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Kurt Krueger

In the Outdoors

Kurt Krueger can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or P.O. Box 1929, Eagle River, WI 54521.

Pine marten, buck top hunter’s reunion

IT HAPPENED just before 10 a.m. on opening day of the gun deer season last Saturday, deep in the national forest, when an old, gray-faced pine marten ran right under my ladder stand, jumped up on the side of the tree and stared me down eye to eye.

In fact, that marten was so old that its entire head, ears and all, was a white and gray mix. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The fur on its long, brown body had a yellow tinge to it, and its tail was so dark that it was nearly black.

And I wondered, for a moment, if there was any way possible that it was the same animal I photographed on my first deer hunt there in 1989. Probably not, of course, but very old.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 4:13 PM
The only good deer hunt is a safe one

By Kurt Krueger

AS THE GRANDEST single sporting event in Wisconsin history gets under way this Saturday, Nov. 17, it is hoped that hunters will be as safe as a year ago, when only seven people were injured — one of the safest gun deer seasons on record.

That’s an awesome safety record when you consider there are nearly 620,000 orange-clad hunters going afield on opening day, or at any time during the nine-day hunt.

Blaze-orange clothing and mandatory hunter safety certification, as promoted by the Depart­ment of Natural Resources (DNR), get the lion’s share of the credit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 3:11 PM
Hunting dogs fit our conservation ethic

By Kurt Krueger

THE SOUND of a distant flush stopped me on the grassy two-track last Sunday, a wall of hazel thicket and balsam trees on both sides of the road.

My dog had just started hitting scent on the edge of the trail when the place broke loose — ruffed grouse flushing from thickets, treetops and everywhere in between.

We heard about six of them before I actually saw one come out of a balsam tree, and the over/under barked twice to no avail. Then came the really good shot, while I was reloading, which is par for the course in the grouse woods.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:37 PM
Loka, 14, carries forward a family legacy

By Kurt Krueger

A FAMILY legacy in the age-old sport of trapping chronicled a unique event recently when 14-year-old Maegan Loka of Tomahawk caught her first wolf.

The youngster has been on the trap line with her dad for more years than she can remember, tagging along and learning the ropes while experiencing both the great outdoors and quality time with the most important man in her life.

Rhinelander native Mark Loka is a lifelong trapper who started as a kid with traps that were hanging on the side of grandpa’s shed collecting rust. With them he caught some squirrels, and then moved on to muskrats and other furbearers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:07 PM
Legislators expand hunting, trapping areas

By Kurt Krueger

THERE?IS more good news than just the state’s first wolf hunt coming from  Republicans who control state government, as legislators have passed a law that will expand hunting and trapping opportunities in Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR)?is preparing to implement Act 168, known as the Sporting Heritage Bill, legislation that was approved earlier this year.

The law allows hunting and trapping in Wisconsin state parks. If I lived anywhere else in the state and near one of those parks, I’d be dancing in the streets over the expanded opportunity to hunt and trap on public lands.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:46 PM
Trapping most effective on wolves: Wydeven

By Kurt Krueger

WOLVES became fair game Monday for the first time in more than 50 years, the hope being that a public harvest season will effectively curb a gray wolf population that is three times higher than planned.

Successful permit applicants totaling 1,160 will have 136 days to harvest a wolf through hunting or trapping, the season ending Feb. 28, 2013.

The state has set a harvest quota of 201 wolves from the estimated 850 wolves that were roaming the state last winter, but only 116 animals can be taken this year by nontribal trappers and hunters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 5:39 PM
The best-job debate has no easy answers

By Kurt Krueger

SITTING around the campstove on a brisk evening last weekend, the boys having trekked northward for some archery deer hunting, we got to talking about that age-old question of what job is best for a hunter to have.

I thought we had settled this several years ago when old Kettlehole proclaimed that driving a Schwan’s ice-cream truck was the hands-down best job on Earth, a claim refuted by no one.

Even Lard-dog and Jackpine couldn’t argue with the combination of rural miles for scouting, flexible schedule for hunting in only the best weather, and freezer truck for bringing home the venison on warm nights. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 3:01 PM
Can each of us mentor a new hunter?

By Kurt Krueger

CRITICISM from those who don’t have the experience to know better won’t keep me from being a cheerleader for Wisconsin’s mentored hunting program and other initiatives for recruiting new hunters.

I hear people talking down the program that allows 10- and 11-year-olds without a hunter’s safety certificate to go afield with a mentor. Critics don’t give any credit to parents who know their kids best or to the strict rules, which specify the youngster be “at arm’s length” from their trained guardian and that only the child be allowed to have a weapon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 6:27 PM
Celebrating America’s greatest sports

By Kurt Krueger

I WAS pulling in crappies on a rainy Saturday morning in the middle of September, the woods too wet for chasing grouse, when it dawned on me that the day was set aside to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day.

How appropriate it was that, without giving it much thought, the scribbler actually participated in both of these outdoor sports on that special day — also the official start of fall.

We found time, my black Lab Gracie and I, to chase some grouse in the afternoon and jumpshoot some ducks toward evening. It’s one of the few times of the year that you can pursue both sports in the same day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:53 PM
Frost, birds make for memorable opener
Gracie poses with five grouse she flushed and retrieved in the early morning hours of opening day last Saturday.         —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

THE?GRACE of God was shining on grouse hunters last Saturday morning as the first frost of the season blanketed the uplands, a perfect opening morning to be walking in the woods.

There’s just something about frost-covered ferns and grass in the clearings that sends a message about the changing seasons even before the calendar shows fall has arrived.

The winds were still and you could hear certain sounds from miles away — what sounded like bear hounds on the chase, a lone rifle shot, coyotes yipping and, from time to time, a shotgun blast or two.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:29 PM

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