Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
Dedicated to the Conservation of Wisconsin's Waterfowl and Wetland Resources.
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Thank You To WWA's
2018 Sponsors & Donors

Gold Level Sponsors
Silver Level Sponsors
Bronze Level Sponsors
State Level Sponsors
State Level Donors
LIFE SPONSORS
  • Dale Arenz
  • Ted Olson
  • Jack Olson
WETLAND LIFE MEMBERS
  • Tom Lutes
  • Patrick Smith
  • Erich Pitz
LIFE MEMBERS
  • Randy Hess
  • Raymond Petersen
  • Bruce Urben
  • Brian Hadler
  • David R. VanLanen
  • John Wetzel
  • Scott Zoellick
  • Cal Barstow
  • Terry G. Doughty
  • Bill Peebles
  • Jim Weix
  • Leonard & Arleen Wurman
  • Jeff Nania
  • Rob Monette
  • Guy McFarren
  • John Regan
  • Jerry Burns
  • Jerry Gadamus
  • Don Moore
  • Arthur Anderson
  • Don Kloetzke
  • Buzz Balzer
  • David Uihlein, Sr.
  • Robert Kieckhefer
  • Mark Drollinger
  • Jason Alvarado
  • Scott Hedin
  • Austin Wheaton
  • Tom Seibert
  • Larry Kirby
  • Sharon Kirby
  • Keith A. Pamperin
  • Lance Voeltner
  • Benjamin Larson
  • Randy Helbach
  • Don Kirby
  • Robert Swanson
  • Michael Alaimo
  • Eric Urben
  • Bryan Urben
  • Erich Schultz
  • Jon Bergquist
  • Craig Lonzo
CANINE LIFE MEMBERS
  • Creed Ferch
  • Gunner Seibert
  • Reggie Rechek
  • Sophie Vanden Boogart
  • Moose Vanden Boogart
  • Max White
  • Eve Monette
  • Ziva Fisher
  • Pearl Olson
  • Lynard Sitton
  • Phez Bartelmez
  • Jax Braun
  • Sapphire Klug
  • Rolf Timm
  • Neka Otten
  • Reba Regan
  • Izy Paitrick
  • Jake Regan
  • Remington Bratz
LEGACY LIFE MEMBERS
Gone but not forgotten
  • Les Didier
  • John Holmes
  • Joseph Porten
LEGACY CANINE LIFE MEMBERS
Gone but never forgotten
  • Zoe Regan
  • Nixx Urben

     
Thanks to all those that have cherished the memory of a loved one by donating in memoriam to the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.
 
Those recently memorialized were:
 
Mr. David E. Hughes
Donors: Mr. & Mrs. Jim Tavares, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Welch

Mr. Joseph Porten
Donors:  WWA 2018 Board of Directors and Staff

Attorney Dan Fay
Donor: Dale W. Arenz

Mr. Robert J. Kuehl
Donor: Ms. Penny D. Kuehl
 
Mr. John Held
Donor:
Ms. Kathy Shurts

Mr. John Holmes
Donors:
Dale W. Arenz, Jon Bergquist

Mr. Jay Reed
 
Donor: Bob & Cookie Olson  

Mr. Norman J. Brady
Donor:
Dale W. Arenz

Mr. Robert E. Strous

Donor
: Bruce Urben

If you'd like to consider a lasting and meaningful memorial fund contribution for that friend, hunting partner, co-worker or relative with WWA, please contact us. Each contribution will offer:
  • A personalized letter to the family of the deceased,
  • A letter from WWA sent to the donor confirming contribution for tax purposes (address & individual donation amount must be supplied),
  • The option for the donor to designate which WWA program they wish their contributions be put towards, and a listing in this section for the duration of one year
The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission focuses on wetland and upland habitat restoration, youth and adult environmental education and environmental- and hunter-based legislation.  
 
