Yooper Bits Q-S


Quill Pig: Porcupine.

Pulpie: A logger who takes soft, pulp woods.


Racquettes: French for snowshoes. See also, Mal de Racquettes.

Rainbow Darter: Etheostoma caeruleum. This tiny member of the perch family lives in fast water (riffles) of small to medium size streams. I’ve never seen one in the wild, but they are said to be abundant. The one below is shown in its gaudy spawning colors. They are not thought to be food for game fish. They spawn in May June in northern latitudes and might be fun to catch on midge flies. They only grow to 2.5 inches. So trophies here would be in the form of memories, not mass.


Range: east-west lines that intersect the principle meridian. Within each township there are a number of six-mile ranges east or west of the meridian.

Reading Sign: To interpret tracks, signs left by quarry being tracked.

Redd: An area of polished gravel indicating spawning activity of fish.

Reds: Deer hair has a reddish cast in summer, and a gray-black hue in winter. Venison from red deer in August-September are said by poachers to taste the best.

Renters: Logger slang for lice.

Rez (The): Native American slang for reservation.

Ridgerunner: Yooper who lives in the back country.

Rifle Line: Approximate latitude of Mt. Pleasant. Above this line rifles may be used during firearm deer season. South of it hunters are restricted to shotguns. Sometime also called Shotgun Line.

Rig: Term for any vehicle other than an automobile.

Road Beer: Common drink for backroad travelers throughout Michigan. Open containers, of course, are against the law. Some habits die hard.

Road Hunter: Someone who drives back roads with a loaded rifle, looking for targets of opportunity. It’s actually legal to do this, IF you have your gun unloaded and cased, stop your vehicle when you see game, put on your hunter orange, take out your rifle, load it, then step off the road and shoot.

Round: A term to describe the height of log cabins. Eight round would be eight logs high.

Round Forty: An old logging term, refers to companies taking their purchased timber, and continuing to cut beyond the contracted boundaries

Royal Bull: 6×6 wapiti bull.

Rub: Marks on tree where deer rub the velvet off their antlers and mark their territories for the rutting season.

Run: A game trail.

Rime Ice: White ice formed by fog freezing on the surface of things. The fog usually freezes to the windward side of tree branches, buildings, etc.

River-hog/ -pig: One who drives logs down a river. Also called Catty men.

Road Berg: Ice chunks that fall off vehicles.

Run-off: Spring breakup, the melting of the snowpack and ice, which causes rivers and lakes to rise. See also Spring Melt.

Runway: A heavily traveled game trail, often in heavy cover.

Run-Off: Spring breakup of ice and snow, which swells rivers and lakes.

Rut (The): Annual breeding season for animals. Bears breed in June, moose in Sept-Oct, and deer in Oct-November.

Radio Free Trout Creek: A well known enclave of poaching activity in the Western U.P. where most of the locals oppose the DNR and make a lot of noise about it.

Rieska: Finnish rye bread.

Rifle Line: Approximate latitude of Mt. Pleasant. Above this invisible line, rifles are legal during firearm deer season; below it only shotguns are legal.

Rutter: A plow used to create skid roads to skid logs out of the woods to rivers, often combined with a snowplow. Once plowed, the roads were doused with water and left to freeze to making skidding operations easier.


Sassenach: Gaelic for outsider, someone not from the real world, meaning the back woods. Term used in the old Hudson’s Bay Company.

Sauna: Pronounced SOWnah. Steam bath and a swim in icy water in winter and at camp keep you healthy. Brought to us by the Finns, but on Finnish farms all family members bathed together, regardless of gender, and at bath time neighbors often stopped by to partake. The original U.P. saunas were 10×12 feet and made of squared logs, chinked with moss and mud with a shake shingle roof. One door, two small windows to let in light. Inside a sheet iron stove on a bed of flat field stone. Other field stone was used to cover the stove. Once or twice a week a fire was built in the stove and stoked until stones turned red hot. Then water was splashed on the stone to create steam, which rolled up to the roof. The “bathers” sat on wooden benches and rubbed themselves to raise sweat. A bundle of birch switches were used to beat each other red, then they would dash out and jump into stream or lake or snowbank to cool off, then back inside to towel dry and clean.

Scat: Pile of animal feces, distinctive by season, species, and diet.

Skip ice / Skiff Ice: Early, thin gray ice on ponds and lakes.

Skunk de-stinker formula:? For cleaning dogs that have tangled with skunks: I quart hydrogen peroxide, 1 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap. Stir, don’t shake. Apply liberally. This works!

Scrape: Deer paw the ground clear of leaves and urinate on the area during rutting season.

Sheds: Antlers dropped by deer, moose every year. There are avid collectors and hunters of sheds.

Seiche: a form of tidal wave sometimes seen in the Great Lakes.

Seney Stretch: Straight shot on M-28 from Seney to Shingleton. Good place to schmuck a moose.

Set: A trapper’s trap baited and positioned to take an animal.

Set-line: A static, baited line used by fisherman who are not present.

Shanty: Ice-fishing house, some of which don’t get brought in before the thaw, and sink to the bottom of lakes.

Shitcago: Slang for the city Chicago, pronounced ChicahGAH.

Shooting Lane: Shooting sight area. Some hunters illegally cut lanes on public land.

Shooting Light: Enough ambient light to safely see and fire at game. The actual hours are published in the hunting guide.

Side by Each: Yooperese for side by side.

Sidnaw: Town in Ontonagon County. Site of Henry Ford’s first UP project. Ford built lumber camp with bunkhouses, steam heat and laundry services. Locals called Ford’s loggers “lumber ladies.” Prounounced SidNAH. During world war II old logging camp near town served as work camp for German POWs.

