WisBlogs

Mother Nature’s Helping Hands

What would life be like now if Duck’s Unlimited was never created with all the group has done for wildlife and the wetlands? Today doesn’t seem so bad when looking back at the drought and terrible financial crisis of 1937. Seventy-five years ago a group of men gathered to discuss their love for waterfowl hunting, and the sight of a…

Hunting documentary wins Sundance Film Festival

When you think of the Sundance Film Festival, you picture a crowd of liberal, Prius-driving artsy folk showing up sipping Starbucks. There are most likely scarves and berets, too. That’s why when I read a headline that a hunting video won the 2012 Shorts Competition at Sundance, I just about tipped over – like some of the wild game did…

Wolf bill update

Here’s a brief update on Assembly Bill 502 – when the bill was first read on Jan. 27, it included language that said that landowners and their family would be able to hunt wolves for free (they would have to have a tag, but would not have to pay for it) during the month of February, if the harvest quota…

Transparency

There’s some truth to the saying, “if something can go wrong, it probably will.”That’s often the case when computers are asked to do our sorting, not because computers make mistakes, but because we have to tell them exactly what we want them to do and sometimes we don’t give them the correct message.There was a glitch during Wisconsin’s spring turkey…

Wolf hunting and trapping

I was in Madison Jan. 25 for the Natural Resources Board and heard, from two different directions, that a legislator, or more likely it will be legislators, is going to introduce a bill Jan. 30 or Jan. 31, or the first few days of February, that would shape the state’s first wolf hunting and trapping season. No word yet on…

Wolf Season

A bill introduced on Friday, Jan. 27 would create a 41/2-month wolf season that would allow the use of all firearms and bows, foot-hold traps and cable restraints, trailing hounds, a $99.25 resident license, free wolf-hunting for landowners in February in open zones, and shooting from non-paved roads with buckshot. The first public hearing is coming up on Wednesday, Feb….

Crossbow Bill

Anyone who is tracking the progress of Assembly Bill 384, known generally as the crossbow bill, might want to know that the bill is scheduled for executive session by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 9:30 a.m. If the bill makes it through committee, it will go to the full Assembly for review, and then on…

Madison finally has ice!

I was in Madison Jan. 25 for the Natural Resources Board and then stayed over one more day to follow up on some other stories. While bouncing around the city on Jan. 26, I happened to travel John Nolan Drive – there were a lot of fishermen on the ice near the railroad tracks along John Nolan. I didn’t have…

Game trophy photographs

During the past several months we have had numerous chances to look at photographs of game taken by hunters during the gun and archery deer seasons.While I won’t say all, but some are not particularly pleasing to look at. Some are demeaning to the animal.What’s wrong with them? How could we make them, and us, look better?First, it is the…

Hunting with my son

I had not been that stoked for deer hunting in years. It’s not that I had a huge buck patterned. In fact, I didn’t know what to expect because I was hunting a new spot, albeit with generous deer sign. The reason for my giddiness was that I was going to sit my first gun-deer-opener with Hunter, my 10-year-old son….

Extended Deer Seasons

When is enough gun deer hunting enough? Should I deer hunt in southern Wisconsin during the Holiday Hunt, which closes Jan. 8? And during the landowner season, which continues through March 31? Or is it best to be a traditionalist and hunt during the nine-day season and then stop; maybe just hunt the first weekend of the regular gun season…

Create new Hunting Traditions

It seems that almost every club, organization, and even some state groups are scrambling to grow hunter interest and eventually hunter numbers. You name it and it's a method that has been suggested and most have been tried, including reducing the cost of licenses for some and changing hunting rules in the face of science, safety and probably management. How…

Seeking earlier turkey lottery results?

Natural Resources Board member Christine Thomas raised a question at the board's Dec. 14 that could be a matter of convenience for some turkey hunters. Thomas wondered whether anyone within the DNR ever received comments from turkey hunters who would like to know their drawing success earlier so that they can request vacation time at work. Thomas said her calendar…

We have become an impatient species.

A month is a long time to us. A year is forever, it seems. But we need to get over our impatience when viewing environmental changes and results from our manipulations of the ecosystem. I’m talking about the mix of season structure, winter severity, forest maturity, hunting season weather, hunter attitudes, hunter recruitment, and a host of other variables that…

What type of hunting are you in the mood for?

Experiment with all different types of hunting before you place judgment on hunting as a whole. A variety is important, especially when introducing someone new to the sport. My hunting adventures started in 2010 and since then I have hunted deer, pheasant, snow goose, duck, turkey and in December I hunted Canada geese for the first time. Some hunters develop…

New Catch and Release Bass Season

Sometimes a person has to consider if the "means to an end" can justify "the end." It can be a dangerous scenario. A bill is being considered right now authored by Rep. Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc that would establish a catch-and-release season for bass fishing from the first Saturday in March through the Sunday preceding the first Saturday in May…

Pheasant Hunting

Wisconsin pheasant hunters, for the most part, are finding out just what two to three tough winters can do to wild pheasant populations. While carryover of state-released birds, or birds raised by landowners, have made a difference in some years, much of that carryover was wiped out by deep snow, icy crusts and sub-zero temperatures. Of course pheasant populations, as…

Grouse Populations

Now that the dogs’ noses have found the scent and the hunters’ guns have been fired, this is a time to assess Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse population as best we can. Hunting conditions have been ideal at times, other times the temperatures have been more August-like than Octoberish, but hunters and dogs have coped. Autumn leaf color and subsequent leaf fall…

Hunting Prep Time is Fun Time

I now refer to autumn as hunting season rather than fall. To think, it has only been a year and a half since I first started shooting my compound bow. Within the past couple of weeks I have been working to strengthen my arms and back. It’s important to be overly prepared because the element of the outdoors effects both…

More hunter access to private lands

Hunters can look forward to some new public lands this fall, thanks to the new Voluntary Public Access (VPA) program. This program will open more land for hunters, fishermen, trappers and wildlife enthusiasts, beginning in September, but it may be a short-term gain. The VPA program is brand new to Wisconsin and funded by a grant through the 2008 Federal…

What happened to our gathering spirit

I recently read an unpublished story written by an Alaska man. He and his friend had gone on a moose hunt last autumn, being dropped in the bush by a pilot. They had their camping, hunting and necessary river equipment to float down river, hunting at various points along a 35-mile journey. After several harrowing experiences, one that almost took…

Science vs Rumors

A recent news release from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection brings to the forefront the value of having science involved in rare animal sightings. Hearsay, rumors, hoaxes and flash sightings have made us all leery of claims, but this case says two things about how important science is and should remain in documenting animal movements. More than…

Just Enjoy the Hunt

The 2011 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet is not so much about what we can or cannot do, or should and should not do, but who is sending the message. Wisconsin has a fine staff of biologists, ecologists and property managers, dedicated to the state’s wildlife, not to egos or distant handlers. But did any of those biologists have any…

Ready to expand my fishing horizons

I have fished for bass, bluegills, perch, crappies, and smallmouth bass. I have never been taught how to catch a walleye, muskie, or northern pike. Can I fish for them from shore in southeastern Wisconsin, since I am “boatless?” I am doing research on my own and reading the fishing reports in Wisconsin Outdoor News to figure out where to…