Athletics and Recreation

Outdoor Wisconsin | Program | #3413

Outdoor Wisconsin | Program | #3413

(upbeat music) – We’ve come out
to the UW Waukesha Field Station here
in Oconomowoc. It’s 100 acre
property that serves as an outdoor laboratory
for faculty and students. And in just a few minutes
we’ll explore the field station with its long term
manager Marlin Johnson and its new manager
Teresa Schueller. But first I’ll take you
on a grouse and woodcock hunt in the Chequamegon
National Forest in Ashland County with Mark
Nissen of Classic Bird Hunts. I’m Dan Small and
it’s time once again for Outdoor Wisconsin. ♪ Summer to fall ♪ ♪ Winter to spring ♪ ♪ From Green Bay to where
the St. Croix sings ♪ ♪ From Catamaran
to Superior Shore ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ – The fields in woodlot here at the UW Waukesha Field Station provide good habitat
for grassland birds and wild turkeys. They’re probably
aren’t any grouse here but the young Aspen woods
in Northern Wisconsin offer great habitat for
both grouse and woodcock and last fall I enjoyed a hunt there with Mark Nissen
of Classic Bird Hunts and his Brittany Spaniels. (gentle guitar music) Just farther. – Ripley range’s farther
but he doesn’t go back, he goes forward and deep. Well typically the way we hunt grouse and woodcock
is we walk the trails and let the dogs
quarter back and forth. When they go on
point, that’s our cue to get into the woods,
I like to tell people to assume every
point you encounter is going to be a grouse. You wanna keep moving
and when you stop it also makes the grouse nervous and they tend to flush
when they can hear you so don’t stop until
you’re in an open area and at least even to the dog. Woodcock are a little slower, if you’re walking past the dog and the woodcock gets up
and you’re still in motion, you often have time to
recover and still get a shot. Bird! (gunfire) – Indeed (laughs). That’s what they
look like, folks. Only we like them to
fall after the shot. Won’t get a shot like
that very often, will you? (Mark laughing) – [Mark] The rough grouse
is the king of game birds and that provides
a challenge for us. – [Dan] Careful. – [Mark] Challenging walking,
challenging shooting. You rarely have a clear shot. (gunfire) – Damn, lost it in the sun. Son-of-a-gun. – It’s a fun time
especially when you mix them in with the
woodcock, you kinda got the knuckleball
and the fastball. – Good cover, nice and thick. Well, Mark, what makes
this ideal grouse cover? – Well, the first thing
you look for is the Aspen, 12 to 15 year old Aspen,
especially when you have balsams and spruce
mixed in like this. The thicker the
better, if it’s thick, you’re probably gonna
find grouse in it. (beeping) No bird (whistles), here. We run Brittanys,
they’re compact, they’re smart, they’re
great family dogs. They’re easy to train,
usually we have our dogs up to speed in the
first month or so of the fall season and
they’re handy to have. So that tells you how
important it is to have a dog. – [Dan] Absolutely. – [Mark] A wing tipped bird ran 80 yards from where it dropped? – [Dan] Easily. – [Mark] This looks like a male. Some of the indications
you look for is a nice big, dark
rough where they get their name, rough grouse. Two center tail feathers,
which I believe these are. Unbroken band,
usually indicates male and they usually have a little
orange over the eye too. Which you can barely see there. – [Dan] How about rump feathers,
do you look at those too? – What is it, the male has two? – Two dots, two or more. – Yeah, there’s two there.
