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It’s Tradeshow Season! Will we be seeing you at one of them?

Hello from all of us here at
The Wilderness Reserve once again!

SHeep SHow

Reno, NV

Since our last publication, we have had a fantastic holiday season with friends and family, a few more late-season hunts, and literally a ton of other work being done, on and “off” the property.
When we refer to the work that is “off” the property, it is literally the most important work that we do throughout the year. In order to ensure that our entire fall hunting season is booked full of new and returning clients alike, not only do we need to be on our phones and computers all the time, but we personally want to meet and see everyone in-person. The cold winter months of 2019 means only one thing, and that is “Trade-Show Season”, where we get to travel the country and meet and see all the fellow sportsmen and sportswomen in the business, but more importantly, the phenomenal families and hunters that would like to come hunt with us up here in “Da Northwoods”, if they haven’t already. Obviously, not everyone books a hunt right away, but that never takes away from the excitement of meeting new people in our booth and hearing all their wonderful stories from the outdoor world. Our fantastic management team of Forrest and Lisa Pike, have launched our “Trade-Show Season” into a whole new world by heading out to the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada on January 9th-12th. With their experience in this business and literally amongst the best competition at any show this this nation, they were able to book several Elk and Whitetail hunts for this upcoming fall, and this is just the beginning!

On the way out to Reno, this dynamic duo stopped out in Denver, Colorado, where they did a television interview on a sports network and were able to share what we have to offer at The Wilderness Reserve, up here in northern Wisconsin and Michigan. On top of that, The Wilderness Reserve, helped to sponsor “The Extreme Rodeo Challenge” in Loveland, Colorado on New Years Eve, which was listed by USA Today at the number 8 event to do on New Years in the country!This event also netted the Wilderness Reserve another hunt!!

The traveling road has only just begun though, as we will be attending the “National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sport-Show” in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 13th-17th. We make the journey home, and then make it to “The Safari Club International Sport-Show” in Lake Geneva, WI on February 22nd-24th, immediately followed by “The Dixie Deer Classic” in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 1st-3rd. The end of March brings us closer to home again at “The Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo” in Madison, WI on March 29th-31st, which happens to bring us a little closer to our hearts, having so many friends, family, and fellow hunters in the area, visiting us there at our booth. Please believe that it’s not always about booking a hunt all the time, but just enjoying great company and fantastic stories that we get to share about the outdoors!

We have so much more to share about upcoming shows in April and beyond, but that will have to wait for the next publication, as well as our progress here “on-campus”. We have succeeded in harvesting 100% of the animals that we have wanted with our clients for almost three years now, and that comes from a lot of intense herd care and management. Every year, with our growing herds, our seasons are obviously becoming more exciting and literally “breath-taking”. We would love to see everyone at some of the shows so we could show you some of our pictures, and just generally share the same enthusiasm with you that we have here at The Wilderness Reserve on an everyday basis!

With warm regards,
Author Brian Blettner and The Wilderness Team

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The Miracles of Black Bear Hibernation

As the weather turns colder and daylight hours decrease, many of us appreciate the cozy comfort of our homes. Hot chocolate becomes a staple in your diet, and your mouth begins watering for all of the tasty holiday foods. Some of us begin dreading that winter weight gain that comes along with decreased activity and heightened appetites. Oh, but if we were black bears…

Wisconsin Black Bears in the Fall

Wisconsin Black BearBlack bears actually go through 5 stages of activity levels throughout the year – hibernation, walking hibernation, normal activity, hyperphagia, and fall transition. During fall transition, much like fish and other animals, the bears eat excessively to bulk up for the coming winter. At the end of this period, they actually stop eating, even before hibernation begins, and focus on drinking liquids to expel waste. They begin sleeping more and more, sometimes only awakening and moving around for 3-4 hours a day.

Actual hibernation periods can vary greatly, depending on the weather and region where the black bear lives. In Wisconsin, hibernation can begin as early as September and last through April. The preparation, though, begins in the summer months when the bear chooses a spot and begins digging a den. But black bears tend to wait for one of those Wisconsin size snowstorms to actually retreat to their sanctuary.

