In the Outdoors - Vilas County News-Review
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  • Surprising glory on a wet day in the woods
    WET conditions for grouse hunting have been a huge frustration since the days when I got my first hunting dog some 35 years ago.
    It’s probably just me, but it seems that grouse get mighty skittish when they can’t hear predators coming, so our combined noise in the woods causes plenty of run-offs and
  • Can’t do without in-field trapper education
    TWO years is far too long for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to sell trapping licenses without insuring that recipients pass a course and a field test, but that’s the reality and there’s no remedy in sight.
    Right now you can
  • Night crawlers can damage forest health
    DID YOU know that earthworms in Wisconsin, including the mighty night crawler used by thousands of anglers, are invasive species that can damage the health of forests?
    “Opening a can of worms” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to our forests, which
  • And so it begins, another grand bird season
    WE went 4 miles without a flush to open the ruffed grouse season Sunday morning, our opening day after other obligations pretty much kept us out of the woods Saturday.
    It was just short of 9 a.m., and
  • Count down some plastics for slab crappies
    THE COUNT went to 15 as I let the tube jig drop over a deep-water crib, attempting to run some plastic above wood structure that might be holding fish.
    I’m guessing the cast was halfway back to the boat when I felt the “tick” vibrate down the graphite rod right into my palm. Next came
  • The mystery: how many deer hunters cheat?
    THERE is no disputing the fact that electronic registration of deer and tur­keys is far more convenient than in-person registration, but it’s not without consequences.
    Whether the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to admit it or not, there are
  • Windstorms: a silver lining for fish habitat
    A SILVER lining is likely to be found in all the work and heartache involving lost trees and damaged property due to recent windstorms that knocked out power to tens of thousands of people.
    Driving around the world’s largest Chain of Lakes the past two weeks, the scribbler saw some shorelines that were littered with the tops of giant white pines and large-canopy hardwood trees that were either snapped off or uprooted.
    There’s no glory in losing the scenic
  • Wolf depredation: true losses for real people
    ONE error that’s been made repeatedly in addressing Wisconsin’s overpopulation of gray wolves is the vague and thoughtless way that we refer to wolf depredation, and that needs to change.
    There’s incredible polarization between people who support wolves and
  • RGS leads fight for young forest habitat
    IT’S banquet time for the organization that is solely focused on a mission to create healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other forest wildlife.
    The Chain O’ Lakes Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) will
  • New hunting season just around the corner
    NOT to make light of our final glorious weeks of summer, but notices showed up last week to signal that fall hunting is right around the corner.
    First the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sends out notification that antlerless harvest authorizations are available in the farmland zone. That’s where multiple “tags” are
  • Stocking data, biologists can help anglers
    FISH stocking numbers that are available on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website are an interesting read, and they may tip anglers off to future fishing hot spots.
    There is a county- and lake-specific database on the site that provides
  • Trustworthy but old, it’s time for goodbye
    IT’S A bittersweet moment when you have to say goodbye to a boat that’s helped create memories for two decades, but the scribbler is moving on from a 1994 Sea Nymph.
    That 16-foot boat was purchased in 2001 from
  • DID YOU ever notice that some people drive with blinders on, paying little attention to their surroundings, while others are constantly waving and beeping at friends?  
    I’m not sure if that first group is too busy thinking to look around or
  • Gathering wild things: A Wisconsin legacy
    A SMALL jig suspended under a bobber, tipped with a crappie minnow, was being retrieved at a crawl when the bobber popped and plunged below the surface on a right-leaning dive.
    The rod was held by
  • Not just another night on the trout stream
    JOE Maney of Eagle River was merely following his passion for chasing brown trout on a night in late June, working the mayfly hatches that bring out the bigger fish every year.
    Not many people hear the call to fish North Woods streams after dark, sometimes until 2 or 3 in the morning, but
  • Has the grouse population peaked, or not?
    BECAUSE spring drumming from ruffed grouse showed a 7% drop from 2019 levels in the northern forest, state biologists claim the population cycle has peaked and we are headed for a down phase.
    That news was delivered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last week, the agency that says it
  • Escanaba walleye research hits 75 years
    AS THE Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prepares to celebrate 75 years of fisheries research in Vilas County, walleye anglers are cheering the overwhelming approval of revived catch-and-keep angling on Escanaba Lake.
    The lake is
  • Rich deer hunting tradition in jeopardy
    THE deer hunting adventures of Bob Wojtusik, family and friends have taken place in Three Lakes for 70 years, a tradition stemming back to the boom of potato farming in this little town.
    The sport they pursue with such passion has survived a
  • Time to keep watchful eye for lowly turtles
    I WAS fishing below a dam on a small millpond many years back when my first experience with a monster snapping turtle left an impression for life.
    Soaking a bobber and worm in a splash sink-hole created when the feed mill opened the dam to run some equipment, I was hoping for a bluegill or maybe even one of the elusive
  • Gotta love this ‘working remote’ business
    AS AN avid angler who’s always looking for solid excuses to spend more time on the water, my daughter’s recent phone call about wanting to work remotely from Wisconsin was music to my ears.
    Work or not, you see, Melissa’s arrival for a 10-day stint away from the Twin Cities came as an immediate challenge for
  • Don’t be the one who spreads an invasive
    MASSIVE amounts of boat traffic are expected on Memorial Day weekend after a pandemic year that severely increased demand for outdoor recreation.
    Booming sales on everything from fishing licenses and tackle to boats and campers has reduced inventories and increased prices, and it’s equipped more people to
  • The prespawn smallmouth bite is roaring
    WE WERE firing small jerk baits into a wind-blown shoreline, double-jerking the bait with a pause in between in hopes of finding some prespawn smallmouth bass.
    The smallies go on quite the feeding frenzy when
  • Wolf plan comment deadline is Saturday
    THE wolf-supporting organization Wisconsin Green Fire (WGF) says the February hunt removed wolves from core habitats on public lands where “conflicts with pets, livestock or human safety are rare.”
    It was part of a preliminary assessment of the hunt by a group of former wildlife biologists who
  • Opener: it’s about fishing with family, friends
    WITH water temperatures reading just 46 degrees, we set out from the boat landing opening morning last Saturday in hopes of finding some decent-sized walleyes on the Three Lakes Chain.
    It was
  • Stewardship: part of our conservation ethic
    EVERY state resident should be responsible for helping the cause of conservation, not just those who hunt, fish or make use of our natural resources in other ways.
    That’s why all
  • Time for some early-season panfish action
    WE WERE firing floats and small minnows into the shorelines last week on the Eagle River Chain, fishing around piers and shore stations in less than three feet of water, and the perch bite was incredible.
    There were several
  • Walleye size limit changes up for vote Monday
    WHILE it’s a lackluster set of proposed rule changes for the online spring fish and game hearings next Monday, the process does represent the public’s best chance to weigh in on potential hunting, fishing and trapping regulation changes.
    Due to the ongoing pandemic, the
  • Wolf season about more than just ‘the kill’
    TRIBAL officials claim the motive for Wisconsin’s recent wolf hunt and the harvest of 216 wolves was “all about the kill,” a demeaning comment in total contradiction to what the tribes have done for decades.
    Despite all the
  • State’s turkey season should start earlier
    AM I THE only turkey hunter who thinks it’s a little crazy to have a season that starts so late that it extends beyond Memorial Day weekend?
    That must be the case because the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) only changes regulations with the consent of the majority, and therefore, at some point we must
  • High winds didn’t keep the boys off crappies
    IT APPEARED my friend’s good-luck streak was about to end with gale-force winds and a pitifully slow crappie bite