River Currents

by Free Speech on April 21, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI-4/13/09

Spring Turkey Hunts
by Gary Engberg
©2009 Gary Engberg Outdoors

During the last few weeks there have been numerous mentored youth turkey hunts sponsored by the National Wild turkey Federation, the Wisconsin DNR, and many local conservation clubs. This past weekend, April 11 and 12th was the statewide Spring Youth Turkey Hunt and I checked out some of the areas registration stations to talk with and photograph some of the youth hunters and their parents or hunting mentors. On Easter Sunday, I registered turkeys at the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City, Wisconsin which was one of the few registration stations open in the area.

It was refreshing to see so many young hunters out in the woods with their parents, grandparents, brothers, and friends who accompanied them on the youth hunt. I keep talking about how we have to keep introducing today’s youth into the outdoors and its many different facets and opportunities. Events like this one and the others that have been held around the state are what we need to continue the great outdoor heritage and tradition that we have in Wisconsin! Thank you and congratulations to all those who took a young hunter into the outdoors and continued to introduce another generation to the outdoors.

Bryce Breunig from PDS with his father, Darrell and Bryce's tom.

Bryce Breunig from PDS with his father, Darrell and Bryce's tom.

In my conversations with the hunters and their mentors, I was surprised to hear from most that they saw and heard many turkeys. The last two winters have been difficult for turkeys and last spring was wet causing a sub-par hatch of young poults. But, turkeys are an extremely hardy and have proven that they can survive most Wisconsin winters in most of the state.

Most of the mentors did the calling for the youth hunters and it was difficult to determine who was happier, the mentors or the youthful hunters. They all had great stories from their day or two of turkey hunting and I think that most of these youths will continue to hunt and learn to love the outdoors as so many of us do. We do have a future with today’s youth and the key is getting them into the woods and fields with the proper instruction and education needed to become a good outdoors person.

Most national organizations like the National Wild turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, National Professional Anglers Association, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the many local clubs, groups, and organizations have programs for the youth of today. They have realized that the youth are the future for most of the outdoors with the constant loss of thousands of “baby boomers.” The boomers are no longer participating in the outdoors for various reasons which include age, health issues, loss of hunting partners, and the loss of hunting land. The healthy alternatives that these groups offer to the young must be encouraged and promoted to keep today’s youth away from drugs, alcohol, and the many unhealthy activities that children are confronted with every day. There is still time and room for computers, the Internet, Facebook, and Twitters to name a few other activities that the young are spending their time with these days. But, there must be equal time and the opportunity to be introduced into outdoor activities that can become a life long passion and leisure time hobby. Remember that the younger a child is introduced into outdoor activities the greater the chance that these activities will become a major part of their leisure time and carry over for their entire lives. Congratulations to the many young hunters and those who took the time to take them into the field and woods on Easter weekend! You are investing quality time for the future of hunting and the outdoors.

This coming Wednesday, April 15th, the first of the six turkey hunting periods opens in Wisconsin for those who applied early for their permit or bought one that was left-over after the initial drawing. There still were permits available for those who want an extra permit or failed to apply earlier. As of April 13, 2009, there were still permits available for the last two time permits. Period E (May 13-17) and Zone 1 had 941 permits left and Zone 3 had 52 permits for the same time period. Period F (May 20-24) had 7,790 permits remaining in Zone 1 and Zone 3 had 6,695 permits remaining. If you want to hunt there still is the opportunity for permits and if you do a little research there are many public hunting grounds with good turkey populations in both Zone 1 and 3.

I hope that you have done your scouting, practiced your calling, gotten permission for the land you hunt on, and sighted your gun in at different distances. Gary Brock, the gunsmith at the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City, Wisconsin can help you sight in your shotgun. This is important so that you know how your gun patterns at different distances. Good luck and be safe.

Catfish Stephenson with a nice river walleye.

Catfish Stephenson with a nice river walleye.

The walleyes have finally spawned with the warmer weather and sun that we’ve experienced the past week. Water temperatures have climbed into the mid 40’s allowing most females to deposit their eggs. I’ve had some decent fishing with some legal walleyes not to mention the smallmouth and northern pike that are out of season till the opening on Saturday, May 2nd. I caught a walleye on Sunday that was hit by a pike as I reeled the fish in. The only thing that I saw was a nice pike over 40 inches as I handed my rod to friend, Catfish Stephenson, and ran for a net and camera. The northern jumped on Catfish and coughed up a 17 ½ inch walleye that was hooked on my jig. I never saw the walleye with it being totally inside the pike. The jump must have dislodged the walleye as the pike swam away unhooked and unharmed. The walleye was still alive with only a few teeth marks on its side. I released it unharmed. Talk about a good fish story and as it always goes; we failed to get this once in a lifetime photo!

Fishing will continue to improve and this week looks promising with warm temperatures and cloudy skies. It’s not too early to begin looking for crappies in back bays with warmer water from dark bottoms, little wind, and some wood structure. Once the water temperature hits 50 degrees, the crappies will get active. Fish for them with 4 pound test monofilament, a good float like Thill’s, a quality small jig or hook, and a lively crappie minnow. Casting the old reliable “Pinkie” jig under a float with a minnow stills works well!

Check my website at www.garyengbergoutdoors.com or You Tube (under Gary Engberg Outdoors videos) for some videos from the Youth Turkey Hunt and fishing on the Wisconsin River. There also are photos of some of the weekend’s successful turkey hunters. Look under Pictures and Youth Turkey Hunt. Have a great turkey hunt!

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