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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.

New rules: gut shot to deer management
By Kurt Krueger

THE TWO main problems the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had with its deer management system, setting goals too low and struggling to provide accurate deer population estimates, could get a lot worse now that some of the deer czar’s craziest recommendations have been adopted.

Last week, the Natural Resources Board approved a package of regulations that will reconfigure the state’s deer management units, discontinue numeric population goals and do away with in-person deer registration requirements.

They were chosen items from the recommendations of Texas researcher James Kroll, aka the deer czar, who was contracted by Gov. Scott Walker to review the system and make suggestions on how to improve deer hunting in Wisconsin.

Agency officials tossed out a lot of those suggestions,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:29 PM
Will deadly crossbows take the sport down?

By Kurt Krueger

SOME?PEOPLE are questioning whether archery in Wisconsin, a sport acclaimed as the last bastion of genuine fair-chase hunting, will suffer some sort of long-term ethical deterioration and slowly lose its popularity now that high-tech crossbows have been legalized.

That was the gist of an article in The Economist magazine last month, a copy of which was forwarded by longtime reader Jim Flanders of Mississippi and Three Lakes.

The story made it clear that while hunter numbers are slowly dwindling in Wisconsin and across the nation, bow hunting has experienced the opposite with 10-fold increases the past 40 years.

Credited with the turnaround are many issues,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:53 AM
Rhinelander businessman sentenced in district court

John Henricks III, 43, of Amherst and formerly of Rhinelander, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to 10 years, one month in prison for using the U.S. mail to defraud several insurance companies.

Henricks pleaded guilty to the charge Aug. 14.

At sentencing, Crabb found Henricks criminally responsible for using his prior business, Custom Collision, a body repair shop in Rhinelander, to defraud 19 auto insurance companies out of more than $1.3 million by staging accidents and creating false work invoices.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:50 PM
Fishing: a great tradition worth sharing
By Kurt Krueger

BRILLIANT would be an appropriate word to describe the first anglers who invited friends and family to the North Woods to spend time on the water.

The people who started that tradition did an enormous favor for those of us who love the great outdoors, providing the perfect excuse for an escape from work and the routine of daily life.

So it was last weekend on our annual post-New Year’s ice fishing adventure with son Steve and his old basketball buddies from UW-Stout, a group of 30-something youngsters who cherish time with the boys.

Some came a day early to take advantage of the warm-up but by Friday evening,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:12 PM
Walleye plan needs more than two years

By Kurt Krueger

DON’T BUY that extra chest freezer just yet, even though the state’s new Walleye Initiative promises to improve walleye populations in many lakes where natural reproduction has failed or is far below sustainable levels.

Despite what might be a 10-fold increase in the stocking of large walleye fingerlings that are 6 to 8 inches in length and a significant improvement in survival rates, there is no telling whether the program will be funded beyond its current two-year stint.

The budget-bill initiative provided an extra $870,000 in funding for 2013 and an added $1.3 million for next year’s stocking efforts. It allows the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to buy minnows for the walleye to eat and allows them to put more pounds into fingerling production.

With short notice, the agency went from the production of

Tuesday, January 07, 2014 12:14 PM
Anglers welcomed brief holiday warmup
By Kurt Krueger

IT?SEEMED like an eternity trying to drop a crappie minnow, hook and tiny split shot down a slushy hole into 30 feet of water, the wind stinging the back of wet hands all the way.

And finally, when the slack line all disappeared and the bobber reached the water, the darn thing kept going as if cracked or water-logged. What kind of luck on the first panfish outing of the winter?

But then I saw the submerged bobber stop, and pop a couple of times, indicating it might be a fish messing with me. So I set the hook. Fish on!

After what again seemed like forever,

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 9:56 AM
Walleye limits, deer, logging on wish list

By Kurt Krueger

IN THE HEART of the Christmas season, it is time once again to formulate a “wish list” in regard to some of the nagging issues that impact those of us who live to spend time in the great outdoors.

It’s the season of miracles and as we celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever known, it can’t hurt to ponder how we might help improve the future of Wisconsin’s outdoor traditions.

Part of that improvement might be a change in personal responsibility, for each of us plays a role in resource conservation. We can all strive to join more habitat groups and write more letters to public land managers.

The scribbler has more

Monday, December 23, 2013 11:52 AM
It was a surprisingly grand grouse season
By Kurt Krueger

SNUBBED fairly abruptly on favorable weather for chasing birds, grouse hunters got no more than two months of decent conditions this fall but found surprisingly good numbers in the second year of a downswing in the population cycle.

What a difference a year makes.

Last fall we hunted birds into mid-December with little or no snow on the ground,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 1:09 PM
Hunters deserve a better northern herd
The capacity of does to rekindle the northern deer herd is stripped away every time the state sells hundreds of antlerless deer tags to both archers and gun hunters, trying to maintain low goals.      —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

IF?YOU support keeping a fairly pathetic deer herd in the?North Woods, then the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is performing beyond expectations — right on the money.

Though the deer herd hadn’t recovered much beyond the pitiful goals of 25 deer per square mile in Unit 36 and 20 deer per square mile in Unit 35, those units went from buck-only to what the department calls a limited antlerless harvest this fall.

Even a lingering winter that had biologists concerned about stress, winterkill

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 1:56 PM
Rooster pheasants, big grins go together
Bill Weber and son, Noah, display some of the roosters they chased down with Gracie’s help on a hunt last month.                —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

THE?WIND was gusting to 30 miles per hour with wind chills near the zero mark as we readied the cold-weather clothing, guns and a dog on a brisk November afternoon, too late to cancel or question our sanity.

Nothing could stop us now from chasing pheasants at Heritage Hunt Club in Laona. The drive was over. The birds were already in the field. We were all in.

And it was no surprise that the scribbler, a dog named Gracie and hunting partners Bill Weber and son Noah of Eagle River had the farm to ourselves.

Who hunts in these conditions?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 12:03 PM

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