Take time to feel the freshness; smell the leaves; and see tired trees being wrapped in glory.
Gathering in all forms is peaking: small game pursuits, photographing fall, fishing frenzies to clog freezers, smelling the earth while digging roots and tubers, jarring red tomatoes, admiring maturing squash, rolling quietly on two wheels, and putting rubber to the marsh.
Mike Theiss, buying ginseng in Readstown, relayed diggers’ dribble about weather being beautiful and containing enough breeze and coolness to take care of the bugs. With great weather, harvesters are ignoring the 40 percent tariff impact on their prize.
Theiss was multiplying root weights by as much as $155 a pound for quality fresh roots; real special organs might bring more. “Buyers are most interested in fresh roots because of the backlog of last year’s dried stock,” he said.
Nancy Frost, DNR biologist in Sauk County said there is still time to enjoy the flowering and rolling prairies, particularly the fields of goldenrods, asters and tall grasses.
Jumping ahead to Oct. 19, Green County’s Jason Cotter said pheasant stocking will be the same as last year on public lands. Stay tuned for plans for the late December Holiday pheasant release, too.
Looking ahead, and back, reveal other upland bird seasons opening Sept. 14 may top last year’s 69,900 ruffed grouse hunters because there were some positive notes regarding spring drumming and summer brood counts.
Turkey hunters, too, registered 3,782 birds last fall, and recruitment weather was good this spring in many locations.
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Grouse kits to sample for West Nile Virus are available again this fall. Check with a local DNR biologist. Data on last year’s tests are pending.
Squirrels are taking advantage of the dropping shagbark hickory nuts. Gathering is of the essence if one is interested in “pecan” pie from what may become Wisconsin’s State Nut.
A new push is on to deal with chronic wasting disease by increasing education efforts and making sampling for CWD easier.
Statewide, the DNR is hoping for 21,000 deer gland samples this fall.
The effort to get samples is exemplified in West Central Wisconsin where mandatory CWD sampling and in-person registration will be in place in six townships.
A 47-page “White-tailed Deer Hunting Preview” is available on the DNR web site. The packet includes information on maps, seasons, herd objectives and holiday hunt (Dec. 24-Jan. 1) in 29 units in southern Wisconsin. Locally, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Iowa, Lafayette, Sauk, Rock, Dane, Columbia and Juneau, plus others, are included. Green County is not one of them.
Other new items include an antlerless hunting guide, some new baiting and feeding regulations in several counties, and sale of bonus antlerless authorization sales.
Season forecasts are included, beginning with a 10-page block for Southern District information.
Embrace these many autumn opportunities during the next four months, and more.
There is plenty for all, regardless of one’s pursuits, be they feeding incoming birds, saying goodbye to hummingbirds, gathering nuts for winter down time, filling freezers, hosting outdoors camaraderie chats and feasts, or watching colors progress from leaves to branches to entire forests, marshes and fields.
Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-924-1112