Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Canadian Fishing Adventure

A Canadian Fishing Adventure

Are you looking into booking your next fishing trip? Check out this video from OB Outdoors, where Kyle Sorensen takes you on a Canadian Adventure he surely won’t forget!

Book a trip with Wilderness North HERE!

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Opinel N 12 Explore Knife

Opinel N 12 Explore Knife

Are you looking for a knife that will carry you through every hunting season, every fishing season, and in every outdoor condition? Well, look no further with Opinel Knives! These knives are built to take you there without any worry. At a great price point, you don’t want to miss out on this deal!

Blade and Sharpness

With a blade coming in at 3.94 inches, it is hearty and delicate enough to handle large cuts on game and small cuts for any of your needs. The blade is made up of Sandvik stainless steel, which gives the blade a rock solid and rugged design. This blade is anti-corrosive because of its chrome design, and features a .40% carbon content with an excellent cutting edge.

Functional Design

The Explore is not only a knife, it is a survival tool. With its functional design the knife’s handle contains a variety of different tools you need. The handle has a built in fire starter works in whatever weather condition you may be in. Included in the knife’s handle is a whistle for emergencies as well as a cutting hook feature that helps with any of your hunting or fishing needs. The handle is made out of a fiberglass-reinforced polyamide that can withstand shocks, humidity, and extreme temperatures from -40 degrees to 176 degrees fahrenheit. Included in the knife is a Virobloc safety ring, which is fitted to all folding knives in the Opinel line. This feature was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955 and has been a staple in safety and efficiency in the Opinel knife line.   


If you are looking for a great outdoor tool for either yourself or just a gift for a friend, this is the knife for you. The N 12 Explore knife comes in two sets of colors and also has an engraving feature for you to personalize each knife you purchase! Opinel also offers a great line of hunting and kitchen knives that every outdoor enthusiast must check out!


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Friday, 16 March 2018

Can Our Ash Trees Be Saved From Emerald Ash Borer?

Can Our Ash Trees Be Saved From Emerald Ash Borer?

By: Lawanda Jungwirth

Last summer, I spent an hour a week walking around in circles on baseball diamonds staring at the ground.  People probably thought I was a crazy person.  What I was really doing was bio surveillance.  No, I wasn’t wearing a hazmat suit or carrying high-tech spy equipment.  I needed only my eyes and a pencil and paper to record what I saw.

I was searching for nests of cerceris wasps, a non-stinging – to humans anyway – native wasp that makes its nest in disturbed sandy soil.  Baseball diamonds that are only occasionally groomed are the best undisturbed sandy soil around.

The wasp nest looks like an anthill, but the entrance hole is larger, about the diameter of a pencil.  What’s important about these wasps is that they prey on emerald ash borer, the beetle that is systematically killing ash trees across our state and nation.

I am part of Wisconsin’s new First Detector Network, whose goal is to empower members of the public to take action against invasive species by providing training and volunteer opportunities.  One of WIFDN’s projects is to search for and monitor cerceris wasp nests at approximately 500 baseball diamonds across the state.

Cerceris wasps sting emerald ash borers which paralyzes them.  Then they carry the borer back to their nest in the sand.  The wasp buries each paralyzed borer in a separate tunnel, lays an egg, and closes off the tunnel entrance.  When the wasp larvae hatches, it feeds on the borer.

Occasionally, a paralyzed beetle is rejected and tossed out of the nest for some unknown reason.  Spotting and collecting these rejects is the most important part of the WIFDN study.  EAB are not usually detected in an ash tree until it is too late – the tree is done for by the time the damage shows up.  But rejected beetles can be found around wasp nests much earlier than that, giving people a chance to save their ash trees if they so desire.

Cerceris wasps prey on beetles other than EAB.  Three other beetles of concern destroy oaks and other valuable trees.  While these three have not yet been found in Wisconsin, monitoring the wasp nest rejects will provide an early warning system so that we don’t have another pest like EAB sneaking in and killing off our trees before we see them coming.