Black Bears in the Winter

As the bear retreats to its den, it begins to enter a period of deep sleep. The heart rate, body temperatures, respiration levels and metabolic rate all begin to slow. Did you know a hibernating bear only breathes once every 45 seconds? The body temperature goes down by about 10 degrees, which is significantly less than that of other hibernating mammals. Another difference for black bears is that they CAN be awakened fairly easily during their deep sleep – hence the saying “don’t poke a sleeping bear!” At 400 pounds, a Wisconsin black bear is not a creature you want to bother!

Another interesting fact about black bears during the winter is the birth of their cubs. Female black bears can actually delay implantation until late fall to determine if she has enough fat reserves to successfully birth and nurse her young. The actual birth takes place in the den, typically in January. As the mother slumbers, the little cubs nurse and grow quickly beside her, ready to leave the den with her in the spring.

Hibernation Cures for Humans

Black bears get to enjoy all the comfort of holing up for the winter, but unlike humans, they don’t have the added pounds to show for it come spring. In fact, despite the fact that black bears do not eat for long periods of time, they emerge in the spring healthy and healed from their rest. Now, if you were to eat very little all winter to scare off those few pounds, your muscle mass would be deteriorated and you would be starving. And likely pretty grumpy!

The hibernation of black bears is quite interesting, and has even proven potentially useful to the health of humans. Their metabolic changes during the winter months of these majestic creatures have been popping up in health and science studies for the last few decades, trying to uncover the mysteries that could benefit human health. It’s believed this could be beneficial in several areas of health problems, including:

  • Bone growth and healing
  • Preventing osteoporosis
  • Reducing cholesterol buildup
  • Utilizing/storing key nutrients
  • Maintaining physical health during comas

The applications that nature presents for human health are fascinating! We have long relied on medicines and cures from the world’s plant and animal life, and the possibilities continue to expand every year.

Next time you chance upon a lumbering black bear, or are enjoying the beauty of the forest foliage, think about the miracles that nature presents, the intertwining threads connecting man to wilderness, the sheer bigness of the world in all of its magic. Because simply by taking a moment to breathe in that beauty, you have begun a wonderful journey! And the next time you are sipping a delicious steaming cup of hot cocoa, make a toast to the sleeping black bear that is dreaming of such a treat!

Connect with Nature at The Wilderness Reserve of Wisconsin!

Forming a lifelong connection with nature can be one of the most rewarding journeys of your life. Introducing a child to that wonder and awe is even more satisfying. By planning a family vacation to The Wilderness Reserve, you can experience Wisconsin wilderness up close and personal! Enjoy your choice of outdoor activities on this 5,500 acre reserve, where the trees stand tall and the views can take your breath away. Can you imagine a better setting for a Wisconsin family vacation? We can’t!

Book your Family Vacation at The Wilderness Reserve Today!

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Make the Most of Autumn in the Midwest

Summer has passed, and the beautiful season of autumn is upon us. This is the perfect time of year to appreciate the natural beauty of the forest around you and instill a deep connection with nature in our youth. But do you know why the leaves change color in the fall to give us such a stunning landscape portrait? And how do you make the most of the season?

Understanding the Forest in the Fall

Throughout the summer, the forest trees soak in the sunlight and the rain to maintain their healthy green coloring. When autumn comes, a complicated process involving the leaf pigments, the amount of daylight hours and weather conditions takes place to create the vivid hues we all love so much. As the color pigments in the leaves change, depending on the environmental factors, the forest comes to life with fiery oranges, yellows, and reds.

Three different pigments come into play for the popular autumn color change in the Midwest. Carotenoids, anthocyanin and chlorophyll are the color pigments. As the amount of sunlight goes down, the trees respond by producing less chlorophyll, the green pigment that dominates in the summer. Then the carotenoids step up to bring in the orange and yellow fall colorings.

You may think that the reds are brighter one year than the last, and you are right. The carotenoid pigments are present in all leaves, and the yellows, golds and oranges are fairly consistent from one year to the next. But the red coloring is produced by anthocyanin, which doesn’t exist in all trees and needs just the right conditions to shine bright.

What are the best conditions for a spectacular autumn season? Warm and sunny days with cool evenings that are above freezing are best. This is because these conditions create more sugars, which lead to brighter colors. A hot and dry season lowers the color intensity because the soil moisture level is lessened by the heat. Even climate factors in the spring can affect the fall color season – a late spring or early summer drought can delay the color change.

