Outdoor Notebook –Waiting for a bear tag
By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal
In an effort to inform the general public the DNR sends out information to those persons who are elected to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. About two weeks ago Judy said, “You will want to read this!”
I sat down at the computer and was able to read something that made me both angry and questioning the values of some people. The screen showed two teenage fellows holding guns. They had been arrested for shooting deer out of season. Not only had they shot deer out of season but had been driving the farm roads in southwestern Wisconsin shooting deer out of the truck windows and leaving them there to rot in the fields. In my mind there is no punishment severe enough for these fellows. They had shot over seventy deer!
In addition to a fine they had their hunting and fishing licenses suspended for three years. My thought is that if they wasted deer in this manner they will most likely not worry about not having a license to hunt or fish. Unfortunately there was no jail time handed out to these young men. If you see anyone who is ignoring our hunting and fishing regulations please call the DNR Hot Line. (888-936-7403)
During the past few weeks we have had frequent questions from hunters who wondered how our grouse population will be this fall. It appears that the population is stationary and on the upswing. I am optimistic based on the time that I have spent in the woods in the past month.
One big game species that is on the increase and is providing some thrills for hunters is the black bears. Every bear hunter who we have talked to who is serious about bear hunting has been seeing bears.
One hunter told us that he has passed up five different bears because he is waiting for a larger one. As a result of their patience some huge bears have been shot.
Wisconsin is regarded to be one of the top bear hunting states in the nation. It is my hope that I draw a bear tag in 2016. My last kill tag was ten years ago. Several bear hunters have told us how difficult a dead bear is to drag. We have helped several friends drag their trophy. What we have found to work well is to put the bear in a plastic sled and slide it out.
If bear hunters think we have waited a long time for a kill permit we recently heard a story while in Colorado about a hunter who had waited 27 years to get a kill tag for a big horn sheep in the area of Yellowstone National Park!
Hunters who kill bear or deer when the temperatures are quite warm should make it a priority to get that animal into cold storage to prevent the meat from spoiling.
We have spent the past week in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado watching elk. It is interesting to watch the large herd bulls as they keep their cows together and drive off smaller bulls. Each evening we would be part of one of the large groups of observers found in numerous areas of the park. Many of the observers come prepared to tail-gate as they watch and photograph the numerous bulls with their herds of cows and calves. As the temperatures cool down the elk move down from the high country into the meadows of the park which makes it possible to observe many more elk than are visible during the summer months.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.