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Fawns’ coats are fading and bucks’ antlers are still velvet-covered, but the reason for beginning to rush is a deer season opening Sept. 15.

Antler tips are no longer knobby and rounded, but more pointed, signaling growth is slowing. For an outdoors enthusiast, this signals it will soon be time to get a license, gather gear, find stand locations and deal with bonus antlerless harvest authorizations (or simply bonus tags of old).

Would anyone have ever imagined that eliminating almost all of the need to actually tag a deer would create another need, a four-word name for something that may never need to be attached to a deer?

What happened to the idea of simplification of rules, regulations, requirements and terminology? Why would a fragile paper fragment, something that is almost a nothing, now be spoken as though it is a minor treatise?

The sale of these BAHAs (bonus antlerless harvest authorizations) begins, in part at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 through website and sales locations. They cost $12 and $20, except for youth who pay $5, if 11 years or younger. Have a license, know where hunting will likely occur in terms of Management Zone, Unit, and public or private land before stepping forward.

While hunters are readying to hunt deer, researchers are summarizing their seasons. Last winter researchers in the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, deer and predator study collared 194 adult deer, bringing the total to 332 for the two years.

The last batch of chronic wasting disease testing put 170 in the negative group and 15 in the soon-to-be-sick category.

More recently 104 fawns, 52 of each gender, were hand captured and collared. There were some big babies born topped by one at 19.9 pounds and tiny ones down to 4.4 pounds, with an average of 10.2 pounds.

Dan Storm, chief researcher, says the crews are hitting their goals for captures and everything is going smoothly leading into the hunting seasons where crews will be helping hunters who shoot collared deer.

Lowland cardinal flowers are blooming that tone, and Joe-pye weed, boneset, and both ragweeds have blooms, too. Many wind-pollinated plants stick with green flowers, and why not? Wild cucumber vines carry tiny white flowers, but so many in groups one can botanize at 55 mph.

With hundreds of plants to choose, it’s good to note that Japanese beetles seem to avoid feeding on ginkgo leaves and compass plants flowers and leaves.

Some of the mast crops have a better showing in August, with white oaks and wild apples topping the lists. Still black walnuts and shagbark hickories are trailing. Occasionally a hickory tree will show strong. Hang onto that location and go home with a full pail come autumn.

Wild turkeys are showing the results of varied age groups from early and late hatches. That season opens Sept. 15, too.

A walleye angler, not one to brag, left the Mississippi River with his fish limit while nearby boaters were happy to report one walleye in a full day afloat. He was fishing in 6 feet of wter, right on the weed edge, guessing that the fish were shading but willing to dart out when the a bait was presented. He headed home to soak his filets in salt water over night before freezing them in fresh water.

Hornet nests, as large as soccer balls, are showing their beauty and art. Winter decorations are safe; the hornets are gone, but other insect might find them attractive for wintering. Bring inside after a few cold spells, but with caution.

Young hummingbirds frequently get trapped inside buildings, particularly garages, and don’t seem to be willing to dip down to get out the overhead doors. Could it be they see the red handles on the trip cords on the door openers or vehicle tail lights and come inside for nectar? Open all the doors and walk away before closing them when the birds leave. Maybe camouflage all red objects, too.

Autumn-like objects, color changes, diebacks and actions are beginning to abound. In a hurry for that season? Take notice.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at

or 608-924-1112.