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Articles filed under Outdoors

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  • Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes Dec 20, 2014 2:14 PM
    “The drought opened our eyes to we need to be more diverse,” said John Anderson, who ranches near Gail, about 70 miles south of Lubbock. “Our mind isn’t closed. If there’s something we can do we’re going to go for it, if it makes economic sense.”

  • The time is right for an ice-fishing upgrade Dec 17, 2014 7:13 PM
    I have been vigilant for several decades when it comes to protecting exposed flesh with heavy layers of winter survival gear in order to prepare for comfortable ice fishing expeditions. Naturally, standards and practices have changed over time, and well made portable shelters are among the innovations that are making ice fishing ever more pleasant.

  • FishBrain’s algorithm reveals anglers’ path to glory Dec 13, 2014 7:42 AM
    The sport of fishing may be about to experience its biggest revolution since the 1920s, thanks to an app developed by Swedish startup FishBrain. Relying on the average piscator’s impulse to brag about a catch, FishBrain uses shared photos of fish to generate big data. The company says it’s now logged enough data to predict when and where fish will bite. Recreational fishing is one of the world’s most practiced hobbies. In the U.S., anglers spend $48 billion annually on bait, tackle, gear and trips, according to the American Sportfishing Association. That’s more than three times as much as global recorded music sales, which were $15 billion last year, according to trade body IFPI. “Building a bigger user base is the key focus for 2015,” FishBrain’s Chief Executive Officer Johan Attby, 40, said in an interview in Stockholm. “The goal is to become the first-choice app for anglers worldwide.” The social network is introducing an algorithm to forecast when and where to drop a line for a particular species, based on the 225,000 catches users have logged. The big-data version of the app became available on Android last week and on iOS this week. Niched social networks are attracting investor appetite. Strava Inc., an online community for running and cycling, in October raised $18.5 million from investors including Sequoia Capital. Attby, who is more into bicycles than fish, said his idea was to find a community with many potential users. Combining a specialized social network with big data, Attby hopes to beat the solunar theory — a method proposed in 1926 that’s still popular today — in predicting when fish will strike. FishBrain’s app gathers a range of automatic data such as wind speed and water temperature while users log data on their catch and the equipment used to land it. Algorithms then predict where to find nine species, including northern pike, largemouth bass and spotted sea trout. The company, which was founded in 2011 and introduced its app last year, now has 650,000 users of which over two-thirds are in the U.S., where it dominates the market. FishBrain relies on word-of-mouth and Facebook ads for marketing, has raised about $3.5 million, and plans to take in more capital next year. Future updates may offer users gear, bait and fishing permits in the app through affiliates. The company now employs 12 people, a number Attby predicts will grow to about 100 in a year or two. Attby’s FishBrain feed is full of anglers showing off their latest catch and sharing tips. To encourage users to log aquatic trophies, the app keeps track on records for different waters so that a user with the biggest specimen of a particular fish gets named “King of the Water.” Users can also opt to hide details about a catch if they wish. Luckily for Attby, anglers like to share stories. “The best proof is to check on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to see how anglers boast.”

  • For anglers, winter brings choices Dec 11, 2014 6:05 AM
    Outdoors columnist Mike Jackson has his own preferences for what to do when winter takes over, and he prefers going to local outdoors shows or ice fishing to staying home and waiting for spring.

  • Deer hunters increase harvest 3 percent Dec 11, 2014 4:35 PM
    Preliminary totals show Illinois hunters harvested 3 percent more deer this firearm season compared with last year’s season.

  • Wisconsin DNR board to consider update invasives list Dec 7, 2014 8:46 AM
    The state Department of Natural Resources’ board is set consider the first revisions to the Wisconsin’s invasive species list since it was created five years ago.

  • Legislature approves bobcat hunting Dec 4, 2014 4:05 PM
    Illinois lawmakers have approved legislation allowing bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.

  • Jackson: Light tackle, stealthy approach make for fun season Dec 3, 2014 6:47 PM
    Using light tackle along with a light touch when approaching a fishing spot can make for a great experience, even among some of the less glamorous fishing spots DuPage, Cook and Kane Counties.

