Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

We returned from a week-long visit to our oldest son's home in Cloquet, MN, on Wednesday.
Jon and his wife, Sara, were in Paris, France, where Jon and his company received a distinguished award. We watched over our 12- and 10-year-old grandsons, who basically take care of themselves nowadays.
I took a couple of walks on Jon's rural wooded property around their home, but didn't see any deer, turkeys or grouse. There were plenty of deer droppings, but no deer to be found. In fact, Kathy and I only saw one live deer the entire trip and that was in Eau Claire on our return.
We didn't notice many dead deer on our way up to Cloquet, but saw a handful of fresh roadkills on our way home. The rut is definitely on now.
I hoped to go fishing at Ol' Tom's boathouse this weekend. That was until I looked at the current river stage... above 11 feet and not expected to go below 10 feet for several more days. Unable to reach the boathouse until the river stage reaches around 8 feet, I probably won't be able to get out to it and retrieve my fishin' poles until I can walk on the ice. What a year for fishing!!!!!!!!!!!
Meanwhile, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, in La Crescent, responded to multiple questions and complaints about CWD and EHD last week.
Time also was spent checking waterfowl hunters for the season re-opener. Good compliance with shooting hours was observed, according to Ramaker. A diversity of dabbling ducks was checked in hunters bags with primary species being blue-winged teal, wigeon and gadwall. Diving ducks have been observed on the water, but few in hunters' bags.
Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, reports a slow second duck opener due to very high river water and closed public accesses. Some hunters were able to find nontraditional areas to hunt and found some ducks.
Hemker said people are preparing for upcoming deer seasons and asking about new regulations.Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.

Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

Many more of us are waiting for autumn’s colors to appear than are excited about Nov. 23, the opening of gun deer season.
There have been glimmers, hues, tinges and shades, but few explosions of entire trees, hillsides or vistas.
The list of culprits is long, complicated and even some false accusations put forward as excuses. All is not lost, however.
Accept the fact that here in southern Wisconsin, forest diversity is too great to be able to see carotenoids and anthocyanins for miles.  But there is an answer for that: Look small, peek closely, glance for glimpses of a fruit, a branch and even a stem or an out-of-the-ordinary place or plant.
Our autumn colors come during a longer period than northern Wisconsin and eastern Maine. Take what we have, enjoy those rusty oak leaves and imperfect hickory leaves, which are colorful, non-green and autumn. Accept and relish our small fall.
Few feathers are more colorful than a rooster pheasant’s plumage.  The season launches Saturday at 9 a.m., with a one-rooster limit, then two beginning Monday, Oct. 21. The possession limit is three times the daily bag.
The first stocking has been placed for the opener, according to Kelly Maguire, at Poynette Game Farm.
The foliage is just clearing some for northern ruffed grouse hunters.  Woodcock shakers have already seen some migration out of prime stopover locations.
Deer registration numbers are beginning to be posted on the DNR website harvest charts. Last weekend youth hunters killed 6,575 deer, about half bucks.
Archers and crossbow hunters have been busy, too, in spite of weather and early season. Crossbowers killed 7,334 deer as of the last post, with 3,223 being bucks and 4,111 antlerless deer. Archers registered 6,894 deer, 2,500 bucks and 4,394 antlerless deer.
Duck season has re-opened in the Mississippi and Southern zones and remains open in the Northern Zone.
Most hard mast trees, oaks, hickories and walnuts have dropped, with good, great, spotty, and everything in between being reported.     
Leaf fall and understory die-back is on course. Wind, rain and frost will take down more this week. White pines are looking a lot like the green and gold, with oldest needles yellowing and dropping, while most remain evergreen.
Lafayette County is soon going to be home to DNR field warden Mike Burns.
The all-in-one deer stop near Blue Mounds has been taken over by Outdoors Addition taxidermist, Alex Lease, and he’s teamed with meat processors to offer it all from sampling, donations, processing, taxidermy and registration assists, too.
Wayne Whitemarsh reports that a local food pantry type establishment will be taking deer donations for the needy in his area in Sauk City. Contact him at McFarlanes’ in his sporting section.     
Don Martin, in Monroe at Martin’s Sporting, welcomed a host of youth deer hunters last week, and sold minnows to anglers using them for crappies and smallmouth bait.
Whitemarsh pointed anglers toward Lake Wisconsin (walleyes) and the dam in Sauk Prairie (bluegills).
Anxious archers and whitetail viewers should take note of the shining laws. See page 20 in the deer hunting regulations for details.
Remember, good fall color viewing is not dependent on sunny days. See colors before they fade and fall.

