Wardens on Summer Patrols: Turtles, Sturgeons and Fishing

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s July, 2019 eNewsletter.

By Joanne M. Haas/Public Information Officer, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement

The beauty of summer, like the other seasons, is the variety of the calls for service the DNR conservation wardens get. Here is just a sampling of what a warden comes across in a day in Wisconsin’s great outdoors.

TURTLE TAXI: Lt. Tyler Strelow was on patrol in early June when he got a call from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Momma Turtle was attempting to cross a county highway, in her own sweet time, and causing a bit of a traffic situation. The nice folks of nearby Cashton were trying to help the pregnant turtle, but she was not in the mood for help from anyone. Yes, she can snap quite nicely. So, the sheriff wondered if Lt. Strelow, who heads the Mississippi River Warden Team, could offer a hand. Yes, he could – a gloved hand or two.  He handled the mother turtle with great care, while protecting his 10 fingers and gave her a lift off the roadway to a nature area.   As Lt. Tyler says, that is a much nicer – and let’s say safer – place for her to lay her eggs than on a white dotted line.

STURGEON SAVE: The Brad and Tara Hagmann Family were out on a weekend hike below the Jim Falls Hydro dam near Chippewa Falls when they spotted 7 large sturgeon trapped in a pool after the water was lowered. Who ya gonna call? DNR Warden Kevin Christorf of Chippewa Falls. On his day off, Warden Kevin didn’t hesitate to respond to help these Wisconsin wonders of the fish world. Plus, he’s done rescues like this before so he knew what to do.  Together, Warden Kevin and Mr. Hagmann used a net to transport each of the 7 sturgeon into the larger water body. The guess is that the sturgeon were about 50 to 75 years old, and the largest about 6 feet long. Teamwork!

SUPERIOR FISHERS: If you have ventured onto Lake Superior to enjoy the fishing you may have seen some of the wardens on patrol. They are there making sure everyone is safe and things are going well. They check in with the sport fishers, as well as the boaters and commercial fishing operations. It is a busy and stunning place – no wonder it’s called one of the Great Lakes! Here are the wardens pulling into the dock. That island behind them is Devils Island. Who took that cool pic? Warden Amie Egstad of Bayfield.

LEARNING IS SAFETY FUN! Lt. Scott Bowe and some of his team members were invited by the Stanley-Boyd Elementary School teachers to help about 80 fifth graders learn about water fun. That meant canoeing, kayaking, fishing, outdoor survival and something called ‘critter dipping’ – when kids dipped for bugs in the lake and then identified them.  All the fun was at Chapman Park and the teachers say the kids had a blast learning the outdoors is the place for fun.  They learned about the importance of life jackets, how to steer a canoe – and for some, they fished for the first time. Thanks to the Stanley-Boyd Elementary School staff for the photos!

Happy Fourth of July! We’ll see you outside.

(Have an idea for a topic you’d like your wardens to address, send it to: Joanne.Haas@wisconsin.gov. And thanks!)