Wisconsin Fishing

Going Ice Fishing in the morning. This lake has an aerator in it.

Another one of my favorite things to do during the year is fish. I enjoy both summer fishing and ice fishing but, I would have to say that I enjoy ice fishing more. Typically I fish for pan fish, walleye, and northern in the Winter. Then pan fish, walleye, and bass in the Summer. Summer fishing is fun because it’s so nice out, you can ride around in a T-shirt and shorts and go for a swim if you wish. I enjoy summer fishing a lot because of the weather. But the fishing, normally doesn’t go as good. One reason I don’t do as good in summer fishing is because I normally just go to lakes that are in the area instead of driving an hour to get to a good lake. I don’t like going out on really big lakes because my boat is only 14 feet long and doesn’t take waves all that well. Also, I’m out there fishing because of how nice it is outside. I don’t care if I only catch a few because I still have a great time just being out there. Ice fishing to me is more fun because you get to set up your own little camp. Whether we are using a portable shack or a permanent one, we always have a good time. We’ll drill a bunch of holes, set up our tip-ups, get in the shack and start jigging for pan fish. But, it doesn’t take long for the music to start playing, cards start shuffling, and the food starts to cook. Ice fishing, we get to just relax if fish aren’t biting, and have some fun. We bring a portable single top stove and lots of meat, cheese, and snacks to eat. We’ll sit out on a lake all day long and have a blast

Duck and Goose Hunting

Sunrise on opening duck in 2018

One of my favorite times of the year is duck and goose season as it brings much more than food on the table. It brings me joy to wake up at 4 a.m. as long as I’m going hunting otherwise, I wouldn’t be leaving my nice warm bed. My morning typically follows this format. Get up, meet the guys in town for a donut and hot chocolate. Head to the field or pond with headlamps and lightbars to set up before sunrise. Rushing to get the last of the decoys set up and the blinds stubbled into the surroundings. It all becomes worth it once we settle into our blinds and get to watch the sun peak over the horizon. I tell you what, sunrises beat sunsets nine times out of ten. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes and birds start to fly around and the hard part starts. Trying to get the birds to come into your decoy spread. We use a series of calls and flags to try seducing the birds. Some will commit to landing without hesitation and others will circle our spread time and time again until they finally decide that there is something suspicious that they don’t like. Getting the birds to come in and almost land is what it’s all about. You feel a rush of adrenaline as the birds draw closer and finally you pop out of your blind and take your shot. It’s important to know how many duck and geese you have because you don’t want to shoot more than your limit. For geese, you’re limited between 2 and 5 geese a day depending on the time of year. Ducks, you’re limited to 6 a day with certain restrictions to gender and the type of duck. After a few hours of hunting we will pick up and clean the birds we got.

My friend had just tore his ACL about 2 weeks before this, that’s why he’s using crutches

One way that I love to eat duck and goose is bacon wrapping them with jalapeno peppers in them and cooking them over some hot coals, so they get a Smokey flavor to them. I am looking forward to this year’s season for many more memories and tasty snacks.

Turkey Hunting

My brother in law, Grant’s turkey season was this last week; him, my brother Craig, and I went out behind our family farm to try to fill his tag. We were getting out to the field a little later than we wanted as the sun was already starting to come up.