  • Wisconsin dog hunters can go after wolves Dec 1, 2014 10:36 AM
    It looks like hunters will get a chance to run dogs on wolves, at least for a while. Wisconsin’s wolf season began in October but Monday was the first day hunters could use dogs to track and corner wolves. It appeared that dog users might not get a chance to get out before the season ended — hunters were just four wolves short of the 150-animal statewide kill limit going into the weekend — but according to state Department of Natural Resources data no one had taken any more wolves as of Sunday. Hunters aren’t allowed to let their dogs actually kill wolves, but wolf advocates still say running dogs on wolves is inhumane because wolves will turn and fight rather than flee.

  • Wisconsin DNR: Teenager shoots Brillion man while hunting Dec 1, 2014 10:28 AM
    Wisconsin authorities say a man is seriously injured after being shot by a 16-year-old hunter in Manitowoc County. HTR Media reports Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden supervisor George Protogere said Sunday the 24-year-old Brillion man was shot Saturday just before shooting hours were over. He says the injuries are serious but aren’t considered life threatening. Protogere says the Reedsville teenager shot the man with a shotgun. He says the teen was firing at a doe when the victim was out of sight on wooded, private land near Clarks Mills. The incident is under investigation.

  • Wisconsin councils to hold final deer goal meetings Nov 30, 2014 8:18 AM
    Wisconsin’s deer advisory councils will hold their final meetings in December to develop local herd density objectives. Each county has a council tasked with recommending to the state Department of Natural Resources whether to reduce the local herd, maintain its size or increase it. The councils will forward their final population recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources following the December meetings. The DNR in turn will send the recommendations to its board for approval in March. Once approved, the objectives will go into effect for the next three years beginning with the 2015 deer season. The councils will reconvene beginning in February to develop antlerless quota recommendations designed to move the local herds toward their goals. A meeting schedule is available on the DNR’s website.

  • Wisconsin DNR reminds hunters of additional deer seasons Nov 30, 2014 8:18 AM
    MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season is just about over, but that doesn’t mean hunters who came up empty are out of luck yet. The traditional gun season winds up Sunday, but the state Department of Natural Resources is offering a number of additional seasons between now and mid-January. The 10-day muzzleloader season begins Monday. An antlerless hunt will run in the central forest and central farmland management zones from Dec. 11 through Dec. 14. The southern farmland zone will hold an antlerless holiday hunt from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. Deer hunting in the state will finally come to a close on Jan. 4 when the archery and crossbow seasons end.

  • Find your own outdoors tune, and sing it loud Nov 26, 2014 5:48 PM
    Fishing and hunting can both be central parts of enjoying the great outdoors. Exactly how you go about it is entirely up to you, which is a big part of the fun.

  • Cold complicates Illinois duck hunting Nov 24, 2014 4:41 PM
    A mid-November cold snap has brought an early end to the duck hunting season for many participants in north central Illinois.

  • Jackson: Heated insoles make winter seem shorter Nov 19, 2014 7:28 PM
    Ice fishing, or just a long winter walk in the woods, just got easier: Remote-controlled heated insoles are bringing comfort to even the coldest of outdoors activities.

  • Fort McCoy urges hunters to watch out for ordnance Nov 18, 2014 6:43 AM
    Officials at Fort McCoy are warning deer hunters to watch out for unexploded ordnance when the gun season begins later this month.

  • Daily Herald column rekindles long-lost friendship; now they're married Nov 16, 2014 6:57 PM
    A widow in Mount Prospect reached out to an old aquaintance after seeing his name pop up in a Daily Herald column about the 80-year-old bicyclist. They rekindled the friendship and got married earlier this year. They leave soon for Florida, where the now 87-year-old still participates in bike races. “I had no intention of ever getting married again,” she says. Then came that day in 2007.

  • Forest rec trails not quite ready Nov 15, 2014 7:36 AM
    Outdoor enthusiasts may be ready to hit the recreational trails in northern Wisconsin after all the snow this week. But, managers at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest say the trails aren’t quite ready.

  • Finesse never falls out of fashion Nov 12, 2014 9:21 PM
    Trends come and go, along with fishing lures and their devoted practitioners. It pays to keep an eye on the underlying techniques at play, such as presenting a bait or simulation gently to finicky fish.

  • 5 things to do this weekend in the suburbs Nov 7, 2014 2:14 PM
    Kick of the holiday season in Crystal Lake, escape into an underwater world in Schaumburg or set off on the road to Oz in Lincolnshire. These are just a few of the options for this weekend in the suburbs.

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