– Yeah, dots, yep. Two white dots. (beeping) Now the beeper you
have on the dog has several signals, why
don’t you explain those for viewers who are wondering
what’s going on (chuckles). – Sure, sure, we’ve
got it currently in what they call the
run and the point mode so it beeps every five
seconds when the dog’s running and it beeps every second when
he goes on point, or stops. We also use it to
call the dog back. You can activate the
beeper and hold it down and that’s his call back signal. So less whistling from me makes
it easier on everybody else. – [Dan] Yeah. – Makes for a more
peaceful, quiet hunt. – [Dan] Well, it’s good for us because we can tell
where they are. – Yeah, you know, it’s
a great safety feature. You know you’re not
gonna shoot at a low bird so this has been great
technology for us. Okay, Cos, here we go. (whistles) Go ahead. – [Dan] That’s the only
one we’ve seen today. – The only one, that’s unusual for the middle of October but flights are coming through and we’ll be getting some more but this is a nice
size hen bird. – [Dan] And you can
tell it’s a hen, how? The size for one thing? – [Mark] Yeah, they’re
bigger in your hand. The beak will eclipse the
width of a dollar bill on a female and the male
will come up a little short. Can’t do it by hand
but they have control of this top beak to make
it flex a bit when they’re, they have 360 vision too. When they’re sitting down flat, they can see you
coming from behind, they don’t have to
even turn their head. – Well, Mark, today I brought my dad’s old side by
side, I left my Ruger over and under in the truck because I didn’t do too
well yesterday (laughs), and I’m not blaming
the gun but I killed my first grouse with this
shotgun back in 1960. – Awesome, awesome. – So my dad had
it for many years and I had a gunsmith
do some work on it. Refinished the case
hardening on the receiver, poured out the tubes, and
put a nice recoil pad on it, a nice finish on the stock, so, I’m hoping it brings
me some luck today. – My dad also gave
me my first shotgun. I’m not carrying that one today because his rule was it always remains in the family
but today I’m carrying my grandson’s gun,
this is an RBL, Connecticut Arms Launch Edition, side by side that
we gifted to him for his 16th birthday. – Nice. – And he’s in college now and not doing much hunting so I get to carry the
gun once in awhile. – Cool. – It’s a lot of fun. – Well, we’ve got
three generations represented then, here.
– Great, great. – Let’s go find some birds. – Sounds like fun.
– Put these guns to work. (gunfire) Nice shot. – Sometimes if we’re real
silent, he’ll bring it back but he’s not a great retriever so we’ll just be quiet
and see what he does. – That bird did a little
zigging and zagging and I had to– – Wait for him to straighten up. – You waited, I would’ve
been boom behind him and then boom, where’s
the, you know (laughs). – Yeah, that’s, if I had to pick one mistake that clients
make when shooting is they try to get as
many shots off as possible rather than taking one good shot and it’s difficult
with all the cover to wait and sometimes
you lose it that way but most of the good grouse
shots I know take just one shot. – Yeah. Well, that’s all
it took that time. – Very good. Way to go, Dan,
you’re on the board. – It took awhile. – Dad’s gun did the trick. – Indeed, it did. – A grouse and woodcock,
it’s not a meat hunt. Don’t expect to
kill a lot of them if you get a few birds today,
you’ve have a great day. So it’s all about the
walk in the woods, the camaraderie,
hunting with your dogs, just having a fun
time in the outdoors. – We were fortunate
to bag two grouse and several woodcock
on that outing, although Mark did most of
the bagging, as you saw. After our hunt, Mark treated me and fellow hunter, Bill Kregel, to a delicious wildgame lunch prepared in the Clam
Lake Lodge kitchen. – We’re gonna start
today with our appetizer, which is crappie cakes, which were freshly caught
just a week ago or so. Crappie tends to
be a softer fish so to make a better
texture final product, we like to add a
few shrimp to it, and some bread
crumbs, and some eggs, and we’re gonna cut that up here and use the Cuisinart for that. One thing that you gotta
make sure that you don’t do is overprocess it, you don’t
wanna turn it into a mush. Both for this shrimp but
especially the crappie. It’s already a soft
fish so we’re gonna cut this up into
reasonable sized pieces before we put in
the processor here. (whirring) And that looks pretty good. You don’t wanna overdo it, you still wanna have it