So why should we care if our ash trees disappear?  We have plenty of other trees don’t we?  Well, ashes make up almost 7% of Wisconsin’s forests.  So if we lose 7% of our trees, that doesn’t sound too bad.  But that doesn’t mean every forest is 7% ash.  Some forests will be entirely wiped out while others with lesser or no ash trees will be unaffected.  In addition, many pretty, shaded, tree-lined residential neighborhoods (where 5.2 million ash trees live) will find themselves in blazing hot sun.

That 7% is about 834 million trees.  Besides providing shade and beauty, the seeds of ashes provide food for birds and small mammals, wood ducks nest in their trunk cavities, deer and moose browse on black ash twigs, and one hundred fifty species of butterflies and moths are supported by ash trees.

EAB has been detected in 29 Wisconsin counties, mostly in the southern half of the state.  These counties are under quarantine; meaning it is illegal to transport firewood from them to non-quarantined counties.  Be responsible and help prevent the spread of EAB by procuring your firewood near to where it will be burned.  Even though it is still legal to move firewood from and between non-quarantined areas, it’s probably a bad idea to do so.

The Wisconsin DNR has written guidelines to help landowners minimize EAB damage.  See  For the most current Wisconsin information on emerald ash borer, have a look at this website:  Here you can learn what an ash tree looks like, what emerald ash borer and the damage it does looks like, where in Wisconsin it’s been found, and how to manage it.

If you suspect EAB on your property, report it to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by calling the Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-800-462-2803 or submit a report online here:

There is a small ray of hope for ash trees.  Along with the cerceris wasp, three other natural enemies of EAB from China have been released in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.  Two of those species have established populations.  There are some chemical and microbial insecticides that can protect ash trees from EAB attack.  Some are available to homeowners but others need to be applied by a certified, licensed pesticide applicator.  Of course, the treatments are expensive and the use of chemicals comes with its own set of issues.  Still, they may have a role in protecting some valuable forest trees.


CROWN DIEBACK:  The top of the tree has dead branches.

EPICORMIC SPROUTING:  New branches or leaves growing in strange places, like from the base of the trunk or low on the tree.

BARK SPLITS:  Vertical splits in the bark.  Peek inside and you may see a serpentine-shaped design caused by larvae feeding under the bark.

WOODPECKER FEEDING:  Woodpeckers high in the tree are trying to get at emerald ash borer larvae that are under the bark.

D-SHAPED EMERGENCE HOLES:  Emerald ash borer adults leave a 1/8 inch diameter capital “D” shaped hole.

S-SHAPED LARVAL GALLERIES:  The larvae wind back and forth under the bark as they eat (and poop) carving a shallow serpentine pattern inside.

LARVAE:  Cream colored, up to 1 ½ inches long with two tiny pinchers at the end.  The body looks almost jointed, with a series of tiny bell-shaped sections placed end to end.  You’ll find them feeding under the bark.

ADULTS:   Bright metallic green, about the size of a grain of cooked rice.


EAB arrived first arrived in the U.S. in Detroit in 2002 in packing materials from China.  Studies have shown that on their own, the beetles would have traveled less than ten miles from the port in Detroit by now.  Unfortunately, humans have assisted in their spread across the United States by moving infested firewood.  It was thought that emerald ash borer would stop its westward march at the Great Plains for lack of trees.  And it did.  Except that there is a large infestation in the Denver area.  All it took was one person transporting firewood to Colorado to start an infestation that could annihilate every ash tree in the Denver area.  The point?  DO NOT TRANSPORT FIREWOOD!


Sure, but split and leave the wood near where you cut it down for at least two summers before moving it, because emerald ash borer can continue to emerge from the wood for two years after cutting.  After two years, you may move it, but still only within the quarantined area.

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Monday, 12 March 2018

Weekly Morning Trail Mix 3-12

Trail Mix

washington state buck

Joe Moodie shot this giant whitetail during the Washington state rifle hunt after chasing it all throughout the archery and muzzleloader seasons.

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Friday, 9 March 2018

Puppy vs Started Dog

Puppy VS Started Dog

By: Jesse Dieckmen

When it comes time to look for your next best hunting companion, the question you must ask yourself is, “Do I get a pup, started, or finished dog?”  Depending on your situation there are both pros and cons to each. Whichever way you decide to go, there are some questions you should think about.   Let’s start with looking for that cute, cuddly, and vivacious puppy.  

