Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Cooper's Hawk © Jay Gollhardt

Young Coopers's Hawk
© Jay Gollhardt

April 2013

Readers Write

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MAGAZINE-WORTHY

I am sending you this photo of a young Cooper’s hawk that I took just outside of my apartment complex. The bird makes a habit of sitting on a power line while hunting a grassy field that is located under the line. I really think this is an excellent example of how these birds take advantage of a manmade object. I hope you find it worthy of your magazine.

Jay Gollhardt
Sheboygan

NO PHOTO STUNT

If I perceive the cover photo of the December 2012 issue correctly, I see one of the most foolish stunts ever! Is that photographer really perched on an ice pack and being kept from sliding off into the icy water by a rather frail shelf of marginally strong ice? I hope no reader assumes this is a safe way to take a photo no matter how picturesque the subject! Phillip B. Mayer Salem, S.C

Phillip B. Mayer
Salem, S.C

Photographer, Melody Walsh of Washington Island replied:

We asked the photographer, Melody Walsh of Washington Island, to explain how the photo was taken. Here’s what she had to say: Ice shoves are created when huge chunks of ice are broken up and winds strong enough from the right direction “shove” them onto the shore. Although it appears in the photo that we are in the middle of the lake floating on ice, we were on ice pushed up on the shore. Rocky shoreline is beneath us, not water. Many ice formations were safely available to us to photograph. Living on an island surrounded by Lake Michigan requires the utmost attention to ice conditions. I confess to being one of the biggest “scaredy cats” when it comes to ice and water. You can be assured any photo I take contains limited risk factors. Frostbite was more a factor than falling into freezing water! As for the details of this photo, the person on the ice was attempting to get the sun lined up with a point of ice. He could have stood on the ice below his feet or he could position himself prone and be closer to get the right angle. He chose the second option. If you look closely you will see the ice beneath his legs, not water.

HUNTING IS MORE THAN SHOOTING ANIMALS

Firstly, I would like to applaud the response to Ms. Siewert’s letter in the December 2012 Issue where she indicated she was disappointed with the emphasis on hunting in a previous issue. It is a fact, the Wisconsin DNR mandate covers not just environmental concerns but also wildlife management. Also, there are articles at other times of the year that disappoint hunters as well. The letter writer needs to really understand the circle that involves not just hunters but those interested in preserving and enjoying the outdoors. As a hunter education instructor, I explain to future young hunters that there are many stages that a hunter will go through. At the very top, is the sportsmen stage, where the hunter is enjoying his/ her day out in the outdoors and not upset because they didn’t fill their game bag. I have been in this stage for a long time, wondering at our small place in the world while sitting on a deer stand or stump while bird hunting. Alot of hunters are also hikers, cross-country skiers and enjoy articles about those venues too. But come the fall, hunting adds a new dimension to being in the outdoors. Articles concerning hunting places, techniques and quarry excite the hunter for the fine fall days in the woods or fields. A hunter in the sportsmen stage will notice lots of things, because of less leaf cover and density, that earlier in the year hikers may miss. Oh, by the way, hunters share concerns about invasive species, wildfires and forestry management too. I guess what I am saying in all of this is that the letter writer is condemning hunting without really knowing the whole story. The magazine is multidimensional, covering all things in season. I would not want it any other way.

Jane George
Hudson

HUNTERS SHOULD BE THANKED, NOT CRITICIZED

I’m writing in response to Carol Siewert’s letter in the December 2012 issue about being disappointed with the amount of emphasis put on hunting. I may be wrong but she needs to realize that a lot of the public land was and is purchased and maintained by money from hunting licenses and tax on hunting equipment. I’ve been hunting since the 1960’s. Back then about the only people I ran into on public lands were hunters and berry pickers (For the record I am a berry picker too). Most of my hunting takes place in marsh areas with dikes and in the last 15 years or so I’ve seen an influx of hikers, dog walkers, bicyclists, birders and nature lovers, which is great. But do these people support these areas financially? I would think that people who enjoy the natural world would be thanking the hunters, trappers and fishermen, not criticizing them. If not for them it is possible that very little land would be available for all outdoor enthusiasts.

Anthony Wenzel
Mosinee

Reply:

You are right when you say that public land is maintained by money from hunting license and excise taxes on hunting equipment. In fact, in 2011-12, $10.5 million from the Fish and Wildlife Fund (from hunting and fishing license sales) went to managing and maintaining DNR lands for hunting and fishing. Wisconsin received almost $12 million in federal Pittman-Robertson funding (from taxes on firearms and ammunition) that same year. In addition, much of the land DNR purchases is funded by the Knowles- Nelson Stewardship Program which is funded by the sale of bonds to investors. The cost to pay back this debt is spread out over 20 years and comes from tax revenues, so all taxpayers contribute to the fund and benefit from its investments. To learn more about the Stewardship Fund and how it works, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “stewardship.”

INVASIVE EARTHWORMS – WHAT NEXT?

Seems we are always reading about a new invasive in Wisconsin. Now it’s worms (“Little worms, big consequences,” December 2012) . How many millions of dollars will we spend on this? We are invasive species, humans, some of the most destructive there are. What is the answer to that?

Lee Duchateau
Krakow

NOT AMERICAN-MADE

The idea for the next American Girl doll might be born around a conference table (“Branching out,” October 2012) but the doll will be made in China. The American Girl headquarters may be in Middleton but its workers are not in this country. Perhaps it should be renamed “China Doll.” The oak tree is beautiful. The doll, not so much.

