Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Deer in woods<br>Mary LaMotte

A quick glimpse of 10-point buck.
Mary LaMotte

December 2012

Readers Write

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BUCK IN VELVET

[This] photo was taken on a warm August afternoon. My parents were graciously giving me a tour through their woods in Taylor County when I was very pleased to catch a quick glimpse of this 10-point buck. As I placed my camera on the roof of the truck, I was amazed he stared at me long enough to get the pic… within seconds, he was gone.

Mary LaMotte
Neenah

SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE RUNOFF

[We] are writing because we are concerned citizens. We are both currently enrolled in the Watershed Ambassadors class at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Through our studies we have learned about the negative effects of runoff on 90 percent of ourlakes and rivers. We were also surprised to learn that many of the contributing factors to the problem can be reduced or avoided altogether, so we have decided to let people know how they can help. Stormwater carries runoff that can include oil, dirt, fertilizers, chemicals and lawn clippings on our streets. All storm drains empty into our streams, rivers and lakes. If these things get into the water we may end up drinking it and getting very sick.

There are some simple ways to reduce runoff that will only take a few minutes. You could sweep the dried grass away from the storm drains, or you could fix an oil leak in your car. You could also wash your car in the grass, instead of the driveway, or take it to a car wash. Another way to help would be to install a rain barrel and water your lawn with the water you collected, and save some money! If you have a dog, always remember to pick up its feces. You wouldn't want to swim in the same lake with dog poop in it, would you? There are more and more problems with the Earth and we need to do something about them.

Isabella Scheibl and Grace LeSage Kiel

NO CONSPIRACY THEORIES HERE

I couldn't let the letter, Readers Write August 2012 Discouraged by Chemtrailsgo without a response. "Chemtrails?" Really? Printing suchletters just encourages the conspiracy people. There are no chemtrails,just ordinary contrails created by high flying aircraft. There is no scientific basis or fact for chemtrails in the legitimate science community. The writer is "deluged" with contrails because of the high volume of aircraft traveling to Florida. I'm disappointed that the official magazine of the Wisconsin DNR would publish such a letter.

Jim Shurts
Madison

I am surprised that you printed the letter from Leroy Gebhart, Gainesville, Fla. (August 2012) regarding "chemtrails." Chemtrails are a purely invented idea promoted by conspiracy theorists. There is no basis in science for them, and the adherents of this belief have produced no evidence whatsoever for their existence. I don't think it is the Department of Natural Resources' responsibility to provide a forum for unfounded theories promoted by an extremely small group of paranoid people.

Steven T. Branca
Milwaukee

Thanks to both of you for pointing out the difference between "chemtrails" and "contrails." It isn't our intent to promote conspiracy theories and we promise to be more attentive to them in the future.

TRAPPING MEMORIES ARE PAINFUL

In regards to "Trapping memories" August 2012, it was a beautifully written reflection on the pleasures of spending time outdoors with family and friends. But Mr. Klemme could find other ways of getting the benefit of outdoor time without subjecting animals to the extended suffering leghold traps cause. Having removed the family dog from such a trap set without permission on my father's land in Marinette County years ago, I can testify she was in tremendous pain. And I believe many other "non-target" animals are put through such cruel suffering. I am a Wisconsin native currently living and working in Oklahoma but I plan to return "home" to retire. We continue to subscribe to your excellent magazine as a reminder of the beauty and diversity of our home state. I come from a hunting and fishing background. But trapping has always been a painful topic for me.

Janie M. Martin
Bixby, Oklahoma

DISAPPOINTED WITH EMPHASIS ON HUNTING

I have been a faithful subscriber and have given many gift subscriptions over the years. Rarely do you disappoint me, but I found little to enjoy in the August 2012 edition of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. "Little," as in the only sections I read were "Readers Write," "Creature Comforts" and "Wisconsin Traveler." I'm not a hunter, or a fisherperson. Occasionally, your articles on managing those activities are interesting regardless, but that wasn't the case this time. It could have been the sheer number of articles focusing on hunting. From your article on "Trapping Memories" (an inhumane and unethical activity), to "Dogs and Ducks," "Sharing a passion for upland birds and bird dogs," "My first waterfowl hunt," "Finding hunting land is easier," "A chance for a reel recovery," and "Hunt, climb, canoe and make crafts," you could not be more obvious at promoting hunting if you tried. As a Wisconsin resident, I am very aware of the general (misplaced) concern about the decrease in hunters. That decline fortunately corresponds with an increase in birders, trail hikers/riders, cross-country skiers and those who just want to get outdoors in some fashion. Please be sure to represent those interests as well. I can't say how disappointed I am in this edition. I've loved reading your articles about science-based species recovery, what's being done to eradicate invasive species, camera traps, combating wildfires, promoting forestry management and the like. I can't help but think this trend is reflective of a new DNR director. Please bring back a more balanced focus on all outdoor appreciation, not just hunting, otherwise I will have to regretfully cancel my subscription. As it is, I will wait to renew until I see if this trend continues.