There are many obvious reasons as to why you would want a puppy.  They are cute, cuddly, and for sure the wife and kids will love them at first sight.  While these aspects of a new pup are all true, sometimes people forget about ALL the responsibilities of a puppy.  Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious and troublesome.

First, there are the late nights or, what I sometimes like to call, Hell Week.  When you first bring your puppy home, you will need to crate train the little guy or gal.  Immediately, all you will hear is barking, which needs to be corrected.  This will continue until the puppy is comfortable in its new surroundings and is used to being away from its mother, brothers and sisters. Some pups will find their place and comfort in the family faster than others.  Patience and understanding are essential in the crate training process.  Over time, the pup, and soon to be dog, will find comfort and will likely seek out its kennel as a place to relax, sleep and feel safe.

Then comes the always the dreaded, potty training.  This cringe worthy situation will surely make your wife very unhappy and take some of the “cuteness” out of the new family member.  While it is a temporary setback, it is a fact of bringing home a pup.  The best thing to do is catch them in the act before the “accident” happens and let him or her outside. By getting him/her outside and, “cutting off the problem,” the dog will start to associate relieving him/herself outside on the grass, or at the very least in nature (instead of the carpet or wood floor).  Timing in training is one of the most important things.

The next habit to break is the chewing on everything, including your kid’s toys, shoes and whatever else is in the puppy’s path.  Puppies have a natural urge to chew on things.  Again, it is essential to “catch them in the act” to prevent and stop this habit.  A firm, “NO,” will likely be enough as the pup is wanting to please, and seeing that this is unacceptable, will make for a quick behavior change.

And, besides the inherent physiological setbacks, let’s not forget about cost.  The vet checkups, shots and the puppy food are all part of the equation. Add it all up, and a new puppy can get costly.

One of the last issues is time.  Everyone’s situation is different at home.  Having a puppy can be very time consuming.  For many, letting a new puppy out every two to three hours is not an option.  You may have to hire someone to do this for you for a few weeks in order to get through this phase of the dog’s life.  It is hard to put a dollar amount on time, so for each person this cost is different.  The question becomes, is the time/cost worth it in having a pup?

Now, after all of that, you may ask, “Why would you want to start with a puppy?”  The number one reason is the bonding time with him or her.  This bonding time is a great thing and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Puppies tend to grow on you and you most definitely grow on them after all of the trials and tribulations that come with the pup’s upbringing.  (Plus, they are, darn cute). This bonding aspect is what most people love.

While bonding time is very powerful and has a great and lasting effect. The follow-up question then is when to start training? I would say 90 percent of people I work with have a young one that they want to train themselves or have trained by a professional.  They all ask what age is best to start training. I usually say, depending on the pup, about 6 months old is a good time to start.  (We will discuss and expand on more training topics in future issues.)

So, if you are in the decision phase of a pup vs. started/finished dog, be sure to consider the fore mentioned points in weighing the benefits against the complications of buying a puppy.

Now, if, due to time constraints, health, finances, etc. a puppy is not what you have in mind and want to skip all of the “growing pains” that come with it, a started or finished dog might be your best bet.

First of all, what’s the difference between a started dog and a finished dog?  Well, a “started dog” is past the puppy stage, has basic obedience, and is likely force broke- meaning that he/she can retrieve to hand.  These “started dogs” have the ability to do short mark retrieves at about one hundred yards and inwards.

A “finished dog” is one that has seen it all, “been there, done that.”  He or she has done blind retrieves, is steady to wing shot position birds, wipeout birds, breaking birds, and more.  So basically, they are at a master hunter level or in the field trial world; Qualified All Age Level.  For a great hunting dog, that’s all you need.

I always tell people that if I was not in the dog training business, I would buy a more advanced older dog.  “Why is that?” You may ask. Simply because I can avoid all the puppy stuff, and be ahead on money, time and headaches.   I have trained many dogs and even shipped some dogs to different countries.  I can I appreciate the bonding that comes with a puppy.  It is never easy to say goodbye after having spent quality time with a young dog.  I have experienced the “bonding effect” numerous times.

