Brody and I are huge college football fans. When we are not hunting whitetails in the fall or during a lunch break back at the house or at the local bar, we are watching college football. What makes college football so great, and the exact reason people love the sport so much is because of the many great traditions. College Gameday every Saturday morning, Nebraska vs. Iowa every Black Friday (GBR!!!), Ohio State vs Michigan, Clemson and Howard’s Rock. The list could go on and on.
Hunting, like college football, has many great traditions. Open day of rifle season, hunting camps, gathering around the local deer check station to see how successful everyone was. And many traditions that are specific to a family or group of hunters. But are those traditions actually risking the future of hunting for the next generation?
Skimming through the Spring 2021 Issue of North American Whitetail Magazine I read through an article by Dr. James Kroll entitled Return to Venison. He spoke of how millions of acres and forest were converted to farmland over the last 200 years and how the landscape has drastically changed.
Throughout that time and still today, hunter numbers continue to decline. That continues to be a separate issue and definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. Many hunting related shows and podcasts, as well as pretty much every game and parks commission in every state are trying to find ways to address that issue. But, back to the original issue.
Image By Steve Felberg
Wisconsin’s 2021 wolf season was pretty much over before it started. A lot of attention lately on hunting related Facebook groups and forums has been given to the 2021 wolf season in Wisconsin, and rightfully so. There’s plenty of intrigue to go around. It all started January 4th when the wolf was removed from the federal Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The politics of that decision alone are enough drama for most and I by no means claim to be an expert on wolf predation or the complete role they play in the local food pyramid of Wisconsin. Being in Nebraska, we thankfully don’t have this issue. I do know there are arguments from both sides and for mostly valid reasons. Do wolves affect calving season in Wisconsin… probably. Do they affect deer populations… probably. But to what degree should hunters and state game commissions be involved with their management? That is for people with more degrees than me to decide I suppose.
The delisting allowed for the management of wolves, by lethal means if necessary. But this is where it gets interesting. By law a wolf season had to take place in the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR met and set a season for November. But it didn’t end there, a lawsuit was filed. Did I mention there was plenty of intrigue? And it gets better. Try to follow me on this now. The lawsuit was brought forth by Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty on behalf of a Kansas (yep, Kansas of all places) based hunter advocacy group. The president of the Kansas based group, Luke Hilgemann, is a Wisconsin resident. OK, now it’s starting to make sense, kinda.
As we continue to do more off-season scouting here in Nebraska one factor that we have repeatedly run into on public land is open wooded areas. It took us a while to figure this one out, it really shouldn’t have, but it did. It was staring us right in the face the whole time and it finally sank in as we scouted a new piece of public land a couple weeks ago and I thought it worth passing along because as soon as we moved away from that area and into thicker cedar trees and just thicker woody cover with thicker understory, we found a series of large rubs and what we think is going to be a good early season stand location near a transition line from this thick cover to some oak trees.