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Kurt Krueger

In the Outdoors

Kurt Krueger can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or P.O. Box 1929, Eagle River, WI 54521.

Outdoor traditions are meant to be passed on
Son Steve shows Alexander, age 2, the fish that was pulling so hard on his pole before it appeared from a hold in the ice. -- Photo By The Author

THE DEBT for being introduced by my parents to fishing and the great outdoors comes with an easy payoff, one that requires simply passing along one of Wisconsin’s greatest family traditions.
And so it was on a warm afternoon in late December that I got a chance — the privilege, I should say — of taking my grandson, Alexander, on a short but memorable outing for his first fishing trip on hard water.
Being just a little better than 2 years old, he’s not ready for a long or serious adventure in cold weather. So we were thinking something quick, on a warm afternoon, might be just enough to plant a seed.
As son Steve and I got out the auger and started drilling holes, you could tell the youngster was intrigued by the dark water, the perfectly round holes and our promise that fish not only lived under the ice cover — but that they might take a bait.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:48 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:50 PM )
Final retrieve, in snow, closes another chapter
Gracie holds a snow-covered bird she retrieved on the final outing of the season on a mild December afternoon. --Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

IT WAS on one of those warm, calm afternoons just before Christmas when the urge hit to leave work while there was still some daylight left, a rare two-hour window of opportunity to get outdoors.
Ice fishing would normally be the choice, but the equipment wasn’t in the grab-and-go condition it should have been. So I opted for a walk in the grouse woods with Gracie, our youngest black Lab.
It’s seldom that the scribbler hunts ruffed grouse after winter arrives for good, but snow levels were poor and most balsam trees still protected bare ground — a great hiding spot for grouse.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012 7:16 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 03, 2012 7:22 PM )
Jury still out on Stepp's claim of 'new DNR'
Whether long-term conservation of resources gets enough priority in the
By Kurt Krueger

WHILE THE open-minded attitude of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Cathy Stepp is a breath of fresh air, any claim that the agency is doing a better job one year into her tenure is premature at best.
In a brief end-of-year column for the media, Stepp claims “the new DNR” is getting noticed in a positive way. And that got me to thinking about what actually transpired the past 12 months.
Stepp’s first press release after her appointment hinted of politics beyond usual. She talked more of creating jobs than protecting resources. In fact, the way it read, I wondered if the release came from the Department of Commerce.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011 7:42 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 27, 2011 9:09 PM )
Fight for logging, young forests gains ground
The young forest habitat found in the county forest is sorely lacking in the national forest, to the detriment of many species.  --Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

THE FIGHT to preserve what’s left of the aspen/birch habitat in the national forest has more purpose than ever before, seeing at least 40 species of birds and animals are dependent on early successional forest.
There’s been a lot of talk in this space about the importance of clear-cutting and the regeneration of young aspen for ruffed grouse and American woodcock, but the need to protect and enhance these young habitats goes much further.
Gary Zimmer of Wabeno, senior biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS), gave an update on the organization’s work during a meet-and-greet session earlier this month in Eagle River.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:24 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:27 PM )
There were more deer, but tags stall growth
Deer hunters looking for bucks had a slightly better season this year, but a high antlerless harvest will curb herd growth in 2012. --STAFF PHOTO

AN EARLY analysis of the 2011 deer seasons shows that, without a doubt, the deer herd is recovering following two mild winters and three seasons of buck-only hunting throughout much of Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties.
There’s ample proof of that, including positive reports from archers who report seeing more deer activity overall and a telltale increase in the buck harvest during the nine-day gun season — the most accurate indicator of changing population trends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 9:46 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 14, 2011 3:46 PM )
At 14, the birthday girl ran down a rooster
Katie, age 14, holds big rooster that had been winged and gave her quite workout, but she was no worse for the wear.  -Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

A SPECIAL event occurred just after Thanksgiving that can only be recorded here, for there is no other venue with which to document the joyous moment when an aging retriever showed she’s still got what it takes.
It was just three days before Katie turned 14 that we were back in Laona chasing pheasants, the scribbler and son Steve partaking in what has become our traditional black Friday hunt.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 9:08 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:41 PM )
Mentored hunting is about family bonding
With encouragement from Grandpa Warren Volk and her dad, Charlie Volk, Charlie Volk, Carlie shot her first buck at age 10 in 2010. Since then, she has harvested five more bucks in Wisconsin and Michigan.

THERE IS ample proof that Wisconsin’s hunting families have taken advantage of the state’s new mentored hunting program the past two years, and some of the most glaring success stories can be found right here in the North Woods.
The Badger State was the 29th  to allow anyone age 10 or older to go into the woods with a parent or other adult, without a hunter’s safety certificate, to find out what hunting is all about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:38 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:44 PM )
Two brothers, two bucks in the national forest
They weren't trophies, a spike and a fork-horn, but the Krueger brothers scored on bucks with a traditional hunt in the national forest Saturday.


By Kurt Krueger

OPENING day found me sitting in a ground blind within the “Twin Cities” area — Alvin and Nelma in Forest County, that is — and the weather started as one of the most comfortable openers on record.

For the second straight year, I was looking at an entirely unfamiliar landscape when daylight arrived shortly before 6:30. The change is about making use of the scouting that was done with a shotgun in hand and a black dog out in front since mid-September.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:44 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:05 PM )
Buck fever takes over as the big hunt arrives
Heavy-antlered bucks with large, 'rutiful' necks are what hunters are dreaming about this week as the gun season opens Saturday.
By Kurt Krueger

OUTSIDERS not familiar with Wisconsin’s deer hunting tradition would probably be shocked to learn of the time and effort that goes into preparations for the nine-day deer hunt that opens this Saturday, Nov. 19.
Why, they would ask, do hundreds of thousands of hunters coordinate everything from scouting and stand construction to fulfilling their shopping list, planning pre-hunt parties, clearing their work schedules and getting permission to miss school or other previous commitments?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 7:49 PM
Doubles on grouse are worth recording
Good double opportunities are rare in the grouse woods and connecting is even more difficult, but  magic happened Sunday.  --Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

WE LEFT the truck just before 7 a.m. Sunday, a stiff and somewhat damp breeze already developing out of the southwest under overcast skies that were supposed to produce light rain later in the morning.
Gracie, my black Lab, was leading the way on an old hardwoods two-track as we struck out in search of ruffed grouse. Anticipation rules the moment on November mornings without snow, but there’s no sure way of knowing how the weather will impact bird movement until the first ones are found.
The hardwood thickets and berry brush we had to pass through to get to decent habitat usually

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 7:56 PM

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