Any time a group of outdoorsmen and women gather one can depend that there will be many stories told and re-told. Recently the Hodag Sports Club held their 38th Annual Banquet in Rhinelander. This was one of those occasions when numerous stories were told. It seems that each time one of those stories was re-told a bit of embellishment crept into the story. Some of these stories may be questionable but let’s try. One caution is that some of these stories could be related to someone you might know. If so that is purely accidental.
The first story took place several years ago during the duck hunting season up-river in the area of the rice beds. A local hunter and a friend were in their duck blind with decoys set out as it began to get light. Perhaps a half hour after legal shooting hours the two hunters, who thought they were all alone in the area, heard some unusual sounds. Out came the binoculars and the hunters couldn’t believe what they saw. There was a fellow in the water who was swimming from one island to the next. He did not have any clothes on and he was singing at the top of his voice as he swam from one island to the next. The hunters sat in their duck blind hoping to not be seen by the singer. After the singer disappeared they even shot a few ducks on that October day.
Two fellows were near a narrow stream one early spring evening as it was beginning to get dark. Unknown to these two fellows a game warden and his assistant were hiding in the woods. The warden had received a phone call that wa
lleyes were being speared in the creek in an area where the fish traditionally spawned. Just after dark the wardens were able to see the violators begin spearing.
The wardens turned on their flashlights, identified themselves as wardens and shouted that the spearers should stop immediately. As the wardens started running down the hill to the creek they slipped on the wet leaves and fell with both of them landing on the ground in a heap. As the wardens were trying to regain their composure the spearers took off running through the woods. They were not seen again and the wardens could not identify the fellows who lost their spearing equipment.
Apparently word got out that the wardens were checking that stream since the spearing there seemed to end.
Those persons who work in the DNR office answering the telephones and talking with the general public agree that the most humorous calls usually involve bears. They are often large enough to cause some damage to property and intimidate the observers.
Deer also often provide interesting stories. One day a receptionist answered a phone and the voice at the other end of the line complained that there was a problem in the area where the caller lived. The receptionist asked what the problem was. The voice at the other end said, “I almost hit a deer with my car.” The caller said that the deer was at least 50 yards from the deer crossing sign. The DNR employee said, “Guess we have to teach deer to read”.
Another caller complained that there was a wolverine in a tree behind the caller’s home. A warden headed out to the callers home and was met in the driveway by the caller who explained that they had heard that wolverines were aggressive and they wanted it removed. The warden said that a wolverine had not been spotted in that area since 1890.
The caller assured the warden that he was an authority on animal identification. As they walked behind the house they watched a porcupine climb down the tree trunk and waddle into the woods.
There are probably as many stories about animals as there are readers of this column. We are fortunate to live in an area where we have many opportunities to observe the many critters that we share the environment with.