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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Trip planning tips

So many people WANT to go on a hunting or fishing trip but find the task daunting and the thought overwhelming so they tend to avoid it….

Truly, if you know a few simple tricks, planning can be expedited and you could find yourself in a boat or tree stand much quicker than expected.

wawang lake, wawang lake resort

U. S. Passport Card

First and foremost, you do NOT need to purchase a passport.  For half the price ($55.00 adult, $40 child) this handy card lasts for a period of 10 years and allows ground transport between the US and Canada and Mexico. If you plan to fly, a passport will be required but most of us travel will plenty of hunting and fishing equipment so driving is much more common.

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/card.html

Also a note regarding those pesky DWI’s….if you have had one and it has been over 6 months, there is a good possibility you can still enter Canada!!  https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/402/~/entering-the-u.s.-and-canada-with-dui-offenses

Next, when choosing a trip, make a list of ‘must haves’ such as:  The resort MUST HAVE running water, indoor plumbing, somewhere to prepare food etc.  (We have that…shameless plug lol)

Next devise a budget.  Remember to calculate travel and food costs.  And also remember to find out if the cost is per person or an overall cost.  Always add an extra 15% to that number to ensure you have money for unexpected incidentals such as a flat tire etc.  Also, never forget to calculate the local taxes into the cost.

Once you have a targeted budget, begin your research.  Remember, most resorts do have varying rates depending on the season as well as various other specials during the year.

When utilizing specials, ensure that you understand the weather patterns and fishing patterns at that time of year.  Some places have a change over in ease of catching species or hunting migration patterns.  Make sure you ask about this so you aren’t disappointed.

Take us for example, in June our regular Housekeeping fishing rate is $625 per person but offer various discounts from July-Sept.  In July we offer 25% off for parents and children so the rate would drop to $468.75…quite a savings.  And for those of you who are paying attention, our lake is a closed off headwater, spring fed and our fish cant leave…they just tend to migrate from one part of the lake to another so fishing will only be affected by color, depth and presentation 🙂  Feel free to check us out http://wawangresort.com/HTML%20Pages/RATES/Fishing_Rates.pdf

Last and not least, get referrals!  There is nothing more disappointing that driving (or flying) all that way only to find it isnt what is what you were expecting.  Though no trip may be perfect, you should understand the basics of what to expect.  

Ensure that you also contact the lodge representatives with all questions and they should respond promptly, honestly and with as much information as possible…..remember, they should be looking forward to meeting you and be excited to share what they can provide for you.

Remember…this is YOUR vacation and it is within your control to make it the best possible!

 

 

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I came, I saw….I had a great time!

So this past weekend, I decended on La Crosse, WI for my third visit.  What can I say?!  I look forward to this show every year and every year it doesn’t disappoint.

With rows of fantastic things to buy, tools to try and animals to spy, I was entertained each and every minute.  This year I was visited by several of our guests that not only lived in La Crosse but had also driven some distance for the chance to say hi….truly that is always the highlight of my visit.

With every excited HI! or big bear hug, I look forward to even more to the upcoming season.  Each and every one of these people have become family that you look forward to reuniting with each year for some great fishing. Our booth was always abuzz with some visitors telling everyone that would listen how much fun they had had on their first to 20th visits….that feeling of pride in what we do never gets old.

This year a little man named Cole came to the sport show….I met Cole last year when he was six and had just come from a wrestling tournament.  Because of our related histories in wrestling (a story for another blog) he had come to see me and fill me in on his whole year……each and every fish he caught 🙂

I saw his little eyes poke around the corner in puzzlement…..then he peeked again…

“Hi Cole!”

His eyes lit up!  Yes I had colored my hair (again!) but it really was me…..he tore down that aisle and ran into my booth with ferocity looking for a hug 🙂

“You know he made me bring him just to see you….he was determined to come.”