To contact us call (800) 524-8460 or (262) 968-1722, email wwainfo@centurytel.net or visit our website at  www.wisducks.org        
 
Sincerely,
Don Kirby
Executive Director
Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
PO Box 427
Wales, Wisconsin 53183
wwainfo@centurytel.net
800-524-8460
NOVEMBER 2018
WWA Executive Director Recruitment in Full Swing
By Bruce Urben, President

 
WWA is in the process of recruiting to fill the Executive Director position within the Organization. Don Kirby, our Executive director for almost 9 years has taken a new job with an advertising and marketing firm, his last day with WWA was October 5th. We wish Don the best in his new endeavors and thank you, Don, for all your hard work the last 8+ years! I am sure we will be seeing Don volunteering some of his time to WWA in the future.
 
For our Executive Director, we are looking for a person who has a passion for Wisconsin Waterfowl Association's mission and goals as well as the ability to lead this organization to the next level.  You can view the announcement and position description to apply for this position on our website. Please feel free to forward the announcement to your circle of friends and peers that may not see this newsletter.
 
We plan to begin the screening and interview process by mid November with a goal to have the position filled by January 1, 2019.
 
If you have questions about the position you can see the position description on our website or direct specific questions to me at  burben@netnet.net or by phone at 920-660-2773.
 
Thanks for your help and patience while this position is being filled.

2019 Calendars Are Here!
10th Anniversary Limited Edition, featuring 365 fabulous prizes, including:
  • 30 Shotguns
  • 28 Handguns
  • 12 Mathews Archery Z3 Bows
  • Scheels Gift Cards & Packages
  • 6 Parker Crossbows
  • 6 Guided Fishing Trips from Conro's Family Resort
  • 24 Steiner Binoculars
  • And more!
  • Only 5,000 Sold
Get yours online now before they sell out! Or, find your calendars at a local establishment near you.
Words From The Wardens
This month's edition is courtesy of WDNR Recreation Warden Heather Gottschalk

 
Warden shows how you can become a duck ID expert

Waterfowl identification is an important skill for a waterfowl hunter to possess.  But, it takes practice - and lots of it - to be really good at identifying birds on the wing and in hand.
 
Here are a few tips that we use to train our warden recruits at our Duck School, a week-long course that focuses on all aspects of waterfowl enforcement. This system, developed by Retired Warden Cletus Alsteen, uses a process of elimination.
 
Let's walk through the system so you can start using it your next time out!  The first step is to know some terminology. For the purposes of this column, I will reference mostly the Speculum which covers the entire section of secondary feathers as shown in this graphic.
 
When identifying ducks, eliminate as many species as you can. Here is how you can do that:
  1. With bird in hand, where are the feet located? Are the feet in the middle of the body or way towards the back? If in the middle, the answer is puddle duck. If they are to the back - the answer is diver duck.
  2. Do you have a lobed toe or an elongated toe? Answers: Lobed = diver. Elongated = puddle.
  3. Here's the big one - DO YOU HAVE COLOR (other than black or white) IN THE SPECULUM? Yes = puddle duck, No = Diver
    1. If you have COLOR, you have a puddle duck. This determination prompts the next question: What is the color? 
      1. Blue/Purple: wood duck, Mallard, Black Duck           
      2. Green: blue wing teal, green wing teal, shoveler, widgeon
      3. White: Gadwall
      4. Green to purple/brown tint: Pintail
    2. If you DO NOT have color, just black and white or all grey, you have a Diver. How much white do you have? Is the Speculum:
      1. Completely white from Primaries to Tertials? Yes: Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, White Winged Scoter
      2. 2/3 - 3/4 White with lots of white showing from Speculum through coverts? You have a common or Red Breasted Merganser, bufflehead, Goldeneye.
      3. No white, all grey wing: ring neck (green tint on tertials), Red Head or Canvasback
Although there are more steps to this process, I hope this will help you to narrow your bird down to one to three distinct species. 

Also, pack a good duck identification book with you and that will help you narrow it down even further.  Good luck to you on your next outing!
______________________________________
 
Here is a good example of the payoffs from ID training at Duck School. 
 
A citizen called in a complaint concerning the shooting of this swan. Wardens responded, and the investigation determined the four hunters shot the swan thinking it was a goose.
 
Know your target!
WWA Receives Green Gift From Cellcom
John LaShua, left, business Manager for Cellcom presents President Bruce Urben with the Cellcom Green Gift check for habitat improvements at the Abrams property
Abrams, WI (October 29, 2018) - Wisconsin Waterfowl Association has been selected as a 2018 Cellcom Green Gift recipient. The organization received a $2000 Green Gift from Cellcom to continue work on its Abrams property.
 
The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA) works to further restoration and conservation of the state's waterfowl and wetland resources and implement education for Wisconsin youth that heighten awareness about these resources. The group continues work on its Abrams property, a 152-acre area that is open to the public for hunting and wildlife viewing and includes a number of accessible features for hunters with disabilities. The Green Gift will contribute to the addition of an educational structure on the property.
 
"The opportunity to have a large property open to the public, which features significant access for disabled veterans and other differently-abled persons, to use the property for a variety of pursuits - all within a short drive of a large metropolitan area, is very unique," said Bruce Urben, board president and interim director of WWA. "The addition of an educational structure will help further the opportunities at the property."
 
Wisconsin Waterfowl Association was among 29 green organizations that received a share of the $40,000 in Green Gifts from Cellcom this year. The Green Gifts program launched in 2010 and uses funds generated from Cellcom's cell phone recycling program to fund green nonprofit initiatives. Customers and community members can bring in their old or unwanted phones to be reused and recycled. Cellcom sends the phones to recyclers who in return send money to Cellcom for the materials that were saved from the phones. Cellcom's Green Gift program completes the green cycle that starts with consumers being environmentally-conscious and donating their devices.  Read the full press release here.
WWA's Learn to Hunt Waterfowl 10th Anniversary Event
By Bruce Urben, President

Participants and instructors at WWA's 2018 10th Anniversary LTH
In July of 2008 I discussed the idea of sponsoring a youth waterfowl Learn to Hunt event with WWA's Green Bay Chapter volunteers. The idea was met with open arms and the meeting concluded with planning for the first "Learn to Hunt: Goose" program in Wisconsin. With the help of WDNR's conservation warden, Ben Treml (now Northeast Region Warden Supervisor), we were off and running. Six youth participated in that first event held at Pittsfield Trap Club, just miles from the greater Green Bay area on October 24-25th, 2008. Since 2008, well over 100 youth and young adults have gone through this program. Recently, several youth participants have returned as mentors to the program, a 360 degree return on our investment!
 
Fast forward to October 12-13, 2018 and the 10th anniversary of Green Bay Chapter's  "Learn to Hunt Waterfowl" program at Pittsfield Trap Club. This year we had youth (youngest was 9 years old), young adults and one adult (along with parents) attend WWA's only Learn to Hunt program in the state. In fact, one adult participant was from the Milwaukee area!
 
The classroom presentations have changed slightly since 2008, but still focus on safety training by WDNR certified Hunter Safety instructors (one of which has been with us for all 10 years - Jeremy VanSistine), waterfowl identification and ecology by Dr. Jacob Straub from UW Stevens Point and hunter ethics and legal requirements by WDNR Region Warden Supervisor Ben Treml.
 
The balance of the training was done when the attendees were paired with their assigned mentors and certified shotgun shooting instructors and shooting practice began at the trap Club range. Clay targets were their quarry on Friday night from a boat on inner tubes, layout blinds and other positions which they would encounter on their next morning's scheduled mentored hunt. Again, firearm safety was the focus of all training provided. Gift bags were distributed to the students, which included duck or goose calls, lanyards, hats, face paint and other goodies.  By 9:00 pm, all of our students and mentors were off with high expectations for Saturday's EARLY morning mentored hunt.
 
All of the students had opportunities to harvest waterfowl on Saturday and about half were successful in bagging their first duck or goose!
 