Identifying Trees by Their Autumn Colors

Identifying Fall Colors Phelps WisconsinLooking at the forest as a whole, most people don’t consider the individual trees that make up the view. In fact, it’s only because of the wonderful diversity of trees in the Midwest that the fall colors are so stunning. Each type of tree has its own hue, and, as discussed above, can be different every year so no two autumn forests are the same.

  • Oaks – reds and brown leaves. These are some of the last to change colors.
  • Sugar maples – orange red leaves.
  • Red maples – bright scarlet red leaves.
  • Beech – light tan leaves.
  • Aspen & poplars – golden yellow leaves.
  • Black maple – bright yellow leaves.

Study up on the different types of trees in the area, and then put that knowledge to work with some educational outdoor activities!

Inspire Children with Nature This Fall

Kids love being outdoors, no matter the season, and the possibilities are always endless for fun activities and learning experiences. Here’s some ideas to get children excited about the fall season:

  • Go traditional by jumping into a big pile of raked up leaves together.
  • Have a day of apples – taste test apples from different trees and pick from your favorite to make an apple pie.
  • Take a hike through the forest, identifying types of trees from memory or a guide book.
  • Have a leaf scavenger hunt by trying to collect fallen leaves from as many different types of trees as possible. Throw in some pine needles and fall ferns for an even better learning experience.
  • Take the collected leaves and make a scrapbook for the day, complete with drawings and photos from your outing.
  • Make an autumn leaf collage by pasting different colored leaves on a hand drawn tree.
  • Do some leaf sketching by placing paper over a leaf and rolling a pencil across.
  • Study together how the leaves are broken down once they fall to the ground, and discuss why this process is important.
  • Go for a boat ride to admire the colors from the water, and try your hand at some fantastic fall fishing.
  • Visit a local farm to pick corn on the cob, or explore a corn maze.
  • Get involved with geo-caching.
  • Get sporty with pumpkin bowling – set up some short, fairly light logs as pins and roll the pumpkin for a strike.
  • Go on a color scavenger hunt – set out with a chosen color and find all the things in the forest of that color.

What are your favorite fall activities and traditions? We would love to hear from you! Share your fall inspirations with The Wilderness Reserve on Facebook!

Plan Your Wilderness Family Vacation in the Midwest!

The Wilderness Reserve Family VacationWhat better way to strengthen your family bonds than a wilderness family vacation? No matter the season, your family will enjoy the inspiring beauty of nature at The Wilderness Reserve. Secluded cabins offer the perfect base to explore the surrounding forests and lakes on the 5,500 acre reserve. Ready to book your wilderness family vacation at this convenient Midwest destination? Call us today at 715-545-2700!

Book Your Trip to The Wilderness Reserve Today!

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Tips for Northwoods Campfire Cooking

Nothing beats the warmth and comfort of sitting around a campfire at dusk, as the wilderness behind you slowly disappears and the flames bring a gentle and flickering light to the darkness. Whether you are enjoying this outdoor tradition with your closest friends or your dear family, the experience is sure to ignite childhood memories, warming you from the inside out. Where better to ponder the meaning of life or share old stories than around a campfire in the beautiful Northwoods?

And where else to enjoy a meal filled with smoky goodness and unbeatable flavor? Campfire cooking can be fun for all ages, and offers a lot more variety than your standard hot dogs and marshmallows. Why, you may be asking, would we be talking about campfire cooking on The Wilderness Blog? Sure, the cabins at The Wilderness have kitchens equipped with all the cookware and dishes you need. But why not enjoy a campfire meal to make the most out of your wilderness vacation? For that matter, use these tips right at home, in your own backyard, to bring a tiny bit of the wild into everyday life!

Building a Campfire for True Northwoods Cooking

Campfires are not all created equally, and when you are going to cook, it’s all about the coals! A proper campfire starts with selecting the right type of wood – stay away from green wood in favor of nice, dry hardwoods that will burn better. The trick is to build up the fire slowly, adding a log at a time, while brushing the coals to one side. Once you have a white hot bed of coals about 2 inches thick, it’s time to cook!

