Latest Racing News

From Southern Wisconsin

Jerry Davis

Juicy, honey crisp apples, freshly cracked and picked hickory nut meats, autumn-fragrant decomposing leaf litter, lightly-seared venison tenderloins and hot chili meated with finely cubed pheasant breasts all trumpet fall.
Resisting gathering seasoned with these tastes, smells and sights is fruitless. The magnetics are too persuasive.  
Pheasant season opened on a drizzling, foggy morning last Saturday and had hunters contemplating comfort foods as soon as the dog stopped parting with collected moisture droplets. Pheasant tacos, chili flavored white breast meat and whole honey roast ringnecks were their visions while riding home.
Now, with the daily bag upped to two-a-day, and the possession limit three-day’s bag, pheasant hunters are even more effervescing about opportunities of going after some of the Poynette Game Farm birds being released twice weekly.
Searching for Wisconsin’s unofficial state game bird, the ruffed grouse, has not been a complete washout, but so far the hopes of a population upswing have not materialized in all northern locations. The blame has been spread among heavy rain when young birds were growing, thick vegetation creating ample food everywhere, and slow leaf fall.
Food-a-plenty has continued to put grouse and other animals wherever they want to be, not where we expect to find them.  
Complementing combined corn and soybean fields, acorns, various crabapples, wild grapes and hard mast have helped to fatten the most active fauna. They are not wanting this fall.
Blue jays, a deer hunter’s friend and foe, is one of the most active birds these days, particularly around oak trees. This cunning, inquisitive bird is noisy to a fault, alerting hunters of other animal activities and at the same time alerting birds and mammals of human activities in forests.
Continue to use the jay to an advantage, but remember they are as intelligent and a close relative of our common crow.
One might not imagine a blue jay picking, taking and opening an acorn, but they can and do, usually caching most of them for later. They are squirrels with blue feathers this fall.
Not all nuts are clean of acorn weevils and other grubs. Some nutters have found as many as three white grubs in a single hickory nut. Fortunately, most fruits are tasty and clean. These grubs surely would attract a bluegill or winter bluebird.
A report posted at shows youth hunters 10-15 years old, registered 8,173 deer during the two-day hunt; 5,245 of which were antlerless. Several area counties contributed significantly with 158 registered in Sauk, 150 in Columbia and 144 deer taken in Portage County.
Older hunters, archers of all types, have recorded 15,941 deer, 7,781 by crossbowers and 8,173 by more traditionalists.
Just when waterfowl hunters may have thought the weather was headed toward more conducive hunting conditions, another warm spell is showing.
Recent heavy precipitation will advantage trees’ and shrubs’ readiness for winter.  
Color seems to be where one finds it, so lower the expectations this autumn, think small, and look through a narrower lens and beauty may still show.
In spite of a few setbacks and disappointments, autumn is still a period for all other seasons to impersonate.  

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

Northern birds will begin to arrive for the winter with juncos, white-throated sparrows and Harris' sparrows leading the way. Watch for the new birds arriving.  
We had juncos and white-throated sparrows this past week.
Summer tropical birds have moved on.  
Please, please clean those nectar feeders now and store them. Don't store them and then clean them in the spring!
Flocks of grackles are gathering and starting to move south. They are so annoying. Keep your feeders full of safflower or black oil sunflower to deter them. Don't supply fun peanut products or blends for them to make a mess.
Consider a heated bath for your yard. You can invest in a heated bird bath. Pricey? Yes. Mine is over 10 years old and still working.  We only put it out when temperatures turn to winter and we clean it and put it away in the spring. Robins and cedar waxwings have stopped before and after winter and sometimes during.
You can also purchase a heater to put in your current bath. They work well, but I prefer the heated bath. There's more room for birds to get down and clean those feathers!
Make sure you check your your yards while your are having your morning or afternoon coffee for new or unusual birds.
The more feeders and the more diverse food you have, the more birds you will have!  
Our Wild Birds Unlimited store has all your birding and backyard needs as well as great associates to help you.
We know how to get you ready for winter bird feeding at Wild Birds Unlimited!
Call us at 608-781-5088, or visit us at Wild Birds Unlimited, Crosseroads Center; 9348 State Hwy 16 (Across from Valley View Mall), Suite 214, Onalaska, WI.
Happy birding!
Karen Perry