Now, the question is what to pay for a puppy, started or finished dog?  The determining price to pay comes down to whatever anyone is willing to pay at that given time.  The initial price will seem like a lot. But, with a started or finished dog you are avoiding many other bills that come with owning a puppy and then getting it professionally trained.

Also, if looking to get a puppy, consider the fact that the more reputable the kennel and the higher the price you pay upfront will greatly increase your chances of having a quality, well-bred dog to enjoy for years to come. Versus, “rolling the dice” by paying very little or nothing and taking your chances on how the dog turns out.  Let’s face it, all puppies are cute.  But, like babies, they don’t stay puppies forever.

Now, for your decision making process, I would use the following questions as a starting point in the decision of purchasing either a puppy, started, or finished dog.  These questions will help in deciding what the best choice is for you.

To start with, here are six basic questions you should ask yourself:

1. Do I want a male or female?

2.  What kind of upland or duck/goose hunting do I do most? Do we want a pointer or flusher?

  1. Am I looking for a dog with a lot of drive? Or, one that is a steady hunter and is also able to unplug and sleep at my feet?
  2. 4. Do I know what color or markings we want on a dog? Size?

5. What price do I want to spend?  (Keep in mind, usually you get what you pay for.)

6.  How far am I willing to travel in purchasing a dog?

I would say as far as a started or finished dog, you can surely get one that is great for you.  You just have to look and ask questions. Ask a lot of questions.  Based on my experience, some are concerned that a started or finished dog will not bond with them the same as a puppy.  You would be surprised how well a little bit older dog can get attached to people if they spend the time with them and get to know them.  I have sold dogs to people and checked in on them years later. I was told that was the best thing they did.  The dog became strongly attached to them and they loved their hunting buddy all the same.  When I sell a dog to someone, I want the dog and its owner to be happy, and the new owner to truly get to enjoy a trained dog.

So, when deciding on a new puppy, or contemplating a started or finished dog, be sure to carefully consider each.  Truly weigh the pros and cons of each side.  The decision shouldn’t be taken lightly and it is one you will happily live with for years to come.

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Two Year Tom

The Two Year Tom

By: Ron Weber

The gobble startled me as it shattered the pre-dawn silence. A few soft hen yelps from my slate call had incited the response, which in turn excited me. It was the first morning of my spring turkey season and it now seemed as though it might be a short one as I knew I had a tom close by, easily within 60 yards. As I impatiently waited for light, I couldn’t help but to throw out a few more soft calls- each call being answered by a booming gobble. I know many “experts” would say to avoid calling too much to a tom on the roost, but for me, gobbling was the kick that made spring turkey hunting so special.

First light came and went. But the tom remained roosted somewhere just out of sight down the field edge. He was most likely in a large white pine which served as a favorite roosting tree. Finally, the flapping of wings signaled his descent into the field to begin another day of strutting, gobbling and searching for hens. He glided about 150 yards out into the field and began walking, pecking the ground as he did. I tried a series of soft yelps and purrs which prompted another gobble and a brief display of his fan. Unfortunately, he seemed intent on walking up a small rise in the field. Once he reached his destination, he puffed himself into full display and, with a very distinctive thick beard, strutted back and forth in full glory along the rise, every so often letting loose a gobble.

I was still confident that it was just a matter of time before he would notice my decoy positioned in the field twenty yards from the woods line where I was concealed under the spreading branches of a large white spruce. My confidence was shaken, however, when I heard yelps from over the rise and across the field. Eventually, the tom started moving in the direction of the yelps. I tried to persuade him with a variety of calls, but he quickly disappeared over the rise. It can be hard to compete with real hens, and after no sign of him for a half hour; save a few gobbles from the other side of the field, I figured that was the end. I never imagined that in fact it was only the beginning.

Over the rest of my week-long first season, I had several more long range encounters with the thick bearded tom whose gobble I had come to distinguish from other toms in the area. Though he was often quick to respond to my calls, he never showed any real interest in coming in to my decoys. I took this indifference as a slap to my hunting skills and he soon became my single target, my “white whale.” As my first season ended, I had several toms that I passed up, but “my tom” had eluded me. I still had tags for two more week-long seasons, and felt confident that sooner or later he would be mine.

