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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.

Winter sports: surefire cure for cabin fever
Mike Krueger of Winneconne hoists a 28-inch northern pike, a memorable event from a sport that makes winter go quicker.      —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

CABIN FEVER may not have much impact this year if the mild winter continues, but even light snow levels can take a toll on people who don’t find a way to enjoy this colder season.
Short days, snow-covered yards and icy sidewalks can be depressing to some, especially if they are locked up at home for days on end.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:26 AM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:22 PM )
It’s mighty hard to say goodbye to a friend
This is the last time you’ll see my father-in-law, Lyle Austreng, on these pages. He died last week. He will be sorely missed.  —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

IT’S NEVER good news when the scribbler has to remove the photos of a certain individual from the newspaper archives, and this time the bad news hit really close to home.
One of the best and closest fishing buddies I ever had, died last week. His photo has graced this space many times the past 30 years, and he was usually holding some big walleye or northern pike as yet another fishing tale unfolded.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:26 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 07, 2012 3:01 PM )
Northern pike gaining ground in popularity
As more and more people learn how to filet the bones out of northern pike, they are discovering just how good they taste. — Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

THE LOWLY northern pike, that scrappy fighter that was once labeled “snake” and cursed by many as a nuisance fish with too many bones in its flesh, is finally gaining popularity as the staple fish of winter anglers.
I can’t remember another winter when more people told me of their pursuit of pike and how much they enjoy eating them. One of those anglers said he never bothered with northerns until someone showed him how to remove all the bones, including the Y-bones.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:25 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:28 PM )
Let's hope the 'new DNR' remembers its legacy
Forty years of resource protection, including natural shoreline habitat, will hopefully guide future actions of the

By Kurt Krueger

PRESERVING wildlife and special places has been a major focus of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for 40 years, ever since legislators passed Wisconsin’s own Endangered Species Act.
Throughout 2012, the agency plans to celebrate its legacy of caring for the state’s natural heritage. On its website, the department will showcase videos, slide shows and the story behind many of the restoration efforts.
That’s all great, except that the scribbler still isn’t convinced that in the years ahead, the “new DNR” will pay the same attention to key environmental factors like water quality and wildlife habitat.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:05 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:08 PM )
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 )

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