In the Outdoors - Vilas County News-Review
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  • Big walleyes are a fishing fever all their own
    WE WERE anchored in deep water off a rock bar, in about 19 feet, casting jigs and slip bobbers up into 11 to 14 feet in hopes that some walleyes were lingering there from a feeding run the night before.

    Daughter Melissa returned from Minnesota to
  • Treaties: state has sole management authority
    THERE’S a sticky issue lingering in Wisconsin over the Chippewa tribes disdain for wolf harvest, and whether the tribes can effectively influence overall management by refusing to participate in the harvest of a species they consider sacred.

    The issue popped up as I was reading
  • Turtle survival hits yet another major snag
    AS IF the lowly turtles of Wisconsin didn’t have enough survival issues with loss of habitat and death to traffic during the spring egg-laying season, now state officials are asking the public to help stop the illegal turtle trade.

    The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced recently, for the first time, that
  • The turkey chase can change in seconds
    IT WAS an incredibly quiet morning in early May, a light frost covering the ground and the winds calm as light appeared in the eastern sky shortly after 5 a.m.

    The scribbler had returned to Wisconsin farm country to chase turkeys on a third-week tag, getting a single morning off the work schedule and knowing full well that the weekend was
  • Don’t be the one who spreads an invasive
    ENORMOUS amounts of boat traffic are expected on Memorial Day weekend after back-to-back pandemic years that severely increased demand for outdoor recreation.

    Booming sales on everything from 
  • Tribes adding some not-so-good history
    MAYBE it’s just ironic that the recent over-harvest of 121 walleyes on a single lake by members of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa occurred on the very lake where legal off-reservation spearing began some 37 years ago?

    I believe it was
  • Late ice-out opener produced good action
    EVERY fishing opener provides its own challenges depending on when ice-out occurred and where the water temperatures have gone since, but there’s a new factor to add.

    We slid a canoe into the Wisconsin River before dawn last Saturday, knowing
  • It doesn’t take much to get hooked on turkeys
    WE WERE standing in the hardwoods long before dawn, having snuck down a field edge that connected with an old two-track in the woods to make as little noise as possible in the darkness.

    It was the first day of the youth turkey hunt in Wisconsin and
  • ‘Safe harvest’ figure all about spearing
    IT’S generally confusing every year for sport anglers when they see the tribal spearing declarations and wonder how in the world the “safe harvest” quota on some lakes is so high.

    Take for example the
  • The silver lining of all those storms
    AS VOLUNTEERS with the Three Lakes Fish & Wildlife Improvement Association were placing “fish sticks” in select locations on the Three Lakes Chain last week to improve habitat for aquatic insects, fish and other wildlife, the impacts of recent storms came to mind.

    Fish sticks are
  • DNR miscounts another predatory species?
    IT’S HUMAN nature to trust that the experts in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have an accurate and science-based handle on predator populations, yet the agency continues to prove otherwise.

    You might remember a few years back when
  • Fishing, hunting topics up for vote next week
    WHILE they are just advisory questions this year, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is giving sportsmen and -women a chance to vote on dozens of spring fish and game hearing issues that may turn into rule changes in the years ahead.

    The spring hearing questionnaire process represents
  • Sometimes it’s about who you fish with
    STANDING on the ice last weekend, hauling in some crappies with friends and talking about everything and anything, it once again dawned on me the significance of fishing to life in Wisconsin.

    There was a time when I was in their shoes, excited to
  • State toying with dangerous VHS proposal
    AN ADVISORY question on the spring fish and game questionnaire asks state sportsmen and -women whether they support allowing personal bait harvest of minnows from waters affected by the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), as long as the trappers or netters don’t move those minnows away from the
  • Gun-deer licenses down for many reasons
    THE Natural Resources Board (NRB) will be asking the state’s sportsmen and -women next month, during the virtual spring hearing process, whether they should again authorize a study on the adverse impacts of crossbows on the gun deer season.

    At issue is a drop in license sales, to the tune of about
  • Spearing vs angling: apples to oranges
    IN ITS draft revision of Wisconsin’s walleye management plan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) speaks of common misconceptions about the tribal spearing side of the fishery.

    One of those issues relates to
  • Target the run: let crappies come to you
    MODERN technology is changing the manner in which many people chase fish, mostly making them aggressive, far more mobile and without a doubt, less patient.

    I guess it makes sense with
  • Shanties: it doesn’t get any better than this
    THAT old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” came to mind last Saturday as I contemplated an attempt at ice fishing with below-zero wind chills, determined not to let cold weather push me indoors on a sunny February afternoon.

    It’s been months since I
  • A loss for common-sense wolf management
    IT’S NOT all that surprising that for the fifth time, a federal judge has shot down the federal delisting of wolves to stall the hope of state-controlled management efforts.