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

Wisconsin Birding Report

Fall met winter this week as snow flew across many northern locations over the weekend.
Sunday was especially birdy in northern counties with many sparrows, kinglets, robins and yellow-rumped warblers, many feeding lower than usual due to the cold. A surprising diversity of 10+ warbler species were seen, as well as late house wren among the more expected winter wrens. Perhaps most unexpected was an adult male ruby-throated hummingbird visiting a feeder in far northern Bayfield County following 3 inches of snow. Also of note there were tallies of 450 dark-eyed juncos and 11 Harris’s sparrows along the Lake Superior shore. Numbers of most species dropped dramatically by early week following a big migration out of the region on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, juncos surged south, many central and southern birders seeing their first this week. Good numbers of white-throated and white-crowned sparrows were also reported, as well as some fox sparrows and eastern towhees.
Backyard birders also found a few pine siskins all the way south to the Illinois border and northern cardinals continuing to feed young at feeders, marking the last of 2019’s breeding activity.
Farther afield, American robins, hermit thrushes and both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets were common in many areas.
Species lingering in small numbers across the south included eastern phoebe, eastern wood-pewee, yellow-throated and blue-headed vireo, chimney swift, ruby-throated hummingbird, and various warblers.
Major seasonal shifts were evident though. Tens of thousands of canvasbacks (pictured) have reached the Mississippi River near Lake Onalaska, and the first tundra swans have arrived there as well.
Other late-season arrivals this week included American tree sparrow, snow bunting, short-eared owl and golden eagle. Expect the first northern shrike and rough-legged hawk anytime now.
Sandhill cranes have begun to stage in good numbers, best perhaps being several thousand reported at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett.
Among this week’s rare finds were cattle egret, yellow-throated warbler and parasitic jaegers in Douglas County, an ibis species in Sauk, late Bell’s vireo in Milwaukee, Franklin’s gull in Racine and a suite of good finds in Ozaukee that included a Swainson’s hawk, parasitic jaegers, pacific loon, marbled godwit and 28 American avocets.
Mild weather should make for enjoyable birding conditions through the weekend and especially on Sunday. Winds turn west after a rainy Monday statewide so be ready for new birds mid-week.
Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi.
Good birding!

SOURCE: Ryan Brady, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program biologist

Wild Birds Unlimited

Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

A bird bath is effective at attracting wild birds and it is a great source of water for slurping and bathing even during the winter.
A heated bird bath won't only entice birds to land, but also stay in your yard. So, you won't only enjoy watching transient birds in winter season, but have them all year round.
Birds feel the most comfortable drinking and bathing from the ground because this is how they do it in their natural  environment.
Check out the baths and holders at Wild Birds Unlimited! We also have our bird seed sale on until the end of October.
Happy birding!
Karen Perry,
Wild Birds Unlimited, Onalaska, 608-781-5088. 

Around the Badger State

Around the Badger State

The Northwoods experienced a sneak peek of winter with a bit of snow in many areas.
The cold front, coupled with a full moon, had deer on the move. Water levels remain high throughout the state. Hunters should plan accordingly as they head out.
In addition to several ongoing hunting and trapping seasons, the pheasant opener begins Saturday, hunters should expect public lands to be busy.

JUNEAU COUNTY - Fall colors are starting to change at Buckhorn State Park. Winter campsites, family campground and group campsites are open. Trails are in great condition for hiking.