Private lands open to hunting, fishing under VPA

Finding a place to hunt, fish and trap is luckily pretty easy in Wisconsin, thanks to our millions of acres of public land in the form of county, state and federal areas.

Sportsmen now have another option: private lands voluntarily open to sportsmen.

The state offers more than 30,000 acres of private land open to hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife watching under the relatively new Voluntary Public Access program. Under VPA, landowners who participate receive $5 to $15 an acre for allowing access to their lands, depending on the type of land (farmland, wetlands, forest).

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is especially interested in at least 40-acre parcels and also land adjacent to existing public lands. Most of the state is eligible to participate, although most northern counties are not. Shawano County is one of the northernmost counties eligible.


Bay all-conference teams revealed

Leader file photo Tori DePerry took second in the conference meet to land on the all-conference second team.

Leader file photo Gracyn Habeck was named to the all-conference second team after her strong season at the plate and in the circle.

The spring sports season in now in the rear view mirror for Shawano Community High School student-athletes.

To wrap up the spring, conferences around the state have started announcing all-conference teams to honor the best athletes across each sport. While Shawano did not claim any Bay Conference team titles during the spring, a handful of athletes earned spots on all-conference teams.

Here are the Hawks’ athletes that were named to all-conference teams this spring:


The Shawano softball team battled through an up-and-down season in the Bay Conference. Despite the inconsistency, the Hawks still earned an 8-6 conference record to take third-place.

A big reason behind the team’s finish was the strong play of Brandi Gueths and Brianna Zook, who were each named unanimously to the all-conference first team.


Shawano athletes honored at spring banquet

Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano girls soccer award recipients included, left, Peyton Buerman (Defensive MVP), Lindsey Roloff (Offensive MVP), Emily Watters (Most Improved), Sydney Steinbach (Most Valuable Player) and Kyra Klement (Most Dedicated).

Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano softball players who earned awards included, left, Gracyn Habeck (Coaches Award), Brianna Zook (Silver Slugger Award, Most Valuable Player), Jewel Waupekeney (Most Improved Player) and Bayleigh Laabs (Golden Glove Award).

The Shawano Spring Athletic Banquet at The Gathering on Wednesday evening marked the official end of the spring sports season for Shawano Community High School.

The spring season was condensed into a few short weeks for most Hawks’ teams. Despite the weather-plagued spring, a number of individuals had standout seasons and were recognized at the banquet that was sponsored by the Shawano Athletic Booster Club.

Brandi Gueths collected a trio of prestigious award on the night, including being named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the recipient of the Martzke Award and Athlete of the Year Award.

For the boys, Jacob Lacy was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Brad Bartz earned the Martzke Award and Cole Nelson was declared the Athlete of the Year.

Bartz, Gueths, Casey Baumann, Chase Lhotka and Hannah Wendorff were honored for playing a sport during each season of their high school careers.

Here are the award winners for each spring sport:


Smith gaffe lowlight blunder of the week

No leading with the head when you’re making a play on defense, Clay Matthews. That includes the schnoz.

Jokes aside about Matthews’ having a good nose for the ball, the Green Bay Packers linebacker will undergo surgery to repair the broken nose he suffered last week at a charity softball game.

Matthews, who was on the mound for the slow-pitch event, later went on social media to thank fans for their concern and get-well wishes, adding thanks that the injury wasn’t worse.

He can say that again. A little higher and an inch to the left or right and he’s not seeing very clearly anymore.

Twenty-twenty hindsight questions why he was out there in the first place. A softball pitcher lobbing underhand to a hitter 50 feet away is a sitting duck. Injuries to football players during football season are bad enough.


Truckers’ magical ride comes to an end

Leader photo by Morgan Rode Nick Schoen pitched 3 2/3 innings for Clintonville during the team’s sectional semifinal loss to Mosinee on Tuesday.

The Clintonville baseball team endured a season of highs and lows.

The regular season saw the Truckers pick up just two wins. The postseason gave the team new life though and Clintonville took full advantage of it, claiming three straight upset wins to earn a regional title.

Clintonville’s next test was a matchup against Mosinee, a team that made it to state in 2017. Mosinee took a step closer to making it back to state, keeping the pressure on after taking an early lead to claim to a 9-2 win over Clintonville in a Division 2 sectional semifinal at Chilton High School Tuesday morning.

After two scoreless innings, Mosinee, which was acting as the away team, put together a threat in the third. After a walk and error, a double by Seth Kuhn and single from Trey Fitzgerald pushed across three runs. Cole Vandehey drove in Mosinee’s fourth run of the inning on a single.

Mosinee tallied four hits in the inning and took advantage of two Truckers’ errors.