June Van Alstine-Kons
Stevens Point

BEAR FACTS

Three pages of the bear permit point system (“More than just the luck of the draw,” December 2012) was interesting but couldn’t you have added two columns for bear harvest and estimated population in your table? You missed the “bear” facts.

Scott Otterson
Kiel

Reply:

We carried a story in our June 2009 issue (“Bear in mind”) about the black bear population in Wisconsin, how it has spread south in recent years and what we can do to keep human/bear contacts to a minimum. To learn more about our ursine neighbors, check out DNR’s website at dnr.wi.gov and search “bear.”

WILL BOYCOTT PARKS

I previously wrote to Governor Walker in regards to my opposition to the bill he signed for Act 168 allowing hunting and trapping in our state recreational areas for seven months of the year. However, your department has partially made a change as what I read in the Daily Tribune, dated December 12, 2012. Nevertheless it will still put a hazard on those that make use of those parks affected. It is apparent that the idea of such a bill was given very little thought, therefore I will no longer use our parks for camping, as I am an avid camper. I had set my tepee on 23 of your parks and some several times. Further, as a subscriber to your Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine for the past decade, I will not renew it when it expires, or those that I gifted to as gifts. In the future I will camp in the National Forest and the UP of Michigan, and that is unfortunate, for I so enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the Wisconsin State Park System.

Franz Gruber
Nekoosa

Editor replied:

Thanks for taking the time to write. We are certainly disappointed to lose you as a subscriber to the magazine and hope that you will reconsider. We have stories slated for each upcoming issue this year to highlight state trails and parks with various recreational opportunities. Act 168 – known as the Sporting Heritage Bill – has generated a lively discussion and the DNR parks staff has the challenging job of trying to implement a law that was passed by the Wisconsin Legislature. Parks staff recommended that parks not be open to hunting and trapping during the busiest times of the year. They painstakingly reviewed each park map and identified – under the criteria established in the law – what areas would be open and closed to hunting and trapping activities. The Natural Resources Board conducted five listening sessions for the public to comment on the department’s proposal to carry out the law, and the state parks program accepted written and email comments on the draft proposal. After reviewing more than 2,000 comments, state park staff modified the draft implementation plan and now propose closing an additional 2,800 acres to hunting and trapping and moving back the opening day for hunting and trapping to Nov. 15 on portions of seven state park properties. To learn more visit dnr.wi.gov and search “hunting and trapping in state parks” or visit dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/ hunt. DNR has strived to reach a balance of providing additional opportunities to draw people into hunting, trapping and outdoor skills programs, while continuing to provide the wide range of outdoor activities that people have long enjoyed at Wisconsin State Park System properties. The Wisconsin State Parks program has a long history of managing hunting and trapping on state park properties. Deer and turkey hunts have been held for years at many parks, and are a necessary part of managing wildlife and habitat. The parks program also administers the southern State Forests, such as the Kettle Moraine and Point Beach state forests, which have always been open to hunting and trapping.

MAPLE SAP A SQUIRREL DELICACY

This past spring when pruning the orchard at our family cottage on the Menominee River in late March, I noticed a black squirrel (our local color variation of gray) that was moving upside down on a maple tree branch immediately in front of me, and just biting all the small branches he came across. He then ascended the tree, large branch by large branch, biting as he went. The reason was puzzling to me until the next morning, when those bite areas all had maple sap icicles. The squirrel spent half the morning, eating the icicles and licking the site until it stopped, then going to the next one. I then noticed that all the squirrels in the area were on maple trees and taking advantage of this first fresh spring forage, and had never really noticed it in 60+ years of watching squirrels.

Bruce Solberg
Green Bay

LOW-FLYING CROW


Photo of White Finch © Submitted by

This photo was taken on a back road near Milton. The crow was flying low over a harvested cornfield with the shadow on the snow forward of the bird’s direction of flight. Some spread feather formation allows distinction from a blackbird, despite no set object in the photo to give it visual scale.

Annette Clark
Reeseville

VENISON A L’ORANGE


Photo of White Finch © Submitted by

Last spring during the turkey season my hunting partner and I were unable to coax any Toms into range of our ground blind. We did however manage to call in this button buck who seemed to have an affinity for oranges.

Vincent Thomalla
Marshfield

VOLUNTEER STEWARD OF THE YEAR

The State Natural Areas (SNA) program is proud to honor Bill Walz, of Milton, with the first ever 2012 Volunteer Steward of the year award. Walz’s tireless efforts have benefitted Rock River SNA immensely. After a prescribed burn in fall 2010, Walz has cut, treated and removed brush patches dissecting the high quality dry prairie. The state endangered and federally threatened prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya) and other sensitive plants were threatened to be shaded out by the brush. Removing it opened the landscape and increased the viewing range and habitat for grassland dependent species. He collected seeds on site to sow into areas where brush was killed and helped eliminate large areas of invasive spotted knapweed, sweet clover and parsnip.

Jared Urban, conservation biologist with the SNA program describes Walz as “Smart, honest and committed to restoration efforts at Rock River and elsewhere. He has an amazing work ethic and once used 30 gallons of herbicide – which normally lasts several months – in three days of hand-spraying.”

Walz donated 570 hours in 2011 and 2012 and when not working on SNA properties, donates time to Prairie Enthusiast properties in southern Wisconsin and the Nygren Wetlands in Rockton, Ill.