Deer mounted an impressive natural spectacle | Recreation

JERRY DAVIS For Lee Sports Wisconsin

The Wisconsin crossbow/archery season begins on September 17. The season closes in most units on January 8, 2023, but there are some areas that extend until January 31, 2023.

Whitetail admiring season never ends.

Deer continue to change appearances and actions throughout September, notably the shedding of velvety antler tissues. A pair of bucks in a bachelor group can include both velvet-covered deer and “hard-horned” deer. The friendship probably won’t last long because shedding velvet and male aggression are related to hormone levels, which play into photoperiod. Individual males become solitary and can be aggressive towards each other as the season progresses.

Body hair and entire coats of hinds, fawns, and males change from rusty red to dark gray, then to more brown. All hair changes are intermittent.

Fawns lose their spots as white hairs are lost and replaced.

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Previous deer regulations may have flagged an illegal action of taking a spotted fawn or velvet antler deer, suggesting that these deer may have been taken before the season began. Most of the bucks and fawns have made those transformations by the September opening.

“There’s a lot of really big money this fall and the archery and gun seasons should be really good,” says Wally Bamfi, at Wilderness Fish and Game in Sauk City. “There is a strong harvest of masts and those are places where the first hunters should settle.”

“Rabbit and squirrel numbers are quite large, along with many turkeys and deer are plentiful if you are in the right area. Some hunters have already hunted for doves, teals and geese,” said Doug Williams, at the DW Sports Center in Portage. “I sold a ginseng digging license.”

Aaron Taylor of Gays Mills said starting price for a good root is $200 a pound, green. Taylor shops for Hsu Ginseng in Wausau and can be reached at 715-581-7529 or 608-606-4729.

“It keeps reminding me of the hunter who spent nine days up north last season and didn’t see a single deer,” Don Martin of Martin’s in Monroe. “The same guy lamented having 27 wolves on his trail cameras.”

Hunters know that deer, like other game animals, are not evenly distributed.

Turkeys are something else. Wayne Smith in Lafayette County says locally the turkey population continues to decline, while beavers, raccoons and geese are abundant. Muskrats are low.

Fishing has generally been good with large mudcats caught in Yellowstone Lake. Smallmouth bass in the Madison Lakes and Wisconsin River are caught with swim and crank baits. Strippers and bluegills of dignified nature have been caught in some of the area’s lakes.

Security is always in fashion. Smith told the story of a friend who fell setting up his stand, broke both his legs and many other bones, and dragged himself half a mile. “It was do or die,” he told Smith from the hospital.

An Iowa County nature aficionado located three early maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms and returned the next day, picked them up and found a sulfur support polypore and many golden oyster mushrooms.

His secret has been keeping records, going to the same tree year after year on roughly the same date, and continuing to check other trees for 5-6 weeks.

You lightly sauté them in butter, freeze them on cookie sheets, and then bag the frozen pieces and put them back in the freezer. Dehydration works too, as does freezing something raw.

Pokeweed is becoming more common in some parts. This bushy perennial herb flowers in September. All parts of the plant, especially the roots, are poisonous. The fruit are purple-black berries. Destroy it before the animals spread the seeds.

Keep an eye out for hunting regulation pamphlets on sporting goods store counters and season forecasts posted on the DNR website covering bear, waterfowl, mountain game, fur-bearing animals and deer.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at or 608.924.1112.