Campfire Cooking with a Stick

Campfire Cooking With StickTraditional campfire cooking requires the chef to venture out into the forest to find just the right branch for a cooking stick. If it’s too thin, you risk dropping your treats in the fire and too thick means a gaping hole in your dinner. Whittle the end of the chosen branch to a point, and get rid of any twigs or leaves. Make sure your stick is long enough that you aren’t risking burns, but not too long that you lose control of the exact placement over the fire of the food. Or you can choose to go the city slicker way and buy a metal cooking stick – we strongly recommend wood for the best flavor and true sportsman bragging rights!

Here are some of our stick campfire cooking favorites:

  • S’mores: Everyone loves a gooey marshmallow! But if you don’t know how to make a s’more, well, you probably shouldn’t be the campfire chef!
  • Hot dogs: ditto the above, there’s really no wrong way to do this unless you attempt to cook without the stick!
  • Pig on a stick: tasty upgrade to the hot dog; wrap a cooked sausage link in Pillsbury breadstick dough, place on the stick, and roast until the bread turns golden brown.
  • Kabobs: Fan favorite kabobs can be made with almost any meat and the vegetables of your choosing. Try cubed steak, pork, chicken or shrimp and mix with mushrooms, onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes. This easy roaster allows everyone to create their own to their personal liking. Pair with corn on the cob for a finger licking, no fork needed dinner.
  • Roasted banana: spear your banana with the stick and slowly roast over the coals. When it begins to toast and is heated through, roll it in crushed cereal, chopped nuts, or even sprinkles. For a sweet treat, dip in chocolate

Campfire Cooking with Foil Wrap

Wrapping your meals in tin foil allow you to place them right on the coals and capture the smoky flavor to the fullest. Pay attention to the tips for building your campfire discussed above, because you can’t just toss your food into the flames and hope it turns out edible. For any foil wrap campfire cooking, be sure to flip the packet over a few times and check doneness before eating. Double wrap is always best if you aren’t using a really sturdy foil. And wrapping in a way that leaves a little tinfoil ‘handle’ makes for easier control.

Campfire wrapped favorites:

    • Campfire baked potatoes: Please refer to Stick Campfire Cooking #1, above.
    • All-in-one campfire dinner: Make this wrapped dinner with ground beef or your choice of chopped meat. Simply dice up your favorite vegetables and place in the foil wrap with the meat. Top with seasonings and a sauce of your choosing (try butter, ketchup, BBQ sauce or even lemon juice), close the foil and toss on the coals. Cook time should be about 30 minutes.
      Bacon Wrapped Baked Fish: Clean and butterfly your fish and season with garlic, sage and pepper. Fold the fillet around sliced onion for moistness and flavor and wrap with bacon. Cover the fillet with foil and cook on campfire coals for roughly 20 minutes.
    • Campfire Breakfast: Place a hash brown patty or thinly sliced potatoes on the foil. Make sure your packet is crimped upwards, and pour a slightly beaten egg in. Top with sausage patties or bacon, close the wrap, and cook. If you are a cheese lover, try adding a slice when the other ingredients are close to done.

Campfire Muffin

  • Campfire Muffins: Who knew you could make bakery on a campfire? Cut an orange in half, and scoop out the fruit (bonus, serve finished dish with sliced orange). Pour muffin mix into the peel, carefully push halves together and wrap with foil. Cook 10-15 minutes on the coals, and you have fresh, great smelling muffins! Try this with cake batter for campfire cupcakes!

Did you know that you can wrap your chicken or filet in cabbage or lettuce leaves to cook directly on campfire coals, without foil? Extra flavor, extra moistness, extra easy!

Discover Northwoods Nature at The Wilderness Reserve!

When you book your family vacation at The Wilderness Reserve, you don’t just get a place to stay. You get a unique opportunity to enjoy all that nature and the great outdoors has to offer. Take a wilderness hike, try your luck fishing on your cabin’s private lake, and enjoy the timeless tradition of a campfire! Stretch each outdoor moment to the fullest! Ready to schedule your Northwoods family vacation at The Wilderness? Contact us today!

Do you have a favorite campfire recipe? Share it with The Wilderness on Facebook!