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Gathering, in the broadest sense, has begun in earnest.

Different people gather in a variety of ways, maybe by simply seeing a large, antlered whitetail; photographing him; or readying their tree stand.

Animals are caught and taken into possession by a variety of means, based on season. Plants may be dug or dried and pressed for keeping, or collected for decorations or saved for later use, as is the case with goldenrod stem galls.

All these are gathering, in one way or another, depending on the items, possible uses, and seasons. Don’t tell a hiker he’s not gathering while looking for a ghost plant just to be able to say he saw one.

So, too, when a sulphur fungus is cut from a black cherry, it’s gathered, while another might gather a poisonous Amanita mushroom on film, but never bring it home in the same vasculum used to carry the chicken-of-the-woods.

Bret Schultz, of Black Earth, has been gathering trout in earnest now that the “hopper” season is matched with August. He describes this sub-season based on bait used as really, really good; outrageous; stupid good. You get the idea. If not, consider this. Schultz uses a simple hopper pattern he’s tied with a simple body, a few deer hairs (maybe first gathering those, too?) and then slaps the fly in the middle of a stream having overhanging grasses where trout may be lurking waiting for grasshoppers to overshoot their landings.

He’s been at this method for a couple weeks, now, and kept track of his follows and lands. Recently, in six hours, he had 132 follows and landed 83 browns.

During a three day vacation he landed 180 trout. He gathered them in, and released them. Gathered? Yes, but only to keep in his mind.

The 2019 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet is online and will be available in outlets shortly. New for 2019 are more counties closed to baiting and feeding deer; more counties (units) in the Holiday Hunt; several units having extended archery and crossbow seasons through Jan. 31, 2020; and no buck-only units in 2019.

Grouse hunters can again participate in collection of tissues for West Nile virus monitoring by contacting their DNR county wildlifevbiologist for collection kits. The DNR is awaiting the results of last fall and winter hunter-collected samples.

Early bird migrations continue with departures from the state and other species moving through Wisconsin, and the dark-eyed junco returning to the state for another winter.

Three roadside-and-beyond plants that are noteworthy include Joe-pie weed (purple), various goldenrods (all yellow) and white wild cucumber vines hanging draped over fences and shrubs in lowland areas.

Ginseng berries are ripening. The digging season opens Sunday, Sept. 1. Price paid for fresh root is expected to undercut last falls numbers.

Hitchhiking plants apparently took advantage of the moist summer and are bigger and more plentiful than most years. Animals, including deer, are apt to be vectors of these dispersing weeds, carrying burs of various sorts to new locations.

Ample opportunities exist to study regulations, scout locations and selectively gather some wild mushrooms and fall fruits.

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

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