in recognizable chunks. You’re gonna pop the
shrimp in there next. And we’ll do the
same thing here. We won’t need to pulsate
these quite as long as the crappie because
they’re already in pieces. And then we’ll add our
secondary ingredients. I like to just add a few chives, we don’t wanna kill the
taste of the crappie. A dash of pepper and salt. Some bread crumbs and
then we add an egg to bind it all together and
get it ready for sauteing. Just dig in with your hands and mush it on up and
turn it into patties. And this appears to be ready. Alright, so we wanna
make a little smaller than your standard hamburger. Kinda like a small
slider size would be. Try to make them thin so
they get evenly cooked, but just something like that. And now it’s time
to saute the patties and it’s important to
use an unsalted butter so you can bring the
temperature up higher and get the patties
nice and brown and cooked all the way through. (crackling) I can already
smell those chives. So these should be at just
the right temperature. We’re gonna put them on a plate and put them in the
oven and keep them warm so we can serve them right
before our main meal. Now it’s time to move
onto the main course, which features
Northern Wisconsin’s own woodcock and grouse,
both fine eating. Total different type meats. Woodcock, we have
the dark breast meat and the white legs. So we’re gonna carve off,
filet off the breasts, on both the woodcock
and the grouse but they’ll be prepared
a little differently from each other but
in the same pan. So we wind up with
these beautiful little dark meat medallions and the grouse meat
is a whiter meat. We’ll prepare them a
little bit differently but they filet off the
bone the exact same way. And the big key with
both these birds is not to overcook them, you
wanna have the grouse breasts pink on the inside
and you wanna have, we’re just barely
gonna touch the pan with these woodcocks so
they’ll be rare on the inside. We’re gonna take these carcasses and make sure we
use all the meat and not waste any of the bird and show them the proper
respect that they deserve. You can, we’ll boil these
up and make a stock, reduce it to make a gravy out of or whatever you like
to do with your stock and you can also pick the meat off the carcasses too,
which are quite tasty. Boil them up in some
celery and carrots. Now, we’re gonna move
onto the next step, which is making a light
breading for the grouse and, again, we’re gonna
use our fall bounty, these are dried
puffball mushrooms, a combination of
pear shaped puffball and gem studded puffball
and we grind these up in a coffee grinder. (whirring) And we can dump it in
with our bread crumbs and add a little salt
and pepper to that and that’s all the flavoring
we need to add to the grouse. Now it’s time to dredge
these in a little milk, the grouse breast go in the milk and they’ll be breaded
with the mushroom flour so we’ll just pour
our milk into the bowl and plop the breasts
in there with it. They get dredged, I can
smell the mushrooms. (crackling) We wanna see them
brown on each side and we can plop the
woodcock breasts in quickly and they’ll get
turned almost immediately and removed from the pan. They’re looking
brown on the outside, we wanna make sure we keep them a little pink and
red on the inside. And the grouse should
be ready to flip too, our timing looks good, so
we’ll flip the grouse quickly and then we’ll
remove our woodcock and get them ready
for the next step. The key again is
not to overcook, you want the breasts
of the grouse pink on the inside and the
woodcock, pink to rare. Here’s the final topping, men, these are wild honey mushrooms that were picked
earlier this fall and they’ve been added
to a woodcock reduction for your gravy for the potatoes and also a topping
for the woodcock. We’ve got crappie cakes, we have squash with fresh sage, simple mashed potatoes that
go well with the breasts. – [Dan] Wonderful, wow. – [Mark] Very delicate, too. – Thank you. – You put in a lot of
work to prepare this. I think you should join
us and enjoy it with us. – Yeah, sit down,
Mark, and join us. – I’d be happy to, I’d
be happy to, thanks, man. – Wow, this is really a
special meal, thanks, Mark. I know that you had something
up your sleeve like usual and it is Dan’s birthday today so that’s why we have this
very special meal, thank you and, Dan, happy birthday.
– Thanks, Bill. Thanks, Mark. – It was much fun hunting
with you and great time. – Yeah, we’ll toast. (clinking) – Happy birthday.
