Submitted by Danielle Jaeger
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GREEN BAY MARSH SANDHILLS
Phragmites management efforts by the Department of Natural Resources offer new habitat in the Green Bay marsh for a variety of wetland organisms. In mid–May, directly in front of our house nearly 50 feet from shore, a pair of sandhill cranes built a nest from nearby vegetation. Although somewhat exposed to waves from the northeast, it was a substantial effort. Shortly after, two eggs were visible from shore.
Incubation proceeded, but water levels in the Bay were rising from spring runoffs. On June 20, strong northeast winds accompanied by a seiche rapidly moved more water into the marsh. Gradually the nest began to float away and disappear with more wave action. Judith Lintereur, daughter of former career DNR wildlife biologist LeRoy Lintereur, decided we needed to help this crane project along and waded out toward the former nest site now in about three feet of water. We reconstructed the nest, shored up the new nest and kept the eggs warm. We left the nest with the two eggs tucked in and waded back ashore. About 30 minutes later, our neighbors called and said "they're back on the nest!" On June 26, the first chick hatched and about 24 hours later, the second chick appeared. The precocial chicks were soon swimming and feeding with two very attentive parents. As a rule, it is not good to interfere with wildlife nesting efforts, but in this case, we had a positive outcome.
BACK IN THE DAY
Just thought I would send a couple photos from "Back in the day." I caught the bear [in this photo] in 1948. Around this time I trapped 21 bears in two seasons. I trapped before I was 15 years old. I believe the trapping picture was around 1950. I remember a program where small beaver were trapped and shipped live to Idaho to populate Idaho with beaver. My name is Mitch Babic and I used to live in Mercer. I am now 96 and living in Villa Marina Rehab Center in Superior. My daughter reads me some of the articles from your magazine and I really enjoy them.
WOLVES WERE NOT REINTRODUCED
As an "outdoorsman," I have been looking, for a long time, for a qualified answer to this: who came up with the idea of reintroducing wolves in our state? What was the projected benefit? I'd like answers. So far, no one seems to have any idea. Someone please enlighten me!
Wolves were not reintroduced to Wisconsin in the same way as other species like whooping cranes, trumpeter swans and elk. Wolves are native to Wisconsin and roamed all of Wisconsin in numbers of 3,000 to 5,000 before our state was settled in the early 1800s. Mostly because of bounties enacted in 1865 and continuing until 1957, wolves were extirpated from the state and only a few hundred remained in the lower 48 states, mostly in Minnesota. Wolves were given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1974 and Minnesota's population began to increase and disperse into Wisconsin. Monitoring in the 1980s and 90s showed the population continued to grow and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wrote a management plan in 1999 that set a delisting goal of 250 wolves. Wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List in January 2012. In December 2014, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to return the gray wolf to the endangered species list restoring its protected status. For more information about the status of wolves in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "wolf management."
POWDER HILL TOWER A HIGHPOINT
We received your August 2014 issue from a friend and enjoyed it. But I am wondering why the article about highpointing ("A quirky excuse to roam Wisconsin") did not include what is supposed to be the second highest "highpoint" in southeast Wisconsin — the Powder Hill Observation Tower at the Pike Lake Unit/Kettle Moraine State Forest near Hartford. We visited there a week ago. This is yet another beautiful state park.
We're glad you enjoyed the park and the story on highpointing. We can't mention every high point in a story of that length but we're happy to print your observation to let others know about the treasure that you found.
While fishing one morning in July on a lake in Washburn County, my father, 76–year–old Ed Whitlock of Green Bay, was reeling in what he thought was the first fish of the day. But to his surprise there were two largemouth bass on his favorite lure the "Big O." One fish was 13 inches the other was 15 inches. Both fish were released. He has been fishing for over 50 years and this has never happened to him before.
GOING THROUGH A PHASE
Thought you might be interested in this frog, caught and released on Finger Lake in Vilas County. Although it has a tail, it was a great jumper and was extremely hard to catch. Thank you for a great magazine.
The frog in the photo is a green frog. Because it still has such a long tail and is likely still living in the water, this guy is still considered to be a tadpole. Once they emerge from the water onto land, that life stage is called metamorph or froglet. They can still keep a small tail stub for a while, even after they have emerged onto land. The DNR's EEK! website for kids has this explanation: "Baby frogs or toads are called tadpoles. Many different kinds are found in Wisconsin. Some turn into adults in two weeks, while others take two to three years. If you find a large tadpole in the pond it is probably a young green frog. Small black tadpoles found swimming in large groups could be called ‘toadpoles,' as they'll turn into toads. Many species of frogs can be found in rivers, especially backwater areas or bends in the river/stream, but the bullfrog tadpole is the largest of all Wisconsin tadpoles and the strongest swimmer. A tadpole eats only plants, especially algae, while a frog eats insects and small animals, even tadpoles."
While turkey hunting this spring I decided to change my location and walk through some young red pines to set up at a different spot when I noticed a black shiny dot that just didn't seem right. It turned out to be the eye of a woodcock hen on its nest. She never moved and accommodated my quick photo. Lucky that my "hunter's eye" was switched on!
