Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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I recently read an unpublished story written by an Alaska man.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…

Environmental Compromises Extract a Long-Term Price Nobody – and no Thing – can Afford

Some individuals say that everything begins with the environment. We can read any number of quotes proclaiming that very thing. To many, those are just empty words. But if we study ecological principles, that phrase, “it all begins and ends with the environment,” rings true. It’s food chains, energy chains. It’s also an interconnectedness that is easily disconnected, breaking the…

Maybe Deer Hunters can Learn from Turkey Hunters

Let's compare and contrast turkey hunters and deer hunters. Why do the attitudes appear to be different, even though most turkey hunters are also deer hunters at another time of the year? There are concerns by some – actually, worries – that turkey hunters might develop the same trophy-only ideas that prevail among many deer hunters. In other words, turkey hunters…

Time to climb into the political fray

I believe the biggest downer from today’s political fights is their impact on our attitudes. It is difficult these days to be positive about things, even outdoors events, decisions and goals.Many of us go outdoors on hikes, hunts and fishing to get away from the fray or the battle royale.It seems even when the fishing boat is rocking gently on…

Common Sense Prevails on Known CWD Farm

Chronic wasting disease has been virtually off the radar screen in southwest Wisconsin much of the time since first discovered in 2002.  It’s usually only when a hunter gets results of a positive test that there is a little blip on someone’s screen. Last fall news of a positive wild deer in Minnesota reminded us that there is such a…

A Land of 10,000 Trout Stream Miles, but too few Signs

Wisconsin trout streams, all 10,000 miles of them, are some of the best. These streams are divided into several regulation categories, including the Red or Number 5 category, which includes special regulations regarding size and bag limit.One of the most common special regulations is zero bag limit, with or without special gear restrictions. In the past, Wisconsin DNR posted stream…

Spring Deserves an Early Look

Spring, according to the calendar, is still a few weeks away.  It begins about 6 p.m. March 20. Not to rush into the next season, but after a trying winter, a few refreshing signs of what‚s to come can be encouraging. Plants and wildlife never check the calendar to see when they should begin returning, blooming, mating, growing and nesting, but…

Thoughts on hunting and regulations and complainers

A few deer hunters write, from time to time in letters to the editor, about hanging up their rifles.  Sometimes trout anglers follow the same path with their fly rods and cane poles.Most of these folks don’t sound like old hunters who have simply tired of taking animals. Some sound like martyrs. They claim to be so angry with rules,…