Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

I finally got out fishing off Ol" Tom's boathouse on Wednesday.
Thanks to Derrick and Junior, I straddled planks and waddled my way to the boathouse about 11:30 a.m. I fished 'til about 1:30 and caught enough fish for a meal for me and my better half.
It was so much fun to get out to the rustic boathouse fishing again even though it was June 19. One bite after another. The fish were hungry. So was I.
I couldn't believe the fish that were biting - crappies, perch, sunfish, bluegills and one smallmouth bass.
I planned to toss out my two catfish poles, too, but I was too busy reeling in panfish, more small ones than large ones, but nonetheless enough for the fry pan.
Junior called when I was cleaning fish in my garage late in the afternoon. He was out of town earlier, but wanted to know if we could get out to the boathouse.
"Yup," I said. "And the fish are biting."
That was enough for Junior.
"What time are we going tomorrow? I can't wait," he said.
"See you at 10:30," I replied.
Meanwhile, deer continue to frequent our backyard almost on a daily basis. The huge field next to our condo isn't drawing any whitetails or turkeys, but as soon as the first cut of alfalfa is done, they'll be out there in droves for a week or so.
Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, in La Crescent, received a complaint of a cougar attacking a horse. After investigating the scene, it was determined the horse had injured itself in barbed wire.
Conservation officer Mitch Boyum, in Rushford, fielded numerous reports of baby animals. People are reminded to please leave them alone. Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.

Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

First a bit of botany. April flowers bring fruits in June, July, August and beyond.
That’s true for all fruits, hickory nuts, black raspberries, mayapples, walnuts, sweetcorn and potatoes. Yes, all those plants have flowers, which eventually become fruits. We discard the flowers and fruits and eat the potatoes’ tubers (underground stems).
Black raspberries (blackcaps) are usually ripe before Independence Day, but already we can see green fruit forming. The crop looks good, and why not with ample moisture.
Mulberries, too, are forming, but blackberries (bigger than raspberries) are just finishing the flowering process.
Continue to check the nut development. Last year’s acorns in the red oak group look good as they finish the second year of a two-year process. The white oak group, they have a one–year-nut, is still too immature to judge, as is with walnuts and hickories, too.  These fruits are there, though.
Black flies (gnats) left us alone one day last week and then came back, or more likely the winds blew in a new population, which found our weak link. Light clothing, not dark, is a must. Long pants, shirts, hats, not caps, and some repellent are all advised. It seems, other than methanol-containing dope, it’s a matter of choice and our body chemistry. Keep experimenting and get a face mask, too, when out picking berries.
One beaver dam was blown out of Trout Creek in Iowa County, while farther upstream in Birch Lake, sediment will be dug out after a drawdown. As with most waterway “improvements,” fish cannot be moved to a new location (disease transfer concern).
The 2019 Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey from the Department of Natural Resources has been published. Northern Wisconsin results pinned the drummers 48 percent higher than in 2018. Central Wisconsin was up 35 percent.
Trends in breeding grouse were increasing from 2015 to 2017 and biologists assumed they were in the midst of an increasing portion of their cycle. The decrease in breeding grouse activity in 2018 was unexpected and unprecedented. The 2019 increase has made up for much of that 2018 loss and put Wisconsin back on track for a peak in the cycle in the next year ending in 9, 0 , or 1. This is 2019!
“There are still a lot of questions about 2017 and 2018,” according to Mark Witecha, DNR upland gamebird biologist. Time will tell whether 2019 or one of the next two years will be the peak in the cycle,”
Lek activity (displaying grounds) for sharp-tailed grouse was up overall. Permits for sharp-tailed grouse is still being decided soon, Witecha said.
Grouse and turkey broods are beginning to be reported in appropriate habitats.
Fawns are beginning the following phase in their life. Antler growth is more noticeable.
Panfish anglers report increasing success, but insect repellent is as important as fishing location, even out on the water.
Prairie pale purple coneflowers are more noticeable. Compass plant flowering stalks are nearly five feet tall.
Deer and turkeys are still feeding in planted, fallow and hay fields, as well as deep woods areas.
Think ahead. Elm trees are showing signs of Dutch elm disease, so plug the location into a GPS device or pocket notebook.
Think ahead and move accordingly outside.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112

Wild Birds Unlimited

Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

Over 100 North American bird species supplement their natural diets with bird seed, suet, fruit and nectar obtained from feeders.
Access to abundant and healthy food supplies is important to birds… regardless of the season. Bird feeders provide a portion of these important nutritional needs for your backyard birds throughout the year.
Birds with access to backyard feeders benefit greatly from their ability to spend less time foraging for food and more time engaging in activities that enhance their health and safety. These activities can include:
* Feeders allow breeding birds to spend less time searching for food and more time selecting better nesting sites and constructing higher quality nests. Adults will also have more time available for protecting their nest, eggs and young from predators.
* Research studies have shown that birds with access to bird feeders will often lay their eggs earlier than those without feeders. This is significant because earlier broods typically have better rates of survival and fledging success than later broods.
* When abundant food is accessible to parent birds, it means that more food is provided to their chicks. This extra nutrition can increase the nestling’s rate of growth and reduce aggression among nest siblings.
* Access to bird feeders allow breeding females to spend less time foraging which leads to better protection of eggs from predators, earlier fledging of the nestlings and higher survival rates of the brood.
* Birds are very vulnerable to predators while searching for food, the distraction of foraging results in a reduced ability to focus on dangers and threats from predators. Less time spent foraging means more time spent being vigilant in spotting a predator in time to successfully evade it.
* Feeding your birds in the summer will not make them too lazy, too dependent or keep them from migrating at the appropriate time. These misconceptions have been dispelled by modern research and observation.
* Contrary to popular belief, recent research shows summer to be the most abundant season for birds to visit feeders.
The food and housing we provide can make a significant difference on how well birds will thrive and survive in our own backyards.
Visit us at Wild Birds Unlimited in Crosseroads Center in Onalaska.
Feed birds.
Happy Birding!
Karen Perry