Get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the Northwoods
The alarm clock tried to wake us from a sound sleep but it was very quiet. As I rolled over to turn it off I discovered that it was muffled because a pillow had fallen on it. Now fully awake the question was “What should we do today?”
Should we hook up the boat to the pick-up or should we take the bow for a walk to scout for some deer signs? Then too, we could take a 20-gauge into the woods to see if enough leaves have fallen to afford us a chance to get a shot if a bird flushed. Since our lab died a number of years ago it is difficult to get excited about hunting for grouse. It was much more exciting to have the dog flush out a bird and more importantly to help find the bird after shooting it. Retrievers are great hunting companions and also great family pets.
After a healthy breakfast the idea of a shotgun in my hands as I poked out some thick woods drew my attention. We walked slowly searching for grouse while also keeping a lookout for the sign of some deer. Love this time of the year! The colors are beautiful almost everywhere we look.
Over this past week the color in our area has exploded! Driving back from the Appleton area last weekend the color difference as we headed north was very obvious.
Here in the Rhinelander area a short drive south on Hwy 17 into the Harrison Hills area provides a spectacular sight with the reds of the maples mixed in with the yellows and greens. Fall in Wisconsin has those sharp color contrasts that areas in the Rocky Mountains do not have because of the lack of maple trees there. The gold of the aspens is beautiful, just different from Wisconsin.
Bill McNee, a forest health specialist with the Wisconsin DNR says, “because of ample rainfall in September colors may stick around at least a week longer.” We’ll see what happens.
When hunters gather they seem to be talking a different language. As the discussion moves toward deer hunting a switch takes place and you will hear talk about what is observed on a trail camera. It seems that the woods is filled with these devices.
For those who are not familiar with trail cameras, they have changed the method by which deer country is scouted.
They are tripped by action in an area where deer movement is anticipated. There are quite a variety of trail cameras available providing a variety of features, including still pictures and video, at a variety of prices. We prefer a camera that has a flash that is not visible.
Each year about this time anglers begin to think about “Turn Over.” Turn over takes place when the surface water begins to cool. As the surface water continues to cool it becomes denser (heavier) and begins to sink. As it sinks the water from the bottom begins to rise and the lake takes on a green appearance.
Not all lakes “turn over” and those that go through it are not all in this process at the same time. If you pull into a boat landing and find the water looking green and dirty, go to a different lake. Fish can be caught from a lake that is turning over but it is difficult.
One day last week I took the twenty-gauge for a walk in an area where there had been a logging job early this past spring. My thought was to check to see if any woodcock are beginning to migrate south and with a little luck perhaps a grouse or two. Everywhere I walked there was water! The logging trail was all mud with puddles in the low spots. No grouse or timber doodles were flushed.
The DNR is hoping to get the authorization to transport some elk from Kentucky to Wisconsin. The plan is to release this new herd of elk in Jackson County. The work on this transfer is still in the early stages. It will be interesting to follow this project.
Enjoy the beautiful fall weather. We know it can’t last.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.