Wisconsin DNR Officials Facing Charges For Eating Illegal Caviar
Several wildlife officials in Wisconsin are now facing charges after eating illegal caviar from fish caught in the state.
In the This Might Be The Weirdest Story You've Heard This Week (or maybe even this month, or so far in 2021, come to think of it) file, check out this wacky story from my home state of Wisconsin:
Several Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are being charged in an investigation into illegal caviar, made from sturgeon caught in Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago. But wait, eating caviar (which is made from sturgeon eggs) is illegal in Wisconsin?
Well, no-- not if you pay for it. But that's where this story gets weirder. According to this Washington Post story, Ryan Koenigs is a DNR biologist in charge of overseeing the state's short sturgeon season on Lake Winnebago, near Oshkosh (about 3 hours and 45 minutes east of Rochester.) That season allows a limited amount of anglers to haul in sturgeon, some weighing nearly 100 pounds, that can also produce thousands of dollars in caviar, which is made from sturgeon eggs.
The story says Ryan (dubbed the 'sturgeon general' by local media) is charged with taking some of those sturgeon eggs, initially for an official DNR fertility study, and having the rest made into expensive caviar. And, it added up, too: to over $20,000 worth of caviar! Of course, he would then eat it himself or give it to friends or fellow DNR employees, who, the story said, would sometimes eat it during staff meetings.
Meanwhile, this Wisconsin Public Radio story explains that while he and others didn't necessarily intend to sell the caviar itself, because it's so valuable (sometimes selling for $100 an ounce), even bartering, trading or selling sturgeon (and their eggs) is illegal in Wisconsin. The story notes that several other DNR officials could be facing charges, as are several local bar owners and employees who also enjoyed the illegal caviar. One person in the story said they had the eggs processed-- and then ate the resulting expensive caviar-- so they 'wouldn't go to waste.'
And, both stories said this was a practice that has gone on for several years in Wisconsin-- the investigation itself has taken three years-- until authorities brought the hammer (or cracker) down. Talk about weird!
Who knew that homemade Wisconsin caviar would lead to such a scandal?!? Speaking of making things at home, we've all had to do a lot more of that as our battle with the coronavirus pandemic has stretched on and on. But did you know you can make many of the same dishes we get at restaurants right there at home? Keep scrolling to check out some copycat recipes from some of our favorite fast-food restaurants!