Latest Racing News

From Southern Wisconsin

Jerry Davis

Subtle signs are showing us what autumn will offer.  
Blooms, albeit individually tiny, of purple and gold abound. Coats and other animal armor warn us of colder temperatures gaining. Plant hitchhikers have begun drying their hooks and barbs to find new articles to hitch a ride.  
Entire fields, marshes, stream banks and prairies are telling drivers spotted Joe-Pye-weeds are blooming, as well as their cousins, white-flowered bonesets. Both plants are bloomers into September and have herbal interests dating back to Native Americans.  
The common names of some are unsure, but a Native American word, jopi, may be a clue, as well as a man who was poisoned and concocted a boneset antidote to save his life, and it did. Sprinkling boneset plant parts on human skin was expected to help heal broken bones, as well as a general cure-all.
Goldenrod flowers are small, but clustered, drawing our attention, but not our hypersensitivity, to pollen. Now showing are several tumor-like growths, some goldenrods. These may interest ice anglers.
Giant ragweed, now tall and blooming green, is much superior to cause noses and eyes to water.
Autumn is overwhelmed with sunflower family affiliates, of which goldenrod, boneset and Joe-Pye-weed are delegates, in spite of not having dinner plate-sized blooms.
Whitetails’ velvet dumping is nearing. Antler tips have become more pointed, no longer knobby on ends, suggesting growth is complete. Cervid-watchers believe this antler velvet detachment transpires within a 24-hour period and mainly at night.
Shrubs and saplings take the punishment of this upcoming shedding process.  Bark is stripped, meristems exposed, and sides of perennial plants are never the same, if they even live.  
Wisconsin’s elk are doing the same shedding later this month, however, those cervids announce their readiness to mate by their bugling loudly.  Whitetails, on the other hand, are much less blaring in announcing autumn.
Autumn outdoors seasons approach in the likes of ginseng digging, early teal hunting, early Canada goose hunting, hook and line sturgeon fishing and mourning dove hunting.  
Fall gathering continues with mushrooms, hickory nuts, walnuts, late soft fruits and apple picking for later on the calendar.  
Be warned, if you might, about a few remaining poisonous herbs and vines, including poison ivy, poison sumac, wild parsnip and a few nettles. Some waters, too, have microscopic toxic greens. Don’t let the names confuse because what was once algae, then blue-green algae, and now technically blue-green bacteria, are still the same dog-killing microorganisms.
Best noticed while driving 55 mph in lowland areas, white-flowered wild cucumbers are climbing about with tendrils and flimsy vines. Later these vines display parchment-colored, tulip-shaped pods coated with soft prickles, reminding us of a real garden cucumber pickling fruit. Most of the flowers are only pollen producers, so one must stop to see individual flowers that mature into decretive dry fruits.
With paper pads handy, write elm tree skeleton locations. Morel lovers are unlikely to remember many of those single trees, here and there, in valley and gulch.        
Garden cuisines continue peaking, sometimes drawing wild critters to enjoy tomatoes, shallow potato tubers and bean pods. Crop soybeans continue to top the list as deer salad, with developing pods and seeds adding to the fresh calories. Fawns, as well as adults, are enjoying easy picking this month.
Now, before the colors, temperatures and outdoors moods shout out autumn upon us, notice these subtle hints of its coming.

You may contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 608-924-1112


Wild Birds Unlimited

Wild Birds Unlimited

First of all, I have to admit that I was wrong about the house wrens being gone last week. I actually saw one after I reported that. I think I probably thought that as they are not so vocal after they are through nesting for the season. Otherwise, I hear them out my bedroom window every morning very early!
We have a very informative book in that store that was written by Jim Carpenter, CEO and founder of Wild Birds Unlimited. It's called The Joy of Bird Feeding; The essential guide to attracting and feeding our backyard birds. I found the "Old school" versus "new school" bird food choices interesting.
Thirty years ago when Jim started his business there were not many choices available for backyard bird feeding.In a "nutshell" one type of seed would be offered in feeders, such as black oil or striped sunflower in a hopper feeder (leaving hulls underneath or on patios), thistle (nyger) in a finch feeder, white millet and cracked corn on the ground and suet in a suet feeder. This was done pretty consistently all year long with nectar feeders being brought out late spring for summer feeding.
Today there are so many different choices:* Seed blends for different times of the year to go in either seed tubes, hoppers and fly-thru feeders.
* We have a wonderful finch blend made up of 1/2 thistle (nyger) and 1/2 fine sunflower ships for the finch feeders.
* No Mess blends so there is no cleanup of hulls necessary.
* Cylinder feeders - large and small to make feeding even easier especially during the winter and for the elderly. These cylinders last much longer as the birds have to work a little hard to get the seeds.  These come in a variety of blends as well.
* Insect feeding is available with both live and dried meal worms - great for attracting bluebirds and non-seed eating birds to your yard.
* Suet blends come in many more forms now, cylinders, bite-size bits, which can be put in feeders as well as dishes to attract those birds that enjoy suet but can't manage a typical suet feeder, and even spreadable varieties of suet to put on tree trunks, dishes or feeders made especially for spreadable suets.
* Peanuts are a great way to attract birds as well, either hulled or in the shell. Wild Birds Unlimited has feeders that can accommodate this type of food as well.
* Fruit has also become a popular bird attractor. Oranges for the orioles and fruit eating migrators in the spring, including robins.  
* Apples are enjoyed by a number of birds as well, either on a feeder with woodpeckers pecking into them or on a stand as berries, raisins and craisins are enjoyed by many.
This being said with these modern versions of feeding you are able to attract a larger number of different species to your yard throughout the year. Every bird in your yard except the sugar-water fans can visit a single feeder that can hold every food that attracts the many varieties of local birds in this area.
One more reason to stop by Wild Birds Unlimited, located across from Valley View Mall in Crosseroads Center, 9348 State Hwy 16, Suite 214, Onalaska, WI  54650. Phone us at 608-781-5088.
Enjoy your birds - tell us your stories - we LOVE to talk birds!
Hey and don't forget the fresh water!
Happy Birding,
Karen Perry