The program concluded on Saturday back at the Trap Club with a lunch donated by local sponsors and GB Chapter members, along with demonstrations on waterfowl game cleaning and preparation and cleaning of their firearm. Recipes from some of our seasoned mentors were also shared. Certificates were distributed to all participants and the 10th annual WWA Learn to Hunt Waterfowl was a fond memory to all involved.
 
A special thank you to the sponsors for this event, including Kay Distributing, Super Ron's Super Market, Wouters Sports Bar and Grill, Hansen's Pizza and Pittsfield Trap Club for use of their facility.  Of course, this event would not be possible without the volunteers from WWA's Green Bay Chapter and all the mentors who gave up a weekend of hunting to participate in this event; we couldn't do it without you.

If you are interested in attending this event in 2019, get your reservation in early as there is already a sign up list established. You can contact me to sign up at burben@netnet.net or by phone at 920-660-2773. There is no cost to attend this event.

Ryan Mannes Takes Home Top Score at WDNR's Warden Recruit Duck School
By Don Kirby, Former WWA ED

On Friday, September 28th, my training partner, WWA Board Member Patrice Eyers, met me at Perrot State Park near Trempealeau, and we headed out on the river in an icy breeze, for another day's-long session of "Duck School", joining a large group of warden-mentors, DNR staffers, and other volunteers as the group of some two dozen recruits were lead through eight different scenario stations - where they had to demonstrate the waterfowl related knowledge they'd been working on, all week, as well as applying their law enforcement training, in real-life situations. Patrice and I were actors, playing out a specific set of roles, designed to challenge the recruits on numerous aspects of waterfowl and boating enforcement.
 
At our mid-day break, once again, continuing the tradition in place for many years, WWA awarded a set of Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, to the recruit who recorded the best score on their final examination, held prior to the "field day" which we participated in.  This year's winner was Ryan Mannes, who gave us a brief bio:

Ryan Mannes, left, accepts the award for highest score at WDNR's Warden Recruit Duck School from Don Kirby
"I have been duck hunting since I was in high school, and have always loved duck identification. I am originally from Jefferson County, and this is where I learned how to duck hunt/identify ducks. I was hired as a Conservation Warden in January 2018, and will be stationed in Horicon, Dodge County. I chose this county to be stationed in because it is close to home, and has loads of waterfowl.

I am extremely honored to win this award. The duck school program, organized by Tyler Strelow and his team, has been a huge benefit to my duck knowledge and waterfowl enforcement. This training has been fantastic, and I know it will promote success in my career."

Ryan actually managed a perfect score on the test, the first time I've ever seen that feat performed (its extra-amazing, if you'd gotten to see the muddy, wet, carcasses they have to determine the species and sex on, to complete this exam)!  As in past years, it was great to meet these dedicated professionals, and to be a part of the critical learning for these new partners in conservation, helping them protect our resources, and keep themselves safe, in potentially dangerous situations.
 
Congrats to Ryan, and good luck to all of the recruits, as they transition from training into their work stations, over the next few months. We should all be proud that Wisconsin is able to attract such skilled folks, to help us in protecting our natural resources!
Third Annual Hall of Fame Class

The Hall of Fame committee is now accepting nominations for their Third Annual Hall of Fame Class. 


If elected to the WWA Hall of Fame, the nominee will be honored at the WWA state meeting on January 26, 2019.
Did You Get A Band Yet This Year?
By Mike Alaimo, Lead Adopt A Wildlife Area Program Volunteer

Earlier this hunting season, a volunteer in Jefferson County met me at the boat launch. Their goal was to educate duck hunters on the proper cleaning of your boat and gear to protect against invasive species. As part of the lesson, I was blessed with my first band of the season!
 
Besides the milfoil hanging like Spanish moss from our trailer that we were removing, the hull of the boat captured dried cattail and seed pods from marsh plants. One of the samples was loosestrife. Since we spend time at Rome Pond trying to eradicate purple loosestrife, the lesson learned at the launch that day hits home.
 
