A simple walk, hike or scout through a late summer woods reveals more than one might expect following a notable wet and warm July. Vegetation prevailed this summer. Head-high plants are common, even in dimly-lit forests.
Still, day-length is a primary dictator determining when deer coats change, when fawns become brown without white dots, when antler velvet begins to peal, and when bolete mushrooms, hen-of-the-woods fungal clumps and sulphur fungus brackets mature and are begging to be gathered.
Notable, too, are hitchhiking plant seeds and fruits. July set record warmth and stick tights, burdocks, beggar’s ticks and many more are beyond abundant and annoyingly common. Be prepared to spend time picking after hiking, combing pet hair, and seeing deer with tufts of cockleburs on their brows.
Ginseng berries are brightening; some beginning to fall.
Hunting dogs have been trained to locate various animals, and shed antlers; why not morel mushrooms and wild ginseng, too, Wisconsin’s state herb?
Fall turkey season opens Sept. 14. In addition to one harvest authorization with a license purchase, bonus authorizations may be purchased, from a total of 14,000 permits available for zones 1 through 4. Cost is $10 and $15 for residents and nonresidents, respectively.
Turkey zones 1-5 close Jan. 2, 2020; while zones 6-7 close Nov. 22, the day before the gun deer season opener.
Bonus antlerless deer harvest authorization sales began Aug. 19 for the Northern and Central Forest zones. Central Farmland (Zone 2) sales opened Aug. 20 as did the Southern Farmland (Zone 2).
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Starting Aug. 22, sale of all zones will continue. Cost is $12 (residents), $20 nonresidents and $5 for youth 11 years and younger.
Paper 2019 deer hunting regulations pamphlets will be available within a few days and are already printable from the DNR web site.
Archery and crossbow, grouse (Zone A), rabbit (Northern Zone), crow, and squirrel seasons open Sept. 14, while pheasant, quail, Hungarian partridge, ruffed grouse (Zone B), and rabbit (Southern Zone) open Oct. 19.
Anticipate much more literature and forecast season information forthcoming during the next several weeks, as well as waterfowl regulations.
Several specialty seasons are close at hand, too, with wild ginseng digging permitted beginning Sept. 1; and lake sturgeon hook-and-line fishing opening on selected waters Sept. 7. Both ginseng and lake sturgeon seasons have additional gathering requirements, so educate carefully.
Autumn color changes have begun to appear. Look for these in splashes and dots as autumn blooms, colorful fruits, attractive stems, and early leaf transformations, some due to mild disease infections.
Because of the diverse habitats and vegetation types, colors in southern Wisconsin come as smaller patches than in the northern and eastern regions. Take advantage of color transformations in farm crops, marshlands and shorelines too.
Autumn is generally a favorite season to many, in part due to the variety of changes and viewing opportunities. It occurs once a year.