A beautiful northern cardinal pair, perched together in my back yard. Taken in Richland County. --Jackson Kinney, Blue River
GAME FISH A BIG HIT
I just wanted to congratulate the staff of Wisconsin Natural Resources for producing the Spring 2021 edition. It is the best one I have seen. Photography and writing were excellent.
I also wanted to ask if there is someplace I can buy or obtain a poster of the Game Fish of Wisconsin pictures that appeared in the issue. A number of years ago, I obtained a poster you had published and have it mounted at my lake home in Shawano. … Keep up the good work. --Greg Martin, Addison, Illinois
Thanks for the kind words! Several readers asked about the “Game Fish” piece from the Spring issue. Unfortunately, it is not available as a full-size poster at this time, but the magazine was designed so those pages, printed on a bit heavier paper, could be easily removed and saved.
TEETH HOLD THE CLUE
I found this skull while cleaning up a perennial flower bed in my yard in May 2019. Can you please tell me what it is? This is a rural area of Fitchburg with plenty of woods, farm fields and critters! Thank you. --Anita Clark, Fitchburg
Wildlife biologists Rich Staffen and Paul White, both small mammal experts for the DNR, agreed on the ID. Here is Staffen’s reply: “I believe it is a striped skunk. This is based off the dental formula from the second picture, which appears to be three incisors, one canine, three premolars — missing the first; second and third are somewhat combined, but two roots — and one large molar, angled. But it’s also based on the size and shape of the top of the skull.”
TIMELY TALE OF LAKE LIFE
I just read the Spring 2021 issue cover to cover! My husband and I recently moved to Lake Okauchee. The ice has just come off the lake. Ted Rulseh’s article on “Lake Awakenings” was so timely. I ordered his book. Thank you for a great issue and all the wonderful work the DNR does. --Elaine Jacobsen, Oconomowoc
IN FACT, THAT’S A LONG-EARED OWL
On page 59 of the Spring 2021 issue, there’s a photo of an owl identified as a great horned owl. It’s a small photo, but it looks more like a long-eared owl to me, which would be a rarer owl to see. --Pat Wilson, La Crosse
Looks like the owl is actually a longeared owl in a “scared” pose. You may want to have Ryan Brady check it out. --Thomas Goltz, Wausau
Good catch by these two readers and others who asked about the owl. DNR conservation biologist and bird expert Ryan Brady notes: “This is indeed a long-eared owl, which is a smaller, slimmer and less robust owl than the great horned. Also, the ‘ear tufts’ — which aren’t ears at all — are proportionately longer and set closer to each other than in the great horned owl. The reader’s reference to a ‘scared pose’ is accurate. When alarmed, most owls flatten their feathers to become slimmer, more erect and, hopefully for them, more difficult to see.
“Long-eareds are uncommon to rare in most areas of Wisconsin, especially during nesting season. In nonbreeding season from October to April, small numbers overwinter in mostly the southern half of the state. Where numbers are sufficient, they are known for communal winter roosts of five to 25 or more birds. These roosts are sensitive to human disturbance and may be abandoned if visited frequently by birders, photographers or an unknowing public.”
FLY FISHING FAN WEIGHS IN
First, the compliments. I find the “new” version of WNR to be quite satisfactory and offer my congratulations on a publication that’s maintained its high standards and produced issues that are eminently readable, interesting and informative.
However, as a lifelong devotee of fly fishing, I feel compelled to point out its absence in the DNR staff authored “Gear Up to Go Fish” article of the Spring issue. … Although fly fishing is often associated with Wisconsin’s trout stream fishery, the method is now applied to everything from muskies to carp to panfish. Fly fishing was “invented” long before spincasting, spinning or baitcasting. In fact, the only type of rod angling that’s older than fly fishing is likely the cane pole itself. --E.R. Waskawic, Omro
Thanks for the note, and you are right about the longevity of fly fishing. Requiring a bit more finesse than other types of angling and sometimes challenging for beginners, fly fishing is certainly something we’d love to include more about in future issues.
We had fun watching a family of green herons being raised in our back yard. It was interesting tracking their development from hatchlings until they left the nest. As they matured, they would go from branch to branch, tree to tree, waiting for their parents and exploring the world around them. Upon leaving the nest, they found our ornamental pond to be very interesting. Our goldfish were not amused! --Jim and Nancy Jazdzewski, Stevens Point
YES TO THE HUNT
I was happy to see the article in the recent issue about female deer hunters (Fall 2020). I know we are in the minority, but our numbers are growing. 2020 was my 50th consecutive year gun hunting and my 40th consecutive year bow hunting for deer. I was determined to get a buck last year, and I succeeded after 30 hours in my stands.
It wasn’t a trophy as far as points go, but it was a trophy to me as a celebration of 50 years of hunting. I love spending time in the woods. I love the peace and solitude and enjoy seeing the wildlife. Years ago, I bought the book “Is She Coming Too? Memoirs of a Lady Hunter,” by Frances Hamerstrom, and all I can say is,“Yes, I am!” --Mary Roen, River Falls