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Cover of Fall 2019 issue

Winter 2019
Volume 43, Number 4

Contact information
For information on the magazine's webpage, contact:
Kathryn Kahler
Associate editor

Readers Write

Want to comment on a story? Send letters to: Readers Write, WNR magazine, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, or email to DNR Magazine. Limit letters to 250 words and include your name and the community from which you are writing.


Photo of black and white dog and magazine cover

We love reading your magazine (the pictures are amazing) and are avid patrons of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – hunting, fishing and camping in Wisconsin state parks, of course with our dog, Trigger, by our side. Caught Trigger on the couch with the lighthouse issue one evening. Perfect photo op!

Larry and Gina Fritz


Thank you for an interesting magazine. My age may be showing. I did find the print in the articles smaller than I remembered and more difficult to read. Green may be a good color to remind us of the environment, but it is difficult to read small black print on the green background paper on (Readers Write) pages. I will have my grandfather's magnifying glasses close by when the next issue arrives.

Mary K. Melrose

Thanks for your observation, Mary, and you are right in thinking the Readers Write type size has been just a bit smaller than the rest of the magazine. We have tweaked the letters presentation for this issue, hopefully making it easier to check out the great feedback we get from readers like you!


Photo of orange, black and white butterfly on a pink flower

As I got to the last page of the Natural Heritage Conservation insert (Winter 2018) and saw the beautiful butterfly, I said, "I've seen that butterfly on my flower bush right outside my front door." I took several pictures of them, as there must have been a dozen going from flower to flower, the same flower (I think) that's in your picture. Anyway, I made an 8x10 copy of the photo and it is in my office where I look at it every day. Keep up the good work!

Jim Pat Patterson

DNR conservation biologist Jay Watson replies: The butterfly in the photograph is a painted lady butterfly. Some years they are pretty abundant in Wisconsin and other years almost absent. The reader's photo is dated from 2017 and that was a great year for painted ladies in Wisconsin.


Photo of man holding a trout in his hands at water surface

I am a communications instructor at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, and I wrote a sonnet about the stages Wisconsin anglers often go through: They want to catch the most fish, then they want to catch the largest fish, then they want to catch the most difficult fish. Through it all, however, they practice catch-and-release and keep their trophies only in their memories.

I am sending you this poem with the hopes that you might print it in your fine magazine. I have subscribed to Wisconsin Natural Resources for years, and it is a very informative, useful magazine. It has helped me plan weekend excursions while teaching me about the natural goings-on around our great state of Wisconsin.

Jonathan Walter Iwanski

An Angler's Cycle

The novice aims to bring to hand the fish
of greatest number, only hoping
that high Pisces hears and answers his one wish
and tells him where His blessed goals are at.
With time behind, the next aim is for size,
for quality's own definition tends
to change with he that hopes to think he's wise –
the standards sometimes change from what to when –
as the next stage for anglers comes to pass:
not number, shape, or any such like goals;
but just how difficult it was to catch
this finned creature making him feel whole.
Although I do not grasp to kill and eat,
I think my trophy always for to keep.


Photo of small black spider

Photo of iridescent green insect on leef

I have a healthy respect and a cautious admiration for spiders. I came across this small spider, only 7 millimeters long from abdomen to eyes. It is all black with no distinct marking, four dimples on the back and a reddish tinge near the joints of the legs. On the underside is a lighter brown area and a small whitish semi-circle. Having seen black widow spiders out West, this one looks similar but has none of the red markings. The closest possible match I can find after searching internet bug ID sites is a false widow or rabbit hutch spider.

I also photographed a small wasp and after much searching I believe it is a cuckoo wasp. I'm 60 and spent my life outdoors and never heard of one before. It is almost a metallic-looking green and blue and seems to like my passionfruit plant the best. Did my inner bug-nerd get the correct IDs?

Red Simpson

Extension Entomologist PJ Liesch responds: The spider is from the same family as black widows (family Theridiidae) and appears to be one of the species from the genus Steatoda (sometimes these have been called "false widows"). I suspect this particular spider may be Steatoda borealis, a common species for our area, although we have a few species from this group in the Midwest. The wasp is indeed a cuckoo wasp from the family Chrysididae. With the beautiful metallic green color, they often aren't recognized as wasps at first! As director of the UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab, I invite readers to contact us through our website – UW Madison Department of Entomology, Insect Diagnostic Lab – about having insects or arthropods identified. The website has instructions for submitting digital images or physical samples to the lab.

Last revised: Tuesday June 04 2019