a conversation with seven members just like (the public).” Board members regularly get packages of letters and emails. Cole said NRB members read the comments and know what people are saying. The comments could be something that board members have never thought of. “We get those letters and we read them,” Cole said.

February 19, 2016


Page 15

Oh boy, here we go again on the Turtle-Flambeau


t all started out – as these types of things often do – innocently enough when about eight or 10 knuckleheads got together last February for a weekend of ice fishing on Lac Vieux Desert. That went well. We didn’t catch a lot of crappies, bluegills, or walleyes, but we did catch a mess of pike and made it home without anyone breaking a bone, needing stitches, or sinking a vehicle, so everything was hunky-dory. Well, I’m afraid to say that we just might have gone and started something because it looks like we’re about to do it again. You’d think we’d learn, but no. So, here’s the deal. This year we’re going to the TurtleFlambeau Flowage in Iron County the third weekend of February. That might seem like an exotic destination for some of our readers who have heard of the Turtle’s reputation but have never been there. This will be like “old home” week for Jim Peterson, Dan “Goober” Linsmeyer, and myself. Goob and I basically grew up on the shores of the Turtle-Flambeau as natives of the little town of Butternut. Jim’s family spent enough time there to make it seem as though he did graduate from good ol’ BHS. Heck, we invite Jim to our class reunions. I haven’t talked to Jim and Goob about this yet, but I’m feeling a little apprehensive about this outing. Mostly because I’ve survived enough shindigs on the shores of the flowage and the North Fork of the Flambeau River over the years to know what can happen on the Butternut side of the flowage. The rest of our crew – Doug Etten, Tony Loomis, Kyle Cleveland, Doug’s dad and uncle, the “Three Marks,” and who knows who else – I don’t think they’ve lived those kinds of days yet.


I guess we’ll just head into the weekend knowing that they’re all grown men and if they can’t take care of themselves yet, they will be able to by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around. It takes a little doing to pull together something like this, and there I have to give credit to Doug. If it weren’t for Doug’s enthusiasm and persistence, we probably wouldn’t be going fishing. Every group has a guy like Doug. He’s the one who calls a meeting at a local bar that has cheap chicken wings to discuss destination and dates. Then he interviews the resorts, finds the resorts closest to some good fishing holes, works out the rates, and gets us the best deal he can. Doug is also the guy who makes out the menu, does the grocery shopping, and serves as the trip treasurer. He’ll even run a pioneer trip or two to find out if the fish are hitting, and where. If you have a guy like this in your group, nickname him Douglas in honor of Mr. Etten. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvin at Donner’s Bay Resort will just be glad when we’re gone. I think Doug’s been on the phone with him every day the past two weeks. When we heard that someone put a skidsteer through the ice in front of Donner’s Bay a couple of weeks ago, Doug – and I’m not kidding here – called the resort

to see if he could get the GPS coordinates for that spot. He texted Jim and me later. “Hey guys, we got a new fish crib. No one’s been on it yet,” was the message. Doug has even made his bride-to-be, Ellie Kraus, part of his exploratory expedition leading up to our Iron County adventure. Now, they didn’t go to the Turtle-Flambeau last week, but they weren’t too far from it on Super Bowl Sunday when they caught a limit of walleyes and a couple of dandy pike. The good news is that the best action ran from 11 a.m. to midafternoon for them. They caught their first walleye at 1:30 p.m. That afternoon of success has Doug all fired up for this weekend’s trip. He’s been sharpening hooks, prepping his terminal tackle, spooling new line on his jig poles. Heck, I’ll be lucky if I can get my auger started and tip-up spools to spin. I know where Doug’s coming from, though, and it’s OK to be excited. We, as in Wisconsin ice fishermen, got shorted on the front end of the season with a lack of cold

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Doug Etten and his bride-to-be, Ellie Kraus, had some good luck on northern pike and walleyes on Super Bowl Sunday. Etten, the mastermind behind an upcoming fishing outing on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, did some exploring ahead of this weekend’s fishing trip. Contributed photo weather to make ice. By the time “first ice” arrived, we were up against the winter doldrums. Now the days are getting longer, we’re seeing more sunshine than clouds, and the calendar says the Wisconsin inland game fish season is going to end the first weekend of March.

For those of us who haven’t done much ice fishing yet, it’s time to get moving. To help things along a little, the extended forecast is calling for highs in the low 30s for this weekend. So, even if the fish don’t bite, it shouldn’t be too hard to have some fun as long as someone doesn’t run into that skid-steer hole.


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February 19, 2016

Call about stranded animals part of warden’s day


hil Dorn, a Wisconsin DNR conservation warden, often ends up getting the call from a person concerned about a wild animal that is caught, stranded, alone, or appears to be injured. “We like to keep wildlife wild,” said Phil Dorn, a field warden in Barron County since 1994. “Keeping wildlife is illegal, and to rehabilitate an animal requires someone who is licensed to do so. If they try and don’t know how – it’s illegal – they often end up doing harm, and the animal may not be able to be released back in the wild.” Dorn has had a number of stranded-animal calls, including getting two bear cubs out of a hollow tree in which the cubs were stuck. The entrance the cubs had used was closed off, with the bears inside, when the tree collapsed. “We got a report of some noises coming from the tree,” Dorn said. “After checking it out, I could see one of the cubs near the bottom of the tree, so I called the local fire department. They brought a chain saw. We used sticks to hold the bears away from where we were doing the sawing.” These bears were old enough to be on their own. After they got out of the tree, they went on their way to find a better den tree.


Recently, Dorn received a call about a large bird standing on the ice of a small lake. Again, Dorn got some help from police officers in Cumberland who assisted in keeping the bird from getting into a traffic lane. “The bird ended up being a trumpeter swan, not a Canada goose, which is one of the success stories of species recovery of an endangered bird. We now have quite a few trumpeters around here, but when the lakes freeze over, the birds usually leave. This bird hung around,” he said. The police officers kept the bird from getting into the traffic, and after a short chase, Dorn simply picked up the huge bird when it crouched down in some grass along a berm. Dorn said the bird appeared to have a problem with its primary wing feathers and may never have been able to

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fly, so he called a volunteer to transport the bird to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville, Minn., where it will stay until it can be determined if it can eventually fly after these feathers molt and new ones develop. Last year, the center, which operates on private funds and donations, cared for nearly 12,000 animals, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. One of the first animal calls Dorn was on when he transferred to Barron County from the Milwaukee area, where he grew up and started his warden career, was a badger an inexperienced trapper caught. “When non-target animals are caught, we get called, too,” he said.


Another animal, a falconer’s hybrid hawk, was brought to Dorn’s attention years ago. This bird was an easier catch, and the banded bird was returned to its owner. An Iowa County man got an image of a wolf on his trail camera, and since he was trapping coyotes, he called a local warden to ask what he should do if the wolf remained in the area and got caught. “Call me and we’ll deal with it,” the local warden told him. If anyone has a stranded bird or other animal to report, they may call the DNR call center at (888) 9367463, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Warden Phil Dorn with a trumpeter swan captured in Barron County. The swan was unable to fly. Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin DNR

The future of hunting

read an encouraging article recently in The Wildlife Professional, The Wildlife Society’s quarterly magazine that “presents timely research, news, and analysis of trends in the wildlife profession.” I’ve been a member of TWS, the national organization and the Wisconsin chapter, since the 1970s. The 2015 article, Hunting for Wildlife Management in America, by Daniel J. Decker, Richard C. Stedman, Lincoln R. Larson, and William F. Siemer, summarizes published research about how today’s American society views hunting. Hunter numbers have been declining since the mid-1980s. Research also indicates that rural traditions, values, and beliefs that have long supported hunting are changing. A recent study in western states suggests that the public values are shifting from wildlife use (including hunting) to wildlife rights and protection. However, another study indicates that nearly 80 percent of the American public still approves of hunting. The article’s authors polled 1,000 randomly picked adults living in the continental U.S. as part of the 2013 Cornell (University) National Social Survey. There were four major questions asked. The first question was simply if they approved of hunting. Of

those responding, about 80 percent approved of, or were neutral to, hunting (39.1 percent strongly approved, 21.4 percent approved, and 18.6 percent were neutral). Only 20.9 percent disapproved of hunting. The second question asked six specific questions to measure why they approved of hunting. In rank from the highest to the lowest, controlling nuisance wildlife by hunting ranked first (79.1 percent approval), followed by hunting providing local, free, healthy meat (76.4 percent), controlling wildlife damaging ecosystems (74.9 percent), spending time outdoors with family and friends (61.8 percent), an finally, being closer to nature (53.7 percent). Only 26.8 percent of those polled approved of hunting for trophies, with 73.2 percent disapproving of trophy hunting. A review of today’s TV hunting shows reveals a heavy

emphasis on trophy hunting rather than the other hunting values of which the general public approves. Results of the third question indicated that 17 percent of those polled were active hunters, 30 percent would consider hunting in the future, and 53 percent would never hunt. This indicates that with the proper incentives, new hunters might be recruited from nearly onethird of the U.S. population. The fourth question dealt with how each group (active hunters, potential hunters, and nonhunters) responded to the six parts of the second question. Active hunters consistently had higher approval of all parts of the question than the potential hunters and nonhunters, with the trend following the approval rankings. The active hunters scored all six sub-questions with above 50 percent approvals, although trophy hunting was low (about 55 percent). The same was true for potential hunters, except about 70 percent disapproved of trophy hunting. Nonhunters disapproved of three sub-questions: spending time outdoors, being closer to nature, and trophy hunting. How do you translate the article’s findings to a plan to stop the loss of hunters (and hunting and hunters’ dollars) (See Evrard Page 39)



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February 19, 2016


e wary when politicians chant slogans to explain their great ideas, especially if their tone suggests you’re a mope for not seeing their simple, self-evident truths for yourself. The mantra the past few weeks from folks like Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, explains why they’re trying to relax Wisconsin’s water regulations to benefit commercial fish farms: Because “aquaculture is agriculture.” Obvious, right? Sheesh. One almost hears them muttering “Duh!” under their breath. Supposedly, Wisconsin’s current water regulations prevent fish farms from prospering. Therefore, Tiffany, Gudex, and like-minded Assembly colleagues decided fish farms should be redefined as agricultural operations, which would presumably provide more freedom managing lands and runoff near waterways. Critics, meanwhile, say Senate Bill 493 and Assembly Bill 640 go too far. For instance, according the Legislative Reference Bureau, the bill expands the list of “natural bodies of water” that can be used for fish farms to include streams, ponds, lakes, and wetlands, or a spring that provides water to an artificial water body used as a fish farm. Testimony from the DNR Jan. 5 at a Senate hearing warned the bill could cause “unregulated construction of aquaculture ponds on navigable waterways,” and could “create conflicts between aquaculture business owners and members of the public exercising their right to navigate on navigable waterways.” Others note that the bills try to make it easier for the fish-farming industry to fill wetlands, and require the DNR to consider aquaculture a water/ wetland-dependent activity.


That implies aquaculture facilities require the discharge of dredged or fill materials into wetlands. Tiffany, however, dismisses the bill’s critics, saying they simply don’t grasp its details. His office even wrote a 10-item Frequently Asked Questions list to address “confusion and misunderstanding” on SB 493. Tiffany’s FAQ document labels SB 493 as a “clean-up bill that ensures aquaculture is fairly and consistently regulated as part of agriculture.” Tiffany blames the DNR for much of the bills’ controversy, and in two FAQs says agency testimony Jan. 5 was “wrong” or “not true.” In the next three FAQs, however, he said he addressed DNR concerns with an amendment Jan. 8. Pam Biersach, director of the DNR’s Bureau of Watershed Management, presented the agency’s testimony at the Jan. 5 hearing. When contacted on two consecutive days by phone, email, and text message, Biersach declined to say whether she stood by her testimony or disagreed with Tiffany’s accusations that her information misled people. In a phone call the morning of Feb. 2, Tiffany also dismissed criticisms for holding the Jan. 5 hearing only 24 hours after introducing the bill. He said he held a hearing on aquaculture issues Dec. 9 in Antigo, and “anyone following his committee’s work” wouldn’t have been surprised by the bill’s contents

when it became public Jan. 4. Tiffany also said his office sent the DNR a copy of the bill’s draft 30 days in advance so they could “digest it” before the hearing. When asked who else saw the draft in advance, Tiffany said he would check with his staff and get back to me. As this column went out 36 hours later, Tiffany hadn’t responded. It’s clear, however, that SB 493’s supporters knew the bill’s details before critics even heard of it. George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said about a dozen representatives of the aquaculture industry attended Tiffany’s hearing Jan. 5 to testify, but no one from conservation or environmental groups was there. Meyer said he knew nothing about the bill, but just happened to attend the hearing because he was interested in another bill before the committee. Further, of the 10 groups registered on the Government Accountability Board’s “Eye on Lobbying” list for AB 640, three groups favoring the bill registered support Jan. 8-10, while the six groups opposing it didn’t begin registering their disapproval until Jan. 12, a week after the hearing. Tiffany also dismissed suggestions that perhaps there wouldn’t be so many “misunderstandings” and “clarifications” if the bill had been thoroughly reviewed in public. “The point is, the bill simply says the DNR is to use EPA policies to regulate aquaculture,” Tiffany said Feb. 2. “I’m no fan of federal regulations, but this is one instance, after years of study and research, where it’s the best way to regulate aquaculture.” Gudex makes similar arguments. In a Jan. 22 letter to an Oshkosh constituent, he said the bill “cleans up the definition of agriculture in state statutes and treats aquaculture as agriculture.”


Page 17

State lawmakers want to redefine fish farming as “ag,” to relax regulations and help the aquaculture industry.  Photo by Patrick Durkin It’s nice that Tiffany and Gudex share a slogan for helping fish farms. And for now we won’t quibble whether the DNR can adequately enforce regulations to protect native fish populations from exotic or genetically altered fish-farm species, given how thoroughly lawmakers gutted the agency’s science and fisheries staffs in recent budget cuts. But one wonders how well Tiffany, Gudex, and other lawmakers grasp their “aquaculture is agriculture” mantra. If fish farms are to be governed by Wisconsin’s agricultural laws, they would be defined as “concentrated animal feeding operations,” or CAFOs. In that case, they’d be regulated by state code NR 243, which forbids any direct discharge of agricultural waste products into public waters. That’s not just a wild claim, mind you. That’s the judgment of Gordon Stevenson, of Black Earth, a 26-year DNR veteran

who was the agency’s chief of runoff management until retiring in January 2011. “Wisconsin’s statutes are based on the federal Clean Water Act, and the DNR is the designated agency to enforce (Environmental Protection Agency) rules,” Stevenson said Feb. 3. “If Wisconsin defines aquaculture as agriculture, then NR 243 applies to aquaculture, and fish farms would be CAFOs. With fish farms, the fish live in water, they’re fed in water, they excrete in water, and that’s a direct discharge into water. That makes the operation a waste source, and CAFOs cannot discharge any waste – zero – straight into streams and other public waters.” Something tells me Tiffany and Gudex will soon be auditioning new mantras, or rushing more rewrites, clarifications, and other waste through the Legislature’s lead-lined pipes. Contact Patrick Durkin at patrickdurkin56@gmailcom.

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February 19, 2016

Where grouse are concerned, predictability tends to disappear By Tony J. Peterson Contributing Writer


has become a tradition of ours to hunt the last weekend of the Zone A Wisconsin grouse season, which ends the last day of January. As hunting partners Ryan Hawkins, Ben Ninas, and I were finalizing our plans for this year’s hunt, Ryan mentioned he had emailed a college buddy of ours about our plans. Joe lives in Baltimore these days, but said he was going to fly out. We, of course, thought he was joking, considering that he literally had one day to convince his wife it was a good idea and then actually book the flight. Ben and I arrived a day earlier than Ryan, so we took Luna out and picked up a few birds. After dinner we heard Ryan pull into the cabin driveway. In he walked, with Joe. It was a move no sane man would make, but was something that definitely increased my level of respect for him.

Bad luck in the Big Woods Peterson and his hunting partners spent the last weekend of the Zone A grouse season in Wisconsin, hunting several different parcels of public land. While the group as a whole did well on grouse, their main objective was to get newcomer Joe Dietsch a good chance at a bird since he flew in from Baltimore for the weekend. That would prove a more difficult task than they envisioned. Photo courtesy of Tony Peterson

Since Joe had minimal upland hunting experience, we gave him some tips and set a few rules that largely involved not peppering people or dogs with lead shot. Ben and I had had an unreal season in the grouse woods, so we decided we would try to give Joe the upper hand on our hunt. And try we did. The first grouse that appeared before our group was one of those gift birds that is content to walk along ahead of us before lazily flushing straight away. Joe was carrying one of Ryan’s shotguns, and for some reason when he pulled the trigger nothing happened. While that’s somewhat suspect, what’s worse is that Ryan ended up getting a pellet into that bird. After Luna retrieved the grouse, we checked to see if Joe’s gun was actually functional, or if Ryan had loaned him a metal-and-wood club. To Ryan’s relief, the gun worked just fine. After that, we switched spots to have Joe work the best edges, walk near the best brush piles, and spend as much time near Luna as possible. Everyone shot but Joe. It was almost like he had a grouse force-field around him. After the first property, we drove to a parcel of public land. Following a serious hike, we ended up in some unbelievable winter cover. I was wading through 1-inchthick poplar slash when Luna flushed a bird that flew over our entire crew. Joe fired a couple of shots but didn’t connect. At least at that point, we felt like he might have a chance. The woods went dry until I emerged from the slash to a welcome logging road and saw Luna get birdy. She dove into a brush pile and it was like someone was just finishing up cooking a batch of grouse popcorn. I got a true double with two shots, a fact I’ll tell anyone who will listen. And then we picked up a couple more. Joe watched it all unfold without adding one to his game bag. We later put the dogs away and tried some bunny hunting. The only rabbit that we encountered made the mistake of sitting under a brush pile in front of Ryan, who isn’t known for possessing vast quantities of hunting patience. The following morning we pulled up to a fresh spot and Ben realized that his shotgun was in the shack. I told him I’d switch with him halfway through, and after we encountered six birds bunched up under a spruce tree, I killed one, and then quickly another. None of them flew in Joe’s direction. I gave Ben my gun, told Joe to follow me, and we went to look for a few re-flushes. The first bird got up in front of Ben and quickly assumed room temperature. The second waited until Joe and I walked past before lighting out from an overhead spruce bough. After that it was time for us to go. We all agreed that is was crazy for Joe to fly out on a whim like he did, but that he’d also be crazy not to do it again next year. I suspect he will, if for nothing else than to pick up a redemption bird or two.

February 19, 2016 By Joe Shead Contributing Writer


or species such as black bears, chipmunks, and other critters, hibernation is necessary for winter survival. Some species, such as chipmunks, ground squirrels, and other small mammals, experience extreme drops in body temperature during hibernation. The body temperature of a chipmunk in winter is less than 40 degrees! As such, these animals have to awaken every few days just to warm up. At that time, they also eat cached food and defecate. For years we often were taught that a bear wasn’t a true hibernators because its body temperature didn’t drop to such an extent as that of a chipmunk and other small mammals. However, biologists have dropped that old philosophy and, in fact, now classify bears as true hibernators. Although the over-winter body temperature of a black bear only drops about 12 degrees from its normal temperature of about 100 degrees, many other amazing physiological responses occur during cold weather. Prior to denning, bears feed heavily in late summer and early fall to build up thick fat reserves. These reserves, along with an incredibly dense layer of fur, will carry them through the winter. Bears prefer to eat high-energy foods such as berries, acorns, and other nuts, but will feed on whatever is available. The length of hibernation, den digging, and other related factors vary greatly by geographic region. In the far north or in mountainous regions, hibernation can last 6 to 7 months. Closer to home, our bears hibernate about 4 to 5 months. Den digging usually occurs in September or October, but that, too, varies with weather and by an individual bear’s amount of winter preparation or lack thereof. Den sites vary widely. Some bears dig a den into the side of a hill, scooping out dirt to create an opening just large enough for them to squeeze into. However, some bears den in hollow trees, under root balls, in culverts, or even completely exposed, nestled in a clump of cattails or under a pile of leaves. Bears line their dens with leaf litter, branches, cattails, or other natural materials to give them some insulation from the ground. Even in a cave-type den, the air temperature inside is about the same as it is outside. With the onset of cold weather, and particularly before a heavy snowfall, bears enter their dens. Some will arouse during winter thaws and may even venture outside to forage on warm winter days if food is available. However, some may not leave the den until spring. That also means they will neither eat nor drink until spring. This amazing ability to survive without eating or drinking fascinates scientists, and many are curious to learn how the hibernation process works so they can apply their knowledge to treat human ailments. As mentioned, a bear’s body temperature drops from about 100 degrees down to as low as 88 degrees. This small drop in body temperature relative to that of small mammals still allows bears to conserve energy, but also allows them to wake up faster in response to danger.



File photo

Metabolic processes slow, as well. A bear’s metabolism drops 50 to 60 percent. Heart rate and breathing also decline. While the heart of an active summer bear may beat 40 to 50 times per minute, the heart rate during hibernation drops to about eight to 19 beats per minute. Breathing drops from six to 10 breaths per minute to one breath every 45 seconds.

How it works

As a bear sleeps, it still requires energy to breathe and stay warm. Instead of eating, a bear begins to deplete its fat supply. As fat is digested, waste is produced. However, rather than needing to defecate or urinate, the bear recycles waste urea produced from the fat digestion process. The urea is broken down into nitrogen that the bear uses to maintain

muscle mass. Even though a bear may lose 15 to 40 percent of its body weight during the course of the winter, it maintains its muscle mass and bone structure. Scientists hope to better understand this process in an attempt to treat osteoporosis. Another fact of medical research has to do with cholesterol. While a bear hibernates, it

Page 19

metabolizes fat, which elevates its cholesterol level to twice its normal rate, yet no hardening of a bear’s arteries occurs. If scientists could understand this, they might be able to treat arteriosclerosis. Although bears mate in late spring or early summer, usually in June, cubs are not born until late January or early February. Black bear cubs weigh about a half-pound or so at birth. The cubs do not hibernate, but snuggle close to the sow for warmth and to nurse frequently. By the time they emerge from the den, cubs weigh 4 to 8 pounds. Depending on the weather, bears leave their dens in March or April. Males emerge first, followed by cub-less females. Sows with cubs are the last to emerge. Bears hang around the den area for a few days while they get used to living active lifestyles once again. Soon, they begin feeding to regain lost body weight. Hibernation is much more complex than just sleeping. Some pretty incredible physiological activities occur while a bear sleeps. Scientists hope to better understand these processes so they might be used to treat human ailments.


Southern Wisconsin Bobcat Distribution

This map of study areas shows locations of bobcat samples color-coded according to assignment in one of six genetic populations identified by BAPS analysis. Asterisks indicate admixed individuals with less than 75 percent of their ancestry estimated to be from a single genetic population. The map also shows current harvest zones, with protected areas generally reflecting regions of bobcat absence or rarity. The upper map shows approximate distribution of bobcats in the 1970s, indicating the extirpation of the species from Iowa and portions of other states.