– Happy birthday. – We’ll have to do it again. Well if I had a fire here
today, I could grill a grouse. But we’ll tell you where
to find Mark’s recipe for that fantastic
lunch later in the show. Now, though, let’s learn
more about the history and the purpose of the
UW Waukesha Field Station with its managers, professors, Marlin Johnson and
Teresa Schueller. (birds chirping) (gentle piano music) (creaking) – I get up before dawn sometimes and you can hear the birds, the birds wake me
up in the morning. They’re just so abundant and
there’s so many different kinds and they’re just at their peak but it’s just so gorgeous and to have all
this nature around, occasionally I see
a fox, I see a skunk walking down the driveway. It’s a gravel driveway
and I don’t want it to be asphalt I
want it to be just dusty and has puddles
in it and stuff because there’s so many animals that love those little puddles. The wasps come down
to drink the water and get the minerals
out of the soil and birds take big baths in them so I just have a really close
attachment to everything here. And the farm, the buildings
have been very important to me and trying to maintain
them and keep them up ’cause I used to spend time
at my grandfather’s farm and so it means a lot to me, so. I live in the farmhouse,
it’s a log house, it was built in 1844. This was a Welsh community
that lived around here and the name of the
people were the Thomases, Thomases and Owens,
so on and so forth. So I live there and I pay
a small amount of rent to the university but I
also take care of the place so I’m out here, I
can plow the snow, and so on and so forth and my daily routine
varies every season because it’s seasonal work so
I’m outside every single day but doing something
different every day so either collecting seeds, or getting ready
to plant a prairie, or talking to people,
there’s a lot of people that visit here and then
doing classes out here too, so, I still do some of that work so that’s a good thing. When I was first here this
was just abandoned farmland and the first several years we had thistles
that were this high, knotting thistle and
it was just a disaster, I had to take a farm
tractor and a sickle bar to mow it down but
gradually over time the prairie plants
will take over most of the weedy
things are annuals and biannuals and they die
out from the competition. The year after I came, this property was donated
to the university here and by Gertrude Sherman, she
was just such a gracious woman, she lived across the road,
the farm came up for sale, and so she bought it
because she didn’t want a gravel pit across
the road, so, that’s the interesting
part of the story and then when I was
brought out here because I was just a fresh
teacher at the campus and had a background in ecology, so I kinda knew what
to do and I was just absolutely astounded that I
could possibly be able to take 98 acres and turn it into
a miniature arboretum but the goal here was to create sort of a microcosm of Wisconsin so we planted prairie
and northern forest, pine forest, jack pine,
spruce, boreal forest, those kind of things. The more of those
species we have here we can talk about all
those plant communities that are found
somewhere in Wisconsin and then the goal
of this, hopefully, is to attract
insects and mammals and birds and so on
to these sites too, so we’re just in the
process of doing that. (gentle music) (indistinct background chatter) (splashing) (twinkling) When you’ve gone about,
oh, 25 feet or so, then take this and
dump it into the pan. – Marlin’s been
managing it since 1967 and he officially retired
from teaching in ’97 and he’s been working here
and a few years ago he said, “Really, you need to hire
somebody to replace me. “I’m getting up in age,
I’m not gonna be able “to do this forever, so hire
somebody,” and they hired me. Getting into the area
of landscape ecology, so we’re gonna look
at things as a whole. Your research project
some of you are doing underneath the shade
of the tree, like. So, my class is
environmental science and it’s not just the
animals or the plants so it’s what the humans do, it’s interdisciplinary
with environmental ethics so another professor,
Bill Schneider, he’s in the
philosophy department, is teaching the
environmental ethics part and the reason
I’ve started doing research projects
with my students is because a lot of students
when they start in science, they don’t see
themselves as scientists and this is one way I can,
“Oh, I am a scientist. “I can do research, I can
come up with a project, “I can go through the whole
method and be a scientist.” We usually better retention
and better success rates in classes where students are
actively engaged in research. (upbeat music) – For me, I’m not
a science major. I’m accounting and
computer science so being able to sit
out here for two hours and observe dragonfly
habits was rewarding in of itself because
it’s something that I wouldn’t necessarily
take time to do otherwise. – I’m still covered in
water because we just were walking through the creek and figuring out the
water quality level based on the macroinvertebrates