I subscribe to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine and enjoy it very much, in particular the pictures. I have attached a winter picture of my lake property with pier from January 2014. It is Simpson Lake in Marinette County, near Crivitz. It's really captivating with the sun coming through the trees. It shows how the "dead" of winter can be a beautiful time of year too.
WHY ISN'T 50–POUND LAKE TROUT A STATE RECORD?
[Editor's note: Reader James Mattson sent us a photo from the July 1941 issue of Sports Afield, which we were unable to print. It shows a man holding a large lake trout with the following caption: 50–lb. Lake Trout. "When you come up to Bayfield, I hope you catch one 50 pounds," says J. P. O'Malley of Bayfield, Wis., holding Wilfred Boutin's record 50-pounder, taken off Brownstone Island, in Lake Superior, 20 miles northeast of Bayfield. The fish weighed exactly 50 pounds, was 47 inches long and 32 inches girth. Bayfield, gateway to the Apostle Islands, will hold its trolling tournament June 29.]
Here is a picture of a 50–pound lake trout caught off Bayfield, Wisconsin's Brownstone Island. The Wisconsin record lake trout in the Wisconsin fishing regulations for 2014-2015 is only 47 pounds. How come the 50–pound fish is not the state record?
Karl Scheidegger, head of outreach and marketing for DNR's fisheries management bureau, provided this response: A record fish can only be recognized if the angler submits a record fish application. We can only speculate, but maybe the angler who caught the 50–pound fish didn't file the proper paperwork or maybe there were circumstances that called into question the legality of the catch (all record fish must be caught by legal methods). The fish was caught so long ago that we don't have verifying information on the catch. I would say that over the past 20 years, there have been reports of a handful of fish that would have bettered the existing state record for that species IF an application would have been completed and received by the Department of Natural Resources.
Scheidegger adds that if you think you or someone you know has caught a fish that might be a state record, there are a number of things you should do:
KUDOS FOR OCTOBER ISSUE
Congrats to you, your staff and freelancers for the quality and scope of the October 2014 issue. There was something for everyone and loved the added links. Please keep up the programs and content on getting kids involved in outdoor activities and education. Also loved the family stories and those about women and careers in outdoor sciences. This issue should be receiving many awards.
DON'T DO AWAY WITH IN–PERSON REGISTRATION
I enjoyed reading "Back in the day" in the October issue. Wisconsin deer hunting is a huge tradition that most people (hunters and non-hunters) recognize as a part of our heritage. As the author writes there have been changes during the years including the replacement of wool red plaid clothes by blaze orange, party permits have been replaced by group hunting and deer draped Chevies have been replaced by SUVs. Other changes include that hunters can hunt out of trees, ground blinds and in some cases, small houses. Group hunting rules allow a hunter to shoot a deer for another hunter if he or she is close by.
Another change that may be coming is the replacement of registration stations with electronic and/or call-in registrations. It's sad to think about the loss of the experience of the physical registration at local service stations and businesses may no longer be used. The registration stations have become gathering spots where hunters gather and view deer being registered. Some of the registration stations, like Otter Lake Bait Shop, north of Stanley, photograph every deer and bear that is registered and put the pictures on their website. The station serves as a funnel of news where hunters and non-hunters can view the pictures of animals that were taken and know when and in some cases where they were killed.
Group hunting rules created a big loophole for hunters to shoot more than one deer. The proposed elimination of physical registration stations creates an even bigger loophole wherein not all harvested deer will be registered prior to butchering and additional deer may be shot. I urge the Department of Natural Resources to reconsider and continue the tradition of local registration. It's a rich part of our hunting tradition that is viewed as a positive not a negative. Many have said "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." Well in this case the physical registration of deer works well and is an enjoyable experience. To do away with it takes away from our great hunting tradition and creates the opportunity for many violations.
CRAWFISH BOIL, LOUISIANA STYLE
I grew up in Wisconsin and knew crayfish (or crawfish) only as fish bait. However, after living in Louisiana for nearly 50 years, I know they are delicious to eat and that crawfish boils are a big thing in the springtime. I could not help laughing at the picture on page 3 (contents) in the October 2014 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine that showed a large mound of corn and potatoes with a few scattered crawfish. Web search shows pictures of what a Louisiana crawfish boil looks like — mounds of crawfish with scattered corn and potatoes. I do enjoy reading your magazine.
In June of this year I was fishing on a small lake near Minocqua, when a great blue heron flew over and landed on the front of my canoe. I waited for a few minutes thinking it would immediately take off, but it stayed long enough for my sister–in–law to snap this photo. Meanwhile, I pulled up my stringer of fish and found a small dead perch which I tossed into the water near the heron. Only then did the bird fly from the canoe, scoop up the fish, and fly to the lakeshore where it proceeded to eat it. After that, the heron flew to a nearby pier and continued to watch me fish.
We named him Hank Heron!