February 19, 2016

‘filling the gap’ By Al Cornell Contribution Writer


hen I was a child, our neighbor was one of the area’s hunters who had accepted the role of extirpating vermin from the landscape. If any bears, bobcats, or coyotes bred in southern Wisconsin, they were exceptionally rare. There were reproducing populations near enough to the area that, at least, an occasional dispersing male would trigger contacting Virgil Miller, or others, to bring the dogs and address the situation. Virgil loved those hunts and to tell the stories they generated. Yet, nearly everyone was content with the concept that vermin would be extirpated. The amazing bobcat stories would just vanish with the passing of the old-timers who hunted them. However, the changing culture has resulted in excitement generated by the rebound of the bobcat in southern Wisconsin. Piglets, lambs, chickens, and calves dictated that vermin needed to go. The state paid a $5 bounty on bobcats until 1964. Counties could choose to pay an additional bounty, and some did so until 1971. A 51⁄2-month season was imposed in 1970 and shorted to 41⁄2 months in 1971. In 1973, the law required the registration and tagging of bobcats. Charles Long, in “The Wild Mammals of Wisconsin” (2008) makes the following observations: “Habitats for it are plentiful in the coulee country along the Mississippi, where the undergrowth of prickly ash and brambles should provide a haven for their renewal. … Originally the bobcat ranged throughout the state, especially the bottomlands and rocky coulees of southern Wisconsin, and the swamps and forestlands of northern Wisconsin.” He also noted that bobcats are ranging widely in Illinois and correctly projected that some

of southern Wisconsin would receive an influx of bobcats from there, as well as from northern Wisconsin. In the early 1960s, when I was a teen, there were rare reports about bobcats heard in the area. In 1989, Sally and I tented where we now live. A bobcat screamed from close to the tent one night. I’d always heard that they sound like a woman screaming, but it had a distinct cat sound. A few weeks later, my mother and brother saw it 100 yards from the house. The coulee region and some areas of marsh in southeastern Wisconsin continue to contain quality bobcat habitat. With considerable rabbit habitat and other prey species available, the area can support a substantial bobcat population. The distribution map for bobcats in the Bobcat and Lynx chapter by Chet McCord and James Cardoza in “Wild Mammals of North America” (1982) shows a large gap in the Midwest where bobcats had been extirpated. Otherwise, bobcat range remained occupied throughout nearly all of the 48 contiguous states and Mexico. That gap included all of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, most of Michigan and Missouri, and nearly half of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kentucky. They (See Bobcats Page 31)



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February 19, 2016


By Dave Zeug Contributing Writer


yndon Johnson was president when I shot my first coyote. Even after all the years since then, I can see still see that coyote slipping through the jack pines in front of me. It was deer season, and being of that age – and having not seen a deer yet, much less shot one – I didn’t hesitate. The heavy pelt was a good addition to the handful of muskrat hides I took to the fur buyer before Christmas, too. That began my fascination with coyotes, or what we called brush wolves in those days. I’m not sure why, probably because that’s what our mentors did, although at least one scientific journal said eastern coyotes were so big they were a sub-species of the smaller western coyotes. Call them whatever you want. When I saw one weaving down the icy coast of Lake Superior toward my call a couple of weeks ago, I felt the same surge of excitement I did a half century ago. In the Upper Midwest, coyote hunting isn’t easy or particularly successful


if your goal is a high carcass count. On the other hand, if you think a pair of pileated woodpeckers pecking at your electronic call’s distressed woodpecker sound or an eagle landing 20 feet above your head equates to a good trip, you’re seldom disappointed. Besides coyotes, over the years I’ve called in fishers, foxes, ermine, owls, and a boatload of ravens and chickadees, along with a few dogs. Maybe even a pair of wolves and a bobcat if you count fleeting glimpses while hiking back to the truck after too short a stay. Coyote hunting is gaining in popularity across the country as the population of these amazingly adaptable canines spreads across rural and urban America. As adaptable as they are, hunters are following suit in their pursuit of them. Technology isn’t just for deer hunters, anymore. Electronic calls and the array of sounds they produce have taken the place of the old hand-held calls I grew up using. Depending on the situation and distance I’m cover-

Page 21

Tactics and setups vary depending on whether a person is hunting in the woods or on ice. Tape a ballistic chart to the rifle stock to serve as a quick Photos by Dave Zeug reference on bullet drop.  ing, I’ll use both these days. E-calls, especially those with a remote speaker and gyrating decoy, give a hunter the luxury of a little movement while the coyote keys on the call’s location and motion. If I’d have been using one last year, I’m thinking I’d have had at least two, maybe three more prime winter pelts to sell. All three coyotes honed in to my hand-held call at a run while hunting in the woods. They knew

exactly where the sound was coming from and had me handcuffed. With a remote speaker for them to dial in on, I’d have had a chance. As it was, I didn’t. E-calls also have a shopping list of sounds to choose from, something that comes in handy when you’re looking for the right sound. With the popularity of predator hunting these days, (See Coyote Page 48)

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February 19, 2016

Got the

light-biter blues? Solid strategies to hook tentative panfish

By Vic Attardo Contributing Writer


very time I took my hand away from the chemical warmer in my thermal suit’s chest pocket, my fingers would get cold. Fast. With the cold, they’d turn red. With the red, I lost feeling – not serious frostbite feeling, but reactionary feeling. When I lost this feeling, I couldn’t respond quickly enough to the little twitches on the rod tip that signaled the strike of a chilled panfish 7 feet below my equally cold feet. I couldn’t do anything about the temperature and not much more for my cold hands, but I figured I could make some adjustments that would prevent the nipping panfish from running away with my bait. The lure was an 1⁄8-ounce jigging spoon with a couple of wax worms threaded around its debarbed treble hook. This was a good bait for trout – which weren’t hitting – but one that the winter bluegills and pumpkinseeds could kiss all day and not get the point. You’d think the lure was small enough, but in these cold conditions, it wasn’t. Whenever I’m dealing with light or tentative panfish biters, the first thing I do is downsize everything. Instead of an 1⁄8-ounce spoon measuring about 11⁄2 inches total, I tied on a 1⁄32-ounce jig with a plastic

tail: total length less than a half inch. And instead of threading the hook with a wax worm or two, I took out my tiny sawdust-filled film canister populated with soft spike larva and put one over the hook. The larva had been wallowing in sawdust and red food coloring for two days, and had turned a rosy pink – not quite red, but red enough to contrast sharply with the tiny black jig and tiny black plastic tail. The color contrast between live bait and lure is another thing I like for light biters. You might think there should be enough contrast between the black jig and a pale creamy larva if I hadn’t had it bathing in food coloring (or cherry juice), but a black and pale red contrast really seems to spark the interest of panfish in tough February conditions and in clear water. With my hands only slightly warmer from a visit to my pockets, I tied on the small jig and stationed the rod in a frame over a bucket. Instead of jigging, I decided to go with the tactic of dead-sticking – keeping the rod absolutely stationary. When dealing with light biters, it is not the time to aggressively jig the rod, giving the bait too much action. Better instead to keep a nearly still lure down below and let

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the bluegills hook themselves. I say “nearly still” because with underwater currents and line twist, you cannot hold a tiny jig absolutely, positively still in the water. It won’t be going up and down, but it will spin, or turn, and this is enough action for these conditions. Back to the colored larva. Besides providing contrast, the other reason I like a red kicker is that light-biting panfish are directly attracted to it – meaning the larva’s place on the hook – so when the fish puckers up and takes the bait, the fish is so much closer to the hook point. I understand this is a matter of a small degree, but consider the actual space, or mass, a light- or tentative-biting, panfish is taking compared with a more aggressive panfish. Certainly there’s not much of a difference, but enough of one to make any advantage I get one of great importance. If I can direct the light biter’s attention more to the hook point than the jig head, then I’m going to win. On a cold February day, that’s what it’s about.

The fish hole

Anglers know – even though science hasn’t figured out exactly how – that fish are synched to each other in mysterious ways. How, for instance, do trout that were playing possum on the bottom suddenly turn into hungry tigers?

Whenever Attardo is dealing with light-biting or tentative panfish, the first thing he does is downsize everything. And he keeps his baits and lures hardly moving, sometimes stationary, letting the fish hook themselves. Photo by Vic Attardo Anglers have seen the bite “turn on” with every fish in the catalog. Even less recognized and understood is how it happens that fish “turn off.” Then, not for anything, can the angler get a recently aggressive fish to strike. One very inadvertent way to get fish to stop eating is to return a caught fish to the spot – or the school – from which it was taken. Some folks believe that when you return a caught fish, it sends out a warning signal. What I really think happens is that the fish returns to the school and because it now

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shows no interest in the thing that brought it up to the air and blue skies, the surrounding fish also lose interest. Competition among fish seems to be the strongest influence to get one to bite. Of course, our catch-andrelease ethic often requires the quick return of a fish but, in ice fishing, there is no way to circumvent the fish’s negative response. To overcome this – especially necessary with light bitters – I create a fish hole away from where I’m fishing – at least 20 feet for most small species. I drill an additional hole. Each time I catch a light bitter that I’m not keeping, I quickly toss it in an insulated, waterfilled bucket (to prevent gill freezing) and dump it in my fish hole away from the pack. I’ve given this gambit a lot of anecdotal study, placing fish right back from where I got them, then after a couple of returned fish, finding that the bite crashes. On the other hand, I’ve placed my caught fish in a distant hole, and these returned fish didn’t disturb the action. At least not for a long time. On a cold February day when I’m working hard to catch light biters, drilling a “release hole” is a positive tactic in which I believe. When it comes to dealing with tentative biters, there are four things I’m going to try: downsizing my bait; making sure there is a noticeable contrast between live bait and lure; dead-sticking my small offerings; and keeping the neighborhood active by creating and using a fish hole. Hey, anything is worth a try.

February 19, 2016


Page 23

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t he


February 19, 2016



— but for an unusual reason

By Art Boehm


Art Boehm, now of Conrath, survived a gunshot wound to the abdomen on opening day of the 1966 deer season to be able to continue enjoying life with his family. He is pictured here with his grandchildren, Adelia Boehm, 15, Greta Boehm, 13, Mathias Boehm, 10, and Kashton Boehm, 4, all of Verona. Contributed photo

y most memorable hunting experience occurred on the opening day of the 1966 gun deer season. I hunted with a close family group that hunted mostly north of Mauston. That year things were a little different. I had invited along my football and track coach from the now-closed Madonna High School in Mauston. That coach was Fr. James Lesczyinsky, who was also an avid outdoorsman. Another person from the hunting group had invited an individual he worked with, George Peters of Zion, Ill. Both of these men played an interesting role on this opening day. The previous year had been a successful one for our group.

We had bagged a number of bucks and a couple of “party permit” deer. Opening day of the 1966 season got off to a good start with an uncle killing a nice buck on one of our first drives. After that I was to go on stand for a drive, along with Peters. We both took our stands. After I got settled in, I noticed Peters hadn’t gone where he was instructed to go, but was closer to my stand than he should have been. This irritated me, since it would disrupt the success of the drive. We could see each other clearly, and I resigned myself to the fact that this drive wasn’t going to be very successful. I was on a hill about 100 yards to his right and about 30 or 40 feet higher in elevation. We waited to see what the drive would produce,

and after a while, two does ran across the field to Peters’ left. Then a buck came out and stopped between us about 30 yards from Peters and 70 yards from me. Peters was still watching the does, and I didn’t shoot because the buck was between us. A basic rule of hunting is that you don’t shoot in a situation such as this. Peters was hunting with a semi-automatic .30-06 rifle. He turned, saw the buck, and began shooting. I felt a deep impact and then heard the sound of the shot. Peters had just shot me through my abdomen. I wasn’t knocked down by the impact. I began walking toward a car that was parked on a nearby road with the intent of driving myself to a hospital. I remember the warm wetness of blood running down my back. And the pain. I walked about 20 or 30 yards and decided I’d better lay down and wait for help. The pain became so great that I tried to get up, but was too weak. At this time, no one was out of the drive yet, but they could all hear me. Father Lesczyinsky was the first to arrive, and he immediately gave me last rites. For some reason I thought this would put me in the hospital for a couple weeks – who thinks of dying at age 18? But after he did, I realized the situation was pretty bad. I don’t remember much after that until I came out of surgery. I was taken to University Hospital in Madison, and those professionals saved my life. I don’t believe that the care I received there could have been matched anywhere else. The bullet had entered at an angle from the front and out my back. It narrowly missed the aorta and spine, went through my stomach, damaged my pancreas, took out a good portion of my liver (which grew back), and took out my right kidney (which did not). Believe it or not, I was out of the hospital three days before Christmas. I am incredibly fortunate to be alive. I am very aware that my survival was a direct result of the outpouring of prayers and concern from people in my hometown area and University Hospital. I still go hunting. I went the next year and every year after. Although the hills have become steeper now, I will continue to hunt as long as my health holds out. Art Boehm lives in the small Rusk County town of Conrath. Boehm has presented flint-knapping demonstrations at the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo in Madison for about 20 years. He will be at the expo again this year, from April 1-3. He also offers flint-knapping seminars at Sandhill Wildlife Area, with the next one set for Feb. 20-21. Boehm also bowhunts with primitive bows and arrows that he has made.

February 19, 2016


By Joel Nelson Contributing Writer


paramount importance to any hobby is knowing what you’re working with. Just like a golfer doesn’t take a shot without knowing wind speed and direction, distance to the green, or pin location, you’ll probably do a whole lot better at ice fishing if you know what species just showed up on your sonar. Each species has different biology, behaviors, and bite triggers. It’s easier to play the game when you’re armed with species-by-species knowledge. While fish identification is not a novel concept from the iceelectronics end of the world, the best any graph has mustered to date is simply showing marks as small, medium, or large fish, often in varying degrees or fashion depending on a number of factors. Underwater cameras are another way to determine fish species, but what if you don’t own one, you’re hole-hopping, or you’re dealing with camerashy fish? Enter Tony Roach, a man who has seen just about everything that swims on a host of ice-fishing electronics units. “That’s a walleye,” he announced as we recently jigged for bluegills. “See it bellyto-bottom, then come up, then drop down? It’s done it about three times in the past 30 seconds.” Eventually, Tony connected, bringing a golden walleye up on a panfish jig. How did he know it was a walleye, when we had landed nothing but bluegills for the previous 10 hours? What are the tell-tale signs, species by species, that will help determine what we’re fishing for, and ultimately what bait to present and how? Let’s answer some of those questions. There’s no substitute for seeing multiple varieties of fish in a host of depths, structure, and cover to help you accurately ID a sonar mark once you see it. These are generalities meant to help you start looking for clues to tip you off to fish species, such that you can present the right bait in the right way to them. That said, there are a few guides you can use to get started. If your sonar is worth a darn, big marks are big fish, small marks, often denoted by colors other than dark red, are small fish. If small fish look big, and big fish look the same size, it’s time for an upgrade. Use zoom mode if you can for the depth and application you’re fishing to get the most resolution from your flasher possible. This is especially important for fish that hang on or near bottom. Crappie targets often are a function of the depth you’re fishing. Crappies move slowly and methodically, usually in large schools while suspended over deeper water. “Those things grow bigger and smaller on the (flasher) as they mill around down there,” Roach said. “And they usually show up at the same level as the bait or just below if the screen was previously clear of fish.” Usually, schools are segregated, so large marks mean large

crappies in most natural lakes. “Some days, bigger fish in the school feed above the rest, but more often you’ve got to punch down and past those smaller, more aggressive crappies to get to larger fish,” Roach said. “The best part is that the marks don’t lie. Big marks are big fish.” Bluegills are probably the easiest to identify, especially big bluegills. They tend to emerge on the sonar near bottom and will almost always slowly rise to your bait, stopping inches away to study it, making you guess whether or not they sucked in your offering, or are still star-

ing it down. If you swing and miss, they’re gone, rarely if ever to return. Even if they charge the bait and are extremely aggressive, they’ll almost Photo courtesy of Casey Heinze always still study the bait longer than most other species will. Smaller bluegills do look small on sonar, whereas big bluegills can be mistaken for bass or larger predators if studying just the size of the mark alone. Either way, jigging too aggressively, especially as the fish closes, can also cause it to leave quickly. Speaking of bass, they typically show up at the same level as your lure, making the mark from your bait “grow” exponentially in size. Their attitude in winter is often ho-hum, so think big bluegill mark, only larger. As a bass inhales the bait, the

Page 25

According to Tony Roach, walleyes often show up on a flasher looking like they’re part of the bottom. Then they’ll rise to the bait or lure. Photo courtesy of Ben Larson – In-Depth Media Productions bite is slow, soft, and causes the that look and act the same way rod tip to generally sink a good throughout the day. deal. Seconds in, you’ll know Pike show up where they what you’re dealing with and please, and are often very large can adjust for additional fish (See Flasher Page 45)

Page 26


February 19, 2016

all will, and several colleges in the Upper Midwest offer bachelor’s degrees in a variety of related disciplines, from forestry to fisheries and wildlife management, to biology and ecology. Below is a short list – and there are many other schools that offer natural resources-related degrees – of undergraduate programs in the Upper Midwest. It is by no means a complete list.

By Javier Serna Staff Writer


career in the natural resources and conservation field can be rewarding. There’s a long list of job opportunities, ranging from flying aircraft to researching sturgeon, and everything in between. Many who pursue such careers will go on to earn graduate degrees, but not

1. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Location: St. Paul, Minn. Website: Tuition and fees: $13,790 Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available. The University of Minnesota was ranked No. 20 among USA Today’s list of best bachelor’s programs for natural resources and conservation. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences offers a bachelor’s of science degree in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology. The degree gives graduates the opportunity to find work in a variety of jobs, ranging from fisheries and wildlife science to environmental education, and provides the fundamentals to enter a wide variety of graduate programs. The school also offers degrees in environmental sciences, policy and management, as well as forest and natural resources management.

4. South Dakota State-Brookings Location: Brookings, S.D. Website: Tuition and fees: resident $8,190; Minnesota resident $9,030 South Dakota State offers a bachelor of science degree in wildlife and fisheries science, which prepares students for careers in both wildlife and fisheries conservation and management. The coursework focuses on organisms, natural populations and communities, their habitats, and human users, according to the program’s webpage. Students also have the option to double major in the natural resources law enforcement degree. The law enforcement degree prepares students for a career in conservation law enforcement, and includes access to workshops covering topics such as wildlife chemical immobilization, self-defense, and hand-to-hand combat.


2. Bemidji State Location: Bemidji, Minn. Website: Tuition: resident $8,200 Bemidji State is the only Minnesota institution to offer a four-year degree program in aquatic biology. Students choose an emphasis in fisheries biology, aquatic systems, or wetlands ecology. A minor in wetlands ecology may also be declared. The school also offers a degree in environmental studies, with a wide range of emphases including chemistry, environmental policy and planning, environmental toxicology, geohydrology, outdoor education, environmental engineering science, environmental management, and ecosystem studies. The school also offers a wilderness management and outdoor recreation planning degree out of its geography department.

Whether students plan to pursue a natural resources bachelor’s degree or something higher, there are many options in the Upper Midwest.  Photo courtesy of Northland College 3. University of Minnesota-Crookston Location: Crookston, Minn. Website: Tuition: resident $10,180 Crookston’s bachelor of science degree offers a wide range of emphases, including aviation, law enforcement, natural resources management, park management, water resource management, and wildlife management. The school describes its program as “an integrated approach to soil and water conservation, wildlife and fisheries management, forestry, and recreation,” a combination it says enables graduates to work with a variety of resources and people for a career tailored to the students’ interests.







4 5 8 5. University of Wisconsin-Madison Location: Madison Website: Tuition (2015-16): Wisconsin resident $10,415; Minnesota resident $13,382 UW-Madison’s Department of Wildlife Ecology was the first wildlife program at an American university. It started in 1933, when the university created a chair in game management for professor Aldo Leopold, who is considered one of the forefathers of conservation. USA Today ranked Wisconsin No. 9 on its list of best bachelor’s programs for natural resources and conservation. The wildlife ecology major offers two tracks. The natural resources track is geared more toward government agency careers and students unsure about graduate school. The natural sciences track is for those interested in wildlife research and higher education – those intending to pursue graduate school. The school’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences also offers degrees in forest science and soil science.

6. UW-Stevens Point Location: Stevens Point Website: Tuition: (2015-16): Wisconsin resident: $7,683; Minnesota resident: $8,183 UW-Stevens Point’s Department of Biology offers degrees with emphasis in aquatic biology, ecology/ environmental education, graduate work/research, natural history, zoos and aquaria, and zoology, among others, preparing them for jobs including fisheries and wildlife biologists. There are 250 members in the school’s student chapter of the Wildlife Society. The school also offers minors in wildlife ecology, with emphases in conservation biology, environmental law enforcement, wildlife, and captive wildlife. The wildlife ecology faculty teaches conservation biology, avian ecology, predator ecology, wetland ecology, wildlife health, population dynamics, wildlife damage management, and habitat management.

7. Northland College Location: Ashland Website: study/academics/majors/natural-resources/ Tuition (2015-16): $31,364 Northland College, in Ashland, Wis., at the corner of Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay, would be an interesting place to earn a natural resources degree. The school offers degrees in ecological restoration, fisheries and wildlife ecology, and forestry. The fisheries and wildlife ecology program boasts that you will “learn the basics while studying populations of wolves, flying squirrels, sharptailed grouse, trout, and sturgeon, to name a few.” That track’s “field techniques” class includes a month of hands-on, outdoor learning in collaboration with wildlife and fisheries professionals. The forestry emphasis includes coursework that covers the biological, ecological, social, and economic worlds. The ecological restoration emphasis will leave graduates “ready to apply your education to real-world challenges and to make a difference by working to restore the habitat, species diversity, and ecological integrity to degraded ecosystems.”

8. Michigan State University Location: East Lansing, Mich. Website: Tuition and fees: resident $13,612; nonresident $36,412 Michigan State was ranked No. 5 overall among best bachelor’s programs for natural resources and conservation. The school’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers a fisheries and wildlife degree with several concentrations, including conservation biology, fisheries biology and management, wildlife biology and management, water sciences, fish and wildlife disease ecology and management, and pre-veterinary studies. The programs offer study-abroad opportunities in Fiji, Greece and Turkey, Madagascar, South Africa, and Antarctica. A bachelor’s degree would prepare students well to pursue post-graduate studies, or career opportunities ranging from a fish hatchery manager to a fisheries or wildlife biologist. 9. Michigan Technical University Location: Houghton, Mich. Website: Tuition: residents $14,286; nonresidents $30,150 Michigan Tech has highly regarded natural resources programs. The school offers bachelor of science degrees in wildlife ecology and management, natural resources management, ecology and environmental science, forestry and geology, among others. Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsu-

la, would provide an interesting outdoors classroom for studies. The wildlife ecology and management emphasis focuses on the study of animal populations in the context of land-management decisions, according to the school’s Forestry and Environmental Science Department. That program also offers minors in ecology, plant biotechnology, plant sciences, and remote sensing. The program also boasts a 14-week field semester based in the school’s 5,583-acre research forest. 10. Lake Superior State Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Website: Tuition: North America residents $10,392 Lake Superior State is also in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, situated on Whitefish Bay on the border with Canada. The school has three related bachelor of science degrees based on fisheries and wildlife management. The first of those has no concentration, and the two others have concentrations in either fisheries management or wildlife management. Students graduate prepared for jobs at state or federal natural resource agencies as technicians or biologists, if they don’t continue graduate studies. Lake Superior State also offers a bachelor of science degree in fish health, which is preparation for veterinary school. The school also offers an associate degree in natural resources technology.

February 19, 2016


By Joe Shead Contributing Writer


don’t need to tell you what an Upper Midwest winter is like. Although this has been a mild one, typically it’s bone-numbing cold that makes you want to hit the snooze button while you’re tucked in snugly under a heavy quilt. But there came a day a few years ago when winter gave us a breather. It was your classic January thaw – the kind of weather when you roll down your truck windows because it feels like spring, even though the thermometer reads 35. The warm spell had me jonesing for an adventure. It was almost like summer. The sun was high. The wind was calm. And Lake Superior had gone flat. It was too good to be true. My friend, Joe, has a lightweight aluminum boat. Its primary function is as a waterfowling machine, but it’s light enough that a guy can muscle it across an iced-up boat landing by himself. No, Joe couldn’t fish with me out on the Big Lake, but I was welcome to borrow the boat, he said. Hmm. It sure would be a lot more fun with a partner, but I’d rather go alone than not go at all. I made arrangements to pick up Joe’s boat and 6-hp outboard. The next day, I rapped on Joe’s back door. He was there, playing daddy daycare. He came outside to help me slide

Shead caught this lake trout during the winter on Lake Superior. It was a day when everything – Photo courtesy of Joe Shead the temperature, the wind, and the equipment – was right. the light boat into my truck. “Sure wish I could go along. It would be fun,” he said. “But Lisa’s gone and I gotta watch the kids.” I told him I wished he could go, too. I promised him the first fish for use of the boat. McQuade Harbor was wide open, which made launching the 12-footer a breeze. I screwed on the old Chrysler motor. I had

made sure to ask for the oars when Joe handed me the can of starting fluid. With the motor in place, I just needed my fishing gear. I had selected a muskie rod and reel. The stout gear was necessary for setting a big hook in deep water. It took some convincing in the cold, but I finally got the little motor going. The thought crossed my mind that it might

strand me in the middle of the lake, but I wasn’t worried. I had oars and there wasn’t a ripple on the water. Out I went, feeling very satisfied to be out there as the little motor whined and spray splashed off the bow. My destination was a big mud flat where lake trout were rumored to while away the winter with their bellies buried on the soft

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Page 27

bottom. When I found 160 feet of water, I tied on my 3-ounce jig and tipped it with a strip of herring. It danced tantalizingly in the clear water. Down it went until the line went slack. And then began the game of lift and drop, bouncing the jig on the soft bottom. I have always found the view of the shoreline from the lake so much more appealing than the view of the lake from the shore. You’re seeing things from a perspective that few people get to see. The tourists who line the beaches in summer never see the lake like this. The office workers who gaze out their windows don’t see it like this. It’s special. After a half-hour of the liftand-drop routine, I remembered what lake trout fishing is like: not much action. So far, it was a distinct lack of action, but I wasn’t bored. The scenery was amazing, and just the chance to get out on a spring-like day in the dead of winter was worth it. As I lulled myself to sleep, suddenly something felt out of place. Was that a hit? It wasn’t the bottom. Something had been there, but it was gone now. Dang! I was on full alert now. It had been a fish all right, and I’d blown it. Sure, it was great just to be out there. But wouldn’t it be so much better to actually catch something? (See Superior Lakers Page 40)

Page 28


Reflections on life and death

February 19, 2016

From field to farm By Dan Small Contributing Editor


Dan Small developed a greater appreciation for the lives of animals since he became a farmer. Photos by Shivani Arjuna


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(See Field to Farm Page 29)

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s hunters, we do most of our killing at a distance. As close as we might feel to an animal we have taken, there’s often a sense of detachment from it. We might appreciate the beauty of a wild turkey’s iridescent feathers, or the majesty of a white-tailed buck in his prime, and we might offer thanks to the animal or a higher power for the gift of this life that will help sustain our own. But, in the end, we have seized a chance opportunity to reduce a wild animal to a possession, and now we must deal with the business of making meat. Through most of my early hunting career, my taking of game was rather methodical. I was respectful of the deer or rabbits I hunted, but did not give much thought about the life I had just terminated. I tried to make a good, clean shot, in order to put an animal down quickly and humanely and damage as little meat as possible, and then I set about field-dressing and processing the carcass without delay. Then on two occasions, I reached a buck I had shot just as it was dying. In both instances, the deer was down and not moving, but there was still life in its eyes – akin to what Aldo Leopold called “a fierce green fire” in the eyes of a wolf he and his companions had shot during his early years as a ranger in New Mexico. “I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to (the wolf) and the mountain,” he wrote. Leopold went on to say that watching that green fire die was a life-changing moment for him. From that experience, he went on to adopt an ecological view of nature and man’s place in it, and he came to understand the important role all creatures, including predators, play in a balanced ecosystem. My experience of watching the life fade from those bucks’ eyes was not an epiphany as great as Leopold’s, but I came away from each of those inci-

dents knowing I had just taken a life, and that I would never know what that animal had seen and known. In some way I could not explain, I felt closer to the deer, even if its life remained a mystery. Both of those incidents occurred more than 30 years ago. In that same era, I had similar experiences with several snowshoe hares that I shot and reached in time to watch the life fade from their eyes. As with the deer, I felt somehow closer to these dying hares as they were expiring, and was left wondering how they had experienced their short lives and what they were experiencing in their final moments. There is an element of surprise in most hunting. You spend long hours on stand, then a deer suddenly appears. When hunting upland birds or small game, a flush or the sudden appearance of game is often startling, even when your dog’s behavior tells you to expect it. Taking the shot in these instances is often a reflexive move, without a lot of forethought. In contrast, shooting a turkey often feels like an assassination. Most of the time, a gobbler sounds off in answer to your hen yelps as he approaches. He comes in deliberately, and you have plenty of time to draw a bead on his head. Your heart races as he closes the gap from 100 yards to 50, then 30, then maybe 20 as he finally steps into the clear and raises his head. You struggle to control your breathing and wait for just the right moment to pull the trigger on the unsuspecting bird. You certainly don’t know the gobbler as you would a friend, but there is no question that you have connected with him for a brief time and fooled him with your calls. A skilled waterfowl hunter can have a similar experience, as he calls and decoys ducks and geese to the gun. Deer hunting, especially with a bow or crossbow, can sometimes elicit the same reactions, if the hunter gets a long look at the deer as it approaches his stand. What deer hunter hasn’t experienced “buck fever” in one form or another? In my case, my

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Dan Small holds a newborn lamb, “Ramalama Ding Dong,” as “Buster” looks on.

