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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.

Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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Go Fishing – Wawang Lake Resort

 

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THE MOOSE – Bold, Majestic & Potentially Dangerous

moose at night If you’ve ever driven any distance through the Canadian bush – especially endless miles of tree-lined, two-lane highways, then you will know about the moose as they often move about our Canadian highways freely.

There are foreboding signs along the way featuring outlines of these hulking creatures nonchalantly strolling across your path. The message is not one of protecting the environment, it is one of avoiding mortal danger and a warning to YOU.

Moose-warning

An uneasy feeling starts to set in right about dusk, when the light of the sky darkens enough to match the light thrown by your high-beams.

If you know about the threat of the moose you will tend to slow down just a little, and your eyes will skirt furtively for motion and shadows along the treeline. Because you do not want to hit a moose. If you do, it will almost certainly be THE event of your day. Although generally timid, the males become very bold during the breeding season, when the female  sutter a loud call, which can be heard from up to 2 miles away, and are often mistaken for lowing cattle; at such times they fight both with their antlers and their hoofs. Fierce clashing of antlers between males is also not uncommon during the rutting season. The female gives birth to one or two young at a time, which are not spotted. The gestation period for a moose is about 216-240 days. After the young are born, they drink the mother’s milk, which is very high in fat and other nutrients. Because of the milk, the calf grows very fast.

moose-down-the-road-from

The cow moose is reported to kill more people in Canada than any other animal (far exceeding the toll of the grizzly bear). These large animals can be extremely protective of their young, and caution should be exercised when approaching a cow moose.

In the spring, moose can often been seen in drainage ditches at the side of roads, taking advantage of road salt which has run off the road. These minerals replace electrolytes missing from their winter diet. However, this is where the most potential danger lies in these locations as the moose will come out to the open for various reasons one especially to get away from the flies. So on your journey up to Wawang Lake be sure to heed the warning signs – keep your eyes peeled and scan the timberline on each side of the road for these majestic animals.

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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Adventure, Moose, Moose sightings, Wildlife

 

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Love of Loons – Wawang Lake

by Alan Schwoegler  – Madison, WI
(friend & guest of Wawang Lake)

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People love Wawang Lake’s loons. Their calls and antics are a part of every hour at the lake. During my very first vacation there, I was overjoyed to see how many loons called Wawang their home.

I have been monitoring and learning about loons through WI Loon Watch since the early ‘80’s. Most recently, I have been closely following the latest loon research and am a Loon Watch trained educational speaker. I’d like to share some things I’ve learned.

To start, the loons we love in WI, MN, MI and Ontario are Common Loons, one of 5 species of loons. There is a large nesting population in Ontario, estimated at about 200,000. In the US lower 48 states, the Common is the only loon species nesting. WI has about 4000 loons.

Loons are the oldest, most primitive, living bird. They are from ancestors at least 20 million years old.

Loons have solid bones allowing them to sink, dive and swim like masters of the water. But, flying requires a water take-off “runway” of ¼ mile (400m) to become airborne. Their legs are far back on their torso, an awkward set-up for water-landings. Legs at the rear and need for long flight take-offs make loons helpless on land. They can’t walk on land; only push themselves along for short distances. They can’t take off from land. If forced to land on ‘land’, they will starve, stuck at the landing spot. Sometimes, during migration, loons mistake wet roads for rivers. They land, and die unless rescued by people. Landing in a ‘too small’ pond for take-offs also means doom.

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Loon Calls: 4 basic calls, hear them at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_loon/sounds

·       Wail – a back and forth location calls: “Where are you?”

·       Yodel – Male only territorial call:  “This place is mine!”

·       Tremolo – Stress, alarm :  “Something’s Wrong”

  • o   Flight Tremolo: similar non stress “Flying. Anybody down there? “

·       Hoot – Soothing, quiet, close-by. “Hello friend, I like you”

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Some other facts about our loons:

  • Their average weight is about 10 lbs (4.5kg); males are usually heavier.
  • Male and female loons look identical. Male loons are often slightly larger.
  • Adult loons winter on the oceans. Juvenile loons migrate to the ocean in their first autumn and remain there for 3 full years until mature.
  • Loons have small wings compared to their body size, so they have to move their wings much faster than other waterfowl to stay airborne. 
  • They need about ¼ mile (400m) to take off; a lake at least 10 acres (4 Hectare)  They can fly at up to 70 mph (113 Km/hr), even faster with a tail wind.