WWA AWA volunteers working in July of 2017 on an invasive species purple loosestrife project on Rome Pond.
The point was simple. We all think about the fine associated with hanging vegetation from our trailers, but these dried seeds are just as dangerous. We can be the Johnny Appleseed of our wetlands when we grass in our rigs and move about the marsh. It can take a controllable population of an invasive and exponentially spread them across the marsh. Worst yet, the seeds can blow out of the hull on the way home and leave them on the side of the road to find a new home.
 
Please remember to INSPECT, REMOVE, And DRAIN before leaving the landing. Best practices always lead to less work for everyone!

Project Program Updates
Peter Ziegler
By Peter Ziegler, WWA Project Director

We have had some great fall weather with waterfowl migration in full force and, in some instances, even a bit ahead of schedule. I talked with a local hunter in the northern part of the state who had one of those "hunts". One minute is all it took for two individuals to limit out on Ringnecks. For those who have experienced a large, hundred-plus ringneck flock, you know the excitement they can provide; not only the noise that they create bombing around, but also the quick flyers that make for an exciting hunt as they pile into the spread. These particular hunters were hunting a wild rice bed. Wild rice is known to be a great migratory forage food and is very attractive to waterfowl.

WWA completed a wild rice restoration planting this past October, once again engaging the local Three Lakes, Global Science class. 

WWA Project Director Peter Zielger speaks to the group before Wild Rice seeding. Photo credit: Jennifer West, Three Lakes School District

Thanks to their help, we were able to seed 150 pounds of locally harvested rice to try to reestablish an historic rice bed. The seeding efforts went really smoothly after having worked with this group in the past, and kudos to Honey Rock Camp (A Wheaten College affiliated camp) for providing the canoes for the students to help make this happen. 

Students paddling out for Wild Rice seeding. Photo credit: Jennifer West, Three Lakes School District.

Wild Rice. Photo credit: Jennifer West, Three Lakes School District
We will be looking for more wild rice sites in the Eagle River, Three Lakes and Rhinelander areas, so if you have ideas let me know so we can do the background work for viability, historical presence (not mandatory), locations for access and proper notification of landowner(s) (many of the sites end up being within the national forest).

Tom's Event Corner
By Tom Seibert, Regional Director

I want to thank all of you for your support throughout this year. I hope that you have gotten a chance to harvest the fruits of your labor. Roast duck or goose brats are a great way to enjoy the results of our healthy and productive wetlands.   The contributions you have made have enabled WWA to complete many habitat projects this year. Thanks again!

We have two events left this year that you can attend to help support our mission. November 29th is our Lakeshore banquet in Manitowoc; you can attend this event for as little as $25. They will have many great guns and door prizes for you to win and a wonderful buffet dinner, so check out all the details online now and get your tickets before they sell out. They will have hunting items for late season and for upcoming hunting seasons. Don't miss out on the many other items to win or purchase that will make excellent Christmas gifts. Plus, don't forget about the Great Bucket Raffle; Wally has assembled a flock of amazing items that aren't $20 trinkets, but $200 smile-on-your-face prizes. Save big money by purchasing your Gold or Platinum event credit cards early. Don't live in the Manitowoc area?  Well, it might be time to take a road trip, this is a banquet you don't want to miss!

We will be drawing the winner of our Waterfowler's Dream Hunt raffle on December 6th at the Delafield Brewhaus during our Christmas Bash event. We will have several great prizes and numerous guns to win at this event also. This short, two-hour event is another one you can attend for as little as $30 and it's loaded with tons of fun events, games, free craft beers and appetizers. We're limited to only 125 attendees for this venue and registrations are coming in quickly, so sign up soon if you plan to join us. I see another road trip in your future. Come and have fun at our last remaining events and help us help this state's wildlife flourish.