February 19, 2016


Field to Farm (From Page 28)

heart rate usually increases after I shoot because deer surprise me more often than not. My outlook on animals’ lives took a surprising turn several years ago when my wife and I moved to a small farm and started raising goats, sheep, and chickens. I knew from the beginning we would kill and eat some of these animals, but I did not know how that process might affect me. Several friends warned me, perhaps from their own experience, not to name the animals we planned to eat, but we named them anyway. Most of their names just popped into one of our heads, sometimes right after they were born, but often weeks or months later. One of these critters was a ram we named “Edgar.” When Shivani’s plans shifted from dairy sheep to dairy goats and she started buying a smaller breed of sheep, we no longer needed Edgar. Most sheep are skittish at best, but Edgar was downright sociable. He would come looking for a treat when I approached his pen. He liked to have his ears rubbed, and he would gently paw at my leg with a front hoof for attention. Like most rams, you had to keep an eye on him because if you turned your back, he might butt you. Other than that fault, he was more like a dog than a head of livestock. I even tried to teach him to shake hands when he pawed at me. We do our own killing and butchering because it spares the animals the trauma of a trip to a slaughterhouse, it saves money, and we get exactly the cuts of meat we want. Doing so also affirms our connection to our food, a connection I already felt with wild game, but came to understand more deeply with our own animals. The inevitable time came to slaughter Edgar, as it made no economic sense to keep him around. We had already slaughtered a number of chickens, some of which had names. I found it difficult to kill the named roosters, but we did so as humanely as possible, putting them in a plastic cone and cutting their jugular veins with a sharp knife, then holding them as they bled out. Shivani recited a prayer for each bird before we killed it. Every one of them provided delicious, fresh meat that we relished. When we led Edgar to the tree where we would skin and butcher his carcass, I thought about what I have heard some people say about their opposition to killing animals. Most anti-hunters see hunting as a barbaric practice, even though many of them have no problem eating a steak or drumstick. Some nonhunters, even avowed carnivores, squeamishly avoid even thinking about the steps between live animal and packaged meat, let alone taking a cleaver and cutting chops from a lamb quarter. I am reminded of another Leopold quote: “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” As much as I agree with Leopold, putting a bullet into

Edgar’s head at point-blank range as he trustingly gobbled corn from a bucket was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. A friend helped me with the process, as Edgar weighed 150 pounds, but I declined his offer to shoot him for me. We skinned and dressed his carcass, then let it age for a week or so in our root cellar, which is the next-best thing to a walkin cooler, and then I cut and wrapped the meat. Throughout this process, I was aware that this had been Edgar, but I steeled myself to the task. When Shivani and I sat down to a meal of fresh loin, I opened a bottle of wine and lit a candle to celebrate our first supper of farm-raised lamb. She said a prayer of thanks, and then I wept like a baby. All the feelings I had repressed came out in those tears. “Are you OK?” she asked. “I will be,” I answered. In a few minutes, I was over my grief, and we dug into a delicious meal. Since then we have slaughtered and eaten two more sheep

Page 29

Dan Small and Richie Galindo lead Edgar the ram on his final walk. Small prepares to skin Photos by Shivani Arjuna Edgar’s carcass. – last year’s breeding ram, “Windsor,” and Edgar’s offspring, “Buster.” We sold two others (“Red” and “Harold”) to friends who did the same. Killing each was easier than the one before, but along with the gain of many meals of organic, grass-fed meat, I felt regret and loss each time I pulled the trigger. The fact that the rams and wethers are the friendliest of our sheep doesn’t help. We have two sheep in the winter pasture destined for freezer camp – this year’s

ram, “Badger,” and a wether we neutered last spring I call “Ramalama Ding Dong” because he broke one of his horns sparring with another lamb and it grew out at a weird angle. If Badger did the job we acquired him to do, our nine ewes will have as many as a dozen lambs this spring. The males, and perhaps some of the females, will all become meat. This is the way small farmers have lived for centuries, and the way we will continue to live on our little place.

We will likely keep naming our animals – it makes it easier to identify and talk about them, and they do all have distinct personalities, some of them endearing and some not so much. And we will keep eating them because that is one reason we got into farming in the first place. As a hunter, I already had respect for the animals I killed. As a farmer, I have come to a much greater appreciation of the lives we take to sustain our own.

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(From Page 1) of buck lived in his hunting area. He doesn’t deploy trail cameras until after the season simply to see what deer survived. “I didn’t know about it until after the fact. The neighbors had pictures on their trail cameras,” Kassera said. “I was surprised that we had a deer like that around. We have seen some nice deer in the area in the past. The neighbors have gotten a few. We were surprised he was here. “Trail cameras? I use them and I don’t. I have been frustrated with them in the past,” he said. “I see some deer, go hunting, but then don’t see them. Where’d they go? I like the surprise of not knowing what’s out there. I’m not going to put them out in summer or fall.” Kassera and his wife, Colleen, still live and hunt in the general area of Bangor where Kassera grew up. He has been bowhunting for 48 to 50 years, but has more time to hunt now that he’s retired. The Rockland couple have gone archery moose hunting in Ontario each of the past five years. Colleen Kassera shot a moose there two years ago. “It’s quite an adventure,” John Kassera said. His hunting day on Nov. 5 wasn’t all that much different from previous days, until about 3 p.m. when he shot a new state record typical archery buck. “It was that time of year where I was hunting morning and night, starting the week before Halloween. Fortunately I’m retired now, so I could hunt that much. I just happened to pick the

John Kassera does not use trail cameras, so he didn’t know the buck was in the area. Neighbors shared their trail camera photos with Kassera after he shot the deer. Contributed photo

right stand that day,” he said. “It was about 3 p.m. I hunted that morning. I had some does come through. I took a break at 11 a.m., ate a sandwich, and then went back out at 1 p.m. I was playing a game on my phone to pass the time. I looked up and here he was coming at me. I put the phone away, pushed the seat back, and grabbed the bow.” The buck was about 75 to 80 yards away when Kassera first saw it coming around a point just below the top of a ridge. “He was just moseying through. He wasn’t on a trail, but wasn’t far off of one. There were some scrapes down below me. He might have checked them out before I saw him. He was kind of side-hilling just below the top of the ridge. “It didn’t seem like it was very

long before he was in range. Probably within a minute. I knew I had a decent hit. Then I tried to settle down, but that didn’t work. I don’t think I ever did settle down,” he said. After the shot, Kassera climbed to the ground from his ladder stand. The buck had run past his stand as he went downhill. Kassera quickly found good blood and, soon after, the buck. It had covered less than 80 yards. “I tried to get a picture, but I couldn’t figure out my phone. I called my wife and told her I got a monster. “We had quite a crowd in the garage here that night. I don’t know anything about scoring. It was a warm day, so I was working on getting the meat and cape taken care off properly. One of our sons (Jesse) and my wife were running scores. They came up with a figure that seemed ridiculous. They did that while our other son, Chad, did the skinning. I don’t think they wanted me around the knife. “A friend came over the next weekend and came up with 199. That guy knew Jeff (Fechner) and contacted Jeff, who was out hunting that day. We didn’t know what we had until 60 days later.” Fechner looked at the text messages and asked his friend to send a photo of the score sheet. “I was hunting that day, but they gave me the preliminary numbers. They blew me away. I told them I’d see them in 61 days,” Fechner said. Kassera will have the rack at the WBBC booth at the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo in Madison, April 1-3. WBBC president Bucky Ihlenfeldt said all potential top five racks and bear skulls must



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be panel-scored. There were six panelists, including Fechner: Herman Feller, Stan Godfrey, Chris Fechner, Curt Rotering, and Jim Hjort. “That’s three out of the last four years and six out of the last 21 years that we’ve seen new state record archery bucks – typical and nontypical. That’s a lot,” Ihlenfeldt said. “A lot of those bucks are coming from central and southern Wisconsin. This one came from the Mississippi River valley. It might be a while before we see one from up north,” he said, hinting that low deer numbers and predators will reduce the chances

Congress (From Page 1) ing hunting and fishing regulations) is a minimum of 18 months. Previously it took 12 months. A shorter time frame would allow more flexible and responsive management of fish and wildlife to meet federal regulations and biological needs. “Do you favor legislation that would exempt fish and wildlife rules from Act 21?”

Wildlife questions

Congress advisory wildlife questions include the following: • Do you favor the congress working with the DNR and Legislature on a change to allow hunters to apply for preference points up to six years at a time? • Do you favor the congress working with the DNR and Legislature to increase the nonresident black bear preference point/ license application fee to $35? • Do you support allowing county deer advisory councils to divide counties into multiple deer units? • Do you support allowing the CDACs in the Southern Farmland zones that recommend an antlerless holiday hunt to also have the ability to recommend extending the archery and crossbow season to Jan. 31? • Do you favor legislation that would repeal the law that allows permanent waterfowl blinds on public water/lands? (Waterfowl blinds that are removed at the end of each day would be allowed.) • Do you favor repealing the 16-day 1 p.m. closure for waterfowl hunting at the Mead Wildlife Area? • Would you support allowing individuals to participate in two Learn to Hunt events per species under current regulations? • Would you support legislation to create a conservation stamp that would generate funds to help support DNR budgets for conservation efforts for all wildlife? • Would you be in favor of expanding spring turkey hunting while maintaining the existing six-period structure by allowing unsuccessful tag holders from time periods 1, 2, 3, and 4 to use their unfilled tags during the 5th and 6th seasons in their zone? • Do you support the DNR requiring nontoxic shot on all DNR-managed lands? • Do you favor the DNR asking the NRB to designate the portion of the Strawberry Creek Fish Hatchery land not used as a hatchery as a statewide fish habitat area, thus opening the acreage to hunting, fishing, and trapping?

Fishing questions

Congress advisory wildlife questions include the following: • Do you favor eliminating the “artificial-only” restriction from the regular season trout rules? • The DNR can set alternate,

February 19, 2016 of northern counties growing a record buck. As for Kassera, he’s going to keep hunting even though he doesn’t expect to ever see another buck close to this one. “They told me it could be a new state record. I didn’t think it was at the time,” he said. “I never imagined it would qualify for the record. It was a once-in-alifetime opportunity. I have never shot anything quite like it. My biggest archery buck was probably in the 125 range. I won’t top that one, but I’m still going to get out there. I have a few years left in me.”

temporary size and bag limits for warmwater fish species but not for trout. This question would allow that for trout: Do you support amending NR 20.35 to include the three trout species of our state (brook, brown, rainbow) and an alternate temporary size limit and bag limit for each that would apply under certain circumstances? • Do you support the DNR requiring nontoxic fishing tackle under ½-ounce in weight? • Would you support a nighttime fishing prohibition during the spring walleye run below the De Pere dam? • Do you favor opening the walleye season year-round on the Lower Black River? • Do you favor raising the muskie size limit on Trout Lake from 45 inches to 50 inches? • Would you favor a rule that would prohibit anyone who receives or may receive compensation for fishing activities from storing live game fish with any unattended storage device on any body of water beyond the day of catch? • Would you favor eliminating the size limit on largemouth bass in Diamond Lake (Bayfield County)? • Would you support a rule change to raise the size limit for muskellunge on North and South Twin Lakes from 40 to 50 inches? • Would you support lowering the daily bag limit of yellow perch on Bearskin Lake (Oneida County) from 25 fish per day to 10 fish per day?

Trapping questions

• Do you support a single dryland trapping opener of Nov. 1? • Do you support an otter season with no lottery, and a season limit of two otters per licensed trapper?

License questions

• Do you favor legislation creating a senior patron license? • Do you support the DNR working with the Legislature to create the opportunity for customers to buy gift certificates that can be used by others to buy DNR licenses, permits, or fees? • Do you support the Legislature increasing hunting, fishing, and trapping license fees? • Do you support the congress working with the DNR and Legislature to establish a nonmotorized watercraft fee?

Other questions

• Are you in favor of repealing Act 1, the iron-mining law? • Are you in favor of the Legislature imposing a moratorium on new state permits for frac sand mining until recommendations that may be developed following the completion of the Strategic Analysis of Industrial Sand Mining can be implemented? Questions can be found at DNR offices and at: About/WCC/springhearing.html

February 19, 2016

Bobcats (From Page 20)

explain that bobcats were extirpated from “part of the original range … associated with intense agriculture or removal of forests in those areas lacking rugged or rocky mountainous terrain or extensive bogs or swamps.” While their explanation comes up short of explaining the Coulee Region void, their map shows the large gap in the population. I know there was an occasional dispersing bobcat in this area, but evidence for any reproduction is scant, at best. Since bobcats can disperse more than 100 miles, wherever the fringe of the big gap was not occupied by a dispersal barrier, dispersers showed up occasionally. Since the 1980s, bobcats have been filtering back into parts of the gap. Dawn Reding completed her Ph.D. dissertation under Professor William Clark at Iowa State University. Most of her work involved analyzing DNA samples from 1,447 Midwest bobcats. Her radio-collar portion of the study had determined that young females were dispersing an average of 17 miles and males were going an average of 50 miles. Those dispersal distances would enable rapid range expansion into the Midwest “gap” wherever barriers were absent. Most researchers recognize three subspecies of North American bobcats. They stem from the most recent glacier when populations persisted in separate refugia in the East, the West, and Mexico. Reding used DNA variations that don’t deserve subspecies distinctions to identify local populations surrounding the Midwest gap. DNA markers were used to identify six distinct bobcat populations surrounding the gap. The once-void area in southern Iowa and northern Missouri had rapidly re-established a significant bobcat population. The markers indicated that those bobcats had immigrated from

the population in Kansas and southern Nebraska to the west. Like some other areas in the gap, southern Wisconsin yielded few samples for the study. Yet Reding was able to perceive a direction of movement into this and other areas of the gap. She also identified barriers that restricted dispersal. The Mississippi River, Missouri River, and extensive blocks of row-crop farming, especially the northern Iowa Corn Belt, significantly impede dispersal. The four samples she was able to get from southern Wisconsin and just across the Illinois border revealed that two had come from northern Wisconsin and two had come up the west side of Illinois. Her studies concluded in 2010, and though an increasing number of samples have become available since then, as far as I know, none have been tested for DNA markers. Yet, that small sample size was adequate to detect dispersers arriving from the two distinct populations. Reported incidental takes from Richland County in 2014 included three cats caught in body-grip traps and one roadkill. Iowa County had two incidentals; Racine County had one. The southern Wisconsin void is being rather quickly repopulated. John Clare, a graduate student of Professor Eric Anderson at UW-Stevens Point, worked on developing a technique to estimate the bobcat population. The recently increased bobcat population in the Central Forest Region in Jackson County made that an ideal study area. They compared the use of dogs trained to locate bobcat scat to blocks of trail cameras. They concluded that trail cameras were more efficient in most situations. Bobcat hunters and trappers had encouraged the DNR to increase the permit application fee to fund this type of research. That research helped supply needed information on bobcat numbers to warrant opening a

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season, not just south of Hwy. 64, but for the entire rest of the state. Only 50 permits were available for this extensive new zone in 2014, and that number was doubled to 100 for 2015. With the groundswell of interest in bobcats in southern Wisconsin, recently retired DNR wildlife supervisor Bill Ishmael had proposed a DNR study of radio-collared bobcats

Page 31

This large tom, being held by DNR wildlife technician Meg Ziegler and DNR conservation warden Dave Youngquist, was killed by a vehicle north of Dodgeville in 2008. Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin DNR photo

This photo of a bobcat in snow was caught on a trail camera near Ithaca in Richland County. Photo courtesy of Jim Wisniewski

in this area, but it didn’t make it past the budget restraints. Current DNR bobcat research is all north of Hwy. 64. The excitement associated with the increasing population is evident from many sources. More people are seeing bobcats. More are showing up on trail cameras.

The DNR Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey for 2014 revealed that deer hunters in the Southern Farm Zone saw .21 bobcats per 1,000 hours of hunting compared with 1.28 in the Northern Forest Region. That number should increase during the next several years. I saw a bobcat when we lived in western Montana in 1973. They are secretive. Not many

will show up in the backyard with their kittens. For nearly all of us, every sighting is a special outdoor adventure to be cherished for a lifetime. But within what endured for decades as a nearly complete void in the bobcat population, there is now reasonable hope of hearing that piercing cat scream and of seeing Wisconsin’s well-established wildcat.


• 37.5 wooded acres with metal building & food plots in Vernon County $165,000 - Call Bob • 35 wooded acres Columbia County $129,900 - Call Bob • 42 acres of hunting land Columbia County $184,900 - Call Matt • 46 acres wooded land Sauk County $184,900 - Call Bob • 234 GRP acres in Juneau County $349,900 - Call Bob • 340 WRP acres Marquette County $589,900 - Call Bob • Small hunting parcel of 8 acres Buffalo County $49,900 - Call Mark • 16 hunting parcel in Manitowoc County $59,900 - Call Mark • 17 acres on Lake Puckaway Green Lake County $25,900 - Call Marty • 142 acres of Crawford County land $395,900 - Call Marty/Steve • Metcalf Lake buildable lake lot ….Marquette County $59,900 - Call Matt • 40 acres of hunting land in Adams County $109,900 - Call Matt • 50 wooded rolling acres in Sauk County $195,000 Call Matt • 43 acres of waterfowl/whitetail land in Waushara County $31,000 - Call Travis • 52 acres of land on Auroraville Mill Pond in Waushara County $36,500 • 12 acres of hunting land w/lease option on surrounding Juneau County land $49,000 - Call Travis • 41.5 acres of tamarack marsh in Columbia County $84,900 - Call Travis • 43 WRP acres in Columbia County $89,900 - Call Travis • 69 acres of hunting land on the Little Lemonweir in Juneau County $109,000 - Call Travis • 37 acres of tillable & rec land in Columbia County $158,650 - Call Travis • 69 wooded/tillable acres in Columbia County $224,250 • 105 diverse acres of marsh/tillable/wood hunting land Columbia County $389,900 - Call Travis • 320 acres of tillable/pasture/hunting land w/income in Lafayette County $3,300,000 - Call Travis •7  20 acres with 3 bedroom lodge and Cleary building in Marquette County $1,999,999 - Call Travis • 10 acre hunting camp w/32ft camper in Juneau County $64,900 - Call Steve • 80 acres of hunting land w/deer, bear and variety of birds in Jackson County $79,900 - Call Bruce • 3000sq ft private full log estate and high fence deer farm on 442 acres in Chippewa County $1,800,000 Call Bruce • 80 acres of woods/lowland/tillable lands with income in Clark County $139,900 - Call Bruce • 3 bedroom half log home w/guest cabin 3 car garage resting on 120 acres Burnett County $365,000 - Call Bruce • 66 acres of hunting land mostly wooded in Columbia County $399,900 - Call Kevin • 36 acres of crop and hunting land w/building site in Dodge County $189,000 - Call Kevin • 140 acres of hunting land w/3700+/- feet of frontage on Crawfish River in Jefferson County $790,000 Call Kevin • 35 acres with 6000sq ft heated metal building, great hunting property in Jefferson County $189,000 - Call Kevin • 110 acre parcel with abundance of wildlife, Neenah Creek runs along property in Columbia County $429,000 - Call Kevin • 40 acres of proven waterfowl property on the Buffalo River w/4 blinds in Buffalo County $110,000 - Call Bruce. • 3 bedroom updated home on 165 acres with a pond in Clark County $330,000 - Call Bruce • 100 acres with 3 bedroom home in Sauk County $475,000 - Call Bob • 21 acres of hunting land & potential investment property in Dodge County $369,000 - Call Kevin

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Photo by Rita Tepley

Page 32



my recent trip to California to photograph bobcats (see my last column), I also fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing and photographing clusters of wintering monarch butterflies. We had checked a couple of known spots in northern California close to where I was working, but couldn’t locate any wintering butterflies. So my partner and I decided that a five-hour drive to central California would be worth it to view some wintering monarchs.

Five hours and lots of traffic jams later, we arrived just at sunset at a location where thousands of monarch butterflies winter. We grabbed our binoculars and started walking and searching for the butterflies. It didn’t look very promising. After all, the population of monarchs has decreased dramatically the past 20 years. According to Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation, and research group, in 1995 there were more than 390.5 million wintering monarchs. The latest numbers in 2015 show only 56.5 million monarchs. This isn’t encouraging news. Just when we thought all our efforts were not going to pay off, we saw a small, handmade sign on a post that said: “Not seeing any butterflies? Look Up.” There, about 30 feet above our heads, was a large cluster of monarchs. Through our binoculars (not enough light to photograph) we saw hundreds and hundreds of monarchs, with their delicate wings folded over their backs, clinging to the branches of eucalyptus trees. They looked just like the leaves on the trees, and in the dim light they were hard to see.

The monarch butterfly is our only truly migratory insect. Of the hundreds of butterfly species in North America, it’s the only one that migrates. A few other butterflies partially migrate, but none like the monarch. All monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to the mountains of central Mexico. This is where the vast majority of them winter. A smaller population of monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to California (where I was) for the winter.

There are about a dozen spots along the California coast that host these amazing insects. Instinctively, they gather in large groups during winter. At other times of the year the monarchs are solitary. One by one, the monarchs start to arrive in November, and by December thousands are hanging from the branches of trees. They spend the winter clinging together and on warm days feed on the nectar of flowers. Not all of them venture out during the day, but the ones that do will return to the same trees at night. At the end of February, the butterflies start to leave the wintering sites and fly north to mate, lay eggs, and die. This is why the wintering monarchs are so important: They are the sole reason the monarch population carries on from year to year.

The next morning at sunrise we returned to the site with cameras in hand and spent several amazing hours filming these awesome insects and fulfilling a lifelong dream to view wintering monarchs. Until next time ...


SKY LIGHTS crystals and changes direction, forming the mini-suns.

or those of us hungry for sunlight during this season of short days and often-overcast skies, there’s a natural meteorological phenomenon that boosts the sun effect. If you’re out and about just after sunrise or just before sunset, you’ve probably seen this: Many call them sun dogs, those twin bright spots on either side of the sun when it’s near the horizon.

Other names for this phenomenon include mock sun, phantom sun, or parhelion, the scientific name. Look above and below the sun dogs to see if atmospheric conditions have formed a luminous ring around the sun, as well. How did sun dogs get their name? No one really knows, but some say it might be because they follow the sun the same way a dog follows its master. When light spots occur at night near a full or nearly full moon, they’re called (of course) moon dogs, although these are not as common.

