In the Outdoors - Vilas County News-Review
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  • From deer famine to feast in 15 minutes
    I GAVE my opening day deer stand a 13-hour chance to produce, including two hours on Sunday morning, before finally being convinced that not seeing a single deer meant it was time to move on.
    That’s hunting of course and only one in seven Wisconsin hunters shoot a buck, so
  • Can’t ignore virus safety in deer camp
    A SAFE deer hunt is going to take on a whole new meaning this year, as a global pandemic threatens to have more impact on people’s health than bullets and tree stands.
    Nearly 600,000 orange-clad hunters are going to
  • Late fall was meant for chasing roosters
    WE LET the dog loose and turned our faces into a decent west wind, enough breeze to make it easier on an 11-year-old retriever searching heavy sorghum for pheasants.
    Gracie was racing back and forth between three hunters, covering the entire field, when she
  • Wetlands conservation surviving COVID
    DESPITE the massive hit some conservation groups have taken in this pandemic environment, Ducks Unlimited (DU) is still going strong with its unprecedented waterfowl and wetlands projects.
    That’s the word from
  • The glory days of October are slipping fast
    TRYING to decide between grouse and deer hunting last Saturday, and wondering how to fill a turkey tag, trap a fisher and shoot some pheasants in the days ahead, the reality of time and its limits hit home.
    That glorious month of October is
  • Farm country hunt kicks off the season
    THERE was barely light in the eastern sky as I walked in pre-dawn stillness, following the path of yellow leaves on a two-track in the hardwoods.
    I was headed for an elevated stand on an 80-acre ridge owned by a friend whom, over the years, created a paradise for
  • Things heating up in the grouse woods
    WHAT started as a fairly slow grouse season with early rain and heavy foliage took a turn for the better last week, as we finally stumbled into some county forest habitat that was holding decent numbers of birds.
    It’s been a year for expanding the territory we hunt and
  • Wolf counting changes unveil the truth
    FOR ALL you readers who insisted over the years that there were far more wolves than state estimates showed, take a bow. You were absolutely correct.
    It only took the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) a little more than
  • What better day to stage Grouse Camp?
    ON THE very day we celebrated National Hunting and Fishing Day last Saturday, there were 80 aspiring grouse hunters from nine states at a camp in Eagle River.
    What a testimonial to the natural resources and hunting ethic here that the Ruffed Grouse Society chose
  • Dry weather gives boost to grouse hunt
    WE WERE walking an old grass-covered two track on state land last week, my black Lab Gracie out in front searching for the scent of our favorite upland game bird, the ruffed grouse.
    About a mile into this particular hike, Gracie’s movements changed entirely. She was
  • Slab crappies saved dismal grouse opener
    TO SAY that the ruffed grouse opener last Saturday was the highlight of the week would be the normal thing, but it just wouldn’t be the truth this year.
    For those who didn’t experience it, the rain started about 3 a.m. Saturday morning, went virtually all day and into the evening, and then finished with some downpours after
  • Stewardship program up for renewal
    IT’S HARD to be good stewards of the land and waters we’ve been entrusted to protect without some monetary commitment, and Wisconsin is once again being asked to pledge its support.
    The Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program (KNSP) is up for reauthorization after a decade of
  • Pandemic gives boost to hunting, fishing
    IT’S BEEN a big year for Wisconsin’s great outdoors as more people escaped a public health emergency thru the isolation of hunting, fishing, boating, camping and other activities.
    Booming sales of
  • Foresters protect water quality, not aesthetics
    LOGGERS are going to be cutting about 215 acres of timber near Whitney Lake in Boulder Junction, part of timber management on the Northern Highland American Legion (NHAL) State Forest.
    And a second timber sale that has yet to be finalized will result in
  • Logging, better habitat can offset new virus
    IT APPEARS Wisconsin has a larger West Nile virus (WNV) problem than Michigan or Minnesota, as for the second straight year, testing shows exposure rates that were nearly double neighboring states.
    While it’s too soon to
  • NRB micro-managing Vilas deer herd?
    DESPITE all the work done by county deer committees and biologists with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to set antlerless tag numbers for this fall, a citizen-run oversight board decided to cut the numbers.
    It makes little sense for the
  • Time to get the bird dog, shooting eye ready
    AS THE last full month of summer arrives and overnight lows begin to drop, it’s time to start getting the bird dogs in shape and the dust out of that shooting eye.
    The fall hunting seasons are
  • Find tranquility, escape to a trout stream
    IT WAS shortly after 5 a.m. when the truck made its final approach through the jack pine to one of my favorite places in the world, a quiet trout stream surrounded by national forest.
    Trout country, you see, is
  • It’s been 35 years, over 1,800 columns
    IT’S BEEN 35 straight years of writing an outdoor column in this space, a milestone that couldn’t have occurred without the support of loyal newspaper readers who share a passion for hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.
    Let’s be clear that
  • More focus needed on wildlife habitat
    THE question of the day for public forest managers is why, if creation of wildlife habitat has emerged as such a popular byproduct of logging, that they can’t revise some logging policies to maximize that benefit? 
    It has long been the policy of
  • Don’t overlook shallow weeds in summer
    IF YOU’RE one of those anglers who believes that the only place to find fish on warm summer days is in the deepest parts of your lake, you might want to rethink that.
    Having been at this fishing game for more decades than I care to admit, it
  • Grouse numbers, without survey, are unknown
    AT A time when ruffed grouse management is at a crossroads, boosted by a new plan but hit with unknowns such as the West Nile virus and mid-summer population declines, a worldwide pandemic wipes out the best tool for estimating bird numbers.
    Biologists and volunteers with
  • Photographers don’t mind wounded fish
    WOUNDED fish are never wasted in nature, the saying goes, because there’s always something that’s going to get a meal from them.
    The scavengers might include other fish, crayfish, snapping turtles, raccoons, crows, sea­gulls, ospreys and eagles. And I’m sure there are a host of smaller bugs and larvae willing to
  • Father-daughter fishing trips never get old
    THE PLAN was to fire jig and minnow combinations into shoreline trees on the Three Lakes Chain, hoping to find some post-spawn walleyes feeding in the shallows on a sunny evening.
    By some fluke of scheduling and timing during 
  • Time to keep watchful eye for lowly turtles
    IT MAY be too early to celebrate but I haven’t seen a dead turtle squashed on the road yet this year, so maybe more motorists are showing some concern for the lowly turtles.
    In fact we might be gaining some ground on turtle survival, as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reporting a
  • A strange season; a memorable morning
    IT HAS been a different kind of fishing season thus far, for social distancing has robbed me of opportunities to fish with visiting family — including my grandkids.
    I’m blaming COVID-19 for that though the truth of the matter is, son Steve and
  • Cold fronts were meant for northern pike
    WHAT does a walleye angler do on a rainy Sunday evening with an east wind and a cold front, when Mother Nature is pretty much throwing you a lemon?
    If you’re going to make lemonade, as the popular saying goes, then you should be thinking
  • Know what’s in the lakes you’re leaving
    IN A perfect world, every angler and boat owner would learn which lakes contain invasive plants and organisms in order to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
    If everyone had that knowledge, you see, they would be