Silver Spider: A large treblehook soldered to a block of lead and used by snaggers to foul-hook fish. Primarily used decades ago, and fairly rare nowadays. Illegal to possess.

Sisu: Finnish philosophy that what must be done, must be done well, regardless of what it requires. Involves special strength and persistence of determination and resolve to continue and overcome any adversity. Probably comes from the difficulty of living off the rocky, difficult-to-farm land in Finland. Sometimes sisu is defined as don’t quit, ever.

Skid Road: Old logging road used to drag logs out of the woods.

Skip: Elevator cage in an underground mine.

Skimmer: Yooperese for sled.

Sled: Snowmobile.

Slumgullion: Watery meat and veggie stew. Sometimes cooks would create a crust of hardtack on top.

Smelt: Species of small fish that run up into creeks to spawn in spring. Excellent table fare deepfried in fresh oil. There used to be a huge social thing around smelt dipping at night by torches and light, but runs have diminished. Going for smelt was called dipping. Many times, after beer consumption was up, smaller smelt were consumed raw, guts and all.

Snag: Dead tree in a river.

Snow Cow: Moose.

Snow Dye: In my days in high school the Chippewa county road commission used to paint squiggly lines with purple dye on snowbanks, so drivers wouldn’t get disoriented when there were whiteouts.

Snow Scoop: A push-device used by Yoopers to clear away snow.

Soapy: Nickname of popular governor G. Mennen Williams.

Soo (The): Slang for town of Sault Ste. Marie.

Soupy Sales: Long-time Detroit comedian, king of slapstick and nonsense.

Sphagnum:? A form of moss most associated with acidic conditions, and muskeg bogs. Sphagnum can be used as roofing insulation on a cabin, toilet paper, and fire starter among other things. In fall the moss turns bright yellow or red.

SPK: The three main spices in the camp cupboard: Salt, Pepper and Ketchup.

Sturgeon River Gorge: North of Sidnaw, river has cut gorges up to 300 feet deep – deepest in the state.

Smoked Sights: Gunsights blackened by candle soot to eliminate shine or glare.

Snowblower: gasoline powered snow removal device.

Snow Cow: A moose.

Snowflake: Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis). Circumpolar bird, sometimes comes into northern Michigan to escape Canadian winters. Usually in large winter flocks. 6-7 ΒΌ inches, in winter pale brown crown and upperparts, but a lot of white in the wings. Drive slowly. They lift off in flocks, don’t evade well.

Snowpack: The cumulative build up of snow over the course of a winter.

Snow Scoop: A device seen mainly in the Upper Peninsula, used to move snow off driveways and sidewalks. Sometimes called a Yooper Scooper.

Snow Snake: A stick kids used to race down hills. Old Native American pastime.

Snow Thrower: A snow shovel.

Sound Shot: Shooting at sounds rather than identified game.

Spearing: Fish can be legally taken with spears at certain times of the year, in accordance with certain regulations. At other times it is illegal, especially during spawning runs.

Speedy Creek: Slang for town of Rapid River.

Spring Melt: The end of ice and snow. Also called Runoff.

Spoor: Animal signs.

Squaw Wind: Unexpected warm wind in the middle of a long, frigid period. A Chinook in the dead of winter.

Stand: See Blind. (Called a Hide in Britain)

Starflower: (Trientalis borealis). Plant common to the northwoods. It is a species no botoanist has yet messed with genetically to make it smaller, larger, etc. One of those plants people see but don’t see, and largely ignore.

Still-hunting: Rather than sitting in one place, a hunter may follow an animal’s tracks, or work a game trail, moving slowly, then standing for a long time before moving on. Still means quiet, not motionless. Also called Stalking.

Stinker: A bloated, often rotten carcass.

Stirrup: Bread made from fat, flour and water – in a Dutch oven, or over a stick placed over a fire.

Stormy Kromer: Traditional six-panel wool hat with ear flaps, favored by UP outdoorsmen for decades. The Stormy Kromer is manufactured in Milwaukee.

Strike Dog: The lead dog of a bear hunter’s pack. Often sits on a platform built on the front of a truck to pick up scent as hunter cruises down two-tracks. If the dog signals, the hunter lets the animal loose and if sound indicates it has a scent, the hunter lets the rest of the animals loose to follow.

String Bog: Typical of the Seney area. Treeless area over peat bottom.

String Cheese: A tubular-shaped Swedish- Finnish cheese, largely tasteless, but filling. Also called Rubber Cheese by some.

Suicide Hill: Long time ski-jumping venue near Ishpeming (Marquette County).

Swale: Linear hollow or depression fund between dunes or beachridges. Generally marshy or swampy. In U.P. refers to just about any marshy hollow.

Swamp Angel: A girl from Republic, but generally used to refer to any female from the more rural areas of the U.P.

Swamp Buck: An almost mythical creature in deer-hunting lore: A buck which lives in isolation deep in swamps, and grows to immense proportions. They are illusive and their meat is sometimes tough to chew.

Swampers: Knee-high rubber boots, favored in muddy spring.

Swedish and Russian Finns: Finnish immigrants to the U.P. were divided into two groups, Swedish Finns, and Russian Finns. The Swedish Finns were sober, friendly, church-going. The Russian Finns were called Drunken Finns, were savage in their ways of drinking, love-making and just about every aspect of life. This distinction between Finnish clans is not much made anymore.

Sweeper: Usually a fallen tree leaning from the bank into a river – often a cedar, blown down because it has shallow root system. Natural gathering place for fish.

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