Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

Promoting Ginseng

An outdoorsman called the other evening with his thoughts about ginseng harvesting in Wisconsin.  He was disappointed that he had been seeing “all these glossy photographs,” of ginseng in local newspapers. His frustration was that the print media, and those who write about outdoorsy things, were showing everyone what the plants look like and these young people, or new diggers,…

Wisconsin Deer Management

Maybe we – outdoors writers and media – should take some of the responsibility for there being so much angst swarming around Wisconsin’s deer hunting and managing issues, especially during the last decade. Seems it’s just too difficult for a writer to be unbiased when it comes to deer hunting (management), just as it probably is for most gun deer…

Quit the grousing

Thinking about a mid-September ruffed grouse hunt is enough to take some of the sting off summer’s hot, humid days. But the news, fully anticipated for the last three years, reported a 25 percent decline in the roadside monitoring survey of drumming male birds. Still, there was some encouragement because biologists suggested that the weather this past spring was good…

Prohibiting Baiting and Feeding

Whether we know it or not, if we hunt deer in one of the 32 counties where baiting and feeding is prohibited , we are (or should be) part of a research project to study this issue and practice. This is particularly true in northwest Wisconsin. Recently four counties — Barron, Burnett, Polk and Washburn — were added to the…

Get out and find those Morels

An ongoing discussion, after a number of very warm days in March, has been whether or not morel mushrooms will be plentiful, slim picking, or completely absent. The questions have not been completely answered for Wisconsin except these mushrooms began appearing in late March.  I found some March 29, which were two to three days old.  By April 1, a…

Early spring

We’ve become accustomed to expecting many major plant and animal events to be prompted by photoperiod. Plants flower and animals mate based on increasing or decreasing day length, it seems.  But what about March 2012? March was so atypical that events were weeks ahead of a normal schedule and sequence of events.  Will this early spring have any impact on…

Turkey season camaraderie

Wisconsin’s spring turkey hunters will face a few changes in how things are to be done when it comes to hunting wild turkeys this year. The six hunting periods are seven days, instead of five, Wednesday through Tuesday. No big deal to most hunters. We’re likely to see little impact on the success rates by hunters, or even total hours…

The Ethical Hunter

It is easy to find a newspaper story about hunters doing or acting poorly, doing things that reflect negatively on all of us, or endangering the lives of others. We owe it to the greater community to make everyone aware of some of the positive, ethical acts many hunters do routinely, just as we need to publicize unlawful acts. The…

Transparency

There’s some truth to the saying, “if something can go wrong, it probably will.”That’s often the case when computers are asked to do our sorting, not because computers make mistakes, but because we have to tell them exactly what we want them to do and sometimes we don’t give them the correct message.There was a glitch during Wisconsin’s spring turkey…

Game trophy photographs

During the past several months we have had numerous chances to look at photographs of game taken by hunters during the gun and archery deer seasons.While I won’t say all, but some are not particularly pleasing to look at. Some are demeaning to the animal.What’s wrong with them? How could we make them, and us, look better?First, it is the…

Extended Deer Seasons

When is enough gun deer hunting enough? Should I deer hunt in southern Wisconsin during the Holiday Hunt, which closes Jan. 8? And during the landowner season, which continues through March 31? Or is it best to be a traditionalist and hunt during the nine-day season and then stop; maybe just hunt the first weekend of the regular gun season…

Create new Hunting Traditions

It seems that almost every club, organization, and even some state groups are scrambling to grow hunter interest and eventually hunter numbers. You name it and it's a method that has been suggested and most have been tried, including reducing the cost of licenses for some and changing hunting rules in the face of science, safety and probably management. How…

We have become an impatient species.

A month is a long time to us. A year is forever, it seems. But we need to get over our impatience when viewing environmental changes and results from our manipulations of the ecosystem. I’m talking about the mix of season structure, winter severity, forest maturity, hunting season weather, hunter attitudes, hunter recruitment, and a host of other variables that…

Pheasant Hunting

Wisconsin pheasant hunters, for the most part, are finding out just what two to three tough winters can do to wild pheasant populations. While carryover of state-released birds, or birds raised by landowners, have made a difference in some years, much of that carryover was wiped out by deep snow, icy crusts and sub-zero temperatures. Of course pheasant populations, as…

Grouse Populations

Now that the dogs’ noses have found the scent and the hunters’ guns have been fired, this is a time to assess Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse population as best we can. Hunting conditions have been ideal at times, other times the temperatures have been more August-like than Octoberish, but hunters and dogs have coped. Autumn leaf color and subsequent leaf fall…

What happened to our gathering spirit

I recently read an unpublished story written by an Alaska man. He and his friend had gone on a moose hunt last autumn, being dropped in the bush by a pilot. They had their camping, hunting and necessary river equipment to float down river, hunting at various points along a 35-mile journey. After several harrowing experiences, one that almost took…

Science vs Rumors

A recent news release from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection brings to the forefront the value of having science involved in rare animal sightings. Hearsay, rumors, hoaxes and flash sightings have made us all leery of claims, but this case says two things about how important science is and should remain in documenting animal movements. More than…

Just Enjoy the Hunt

The 2011 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet is not so much about what we can or cannot do, or should and should not do, but who is sending the message. Wisconsin has a fine staff of biologists, ecologists and property managers, dedicated to the state’s wildlife, not to egos or distant handlers. But did any of those biologists have any…

Are lichens the silver bullet against CWD?

It was reported several weeks ago that one or more of the organisms in lichens are able to produce a substance that can degrade prion proteins, the molecules responsible for causing fatal brain diseases in cervids. The research should awaken us to the significance of basic research, science that studies organisms and processes simply to find out what they are…