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  • In one documented case, a loon flew 670 miles (1078 Km) in 1 day.  1524 m)
  • Loons fly at 3000 – 5000 ft high (914 – 1524 m) 
  • Loons use the Great Lakes extensively as staging areas for rest; migration.
  • Most Great Lakes area and W Ontario area loons migrate to 1) The Gulf of Mexico (Florida’s coast and MS, AL) 2)FL inland lakes  3)Atlantic (Florida east coast, the Carolinas, GA) 
  • For example, some loons from MN and WI were tracked migrating EAST to Lake Michigan; Then they feed, rest and slowly make their way to the south end of Lake Michigan. They may head to the Gulf or SE to the Atlantic, stopping at Lake Erie and then over the Appalachians. Amazing!!
  • Common Loons once nested as far south as Northern IL and N Iowa. (1900). Human population, hunting and loss of habitat pushed their range further north. 
  • Loons do not mate for life; they are more true to a lake and territory than to a mate. However, both male and female will strive to get to the same territory year after year. If they are both able to claim their territory and defend it from others who want it, they nest with last years’ mate, in the same lake or portion of lake.
  • Loons can live 25-30yrs. This is still being researched. Might be longer. 
  • Loons fight to claim and keep a good lake territory where they can nest. 
  • Adult loons consume about 2 lbs of fish and crustaceans per day. Mostly perch. 
  • Loons and their chicks in N WI are highly studied. A large number have been banded with colored, individualized leg bands. The bands allow researchers (and the public) to identify an individual by patiently observing them with binoculars. Adult loons who have returned and juveniles banded-as-chicks can be identified.
  • A female loon has been returning to my WI lake since she was first banded in 1995. She was estimated to be 5-8 years old then. That means she is at least 25 years old if returning in 2015. She has had at least 5 mates since then.

A color leg-banded loon:  photo by Alan Schwoegler
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A Loon’s Year

The beginning: March- April
Adult loons on the ocean molt their flight feathers in late winter Feb-March. They are unable to fly until the new feathers have all grown in. Once feathers are ready, the loons are itchin’ to head north. The male is especially loaded with hormones at this time and ready to head to the area he calls home.

They head north as far as they find ice-free water, utilizing the Great Lakes and river flowages to get north. Many males will hang out on a river or flowage and take flights over their home lake each day to see if the ice is gone. I have seen them fly over my iced-in lake, circle the area and fly back. WI DNR people have identified my lake’s male loon hanging out on the open WI River near Rhinelander as early as 2 weeks before my lake was open.

Territory: May – June
Male loons are usually the first to arrive and claim a territory. The female arrives soon after. As a pair, they may claim the total water area of a small lake or a portion of a larger lake. My WI Lake is 150 acres and oval. It supports one pair of loons who won’t allow others on their territory. This is known as a territorial pair. Irregular shaped or large lakes have multiple territories. I estimated Wawang Lake to have about 75 loon “territories” suitable for nesting. A pair of loons in a territory have to defend it against stronger, younger loons, male or female. A male loon will sometimes fight to the death trying to defend his “spot”. Females are less violent.

Loons with no territory or mate are known as floaters. Floaters stay on lakes or areas of a lake which are not good for nesting but hold fish. Floaters will continually fly into nest territories as intruders and challenge the resident(s) for their territory. Some of the large open areas of Wawang Lake are good examples of floater “hang outs”.

Nesting: June-July
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Preferred nesting areas are shallow areas with islands, points, exposed rock and bog mats. A nest is built from muck, reeds and vegetation gathered from the lake bottom by male and female together. The nest will be built high enough to be out of the water and the loons will push themselves up to sit on it. There are normally one or two eggs. The loon pair share nest duties and need about 28 days of undisturbed incubating. Weasels, otter, eagles and gulls will eat the eggs if possible. Also, if the territory is successfully taken over by an intruder (floater), the affected male or female is booted out. The remaining mate accepts the new one and the existing nest will be abandoned; the eggs left to die.  It’s a tough life. When a nest fails because of mate displacement or predation, there are sometimes enough weeks left in the summer to attempt a 2nd or 3rd nest. This can never succeed however, if a new nest is started too late. (Probably later than June 15th at Wawang.) Any loon chick hatched late has a poor chance of growing big enough to fly south before its’ home lake freezes.