Around the Badger State

Around the Badger State

Fall colors are now peaking in far northwestern Wisconsin and throughout the central part of the state including the Door County area, according to the Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report.
Fall colors are now past peak in about a dozen north central counties and leaves are dropping rapidly
Much needed rain in the last week finally spurred on the fall Lake Michigan tributary salmon runs. The chinook spawn is going strong, with a variety of baits and methods seeing success. The chinook spawn is in full swing along Door County with salmon spotted in most marinas and in many area creeks. In the Kewaunee harbor, salmon can be seen jumping regularly and have been stacking up in corners in force and numbers, and anglers are having success with both spoons and crankbaits. Fish have been so thick at times that anglers have foul-hooked more than they have had strike. The salmon spawn is also in full force in the East and West Twin, Manitowoc, Branch and Ahnapee rivers. Chinook salmon are the most common catch but a few coho are also being caught.
In southern tributaries, those fishing the Sheboygan River reported most of the success from chinook and coho salmon along with a few brown trout. At Sauk Creek a few chinook were landed on flies and spoons. On the Root River were chinook the majority of anglers targeting and seeing success upstream of the steelhead facility and fishing with egg flies.
Walleye and yellow perch fishing continues to be productive on the Lake Winnebago System for those that haven't winterized their boats yet. Oshkosh DNR fisheries staff recently completed the annual Lake Winnebago Trawling Survey with good catches of yearling walleye, crappie, and yellow perch from strong hatches that occurred in 2016. Walleyes from the strong 2013 year class were also well represented in the survey, ranging 16-19 inches.
The American woodcock migration is now on and hunters are starting to get their first push of birds this week. The wind has blown down leaves and created better shooting opportunities for woodcock and grouse.
The recent warmth seems so to have slowed deer activity and discouraged some hunters from hitting the woods with bow in hand. Bachelor groups of bucks seem to have broken up now causing some bucks to abandon existing spots in search of new ground. There have been reports that some bucks are already starting to follow does and scrapes and rubs are being seen in the woods already.
The fall migration is in full swing at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area with sandhill cranes numbers around 4,000- 5,000 birds. Trumpeter swans and numerous, and there are many different species of hawk around.
There continue to be reports of eagles hit by cars... please slow down when you see an eagle feeding on roadkill.
There was a ribbon cutting this week for the first phase of the Great Sauk State Trail, becoming Wisconsin's 42nd state trail. The second phase, which supporters hope will begin next year, will connect the Sauk Prairie communities with the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area and Devil's Lake State Park.
It's going to be a Spooktacular weekend at state park properties with more than a dozen properties holding Halloween or fall color activities, including candlelight, torch or jack-o-lantern lit hikes at Governor Nelson, Merrick, Mirror Lake, Devil's Lake, Copper Falls, Lake Kegonsa and Harrington Beach. Kettle Moraine North will hold non-scary Halloween nature hikes Friday and Saturday. High Cliff campers will deck their campsites out for Halloween and kids are encouraged to Trick or Treat. For all programs, search the DNR website for "get outdoors."

Chad Knapmiller

Schafer's River Rentals

Perch are the hot bite this week with many guys getting their limit.  The ceiling right now seems to be around 12 inches. The 13- to 16- inchers have not shown up yet. There is a strong year class in the 7- to 8-inch range that you will have to sort through, but they will make for some amazing fishing in the next few years.  
If I was getting paid for predicting when the fall crappie bite would be, I would currently be looking for a new job, but the forecast is cooling off next week which should get them more active. Guys are still catching them, especially in the morning and evening. We just have not yet had that "fall frenzy" bite.  
Guys are also destroying large northern pike without trying that hard.  
Stop in and I will get you set up with what you need!

