Outdoor Notebook: A meeting of the Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association
We thoroughly enjoy watching deer anywhere we can find them. Each time I mention how much I enjoy them in our yard, Judy gives me a look that indicates she would prefer that they spend time in someone’s yard some distance from ours. She enjoys having a variety of plants, especially hostas, since they tolerate the abundant shade in our yard.
Frequently, when talking with friends, they mention how the deer are feasting on plants in their yards. Then they mention how expensive some of the deer repellent is. We have also noticed that many of the repellents leave a strong odor in the yard after spraying many plants. One day a neighbor drove into our driveway and asked if something had died in our yard.
Judy has been using a repellant that she makes. It doesn’t leave an odor and is relatively reasonably priced. Her mixture is as follows: 1 quart of water, 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of Mongolian fire oil (a flavoring oil used in Asian cooking). Mix the ingredients well with a wire whisk or in a blender and pour into a spray bottle. If the sprayer clogs, strain the mixture before pouring it into the spray bottle. Coat the leaves of the plants. Repeat after a rainstorm. There are other home remedies, but this seems to work for us.
One week ago I attended a meeting of the Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association (WOCA) at Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River. The agenda was filled with topics that are currently being debated across the state. The topic that drew the most questions was presented by a panel of six persons who debated the topic of wolves in our state.
The panel consisted of the following: Rachael Tilseth, who spends a lot of time tracking wolves and presenting information to various groups; Peter David, who is the tribal biologist for GLIFWC; Rob Bohman, who is the chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress; David Mabie, who is a houndsman from Price County and an elected member of the Conservation Congress; Paul Kuhlman, who is also a member of the Conservation Congress and is involved with the Ice Age Trail Alliance; and Todd Schaller, who is the DNR chief warden.
The first question asked was, “How many wolves do you think we should have in Wisconsin?”
Rachel quickly responded that we should have between 1,000 and 1,500. Rob offered that the Conservation Congress had settled on 350. From that point, the discussion moved to a lively exchange about hunting wolves with hounds. Dave spent some time describing the process he uses to train his hounds.
Following lunch, the speaker was UW professor emeritus Tom Heberlein, who provided a very interesting and fast-paced discussion on the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, why it needs to change and how to change the model.
Another interesting presentation was given by Peter Yang, who is a spokesman for the Wausau Hmong Association. Peter pointed out how his culture and ours are very different but are working together peacefully. He said that he was surprised that in Wisconsin one must purchase a hunting license before we can hunt.
I have been a member of the Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association for many years. This conference is an excellent opportunity to renew friendships as well as share some fascinating outdoor stories.
The variety of subjects covered during the conference caused many of us to think about our roles in the outdoors as outdoor communicators.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.