Gather Wisconsin wildlife and plant information now for ‘caching in’ starting in September
Gathering information about seasons in summer is just as important as organizing equipment ahead of a season opening morning.
Yes, July seems like forever from Sept. 12 when ruffed grouse hunting season opens and even Sept. 1 when ginseng digging begins, but now is the time to be gathering information about the forests where hunting and actual gathering is going to occur.
In most cases this isn’t the main course, but maybe some side dishes and future menus. Think of it as gathering information on where to go and when to be there later this summer.
Take notice that mayapple fruits are beginning to ripen and the two-foot tall plant is starting to look a lot like the garden potato vines, drying and quite senescent.
The fruit can be eaten raw, but most prefer something made with the lemon-like wild apples. Marmalade works for many.
Observe the many goldenrod stems infected by galls. This one is for future ice fishing
Over yonder new dying elms are screaming for attention and notation to check them next April.
It’s too late for blackcaps, but the blackberries are but a few weeks away. The raccoons and black bears already know this.
The taller ginseng plants already stand out even without red fruits and golden leaves. Of course, let them be but note where they are and what landowner to contact.
Hordes of wild mushrooms are appearing. Panther fungus, fly agaric, king bolete, stinkhorn, coral fungus and many more have already appeared. Many summer mushrooms are poisonous, but some, like the fly agaric, can be a sentinel to finding the edible bolete. They both grow in the same location.
Turkeys and deer move around a great deal, but most have a home range and regular feeding locations. Book those ideas.
Squirrels are finished with most of the soft mass fruits and are turning to hazelnuts. These rodents’ feeding habits are likely to be the same come Sept. 12 and beyond.
Some wild apple trees are bare; some are laden with pomes. Pick them out from a distance by bending tree limbs. Deer will be there in a month and certainly by Sept. 12. Note the ones with the most fruit and don’t bother going there until later.
There is reason to be out in the fields, forests and marshes in July in preparation for autumn. Take advantage of information assembling and a little bit of actual food caching during the same occasion.