Witt-Birn girls repeat in D2

Leader photo by Morgan Rode The Wittenberg-Birnamwood girls track team claims its second straight Division 2 state title, earning 50 team points. The team consists of, back row, left, coach Nick Mechelke, Lauren Dombeck and coach Mike Balliett; front row, Alyssa Meverden, Emily Norrbom, Paige Norrbom, Maddy Pietz, Chloe King, Kylie Linke and coach Cathy Easker.

With the weather forecast’s prediction of rain and potential thunderstorms on the minds of all, the 2018 WIAA State Track and Field Championships final day of action at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse was hurried along.

The bad weather never arrived, and the cooler temperatures couldn’t diminish what turned into a thrilling, record-breaking Saturday for high school competitors from across the state.

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood girls team claimed several podium finishes to win a second straight Division 2 title. The Chargers scored 50 points, easily topping Xavier (36), Catholic Memorial (33), Jefferson (28) and Lakeland Union (26), which rounded out the top five.

Maddy Pietz led the way for the Chargers, winning the 100- and 400-meter dashes Saturday to accompany her fifth-place finish in the long jump Friday. Her strong finishes racked up 24 team points.



Leader photo by Morgan Rode Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Maddy Pietz crosses the finish line in the 4x400 relay at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse on Friday.

Leader photo by Morgan Rode Clintonville’s Allysin Booth, middle, jumps over a hurdle during the 100 hurdle preliminaries at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse on Friday.

The first day of the 2018 WIAA Track and Field State Championships featured near-ideal competing conditions for participating athletes.

Most of Friday’s meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse were preliminary events that determined who would be competing in Saturday’s finals. However, there were a few events that classified as finals.

Shawano’s Atty Wagner and Parker Pues were competing in two of the Division 1 final events on the day. Wagner cleared a height of 6 feet, 2 inches to tie for sixth in the high jump. Pues leaped to a distance of 21 feet, 2.5 inches to tie for 12th in the long jump.

Wagner was thrilled to finish on the podium, which includes each of the top-six finishers in each event. The finish also earned the Hawks two team points.


BABA Roundup

East-West Division

Clintonville 10

Marion 0

Clintonville cruised to a shutout win over Marion, led by Parker Mindel and Jeremy Schoenike’s home runs.

John Dunlavy tallied two hits for Clintonville while Jake Madson earned the win on the mound.

Ryan Mortenson doubled for Marion, which finished with just four hits. Dave Jueds suffered the loss on the mound.

Bowler 13

Leopolis 0

Bowler also cruised to a convincing win on the night, blanking Leopolis.

Paul Murphy tallied three hits for Bowler while Cody Montez, Luke Pecore and Austin Trinko each had two hits. Thomas Kasik earned the win on the hill, striking out five batters while allowing just three hits over seven innings.

Brandon Laabs was dealt the loss for Leopolis. Tommy Stueck posted two hits at the plate.

Little Falls 13

Caroline 2

Little Falls overpowered Carolina behind a balanced hitting attack.


Athlete of the Week: Kyle Finger

Contributed photo Kyle Finger and the Clintonville baseball team have found their groove at just the right time.

Athlete: Kyle Finger

Sport: Baseball

Position: Catcher

School: Clintonville High School

Year: Senior

Kyle Finger and the Clintonville baseball team has played the role of spoiler so far in the postseason. After winning just two games during the regular season, the Truckers have rattled off three straight upset wins to win a Division 2 regional title. The team will head to Chilton for sectionals on Tuesday, June 5.

Finger, the Truckers’ catcher, has helped Clintonville’s pitching staff pitch deep into games and keep batters off balance during the postseason run. At the plate, Finger has tallied four hits, including three in the first playoff game against Oconto Falls.

“I would like to add a extra special thank you to all my coaches and teammates for all the hard work they’ve sacrificed to get this far in the season,” Finger said.

Q When did your interest in baseball begin?


Find plenty of free outdoor fun this weekend

If you enjoy low-cost fun, the state is offering some old-fashioned outdoor fun this weekend for the low, low price of free.

I have a hard time getting too excited about a free fishing weekend because a fishing license is still dirt cheap anyway, and my “fishing privilege” comes with my patron license. For the once-a-summer angler who perhaps wants to take a grandchild fishing or a parent who wants to try something new with a child or neighbor kid who needs a friend, it’s a pretty good deal.

Both residents and non-residents can fish in Wisconsin waters without a license today and Sunday during Free Fishing Weekend. The Department of Natural Resources sweetens the pot by allowing you to fish for inland and Great Lakes trout and salmon without the usually required trout stamp.


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