Carol Siewert
Madison

Our magazine is the official publication of the Department of Natural Resources and from its first issue has covered a wide range of subjects counted in the DNR's mission, including all aspects of outdoor recreation – consumptive and nonconsumptive. Stories of interest to our hunting readers are not new, especially since surveys show that half our readers hunt and at least three-quarters of them are anglers. We continually strive to carry a mix of stories to interest all our readers. Typically our August and October issues carry stories with a hunting theme because that's the time of year most hunters are afield or preparing for their seasons. Our winter and spring issues generally carry stories of interest to birders, kayakers, canoeists, hikers and field trip enthusiasts, to name just a few. To ignore hunting, trapping and angling — all legal activities enjoyed for decades by a wide range of Wisconsinites, male and female and of all ages — our pages would be just as disappointing to them as the August issue was to you.

WHY NO SLOT LIMITS FOR WALLEYE LAKES

In your June 2012 issue sharing walleye wisdom, in the article "A walleye guy," the author wrote that he recommends releasing fish over 20 inches long. I assume since he's writing an article in your magazine, the Department of Natural Resources must believe he knows what he's talking about. Which is why I can't help but wonder why the DNR fisheries managers and biologists do just the opposite. In northwest Wisconsin they have put 18-inch minimum length size limits on many lakes, so that the fish being harvested are the larger female spawners we should protect.

I have lived and fished in Wisconsin all my 54 years and have watched our walleye fisheries in Polk, Burnett, Sawyer and Washburn counties decline the last 10 to 20 years, while states and provinces like Minnesota and Ontario have done well using slot limits to protect their larger females and harvest fish under 18 inches which are mostly males. If our fisheries managers were using common sense, then once these lakes they have put 18-inch minimum size limits on had built up good populations of fish 18 inches and over, they would switch to a slot limit protecting fish 18 to 28 inches. We should have slot limits on all our walleye lakes. Let people harvest fish 14 to 18 inches for the pan and one over 28 inches as a trophy.

We might be able to bring our walleye lakes back to decent levels without relying totally on stocking which doesn't seem to be in the budget. For too long the Department of Natural Resources has catered to bass fishermen and tournaments and let largemouth bass take over all our lakes. Now the Department of Natural Resources say bass are eating all the walleye fry. Sounds like another case of DNR mismanagement.

Melin Jensen,
St. Croix Falls

Jamison Wendell, fisheries biologist from Washburn and Burnett counties, replies: That is an excellent question and one I receive from many anglers. Protected slot limits allow anglers to harvest fish outside of a specific range of lengths. For example, the most common slot limit used in Wisconsin protects fish between 14 and 18 inches from harvest. In this case, fish smaller than 14 inches and one fish greater than 18 inches may be harvested. Slot limits work best on lakes with good natural reproduction and fair growth rates. In these lakes, the abundant smaller size fish do not need the protection of a minimum size limit. Many Canadian and northern Minnesota lakes have abundant natural reproduction of walleye and slot limits can work very well on those lakes. An 18-inch minimum size limit is typically used to protect young fish from harvest on lakes with inadequate or no natural reproduction. A number of lakes in northwest Wisconsin have experienced poor natural reproduction of walleye in recent years and 18-inch minimum size limits have been implemented on many of these lakes. If natural reproduction improves and large numbers of small walleyes are present, changes to fishing regulations on these lakes would be considered.

TICK TERRITORY A STRETCH

I found the article on ticks very informative ("Tiny menace." June 2012) . However, the statement in the first paragraph that deer ticks "were only found in the areas along the Mississippi River in the northwest corner of the state" is a geographic stretch. The St. Louis River makes up the boundary of the most northwest corner of the state, while the Mississippi River (on Wisconsin's boundary) is over 140 miles away.

Fred D Nash,
Weyerhaeuser

BATS GIVEN A HOME OF THEIR OWN

Photo of bats in bat house © Diana Hierlmeier

© Diana Hierlmeier

Over the years we have lived in this house we have appreciated the bats making their nightly flights. I especially enjoy the pups learning to navigate in and out of the rafters. They fly out well enough, but have to practice flying back up and under the eaves. It's not uncommon to see them fly for the eaves and hit the screen, or land in the potted plants on the deck but after a few attempts they make it in. In the middle of day on July 14, I walked around where the bat house is located and saw all these bats clinging to the logs. There are several individuals clinging some distance from the house. This daytime exposure occurred a few more times, but not with the large numbers as seen on the 14th. Much to our dismay, blocking the eaves did not keep 100 percent of bats out of the eaves. A few managed to squeeze in between the logs, their evidence shown by the droppings on the deck. We have another, larger house to put up next to the current one and will do so when they migrate. Hopefully this addition will give them ample room.

Diana Hierlmeier,
Random Lake

BETTTER PRIVATE HABITIAT MANAGMENT NEEDED

The final report and recommendations of the Kroll report is interesting reading but hardly earth shattering. But not enough emphasis is placed on managing private lands for deer since that is where the majority of deer are and that is where most people hunt. Deer need good habitat including food, cover and water. The Department of Natural Resources needs to make a concerted effort to work with landowners to achieve that habitat. I chaired a DNR Board-appointed hunter-landowner council for two years that focused in part on the need for technical assistance to manage wildlife on private property. If the DNR Board adopted some of those recommendations it would help solve the scarcity issue.

William Horvath
Stevens Point

In June 2012, Dr. James C. Kroll submitted a report to the Wisconsin Department of Administration with his recommendations for improving Wisconsin's deer management practices. The report can be viewed online at DOA's website.State of Wisconsin-Department of Administration Deer Report