I’ve always associated sun dogs with winter’s coldest days, but they can occur in any season, anywhere in the world. These bright spots form when sunlight at an angle runs into ice crystals, either in the air on very cold days or within high, thin clouds at any time of year. The light bends (or refracts) as it passes through the

Photo by Betty Crosby

Bottom line: The next time you’re out filling your bird feeders just before dawn or dusk, search the horizon for these light shows in the sky. Note to readers: Remember the very pale fox pictured on a recent Backyard page? Scott Shelstad wrote that it was a marble fox, a domesticated species often bred for its fur.

Light pillars are another kind of sky phenomenon, formed when light FEATHER COATED: Neither snow nor sleet will keep this northern cardinal away from Howard Martin’s feeders.

hits ice crystals floating in the atmosphere. This can create a vertical column of light extending above and below the light source — often the sun, but sometimes artificial light can create such a shaft in the sky. Since these require cold conditions, they’re much more likely to be seen at our latitude, or farther north. And like sun dogs, they most often appear when the sun is near the horizon.

ing GUTSY GROUSE: Stand r dee ing dur and est tre in his s wa r the Lu sea so n, Jo e its surprised by several vis . use gro s from a fearles

LIGHT SHOW: A light pillar soared in the cold evening sky above Beth Siverhus’s property.

N A T U R E  NOTES • Barred and great horned owls are hooting in the forest. • Circles of bare ground begin appearing at the base of deciduous trees. • Pileated woodpeckers are eager for high-energy suet treats. • Many mammal species are entering their breeding season. • House finches start singing their beautiful songs.

PREY PERCH. A northern shrike hides in Brian Lindgren’s shrubs, waiting to pounce on a small bird or mammal.

TOE GAZE:Terry Werneth says this eagle pair looks like they’re giving thanks before a meal, but I’m wondering if they’re comparing toe counts. WILD PARTY!: That’s what Kurt Kolstad calls the photo he took of his backyard at dusk on New Year’s Eve.

to address below Your photos are welcome. Send prints email address. m’s ingha Cunn Val to es imag l and digita

CONTACT INFORMATION: • Stan@na yard and Beyond Back Attn: Wisconsin Outdoor News: 3086-9702 WI 5 er, Sling S., Dr. ine Mora e 125 Kettl

FEEDER FINCH: A male house finch gives Suzanne Fryda the eye as she snaps his photo.

ICE WEAVER: This is what happens when a spider web meets frozen fog, as Dave Yetso discovered on the second weekend of deer season, in January.

February 19, 2016


Page 33

Page 34


Letters (From Page 3)

in 2015? Multiple incidents with overlimits? It’s obvious our DNR is intimidated by our governor and lieutenant governor. Anyone else would have had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked. Over the years, I have made mistakes – one by misunderstanding and another by putting a severely wounded deer out of its misery after legal hours. For what it’s worth, I would do that again. It was the ethical thing to do – however not the legal thing to do. My condemnation of Kleefisch is not because of what happened to me, but rather because it appears that he feels he is above the law. Reduced fines, warnings instead of citations; he still has his outdoor privileges. What a disgrace and slap in the face of all law-abiding sportsmen. It reminds me of the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Kleefisch is an embarrassment to Wisconsin and all real sportsmen around the world. Frank Fetzer Jr. Nashotah

DNR reaching with bait ban The January DNR ban on feeding deer in Vilas, Oneida,

and Forest counties is the quintessential example of junk science and erroneously drawn conclusions from irrelevant data being applied to legislation intended to protect Wisconsin’s wild deer herds. To ban the feeding of wild deer in these counties because of a questionable diagnosis of CWD from captive deer in an enclosed game farm is ludicrous. The reasoning behind this ban is analogous to placing a ban on the feeding of wild birds in these counties because someone’s pet parakeet may (or may not) have been diagnosed with avian flu. For that reason, as well as several other reasons, I urge residents and property owners in these counties to sign the online petition asking Gov. Walker to rescind this ridiculous ban on the feeding of deer in Vilas, Oneida, and Forest counties. Those who oppose this deer-feeding ban can sign up on their smartphones, Facebook, or their home computers. If they don’t have access to any of these options for signing the petition, I’m sure one of the local bait shops, grocery stores, feed stores, or public libraries would be happy to allow them to log on to sign the petition. Dean Crist Minocqua

Treestands again This is in response to Dave

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Allen, of Kaukauna, regarding his letter in the Jan. 8 issue about treestands being left overnight on state land. In 2006, a resolution was passed statewide to have treestands left in the woods for the duration of the hunting season. The DNR never made an attempt to vote on the rule change, even though it was on the DNR board’s agenda. In the spring of 2015, Tony Blattner, of Price County, brought a resolution to the Conservation Congress about leaving treestands and ground blinds in the woods north of Hwy. 64 for the gun deer season on a 3-year trial basis. It passed statewide. Now these resolutions have passed twice, yet the DNR wants to put it to another statewide vote. I guess if the DNR doesn’t like something, it keeps voting until it gets its way. You can leave your treestand and ground blinds up the entire hunting season on national forest lands and on some county forests. Has anyone heard of problems on those lands? I didn’t think so. It just seems that when it comes to making things easier and safer for hunters, the DNR wants to wash its hands of it. But if it has something to do with bicyclists and their trails, it gets passed in a hurry. Lane Webster Waunakee

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car. At this time of my life I was getting married and trying to figure out a career. There wasn’t much time for me to spend time with my second dog, Sheba. She died from cancer a year or so after Angel passed on. I have always had a dog since, but never went back to beagles. It has been a long time since I had Angel and Sheba. Many things I have forgotten, but my memories of them will never go away. As great as those past days were, I never see anyone chasing rabbits with beagles or writing about how great that experience can be. Thanks again for your article. It aroused some very deep emotions and memories from my past, and I am now ending this with tears in my eyes. John Stogny Egg Harbor

Landowner respect This past year, my daughter and I were out hunting during muzzleloader season on state land. One afternoon she shot her first buck ever. It was hit good, but it ran onto private property. The landowner heard the shot and made his way down to the property line and met us there. I walked up to him and asked for his permission to enter his property to retrieve the buck. He got defensive and told us to get off his property. He was very adamant about not letting us retrieve the buck. Per state regulations, it is his right not to allow anyone, for whatever reason, onto his property. I was very upset and disappointed toward him. He himself is a hunter, and other hunters know that all efforts should be made, whether he allows us to look for the deer or he does, to retrieve that game. I then started wondering what made this man have such a bitter attitude. It then came to me; it was other run-ins with disrespectful, trespassing hunters in past years. Because of those disrespectful, trespassing hunters, my daughter and I got the blunt end of other peoples’ negligence. To all of the hunters, fishermen, hikers, bikers, etc., please give respect to the landowners so this might not happen to you or your family members in the future.

Raymond Redlin Kenosha

Congrats to Mellum Congrats to Steele Mellum, the 14-year-old who shot a once-in-a-lifetime buck and got it back (Feb. 5 issue). Let’s also give the wardens a big hats off on their diligence to correct a sportsman’s bad decision. It never ceases to amaze me how deer hunting brings out the worst in some people. Many blame wardens for programs they don’t agree with from the DNR. Try to remember that wardens are doing their job. They don’t make the laws, they enforce them. Consider your own job. If you don’t do what’s expected of you from your employer, you would be fired. Wardens don’t get nearly the credit they deserve from law-abiding sportsmen and women. Again, great story! Jim Bonneville Ridgeland

February 19, 2016 By Gene Kroupa Contributing Writer


or most of the morning I had listened to a gobbler enthusiastically calling from a point across a steep ravine from me. While the distance wasn’t any more than 300 yards as the crow flies, it was more like a half-mile the way the cow moseys. Gobblers that talk during midmorning hours usually have either lost their sunrise hens or never did have dates. These are birds that can be walked and talked to in order to get them to move into range. This particular tom was in a serpentine patch of mixed hardwoods that weaved along the steep hillsides, broken only by open pasture on the top and cropland on the valley floor. He was staked out on a high point near a pasture. Heavy Holsteins and lighthoofed deer had broken a travel lane through the trees below the rim from where I sat over to the other side of the crevasse where the gobbler held court. I was all in for meeting up with this solitary character, as I had not been able to get any early morning talkers to come my way. So, I answered the next regal gobble with a teasing lost call. Sure enough, the big boy had heard me and replied with a throaty invitation to join him. I was more than happy to oblige, except now it was time to change my tune. While willing, I wanted to convey cautious interest by just clucking. Also, I didn’t want to attract any coyotes or curious jakes. Lonesome Tom found that coyness appealing, so I started my trek and tease routine. I would quietly walk 30 or 40 yards along the well-worn path that wound around toward the pasture, stop by a handy tree, and give out a contented cluck, then wait for a response. During the next half-hour of my walking, standing, clucking, and listening, the tom didn’t move from his outpost, which was just dandy with me. Things could get complicated if the gobbler started heading my way too soon. Finally, I reached the far end of the pasture, where the trail dead-ended, leaving me with a decision. Since I was still more that 150 yards from the bird, should I risk some aggressive yelping and cutting with hopes of drawing him in, or should I use the woods to try to get in closer without being seen? I chose the latter, partly based on the fact that the tom had picked up the pace of his calling and was double gobbling in anticipation of a hook-up. However, he had not stepped an inch my way. I stuck with the same pattern of moving and clucking that had delivered me to the doorsteps of potential success. Finally, when I was within about 75 yards of the gobbler, I set up by a big oak and started purring. Quicker than you could say, “There he is!” the tom was out in the greening pasture, heading my way; he stopped 30 yards out but he was still cautious. This was a smart bird that never strutted or gobbled out in the open, but craned his neck searching for the hen. He never knew what hit him. This longbeard was a wellworn warrior, with many breast feathers missing from breeding and defending his turf. Tipping the scales at only 17 pounds, but




Sometimes midday turkey hunters don’t have a choice but to close the distance between themselves and toms that will gobble, but not move. The walk-and-talk approach can work in those situations. Photo courtesy of National Wild Turkey Federation

Page 35

sporting 11⁄4-inch spurs, he was definitely a heavy hitter. When I employ the walkand-talk tactic, I typically don’t use a decoy because I prefer to have the tom look for the hen. Unfortunately, I’ve also had a boss hen come charging to the rescue and draw off the tom. That is why I carry an inflatable or fold-up decoy just in case the situation seems to warrant using it. I might deploy a decoy if the tom stops gobbling when I’m still fairly far from him and suspect he is sneaking in my direction. As a necessary maneuver, I will sometimes move away from the tom to get him worried about the “hen’s” intentions. Then I’ll circle back to restore his confidence. Sometimes this approach is dictated by the terrain, because it is critical that you remain out of his sight line. This tactic also will come in handy with a savvy tom that likes to stand at the edge of a field and resist moving toward decoys. Slip out of your blind or get up when he’s not looking your way and start moving on him. Always remember: Walk and talk means more walk and less talk. Let the tom’s natural curiosity and loneliness close the deal.

Page 36


By Ron Spomer Contributing Writer


ack in the 1930s, the CCC stood for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today it’s an abbreviation for concealed carry classes. Firearms are the items being concealed and carried. Classes are the education and certification needed to do that legally. Self-protection is seen by millions of Americans as their God-given right. It is protected by the Second Amendment to our Constitution, yet politicians, in search of votes, routinely attempt to restrict law-abiding citizens from carrying personal-protection firearms in the vain hope that this will reduce crime. We won’t get into the statistical arguments about the highest crime rates being in cities, counties, and states with the most firearms restrictions. Nor will we debate the relative silliness of trying to make schools, banks, stores, and other places safer by declaring them “gunfree zones.” Instead, we’ll leave it up to you to decide what side of the gun-rights debate you fall on while we concentrate on outlining the basics about concealed carry classes in case you want to attend one. Laws governing carrying firearms vary from state to state. Some allow concealed and/ or open carry without any permits. Many states require

Some concealed carry classes teach attendees the bare minimum in order to certify their license. Others almost can make people competent shooters.  Photo courtesy of Tim Lesmeister

permits, but must issue them to any legal citizen who passes some basic standards such as minimum age, passing a federal instant background check

(no felony record, no mental illness, no history of domestic violence, etc.), submitting fingerprints, and passing a CCC. A few states have “may-is-

sue” rules. These demand similar requirements as above, but issuance to individuals is at the discretion of local authorities – i.e. sheriff, police, etc. Their decisions are arbitrary. If they don’t like you or think you don’t deserve or need a permit, tough cookies. Many states require only classroom study, while others include an actual, live-fire proficiency test. Hands-on class work might include cleaning and maintenance, function proficiency (safely loading, unloading, carrying, storing, etc.) and shooting. A few jurisdictions require students to meet basic accuracy standards while others merely require students to fire one time. Virtually all classes, however, focus heavily on rules, regulations, and laws within their jurisdiction. These are important so that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities while carrying a protection gun. For instance, how must it be stored in the home? How must it be carried in a vehicle? Where can it be carried on the street within a municipality? Just because you’re licensed to carry a concealed handgun doesn’t necessarily mean you can carry it into U.S. post offices, banks, sports arenas, or school zones. Yes, there are many complicated and confusing rules and laws governing concealed carry, thus the need for classroom instruction and study. So, how do you find these classes? Some local sheriff’s and police departments offer

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CCC in WI For complete Wisconsin-specific rules on the state’s permit to carry law, visit the Department of Justice website at

the classes, but if they don’t, they should be able to direct you to them. Independent instructors, often associated with or advertising in sporting good stores, offer classes, too. Many are taught by NRAcertified instructors, among the best. You also can search online to find classes. Some classes are free, others may run anywhere from a few dollars to well over $100. Some will teach the bare minimum in a few hours to certify your license while more elaborate ones will practically train you to be a competent shooter. To obtain some state concealed carry licenses you can take a course online and print out your license right from home. Interestingly, reciprocity agreements between states mean that one state’s license may be legitimate in several other states. Florida and Virginia licenses, available to nonresidents, are accepted in many places. Obviously this is no one-size-fits-all business, so you need to research and study local and state laws and requirements before taking any classes – or at least before getting a concealed permit. Wisconsin, for instance, is a “shall-issue” state, meaning the state shall issue a permit to carry a concealed handgun if you pass the basic background check, meet permitting standards, or pass a class. In some states, training is required, and that training includes safe use of a pistol/ handgun by a certified instructor. There is a shooting qualification exercise, too. Of course, the class teaches extensively about the legal aspects of possessing, carrying, and using a handgun. Many states recognize and honor use-of-force training provided to military personnel. If you are in, or have been in, the military, you may not have to take a concealed carry class in order to get a carry permit. Getting a carry permit sounds like a fairly simple deal, but it comes with an extremely serious responsibility. You must carry and maintain your guns safely and use them judiciously. You may be called upon to make a quick judgment call and take action that could result in the unnecessary taking of an innocent life – or the saving of many innocent lives. Personally, I think it behooves all sober adults to carry personal-defense weapons for the same reason it’s responsible to wear a seatbelt while driving, buy health and life insurance, keep fire extinguishers in the house, and learn how to swim. While it’s pleasant to imagine we live in a land of sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and fuzzy kittens, we all know reality is much more harsh. Let’s be prepared to deal with it.

February 19, 2016 By Russ Mason Contributing Writer


ewell Fredrickson was the best coyote hunter that I ever knew. He started out as a trick-shot artist in a Wild West show. That didn’t pay well and it made him travel outside Utah, so he quit and hired on as a range rider. Marriage, wives, and kids forced Newell to reconsider that option as well, and he eventually signed up with Utah Animal Damage Control. The job came with benefits, including a truck with a heater, a Wilson Camp, solitude, ammunition, and traps. Newell worked for the outfit for nearly 35 years. Together, Newell and I hunted and trapped together when I moved west to study coyotes and develop control methods. In the winter, we wandered in the desert. In the summer, we moved with the sheep to the mountain pastures of the Wasatch Range. We camped miles from any pavement, and there was always Nescafé in the pantry and hot mutton stew when I drove into camp. When we sometimes went to dinner at the cafe in Snowville, the waitresses dropped their other customers to bring us (actually him) the menus. The coffee was always on the table before we sat down. Newell had great stories, and together we created others. When I think of him now, all I clearly remember is his black hat, a truck that smelled of lure, and that string of stories about Bascos, trapping with Vernal Montgomery (a legend in the West desert), sundry misadventures, and his one and

It’s the stories we recall WISCONSIN OUTDOOR NEWS

A hunt for Mearn’s quail created stories. only trip to San Francisco (his second wife made him go). For the record, that wife figured she was buying something that wasn’t there. She didn’t last all that long. Newell made me realize that most of us, at least when it comes to hunting, are really just a string of stories. When I think of myself anyway, it’s the stories that I recall. This year, I hunted for Mearn’s quail. Friends and I shot 12 birds in a snowstorm about a mile and a half from the Arizona-Mexico border. The following morning, we

lasting memories and plenty of Photo by Mark L. Watson

shot antelope jack rabbits and Gambil’s quail in the Sonoran Desert. There were photographs, conversations, jokes and ridicule, wet feet, and cactus spines. Since the trip, I’ve retold the adventure and showed the pictures to most of my friends. It’s the experiences and the sharing of those experiences that bind us to hunting. Nationally collected data show that regulations, per se, and well-managed habitat are relatively unimportant. Before you get too worked up, I’m not sug-

Page 37

(L-r) Scott Hygnstrom, Kurt Vercauterin, Al Stewart, and Russ Mason had success hunting these antelope jack rabbits last fall at the base of the Quinlan Mountains, west of Tucson, Ariz.  Photo by Dave Bergman gesting that simple regulations that losing community – losing aren’t better than complicated other hunters to connect with – ones. Nor am I insinuating that is what causes the lion’s share convenient hunting opportuniof folks to stop hunting. And ties aren’t better than inconvewhen it comes to new hunters, nient opportunities. if the prospect doesn’t come from a hunting family, we’re But what I am saying, like asking him or her to adopt a it or not, is that fooling with whole new world view that’s regulations or providing more unfamiliar and unlike the and better habitat won’t make world view of anyone that he new hunters sprout up like or she knows. mushrooms after a spring rain. Far more important are stratConsider traditional recruitegies and tactics that provide ment and retention activities. the experiences to bind existing Our efforts are almost all and new hunters to the comone-offs. Youth waterfowl munity. hunting days, special youth The national data suggest (See The Stories Page 39)

Page 38


February 19, 2016

By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer


Hunting dog owners have to keep close tabs on their canine companion and look for any signs of aging in the field, and adjust hunting activity accordingly.  Photo by Paula Piatt

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hen my late black Lab turned 7 years old, he changed. It wasn’t super-noticeable, but I could see it in his every movement. His athleticism and stamina, once omnipresent, had begun to wane. His appetite, once ravenous, fluctuated. When my Lab was younger, he could have slept through the Battle of the Bulge. But when he turned 7, he started to get restless and occasionally paced at night as much as he slept. Even his coat, once as glossy as spit-shined charcoal, lost some of its luster. Concerned, I brought him to the vet. The results: He was perfectly healthy, except for “a touch of arthritis” in the “elbow” of his front left leg – a problem that got worse over time and required treatment and medication. “Your dog is just getting old,” said my vet, a Lab owner and bird hunter himself. “Enjoy his golden years while you can.” The question(s) you have to ask yourself is basic: How do I care for Fido as he gets older while also ensuring his quality of life? In addition, just how long should I hunt my favorite hunting companion, and what steps can I take to mitigate the aging process? How long you hunt your dog is a question only you can answer. I made the call when my Lab’s body language said he was ready to retire. It was obvious the joy he felt and demonstrated for 10 autumns was no longer there. I learned that quickly on a September prairie grouse hunt in his 11th hunting season. He was in good shape, but he hunted hard for only 10 or 15 minutes. He slowed down to what was effectively a walk. His mind seemed willing, but his

body had nothing left to give. After that short hunt, it took him several days to recover. It was agonizing to watch. As a sort of celebratory coda to his career, I hunted him one last time on the duck opener. He retrieved three drake bluewinged teal like a champ. Following are some tips to consider as your hunting dog gets older: • Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Extra pounds on older dogs means extra stress on their bodies, including their joints and internal organs, said Dr. Ann Spanish, a veterinarian at Shakopee (Minn.) Veterinarian Clinic. “For larger hunting breeds, you often see them start to slow down when they’re in that 7-year-old range, though every dog is a little bit different,” she said. “Keeping your dog lean is very important as they get older. Studies show far and away that maintaining a healthy weight is more important than using joint supplements and anti-inflammatory medication – and both of those have their uses.” She said keeping your dog at a healthy weight is important for overall cardiovascular stamina, too. If your dog already has joint pain, losing some weight likely will provide relief. • Regular exercise is vital. Dogs gain weight as they get older because their metabolism slows down. Regular exercise can help offset that change. “Exercise can and often does keep dogs youthful and happy,” Spanish said. “How you exercise is an important consideration, too. Swimming is great because it limits the wear and tear on joints, while running on hard surfaces does not.” Keep in mind, too, that old-

er dogs are more sensitive to extreme temperature changes as their metabolism changes. I had to stop hunting my Lab in hot and cold weather as he hit year nine. It took him several days, for example, to recover when making retrieves in late-season cold water – even when he was wearing a neoprene vest. Also, moderate exercise might be more beneficial than strenuous exercise, because when dogs get older, their heart and lung functions deteriorate. • Proper nutrition. Spanish said older dogs require proper nutrition as they get older, which may mean switching dog foods over a period of time. Feeding them nutritious food keeps them healthy, active, and happy. I switched to an all-natural dog food and my dog responded well to it. His energy level increased significantly. • Supplements and medication. Spanish recommends both. So, too, do I. When my Lab’s arthritis got worse, my vet recommended an anti-inflammatory medication and a joint supplement. In tandem, they worked wonders. In fact, he hunted nearly pain-free for two more hunting seasons. His mobility and mood greatly improved. His sleep improved, too. Overall, he was a much happier dog. • Schedule regular checkups. The overall health of senior dogs can change dramatically and quickly. Most vets recommend checkups every six months, perhaps even quarterly. Numerous conditions – from thyroid problems to diabetes to kidney ailments – can reveal themselves in a short time period. The good news is most diseases and health issues, if caught quickly, can be successfully treated.

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THE STORIES February 19, 2016


(From Page 16)

(From Page 37)

deer days, women’s days, and so on. The events feel good, but fail miserably when it comes to making new hunters. Likewise, less than 50 percent of the kids going through hunter education are buying licenses five years later. That’s because it’s not the kids buying the licenses any more than it’s your hunting dog buying its food. It’s the adults, the parents who take them. To move the needle, we have to focus on them, as well as whole families and young adults with independent resources. As well, we need more and different emissaries. If the sales force doesn’t look or sound like the customer, then the customer isn’t going to buy. This might be a bit outside of the comfort zone, yet when hunters say they want to sustain traditions, do they mean they want more hunters or do they mean they want more people that look and sound like them? To wit, I’m an old white guy. I drive a 20-year-old truck with hunting stickers on what remains of the rusty bumpers. I favor double-barreled shotguns and collect duck calls. I’m probably not the best advocate when it comes to recruiting a 25-year-old suburbanite, male or female (let alone from a different ethnic, racial, or economic group) who does not come from a hunting family, does not have friends who hunt, does not read hunting magazines, and could care less about the latest camouflage patterns. It’s a tall order. Think about every-

Mason (l) and Al Stewart had lots of stories to share after hunting these Mearn’s quail last fall in the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona.  Photo by Dave Bergman thing you might have done to get your own kids to hunt (or that someone may have done for you). Yet it’s what’s needed to assure that world view is sustained. Like any other religious preoccupation, we either will provide the fellowship and big tent to make new converts or we’ll recede and vanish. Something to consider the next time we ignore the facts and only focus on the easy buttons of regulatory change.


or even recruit enough new hunters to reverse the trend? The authors recommend that the concept of hunting as wildlife-management tool be reinforced. Most people support hunting to control overabundant wildlife causing damage to people or to the environment. They also support hunting as a source of human food, with free-ranging animals providing healthy meat. Another article written by Mark Holyoak appeared recently in the “Fresh Tracks” section of the September-October 2015 issue of the Bugle, the magazine of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The article, Public Disapproval of Hunting at TwoYear Low, discusses the results of a phone survey conducted by Responsive Management, a research firm that has sampled public opinion for more than 20 years. It found that 77 percent of Americans surveyed strongly or moderately approved of hunting. Just 12 percent disapproved of hunting, the lowest number since the study began in 1995. Again, hunting approval was strongest if hunting was for meat (85 percent), protecting humans (85 percent), animal population control (83 percent), wildlife management (81 percent), and to protect property (71 percent). However, only 28 percent approved of hunting for a trophy. Hunting approval also depended upon the wildlife species hunted, with hunting approval lower for black

Page 39

bears (47 percent), mountain lions (42 percent), and doves (40 percent). The type of hunting also impacted hunting approval. Hunting with dogs was approved by a majority (57 percent) of those surveyed, but fewer (38 percent) supported hunting with special scents and over bait (27 percent). Even less popular was hunting with high-tech gear (20 percent) or in a fenced preserve (20 percent). I’ve also read that the public supports the concept that hunters support wildlife and wild lands economically. Their various hunting license fees and taxes provide segregated moneys that are largely insulated from the whims of politicians and are used to provide habitat for hunted wildlife and many more wild animals and plants that are not hunted or harvested. These positive aspects of hunting should be emphasized to a greater degree. Trophy hunting should be de-emphasized and should be a private affair for those who do hang horns and hides on the wall (I’m one of those hunters). However, de-emphasizing trophy hunting is counter to those who strive to be the “biggest and fastest and have the mostest.” This competition is aided by business interests that promote high-tech hunting gear and equipment, or promote shooting captive wildlife in fenced preserves. Jim Evrard, of Grantsburg, is a retired wildlife biologist.

