Our grandchildren are heading back to school soon. A week ago we had the good fortune to have the last group visit. Their objective was to fish as much as possible, with some swimming thrown in. One neighbor referred to the kids as polar bears one day when the air temperature was much cooler than the water.
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Have you ever seen a timber wolf close up? If you have, reflect back. What memory has stayed with you as you recall the sighting of a wolf at close range? I remember how long their legs are. Some are almost as tall as a deer. The other thing that I recall is their penetrating eyes. It appeared as though it was staring right through me.
Perhaps the next question should be: “How do you feel about the wolf hunting season?” This topic may even generate arguments as emotional as a discussion about deer hunting in northern Wisconsin. There are people who are completely against a wolf hunt. Then there are people on the other side who would like every wolf dead. Somewhere in the middle of these two opinions provides a starting point for discussion.
Also to be considered are the rumors surrounding the topic of wolves in Wisconsin. There are some individuals who swear that they saw DNR trucks bringing wolves into northern Wisconsin. DNR employees swear that did not happen.They firmly state that the wolves have migrated into Wisconsin from neighboring states.
No matter how they got here, we have more wolves in the state than the habitat can handle, and the population must be reduced before a serious situation takes place. Occasionally we hear from people who have had wolves stalking them as they walk in the woods. There has not been a documented case of a wolf attacking a human in Wisconsin. Two cases of an attack by a wolf on a human have been documented in the Northwest Territories.
As the wolf population in our state increases and hunting them is not permitted, they will lose their fear of humans. That may develop into a situation that we would like to avoid. Each year the state is compensating farmers for their losses of livestock due to wolf attacks.
My concern is the quota for this year. In my opinion, the quota for the first wolf hunt in modern times is too low to begin reducing the wolf population. No, I have not applied for a wolf tag and do not plan to apply. I believe that the most efficient way to bag a wolf is by trapping, and I am not a trapper. It will be interesting to hear the accounts from those who will chose to hunt wolves this year. In excess of 13,000 persons have applied for a permit to hunt wolves in Wisconsin.
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A request has been made that all state agencies simplify their rules and procedures. Keep that in mind as we review the coming hunting seasons.
The archery deer hunt will run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 until Jan. 6, 2013. The youth deer hunt will be Oct. 6 and 7. The gun-deer hunt will be from Nov. 17 until the 25th. The muzzleloader season will be from Nov. 26 until Dec. 5. The statewide antlerless hunt will be from Dec. 6 to the 9th. Then there is a CWD Holiday hunt from Dec. 24 until Jan. 6, 2013.
The ruffed grouse season in this area, zone A, will be from Sept. 15 until Jan. 31, 2013. Believe it or not the crow season ran from Jan. 19 to March 20 and will open Sept. 15 until Nov. 15th.
The woodcock season will be from Sept. 22 to Nov. 5. Mourning Dove season is from Sept. 1 to Nov. 9.
The fall turkey season is from Sept. 15 until Nov. 15 statewide. And, in zones 1 to 5, Nov. 26 until Dec. 31.
To accurately determine the waterfowl seasons, check with the DNR. These regulations are in a state of flex.
The bear hunting seasons are also complex. In Zone C, where dogs are not permitted, the season is from Sept. 5 until Oct. 9. This hunt is with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs. In all other zones where dogs are permitted, the seasons are from Sept. 5 until the 11th with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs. An additional bear hunting opportunity runs from Sept. 12 until Oct. 2 with the aid of dogs, the use of bait and all other legal methods. From Oct. 3 until the 9th, bear hunters may only hunt with dogs.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column appearing in the Star Journal.