Chicks: Late June – July

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Chicks will hatch a day apart if there are 2 eggs. The chicks take to the water immediately after their feathers dry away egg liquid. They are able to walk around on land or the nest at this time, if needed.

The chicks will sometimes ride on an adult back because chick feathers don’t keep them warm enough. Riding also keeps them away from predators. Muskie, large bass, northern pike, snapping turtles and eagles will snatch a young chick from the water. Male and female loon will catch perch, minnows and crustaceans to feed the chicks. Once again, loon intruders fight for the territory. More fights! If a new male can take over, the young chicks will be killed by him. If it is still early summer, the new adult pair may try to re-nest.

Chicks are helpless for 3 weeks. They are not able to feed themselves or dive to avoid boats. Boats are a lethal problem on crowded lakes. By 6 weeks chicks are more independent and will start to dive for food on their own. By 12 weeks old, the chicks are juveniles, able to feed themselves and start to fly.

Time to cut the ties: August – September
Once loon chicks are 6 weeks old, the adults begin to wander off now and then, one at a time, to socialize and feed. The time-away starts to increase and the parents may totally leave chicks alone after 12 weeks.

Then, the adults usually go to large open-lake areas and hang out with the “floaters”. The adult loons begin to lose some of the beautiful feather pattern and red-eye. They start to turn a dull grey prior to migration. The adults form rafts of anywhere from 25 to hundreds of loons. They feed heavily and prepare for migration.

The chicks, now juveniles, fly around their lakes and adjoining waters to strengthen their wings. They too feed heavily to get ready for migration.

An adult loon molts, begins migration

Migration:  Oct – Nov
By October, adults start to migrate, singly or in very loose flocks. They do not fly together and the territorial pair seen in early summer will probably disperse to different migration destinations, not to see each other again until spring. Adults leave before their offspring, leaving the juveniles to find their own way south later. This “rookie” migration sometimes causes problems for the juveniles. They wait too long, their lake begins to freeze over, and they no longer have enough open water to take off. These poor juveniles usually become eagle food as the eagles wait at the edge of open water for the young loon to exhaust itself.

Researchers have used satellites to track migrating MN WI and MI male adult loons. The tracking allows people to see exactly where the loons were. The results of several years of satellite tracking can be seen at:

http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html

More Loon information can be found at:

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/Loon.html

https://www.northland.edu/sigurd-olson-environmental-institute-loon-watch-FAQs.htm

http://loonproject.org/walter-piper/ (The scientist researching in my home area)

538985_10151485445607581_1088304094_nEnjoy Wawang Lake’s numerous loons. Their calls give you a wonderful memory to take home and enjoy long after you’ve left the lake.

Thank You!.
Alan Schwoegler

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.

Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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Choosing the Right Fishing Lodge

For anglers of any age, nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the wonder and adventure of staying at a fishing lodge or fishing camp.

Whether you are hoping to find easy-to-catch fish, or just some rest and relaxation, there is a lodge or camp available that is right for you. But how do you choose the perfect lodge, and what are the criteria to follow when making that all-important booking decision? Follow these tips and be prepared to experience your own wilderness utopia.

Defining Your Needs
When picking a lodge or fishing camp for the first time, you must decide what you want to experience and enjoy during your stay. If fishing is the sole reason for taking the trip, then your search can be immediately narrowed down. However, if your family is taking part in the excursion, you have to make sure that the establishment has activities that cater to the entire family.

Planning is the key to a successful fishing lodge vacation.
Making a list of what you intend to do while you are there will make the job of finding a lodge even easier. Once your list is full of your needs and wants, then it is time to contact a random selection of lodges to find out if they can satisfy all of these particulars.

To Stay or Go?
One of the big thrills of getting away to a fishing lodge is precisely that — getting away. But important decisions must be made on how far away from home you can afford to go.

  • Fly-in lodges are always more expensive than drive-to for obvious reasons.
  • Fly-in’s do offer the remoteness, solitude that many of us crave, although it does come at a price. However, some remote drive to’s & boat in’s offer similar options as fly-out services without the expensive cost.
  • If you are looking for that “once-in-a-lifetime” experience similar to a fly-out then a remote drive to or boat in would definitely be the way to go.
  • A remote drive to or boat in lodges are destination that you could make an annual event since it’s less costly.