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District 9 — Black River Falls area Warden Matt Modjeski investigated a gun deer season complaint in December regarding the discharge of a firearm within 50 feet of the center of a roadway. There was a time delay in reporting the incident, as the complainant did not know the law, and called after speaking with neighbors who explained it was a violation. The investigation determined that neighbors had contacted the suspect, who had no valid antlerless deer tags, after he got his truck stuck trying to retrieve two antlerless deer that had been shot on private property. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Modjeski and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputies investigated a complaint about a person shooting from a vehicle at a turkey during the antlerless-only deer season in December. Deputies arrived first and located the suspect vehicle. They determined the driver used a rifle to shoot at a turkey on private land, out the passenger window (in front of a passenger’s body), while seated in the driver’s seat. The passenger was found to be in possession of a validated deer carcass tag. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Matt Weber, of Necedah, assisted a Juneau County Sheriff’s Department deputy with enforcement action on a case involving a shotgun used to shoot at a mailbox and a sign, causing damage to both. Weber took enforcement action. Warden Molly Detjens, of Adams, investigated a suspect who had been purchasing resident Wisconsin hunting licenses while the suspect was a resident of Georgia. The investigation determined that the suspect had purchased resident Georgia hunting licenses and resident Wisconsin hunting licenses. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Kurt Haas, of Black River Falls, and supervisor Robin Barnhardt executed a search warrant in December at a home near Black River Falls after determining the homeowner had illegally killed a buck in 2012. Charges are pending. Warden Kyle Lynch, of Mauston, responded to a road hunting complaint that occurred in Adams County. Lynch located the suspects and determined that the individuals discharged a firearm from the roadway. An illegal deer also was found in the bed of the suspect’s truck. Enforcement action was taken. District 10 — Wautoma area No report available. District 11 — Peshtigo area Wardens Alyssa Gove, of Shawano, and Mark Schraufnagel, of Clintonville, completed an investigation in December of an illegal deer that allegedly had been shot at night during the closing weekend of the nine-day gun deer season. The wardens were able to determine the identity of the vehicle operator and eventually solved the case. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Paul Hartrick, of Oconto Falls, investigated a complaint in which an individual shot a buck during the 2014 archery season and had a family member tag the buck. Hartrick found the complaint to be true. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Timothy Werner, of Crivitz, assisted the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department with a physical disturbance at a residence in the township of Wausaukee.

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and registered the buck. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Chris Kratcha, of Sturgeon Bay, cited an individual for the illegal use of a pesticide after receiving a complaint that a dog had ingested the pesticide and became ill.

Wardens Ryan Propson, of Appleton, and Sturdivant investigated a complaint about a hunter who had harvested a turkey during the firearms deer season when the turkey season was closed. The investigation revealed that the turkey was shot during the closed season and that it wasn’t immediately tagged. In addition, the investigation revealed that the hunter had shot two antlerless deer that same day. However, he only had one valid tag for that county. Enforcement action was taken.

Warden Kratcha assisted the Southern Door County School District with the kickoff of its third year of the Brett Buhr Archery Club. Kratcha also provided a presentation to Sturgeon Bay High School junior and senior ecology students about the job duties of a conservation warden. Northeast Operations Marine Unit Warden Darren Kuhn, of Green Bay, reported citizen complaints in December of waterfowl blinds left on the bay after the close of the hunting season. However, due to unsafe ice conditions, he advised those callers that these complaints will remain open until the ice is safe enough to allow for investigation. Warden Kuhn investigated a citizen complaint concerning illegal waterfowl hunting (hazing waterfowl) on Green Bay. Based on the investigation, Kuhn found no evidence of illegal hazing, but he issued warnings to the hunters for not having their licenses on their person. Wardens Jeff Lautenslager, of Peshtigo, and Dale Rombeck assisted local law enforcement partners by responding to a call concerning a hunter who had fallen out of a treestand. The wardens helped get the hunter out of the woods. Warden Dave Allen, of Kewaunee, assisted the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department in attempting to locate an individual in December who had walked away from an assisted-living facility in Luxemburg and had not returned. Warden Bob Stroess, of Green Bay, issued two citations to a Michigan-based company for operating as an unlicensed WFD (wholesale fish dealer). Stroess also worked to bring two other companies into licensing compliance. District 13 — Oshkosh area Warden Michael Disher, of Chilton, checked multiple pheasant hunters on the Brillion State Wildlife Area during early December. Disher contacted one hunter who had been hunting all season without having a pheasant stamp. Enforcement action was taken for the violation. Warden Disher investigated a gun deer hunter who was shooting too many bucks from a parcel of private land in northern Calumet County. Disher found and checked the hunter, who was wearing a brown stocking cap and did not have a valid tag for hunting deer on private land. Late-registration violations also were discovered for several bucks that were shot earlier in the season. Enforcement action was taken. Wardens Disher and Thomas Sturdivant, of Neenah, conducted a joint investigation involving a raccoon that was stolen from a trap on the Brillion State Wildlife Area. The investigation revealed that a pheasant hunter shot a raccoon that was caught in a lawfully placed trap. The hunter then removed the raccoon and carried it back to his vehicle at the parking lot. The hunter also was found to be hunting without blaze orange during an open firearms deer season. Enforcement action was taken.

This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.

Report of the weeK District 19 – Dodgeville area

Warden Ryan Caputo, of Green County, and Mike Dieckhoff, of Janesville, talked with a hunter who had shot two bucks during the early archery season and one buck during the firearms season in Green County. Only the first deer was tagged, and none of the deer had been registered. During the investigation, the conservation wardens discovered that the subject also had a car-killed buck that had not been reported. Enforcement action is pending. Warden Disher investigated an individual who had bypassed his septic system and was pumping gray water onto his back lawn adjacent to the Lake Winnebago shoreline. It was determined the homeowner had bypassed his sinks and bathtub to drain onto his lawn so he wouldn’t have to frequently pump his holding tank, thereby saving money. Enforcement action was taken for the violation, and the county sanitarian was notified of the illegal cross-connection in the homeowner’s basement. Warden Disher investigated illegal deer-baiting activity on a private woodlot in southern Calumet County in December. It was determined a hunter put out several piles of corn near multiple treestands so a family member could shoot a deer. That family member shot two deer from the locations earlier in the season. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Jason Higgins, of Oshkosh, investigated a case of a subject who had shot two bucks during the archery season. The investigation showed that the suspect had shot a smaller buck, which he tagged and registered late in October. The subject went back out in early November and had a large buck walk into bow range, so the subject shot the deer. The subject’s relative later tagged

Superior Lakers (From Page 27)

Seconds later, I felt the tap again, only this time, stronger. I reared back on the rod, and even though more than 150 feet separated us, the nonstretch braid told me I had connected. I didn’t know how good a hookset I’d gotten. And I didn’t know how big a fish I was dealing with, but it felt good. I tried to set the hook again and was met with solid resistance. The powerful fish planned to stay on the bottom. I began pumping it up from the Lake Superior mud. The fish shook its head and there was no doubt now I had latched onto a sizable laker. But it was no match for the muskie tackle, and soon I had the fish heading upward. Earlier, I’d been glad just to be out here. But now that wasn’t enough. I needed to see – no, I needed to land this fish. How long I fought the lake trout, I’m not sure. Probably only a couple of minutes. But those moments dragged on forever. Finally, I could see it shimmering below.

I’d been playing the fish slowly and carefully, and now doubly so. The fish’s best chance to escape was right at the boat. For the first time, I was glad Joe wasn’t along. Joe hates nets. He insists they lose fish and I’m sure he wouldn’t have allowed me to bring one. Well, this Joe was glad there was a net in the boat. The fish was tired now and seemed to come up more easily. Finally, I raised the long muskie rod and at the same time swept the net under the big old trout. The jig popped out of the laker’s maw as the line went slack, but the fish was in the net, and I quickly hoisted it aboard. In this day of outdoor television, it seems you can’t catch a fish or shoot a deer without fist-bumping, high-fiving, or screaming like a child. In that little boat on Lake Superior, there was no one to fist-bump, and my shouts of glee would have been for my ears only. That was just fine with me. It was enough just to have set out to do something on a rare opportunity and to have succeeded. The lake, the day was enough, really. Catching the fish was more than I could have asked for.

Wardens Propson and Sturdivant investigated an archery tag loan/borrow complaint. The investigation revealed that an adult had tagged his son’s second archery buck of the season. The wardens also discovered that the hunters were illegally baiting on the property. Enforcement action was taken. While investigating a separate complaint, warden Ryan Propson, of Appleton, observed a person walking on railroad tracks in camo and carrying an empty ice cream pail. Upon contact, it was determined the person was placing bait in multiple locations along the tracks for hunting purposes. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Sturdivant received a complaint about two archery hunters hunting in Outagamie County during the muzzleloader season without wearing blaze orange. The investigation revealed that the archery hunters were not only hunting without wearing blaze orange as required, but they did not have backtags, hunted after hours, and hunted with a muzzleloader handgun. Enforcement action was taken. Wardens Sturdivant and Propson investigated an archery tag loan/borrow violation. One hunter harvested two bucks during the early 2015 archery season in Waupaca County and had another family member tag the second one. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Tom Truman, of Winneconne, contacted a deer hunter during the muzzleloader season. The hunter was found to be hunting over approximately 6 gallons of apples and was not wearing blaze orange, as required. Enforcement action was taken. District 14 — Sheboygan area No report available. District 15 — Milwaukee area No report available. District 16 — Racine, Kenosha area Wardens Brandon Smith, of Burlington, and Juan Gomez, of Elkhorn, contacted a pheasant hunter at the New Munster State Wildlife Area during the muzzleloader deer season. The hunter was found to be hunting without wearing the required blaze orange clothing. The hunter also had one mallard duck in possession during the closed duck season. Enforcement action was taken. Warden John Sinclair, of Kenosha, was investigating a case of an unknown hunter shooting within 100 yards of a residence when he discovered that an individual had not tagged or registered a deer killed several weeks earlier. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Mike Hirschboeck, of Racine, hosted a Learn to Hunt deer event in Burlington. He was assisted by conservation wardens Brandon Smith and Juan Gomez. Hirschboeck also received the assistance of Trent Tom, a teacher in the area.

February 19, 2016

District 17 — Madison area Wardens Jake Donar, of Madison, and Pearl Wallace, of Jefferson, followed up on a deer-hunting complaint for wardens from Iowa. Through an investigation, it was discovered that two Wisconsin residents were hunting in Iowa and had illegally shot eight deer, including a trophy buck. Enforcement action is pending in Wisconsin and Iowa. District 18 — Poynette area Warden Sean Neverman, of Prairie du Sac, investigated a complaint about a littered couch along the side of a rural road in Sauk County. Neverman was able to determine the owner of the couch and responsible party for the illegal disposal. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Neverman attended the December meeting of the National Wild Turkey Federation state board as the law enforcement representative for the DNR. Warden Neverman responded to, and investigated, a spill of diesel fuel on Hwy. 12 after a car collided with a semi truck. Wardens Wade Romberg, of Friendship, and Ryan Volenberg, of Poynette, wrapped up a cabin shooting investigation that Romberg started. Enforcement action was taken for an individual hunting deer with a crossbow out of a camper that was pulled into the woods near a lighted bait pile. Multiple deer were found to be harvested at night over the bait pile. Warden Volenberg received and investigated a complaint about three hunters hunting in camouflage at the Gibraltar Rock SNA during the four-day antlerless deer season in December. The investigation revealed violations of hunting without wearing required blaze orange clothing, failing to wear a backtag, cutting trees on state land, possession of a validated carcass tag, hunting deer in wrong quota unit, and illegal transportation of deer. Enforcement action was taken. District 19 — Dodgeville area Warden Al Erickson, of Dodgeville, responded to a complaint about a several hunters shooting rifles from a roadway near public land near Cross Plains during the muzzleloader deer season. Contact was made with the young hunters as they left the woods located within the Madison metro subunit. Enforcement action is pending. Warden Nick Wallor, of Lancaster, patrolled for coyote hunters near Mt. Hope, north of Hwy. 18. Upon contact with a hunter inside his parked vehicle, it was determined he had a loaded .22-250 on the passenger side of the vehicle. He also had two young children with him. Enforcement action was taken. Warden Martin Stone, of Fennimore, and supervisor Joe Frost observed a fresh buck rack in the back of a truck parked in town. Stone contacted the hunter because the deer was never registered. The investigation also revealed that the hunter had never purchased a deer-hunting license. Charges are pending. Warden Dave Youngquist, of Spring Green, checked four hunters at Blue Mound State Park. Two of the hunters were carrying validated (and used) deer tags belonging to other hunters in their backtag holders. Violations were found for being in possession of validated tags and for not registering deer. Enforcement action was taken.

Tom Michelsen, of Egg Harbor, shot this 12-point buck Nov. 27 near Fish Creek. The rack green-scored 1927⁄8.

February 19, 2016


Our bird dogs are capable of plenty; we just need to give them the chance to learn


By Tony J. Peterson Contributing Writer

hen I started training my last dog to find shed antlers, I wondered if it would affect her bird-hunting skills. I didn’t wonder too hard, however, because she didn’t set the world on fire in the field. Still, I wasn’t sure if switching gears as soon as grouse season ended to find something totally different from a living, breathing bird would adversely affect her. What I quickly found was that, at least with shed hunting, it did nothing but add to her value. We spent more time on training drills and out in the woods, looking for something that – if found –

made us both happy. Pretty simple stuff, really. That experience opened my eyes some, but it has been the sporting-dog experts I’ve run across since then that have truly opened my eyes to what dogs are able to do. The answer is, a lot. I know a trainer in Wisconsin who has trained bird dogs to be therapy dogs that help soldiers afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder. I recently interviewed a die-hard pheasant and waterfowl hunter who trains dogs to compete in dock-jumping events. When I asked him what he looks for in a dock dog, he simply said, “I look

Lake Winnibigoshish

for a dog that should be a good hunter. The dock work comes easy to good hunting dogs.” Fair enough, but what does this have to do with the

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of your dog. Photo courtesy of Tony Peterson

Page 41

rest of us? Well, if there is anything I see with sporting dogs that we can all work on, it’s getting them out to do more work. Labs, German short-haired pointers, golden retrievers, and pretty much any sporting breed you can think of are workers, and they function better when they have a task. This means that while you may be a hardcore duck hunter, your dog would (See Pups Page 49)

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Fishing & Hunting Report

Page 42


February 19, 2016

Milder forecast has anglers excited to head to the ice


Report from the Dock

Bluegills and northern pike are hitting in 12 feet on Lake Magner and the Apple River. North Twin Lake and Little Balsam Lake are producing crappies in 15 feet, while perch have started hitting on Bone Lake and Butternut Lake in 20 to 30 feet. Lakes such as Wapogasset, Loveless, and Bear Trap are giving up a mixed bag of panfish in 15 to 18 feet. A few walleyes are biting during low-light periods on Big Round Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231.

of hunting and fishing A forecast and summary

fishing across many areas of t was a much slower week of and windy weather the state, but the return of cold off the lakes. lers ang probably kept a few more tent activity, nsis inco cate indi orts Most walleye rep ht periods -lig low ing dur with small spurts of feeding but it has , ons epti exc e som are re or overnight. The since the s leye wal h catc been even more difficult to been pretty had ch whi , bite pie crap the last report. Even hed in many locations. It good, seems to have diminis e still seeing fish on their sounds as though people wer of work getting them to electronics, but it’s been a lot periods for crappies and ht -lig low on s bite. Again, focu e stable weather. Finding a som look for improved action with e k, but those putting in their tim good sunfish bite involves wor ea om bec not had vel Tra s. area have found success in some ling but fishermen have been dea real problem as of last week, s. lake st with more slush lately on mo



Anglers returned to Chequamegon Bay in force despite snow, the loss of all South Channel ice, and a little slush. Travel is limited to foot, ATV, and snowmobile. Anglers are catching perch, along with a few walleyes and trout, off of the first and second landings. The lighthouse area is yielding nice catches of smelt, with a few trout, splake, northern pike, and whitefish. Trout anglers targeting the Washburn ice from the coal dock to Houghton Point report nice catches of whitefish, splake, brown trout, and occasional lake trout. Lake shiners are the top choice for jigging; golden shiners are popular for tip-ups. Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754. River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

north of Sturgeon Bay, which does allow the ice to move a bit, especially with a south wind. But overall, the fishing has been good and the ice from Sturgeon Bay to the south all of the way to Dykesville can be classed as good. Call ahead for details before heading out for your first time. Low temperatures expected last week should stiffen the ice and slushy spots up nicely. Whitefish action continues to stay very hot along the peninsula. Some of the most popular areas are the Old Stone Quarry area, Sherwood Point, Larson’s Reef, Riley’s Point, and Henderson’s Point. Stay away from the big groups of fishermen, high traffic areas, and be mobile. Don’t be afraid to move every 20 to 30 minutes if you don’t get a bite. A wide variety of jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and minnow pieces work well. Most fishermen run some sort of a slider hook above their main jig, which can be a single hook, treble hook, small ice jig, or a fly of some kind.


More snow, strong winds, and developing slush made for difficult fishing conditions last week. The 12-foot weeds on Lake Vermilion, Beaver Dam Lake, and East Balsam Lake are holding crappies and sunfish. Walleye action is slow, but northern pike are hitting in 12 to 15 feet on most lakes. Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 8222164.


The ice conditions are relatively good at this stage. Most fishermen are walking or using ATVs or snowmobiles up to this point of the season. There are some cracks throughout the county, along with open water to the

Hunting Hours +20 +16 +12 +8



Contact your license vendor for zones map and complete list of hours.

NORTHERN ZONE Feb. 19: 6:16 am/ 5:42 pm Feb. 20: 6:15 am/ 5:44 pm Feb. 21: 6:13 am/ 5:45 pm Feb. 22: 6:11 am/ 5:47 pm Feb. 23: 6:09 am/ 5:48 pm Feb. 24: 6:08 am/ 5:50 pm Feb. 25: 6:06 am/ 5:51 pm Feb. 26: 6:04 am/ 5:52 pm Feb. 27: 6:03 am/ 5:54 pm Feb. 28: 6:01 am/ 5:55 pm Feb. 29: 6:00 am/ 5:56 pm Mar. 01: 5:59 am/ 5:57 pm Mar. 02: 5:57 am/ 5:58 pm Mar. 03: 5:59 am/ 5:59 pm SOUTHERN ZONE Feb. 19: 6:14 am/ 5:46 pm Feb. 20: 6:12 am/ 5:47 pm Feb. 21: 6:11 am/ 5:49 pm Feb. 22: 6:09 am/ 5:50 pm Feb. 23: 6:08 am/ 5:51 pm Feb. 24: 6:06 am/ 5:53 pm Feb. 25: 6:05 am/ 5:54 pm Feb. 26: 6:03 am/ 5:55 pm Feb. 27: 6:01 am/ 5:57 pm Feb. 28: 6:00 am/ 5:58 pm Feb. 29: 5:59 am/ 5:58 pm Mar. 01: 5:58 am/ 5:59 pm Mar. 02: 5:56 am/ 6:01 pm Mar. 03: 5:55 am/ 6:02 pm

Perch action has been relatively good, which is nice to see. There are a bunch of small fish around, which is also nice to see. Areas to try are some of that deeper mud to the south like around Sugar Creek and north to Henderson’s Point. Little Sturgeon has been very good at times. Pike action is starting to heat back up. A few of the better areas have been right in downtown Sturgeon Bay, the Potawatomi State Park shoreline, the Sturgeon Bay Flats, and the Little Sturgeon area. Use large golden shiners and suckers under tip-ups. Walleye action can be classed as “normal.” Some days you get them and some days they just don’t want to bite, but overall the fishing has been good, especially now that fishermen can venture out a bit more and stay away from the high traffic areas. Try the Henderson’s Point shoreline along the secondary drop and transition area, Riley’s Bay, and Sand Bay. Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916. Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.


Walleye fishing is pretty good right now, with many anglers reporting daily action, especially in the evening. Most walleye spots are heavily traveled, so you have good access to the good spots. Weekends, of course, are pretty busy out there, but most evenings you’ll have plenty of space. Tipup action with shiners or suckers is consistently good on the Eagle River Chain, especially on Eagle, Yellow Birch, and Catfish lakes. As a general rule, look for water depth of 10 to 12 feet deep to set those tip-ups, and move shallower after dark. Good action starts at about 4:30 p.m. and will

go on after dark. On the bigger, clear lakes guys are getting in some deep-water daytime jigging also, with Swedish Minnows or the like tipped with crappie minnows or fatheads. They are fishing as deep as 35 feet on lakes like North Twin. They then move up shallower in the evenings to catch the fish coming in to feed. Northern Pike: Typically suspended in 8 to 14 feet of water. Set tip-ups 1 to 2 feet above the weed tops, tipped with golden shiners or suckers. The bite seems to be good to very good all day. Crappies: They are settling deep in the main lake basins, just a few feet off the bottom. Jigging with tungsten jigs tipped with either plastic tails, spikes, or waxies will get you bit. The bite has been fair during the daylight hours. Perch: We’re finding them on deep rock bars and on the mud flats while jigging a tungsten live bait combo of wigglers, spikes, and waxies or crappie minnows. The bite is good to very good during daylight hours. Bluegills: Use small ice jigs tipped with spikes or waxies in shallow weeds in 4 to 8 feet of water. Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.


There is about 10 to 12 inches of ice across Green Bay and guys are getting out for whitefish. The Fox River is starting to open up, so fishermen will start heading into the river once there is room to move around. Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.


A few walleyes continue to be caught in 15 feet on Grindstone Lake, Round Lake, and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles during the evening hours. Fish deeper water, out to 30 feet, during the day. Target weed edges and look for fish hugging the bottom. Look for perch and crappies in 12 feet on Lost Land Lake, Spring Lake, Lake Hayward, Nelson Lake, and the Chippewa Flowage. Northern pike fishing is good to very good, and the bite continues throughout the day. Concentrate your efforts over weeds, cabbage beds, structure, and near panfish schools in 5 to 20 feet, using tip-ups with shiners and suckers. Crappie action is fair to very good – be prepared to move – with the best bite windows early and late (just before sunset). Fish are suspending over mid-depth weeds and over deep water, holding a few feet off bottom. Bluegill fishing is good to very good, with best success early and late in the day. You can find fish in 8 to 30 feet around weeds and structure, with bigger fish close to the bottom. Baits of choice include small tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, wigglers, spikes, and plastics on light line.


Area lakes have on average about 10 inches of ice. With no snow cover on the lakes, the ice is very slick. Be sure to wear ice cleats on your boots. Bluegills were found around green weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water, with the larger fish near the bottom. Bluegills also were found around deep structure in 20 to 35 feet of water. A flasher is a must to find fish in deep water. Small, finesse presentations are needed to catch bluegills. Use light line or leader with a spring bobber to detect bites. Wigglers have been the best live bait for finicky fish. Crappie fishing was best just before dusk or during early morning hours. Look for them on your flasher suspended over deeper water, or over mid-depth weeds. Present your bait above the school for best results. Using a tip-down rigged with a light fluorocarbon leader, small treble hook, and baited with a small fathead, rosy red, or lake shiner is a great way to catch finicky crappies. Jigging with a No. 8 Ratfinkee, Moon Glitter, or Rocker baited with a wax worm or wiggler produced, as well. Aggressive crappies were caught on small spoons. Perch were found in deeper water, most often near the bottom. Northern pike were active on area lakes last week. Set tip-ups around structure in various depths, most often near panfish. Rig your tip-ups with a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader, small beads or spinner blade, No. 6 or No. 4 red or glow treble hook, and bait with a golden shiner or sucker for the best action. Brined jumbo smelt on a smelt rig can work too, especially for big pike. Walleye fishing was best during dark hours when they were found along weed edges in 8 to 15 feet of water, near the bottom. During daylight hours, look for them in deeper water of 25 to 35 feet. Use tip-ups baited with minnows or jig with a Jigging Rapala, Shiver Minnow, Slender Spoon, Kastmaster, or Swedish Pimple tipped with a minnow head. DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920. Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360. Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.


