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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

April 2007

Readers Write

In Support Of Responsible Trapping
Can't Justify Trapping
Badger Vs. Wolverine
Aging Sticks
How Trees Grow

In Support of Responsible Trapping

Thanks for the recent article on trapping (Furs, inside and out, December 2006). I took the trapping education course just so I could learn how to use traps for controlling nuisance animals around my house in the country. The course is well worth a person's time if they want to use traps responsibly. I believe trapping is a humane means of controlling animal populations in the absence of predators. Diseases like mange hardly seem humane.

Bruce Pankratz

I would like to thank you for publishing the informative story, Furs, inside and out. All too often these days, trappers and trapping are portrayed by the press with a biased and uninformed spin. The truth is that trapping is alive and well in Wisconsin and all over the continent, and your article serves to remind us of the important role that trappers are playing in the management of furbearing animals all over the state. Kudos to your magazine, and to the Wisconsin Trappers Association, the trappers of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for their collaborative efforts to keep trapping traditions and furbearer populations alive and well in our state.

Keith Dewars

Can't Justify Trapping

Just as a growing body of scientific research and evidence suggests the general intelligence, sentience, emotional and sensory responses of wild and domestic Mammalia, birds, fishes and even insects is far more sophisticated than previously assumed, your magazine features yet another maligned article on the virtues of trapping. Given the many catastrophic pressures exerted on modern wildlife populations, promoting such pathological "sports" is socially and morally reprehensible. Wisconsin's vast wildness is forever gone and with it went many occupations once essential to subsistence; trapping sentient creatures tops that list.

Erik Brynildson

There are valid reasons to trap and many enjoy its challenges, whether one's primary interest is sport, supplementary income, research, wildlife management or nuisance animal control. Trapping skills are important tools for wildlife managers, and law enforcement staff who oversee this legitimate, regulated outdoor activity ought to understand each aspect of that activity. We certainly support the agency's position to offer this training to its managers and budding wildlife professionals.

Badger vs. Wolverine

The December 2006 article Across the trestles of time tells the very interesting story of stocking fish by rail, and of the pending restoration of the rail car. It is great to see historic artifacts restored for the benefit of future generations. I believe, however, that saying the Badger #2 is the country's only surviving fish stocking car is in error. I recently visited the restored Michigan Department of Conservation car Wolverine, displayed at the Michigan hatchery in Oden, MI

Thurlow M. Hausman

The Wolverine at the Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center is a replica of the car used from 1914-35, including crew quarters and two touch-screen kiosks that relate Michigan fisheries history. The exhibit includes nature trails, renovated trout stream, a stream viewing chamber and daily tours throughout the summer. The site is located on US-31 about one-half mile west of Oden and approximately six miles east of Petoskey, on the northwest shore of the lower peninsula.

Aging Sticks

John Koch's article about the 1,800-year-old stick (A stick in time December 2006) really caught my attention. I have whole trees emerging in a clay bed about five feet down in my Wisconsin River shore. I keep thinking this was an eddy during glacial outwash time. Is carbon dating the way to confirm this? And how would I go about that.

Allan Fields

John Sours, DNR fisheries biologist who helped the story author responds: The initial site investigation was conducted by Dr. Douglas Faulkner of UW-Eau Claire as part of a fluvial geomorphology study of the North Branch of Gilbert Creek in Dunn County and comprehensive waterway restoration and stabilization project. Essentially, an ancient re-emerging woodland here was buried by 12 to 14 feet of sediment. The tree species included very large spruce, tamarack, hemlock, white cedar and white pine that were not generally present in the area at the time of European settlement. These species dominated in the post-glacial era, so we presumed the trees must be quite old. Carbon-14 dating showed the trees were 1,700 years old, plus or minus 70 years. The samples were analyzed by a Miami, Florida firm.

How Trees Grow

In trimming a tree, do the bottom branches get higher or farther away from the ground as the tree grows or do they stay the same height? It seems to me that as a tree increases in girth, it likely also increases in height somewhat, even though it mainly grows from the top.

John Steele

DNR Urban Forester Ian Brown explains tree growth as follows: The short answer is that stem tissue grows radially rather than vertically, so no, a low branch will not get higher in the crown as the tree grows. Trees grow in two ways, from the tips of the roots and branches, and radially outward within the trunk, giving the tree its characteristic rings. We must be very careful when dealing with branch tips and leaders, because damaging them can significantly alter the growth rate and form of the tree. Old pasture trees used as fence posts decades ago are good examples of how trees grow radially, not vertically. These trees are now girdled and have grown around the wire fences, but the fences remain three to four feet off the ground.