The sunrise of Saturday 4/27/2019

In return the turkeys we wanted to set up near were already out of their roost and in the middle of the field. We decided to sneak down the heavily brushed in fence line to get in a better position to call the turkeys in. As we moved down the fence, my brother stopped us and pointed into the middle of the field that we were in and we saw 2 turkeys running away from us. We were so focused on the 5 in the other field that we didn’t see the 2 right in front of us and now they had busted us. So, we kept moving down to get to an opening in the fence line where we set up. I crawled out about 20 yards and put our Hen and Jake decoy out and snuck back to the fence. We started to call to the turkeys but no matter what call we used, they didn’t gobble back and didn’t seem interested. They were about 150 yards away and weren’t coming any closer. Just as we were about the figure out a new game plan, Grant gasped, “there’s a bear!” Likely, a year and half year-old black bear was walking the fence line right in our direction. Grant and I waved our hands in the air and spoke with a stern voice to the bear saying, “get out of here.” The bear realized we were there when it was only 30 yards from us and ran back down the fence line and crossed into the field where the turkeys were. Then, all the sudden two deer came running out of the swamp and the turkeys got up and flew to the next field away. At this point we realized that we weren’t meant to get a turkey that day and picked up our stuff hoping that another day we’ll have better luck. Lots of action for an unsuccessful hunt.  

Earth Day

Here is a link to a few other facts about Earth Day

I suppose since it’s Earth Day today, that it would be fitting for my topic to be such. Though I didn’t do any clean-up outside this year on Earth Day as the weather wasn’t cooperating, every Spring I walk the ditches that surround all of our crop fields and pick up trash in the ditches. In total, I usually walk around two miles of ditch and typically fill two or three large black garbage bags with trash. If that doesn’t seem like much consider this, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, “Currently, there are 4.12 million miles of road in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration, including Alaska and Hawaii.” Just imagine how much trash is sitting in the ditches across America if I can pick up three trash bags full in a two-mile stretch. Typically, there is a lot of fast food bags, pop/beer cans and bottles, cigarette buds, tobacco tins, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and candy wrappers. On the occasion, there are chunks of old tin, bad tires, bags of leaves or other garbage, and even an old dart board. You have to wear gloves picking ditches though because you don’t want to touch something that was touching someone’s mouth. Or you may find needles or other things that you definitely don’t want to tough bare handed. If we didn’t pick up our ditches, the trash could flow down the ditch during spring when the snow melts and whenever we get a substantial rainfall into the nearby creek and contaminate the water. In addition, the water that we drink from our wells, is the same water that flows into the ditches and down in the ground so it’s important to pick up anything that could contaminate the water. I know picking up just two miles of ditch isn’t much but it’s better than nothing. I just hope everyone else is doing their share and picking up any trash in their ditches. Happy Earth Day!

Culver’s special Earth Day “dirt cup”

P.S. If you didn’t grab a “dirt cup” from Culvers today, make sure to mark it down on a calendar for next year because they are delicious!

Making Maple Syrup

Every year, my family and I go up to our hunting land in Barron County and make homemade Maple Syrup. There are many steps to making the sweet sugary substance that we all love on our pancakes, waffles, and ice cream. We start out by tapping Maple trees with a power drill and metal taps. Often, the sap will immediately start to drip off the tap, so you must hang the bags on the tap to collect the sap. For the sap to “run” up the trees, the outside temperature must get below 32° Fahrenheit at night and get above 32° Fahrenheit during the day. Once the sap runs, we drive around in the woods and collect the sap by dumping each bag into holding tanks that we have on our four wheelers. Once we have sap from the trees, we start to cook the sap down to evaporate the water from it. Maple sap typically takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. This year the sugar content in the sap has been better than usual as we have been getting one gallon of syrup from about 30 gallons of sap. Our pan that we cook on holds up to 70 gallons of sap, but we don’t fill it up all the way because once it starts to boil, it would spill over the edges. Our pan is wood fired in our homemade cooker made from concrete blocks and metal framing. As we cook down sap, we continuously add more until there is enough to take about 10 gallons of syrup off the cooker. We can tell when the sap is almost syrup by dunking a wooden paddle into the liquid and hold it up to see if it “hangs.” We then use our hydrometer to test the saps relative density, once it is just under 1.37 grams per milliliter, we pull the pan off the cooker and dump the syrup into a tank where it will cool off. Finally, we take the syrup home, reheat it, run it through a few strainers and bottle it into quart jars. I enjoy making maple syrup because it is fun to spend time in nature with friends and family.