Wisconsin Birding Report

Despite warm weather, shorter day length has birds on the move. Winter arrivals this week included the first northern shrikes, snow buntings, white-winged crossbills and common redpolls. Red crossbills are widespread in low densities, while pine siskins are showing in good numbers statewide. Birders found more rough-legged hawks and golden eagles as well, the latter especially in the western half of the state. Though hard to find during daylight, northern saw-whet owls and long-eared owls also pushed south earlier in the week. Look for short-eared owls at dawn and dusk at large grassland and wetland complexes, as well as the Lake Michigan shoreline where active migrants may concentrate. On the water, duck migration this week featured good numbers of northern pintails, green-winged teal, redheads, scaup and other species. As the first long-tailed ducks arrive, all three scoter species are moving through now, with surf scoters being most commonly reported.Over 200 common loons were spotted off Washington Island in Door County. Birders also found Bonaparte's gulls and a few red-necked grebes across northern lakes. Meanwhile, large rafts of American coots were reported on many southern lakes. Shorebirds found this week included greater yellowlegs, pectoral sandpiper, black-bellied plover, sanderling, and Wilson's snipe. It was a great week for rarities, highlighted by a scissor-tailed flycatcher in Bayfield county, rufous hummingbird in Manitowoc, white-faced ibis in Columbia, western grebe in Ashland, greater white-fronted geese and a late gray catbird also in Bayfield and Townsend's solitaire in Richland.

Report your sightings and find out what others are seeing at

Good birding!

SOURCE: Ryan Brady, DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist in Ashland

West-Central Wisconsin

West-Central Wisconsin

LAKE WISSOTA STATE PARK - Fall colors are over with most of the leaves having dropped due to windy conditions. The tamaracks are still a brilliant gold.
Species of birds seen or heard include ravens, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls, barred owls, bald eagles and Canada geese.
Labor Day through early May campsites are available on a walk-in basis. The water and shower buildings are shut down in the campground for the season. The sanitary station will be open as the weather allows. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around.
As the park office is not regularly staffed at this time of year, please use the self-registration station located at the office entrance.
The park will be open to hunting for all species with an open season on Nov. 15. Orange maps showing the areas closed and open to hunting are available at the park and on the DNR web site. This hunting opportunity runs from Nov. 15, to Dec. 15, with late bow season extended through Jan. 7.
The Horse trails will be closed Nov. 15, until trails dry in spring, said Dave Hladilek, park manager.
BUCKHORN STATE PARK - There is starting to be some fall colors in the area.
Water is now shut off in the park. There is a frost free spigot next to the office restroom all year round.
The dump station will close the week of Oct. 22, said Heather Wolf, park manager.
ROCHE-A-CRI STATE PARK - There some fall color in the area.
Turkey vultures can be seen circling the mound.
The main gate and camping are now closed. Parking is in the winter/prairie lot on Czech Ave and park stickers are required (self-registration box at parking lot), according to Wolf.

Bob Lamb

Out and About with Bob

We had a great few days last weekend despite the poor weather. Our oldest son, Jon, his wife, Sara, and grandsons, Jackson, 10, and Bryson, 8, arrived Friday night from Cloquet, MN.
We went trout fishing near our condo in the valley late Saturday morning before heavy rain moved into the Coulee Region. We caught several small brook trout, and three larger ones that grandpa cleaned.
I just love being around the grandkids, teaching them about the outdoors and watching them fish. Jon shot some video of our trout fishing trip that's on our website home page. I hope you enjoy it.
Hey, where is the fall color? "Texas Terry" and I played golf on Wednesday and talked about the lack of color, especially at this time of the year. Too much moisture this summer? Temperatures too warm? When will we see the peak color... if at all? Leaves are still green in many areas. What do you think?
Meanwhile, deer hunters and small game hunters are complaining about the large amount of vegetation.
I haven't been fishing at the boathouse lately because the river is running high, too high to be able to walk out to it.
Oh, well, I'll just have to find something else to do.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.