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After another year of outdoors activity, an assessment pause may be welcome and refreshing.

Instead of being media-bombarded of those few who show disrespect, pay fines, trespass, lose privileges and otherwise denigrate, concentrating on those who go beyond outdoors rules and regulations and step into ethics ideas and action is fulfilling.

The Department of Natural Resource Ethical Hunter Award started in 1997, and is bestowed on an individual, any age, who acts in a helping way toward others who recreate, pursue game and value science-based approaches.

Fred Casper, of Westby, was presented the 2018 WDNR Ethical Hunter Award by WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller, along with Ryan Muckenhirn, of Vortex Optics, in Barneveld.

The award was presented May 16 at the Vortex Optics Headquarters. Vortex Optics, a worldwide company, has been a corporate sponsor of the award the past three years, gifting the state’s ethical hunter an item or more from their line of rifle scopes, binoculars and range finders.

Casper undertook several ethical acts by seeing that a large-antlered buck shot at by a hunter near land that he leases for deer hunting in Vernon County, eventually ended up with the hunter.

Casper’s son, David, who nominated his father, said “my dad could have easily said, ‘yes that’s my buck,’ but that’s not the type of person Fred Casper is.”

Spring-like events and comments about these developments continue to elevate our spirits toward the outside.

Tom Howard, an avid gatherer, described his desires to be out hunting morel mushrooms saying, “everything is fresh and green and sprouting. One never knows what you’re going to see over the next horizon; a turkey nest, a new fawn, all matter of things.”

Trout anglers are often the first to find stable water after a thunderstorm, and they have been doing just that, first fishing the smaller streams or upper stretching of larger waters. Vegetation is still not a handicap.

Panfishers are hoping the bluegills and other fishes will cooperate by their spring actions of spawning, nest–guarding and feeding frenzies.

Birders of all levels are enjoying sightings, hearings and bird activities before the “great green curtain” drops more and hampers most of our senses we use to record these encounters.

White-tailed deer of all genders and ages are transforming into a summer mode. Antlers are appearing, coats changing to beautiful rusts, movements and tolerances of others their kind are ongoing, and of course population recruitment will peak the next few weeks, as fawns are born and then become more evident as they begin traveling with mom.

Animal road deaths are more evident; scavengers move in to recycle and food webs commonly first pick on the young and inexperienced.

Plants continue to show the results of winter, deer damage, and spring weather swings. Act accordingly but be patient; some will recover, others are history.

Spring orchids put a lantern on spring’s excitement, beauty and newness.

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

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