DAVIS COLUMN: Autumn’s time is now, but prospects dimming

DAVIS COLUMN: Autumn’s time is now, but prospects dimming

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Many more of us are waiting for autumn’s colors to appear than are excited about Nov. 23, the opening of gun deer season.

There have been glimmers, hues, tinges and shades but few explosions of entire trees, hillsides, or vistas. The list of culprits is long, complicated, and even some false accusations put forward as excuses. All is not lost, however.

Accept the fact that here in southern Wisconsin, forest diversity is too great to be able to see carotenoids and anthocyanins for miles. But there is an answer for that: Look small, peek closely, glance for glimpses of a fruit, a branch, and even a stem or an out-of-the-ordinary place or plant.

Our autumn colors come during a longer period than northern Wisconsin and eastern Maine. Take what we have, enjoy those rusty oak leaves and imperfect hickory leaves, which are colorful, non-green and autumn. Accept and relish our small fall.

Few feathers are more colorful than a rooster pheasant’s plumage. The season launches Saturday at 9 a.m. with a one-rooster limit, then two beginning Monday, Oct. 21. The possession limit is three times the daily bag. The first stocking has been placed for the opener, according to Kelly Maguire, at the Poynette Game Farm.

The foliage is just clearing some for northern ruffed grouse hunters. Woodcock shakers have already seen some migration out of prime stopover locations.

Deer registration numbers are beginning to be posted on the DNR website harvest charts. Last weekend youth hunters killed 6,575 deer, about half bucks.

Archers and crossbow hunters have been busy too, in spite of weather and early season. Crossbowers killed 7,334 deer as of the last post, with 3,223 being bucks and 4.111 antlerless deer. Archers registered 6,894 deer, 2,500 bucks and 4,394 antlerless deer.

Duck season has reopened in the Mississippi and Southern zones and remains open in the Northern Zone.

Most hard mast trees, oaks, hickories and walnuts have dropped, with good, great, spotty, and everything in between being reported.

Leaf fall and understory die-back is on course. Wind, rain and frost will take down more this week. White pines are looking a lot like the green and gold, with oldest needles yellowing and dropping, while most remain evergreen.

Lafayette County is soon going to be home to DNR field warden Mike Burns.

The all-in-one deer stop near Blue Mounds has been taken over by Outdoors Addition taxidermist, Alex Lease, and he’s teamed with meat processors to offer it all from sampling, donations, processing, taxidermy and registration assists, too.

Wayne Whitemarsh reports that a local food pantry type establishment will be taking deer donations for the needy in his area in Sauk City. Contact him at McFarlanes’ in his sporting section.

Don Martin, in Monroe at Martin’s Sporting, welcomed a host of youth deer hunters last week, and sold minnows to anglers who were using them for crappie and smallmouth bait. Whitemarsh pointed anglers toward Lake Wisconsin (walleyes) and the dam in Sauk Prairie (bluegills).

Anxious archers and whitetail viewers should take note of the shining laws. See page 20 in the deer hunting regulations for details.

Remember, good fall color viewing is not dependent on sunny days. See colors before they fade and fall.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at sivadjam@mhtc.net or 608-924-1112.

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