Hello Clam Lake!
(As of press time we have learned of the passing of Tim (Twigger) Steffen of Clam Lake. We extend our heart felt sympathies to Terri Steffen and family. More next week….)
FEEDING/BAITING BAN – As of October 5th a two year baiting and feeding ban in Sawyer County, due to a deer on a deer farm in Washburn County testing positive for CWD, will go into effect. And as a reminder, it is illegal to feed or bait elk in Wisconsin. If an elk comes to a feeding area you are required to stop feeding for a period of 30 days. Corn is especially harmful to elk as it causes corn acidosis which can kill them. We lost one in Clam last year due to corn acidosis.
ELK HARVEST – The first leg of the 2023 Wisconsin elk harvest will begin this week on Saturday, October 14th running thru November 12th. If tags are not filled it will resume December 14th thru the 22nd. This year 4 tags have been allotted – three of which go to Wisconsin residents chosen through a lottery with the fourth being raffled off by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. We wish them all a safe season.
CEREMONIAL HUNT IN PROGRESS– I a had chance to speak with Charlie Rasmussen, whom is the Director of Communications for GLIFWC (Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission), about this year’s Native American ceremonial elk harvest. This hunt is an inter tribal hunt open to ten different tribes of the Objibwe Nation. Every year their group set up their Elk Camp on Chippewa Lake, the site of the former Job Corps and University. While there, participants must go through a mandatory orientation outlining the rules regarding elk hunting in Wisconsin. This is also a time of ceremony giving thanks for all the Creator has given and offerings are made for a blessing on the hunt. When hunting, the first eligible bull elk that presents itself is the one that is harvested regardless of antler size. This is in keeping with the teachings that this is the one that the Creator has provided. All parts of the elk are used with the meat being distributed amongst the tribes so all can partake. Sharing is key to this hunt. Ceremonial drums are also made from the skin of the elk. This year the tribes were allotted four tags which they are allowed to fill until the end of the year. At the time of our conversation, one spike and one raghorn had been harvested. The elk (Omashkooz) is a very revered animal within the Native culture and due to this the and their concerns over hunting quotas the Objibwe tribes decided not to participate in the 2020 hunt. We thank them for the respect they show for our mighty Omashkooz! (As a side note: Charlie is the Communications Director for GLIFWC. He works to help the intertribal agency’s Objibwe bands manage and preserve off reservation treaty-reserved resources in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.)
MEMORIES – I had a chance to meet with Earl and Dennis Roberts of Watertown a week or so ago. Earl is 94 years young and has come up to Clam Lake since 1950. Having been a visitor to Clam for the past 73 years, his memories of people, places and things during those years are interesting to hear. He was a next door neighbor to Harold (Red) Else of Ixonia whom had a place on McClaren Lake known as the Whitwood. Being neighbors and friends, Red invited Earl to come up bird hunting and thus began a 73 year long relationship with Clam Lake. Now, Red’s descendants own land on Upper Clam so this is where the Roberts family gather for their annual bird hunting expedition. Dennis is Earl’s son, whom made his first trip to Clam Lake when only 7 months old and while I was there, one of his grandsons arrived. Earl said there would be five in total this year. When talking about his earlier times in Clam he often mentioned going to “Taylors” for meals and socializing. This, of course, would have been The Chippewa Tavern which was first owned by Les and Foy Taylor. In her later years, Foy stayed at one of the neighboring Else cabins during her summers in Clam Lake. Earl recounted how once, when coming up they saw her drive in, then heard a commotion so went out to see what was going on. There was Foy stuck up in a tree alongside the cabin. The why of that was unknown but, being kindly gentlemen they retrieved her. As Earl said and I can attest to, “Foy was quite a character!” Much time was also spent at Pinehurst and time spent with Kent and Lil Stuht. He shared memories of the Colonel (Hugh Carnahan) whom was a veteran of WWI and lived during the summer months on McClaren Lake for many years. The Colonel was a great swimmer and would often swim distances on McClaren from dock to dock. He also was known for his bagpipe playing. There were recountings of cars left up here to be used during bird season that would be missing floors with boards placed across to keep from having feet hitting the ground. There would be sadness when these treasured jalopies had to finally go to Otto’s Salvage in Glidden. 73 years worth of happy memories of Clam Lake to hold dear. I thank them for sharing some of them with me.
Until next week….
Pictured are Earl and Dennis Roberts at Else’s cabin in 2023.
Also pictured are members of the Twin Cities Model A Ford Club. 25 of their members made a stop in Clam Lake one day last week. Model A’s were manufactured from 1928 thru 1931. Staying in Hayward, they were making their way to Garmisch for lunch. Fun to see! Top speed? 18 miles an hour!