Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

Opening weekend of Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season proved fruitless for our youngest son Evan and me.
Ev saw a few deer to shoot, albeit baldies, but they were either too small or didn’t present good enough shots.
As for me, I struggled mightily with the terrible weather conditions on opening day. I made it for just under 3 hours in my open ground stand, before retreating to my Jeep to stay warm the rest of the morning.
Ev and I usually return home for venison chili at noon on opening day before heading back into the woods for the evening hunt. Not on Saturday. Intermittent blizzard-like conditions, coupled with freezing conditions, convinced us to wait for Sunday, which was more conducive to hunting. Ev saw a few more deer and I thought I caught the flash of one deer in the morning, but that was about it. The afternoon hunt was about the same.
As for me, that was the end of the 2022 gun deer season as we are spending Thanksgiving weekend with out oldest son Jon and his family in Cloquet, Minn. Ev said he was spending a few days trying to shoot a deer for the freezer this week in addition to enjoying Thanksgiving, too.
Elsewhere, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical services responded to a fatal deer hunting-related incident in the Township of Seneca in Green Lake County last weekend.
Last Sunday, shortly after 9 a.m., an 11-year-old male was the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest. A 41-year-old male shooter attempted to unload his firearm while it was placed in the back seat of a vehicle. The firearm discharged, striking the victim. The victim was flown via Med Flight to a hospital, where he died. The shooter and the victim were members of the same hunting party.
Meanwhile, across the Mississippi River, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, in La Crescent, checked B season deer hunters throughout the weekend. Groups with three generations of hunters were braving the cold weather and high winds to fill their tags and freezers. Quite a few hunters seemed to forget the need to unload their guns before taking off in their trucks or ATVs.
DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, reports spending the week working with conservation officer candidate Ryan Christenson. Time was spent checking deer and waterfowl hunters. Enforcement action was taken on unplugged guns, no licenses, lead shot and transporting loaded firearms in a motor vehicle. Deer hunting success was mixed with the windy conditions on opening morning of the B season.
DNR conservation officer Mitch Boyum, in Rushford, reports a quiet 3B opener. Hunter numbers seemed much lower than previous years. The colder weather made sitting on stand chilly. Violations encountered were untagged deer, failure to validate, transporting a loaded firearm and open bottle. Boyum also checked waterfowl hunters along the Mississippi River.
As always, remember to take a kid hunting or fishing. It’ll be the best thing you ever did.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors!


Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

What could have been a near-perfect deer hunting opener with sighting and safety snow to go along with an overlap with deer mating season, was hampered by uncomfortable conditions for hunters.
Low and high temperatures were well below normal. Uncombined standing corn gave deer an additional habitat to hide in, too.
How all those factors balance will determine when the nine- day preliminary scores are posted a few days after the season closes Nov. 27.
Rutting activity was obvious in many locations when bucks were seen following does, sometimes the buck standing still for many minutes for no apparent reason until a doe jumped up and began moving again.
Until the season ends, more than 550,000 gun deer hunters are wrapping up their hunt that began about the time several inches of snow fell. Still, the majority of hunters were pleased with the wintry weather conditions and deer movement most days.
“There were lots of shots because the snow made it possible for all to see one another. The deer saw us, we saw the deer bolt from their beds, and safe shots were taken, albeit some not hitting their marks,” said Wayne Smith, an outdoorsman in Lafayette County, where the Yellowstone Lake State Park and State Wildlife Area provided great deer habitat and hunting.
In addition, one of the DNR’s rifle ranges is within the wildlife area should hunters need to sight their rifles after too many misses.
Gun deer hunters don’t normally like extreme low opening morning temperatures. But they coped, albeit for shorter time slots.
“Some hunters hunt from heated huts, similar to those used for the upcoming ice fishing,” said Don Martin, at Martin’s in Monroe. “They can sit in some of those shanties in shirt sleeves, but they’d better have an outer layer of blaze orange on for safety, too.”
Wally Bamfi, at Wilderness Fish and Game in Sauk City, continues to lament the lack of a celebratory atmosphere that was once common around in-person registration stations. 
“Opening weekend and beyond were festive times. Young hunters would often come in with the mentors to see the deer taken and get excited and ask to go back in the woods,” Bamfi said. ”Others, some non-hunters, would stop just to enjoy the atmosphere this super season brings. It was great.”
Required registration continues, but is usually done electronically by phone or computer. The process must be completed by 5 p.m. the day following taking possession of a deer in the field. A confirmation number is issued to the hunter in that transaction and no actual tagging of the carcass is required, but some hunters still do it to help keep carcasses and hunters connected.
Forget to register? Self-report by contacting a DNR field warden and work it out. Be honest and the process may not be a large pill to swallow.
“When we see the numbers from opening weekend on Tuesday, and then after the season, I believe we’ll see some impressive totals in part from the safety and sighting snow and a good deer population,” Bamfi said.
Smith said some of the younger hunters have really insulating clothing and they can stay at it for more hours regardless of the temperature. 
“Others are moving around by 9 a.m., and that causes deer to move, too, but once the shooting started deer hunkered down and have to be pushed,” he said. “I still believe still hunting (walking very, very slowly, stopping often) is possible, even in standing corn but the planting density is so tight now that it’s difficult to walk across rows.”
Smith still gave the weather and conditions a good score. “Before the season opened, I saw more hunters out scouting the public land than normal, so going in there was an increased level of excitement,” he said.
Aside from ammunition, other supplies are more available than in the past. 
“One of the hottest items (pun intended),” Bamfi said, “is a full sole Grabber Foot Warmer. It’s easy to use, warms quickly, and warms the entire foot.”
The 10-day muzzleloader season (Nov. 28-Dec. 7), a four-day antlerless season (Dec. 8-11), and the antlerless-only Holiday Hunt (Dec. 24-Jan. 1, 2023) follow the nine-day hunt. The archery/crossbow season continues through Jan. 8, or Jan. 31, 2023, depending upon the unit.
“A lot of hunters have had enough after the nine-day gun season,” Martin said. “But some still need more venison and will give those seasons a look-see.”
“If hunters were after Mr. Big deer, they may continue to hunt the muzzleloader season because there may be snow and the deer continue to come out earlier in the afternoon to feed. Also the end of the rut may still be ongoing and this gives hunters another chance to get the buck before the antlerless seasons open,” Martin added.
Some hunters have already noted seeing deer that shed one or both antlers.
Elsewhere colder weather, snow cover and windy conditions have brought massive numbers of birds to feeders. Continue to watch for snowy owls and evening grosbeaks that are continuing their irruptions into many parts of Wisconsin, including the southern reaches.

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

Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

While you are enjoying the many tasty treats that abound this holiday season, don't forget to share some goodies with the birds.
Decorating a tree for our feathered friends and other wildlife is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Here are some fun and easy recipes for making treats for the birds. So while you're decorating the outside of your house don't forget your feathered friends. 
Here’s some fun stuff to do with anyone you love:
 
Suet Stuffing
What you need:
* 1 cup chunky peanut butter
* 1 cup WBU Simply Suet ® (pure rendered suet)
* 2 ½ cups coarse yellow cornmeal
* WBU Seed Blend, raisins, peanuts or other tree nuts (optional)
What you do:
Mix peanut butter, suet and cornmeal together.
Stir in birdseed, raisins or peanuts if desired.
 
Suet “Muffins”
What you need:
Secure a piece of heavy craft paper to the bottom of a pipe cleaner.
Place in muffin tin cup. Spoon in Suet Stuffing.
Repeat for each muffin cup.
Place the muffins in the freezer to harden.
Once hardened, remove from the tin and hang the suet muffins on a tree or, if the temperature is above freezing, place in feeding stations.
 
Pine Cone Feeder
What you need:
Pack Jim’s WBU Birdacious® Bark Butter® into pinecones.
Roll pine cones in WBU Seed Blend.
Hang with string or ribbon from a tree.
 
Decorating a tree for the birds is a fun and easy activity.
Be sure to select a tree somewhere near a window so that once you have completed your decorating, you and your family can sit back and watch as the many beautiful birds and creatures come to enjoy their holiday treats.
 
Additional Treat Ideas
Decorations that can be strung and placed on the tree include popcorn, fresh cranberries, thick fresh orange slices, peanuts in the shell, dried apples or dried figs on heavy string.
You can also hang rice cakes with string, fresh crab apples by the stem, baby dried corn bundles, dried ears of colorful corn husks, or red seedless grapes tied up in bunches.
In addition, peanuts in the shell and whole walnuts can be scattered under the tree.
Natural rough brown string, ribbon and raffia can be used for hanging the decorations. Also, consider decorating with lengths of natural wool or string. The birds will use this material for nesting in the spring.
Wild Birds Unlimited has some cute seed ornaments right now that you could also hang from the tree.
Stop in and see us at Wild Birds Unlimited, Onalaska, 608-781-5088, or  www.wbu.com/onalaska.
Happy Holidays and Happy Birding!
Karen Perry