Wow….not only had he remembered me but he was coming just to see me!  I was so honored.  To find out that I had made such an impression warmed my heart.  Cole has not visited me at Wawang yet but the picture of us in front of some of our great fish (one the size of him) stands to prove that he is counting the days.  I know he will make that trip and also that next year he will fill me in on all the other fish he will catch this year…..I am truly proud to know him!

Like Cole, we take time to come to know and appreciate every piece of the puzzle that is Wawang Lake Resort. Family is family and ours just happens to be built one week at a time 🙂

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Wawang Lake Resort

 

Field dressing a black bear

With the bear hunt just around the corner, we will cover the basics 🙂  Pictures have been withheld due to graphic nature.

Instructions

imagesFG3W4IGS 1. Clear an area surrounding the black bear. Make the area large enough to allow room to move around and roll the animal away from the entrails. The lowest part of the ground should be reserved for the entrails. Move the bear onto its back. Spread the rear legs and either have your partners hold them apart or secure them with ropes. Repeat with the front legs.

  1.  2. Insert one of your knives in the cavity at the base of the bear’s throat. Cut the blood vessels with a deep, crosswise motion to open the jugular vein and bleed the animal. Move the bear so the blood will flow away from it and clear the ground as needed.
  2. Cut the skin in a straight line from the breastbone — located just below the rib cage — to the base of the bear’s jaw. Cut the muscles along this area to the bone to expose the throat and windpipe. From the same starting point, cut the skin in a straight line down to the anus. Some areas require hunters to leave the genitals for sex identification; cut around the genitals slightly to preserve them.
  3. Split the breastbone.  This can be done with a bone saw, hack saw or a couple of axes.  If you choose to use axes, hold one axe against the breastbone and hammer it with the other axe; this will break the bone from the base of the rib cage up to and through the top ribs. Open the chest by pulling the front legs apart. Cut the windpipe and gullet close to the head. Lay them in the chest cavity for later.
  4. Cut through the abdominal muscles; start at the base of the rib cage. Take care not to puncture the intestines, the stomach or the bladder; doing so could taint the meat. Sever the muscles down to the pelvic bone. Enlist your partners to hold open the bear so you can work more smoothly.
  5. Break the pelvic bone by using the same technique implemented the breastbone. Do not cut the urinary tract as it may contaminate the meat. Start on one side of the chest cavity and use your knife to cut the diaphragm from the chest wall. Start at the base of the ribs and slice as far back into the cavity as possible. Have your partners pull the organs to the side so you can see and cut more easily. Repeat the process on the other side of the black bear.
  6. Cut the intestines and rectum from the split pelvic bone to where the rectum meets the muscle tissue at the anus. Cut a circle in the skin at the base of the tail; cut 1 to 2 inches from the anus. Cut the muscles to the top of the pelvic bone to free the anus and rectum. Pull the lower intestine, rectum and anus away from the cavity and hold clear. You must not puncture or cut the urinary tract or intestines.
  7. Hold the parts, roll the black bear away and allow the intestines and stomach to spill onto the ground. Grab the windpipe to pull the lungs and heart out onto the ground. Cut any remaining diaphragm tissue to free the organs. Complete the field dressing by draining as much blood from the bear as possible and wiping the body cavity with cloth rags to clean. Do not use water. At this point your main concern becomes to cool the cavity and prepare for transport which can be done by propping the cavity open with a tree branch.

    IMG_6110 - Copy

    Proper field care will ensure less weight and trouble with removal and transportation from the hunt site.

     For more information on black bear hunting, visit us at http://www.wawangresort.com

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Black Bear…the basics.