Fishermen have been catching white bass and a few walleyes about 2 miles out and to the south. White bass, perch, and bluegills are hitting on Lake Poygan. Ice conditions have improved

Big Marinette County bear

Vektor Charts ™

Each daily graph starts with midnight on the left. The Vector Fish & Game Activity Tables are computer-generated timetables indicating when fish, game and other species will tend to be in daily feeding and migration patterns. The tables, which indicate peak times, are based on the combined positions of the sun and the moon. Major periods can run from an hour before to an hour after the peak time; minor periods peak a half-hour either way.

Perch fishing is good in depths from 10 feet and deeper, on mud flats, with fish holding close to the bottom. Use ice jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and plastics, or try jigging a jigging spoon with a piece of minnow. Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921. Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.

Nicky Garvaglia, of Niagara, shot this large Marinette County bear while hunting with her father, Todd Garvaglia. She is pictured here with her daughter (l), Emma, and a big boar that dressed out at 434 pounds. The trail camera photo shows the bear at a bait site during daylight hours the day before Garvaglia tagged it. She shot her first bear on Monday, Sept. 21, at 8 yards with a .270 rifle. Contributed photo

February 19, 2016

WISCONSIN OUTDOOR NEWS pike fishing has been OK, with some decent catches being made on large golden shiners fished near old weeds in 4 to 6 feet of water. Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108. Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.


Sport Shows Duluth Boat, Sports & Travel Show: Feb. 17-21, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth Central Wisconsin Sports Show: Feb. 19-21, Central Wisconsin Expo Center, Rothschild,

Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show

Feb. 26-28, Warner Coliseum, Minn. State Fairgrounds Falcon Heights, Minn. –

Wisconsin Fishing Expo: Feb. 26-28, Alliant Energy Center, Madison – Wisconsin State Hunting Expo: Feb. 26-28, Shopko Hall, Green Bay –

to quite an extent on Lake Winnebago, and fishermen are moving around in search of fish. Critter’s, (920) 582-0471. Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409. Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.


Lake Mendota walleye action has been slow, and those that are hitting have been small. Catfish are hitting off of Governor’s Island in 20 to 30 feet of water. Anglers are catching them by tip-up and jig pole, with some decent numbers at times. Lake Mendota pike fishing has slowed. Most of the bluegill news has been from Lake Monona. Guys are catching bluegills all over, but the bigger ones seem to be coming from Turville Bay. Perch fishing has been a little slow. Lake Waubesa crappies are hitting in the main basin, along with a few walleyes. D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474. Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


High winds pushed most of the recent light snows off of the lakes, maintaining good travel for ATVs and snowmobiles. There has been some truck travel where ice thickness allows. Fishing improved during the past week, with the exception of two days of low pressure. Bluegills: Good. Action has been the best in areas away from the crowds for nice bluegills of 8½ inches and some pushing 10 inches. Try depths of 10 to 18 feet depending on lake type (clear, hard-bottom lakes deeper than lakes with color). Try dark tungsten jigs, (black, purple, red, green) tipped with mousies, spikes, or waxies. Fish over mud bottoms and occasionally stir up mud to attract roaming schools. Use a larger spoon to disrupt the bottom. Northern pike: Good. Action improved with some nice reports of fish to 34 inches on big baits on tip-ups. Walleyes: Good. There has finally been some improved bites, most at or just after dark. Jigging spoons with minnow heads are working well again. When walleyes strike these baits it’s a good sign they are more active. Suckers on tip-ups over sand grass flats of 22 to 28 feet also have been productive. Get set up a couple hours before dark and “stair step” some tip-ups to the top of humps to intercept the walleyes they move up at dusk to feed. Crappies: Good to fair. Some anglers are having better success out away from weed bays in 14 to 18 feet of water on neutral-colored plastics (red, root beer, motor oil) or small minnows on tip-downs. At this time of year, deep flats with pockets that drop a foot or two deeper also are key areas for crappies. On the flowages, some days are good on small rosies and tipdowns. When the bite is off, a small VMC Flash Champ tipped with a red spike held a foot off bottom will draw bites. Yellow perch: Good to fair. Deep mud flat bites are starting to show up. These fish are feeding on mayfly and midge larvae. Wigglers and red spikes are good choices on Hali jigs, No. 4

Sioux Empire Sportsmen’s Boat, Camping & Vacation Show: March 10-13, Sioux Falls Area & Convention Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.


An occasional walleye is caught just before dark in 15 to 20 feet on Long Lake and Big McKenzie Lake. Perch, crappies, and sunfish can be had in less than 10 feet on Spooner Lake. AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

Northwest Sportshow: March 30-April 3, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis


George’s Minnesota Muskie Expo: April 8-10, Ganglehoff Center at Concordia University, St. Paul Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show: March 2-6, Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center Sport & Home Extravaganza: March 18-20, Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds, Fond du Lac


Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo: April 1-3, Alliant Energy Center, Madison Sportsmen’s Wild Game Feed and Expo: Feb. 27, Ogema Baptist Convention Hall, (715) 820-2214 tungsten jigs, and No. 2 Pimples. Work mud flats of 18 to 28 feet. Heavy lures will get the bait down quickly to keep roaming schools in the area once they show up. While it’s still slushy, lake travel is not as bad as might be expected since the snow did not accumulate on lakes in most cases. Slush is still a problem and unlikely to go away. Ice thickness reports ranged from 8 to 15 inches, with 11 to 12 inches the average. Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797. J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.


Crappies and sunfish are over 16 feet on Fish Lake, while Whiteface Lake is producing crappies in 14 to 16 feet. Hit Island Lake for crappies in 20 to 22 feet, the St. Louis River for walleyes in 10 feet, or Rice Lake for bluegills and northern pike in 4 to 6 feet. Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.

With more snowfall in the past week, snow depths have increased on lakes across the northern-most part of the region and worsened the slush conditions. Ice depths have been holding at 8 to 10 inches, but the slush layer is up to 4 to 6 inches on some waters. Truck travel has pretty much been curtailed, and even some snowmobiles and ATVs are getting mired in the deep slush. Lakes south of Hwy. 8 seem to have less snow and minimal slush, but most lakes in Price, Sawyer, Ashland, Iron, and Bayfield counties have slush problems. For anglers who have been able to get out on the ice, fishing did show a little more consistency in the past week. Walleye activity did seem to spike up and a few anglers were having some good success on the middepth breaklines and mud flats in 5 to 10 feet of water. The best action has been on small suckers or large fatheads in the hour or so before dark. Most walleyes have been in the 12- to 16-inch range, but a few in the low 20-inch size also have been reported. Panfish have continued to provide the most consistent success, though anglers still have to move around a bit to find active fish. Some good catches of perch have been made over the mud flats and near weedbeds, with small fatheads producing the best action. Crappies have been suspended off the bottom in the deeper water, with finesse baits and small minnows catching fish. Northern

There was up to 8 inches of snow on inland lakes in Marquette County last week. Panfish and pike have been hitting on Shag Lake. With only 10 inches of snow on the ground, whitetail migration has just begun. Coyote hunting has been outstanding in Marquette County. Gander Mountain, (906) 226-8300.


The north end of Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc was open for ice fishing last week with between 9 and 11 inches of ice north of Gladstone. To the south there was still some open water. Walleye and perch fishing has been pretty good. The fish are spread out all over the bay. Some anglers reported catching fish around the reefs in 8 to 15 feet of water, and others were catching fish on the east side of the bay in 30 to 40 feet of water. Predator hunting has been fair in the area. Bay View Bait & Tackle, (906) 7861488.


There was up to a foot of ice on most of the smaller lakes in the area. Walleye fishing has been good on Paint Pond. Decent panfish action has been reported by anglers fishing on Lake Antoine, Cowboy Lake, and the Mine Pond. Northwoods Wilderness Outfitters, (906) 774-9009.


Ice was running up to 10 inches thick last week on Lake Michigan’s Green Bay and about the same on the backwaters of the Menominee River. Whitefish, perch, and a couple walleyes have been caught in 15 to 25 feet of water. Northern pike were hitting suckers and chubs. Bluegills and crappies have been hitting, too. Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 4244108.


There was about 6 to inches of ice on Lake Superior’s Huron Bay and most of the inland lakes in the area last week. Ice fishing has been good, with some panfish and pike being caught inland and a few lakers being landed on the bay. With a foot of snow on the ground, coyote hunting has been good. Indian Country Sports, (906) 5246518.


There was safe ice on most lakes in Iron County last week, and anglers

Page 43

DNR panfish plan This week, DNR Sawyer County fisheries biologist Max Wolter takes a look at the public review of the state’s panfish management plan. “Panfish are the most popular group of fish for Wisconsin anglers, yet there is no formal state panfish plan for guidance on how to manage them most effectively. In response, the DNR Panfish Team, consisting of biologists, researchers, and Conservation Congress members, drafted a panfish management plan that is now out for public review and comment. “The plan encompasses all aspects of panfish management including habitat, angler engagement, research, regulations, surveying, and stocking. It contains broad goals for the direction of panfish management, but also specific actions that biologists, lakeshore owners, outdoor groups, and anglers can pursue to improve panfish fishing on their favorite lakes,” Wolter said. The plan is available for review on the DNR website. were taking advantage of the opportunity. Pike fishing has been good on Chicagon, Ottawa, and Michigamme. Good numbers of perch and bluegills have been caught in 8 to 12 feet of water. Bobcat hunting and coyote hunting have been very good. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Luckey’s Sport Shop, (906) 265-0151.


Fishing has been slow on Lake Gogebic. Low temperatures kept anglers off the ice last week, and the bite was very tough for those who braved the cold and went fishing. Milder weather is in the forecast. Ice conditions are fair to good throughout the lake, but slush has been a problem in many areas. Snowmobiles are now the best way to travel. The best walleye bite has been in 12 feet and about 20 feet of water. Perch action has been slow so far. The best perch reports have come from those fishing in 24 to 28 feet of water. Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 8423361.


East - Jumbo perch continue to be found off the main-lake mud flats in 30 feet or more. Walleye action remains strong on the gravel and mud flats in 20 to 28 feet throughout the day. Northern pike continue to be caught in the bays such as Cove and Wahkon in 10 to 14 feet. Johnson’s Portside, (320) 676-3811. West - Walleye action remains favorable in the bays over 19 to 21 feet and on, or near, the mud flats, from 20 to 32 feet depending on the time of day. Some jumbo perch and northern pike are being found throughout the same areas. Terry’s Boat Harbor, (320) 692-4430.


It’s been an up-and-down week here with the majority of good walleye and sauger action coming from 26 to 35 feet. There’s also been some walleyes coming out of 10 to 19 feet early each day and rattling glow jigs or plain hooks on deadsticks continue to work best. At the Northwest Angle, walleyes are hitting on or near reefs in 26 feet and saugers are going in the 32-foot mud. Crappies continue to be caught on the Ontario side around

Fighting hens

33 feet. Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau, (800) 382-FISH.


Walleye reports have varied, but anglers who remain portable and on the move are catching better numbers of fish. Look deeper, 22 to 30 feet, for walleyes during the afternoon and evening hours off Birch Island, north side of Ely Island, and the outside of Stuntz Bay. Northern pike continue to be taken in shallow water throughout Larson Bay and Stuntz Bay. Pike Bay Lodge, (218) 753-2430.


Look for perch on Snaghole Bar and Horseshoe Bar in 16 to 18 feet or as deep as 30 to 32 feet during the day; the morning bite seems to be best in the shallower water. You’ll catch northern pike in 16 to 20 feet and a few walleyes are being taken on top of the bars and humps in 20 to 25 feet during low-light periods. Lake Winnie Resort Association


Walleye action has really slowed on the main lake with some fish still being caught in deep water throughout Walker Bay or off Cedar Point in 16 to 18 feet. You have to sort through some small fish, but perch are being caught in the Narrows over 6 to 8 feet and north of Goose Island in 8 to 12 feet. Reed’s Sporting, (218) 547-1505. Shriver’s Bait Company, (218) 5472250.


The area near the ice ridge in Sand Bay is producing a few walleyes in 25 feet, as is the McIntyre Island area in 25 to 30 feet. Around the bend in the Rainy Lake City area, 20 to 25 feet has been best for walleyes and northern pike action has been slow. Loon’s Nest, (218) 286-5850.


Walleyes are not biting as consistently as they did early in the season, but fish are being caught on the 7- to 15-foot sand or mud areas. Low-light periods of the day continue to be best and there have been a few crappies, good-sized perch, and bigger northern pike in the mix as well. Mort’s Dock, (218) 647-8128.


The south end of Lake Waubay is giving up perch in 30 feet and a few bluegills can be had from Enemy Swim Lake in 12 to 15 feet. Anglers fishing overnight on Bitter Lake are catching walleyes in 9 to 20 feet. Hit Cottonwood Lake for pike and Bitter for a few bigger perch in 20 to 25 feet. Sportsman’s Cove, (605) 345-2468.

North Dakota DEVIL’S LAKE

Bruce Teigen, of Falun, snapped this photo of two hen turkeys either squaring off in a dispute over flock ranking or perhaps sharing a secret. Teigen took the photo Jan. 14 east of Lewis in Polk County. He said there were jakes nearby, but they were keeping their distance while watching the goings-on. Contributed photo

Perch action continues to pick up with consistent reports coming from the 30- to 45-foot mud off the flats, in East Devil’s Lake, or Black Tiger Bay. Walleyes are being caught on the 10- to 20-foot structure on most lakes along the northern half of the fishery and pike seem to be an easy catch in shallow water throughout the lake. Ed’s Bait Shop, (701) 662-8321.

Page 44


February 19, 2016

Taste of the Wild from Outdoor News


1 pound russet potatoes 1 pound of freshwater fillets, skin removed 3 tablespoons minced red bell pepper 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 large egg 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 2 green onions, sliced 3 tablespoons cornmeal 1 tablespoon cake flour (optional) Cooking oil for frying Salt and pepper


Fishwith Cakes Dill Aioli


⁄4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream) 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 3 medium dill pickles, finely chopped (garlic dill pickles work very well in this recipe) 2 teaspoons dill weed 2 teaspoons pickle juice 1

Stock photos

Directions: Peel and boil potatoes in lightly

add the potatoes. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and egg. Add the parsley and green onions, and incorporate this egg mixture into the bowl with the fish and potatoes. Gently mix the ingredients to evenly combine. You can add additional seasonings to taste such as salt, pepper, or a dash of hot sauce. Form your fish cakes by hand – this recipe will make roughly 8 even-sized fish cakes. Combine the cornmeal (and cake flour if you desire; it is a nice stabilizer) and sprinkle it on a plate. Find us on Dredge both sides of the

salted water until fork-tender. Hint: If you precut the potatoes into smaller pieces, it reduces cooking time! Drain off all liquid. Set aside and allow to cool. Dice into small pieces. Dust the fish fillets with salt and ground pepper. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and add fish. Fry until pieces flake easily. Remove the fish and add the red pepper and garlic to pan. Lightly sauté for 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice, stirring to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits of fish. Pour the pepper/garlic contents of the pan over the fish and cool. Flake the fish into smaller pieces and

fish cake in the cornmeal. Cover and chill for at least an hour or two. While this is chilling, make your aioli by combining the Greek yogurt (or sour cream), mayo, chopped dill pickles, dill weed, and pickle juice. Cover and chill. To cook fish cakes, use enough cooking oil in a deep skillet to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat to 375 degrees. Fry fish cakes for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until they are a golden brown. Serve cakes warm with aioli and a lemon wedge on the side.

at Find more recipes and share yours today! Visit the COOKING tab online at

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February 19, 2016

Family (From Page 1) Congress delegate Larrie Hazen. Sarah Burt, 11, proved to be a quick study, hitting the target after a couple of practice shots. She liked the archery best. “It’s fun,” she said. “It takes a little muscle to do it.” Looking ahead, Sarah said she thinks she might want to put her new-found expertise to work. “I want to go bowhunting someday.” Nevin Horning stood back while his 9-year-old son, Conrad, lined up a shot at a white-tailed deer in the outdoor mock-up housed in the DNR’s laser trailer. From the excited shouts of accomplishment, all of the kids were having a grand time as Iowa County DNR conservation warden Al Erickson supervised the activity. Conrad was too busy for an extensive interview as he slipped back into line for another shot at the target. “This is fun,” he shouted over his shoulder. It may look just like another video game at first glance, Erickson said of the laser system, but it is much more than that.


“The realism comes from a plastic inert firearm equipped with a laser, working safety, and trigger,” he said. “The participant must make a real-time decision when, or if, it is safe to shoot the animal. We include scenarios such as other non-target animals, trees or brush in the way, running targets, vehicles or buildings in the background.” Southwest Tech’s Blue Line Club, a student organization composed of students enrolled in the criminal justice program, helped out at various events, as well. Club member Dillin Aide, in his second year of the program, is an outdoor enthusiast. He assisted with the fishing end of the event. “I like it because that’s what I do (river fishing such as on the Wisconsin River),” Aide said. While most of the activities were held indoors, others took place out-of-doors. Brain Stichter, of the River Valley Hunting Retriever Club, led a seminar on shed-antler hunting with dogs. A Boykin spaniel owned by Darrell Schlieckau quickly drew point on several strategically placed sheds, much to the delight of the youngsters. Other youngsters received outdoor instruction on the use of snowshoes.

KINNS’ SPORT FISHING Lake Michigan’s Largest Sportfishing Fleet Winthrop Harbor, IL. LIMITS GUARANTEED. Algoma, WI – HUGE CHINOOK & STEELHEAD. 44 yrs. experience. 11 LARGE BOATS 32’-38’ 1-800-446-8605 or p-1705 Big Water Charters Lake MI salmon fishing, Algoma, WI 1-800-236-3451 p-16 Action Adventure Phoenix Sport Fishing Charters port of Sheboygan Wisconsin. Lake Michigan salmon & trout fishing. Come fish in luxury on our new 39 foot Tiara Yacht. Call Captain Steven John Today. 920-207-7000 p-08


SUCCESSFUL BLACK BEAR guided hunts. Hounds or active baits zone B & C. Bobcat & coyote hunts hounds only. Lodging avail. Running Wild Guide Service LLC, Antigo, WI. Jim & Nicole 715-627-7162, families welcome. p-12 Quality zone A bear hunts. Full and semi-guided hunts over bait. Lakeside lodging available. High success! Tim Gurtner 608-798-0673. p-22 Back Country Guide Service. Zone A, B & C. Bear, deer, grouse. Bear over bait or hounds. Bait for sale. Rent a bait. Lodging Available. 715-873-3431. p-13 Texas hog hunting with John Dougan. $750. 3 nights of hog hunting, meals & lodging incl. 8,000+ acres freerange hunting, no limits on hogs! Call 903-243-3468 Specializing in bear & bobcat hunts. Bear over bait or hounds in zones A, B & D. Bobcat hunts one on one with hounds. Highest success rate with a 75% return rate on clients. 45 years experience. Successful hunts are our business. Wendts Guide Service. 715-277-4440.p-21

Quality WI bear hunts over bait. Zones D and A

(From Page 25)

DNR forester Allan King looks on as Lindsay Ruchti and her grandmother, Michelle Gehrke, connect the dots on the correct tree and lumber products at the Outdoor Skills Day at Southwest Technical College in Fennimore.  Photos by Lee Fahrney Gehrke, figure things out, as well: “No, that’s not the right one, Gramma.” Gehrke chuckled at the exchange. “We love to come here,” she said. “We brought the grandkids here for the second year in a row.” Erickson captured best the purpose of the event: “(We are) tasked with protecting, enhancing, and promoting public safety and our natural resources through enforcement, education, and community involvement and encouraging everyone to be stewards of our natural resources on behalf of future generations.”

mostly private land. 15/18 killed 2015 95% opportunity, Jim Leahy. or facebook, Jim Leahy Guide service 715 634-0429. p-07

$4.00 PER LINE

Are you looking to buy or sell land in the North Central WI area? Contact Jon with Century 21 Dairyland at 715-9657337 or p-1702

Heglund Bear Guides. Zone “D” bear hunts over bait. Private Land, Bayfield Co. High success & low rates. Many book bear. Call Troy 715-682-3316 & FB. p-04

45 characters per line maximum, including punctuation and spaces. All ads must be submitted in writing, accompanied by full payment. Deadline is noon Wednesday for each issue.


T&J’s Guide Service. Zone A bear hunts with hounds or over bait, bobcat hunts. Lodging available. 715-567-0219.p-26 Guided bear hunts. Zones A and D. 36 yrs experience, high success rate, reasonable rates, lodging available. Chingo Guide Service. 715-682-4776. p-11 MONTANA TROPHY ELK HUNTS Guided bow and rifle wilderness hunts at reasonable rates. Excellent success on quality bulls. Customized trips for most hunter types and budgets. Green Bay Hunting Expo Feb. 26th-28th Call or e-mail for free brochure, references and or personal meeting. 406-360-4241, EasfForkOutfitters@msn. com p-04 Northwoods Guide Service. Glen Flora, WI. Zone A. With dogs or over bait. $800. Contact Ben at 262-689-0922 if interested in bear hunting. p-06 Quality bear hunts for 2016 in zones A/B/C 95% shot opportunity in 2015 great lodging available and affordable rates. Contact Brandon 715-370-0850. p-08 Guided bear hunts over bait. Zone C. Hatfield Sports Shop LLC 715-333-5009 call for info.


Outback Guide Service booking for 2016 bear season in zones A and D. Quality baited hunts at affordable rates years of experience excellent kill rate. Call Kevin at 715-580-0135. p-13 Sept./Oct. SASKATCHEWAN WATERFOWL HUNTS. Lodging, guides, decoys provided. 108 bird limit, honkers, mallards, snows. Jim 952-292-4660. p-05


Excellent hunting, 40 acres with furnished cabin in the Upper Peninsula just 20 miles north of WI. p-04 262-622-3532. Marquette County. 2 parcels. 2016 Bow & Gun hunting lease. Contact Dan B. 262-786-5596 or srbehlman@ gmail.comp-04 Central WI. #1 broker. Buying or selling land. 20 to 240+ ac. parcels. We have it or can find it. Call George 715-570-3172 p-04

Page 45


DNR forester Allan King supervised a kid-friendly interactive display of trees that allowed visitors to learn much about tree identification. Youngsters delighted in being able to activate a buzzer that denoted success at identifying a long list of native Wisconsin trees and the wood products thus derived. Lindsay Ruchti found instant gratification in activating the buzzer, identifying any number of deciduous and conifer trees and the wood products that come from them. She delighted in “helping” her grandmother, Michelle

Kenyon Creek Guide Service is now booking 2016 bear hunts. We have openings in Zones A, D & C. For more info please call 715-271-9403. p-07

Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters, Sheboygan WI area’s all-time leader in guided fishing trips. Great rates! Call now at 920-918-2628 or p  -18



Same ad run consecutively - repeated.

F req u en cy D i sco u n t : 6 T i m es - 5 % 1 3 T i m es - 1 5 % 2 6 T i m es - 2 0 %

120 ac. Tremplo. Co. w/a creek, 35 tillable, near Arcadia. Land & Home Realty 608-323-2117 or dan@ $3,650./acre.p-06



ADD A PHOTO TO YOUR AD FOR $15. DETAILS BELOW. ONLY THE ADS PLACED ONLINE WILL APPEAR ONLINE. Beautiful country secluded home set between 5 valleys brings absolute “Serenity”. Property consists of 120 acres with 14 being tillable and remaining fully wooded. Located in the driftless region offering excellent hunting opportunities not limited to trophy whitetails. Land features rock outcroppings, wildlife pond, food plots, trail system throughout and a rolling breathtaking terrain. Contact Aaron at Weiss Realty LLC 608 289-7202 or aaron@weisschoice.comp-05

BAIT & TACKLE Free waxworms & mealworms, raise thousands with our breeder kits $24.95 & wholesale, bulk waxworms 250 low as p-24 $3.75. 218-659-4202 or Bear bait, visit our website, large selection in shop from pouches to barrels to totes. items added weekly to our shop. Be sure to watch for p-05 promotional sales. 920-419-1238.

LAND LEASES Wanted! Looking for land to lease for hunting for 2 QDM hunters. Prefer within 3 hours of Milwaukee. p-16 Will pay cash. 414-897-6592 Jim.

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marks due to their length. A large mark that appears well above a bait, at any depth, tends to be a pike in most Midwestern waters. In shallower water, say less than 10 feet, they can come in so fast that you barely have time to react to any strike. Expect them to do the unexpected and have your drag set! Walleyes are an easy one, often showing up connected to bottom. It appears as if it just got ever so slightly shallower. Said Roach, a particularly astute walleye angler: “Eventually, that mark separates from bottom to come up to your jig, and either hits, or not.” The retreat and reappear here are key to species identification, as walleyes typically move up and down a few times before committing and hitting – unless they’re very aggressive. Dropping the bait to the bottom, playing keep-away, and generally being a bit more aggressive with your jigging stroke can be effective.