Class A Raffle Alert!!! We have several new Chapter Class A Raffles online. This is your chance to win some fantastic guns and prizes without having to attend every event as these are "need not be present to win" raffles. Check out the FabArms Syren XLR5 12ga semi-auto with the latest reduced recoil workings for a lady, youth, flinch prone or small stature shooter. This is a $2,000 firearm not seen at many events. Get your tickets now for this and other quality firearms and other prizes as many of these raffles have limited tickets for sale.

If you would like to participate as a volunteer on a committee or would like to start a new chapter please contact us. If organizing an event isn't your thing, but getting dirt on your hands is, checkout our Adopt A Wildlife Area program. We can always use the "get 'er done" attitude with our volunteers.

Thanks for all you do for WWA.
Sponsor Spotlight: Cabela's
In this month's Sponsor Spotlight we are proud to be able to recognize, once again, our friends over at  Cabela's as a 2018 Gold Sponsor of Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.

For those of you that attend our events, you have seen over the years an amazing array of Cabela's products that have been donated to WWA, perhaps none more eagerly anticipated than this year's Cabela's Polar Cap Equalizer 60 quart coolers that we've had at every WWA banquet and golf outing in 2018. Haven't had a shot at winning one of these yet?  Be sure to attend our Lakeshore banquet and Christmas Bash to see (and have a chance to win!) this exceptionally rated $300 cooler yourself. Cabela's was also a generous supporter of our  2018 Conservation Calendar; thanks to their support all purchasers have had the opportunity to win a variety of Cabela's gift cards and donated duck and goose call packages. Thanks to Cabela's for their generous support of our fundraising events.

WWA is also incredibly lucky to have had the assistance and sponsorship of Cabela's through our 2018  Waterfowl Weekend, during which the Richfield location and their incredible team hosted our 2nd Annual Decoy Carving Contest & Exhibition and Wisconsin's State Duck & Goose Calling Competition held August 10th-12th. 

Winners of the 2018 State Duck _ Goose Calling Contest held at Cabela_s Richfield location
Winners of the 2018 State Duck & Goose Calling Contest held at Cabela's Richfield location pose with WWA board member & contest organizer Rob Monette, far left, & Steve Czisny.

Thanks to Cabela's and the teams at their four stores in Wisconsin (Prairie du Chien, Sun Prairie, Green Bay, and Richfield), for all of the assistance you provide to WWA over the year, and helping make our events so appealing for our members and friends. To help us show our thanks to our longtime sponsor and friends at Cabela's, please  check out their website for all of their store locations and the amazing online selection of outdoors related products.

 

NOVEMBER 2018
DECEMBER 2018


WWA'S 2018 CALENDAR RAFFLE

Thank you to everyone who purchased our 2018 Conservation Calendar! This raffle was again an immensely successful fundraiser for our organization's mission.  

Drawings will be held on the SECOND WEDNESDAY of each month and all drawings will be held at Marsh Inn, 220 S. Hwy W in Reedsville, WI, at 6:00 p.m. The drawing is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. 

Winner's results are posted online by noon on the Thursday following the drawing and the month's drawing results can also be obtained by request via email or by calling (262) 968-1722 or writing to PO Box 427, Wales, WI 53183. 
  
Good luck to all who are entered!

What Should You Do Before Leaving Your Hunting Spot to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species?

Jeanne Scherer,  Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist with  UW Environmental Resources Center recently shared with us this video link of  Chris Hamerla, from Golden Sands RC&D, who, along with his dog Cisco, were on one of the Wausau news stations to talk about what hunters should do before they leave their hunting access points to make sure they don't accidentally move aquatic invasive species. Check out the informative video before your next trip to the blind: 

The Decoy CornerAnother Wisconsin Original, Owen Gromme, Decoy Carver & Artist
Gromme bluebills, image courtesy Wisconsin Sporting Collectibles
By Bruce Urben, President

Anyone that is familiar with wildlife art has probably heard the name of Owen Gromme. His wildlife paintings have established him as an icon of American artists. He was honored in 1945 as the winner of the federal duck stamp art depicting three shovelers in flight. He was also selected as the artist to paint the first Wisconsin Waterfowl stamp in 1978, woodies in flight. Many may not know this, but Owen Gromme was also a talented decoy carver that provided highly realistic interpretations of hunting decoys!
 