Here is a fantastic and very basic overview of black bear, what they are and why we hunt them 🙂  In the case if Wawang Lake Resort, our outfitting is done in the fall, over bait and the average weight of our boars was 278lbs last year with 2 over 400lbs 🙂  Our sows, 180lbs with three over 300 🙂

Black Bear Hunting Basics

Black Bear Paw in Hunter's Hand

If you’re considering taking up black bear hunting or trying to decide if it’s right for you, it’s a good idea to get an overview of what it’s all about. There are a lot of misconceptions about black bear hunting floating around out there, so it pays to know exactly what you’re in for when you set out to hunt “America’s bear”.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of black bear hunting, including population, seasons, weapons, meat, trophy items, and biology relevant to hunting.

 

Population, Seasons, and Weapons

Although the population of the black bear (Ursus americanus) is in decline in some areas of the U.S. (due to habitat loss), in other areas it is growing rapidly, and in still others it is at an all-time high. The total population of black bears in the lower 48 is estimated to be between 300,000 to 500,000, and the Alaska population is estimated to be 100,000 or more.

Black bear hunting is permitted in a little over half of the 50 states. Many Western states have black bear hunting seasons. In some of these states, hunters are allowed to take two black bears per year. Other popular areas include portions of the upper Midwest, the East coast, and the South. Even a handful of states in the East where black bear hunting has been prohibited for years have recently opened up limited seasons.

Black bears are hunted both in the spring and the fall. However, spring seasons are only allowed in about eight states, and spring hunting often requires applying for a lottery. Fall seasons are typically general seasons, and this is the time when most bears are hunted.

Black bears can be effectively taken with any of the typical weapons used for other big game, including rifle, bow, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol, and crossbow. (As always, be sure to check your particular state’s game regulations.)

Meat and Other Items

Black Bear MeatBlack bear meat is considered by many to be a delicacy. In fact, even as recently as the late 19th century, bear dishes were some of the most expensive items on the menus at the finest, exclusive restaurants. “Bear bacon”, the whole, smoked hind quarter of a bear, was a prized staple in the diet of settlers on the American frontier. The meat is often compared to pork or lamb, but with a distinctive flavor all its own.

Interestingly, that flavor can vary quite widely depending on what the bear has recently been eating. The most highly prized meat comes from spring bears who have been consuming large quantities of grass and other vegetation as well as fall bears who have been feasting on berries, fruit, or nuts such as acorns.

Luckily, although they are omnivores, about 80-90% of a black bear’s diet consists of plant material, so your odds of having tasty meat are extremely good. Younger bears are also widely reported to have better meat than older bears. Assuming you take a younger bear that hasn’t been eating salmon or carrion, you’re in for quite a treat.

An important word of caution here: black bear meat often contains the parasite that causes trichinosis, an infection that usually results in either no symptoms or minor digestive discomfort but in rare cases can cause more serious complications and even death (although only in less than 0.3% of cases).

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy for this. All bear meat must be cooked completely through until there is no visible pink in the meat. Cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 137 degrees is hot enough to make it safe, although the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Freezing the meat has not been shown to be adequate protection against trichinosis.

Another highly edible part of a black bear is the fat. Bear fat (which is quite plentiful in fall bears) can be rendered to produce a useful and particularly flavorful cooking oil. Even from a modestly sized bear, you can easily get a couple gallons of this precious liquid.

In addition to the meat and fat, there are also a few prized items to be had from a black bear. First, the fir is soft and luxurious, and many hunters keep the hide and turn it into a rug or even clothing such as a vest. Black bear skulls are fascinating thing to look at, and they’re a great conversation starter when displayed up on the mantle or other prominent location.

Biology Relevant to Hunting

Black bears can vary greatly in size, depending on genetics, the quality of the habitat in which they live, and their gender and age. Mature boars (male bears) can weigh in at over 800 pounds in rare cases. The average adult male, however, weighs between 180 and 300 pounds, while the average adult female weighs slightly less, between 140-250 pounds. You can expect to net about 30% of the live weight in meat. For example, a 200 pound bear may produce up to 60 pounds of meat.

Black bears possess impressive athletic abilities. They can sprint at speeds over 30 mph, can climb trees with ease, and are accomplished swimmers. They also have short, curved, sharp claws and canine teeth capable of ripping and tearing flesh. With these traits, it’s easy to see why they fit squarely into the classification of dangerous game.

