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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

February 2008

Readers Write

Crehore Admirer
More Pattison Praise
Battle Bluff Fact Check
Great Lakes Ballast Exchange
A Tough Meal to Swallow

Crehore Admirer

I just read another amazing article by Dave Crehore (The century run, October 2007), and looked up several previous stories by him on your website that I've read in the past in the magazine. He is a superb writer with a special gift for telling a story, a meaningful one with a message. Is there an anthology of his work available? I would love to know more about him and be able to refer to his work. He really is one of the truly great nature writers, like Sigurd Olson and others, with a keen insight into history and the human psyche as well.

Paul Bolton
Riverwoods, Ill.

Dave has been working to interest a publisher in a story anthology and we have hopes he will hit pay dirt soon. Like you, we really enjoy his works. Dave's career includes almost 30 years as an information officer for the Department of Natural Resources in Madison and Green Bay. Besides his writing accomplishments, he's an avid hunter, angler, photographer, musician and a crack shot at skeet. He's written more than 30 stories for us including 13 reminiscences of growing up in the Manitowoc area. Dave still writes regularly and we have more pieces on tap.

More Pattison Praise

How pleasant! I had a good cup of coffee this morning with an old friend. As the first employee to arrive at work to brew the coffee, I waited while it slowly perked and picked up the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine lying on a break room table, expecting to flip the pages and look for pretty pictures. My flipping stopped when Behind the Pattison (August 2007) grabbed my attention. I tend to get caught up in history of areas I live in.

On the next page the beautiful layout and illustrations begged me to sit down and read the article. Three paragraphs in, I found myself thinking about the talent of the writer, so I had to flip back a page and to my surprise I knew the author. As a co-worker at Wausau Insurance, Drayna's publicity pieces and articles always demanded attention. I'm glad he continues to use his talents to expose the beauty of Wisconsin.

Superior holds wonders unknown to people who have not had the opportunity to live here year round. Many areas continue to be available for young people to use as their own private spaces for imagination and growth.

Oh, by the way, I kept reading and got insight into other wonders I look for every year: the "hummingbird moth" and the dragonfly. I won't consider your magazine just a pretty picture book anymore.

Josie Rice
Superior

Battle Bluff Fact Sheet

Your photograph of the Battle Bluff Prairie State Natural Area (back cover, October 2007) outshines your historical reference to "a Black Hawk War skirmish fought nearby." Such a reference for this area is misleading. The author [Brenda] Haugen, Black Hawk's biographical notes and other records, including military survey records, describe the Native American band's plight in the Bad Axe River Valley, approximately four miles north of Battle Hollow, as a massacre of starving, emaciated women and children (hardly warriors) being killed by gunfire from the Wisconsin shoreline and from military boats on the Mississippi River as the Black Hawk group tried to cross the river to get to Iowa...hardly a "skirmish." The military called it "war," but it was "genocide." Check your history.

Dennis L. Buckett
Gleason

Great Lakes Ballast Exchange

I have been thinking of our Great Lakes' water levels – could it be possible for a foreign ship to exchange their ballast water for some of our Great Lakes water, only take more of it on the way home? Maybe that is also why we have all these different snails, fish and weeds in Lake Michigan?

Mrs. Frank Hoffman
Aniwa

Our concerns about ballast exchange during shipping have to do with the possible introduction and exchange of invasive organisms including plants, small water insects and disease-causing organisms. Proposals to regulate ballast water exchange aim to get oceangoing vessels to exchange their ballast water while at sea and before they enter the territorial waters of another country – in our case, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. A DNR-funded study recently concluded that a barge pulled alongside a ship to collect, store and treat the ballast water appears to be feasible and cost effective. The water is then treated using filtering screens and ultraviolet light disinfection to kill organisms. We have not seen articles or professional journals that suggest ballast water exchange is a significant contributor to changing Great Lakes water levels.

It is also possible that recreational boaters contribute to this problem by hauling their crafts from lake to lake. We encourage all boaters to be equally careful to avoid transporting plants, water and animals from one lake to another by thoroughly cleaning boats, trailers and emptying bilge and bait containers. That's the thrust of our campaigns at boat launches these days to clean up boats and discard bait rather than take the chance of spreading problems to other waters.

Changing water levels are more likely influenced by changes in weather patterns, water use, evaporation rates and amounts of precipitation. It certainly appears that longer term climate change is a factor in these transitions, but Great Lakes water levels have always had cyclic fluctuations.

A Tough Meal to Swallow

The December article about eagles (Bald and beautiful, December 2007) arrived just after I had an unusual encounter with one. I was out hunting in the last week of fall turkey season, and had set out decoys in two groups. The one to my east was all hens, and one to my west had one jake, with a hen twenty feet away.

It was a nice fall day and I had been there a couple of hours without seeing any turkeys. It was about 11:30, and I was just thinking of eating my sack lunch when I looked to the west and saw an eagle just as it finished a power dive, grabbed the lone hen decoy in its talons and flew off with it! I was sure it would realize the mistake and drop the decoy, but for as long as I could see it with my 10 power binoculars, the decoy was still in its talons. My jaw dropped in disbelief as I watched the eagle flying and flying and flying, and not releasing that decoy. It made me realize that eagles must often feast on adult female turkeys, but I imagine that this one was pretty disappointed when it finally stopped to dine on its "catch."

In the afternoon 17 hens came to visit and socialize with the hen group of decoys, and I had to be very careful to bag just one, as they were so close together. REAL turkeys make wonderful eating! By the way, my wife brined the hen for Thanksgiving dinner and it was terrific.

Nick Johansen
Platteville