More tallying of outdoors activities and population estimates are finding their ways from field notes, registration files and listening sessions.
The five-year Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study has completed its spring fawn capture in Dane, Grant and Iowa Counties and reached its goal by collaring 128 fawns. A few more were captured, but known twins are not both collared.
Not everything is clear cut. For example, one doe, born May 24, 2017, then re-collared as an adult on Feb. 1, 2018, died March 7, 2019 of unknown causes. It was not CWD, not starvation, no broken bones or neck trauma, and apparently not taken down by coyotes, either, Cause unknown.
While 2019 spring turkey hunters had some stretches of poor hunting weather, 38,556 birds were registered, compared to 38,885 in spring of 2018. Youth and learn-to-hunt hunters registered 2,276 birds in 2019.
Ruffed grouse drumming counts are being anxiously awaited; likely released within days. The 100 former Wisconsin ruffed grouse now calling Missouri home were not detected during drumming counts, but some were observed during Missouri field work.
The Show Me State’s biologists will be coming north for a second round of trapping 100 birds later this year, as well as assessing those on the ground in Missouri.
West Nile Virus test results are still being analyzed and will be released as a full batch in late July.
Speaking of numbers no one can count, the tiny black flies continue to be assessed by swarms, not individuals. There is some good news here, though. This species develops in high quality, moving water, not stagnant pools like some mosquitoes. Think trout streams, but probably not trout fishing!
Turkey head nets (who cares how we appear), insect repellents and long sleeves top the list of ways to keep these bugs away. Birds, too, are bothered, and killed, by these “buffalo gnats.” Bald eagle eaglets in Iowa, whooping cranes at Necedah, and bluebird nest box young have been bitten repeatedly by black flies. Enough so that some have died.
PROVEN, a new 12-hour repellent, has shown “keep away” potential, as has Icy Hot, with up to 16 percent menthol (Vick’s has 4 percent) is one outdoorsman’s answer. After the agony of the biting, some people have complained of persisting rashes and irritations, too, which prolongs the memory.
Black locust and tulip poplars are trees in full bloom presently; basswood is close behind. The tulip-tree is a common horticultural planting in southern Wisconsin, which has large flowers resembling tulips, but unrelated.
Virtually all deer are now in full summer attire, looking extremely attractive, but active enough to cause highway problems for motorists of all types.
Garden potatoes and tomatoes are beginning to flower and because they are related, the flowers and young fruits resemble one another. Some ginseng appears to be showing deer damage (maybe) with one or more of the compound leaves missing. If all leaves are removed, the plant usually does not emerge the following year.
Preliminary nut assessment looks promising, but time will tell. Camping, fishing, counting turkey poults and watching for second nest box clutches are ahead.