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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.

Our outdoor heritage rivals the nation’s best

By Kurt Krueger

THOSE OF US who long to hunt and fish at every opportunity, even wrestling from time to time with the guilt of being overpassionate about Wisconsin’s most traditional outdoor sports, may find some solace in the fact that we are not alone.

A 2011 survey done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows one in four Wisconsin residents is an angler or hunter, or 27%, far higher than the national average of 16%.

There are 1.2 million sportspersons in Wisconsin who pursue fishing and/or hunting. We have the fourth highest hunting participation rate — at 17% — among all the states.

And the percentage of Wisconsinites who participated in wildlife watching during that year, 48%, is far higher than the national average of 30%. Only Vermont and West

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:47 PM
Great traditions bring friends together
The boys took time from a morning of jigging for deep-water crappies and perch to display some of their catch, which will provide some great family fish fries in the days and weeks ahead.                    —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

WE WERE watching bobbers dance in open holes at the crack of dawn Saturday, braced for winds that were forecast at 25 to 35 miles per hour as a cold front pushed out last week’s unseasonably warm air.

There was no way of telling ahead of time what the bite would be like in those conditions, which means you have to crawl out of bed and put in your time to find out.

I had barely finished dropping the minnow on the second jigging rod when the bobber in the next hole popped and dropped ever so slowly, signaling a hit.

The son of a friend, 13-year-old Luke Loehe of Ripon, grabbed the rod and set the hook. The tip doubled over and the fight was on. From the depths emerged a monster of a crappie, a 13-incher, its golden but ghostly body shining in contrast to the stained waters of the Three Lakes Chain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:52 PM
It’s time to enjoy some of that venison

By Kurt Krueger

IF ENJOYING the fruits of Wisconsin’s wild outdoors is part of your deer hunting heritage, now is the time to dig into those select steaks and roasts that were held back from the cuttings that went into sausage and hamburger.

I’ve always considered winter to be the ideal time for eating from the freezer.  The combination of short days and lower outdoor activity, at least for the scribbler, gives me more time to cook and eat regular meals.

My waistline doesn’t tell the whole story, but I’ve missed a lot of scheduled meals in recent months due to May/June walleye fishing, summer crappies and an entire season of late afternoons and evenings spent chasing deer, grouse and pheasants.

There’s really no venison stockpile this year for most of us, as the freezer isn’t nearly as full as it was just a few years ago — the good ol’ days of North Woods deer hunting. So what we do have needs to be savored.

On a recent weekend night, family and friends continued a tradition shared with many deer hunting camps, putting to use a commercial-type meat grinder to make our own venison burger. We found a good one at Nelson’s Ace Hardware right here in Eagle River.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:43 PM
No doubt we need conservation wardens

By Kurt Krueger

MOST?OF us aren’t keen on being interrupted in our outdoor recreation by someone wanting to check a license, live well or game bag, but it is that possibility that deters many from violating the state’s fish and game laws.

Take fishing and duck hunting for example, where there are strict daily bag limits designed to control the harvest. On the best of days, some rationalize they deserve extra because they had been skunked previously or because they don’t go afield as often as others. 

Monday, December 31, 2012 2:10 PM
A deer herd that should be growing, is not

MYSTERY surrounds the dismal deer hunting seasons that many hunters experienced in recent months, for the herd has not rebounded at a normal pace, despite mild winters.

What’s happening in the deer range of northern Wisconsin is on a lot of people’s minds as the archery season enters its final weeks. There continue to be reports of low

Monday, December 24, 2012 6:20 PM | Updated ( Monday, December 24, 2012 6:30 PM )
Back tags, walleye limits on the 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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:08 PM
One last hunt with the traditional muzzy


By Kurt Krueger

IT WAS the last afternoon of the muzzleloader season that the scribbler climbed into a tree stand one last time, hoping to fill an antlerless tag for friends who cherish the taste of venison.

There was a steady wind out of the southeast cutting across my face, a perfect wind for hunting the swamp edge that was straight south of the tree.

Expectations were high because I had seen deer on previous outings — the exception being last Tuesday when 30-mile-an-hour wind gusts had me questioning my intelligence and sanity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 3:41 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:48 PM )
A grand grouse season is winding down


By Kurt Krueger

ONE OF the grandest ruffed grouse seasons in recent decades was witnessed by many hunters this fall despite what appears to be the first year of a downswing in the population cycle.

In her third season, Gracie, my black Lab, retrieved more grouse than we’ve put in the game bag since the last peak in 1999. And I can guarantee you it was the opportunities we had, not my shooting, that made it happen.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:57 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:48 PM )
Hunt club keeps family tradition alive

By Kurt Krueger

GRACIE turned her nose into the wind as her sleek, black frame slipped through the sorghum — a bird-hunting machine designed to follow whatever path her nose takes to locate hot bird scent.

Suddenly her pace quickened and her tail went into overdrive as she came across the track of rooster pheasant. It was back and forth in the heavy cover for some 20 seconds before the rooster exploded, cackling in alarm.

A single shot from a 20-gauge semi-auto put it on the ground, lightly, but it didn’t matter with Gracie hot on its tail. Moments later, son Steve was all smiles while accepting his first rooster of the day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:27 PM
Pine marten, buck top hunter’s reunion

IT HAPPENED just before 10 a.m. on opening day of the gun deer season last Saturday, deep in the national forest, when an old, gray-faced pine marten ran right under my ladder stand, jumped up on the side of the tree and stared me down eye to eye.

In fact, that marten was so old that its entire head, ears and all, was a white and gray mix. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The fur on its long, brown body had a yellow tinge to it, and its tail was so dark that it was nearly black.

And I wondered, for a moment, if there was any way possible that it was the same animal I photographed on my first deer hunt there in 1989. Probably not, of course, but very old.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 4:13 PM

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