That feeling of certainty was starting to fade by the middle of my last season. Though I had heard him almost daily, I had not even caught a glimpse of him over that time. He had taken to the woods and, as far as I could tell, was rarely in a field. I likewise had changed my tactics and was trying to position myself in areas of the woods where I heard him gobbling. He seemed to have a pattern of moving along a trail that ran through one section of woods toward a small field that was tucked into the woods.


It was there that I found myself early in the afternoon of my last day of spring turkey season. There had not been any gobbles since early in the morning and I was dozing in the warmth of the mid-May sun. Suddenly, I was brought out of my impending slumber by a gobble. For a few moments I was thinking maybe I had just dreamt it, but then another gobble rose above the sound of the wind rustling the freshly hatched leaves. It wasn’t just any gobble, it was that gobble. A series of seductive yelps brought a response that told me he was in the direction of the small field but not in it.

The gobbling continued sporadically for the next hour as he seemed to move around me but never really got any closer. I was tempted to try to move in on him, but experience had taught me that that was usually a recipe for scaring away the bird. I sat tight and eventually the gobbling ended. As the sun sank on the horizon, my season drew to a close with my tom still somewhere out there.

When you are a child a year seems like a lifetime. For the rest of us, a year has a way of passing like a summer day. Soon I found myself looking forward to another turkey season. This year I only had one tag, so my season would be limited to a single week.

A few days before my season was set to begin, I went out early one morning to see what type of gobbling activity I could hear in the woods and fields around my house. There was assorted gobbling in just about every direction as the dark faded into light. Just as the sun was creasing the tops of the trees, I heard it. That gobble. I had long since moved on from the quest to get “my tom” last season. He had won and I assumed it was likely that a fall hunter, a predator, or an unusually harsh winter had taken him. But there he was. His gobble had awakened my memory and there was no doubt it was him.

Unlike the season before, he seemed much quieter this year. I never saw him and only heard him twice over the first five days of my season. Maybe the winter had been hard on him or maybe he was no longer the dominant bird I saw on that small rise the year before. It didn’t matter why, I just knew that I missed his gobble.

Early in the afternoon of the second to last day of my season it began to rain, light at first but steadily increasing in intensity. I decided to go to my rainy day spot, protected under the spreading branches of the big white spruce where I had first seen my tom. It

had been one of those days, little gobbling in the morning and none since. I had not seen a turkey all day. It had been a fairly uneventful season and I was losing my drive to keep going. A hot shower and warm meal was sounding very good about then.

I convinced myself to stay until five o’clock.

A little after four, as I stared blankly into the field, out of the corner of my eye I caught the unmistakable jerky movement of a turkey walking along the edge of the field to my right. With a shift of my eyes a hen came into view about thirty yards away. She seemed to be walking right towards my decoy. As my eyes followed her, I again caught movement to my right. My eyes shifted and there he was. There was no mistaking the paint brush thick beard which hung almost to the ground.

I had positioned the barrel of my shotgun on my knees and secured the butt of the gun on my shoulder. The hen passed into an opening in the spruce branches directly in front of me no more than fifteen yards away. The tom was following directly in her wake. The screen of spruce branches made them oblivious to my presence.   Now it was just a matter of a couple of feet. There he was.

“Boom!”   At the sound, both turkeys’ heads raised. “Boom!” As my voice reverberated a second time across the field the turkeys clucked excitedly and half running, half flying made their way to the top of the rise in the field and disappeared.

Back under the spruce, I contemplated what had just happened. I hadn’t planned it that way. It was just the way it worked out. Up until the moment I first yelled, “Boom!” I really thought I would get my tom. The safety was off, my finger was on the trigger. I just couldn’t squeeze it.   And I knew why. I had total respect for that bird. If he was going to die, he deserved to go out in full glory, strutting and gobbling like the first time I saw him. He didn’t deserve to be ambushed like he was set up to be. Besides, the woods and fields in my world were more interesting knowing he was still out there.

The next morning I took a jake. It may have been one of my tom’s offspring, ensuring that we would have turkey for the table.

Though his paint brush beard and tail fan cannot be found in the room where I keep other mounts of birds, fish, and deer, my two year tom can be found with so many other trophies in the corners of my memory. Those are the trophies I find myself revisiting most often.

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