FOR RENT/LEASE Gun dog training. Portage WI 608-742-8048 Labrador ret & springer spaniel puppies p-25 www.Bird Crazy Gun

STUD SERVICE Labrador stud service from MH QAA and QA2 with all health certs. They produce yellow, chocolate, and black puppies. We offer boarding for $10 per day for approved females. 651-3281950 p-14


AKC chesapeake bay retriever pups for sale. Registered, vet checked, current vacs and wormed. Ready to go. 218-689-3939 or magnumroad@gvtel.comp-04 Reg. walker coyote hound. 2 yrs 4 mo old. Runs good. Tri colored. Call 608-921-1791 for details. 35 mi. south of Madison, WI. $450. I have to many dogs.  p-04



Remote Canada cabin for sale. We have owned the same deeded property in Ontario for nearly 30 years, although it was expanded and improved about 12 years ago. The gated-access property is one of twelve similar properties and is located on Granite Bay of Sturgeon Lake, approximately one hour north of Ignace, Ontario. The property consists of one three-bedroom cottage of about 1,216 square feet with a “wall of windows” overlooking the lake, one double garage 24’x32’, a storage shed 12’x16’, and a dock. Electricity is supplied by an included generator. Hot water is supplied via an LP gas hot water heater. LP gas also operates the LP gas refrigerator and full-sized gas range. Toilet facilities consist of an outhouse and a compost toilet inside the cabin’s bathroom/shower room. Basically, this is a turn-key property and includes most of the personal property. Suitable for an outdoors family or a group of guys. $275,000. (US) firm. Interested parties please call 651-503-7015. p-04

Ringneck pheasants, chukar partridge. Delivery available on large orders. Outback Pheasant farm, Waupun 920-324-5781.p-08

Cottage for rent Cisco chain of lakes Thousand Island lake. Two bedroom sleeps up to eight. Westerly view, fire pit, grill, pier and boat. Running water, elec, heat and satellite TV. Contact the Arrows Resort for dates and p-05 rates. 906-358-4390.

TREES Trees for sale, taking orders for 2016 now! Large hardy Russian apple, honey crisp on std. root, cranberry, crabs, hazelnut, dogwoods, poplar, plum, fast producing swamp white oak, huge spruce and pine transplants. Walnut, butternut, maple, oak, and more, much more! Paint Creek Nursery, Cadott, WI. follow us on Facebook, see instructional videos on You Tube. Ph. 715-723-2072 p-08

FOR SALE For sale. 2009 Ranger fisherman 619vs, 225 Suzki 4 stroke, 55 hrs on motor, 80 lb. thrust trolling motor, many extras. Asking $34,000. 715-479-3528.p-07 º




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Page 46


February 19, 2016

By Glen Schmitt Staff Writer


ith the advent of the underwater camera in the early 1990s, anglers were given the first real-time picture of what was going on beneath them. Not a blip on a screen or mark on a flasher, but an actual moving picture relayed back to their eyeballs of what the fish were doing in their environment. While the initial underwater cameras provided a new scouting tool and the ability to understand fish better, technology at the time was obviously nowhere as good as it is today. In short, they provided a picture, but nothing like the modern versions of the underwater viewing systems we have today. Now it’s all about high-definition color and pocket-sized screens, video images delivered to your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi technology, and downloadable apps that allow you to sit over one hole and watch what’s going on below another or the ability to network more than one camera to a single, hand-held device. But no matter how the underwater viewing pictures have improved or the type of system one has at his disposal, a common factor throughout the years is that underwater cameras are a valuable asset to catching more fish, especially during the ice-fishing season. You can have the best maps, locators, and GPS – and all three do offer valuable insight when looking for fish or areas that hold them – but the best scouting tool you’ll take on the ice is an underwater viewing system. Even if you know where you plan on fishing and you know there are probably going to be pods of fish on the spot, there’s usually something a bit different on a piece of structure that’s going to hold more fish. We’ve all sat next to the guy who seemed to have that magic hole and nobody could figure out why he was putting fish on the ice while you’re just a few feet away.

By using an underwater viewing system, you’ll likely find that he’s over greener weeds, a pocket within them, or some type of rock-to-mud or mud-to-sand transition. It could be a brush pile or nothing more than a tree branch, but you’ll be able to physically see what’s holding the fish. As a scouting tool, you can then take your underwater camera and look for places similar to it within the same area. During the process, you’ll eliminate a lot of the guesswork, figure out what depth these fish are at, and why they seem to be holding there. Everyone has heard the phrase, “Let the fish dictate what they want and how they want it.” Well, there’s no quicker way to figure this out than with a camera. Nothing provides a more detailed picture of how fish react to your presentation or jigging motion and the level of interest and feeding activity than an underwater camera. By viewing a pod of fish on your screen, you gain instant knowledge

of their behavior and what’s going to trip their trigger. We’ve all had days when we’ve missed more fish than we caught. Those light biters often eat and spit a bait before you know what happened or even know they were there. With the ability to watch them on a camera, you’ll be amazed how many more fish you’ll catch. You’ll also be amazed at how many you never knew bit since you couldn’t feel them. There’s also a fun factor to fishing through the ice with a camera. Again, the picture they provide is as clear as watching it on television (which also can be done with cameras now), and the knowledge you’ll learn in the process will take you to new heights as an ice fisherman.



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COYOTE (From Page 21)

especially later in the season, the traditional dying rabbit blues is one the local survivors might be leery of, although I prefer a split-reed mouth call’s versatility. The sounds I use most with my e-call are the various coyote howls. I can still see the bristled ruff on a big male that came slinking in through some thick aspen to a challenge howl last winter. I’d like to think he’d have been on the stretcher, too, if he’d have been on my left side instead of my right as I sat


against a big oak. When I’m calling in the woods now, I’ll stand behind the biggest tree around to give me some cover if I have to adjust before taking a shot. When seated, your range of motion is limited, and in woods, coyotes come in hard and fast. Rifles and optics, including rangefinders, have changed over the years, too. The black gun semi-automatic is growing in popularity, but the bolt-action .223 I’ve shot for years – the one wrapped with the athletic tape for winter use – is good enough for me. Besides a rangefinder, one upgrade I have is a top-end scope with reticles at different ranges. This one offers an online

computer program telling me instantaneously where the bullet and caliber will hit out to 500 yards by entering the zero you want and the target’s distance. Mine is zeroed at 150 yards, which means a half-inch high at 100 yards. The ballistic table is taped to the rifle’s stock for quick reference. A couple weeks ago, it came in handy on Lake Superior’s ice. I’d left my e-call in the truck. I don’t need the weight when negotiating the rugged Lake Superior shoreline. I hoped it was a remote enough location where my mouth call’s tune wouldn’t be familiar to the coyotes that left fresh tracks littering the shoreline. I worked down the coast, following the tracks while glassing ahead of me. Seeing nothing, but with good visibility, I curled up on a 10-foot pressure ridge of ice and put the call to work. After maybe two dozen calling sites without action, the

adrenaline rush I felt when I saw the dark form weaving through the jumbles of ice was electric. I knew from past experience he’d likely hang up a few hundred yards away, curious, but cautious, so I dug out my rangefinder and dialed in a dark mound of dirt-stained ice. The digital readout said 245 yards. A quick check on the numbers taped to my stock told me a topof-the-back-hold should work in the windless conditions. Five minutes later what I’d visualized became reality when he stopped and turned broadside near the piece of dark ice. With my rifle settled in my shooting sticks and the crosshairs on the top of his back, I stroked the trigger on what turned out to be a 45-pound male. Eagles, ravens, and the host of other critters responding to predator calls are entertaining, but let’s be honest. It lacks the sense of accomplishment you

February 19, 2016

feel when a coyote comes to the dinner bell in our outdoor Wisconsin. That was the exception, though. Other than a few days a couple weeks ago, our winter in the northwest corner of the state has been an easy one. This is good news for the recovering deer herd, but not what a coyote hunter wants to see. Deep snow and low temperatures, combined with the mating season, makes knowing where to find them a lot easier. Why? Because then I know where they aren’t. In an open winter, their travel isn’t restricted and they can be found most anywhere. I’d been hunting hard since Christmas, had made maybe 25 calling stands, but hadn’t seen a coyote to that point. Then, in the middle of January, things picked up. Let’s hope it stays that way for a little while.


Marilyn Kusniesz retrieved this photo from her trail camera in Oconto County on Oct. 9. The sow is smelling a drip line and holding the cub’s paw.

Trail Camera Photos

Wisconsin Outdoor News, 9850 51st Avenue North, Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442 3271. Have a unique trail camera image? Send it in to Wisconsin Outdoor News and we may publish it. Add when and where the photo was taken, along with any additional information on your shot. Send a self addressed envelope along with your image if you would like the image returned. If you prefer to send images electronically, email to dana@

OUTDOOR WISCONSIN is produced by WMVS-TV. It airs on public and cable stations in Wisconsin and other states. In Wisconsin, OUTDOOR WISCONSIN airs on Thu. night, with a repeat broadcast on Sat. on WMVS. Check listings for other times.

Gary J. Muench submitted this photo of his uncles and grandfather from 1952. Pictured from left to right are Bill Mundt, Frank Muench Sr., Frank Muench Jr., and Al Muench. The deer were shot west of Antigo.

Remembering Photos

Wisconsin Outdoor News, 9850 51st Avenue North, Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442 3271. Have a hunting or fishing photo from before 1960? Identify everyone in the photo if possible and the year the photo was taken. We will return all Remembering photos after publishing. If you prefer to send them electronically, email to

CROSSWORD PUZZLE 10 Camera lens 12 Tracks, for example 15 Short time segment, abbr. 17 Marsh heron 18 Listening device 19 Young bird 20 More than drizzles 23 Animal doc 24 Field 25 Vote

Milwaukee, WMVS Ch 10 9:00 pm Thu./9:00 am Sat. Green Bay, WPNE Ch 38 Check local listings La Crosse, WHLA Ch 31 “ “ Madison, WHA Ch 21 “ “ Menomonie, WHWC, Ch 28 “ “ Park Falls, WLEF Ch 36 “ “ Wausau, WHRM Ch 20 “ “ Duluth, WDSE Ch 8 “ “ Minneapolis, KCTA Ch 2 “ “ Chicago, WYIN “ “ Springfield, IL , WEIU “ “ Feb 18: Dan Small talks with State Representative Mary Czaja about why she authored legislation legalizing crossbow use for all hunters. Jeff Kelm joins Wisconsin Trailblazers for the Willow Springs Round Barn dry-land dogsled races. We also visit Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about summer intern projects. Feb 25: Dan Small shoots a 3-D crossbow course with Wisconsin Crossbow Federation president Chris Dymale. John McGivern reports from the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. A Nature Conservancy team conducts a prescribed burn on a prairie in Walworth County. Listen to “Outdoors Radio” with Dan Small keyword: radio

STATION COVERAGE WISN 1130 AM (Milwaukee) – 6 a.m. Sat. ESPN/WTLX 100.5 FM (Madison) – 6 a.m. Sat. WKTY 580 AM (La Crosse) – 7 a.m. Sat. WLIP 1050 AM (Kenosha) – 7 a.m. Sat. WFDL 1170 AM (Waupun/Fond du Lac) – 12 p.m. Sat. WHBL 1330 AM (Sheboygan) – 12 p.m. Sat.

WDTX 100.5 FM (Wausau) – 6 a.m. Sun. WVRQ 1360 AM (Viroqua) – 9 a.m. Sat. WERL 950 AM (Eagle River) – 9 a.m. Sat. WRJC 92.9 FM and 1270 AM (Mauston) – 7 a.m. Sat. WBIZ 1400 AM (Eau Claire, WI) – 7 a.m. Sat. WMEQ 880 AM (Menomonie, WI) – 7 a.m. Sat.

Across 1 Species of panfish 4 Turkey sounds

7 ___ tough spot (2 words) 8 Expanse of water 9 Moves fast, as a current

Down 1 Slang term for a smallmouth bass 2 December 24, for example 3 Weasel-like animal 4 Black vulture (2 words) 5 Permit 6 Pageant contestant’s wear 11 Silhouette 13 It has waves and currents 14 Ate like a bird 16 Tops of ridges 21 Creeper 22 Intro to name before married See Answers on Page 49

February 19, 2016

Pups (From Page 41)

love to do more than retrieve dummies in the neighborhood pond all summer. In my opinion, introducing a dog to a new type of hunting or new types of training is always a good thing, provided the introduction is conducted properly and the training is slow, steady, and loaded with encouragement. In fact, I’ve been running some serious shed antler refresher courses with Luna lately now that the bird-hunting season is over. She’s into antlers big time, because retrieving anything is what takes her to a happy place. I’ve been training her for antlers since I picked her up when she was 8 weeks old, so this comes as no surprise to me, but now I’m also kicking around the idea of this dock-diving activity. I can’t imagine it will help with any hunting a whole lot because she loves water so much as it is, but the obedience necessary won’t hurt anything. And I have to believe that the girls would think it was pretty cool to handle a dock jumper. After all, they love nothing more than telling Luna what to do and then praising her for even getting in the ballpark of the many, many directives they issue to her. A black Lab streaking across a dock and then transitioning to a stretched-out leap is pretty fun to watch, and Luna is already somewhat on her way. She jumps off any dock I ask her to, although by my estimation, she is probably about 18 feet short of

MAG TACK SYSTEM FROM ICE RIGS – MAGNETIC, VERTICAL TACKLE STORAGE SYSTEM The new Mag Tack Lure Board consists of double sided, extremely powerful rare earth magnets that organize up to 54 lures putting them at your fingertips for quick, tangle free selection and is vertical and visual allowing fishermen to instantly spot their desired lure. The Complete Mag Tack System comes with a custom frame that can be easily attached to any hard-sided fish house wall. This allows fishermen to view lures at all times during fishing, making it simple to locate a desired lure. No more digging through boxes of cluttered and tangled tackle looking for that spoon or jig that you know the fish desire. The Mag Tack System also comes with a Plano plastic carrying case. This makes it portable allowing fishermen to grab and go on those run and gun outings, or when heading out in a portable house. It is recommended that the Mag Tack Lure Sheet be stored in the carrying case during travel or transit. How does it work? By attaching the shank of each lure hook to an individual powerful rare earth magnet. The Mag Tack System controls the hook of each lure placed on it, keeping them from becoming tangled with other lures. The Mag Tack Lure Board holds 27 lures on each side. That equals 54 lures total! For more information visit

Outdoor Market


what most dock-dog owners would consider a good jump. If not dock-jumping, I might look into something else so I can have more fun with my dog, and as importantly, so she can have more fun with me. I am leaning hard toward the dock-jumping thing, though, because I think it might lay the groundwork for getting my girls seriously involved in something, dogwise.

If that happens, I might be able to bring home another puppy in a year or two and not suffer the wrath from my bride quite like I would right now if I were to have a moment of total weakness and pick up a new puppy. Should that happen, I’m sure I’ll try to find a few new things to teach it as well, because, after all, it will be a working dog, too.

Page 49

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• Hunting by Appointment • • Membership not Required •

Include this form with your photo.

Photos with this form attached will receive first consideration to be published. PLEASE SEND SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE.

920-382-1545 N 1602 Hwy 67 Ashippun, WI near Oconomowoc

(PLEASE PRINT ALL INFO.) People in photo (L to R):________________________________

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Address:__________________________________________ City/State/Zip:________________________________________________ Phone:___________________________________________ Was fish


No released? Date of kill/catch:_____________________________________

Type of game/fish:____________________________________ Method used:_______________________________________ (Rifle, bow, spinner bait etc.)

Where was it taken:___________________________________ (Name of the lake, river, or city near the hunt)

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_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ PLEASE DO NOT PUT SUBSCRIPTION FORMS IN WITH YOUR PHOTOS.

Photo composition is the most important aspect of a good shot. No beer cans or cigarettes/cigars in photos. Do not hold fish by eyes or gills. Stringer shots and hanging deer shots are not accepted. Shirtless subjects not accepted. Outdoor News receives large numbers of photos and will attempt to publish* every photo, but it may take a while. This form is for general reader photos. Specific photo contests will have their own form. Send to: 125 Kettle Moraine Dr. S, Slinger, WI 53086-9702.





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Gear & Gadgets

TIP-UP MATE TURNS ANY TIP-UP INTO A HEATED TIP-UP The Tip-up Mate from Productive Alternatives helps keep ice fishing holes from freezing. Using standard, easy-to-find hand warmers as its heat source, the Tip-up Mate works with all tip-up styles on holes up to 10-inches in diameter. It’s made of durable material that will not be breaking, even in the coldest temperatures. It is sized to allow multiple Tip-up Mates to fit into a standard pail for easy carying. The Tip-up Mate does not interfere with the operation of your favorite tip-up setup or make the retrieval of a fish any more difficult. It comes with complete easy to follow instructions. A tip-up is not included — you simply use it with your favorite tip-up. The Tip-up Mate and all other products made by Productive Alternatives can be found in most of your favoriet retail sporting goods stores. For more information call 1-800-4777246 or go to

THE NEWEST IN GLOVES AND MITTS FROM ICEARMOR BY CLAM Keeping hands warm is one of the most important parts of enjoying winter comfortably, and Clam is the leader in providing a wide assortment of mitts and gloves in the IceArmor line. Several new products join the family this year: Dry Skinz Gloves, Edge Mitts, Extreme Mitts, Ultra Gloves and Ultra Mitts. Each have their own story to tell about what makes them the right fit at the right time and place, but all will help anglers battle the toughest elements Mother Nature has to offer. Dry Skinz Gloves are a seamless, waterproof glove that boasts superb dexterity exlusive to Clam. Constructed with a waterproof, breathable Dexshell membrane, these gloves offer a snug fit with an extra long cuff for complete protection and performance. Perfect for many different outdoor activities, not limited to fishing of course, folks will love how warm and dry the Dry Skinz Gloves perform. The thermal performance inner lining is 90% acrylic and 10% nylon. The outer layer is 88% nylon with 2% spandex and 10% elastic for a stay-inplace fit. Waterproof and highly breathable, the Dry Skinz Gloves come in medium to 2XL sizes. For more information on Clam Outdoors and all their outdoor clothing and accessories go to

THE BASS BOAT RE-IMAGINED Lund recently unveiled a radical new 1875 Pro-V Bass boat – a progressive boat blueprint that sets out to redefine the concept of the modern day bass and musky fishing vessel. Designed and destined to tame waves from Lake Erie all the way to Florida’s Okeechobee, the Pro-V Bass reflects far-reaching research, development and pro-angler input. Infused with exceptional engineering, the original Pro-V Bass is built on Lund’s benchmark IPS2 aluminum hull. This superior framework features a flat center pad, multiple lift strakes and two reverse chines. The result is lightning quick hole-shot and a fast, stable, drier ride. Rated for up to a 200-HP outboard, the 1875 Pro-V Bass is quick to plane and has impressive top end speed. With a lighter load, the 200-HP Optimax easily hit speeds in excess of 60-mph, yet travels over rough seas with a remarkably soft ride. This boat comes in two distinct seating configurations — the classic bench-seating or the multi-species pedestal seating version — giving anglers versatile fishing platforms, based on personal preference. Each boat has an in-deck 3-tier center rod locker, with individual tubes for five 9-foot rods, five rods up to 8’ 8” and five more to 8’ 4”. A built-in bump stick mount lies just to the left of the rod locker for taking snap measurements. Meanwhile, on the deck, four stowing rubberized rod tie-downs keep critical combos within easy reach. For more information, visit

EAGLE CLAW FEATURES NEW ICE ROD CASE This ice season anglers can carry their rods and gear safely and securely to and onto the ice with the Eagle Claw Ice Rod Case. Designed with strength in mind, the hard outer casing is made of strong polypropylene and has durable double-hinge latches at four locking points. The inside of the case is lined with thick adjustable foam padding so anglers can feel confident knowing their gear will arrive in one piece, making this the perfect case for car travel, hand-held transportation, or strapping to the back of a snowmobile or ATV. This case can hold six ice rods and combos up to 42’’ in length and leaves extra room for gear and tackle. Eagle Claw Ice Rod Case Features: • Adjustable foam padding • Hard outer polypropylene casing • Durable double-hinge latches • Four locking points • Holds up to six rods and combos with extra space • Rods can be up to 42’’ in length • 43’’ x 12’’ x 7’’ This and other 2015 Eagle Claw ice products are available in your favorite sporting goods store. For more information about Eagle Claw visit, find us on Facebook, or call 720-941-8700.

­­­­­­Page 50

Outdoor Calendar



Ozaukee County Pavilion, Cedarburg. For more info call Pat Hoffman, 262-353-1884.

Feb. 20: Southwest Wisconsin WTU Banquet, 4:30 p.m., All-Star Lanes Banquet Hall, La Crosse. For more info call Jim Wiltinger, 608-689-2234.

March 12: Wisc. Cons & Education Foundation Banquet, 4:30 p.m., VFW Post 7591, Madison. For more info call Joyce Ryder, 715-409-0215.

Feb. 20: Wisconsin Southeast WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Parkway Chateau, Kenosha. For more info call 800-274-5471.

March 12: Black Earth Creek NWTF Banquet, 2:30 p.m., Arthur’s Spring Green. For more info call Lindsey Jenson, 608-279-2022.

Feb. 20: Clark County WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., American Legion Hall, Loyal. For more info call Larry Quelle, 715-255-8235.

March 12: Walworth County Friends of the NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Evergreen Golf Club, Elkhorn. For more info call Norm, 262-581-6999.

Feb. 20: River Valley NWTF Banquet, Dino’s Restaurant, Portage. For more info call James Farrington, 920-235-8503.

March 13: Richford Game Club Banquet, Richford Town Hall. For more info call John Pica, 920-7874455.

Feb. 20: St. Anna & Outdoors Sportsmen’s Clubs Banquets, 5 p.m., Millhome Supper Club, Kiel. For more info call James Ausloos, 920-374-1460.

March 14: New Berlin NWTF Banquet, 5 p.m., Clarion Hotel, Milwaukee. For more info call Dave Moyle, 414-541-1473.

Feb. 20: Upland PF Banquet, 5 p.m., Marathon Trap Club. For more info call David Drozed, 715574-4889.

March 16: Oregon/NW Rock County WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., 5100, McFarland. For more info call Kevin Rauscher, 608-312-9509.

Feb. 20: Jackson County DU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Castle Hill Supper Club, Merrillan. For more info call Judy Hunter, 715-284-4075. Feb. 23: Waunakee WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Rex’s Innkeeper, Waunakee. For more info call Rex Endres, 608-849-5011. Feb. 23: Wis. River Flyway DU Banquet, Springville Sports Bar & Banquet Hall. For more info call Bob Baker, 715-344-2989.

March 17: Rhinelander WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Taj Bar & Grill Northwoods Banquet Center. For more info call Gary Freund, 715-493-5500.

Feb. 23: Beaver Dam Wings Over Wisconsin Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Bayside Supper Club, Beaver Dam. For more info call Dawn Weber, 920-296-6479. Feb. 23: Lincoln County Sports Club Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Lincoln Lanes. For more info call Bill Bialecki, 715-536-5810. Feb. 25: Sauk County PF Banquet, 6 p.m., Glacier Canyon Lodge, Wilderness Res. For more info call Becky Benson, 608-963-3341. Feb. 25: Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fisherman’s Club, Banquet, 5 p.m., Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill. For more info call Bernie Erickson, 920810-0271.

March 17: Sheboygan County Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Range Line Inn. For more info call Jim, 920-946-2209. March 18: West Central WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Dunn County Fish & Game Club, Menomonie. For more info call Kellen Cassellius, 715-664-8826. March 19: Melrose, North Bend WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., American Legion Post 439, Melrose. For more info call Carl Sommerstad, 608-790-7077. March 19: Black Creek, Seymour WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Romy’s Nitengale, Black Creek. For more info call Gary Vanden Heuvel, 920-739-9007. March 19: Ozaukee, Washington County PF Banquet, 5 p.m., Ozaukee Pavillion, Fairgrounds, Cedarburg. For more info call Paul, 414-477-1223. March 19: Puchyan NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Royal Ridges, Ripon. For more info call Dennis Miller, 920-748-3826.

Feb. 26: Coulee Region TU Banquet, 6 p.m., Cedar Creek, Onalaska. For more info call Bob Hubbard, 608-792-3556.

March 19: Winnebago NWTF Banquet, 3:30 p.m., Waverly Beach. For more info call Chris Jeszke, 920-205-4979.

Feb. 26: Brillion Boss NWTF Banquet, Triple J Wing & Clay. For more info call Carren Ott, 920-371-2087.

March 19: Monroe County NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Sparta American Legion. For more info call Darren Schauf, 608-633-3652.

Feb. 26: Red Cedar PF Banquet, 5 p.m., Vision Quest Banquet Center. For more info call Mike Lauer, 715-505-5560. Feb. 27: Rock County Cancer Coalition, Pheasant Hunt & Banquet, noon. For more info call Bruce Thoms, 608-290-8614. Feb. 27: Namekagon River Valley Banquet, 4:30 p.m., The Steakhouse, Hayward. For more info call Chris Rugowski, 715-634-1742. Feb. 27: Grelton Conservation Club Banquet, 5 p.m., St. Gabriel Church Hall, Lake Mills. For more info call Dale Sjoberg, 920-253-6821. Feb. 27: North Central Outdoors Wildlife Banquet, Centennial Hall, Stetsonville. For more info call Jerry Hubbard, 715-965-3046. Feb. 29: Barneveld Area WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., American Legion Hall, Barneveld. For more info call Tracey Alvey, 608-712-3757.