    U.S District Judge Jeffrey White of Oakland, Cal., appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled
  • The ‘guide’ works his magic once again
    WE ANGLERS who truly care about the health of our loved ones should pledge to encourage more exercise and outdoor recreation, and that’s exactly what I did on a recent afternoon.

    Despite a high temperature in the teens and wind chills close to zero, I
  • Freezer stirs some fall memories
    OLD traditions die hard and so it is with the winter practice of discovering a package of grouse breasts in the freezer that were labeled months back, in the heat of the season, providing a great meal and stirring some memories from the grouse woods.

    This particular package was marked with
  • CWD positives raise venison concerns
    WE WERE hoping it would be years before a wild deer in Vilas County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), the fatal, infectious nervous system disease that’s been slowly spreading toward northern Wisconsin the past 20 years.

    But that bad news hit last month when
  • Pick a sport or two; start enjoying winter
    IF THERE is anything I’ve learned in more than four decades of “surviving” winter in the North Woods, it’s that staying active can make this a season you no longer dread.

    The winter blues are inevitable for those who don’t pick a sport or find some seasonal hobbies, because
  • New highs for DU’s wetlands conservation
    I’M guessing that many of us thought a global pandemic and canceled fundraising banquets were going to cripple the wetlands and waterfowl conservation work of Ducks Unlimited (DU), and the good news is that any such speculation was dead wrong. 

    Team DU celebrated a monumental conservation milestone last month when it
  • Family fishing: a holiday tradition
    NO SWEETER words are spoken in my outdoor world than when one of the kids proclaims they are headed for the North Woods, and they want to do some fishing.

    Our plans for the holidays this year didn’t allow for such an adventure because
  • Time to dig into that fresh venison
    AS THE deer seasons come to a close with the end of the late archery season some 10 days from now, there might be no better time to start dining on those select steaks and roasts that were held back from the cuttings that will go into
  • Wolves, turkey, deer top 2022 ‘wish list’
    IN THE heart of the Christmas season, it is time once again to formulate a “wish list” in regard to some of the nagging issues that impact those of us who live to spend time in the great outdoors.

    They call it the season of miracles and
  • Time to aid state research on bears
    IT’S interesting that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has decided to again expand research on the state’s black bear population, this time starting a new study to analyze den activity and to estimate reproductive rates in each management zone.

    The agency periodically re-evaluates portions of its animal species population models. Last time it
  • A long, unique era comes to an end
    OF COURSE it couldn’t last forever, an editorial partnership that started 36 years ago, but a unique era ends this week as Editor Gary Ridderbusch slides into a well-deserved retirement.

    We became partners on the news scene in
  • Grouse numbers don’t seem to be diving
    THE JURY is still out on whether the ruffed grouse population is headed downward, as evidence of a strong spring hatch improved hunting success this fall and may be stalling the cyclic fall predicted by state wildlife biologists last June.

    The truth be told, the
  • Deer camp is better with a buck
    THE HOPE of every deer hunter who takes that opening morning walk in darkness, heading for a blind or tree stand, is that somehow the moon and planets will align and send a whitetail buck in his or her direction.

    It’s that hope that gets us out of bed so early, eating breakfast, packing gear, making sandwiches and
  • Let’s keep winning on hunting safety
    MUCH has been taught, written about and heavily marketed in recent decades on hunting safety, and the world should know that without a doubt, it is helping make our woods and fields safer.

    It is worth celebrating that Wisconsin’s hunter safety program and every spin-off project has resulted in
  • Deer baiting, feeding ban is huge failure
    TWO DEER were playing tug of war with a yellow bag of corn they had dragged off a gas station pallet the other night, a goofy and laughable sight as I drove through Eagle River well after dark.

    The incident reminded me of
  • Pheasant adventure brings back memories

    IT WAS destined to be a treat of an adventure as the Krueger boys loaded up guns, gear and a dog named Gracie, headed east for Laona to chase some rooster pheasants around on a damp, overcast afternoon in late October.

    The drive brought back memories of high school days when my older brother, Mark “Lardo” Krueger of Appleton, encouraged me and friends to

  • Lawmakers railroading their own agendas
    HERE WE go again with legislators attempting to ram through their personal agendas without regard to our spring fish and game hearing system, this time over the turkey hunting zones and seasons.
    A lawmaker drafted a bill that would
  • Farm country doe kicks off archery season
    IT WAS almost a month into the archery deer season before the weather turned cold enough for me, and off to central Wisconsin farm country I trekked looking for a fat, corn-fed doe to start putting some venison in the freezer for the coming winter.
    The alarm was set for
  • 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