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