Outdoor Notebook: Catching a monster off the dock
During the time when our grandchildren were visiting, it seemed like one or two of them were on the dock continuously. They caught bluegills constantly and the younger ones even learned how to take them off the hook. One afternoon two of our grandsons were fishing on the dock and the rest of us were on the deck of the house.
We were just getting comfortable when we heard 12 year old, Will Schroeder, yell “Get the net!” Our daughter, Tammy, was looking for a net when I got to the garage. She ran down to the dock and beat me to help. Will said that 7-year old, John, had hooked a large fish that was too heavy to lift out of the water. He asked his brother for help. Will had been fighting this fish for at least five minutes. The boys were of the belief that they had hooked a catfish. I netted the fish that turned out to be a dogfish, which weighed about 20 pounds. Unfortunately dogfish have really multiplied in Boom Lake and the Wisconsin River.
Normally when we catch a dogfish we bury them, but I did not want the kids to witness killing the fish so we released it. Several years ago Gretchen Arneson, our granddaughter, caught a dogfish from the same dock.
The fish in the area of our dock will get a break now until there is safe ice and the kids have some time away from school. I am fortunate to be able to spend so much time fishing with the kids. They seem to enjoy the time they spend in Rhinelander.
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One recent morning I was standing in a checkout line with a couple boxes of shotgun shells. The lady in front of me looked at the purchase I was about to make. She looked me in the eye and said, “Are you one of those killers?” I looked back at her and asked what she meant. She said that shotgun shells were for killing something.
We talked a bit, and I admitted that I am a hunter. However, killing is only a part of hunting. The 20-gauge shells were going to be used with a grandchild to shoot clay pigeons. Our grandchildren enjoy shooting, and we spend a lot of time teaching gun safety.
That discussion was one that I will not forget easily, and have mentioned it to several of our friends.
One day there were several of us sitting at the hunting shack enjoying some hunting stories, most of which we had heard previously. One of the guys said that being at the hunting shack, exchanging hunting stories and getting ready for deer season are all a part of hunting.
A recent issue of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine had an article about “Why Do We Hunt?” We agreed that there are many reasons why we hunt, and those of us who enjoy hunting need to explain why we hunt to non-hunters.
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Several area hunters have been very successful hunting geese. Apparently the goose population is very large throughout the state. During the years when our son was in high school we had many successful times sitting in fields waiting for geese to look over our decoys. These days Craig is hunting waterfowl with his son, Jack.
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Bear hunting began this past Wednesday in Zone C, where dogs are not permitted, and all other zones where dogs are permitted. This year, as a result of the dry conditions in the woods, visibility will be better than usual early in the season. Normally the foliage is so thick early in the season that it is difficult to see deer, bear or grouse. We have many leaves on the ground already, and as these thoughts are being recorded the leaves are falling.
My favorite time of the year is here, and will last for two short months. This is the time when we have to make difficult decisions. Should we go hunting or fishing? If we decide to go hunting, should we look for grouse or should we go bow hunting? If we decide to go fishing, should we look for muskies or walleyes?
Enjoy this time because it will pass quickly!
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column appearing in the Star Journal.