Another successful gun hunting season in WisconsinFor more than 30 years I’ve been hunting opening weekend of the deer gun season in an area near Cumberland.
By: By Mike Reiter, New Richmond News
For more than 30 years I’ve been hunting opening weekend of the deer gun season in an area near Cumberland.
This year was no exception as I joined our group of nine hunters who hunt on private land owned by my sister and brother-in-law. Each hunter has his own elevated stand strategically placed in what each considers a prime location. Every stand has a unique name such as “Midas Stand,” “Crusty’s Stand,” the “Box Stand,” “Peabody’s Stand” and “Buck’s crossing.”
Others are named after the owner such as Ed’s, Matt’s or Dustin’s. Everyone knows the location of the stands and a hunting plan is laid out prior to the next day’s outing. We plan our hunt and hunt our plan. Each hunter also carries a two-way radio with radio checks made on the hour.
Following a late Friday night pre-hunt planning session, where stories were told over a few Leinies’ Originals, everyone was up at 5:30 a.m. for coffee and rolls. The weather was quite chilly that morning and several of the group had heaters placed in their stand to stave off the penetrating cold. Standing in my stand for more than a few hours produced cold extremities and I vowed to have a heater as part to my furnishing next year.
During the course of the morning several shots were heard both near and far and judging from the sound of the shots and direction, I knew that some of our group had seen some action.
Earlier this fall, my stand had been raised four additional feet allowing a greater view of the surrounding woods. Situated on a ridge overlooking a deep ravine, I kept a watchful eye for incoming deer. The snow on the ground was crunchy making the woods very noisy. At 8 a.m. I heard a shot off to my left and a few minutes later two deer walked into view about 60 yards away. As I pushed off the safety and fired, I knew we would have venison for the coming year.
After checking in with the group and getting the harvested deer back to camp, we had a bite to eat and watched the Badgers (Wisconsin) dismantle the Wolverines (Michigan) on TV. After the game we returned to our stands for a few more hours of hunting. It was a very good day.
The next day we were in our stands again well before daylight. It had rained the night before with a slight mist falling and then freezing, covering the trees and ground vegetation with a thick layer of ice. Walking or driving the roads and trails was hazardous but the woods took on a beautiful sheen. It was a very pleasant morning despite the precipitation. A few more deer were harvested by the group as the troops returned to camp to watch the Packer/Viking game.
Over the course of the weekend hunt our group harvested a total of 11 deer. The results of the football games, including the Packer win, made it a great weekend for all but our two “token” Vikings fans. A successful hunt is measured by more than a full deer pole, however. Camaraderie, friendship and deer camp atmosphere makes deer hunting all it can be!
Into the Future
Recently a few disgruntled hunters were complaining about the lack of deer sightings in their area and the illusion that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was mismanaging the deer herd with too many antlerless permits and ineffective programs. Wolves and bear predation were blamed at cutting into the deer herd and something had to be done. Our newly elected governor has said that he would take it upon himself to change the system and appoint a “Deer Czar” that would set things straight.
I consider myself as conservative as anyone who reads this column. In some places there may be too few deer because of a variety of factors. Private versus public land access is extremely important. Baiting and feeding of deer can cause deer to become nocturnal and spend more time in protected areas instead of foraging. There is no question that bear and wolves take their share of fawns and adult deer and need to be managed with their numbers controlled.
There are a myriad of issues to be considered both within and between Deer Management Units. Wildlife managers are educated in the idiosyncrasies of species management. Allowing a political appointee to oversee and direct such a diverse animal species is an insult to sound biology and reason.
If I had a cardiac problem and needed help, I would go to a cardiac specialist and not a senator or political representative to receive treatment. Deer management is an extremely complicated subject. To appoint a single person or group of people who are not versed in the workings of deer management and behavior would further complicate things. It would be a huge mistake.
Anyone who has hunted deer over a number of years knows that deer have not always been as prevalent as they are now. Deer are adaptable residents of the north woods and only recently have spread out into farmland areas and proliferated. The vocal minority of the hunting sector have a very short memory. Back in the not so distant past, it was considered good fortune to receive a party permit which would allow four applicants to harvest one antlerless deer. Deer hunting has changed dramatically and now is not the time to allow politics into the mix!
By Tom Kerr
On a recent cold Saturday in late October, 51 Scouts and parents from Cub Scout Pack 144 in Somerset converged on the Oak Ridge Waterfowl Production Area in St. Croix County to remove buckthorn and box elder from the oak savanna and prairie. The event, sponsored by the Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District, Cub Scout Pack 144 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was a great way to get people to come out and enjoy our natural resources and help combat the spread of invasive species.
Many of these woody invasive species that spread throughout the forest and oak savanna are difficult to eradicate, often impossible unless many people help out. That’s where the Scouts come in. Large numbers of youth with endless energy are just the ticket for cutting buckthorn.
Since buckthorn and box elder will re-sprout vigorously unless chemically treated, a Conservation Corps Minnesota crew also spent a week treating the cut areas to reduce re-sprouting. In an effort to control future new growth from the seed bank in the soil, the Fish and Wildlife Service will be using controlled burns in this area to remove the small seedlings that will probably come up over the next several years.
Although it was hard work, one parent commented that they should be doing something fun like this every week. At the end of the event, the Scouts, parents and volunteers feasted on hot dogs donated by Cub Scout Pack 144 and warmed up before heading home.
Thanks to the Scouts and Friends Group for co-sponsoring this event. If you are interested in learning more about the St. Croix Wetland Management District check out our website at www.fws.gov/midwest/stcroix/.
If you are interested in upcoming Friends events or becoming involved with the Friends Group check out their website at http://fscwmd.org/. The Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District is a non-profit citizens organization dedicated to supporting the natural resources found in the eight county Wetland Management District.