DAVIS COLUMN: Cold and snow usher in winter’s warmer outdoor pursuits | Recreation
JERRY DAVIS for the capital newspapers
Two contradictory recreations, ice fishing and early open water trout fishing, now clash. Trout fishing can be more exposed, while ice anglers often crawl inside shelter that can heat up to the 60s.
Snowshoers, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers are getting ready to explore the many trails on public and private property. Ice skating can pair well with ice fishing, with a heated shelter ready for the kids.
Wild turkey and pheasant hunting ends January 9, as does archery and crossbow season. Extended archery and crossbow hunting continues in some areas until January 31, but only in designated deer management units.
Along with hunting seasons, the game in some cases also makes changes. Male deer are beginning to shed their antlers, which could alter clearances needed and used.
Some deer are not done with their rutting activity and it is likely that deer are moving nearby and crossing highways. “I’ve seen three deer that have been hit on highways recently,” said Doug Williams of the DW Sports Center in Portage.
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Wildlife observers and photographers should treat resting animals with care so as not to cause them to expend more energy than they normally would when moving to feed.
Deer and turkeys continue to use grain waste from soybean fields and corn stubble. Frequent pitted patches of snow are a sign that an animal probably smelled a seed, cleaned the snow, then licked off one or more seeds with a glass of frozen water.
Ice fishing continues to be a safe or sorry combination, with safety continuing to improve as low temperatures dip to zero ratings overnight.
“Limits of bluegills and perch were taken from the backwaters along the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers,” said John Borzick of Tall Tales at Boscobel. “Ice creepers (worn over boots) are recommended, although snow on ice provides better traction than bare ice. Further success was achieved by staying away from the drilled hole and then using a longer pole.
Ice fishermen are warned of extreme shortages of certain gear and supplies. “I’m lucky to get 40% of my orders,” Borzick said. “Some of the larger stores have dropped out, which could help by freeing up smaller stores to stock up.”
“Supply remains a big issue,” Don Martin said at Martin in Monroe. “Getting 10% off an order is good sometimes. But I have plenty of jigs and bait. Spring fishing gear is another matter.
Trappers were also hampered by the uneven ice,” said Wayne Smith in the Yellowstone Lake area of Lafayette County. “Trapment on land is also difficult and many don’t get involved. Wisconsin coyote pelts are not requested.
“Orders are still an issue, which could continue into the spring fishing season as well,” said Doug Williams of the DW Sports Center in Portage. “But the fishing has been pretty good if you can find good ice. Rabbits are also starting to appear. Also remember that while there is deer hunting season, blazing orange is the rule in these units.
Bird feeding resumed with the cold weather and snow. Table scraps have been used to supplement bird food for a surprising number of birds. What remains of possums will be cleaned at night.
The cold weather has brought bald eagles and golden eagles to where animal carcasses exist along the roads. Mating activity has been noted in red-tailed hawks and bald eagles. Bird pairs are a clue.
New or relaunched products for 2022 include a travel pillow from honeydewsleep.com. Several types of pillows are available, but the most versatile is the travel pillow which can be used for commuting to a cabin in northern Wisconsin or for sleeping in an airport.
Sharpie pens are now available in ‘blaze’ orange at most outlets and are handy for marking deer hunting events on 2022 calendars.
Several northern counties, Rusk and Oneida, have reported animal harassment by wolves.
PATHWATER is now available in a 25 ounce aluminum bottle, intended to be refilled and not recycled. The new size is styled like a Wisconsin winter. Will the other seasons appear on the bottles in 2022? Ask [email protected] It’s as much about the container as it is about the water.
the Mozy Team produces The Jacket for Your Legs in several sizes. It’s great as a stadium blanket, but many times warmer, or try it while ice fishing or sitting on a stump hunting deer or watching wildlife.
Information on harvest authorizations for the 2022 spring turkey season has been posted. Forgot to apply or want more? Bonus authorizations are sold, as before, from March 21, 2022.
Contact freelance writer Jerry Davis at [email protected] or 608-924-1112.