March 19: Manitowoc Walleyes for Tomorrow Banquet, 5 p.m., City Limits. For more info call Jeff Hansen, 920-682-1713. March 19: Metro Area WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Heights Hall & Club. For more info call Lindell Blanchette, 651-774-4590.

March 24: Cedar Bottom Branch QDMA Banquet, 6 p.m. For more info call Brian Holz, 920-585-0078. March 24: New Berlin WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Aud-Mar Banquets on the Bay, Muskego. For more info call Jamie Merckx, 920-284-6548.

March 1: Denmark Area WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Beverly Gardens, Denmark. For more info call James Grasee, 920-863-5539.

March 31: Reedsburg WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells. For more info call Dan Hess, 608-254-6155.

March 3: North Central Wisconsin WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Rib River Ballroom, Marathon. For more info call Jim Richardson,715-536-4912.

March 31: Indianhead Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., The Plaza Hotel. For more info call Bud, 715832-2665.

March 5: Poy Sippi WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., HahnA-Lula, Fremont. For more info call Dave Chase, 920-295-2605. March 5: Flambeau, Phillips WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., The Lanes Bar & Eatery, Park Falls. For more info call Dianna Schultz, 715-762-4413. March 5: Chequamegon Bay Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., AmericInn-Splashland. For more info call Brian, 715-682-3838. March 5: Fox Cities WOW Banquet, 6 p.m., The Darboy Club. For more info call Matt Spielbauer, 920-7866-5082. March 8: South Wayne WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Lelle’s Bar, Woodford. For more info call Bev Lelle, 608-465-3300. March 8: Lake Country NWTF Banquet, 5 p.m. For more info call Joe Dudley, 262-567-3074. March 8: Waukesha, Oconomowoc DU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Golden Mast, Okauchee. For more info call Jake Tetzlaff, 262-719-1840. March 9: Fox River Valley Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Darboy Club. For more info call Sandy, 920419-3894. March 10: Howard-Suamico Optimist WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Comfort Suites Hotel, Rock Garden, Green Bay. For more info call Chris Nielsen, 920-471-8303. March 10: Bay Area Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Riverside Ballroom, Green Bay. For more info call John, 920-434-7921. March 10: Southwestern Wisconsin QDM Banquet, 5 p.m., Belmont Convention Center. For more info call Joe Brunker, 608-967-2432.

Special Events

Feb. 20: Northwoods Wildlife Center, Photo Contest, Campanile Center for Arts, Minocqua. for more info. Feb. 27: Central Wisconsin Sportsmen’s Club, Outdoor Swap Meet, 8-3 p.m., at the Club. For more info call 715-384-3658. Feb. 28: Southwestern WI QDM, seed sale & educational event, 10 a.m., Deer Valley Lodge, Barneveld. For more info call Joe Brunker, 608967-2432. March 2: Fontana Sports Specialties & Barrymore Theater, Fly Fishing Film Tour, 7 p.m., Barrymore Theater, Madison. For more info call Craig Amacker, 608-833-9191. March 11-12: WWHC Steering Committee, Wisconsin Waterfowl Conference, noon, Plaza Hotel, Wausau. For more info call Jon Bergquist, 715-268-5584. March 12: Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Al Kretschmer Charity Auction, 9 a.m., New Berlin Ale House. For more info call Bob Wincek, 262-679-9752. March 12: Adell Sportsmen Club, Rummage Sale, 9-3 p.m., Adell Fire Hall. For more info call 262626-8837.

Season Dates

Feb. 28: Lake Winnebago and upriver lakes sturgeon spearing season closes. Feb. 29: Cottontail rabbit season closes. March 1: Bass season closes upstream of the St. Croix Falls dam (C&R) and downstream (Prescott) March 1: Lake trout season opens on Lake Michigan and Green Bay tributaries. March 2: Leftover spring turkey permits will go on sale mid-March. Watch the DNR website for sale dates and times. March 6: General inland game fish seasons close. March 6: Green Bay game fish season closes on tributaries and ditches. March 6: Muskrat and mink seasons close (statewide)

March 12: Great Northern WTU Banquet, 4:30 p.m., UW Superior, Yellowjacked Union, Superior. For more info call 800-274-5471.

March 15: Beaver trapping Zone D closes.

March 12: Buck Trail Archers WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., at the Club, Burlington. For more info call Tracy Brewer, 262-960-6127.

March 20: Crow season closes.

March 12: God’s Country Chapter of Muskies, Inc Banquet, American Legion Post #52, La Crosse. For more info call Mike Weidemann, 608-792-7722. March 12: Walworth County Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m., Evergreen Golf Club. For more info call Norm, 262-581-6999. March 12: North Shore NWTF Banquet, 4:30 p.m.,

July 30-31: Tripple Crown, 1st Leg Archery Shoot. Aug. 13-14: Traditional Archery Shoot. * * * Buck Trail Archers 2016 schedule of shoots. For more info call Jon Gursky, 262-424-4352 or Now-March 10: Kids Instructional League, 7-8:15 p.m. April 9-10: Paw Thaw Shoot, 8-3 p.m. April 30-May 1: Spring Warm Up Shoot.

Aug. 27-28: Mr. Howie Memorial Shoot, 8-3 p.m.

March 29: Great Northwest WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Hackers Lanes & Banquet Hall, Frederic. For more info call Janice Lind, 715-349-5384.

March 4-5: SCI Wisconsin Chapter Banquet, 3:30 p.m., Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva. For more info call Janean Gehl, 262-437-0097.

Rib Mountain Bowmen, 2016 Shoot Schedule. For more info call Doug Curler, 715-623-2253.

March 24: Merrill Area WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Lincoln Lanes, Merrill. For more info call Dianna Schultz, 715-762-4413.

Feb. 29: Madison DU Banquet, 5 p.m., Marriott Inn, Middleton. For more info call Brian Hooten, 608843-2453.

March 3: Wisconsin Rapids DU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Wildhorse Saloon, Wisconsin Rapids. For more info call Bill Jungwirth, 715-422-1944.

reg. 8-3 p.m. For more info call Matt Hanneman, 715-572-7475. April 23-24: Viking Bow & Gun Club, Hunter’s Clay Shoot, 10-4 p.m. For more info call Lee Evenson, 920-775-4517. June 16-19: MRC Sportsman’s Club, MEC Great Northern Side-by-Side Classic, 8 a.m., Medford, WI. For more info call Gary Kapfhamer, 715-965-7613. * * *

May 14-15: Lakeshore Bowmen’s League, Shoot, 8-3 p.m.

Feb. 29: Wolf River NWTF Banquet, 4 p.m., Crystal Falls, New London. For more info call Steve Jordan, 920-427-4039.

March 3: Portage County Friends of NRA Banquet, 5 p.m.,The Sky Club. For more info call Scott, 715343-9711.

Wisconsin Outdoor News

Subscription Services, Attn: Calendar  9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271 Fax: 763-546-5913 or check website:

March 21: DeForest Chapter DU Banquet, 5 p.m., Windsor Country Club. For more info call Tom Kruger, 608-635-5042.

March 26: De Forest WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., comfort Inn & Suites, De Forest. For more info call Brian Britten, 608-846-2809.

March 3: Northern Kettle Moraine WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., The Columbian, West Bend. For more info call Norb Yogerst, 262-677-2379.

Wisconsin Outdoor News would like to list your upcoming banquet or event in our Outdoor Calendar. We need the date, time, place, organization name, how many people will be attending, a phone number where the public can call for more information and your name and address. Wisconsin Outdoor News will contribute newspapers for distribution at your banquet and free subscriptions to give as door prizes. Please mail the information at least four weeks prior to your event to:

March 15: Green Bay yellow perch season closes. March 26: Trout season opens on designated sections of some Lake Superior tributaries see DNR regs. March 31: Otter (Central and Southern Zones) and beaver (Zone C) season closes.


March 12-13: Antler Archers, Archery Shoot,

June 4-5: Traditional Shoot.

* * * Racine Instinctive Bowmen, 2016 Archery Shoots. 14403 50th Road, Sturtevant, WI. For more info call Dave Larsen, 262-835-4975. Feb. 6-7, March 5-6, 2016: Indoor 3D Archery Shoot. * * * Twin City Rod & Gun Club. 2016 Shoot Schedule. For more info call Don Burrows, 920419-6505. April 9: Archery 3D Deck Shoot, 9-3 p.m., Archery Course. May 14-15, June 18-19: 3D Shoot, 8-3 p.m., Archery Course. July 16-17, Aug. 20-21: 3D & Pop-Up Shoot, 8-3 p.m., Archery Course. * * * Deer Creek Sport & Conservation Club, 8475 Miller Road, Veron, WI. 2011 Schedule of events. For more info call Ray Gilden, 608-516-6948. Feb. 21: Mid Winter 50 Sporting Clays, 9-3 p.m. March 12: Wild Game Feed & Sporting Clays, noon-7 p.m.


Feb. 20-21, 27-28: Explorer’s Guide Maritime Academy, Boating Captain’s Class, 8-5 p.m., Sheboygan Yacht Club. For more info call Captain Don Doggett, 920-733-5500. Feb. 20: WI DNR Turkey Hunter Ed. Clinic, noon, Gander Mountain, Waukesha. For more info call Mike Ripp, 414-380-0390. Now-March 8: Freedom Hunter Safety Class, 6-9 p.m., Freedom High School. For more info call Jeff Smudde, 920-850-9883. Feb. 25-28, March 3-6, 2016: Explorer’s Guide Maritime Academy 6-Pack Captains License Class. For more info call Brenda Kulibert, 920733-5500. Feb. 27: WI DNR Turkey Hunter Ed. Clinic, noon, Gander Mountain, Sheboygan. For more info call Mike Ripp, 414-380-0390. March 1, 15, 17, 19: Randolph Hunter Ed, 6 p.m., Randolph High School. For more info call Roger Weinberger, 920-210-3252. March 5: WI DNR Turkey Hunter Ed. Clinic, noon So. Kettle Moraine St. Forest HQ, Eagle. For more info call Mike Ripp, 414-380-0390. March 12: WI DNR Turkey Hunter Ed Clinic, noon, Gander Mountain Kenosha. For more info call Mike Ripp, 414-380-0390. March 20: Black Earth Creek NWTF Learn to Hunt, 1st Time Turkey Hunters, 8-noon, Wisconsin River Sportsmen’s Club. For more info call Lindsey Jenson, 608-279-2022. March 26: WI DNR Turkey Hunter Ed. Clinic, noon, Public Agency Center, West Bend. For more info call Mike Ripp, 414-380-0390. *** Gander Mountain , Green Bay Lodge, 2323 Woodman Drive. For more info call Dave Nolan, 920-819-5025. Second Tues. of Each Month: Waterfowl Calling Workshop, 7-8 p.m.


Feb. 20: St. Clare Ice Fishing Jamboree, 6-4 p.m., Sportsman’s Landing, Wind Lake. For more info call Maureen Hutkowski, 262-8952729. Feb. 21: Richardson Sportsman’s Club, Ice Fishing Contest, Lake Magnor, Clayton. For more info call Sherri Munkelwitz, 715-268-3312.


Feb. 27: Finnegan Lake Walleye Club, Fishing Derby, 9-4 p.m., Zippel Park, Gillett. For more info call William Cole, 920-373-5032. Now-Feb. 21: Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic, Duluth Entertainment Convention

Center, For more info call Chris Navratil, 952431-9630. Now-Feb. 21: Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. For more info call Chris Navratil, 952-431-9630. Feb. 26-28: Wisconsin Fishing Expo, Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. 9-7 p.m., Sun. 9-4 p.m., Alliant Energy Center Expo Hall, Madison. Stop by the Outdoor News Booth. For more info www.wifishingexpo. com Feb. 26-28: Wisconsin State Hunting Expo, Fri. 3-9 p.m., Sat. 9-7 p.m., Sun. 10-4 p.m., Shopko Hall, Green Bay. Stop by the Outdoor News Booth. For info Feb. 26-28: Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show, Warner Coliseum, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Fri. 2-9 p.m., Sat. 9-7 p.m., Sun. 9-5 p.m. www. for more info. March 2-6: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show, Wisconsin State Fair Park, Milwaukee. Stop by the Outdoor News Booth. www. for more info. March 12: Izaak Walton League, Stevens Point Gun Show, Izaak Walton Lodge. For more info call 715-343-2625. March 12: Arcadia Sport Show & Antler Expo, 9 a.m., Value Implement, Arcadia. Stop by the Wisconsin Outdoor News Booth. For more info call Pat Rohn, 608-323-7063. March 18-19: Butler Harmon American Legion Gun Show, Ready Randy’s Banquet Center. For more info call Bob W., 715-607-0379. March 19-20: Blue Hills Sportsmen’s Club, Gun Show, 9-5 p.m., Cameron WI High School Gym. For more info call Greg Wilcox, 715-828-1377. March 27-29: Sport & Home Extravaganza, Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 10-6 p.m., Sun. 10-4 p.m., Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds. Stop by the Outdoor News Booth. For more info * * * Ray Kangas Productions Gun & Knife Shows 2016. For more info call Ray Kangas, 715-3724654. Feb. 19-20: Shell Lake Show, Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 9-4 p.m., Shell Lake Art Center. March 11-12: Iron River Show, Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 9-4 p.m., Iron River Community Center. *** Gun Buyer Shows. For more info call 608548-4867. March 4-5: Baraboo, Glacier Rock Convention Center. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m. March 18-19: Waupaca, The Waupaca Ale House. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m. March 25-26: Neillsville, American Legion Post 73. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m. April 29-30: Elroy, American Legion Hall. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m. May 6-7: Black River Falls, comfort Inn & Suites. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m. June 17-18: Mauston, Anjero’s Sports Bar. Fri. 3-8 p.m., Sat. 8-4 p.m.


Horicon Marsh Hunting Retriever Club. Meets Monday at Hustisford and Thurs. at Fond du Lac. For more info Mishcot Sportsmen’s Club meets every month on the 1st Wed of each month, 8 p.m. For more info call Roger, 920-323-4882. Baraboo River Chapter. Kids & Mentors Outdoors, meets 2nd Mon. of each month, 7 p.m., Rivers Edge Resort, WI Dells. For more info call Rick Miotke, 608-415-0755. River Valley Outdoorsmen meets 1st Wed. of the month, 1,000 Is. Environmental Center, 7 p.m. For more info call Bryan Menting, 920-213-1611. Ozaukee Chapter Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Club. Meets 1st Tues. of each month, Oct.-May, 7 p.m., Railroad Station, Saukville, WI. For info call 262-644-8481. Blackhawk Musky Club meets the 1st Tues. of each month, 7 p.m., My Apartment Restaurant & Lounge, Janesville. For more info call Matt McCumber, 608-755-5887. Outagamie Area Pheasants Forever meets each month to discuss chapter activities. For more info on when & where the next meeting is call Josh Jackl, 920-517-1039.. River Valley Outdoorsmen’s meets 1st Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., 1,000 Island Environmental Center. For more info call Ralph Vannulde, 920-570-3560. Fox Valley Retriever Club: Meets Tues. & Wed., 4:30 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m. For more info or Tom, 414-771-0811. Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, meets 2nd Tues. of the Month, Sept.-May, New Berlin Ale House. For more info call Bob Wincek, 262-679-9752. Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin meets the 2nd Wed. of each month, 7 p.m., 5th St. Yacht Club, Racine. A guest speaker each month. Okauchee Fishing Club meets at 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, 1800 S. 92nd St., Milwaukee, on the 1st & 3rd Tues. each month with a variety of speakers & subjects covering all aspects of fishing in Wisc. Guest fee $5. Prime Water Anglers meets the 1st Tues. of every month at Club 10, Stevens Point. Guests always welcome. Call Jeff, 715-241-8590. Winnebago Conservation Club. Meets 3rd Tues of each month, Omarro’s Public House, Oshkosh. Call Betty Brochert, 920-688-3122. Rock Valley Anglers, Southern Chapter. Meets the 3rd Wed. of every month, 7 p.m., Boundaries Bar & Grill, Birch Room. For info call, Charlotte, 608-421-2982. Lighthouse Anglers Fishing Club meets on the 2nd Tues. of every month, American Legion Memorial Clubhouse, Fond du Lac, WI, 7 p.m. Call Bill, 920-921-4337 for info. Sheboygan Walleye Club meets the 3rd Tues. of each month, Crossroads Bar & Grill, Sheboygan. For info call Chris Gasser, 920-994-9057. Abbotsford Sportsmen’s Club meets 2nd Mon. of each month, 7 p.m., Clubhouse. For more info call Rob Beran, 715-223-4363. Winnebagoland Musky Club meets the 1st Wed. of every month, American Legion Memorial Clubhouse, Fond du Lac, 7:15 p.m. Open to public. Call Dave, 920-922-6704 for more info. Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring meetings. For more info call Annmarie Kotuku 608-266-2952. Muskellunge Club of Wisconsin meets the 2nd Wed. of Jan, Feb, Mar, May, Oct, and Nov., Thunder Bay Grille, Pewaukee. For more info Kurt Ketcham, 262-490-2362. Shoto Conservation Club Meets the 2nd Tues. of each month, 7 p.m. at the Clubhouse.

February 19, 2016

For info call Tom Rysticken, 920-793-2650. Bill Cook Chapter Izaak Walton League of America. Meets the 1st Wed. of every month, 7 p.m., Bill Cook Chapter Clubhouse, Stevens Point. For more info call David Raatz, 715344-3697. Kenosha Sport Fishing & Conservation Association meets the 1st Mon. of the month, 7 p.m., Moose Lodge, Kenosha. Open to the public & new members. For info call Dave, 262-620-8237. Titletown/Packerland Muskies Inc. meet the 2nd Wed. of every month, 7 p.m., Green Bay Yacht Club. For more info call Jay Zahn, 920866-9705. Women’s Hunting & Sporting Association. Meets the 1st Tues. of every month, 7 p.m., Wern Valley, Waukesha. For more info call Sarah, 262-968-3873 or Fishermen Club meets every 3rd Tues. of month, Sept.-June, 7 p.m., Sheboygan Outboard Club. Open to the public. For more info call Lyle Peshkar, 920-452-9669. Dodge County Pheasants Forever. Meets Monthly. For more info on when & were call Jerry Tribbey, 920-344-5723. Milwaukee Chapter Great Lakes Sportfisherman Club. Meets 2nd Tues. of each month Sept.-May, 7 p.m., New Berlin Ale House. For more info call Steve Todd, 262-370-7486. Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen meets the 3rd Tues. of the month. Sept.-May, Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill, 7 p.m. Open to the public. For more info call Jim Ryle, 920-680-0055.

Commentary (From Page 3)

the DNR to enforce water-quality standards consistent with federal guidelines.” By requiring the DNR to enforce water-quality standards consistent with federal guidelines, this bill would ensure that fish farming would be regulated the same as animal agriculture in Wisconsin. We have seen how well that has worked in Kewaunee County with drinking water and across the state with algae blooms that make water bodies almost unusable, not to mention a growing dead zone in Green Bay. Is this what we want? Gudex concludes: “It is clear that the aquaculture industry is committed to safe, healthy, and sustainable farming because the industry has reduced its phosphorus discharges by 38 percent over the last 15 years. In conclusion, this bill simply ensures that aquaculture, a vital component of Wisconsin’s economy and fishing heritage, is consistently and fairly regulated.” At a time when we continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to restore our degraded public waters from polluted runoff, invasive species, and wetland loss, our Legislature shouldn’t be promoting additional industrial pollution by giving a pass to an industry with a terrible track record of harming native fish populations through disease and nutrient pollution. Aquaculture may be a part of our economy, with annual revenue of $5.7 million, according to Ron Johnson, former aquaculture specialist with UW-Extension. Is putting our public fishery and associated jobs worth hundreds of millions at risk a good idea? None of us alone have the capacity for science needed to manage our natural heritage with future generations’ interests in mind. Wisconsin needs an effective and responsive government to ensure our grandchildren have clean water, essential to their health and economic opportunities. I urge people who care about our public waters to contact their state legislators to let them know you want them to vote for clean water and public rights. Dave Clausen, of Amery, is former chair of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board and a retired veterinarian.

February 19, 2016


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February 19, 2016

Green Bay’s mixed bag holding its own, and then some Sure, fishing on Green Bay and its tributaries could be better, but only if perch numbers could bump up, more of the stocked trout and salmon returned to the creel, and muskies could hit 70 to 80 pounds. Otherwise, things are going fairly swimmingly for northeastern Wisconsin’s biggest fishing hole. There are concerns, of course, in this day and age about invasive species and aquatic diseases, but overall, Green Bay’s fisheries are in decent shape, said Tammie Paoli, a Wisconsin DNR fish biologist who works on Green Bay. By now, most every Wisconsin fisherman has heard about the walleye fishing on Green Bay and the four big tributaries – the Menominee, Peshtigo, Oconto, and Fox rivers. However good that fishing has been for the past 10 to 15 years, it looks like it’s about to get even better thanks to a record-breaking 2013 year-class. “Those fish will be 3 years old this year,” Paoli said. “All of those females should be 15 inches, and most of those males could very well be 15 inches this spring. Anglers will notice a big run of smaller walleyes going on in the Menominee, Peshtigo, Oconto, and Fox.” There are other bright spots, too. Whitefish numbers are up, the bay’s northern pike pulled off two big spawning year-classes, and muskie numbers are holding up as well as ever, with what seems to be more and more size being shown each season. The smallmouth bass fishing? Crazy good. Yellow perch? “They are holding their own. The bay’s yellow perch haven’t shown a major increase or decrease over the last decade,” Paoli said. “They’re sort of plugging along, but 2015 had a good year-class for the yellow perch population, which came off a bad year-class in 2014. “There have been some good reports of people catching big perch this winter. Everyone is wondering where they were a couple of years ago. There have been good reports of a number of 10-inch perch caught this past summer, fall, and even through the ice,” she said. DNR surveys in 2013 and 2014 showed that pike pulled off two good year-classes in the bays rivers, marshes, and ditches. “The really late, cold winters with a late ice-out seemed to favor northern pike reproduction. The pike had been holding their own. This will provide some opportunities as these fish mature,” Paoli said. “So, there are some good things coming on the horizon between walleyes, pike, and maybe even perch.” Add in muskies, smallmouth bass, and a growing whitefish population and things are looking pretty good for Green Bay. Paoli said whitefish are now being harvested all over the bay, including the southern end of Green Bay. There are some areas of concern that Paoli and the DNR’s other Green Bay fish types are tracking. “The forage base – alewife and smelt numbers – is down bay-wide,” she said. “But there are other species in the southern bay that may overtake the forage niche, such as gizzard shad. We saw a good shad hatch in the spring of 2015. That should provide some food for the predators that are coming up. “We are still working hard to get

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brown trout harvest numbers up. We changed some stocking practices to increase survival and harvest. We’ve been moving trout off-shore with our research vessel. Instead of stocking into rivers, most brown trout now get loaded onto the research vessel and hauled off-shore to avoid near-shore predators. We’ve been doing that for five years. We’ll do it again in 2016, then evaluate to see if it’s helping.” Green Bay DNR crews also have been working with rainbows on the Menominee, Peshtigo, and Oconto rivers where stocking quotas have been similar for some time, but catch rates in the rivers are down. “Our rainbow harvest is lower than what we’d like to see,” Paoli said. “We’re trying to manage a diverse fishery with so many different species. Sometimes it can be a battle trying to increase everything all at once. The rainbows haven’t really taken off because of other compet-

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ing factors in the bay.” Off-shore stocking of rainbows could limit their homing instincts to the point where they wouldn’t return to the rivers where they are available to wading anglers. Plus, there is not enough rearing space to hold the trout over until open water returns. This winter there are a few spots where anglers haven’t been able to go. Last year, anglers were driving off of Little River for whitefish, but the ice isn’t good enough to date to do that. Anglers have been fishing closer to shore for pike and perch near Oconto, where they have been doing OK. The trick this winter has been in finding good, safe ice, Paoli said. Some people are fishing open water. With all of the rain in December and early January, there is a lot of flow coming down the river. Some anglers are doing well on brown trout, which is unusual for this time of year.

Racine Kenosha

Lake Profile Green Bay (South) Nearest town............................Green Bay Surface water......................................N/A Maximum depth.............................57 feet Water clarity........................................N/A Fish species present: Black crappies, bluegills, rock bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, whitefish, trout and salmon, lake sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth, bass, northern pike, walleyes, and muskies. For information: DNR regional fisheries office (920) 662-5100, the DNR website http://, or call Smokey’s on the Bay, of Green Bay, at (920) 436-0600, or Waterfront Sport Shop, of Menominee, Mich., at (906) 792-0467.

SUBSCRIPTIONS - 1-800-535-5191 or See Page 44

Wisconsin Outdoor News - February 19th, 2016  
Wisconsin Outdoor News - February 19th, 2016