Time Of Year
Depending on the time of year or season, rates for lodges can vary drastically. Peak summer months will always be the most expensive, while spring and fall trips will generally offer considerable savings. Fishing can often be best during these off-peak times, and the weather can frequently be more comfortable and refreshing.

Early spring walleye fishing is an example of fishing being better during off-peak periods, as is fall monster northern pike fishing. Investigate the species you are after and the weather history for the area you intend to travel to, and reap the rewards of lower rates during the “other” seasons offered.

Add-On Prices
There are numerous ways to save money while heading to a lodge, and I have taken advantage of some of them for added discounts in the end. If you own a boat, and the lodge is within driving distance, savings can be incurred by simply taking your own boat instead of renting one during your stay.

Another tip is to take your own food if you are staying in a self-sufficient HOUSEKEEPING accommodation, instead of paying the extra cost of having your meals prepared for you.

Although many anglers enjoy these “luxuries,” of the AMERICAN PLAN PACKAGES and find that these perks are one of the reasons for going, my aim is to point out that those that think they can’t afford a trip away can readily do so if they pass on some of the fancy trimmings.

Ask Many Questions
My best advice for choosing the lodge that is right for you is to do some thorough investigating and to ask many questions. Lodge owners are more than happy to answer any of the concerns or queries you may have. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. How long have you been in the business?
  2. What activities do you offer, for both the fisherman and family members?
  3. May I bring my own boat?
  4. What are the fish limits, slot restrictions?
  5. What species of fish are found in your lake and what is the success rate of your guests?
  6. Do you offer a cancellation refund in case of an emergency?
  7. What were some of the memorable catches from the previous year?
  8. What’s included in the rate, and what’s not included?
  9. How much is bait and gasoline?
  10. Do you offer ice, freezer space?
  11. What makes your lodge different than most others?
  12. How old are the cabins/units? Do they have electricity, appliances, bathroom facilities?
  13. Are pets allowed?
  14. Can a fishing license/tackle/groceries be purchased on site?

Ask a ton of questions before you book a fishing vacation … it will eliminate any unwanted surprises! And the memory of your trip will last a lifetime.

By asking these types of questions, you will get a better feel for the lodge itself and what it can offer you in terms of a get-away.

Experience the thrill that fishing lodges or camps offer by finding one that suits your needs. By putting in a bit of homework and pre-planning your trip, there will be no surprises.

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The Bear Cub Incident

bear cubTRUE STORY:

A few years back, a logger driving southbound on the Graham Rd noticed the cutest, tiny bear cub that was sitting at the side of the road so he stopped his truck to assess the situation. The logger got out of the truck and looked all around  and noticed that there was no momma bear around.

Thinking the cub had been abandoned, or, that something negative had happened to the sow he decided against leaving te bear cub behind.  So he carefully picked up the cute, docile cub and gently imagesCA6NUG1Tplaced him on the passenger seat of his truck. The logger began driving when only a mile down the road, slammed on …the brakes, slid to a stop and flew out the door.

When the cub recovered from his shock and realized where he was – he went into a frenzy, clawed and chewed on the logger – snarled and sliced the whole interior of the vehicle. When the cub imagesCACWGNGPwas finally done with all the damage he scampered out of the truck and ran back up the road towards his momma who was now barreling down the road towards the logger….yikes!!

The logger jumped into the truck, shifted into gear and in the rear view mirror noticed that momma bear stopped and sniff her cub as they met up – then momma suddenly stood up, angrily spun around and swiped the air in the loggers direction……… real mad.

The logger was left in shreds as he bled profusely and his brand new truck was sliced, diced and completely in ruins.

bear cub

 
 

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

lynx

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.


Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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Dancing Bear

 

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albino-black-bear.jpg

Albino Black Bear

The albino black bear. Traditionally black bear are known to be black, but, in fact they can be any color from black to brown, tan, yellow, white. This is called color fazes.

Customarily, a color faze black bear is smaller and don’t usually grow a big as black bear do. However, never underestimate nature because some of our color fazes have been 400+ lb.

Needless to say color faze bear are quite shy and remain aloof and unnoticed as much as possible, with people and also with other animals so when you see one of these unusual bear it’s a treasure sighting for sure!

When you’re travelling up to Wawang Lake make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the road. The Graham Road holds a wealth of wildlife of all types, afterall, you’re going back to where nature has never changed!

 

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