Around the Badger State

Around the Badger State

It seems like summer just got here and already there are signs of it ending.
A few maple trees are just starting to show some fall colors in the north. A pair of bucks were seen this week, one still in velvet antlers and the other had already shed. The late summer yellows of tansy, black-eyed Susans and goldenrod speak of shorter days to come.
Continued rain showers in the last week, especially across the north, are keeping river systems at higher than normal levels for mid-August. Brown trout fishing continues to pick up on the Bois Brule River. The catfish bite is on the Wisconsin River in central Wisconsin with anglers landing good number of channel catfish. Some walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish and drum are being caught in the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers. Anglers have had good success on both the Fox and Wolf rivers catching northern pike, walleye, catfish and panfish.
On Green Bay, anglers fishing for walleye on the west shore from the mouth of the Pensaukee River to Oconto are finally getting on to fish, while along the east shore success was more mixed with about half the boats reporting harvesting a few walleye while others did not catch any. Anglers targeting smallmouth bass along Door County had success in water ranging from 4 to 20 feet. In Sturgeon Bay, perch fishing has been pretty good with some anglers catching their 15 fish bag limit including some larger 12-inch perch.
Along northern Lake Michigan, salmon fishing generally remains slow with warm surface temps in the mid-60s plaguing the west shore of the lake. Some anglers out of Kewaunee have been able to find a few fish, mostly rainbows with an occasional king. Boats out of Manitowoc and Two Rivers have come in with some fish, but most came in from 200-250 feet of water, which is quite a hike out from either port. Catches consisted mostly of chinooks, with an occasional rainbow.
Fishing pressure out of some southern Lake Michigan ports was higher this week compared to previous weeks, especially over the weekend due to a fishing derby. Mainly rainbow and lake trout and chinook and some coho salmon were caught out of Sheboygan and Port Washington. A mixed bag of king and coho salmon, lake trout, and steelhead were caught out of Racine and Kenosha, again from deeper water as surface water was near 70 degrees.
There were reports at Horicon Marsh of blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallards flocking up and some shorebirds were moving through.
Some early migrants are pushing through southern Wisconsin including hummingbirds and Baltimore orioles along with likely exodus by flycatchers and some of the early migrant warblers such as cerulean and mourning warblers.


West-Central Wisconsin

West-Central Wisconsin

VERNON COUNTY - Late summer and early fall are good times to do some birdwatching.
Oftentimes, fall migrants do not move through an area as rapidly as they do during the spring migration. Therefore, birdwatchers may have a little more time to actually "watch" birds.
Fall warblers can challenge even the most observant birdwatcher, making for difficult, but rewarding identification lessons.
Remember that most birds do not sing in the fall to the extent that they do in the spring. That means birdwatchers need to rely more on keen eyesight and less on their hearing to locate and identify birds.
There is, however, a minor increase in some bird vocalizations this time of year. Male Baltimore orioles, for example, initiate late summer vocalizing as they begin their southward migration to Central and South America. The majority of Baltimore orioles leave Wisconsin during the last half of August with some individuals lingering well into September, according to Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua.
LAKE WISSOTA STATE PARK - Species of birds seen or heard include scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, towhees, ravens, rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, barred owls, osprey, bald eagles and belted kingfishers.
Canada geese have finished molting and young are flying.
Harebell, wild bergamot, common milkweed, water smartweed, rabbits foot clover, marsh hedge nettle, the water lilies, some of the aster varieties, orange hawkweed and wooly yarrow are flowering.
Blackberry season is in full swing with an abundance of fruit this year.
This year's raccoon young are out for adventure! Campers are advised to store all food in their vehicles at night and when they are away from their campsites, said Dave Hladilek, park manager.
PORTAGE COUNTY - The catfish bite is on the Wisconsin River.
Anglers are landing good number of channel catfish on either minnows or crawlers, so bring both.
Good number of walleyes are being caught, but most of them are under legal size, according to Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point.

Bob Lamb

Out and About with Bob

Those doggone northern pike are harassing anglers, including me.
Northerns are cutting the lines of many bass anglers. These large game fish are also stealing sunfish and bluegills as I try to quickly reel them in before losing them to the large, toothy critters.
One of these days, I'm going to put away my catfish and panfish poles and cast for northerns. You can get some nice fillets off them if you know how to remove the "Y" bones.
Meanwhile, I'm picking up a channel catfish or two each day, plus a few large sunfish and bluegills. However, I catch 15-20 sunnies to one large panfish in my cooler.
I've been also trying to get out trout fishing for an hour or so, but the weather hasn't cooperated or I haven't had time. I like to fish for trout on cloudy days or during the first half hour of light rain. I don't care to go when the sun is shining brightly or when my shadow casts across the creek and may spook any fish.
Meanwhile, deer are frequenting the huge alfalfa/corn field near our condo in the valley. Their coats are beginning to turn from summer red to fall and winter brown. Some bucks are sporting large racks, but I'm also seeing quite a few spikes and forks just before sunset.
It looks like it's going to be a great weekend to get out on the water, or in the field.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors!