By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal
This time of the year is a difficult time to communicate about what is going on in the outdoors with accuracy. One day the weather forecast predicts a big snowstorm will be hitting our area and then after preparations are made for the weather predicted the weather forecasters will indicate that the storm path has changed and there will be a completely different forecast.
Last Saturday the Deer and Elk Committee of the Conservation Congress met at the Mead Wildlife area to discuss the current situation in our state as it related to our deer herd. I certainly hope that my observation is not accurate.
The states of Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana seem to be very aggressive in the fight against Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
THE TIME HAS ARRIVED! What is that time? It is actually past time to get tough. When the DNR was first informed that CWD was detected in several wild deer in Southwest Wisconsin they shifted into high gear to fight it and took some very aggressive action in an attempt to reduce the deer herd in that area of the state. Veteran deer hunters knew that it would be a difficult task to accomplish.
Currently when a deer that is infected with CWD is killed in a specific county it becomes illegal to hunt over bait in that county and all adjoining counties. At the Deer and Elk Committee meeting last Saturday we learned that the number of counties where hunting over bait has been illegal has been reduced. It appears as though the effort to control the deer infected with CWD has been reduced.
As we travel from place to place, usually with some fishing in mind, we notice a variety of tools to help the environment while continuing to enjoy the sport. On our recent trip to Texas in heavily fished areas we saw many collection sites made of PVC pipe to collect fish line. When monofilament fishing line is not disposed of properly it can cause serious problems for wildlife, people, boat propellers and the environment. The Wisconsin DNR has announced that it is coordinating a pilot project to collect this fishing line and recycle it into new products like tackle boxes and fish habitat structures. DNR Service Centers have been designated as drop off sites for monofilament line, including the Rhinelander Service Center at 107 Sutliff Ave. They are also encouraging interested organizations to construct collection sites using PVC pipe to be placed at boat landings.
To return to the subject of fishing in Texas, fishing for Black Drum was touched on in a previous column. Late in our trip we made the acquaintance of one angler, Rick, who was also from Wisconsin. He had turned fishing for Black Drum into a science. He, along with about 15 other anglers, sat on chairs along the ship channel and cast out as far as they could. They would watch the tip of their rods that were held in place with PVC pipe. When the rod tip began to move the angler would set the hook and the fight would begin.
The limit on Black Drum is one per season if the fish was kept. Rick fished every day from daylight to dark. He tended his rods all day long and answered many questions from curious onlookers. During his two months in Port Aransas, TX he returned 135 Black Drum to fight again.
Longtime outdoor enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.