DAVIS COLUMN: Deer movement exciting, dangerous

DAVIS COLUMN: Deer movement exciting, dangerous

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Now is when vacation times are burned, archers and crossbowers are anxious to hunt, and wildlife photographers may throw caution to the wind. One way or another, everyone wants to get at least a glimpse of a deer.

Sometime those glimpses are too close.

For those driving roadways with motorized vehicles, it’s slow down and be late rather than not arrive at all. This is especially noteworthy when driving by croplands at about 10 p.m.

Excitement of the gun deer season, beginning Nov. 23 this year, may be a highlight of the hunting year, but those outdoors people know nothing compares to the deer mating season.

Opportunities to see deer, nearly anyplace, abound.

Look closely, deer often run with their mouths open. Could be they are short of breath, and something called flehmening may be involved. A buck may be seen raising his head and curling his upper lip to trap molecules of another animal’s scent on the lining of his nostrils and the palate. Exposing these molecules to an organ that allows most mammals and reptiles to detect odors and interpret them is now in full swing.

Deer movements will surely solicit observers at dawn and dusk. Using artificial lights is limited (see the deer hunting regulations, page 20.) In short, it is illegal to shine any wild animal while hunting or in possession of a firearm or archery equipment. It is also illegal to use or possess a light, including headlights, to shine wild animals between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. until after Dec. 31, whether or not in possession of a firearm or bow or crossbow. There are certain exceptions and some areas are more restrictive.

Most reports are positive regarding getting the first stocking of pheasants last week, but Mike Burns, DNR field warden in Lafayette County, suggested there are habitat areas that are likely to be too wet for a pheasant’s liking, so be prepared to avoid some locations that once held birds.

The last of three hickory nut workshops is scheduled for Saturday, from 2-3 p.m., at the Reedsburg Public Library. Contact information is available at 608-768-7323. Nut cracking and picking out meats will be hands-on. Nuts and cracking tools are provided. It is scheduled by the Wisconsin Hickory Nut Association. This is not an early Halloween joke.

Oct. 31 is the deadline for purchasing sturgeon spearing licenses for the 2020 season. The season on the Winnebago System will open Feb. 8, 2020.

Bird feeders and viewers can enjoy feathery days ahead with juncos, various sparrows and siskins. Canvasback ducks are pooling on Lake Onalaska and other locations, too.

Standard time begins Nov. 3, at 2 a.m., which is another way of saying daylight saving time ends then, too. Hunters will notice the change on the shooting hours schedules. Fall back and then spring ahead next March.

Deer registration reports for the recent youth deer hunt and the continuing archery and crossbow seasons continue postings on the DNR deer harvest web page.

The final youth hunt figures are 6,731 deer, with 3,209 being antlered. Archers have recorded 9,409 deer, with 5,994 being antlerless. Crossbowers are ahead with 10,409 deer, 4,565 being bucks.

Fall turkey hunting registration data is updated weekly and currently shows about 1,200 birds have been taken and registered. Figures are separated by zone.

Color changes continue to unfold in southern Wisconsin. One of the most noticeable changes is the white pines, with a set of yellow needles about to fall.

With diversity of trees here and some leaves falling as other are changing, we’ll never reach 100% peak color, will we?

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

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