that were found in the creek so learning about it and
then being able to walk around the creek, you can’t
do that very many places. I’ll try to do a better job. – My favorite reward is
being able to identify all the prairie plants,
which ones are native, which ones are not, I can
pull the invasive ones and know for sure that
they’re invasive (laughs) and things like
that so being able to take that
knowledge and take it outside of the classroom, like
right outside your back door, is really, really, neat. – I don’t a lot of
people go to universities and colleges and they expect
some mundane, you know, bland lecture but these
people really get involved and really get excited
and they tell you about their experiences and
opportunities you can do outside of class as well
as outside readings, it’s overall all
of them definitely ignited another spark
in me to try to save what we do have and preserve it. – The largest one in
here is a bluegill. We got tons of bluegills,
so that’s good, I mean, that’s good to have. It’s good for them (laughs),
because they learn, they get outside and this
is an important thing nowadays for people
to get outside and learn some biology, so. But the information
that they’re collecting, of course, can be
used in the future. We can do better management with the information
they collect, so. (gentle music) – Marlin will actually be
able to use our research in planning appropriate
plantings underneath shade areas throughout the whole property. It’s strikingly telling
that there is not the same plants growing
underneath the shade and a different planting system needs to be utilized
to get the best out of that environment. – So reach down to the
bottom of the plant and then kinda pull
straight up if you can. (groans) This is
yellow sweet clover. – Students have been helping since the field station started so there’s other
people in the community but students also come
in and they do work days and they help feed the
prairie, plant the prairie, cut out invasive species,
cutting down buck corn, I have a half time position
and then Marlin’s volunteer and that’s all that’s
officially here to take care of 100 acres
so without the volunteers, and especially our
students over the year, we wouldn’t have a field
station the way it looks. (rustling) – You know it’s one thing
to come and visit a prairie but if you can say that
you’ve worked on the prairie, you’ve got a stake
in that prairie, you know what it
takes to do this and I think that’s important,
maybe almost as important to be a part of it as it is
to see the final product. – I mean, I come
here to enjoy myself but I also wanna pay
some dues (chuckles). (upbeat music) (indistinct background chatter) – So the experience
of being able to take all the different
sides, you know, the thought side, the
hard science side, and then apply it to
what we’re able to see so it was really
important to have all three of those professors. (indistinct background chatter) – We need be actively conserving and maintaining our
prairies and our forests as opposed to just letting
them run their own course. – They really do need
volunteers out here. I think if more
students met Marlin, they’d be way more,
you know, obligated, they’d be like, “Yeah, I’ll
come pour your beans for you. “Like, I’ll come help
you, how can we help?” So I’m definitely probably
this upcoming semester trying to get more
people involved in keeping up the field station through volunteer work
because that’s really what makes this
place so beautiful. – There’s the mother
oak behind you. So I’ve heard that
every great ecologist had a special outdoor space
sometime in their life and I hope that if they
haven’t had that already, that they get that here. Like this is such
a special place and I hope they all fall
in love with it and say, you know, when they’re
thinking about environment, they’ll think, “Oh yeah,
I have a special place, “the field station and so
environment’s important to me.” – I kinda dream
if I can come back in 100 years and see
how it’s changed, I hope the pine
trees that we have are gonna be 100 years
old and still there and the prairies
gonna be bursting and finally we’ll get
some prairie insects and prairie birds and
that’s what we’re hoping for so it’s very fulfilling to know that what you’ve
done for 50 years is going to go on for
another, indefinitely, I hope but there’ll always
be invasive species so there’ll be a lot
of jobs to do yet so I just, I’m really pleased
(laughs), really pleased. – You can learn more
about the field station and this week’s other features, including the recipe for Mark
Nissan’s grouse camp lunch on the Milwaukee
PBS Facebook page or online at Just click on local programs
and then on Outdoor Wisconsin. Well, this marks the
end of our 34th season, but we’ll be back next week
with an encore performance. Saying goodbye from the
UW Waukesha field station, I’m Dan Small, join
us again next time for another episode
of Outdoor Wisconsin. ♪ Summer to fall,
winter to spring ♪ ♪ From Green Bay to where
the St. Croix sings ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin,
Outdoor Wisconsin ♪

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