BY ROGER SABOTA
Special to the Star Journal
Recently and over the past 20 or so years mention has been made in this column about our walleye fishing trips to Canada and the daily shore lunches that we enjoy. Often after mentioning the shore lunches some of our readers have asked for more detail about those delicious sounding shore lunches.
We use a large cast iron fry pan that is suspended from a tripod. Our pan was made in a garage shop and is adjustable from two to four feet above the fire. Yes, we have always used a wood fire for heat.
A healthy amount of vegetable oil is heated until a slice of potato sizzles and then the remaining potatoes that are sliced to about one-fourth inch thick are added to the pan. The pan is occasionally raised and lowered to prevent burning. After the potatoes have turned silvery in color the sliced onions are tossed in.
When the potatoes and onions are “done just right” and are a golden brown we remove them and lay them on paper plates to remove some of the grease.
Then it is time to turn our attention to the fish. The fillets are coated with a batter made from a packet of “Shore Lunch” mixed with a can of beer and fried to perfection in the hot grease.
As the week progresses most of the guys are satisfied to eat two fillets for their lunch. Some of our group says that one part of the trip that they look forward to the most are the shore lunches.
On a different topic, one recent weekend Judy and I headed to the Hayward area where the DNR was sponsoring a workshop for the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) committee and other interested citizens. The purpose was to provide information on habitat management assistance to landowners interested in managing their property for wildlife. A great deal of helpful information was provided about how to provide and encourage natural food sources on their property that would encourage deer to be attracted to and remain in that area. DNR Biologists are available to help landowners with this project.
In one of the sessions presented by Dave McFarland, DNR carnivore specialist, he covered a lot of information on large carnivores in Wisconsin: wolves, bears and mountain lions.
As most of us are aware, mountain lions are rare in Wisconsin. The first sighting was confirmed in 2008 and there has been one confirmed sighting every year since except 2016 – so far.
According to McFarland, the mountain lions observed in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin have migrated from the Black Hills of South Dakota, where the area has become saturated, therefore some are moving east looking for a mate. Frequently the mountain lion “sightings” turn out to be bobcats or even dogs that have been seen on blurry trail camera photos.
There is a story about the journey of a specific mountain lion’s walk across America that was documented through matching physical evidence of the lion such as hair, feces, urine or flesh with genetic codes. “The Heart of a Lion,” by William Stolzenburg, published in 2016 is one that we are looking forward to reading.
Although the presence of wolves in Wisconsin is a very controversial subject, the information that the Wisconsin DNR has gathered through monitoring of the wolves by radio telemetry, observations from aircraft, winter tracking, public observation and the newer satellite tracking is very interesting. Presently the USFW has appealed the court decision that prevents states from managing the wolves in their state.
McFarland also presented an interesting history of wolves in America, specifically Wisconsin, and how newer satellite based monitoring of wolves can provide an accurate account of the movement of collared wolves. For instance, one collared wolf that was spotted in the Rhinelander area is now in Ontario, Canada.
The increase in numbers of bears in Wisconsin is not news to many Wisconsin residents. According to McFarland there were about 5,000 bears in Wisconsin in 1980. Now there are about 30,000. Many of the bears are moving southward. According to statistics, Wisconsin harvests more bears than any other state and has the highest hunter success. It is my hope that my bear hunting experience this fall will be one of those success stories.
Longtime Northwoods outdoor enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.