Owen Justus Gromme was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on July 5, 1896. He grew up along the shores of Lake Winnebago and spent his early years in the field with his father, hunting, trapping and fishing. Little did he know at the time, but his early years nurtured his profound interest in nature that would shape his entire life. Owen never finished high school or had any formal art training. He was very active, however, keeping a journal of his daily activities.
 
Owen's first formal job was with the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he worked as a taxidermist under Herbert Stoddard. This brought out Owen's serious interest in art and painting, most commonly of birds. His scenes included an entire environmental depiction and were very realistic to the bird and habitat. Owen Gromme has produced hundreds of wildlife paintings over his career.
 
Owen Gromme goose decoy, image courtesy Decoy Magazine
Gromme moved on to become Curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum in the 1920's and this is where he became serious in carving decoys. Most believe these started for his own use as he was an avid waterfowler. Gromme's decoys utilize the distinctive style that is referred to as the Milwaukee School of Carving.  He pioneered the design and passed on patterns to influence the decoys of fellow taxidermists Pelzer, Warren Dettman and Earl Voelker, also working at the museum. Gromme made mallard, pintail, bluebill, ringbill canvasback and Canada goose decoys, carved in natural positions with fine details. Most of the primaries and wing tips are relief carved, and the heads and bills are recreated in exacting detail. The decoy bodies are deep and nicely rounded with a flat bottom. His painting was done with the precision of a trained eye.
 
Gromme Canada Goose decoy, image courtesy Wisconsin Sporting Collectibles

Owen donated a number of his paintings and decoy carvings to conservation organizations to raise money for habitat improvements. He helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation projects throughout the US and Wisconsin!
 
Owen Justus Gromme passed away on October 29th, 1991 at the age of 95 at a retirement complex he was living at in Madison, Wisconsin.  Although you may not be able to find Gromme decoys at local auctions or rummage sales, thee are still many of his decoys that are available on the secondary market, many of which command high values. According to Warman's Duck Decoys (2006) by Russell Lewis, the Milwaukee School decoys command values between $500-$5000 depending on the carver. Gromme's decoys would be in that higher price range.
 
Rare canvasback hen by Owen Gromme World auction record for maker, image courtesy Guyette and Deeter
I was able to hold one of Owen Gromme's early decoys at the Oshkosh Decoy Show in Oshkosh last March. The collector had it for sale for $10,000. I would argue that it wasn't really for sale!
 
Owen Gromme is an icon in Wisconsin Waterfowling history, and if you are privy to having one of his decoys or one of the Milwaukee School of Carving blocks, you certainly have a Wisconsin original to enjoy on your mantel.
 
Good luck in your collecting!
AIS Spotlight - Faucet Snail
A Snail Like Any Other? Not Quite.

Picture of a faucet snail from Minnesota Sea Grant
The Faucet Snail (Bithynia tentaculata) may look like any other snail you find in the Winnebago Waterways, but underneath the coiled shell lies an animal that can have major impacts on our waterways.

Faucet snails were first found in the Great Lakes in the 1870s and first documented in Lake Winnebago in 2013. Native to Europe, the faucet snail most likely reached North America through sediment used for solid ballast (the precursor to ballast water that is used today) or in contaminated vegetation used in packing crates. These snails reach high densities and can out compete native snails for resources such as food and space.

Faucet snails have brown shells and are on the smaller size: 1/2 inch long when fully grown! Their shells have 4-5 whorls with an opening on the right hand side when the shell is pointing up. One of the features that makes these snails successful when hitchhiking on recreational equipment is the operculum. An operculum is made up of layers of calcium carbonate that acts as a trapdoor. It creates a seal that traps water inside the shell and provides protection to the snail.  Read the full article here.

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