While black bear attacks are exceedingly rare, even for bear hunters, they do happen. And tracking wounded bears means the danger increases exponentially. The tracking is bound to take you through dense cover, and the bear’s thick fir soaks up blood fast, making for sparse blood trails to follow. Bears have even been known to loop around and double back on their trail, lying in wait for pursuing hunters. However, with proper preparation and planning, as well as solid shot placement, most bears can be recovered safely and without incident.

Note: In regions where black bears share their range with grizzly bears, it’s important to know how to identify the two bears and tell them apart so you don’t accidentally shoot a grizzly bear, which is a violation of federal law. Here’s a handy bear identification training you can take online for free so you can know for sure before you pull the trigger.

The size of a black bear’s home range can vary greatly depending on the location of food sources in the area. It can be as small as a couple square miles or it can be much larger — a male’s home range may go all the way up to 75 square miles in extreme cases. Bears are opportunistic omnivores, which means their movements are often unpredictable. This wandering lifestyle requires specialized tactics, the most common being spot-and-stalk, baiting, hunting with hounds, and calling.

Regardless of which tactics you employ, you’ll need to defeat a bear’s considerable arsenal of finely tuned senses if you want to have any hope of getting close enough for a shot.

Sense of Smell

First and foremost is their sense of smell, which is thousands of times better than a human’s. In fact, it’s been shown that if you take a bloodhound’s nose and multiply it by about seven, you’ll get a sense of the black bear’s olfactory powers.

There are both defensive and offensive strategies you can use in order to overcome these powers and get within range of a bear without it smelling you. On the defensive side, it’s wise to use as many scent control measures as logistically possible. More importantly, always keep tabs on the wind and make sure you’re hunting into it. A windchecker device, such as a small spray bottle filled with unscented talcom powder comes in real handy for this, as does a fine, frayed string tied to the end of your gun or bow.

You can also go on the offensive and use the wind to your advantage. With good scouting and planning, it’s possible to hunt with the wind at your back, allowing your scent to move out ahead of you and drive bears toward another hunter in a treestand or other fixed position.

Sense of Hearing

Next up is their sense of hearing, which is thought to be significantly better than a human’s, although it’s not known exactly how much better. They can detect a human voice at 300 yards and the cocking of a gun at 50 yards.

Your best defense against a bear’s ears is to simply be quiet. Move slowly and carefully, wear quiet clothing, and speak in whispers to your hunting companions. On the offensive side, always keep your ears tuned for bear sounds. Bears make noise when feeding, such as turning over rotten logs looking for grubs, and they communicate with each other through woofs, sniffs, grunts, and growls.

Sense of Sight

Contrary to popular belief, bears do, in fact, see in color. Their vision is roughly equivalent to a human’s — better, if you include the fact that they have excellent night vision. Although they’re somewhat near-sighted, they are adept at detecting movement, even at long distances.

To win the battle of the eyes, you’ll need to have a solid defensive plan. It’s very important to wear full camouflage and choose a pattern that breaks up your outline and matches the local vegetation well. More importantly, always move slowly and cautiously, and never move when a bear is looking in your direction.

As for offense, always carry a pair of high quality binoculars. The black color of a bear’s fur can make them a little easier to spot than other big game like deer. Carry your binoculars on your chest with a harness or “bino bra”, and use them often. When hunting open country using spot-and-stalk tactics, you can also employ a high-power spotting scope to give your eyes even more reach.

More on this next time…………………

 

 

 

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Nothing to see here…but a BEAR IN THE VEGETABLE AISLE!!!

Imagine heading in and running for your regular fare and WHAMO! you find a bear cub in your celery!!  I guess I am not as worried about the cub as I am to know where his mama is….maybe she is just picking up a carton of milk?

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in black bear, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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