Veteran turkey hunters helped an anxious young crowd and probably learned a thing or two themselves last weekend during Wisconsin's annual spring youth turkey hunt.
The first (A) of six, seven-day regular-season periods opens Wednesday morning, followed by five more periods, wrapping up May 28, the day after Memorial Day.
While most hunters have a single authorization permit, some have and others continue, to purchase leftover permits at $10.
Asher Lubchansky (pictured), 12, of Mazomanie, was mentored by Joe Reeve, a family friend who alerted Asher’s father, Ben, of the opportunity.
“The adrenalin is just awesome,” Asher explained after the hunt, helping pluck a gobbler, and eating some deep-fried turkey breast nuggets.
Asher, who is home-schooled, didn’t have anyone except his outdoors buddy to tell about the excitement of seeing four gobblers closing in on a blind.
“I guess it was a small tom, based on the weight (17 pounds, 6 ounces) but winter, not age, can likely be blamed for the skinny bird,” Asher guessed.
Unlike most turkey hunters, the Lubchansky's plucked the bird, chunked out the breast, and “broke bread” that evening with Reeve and Asher’s brother, River, and sister, Tilia. Mom was away on a trip.
Incidentally, Tilia comes from the genus name for the basswood tree, a source of fishing lure wood and bee’s honey ingredients.
“The wings were frozen, the bones kept for soup stock, the spurs, and tail feathers were mounted, while others became trout fly material,” Ben Lubchansky said.
Asher is a trophy man, even at a young age, but not as one might imagine.
“I recommend collecting trophies,” he said. “Put a squirrel tail in a drier, or a pheasant wing, too, and you have a nice trophy for your room. And if I get a rabbit next winter, I’ll make a lucky charm. If it works, I’ll be calling you again and tell you of my experience.” Take young Asher’s advice and consider using most parts of the turkey, and enjoy the experiences, too.
Turkeys aren’t the only game animals coming through winter on the slender side. Deer, which seem to be everywhere these days, are beginning to look a bit befuddled, while losing hair, gaining weight and getting pushed out of their home ranges.
Some starved this winter and a portion, many more than last year, likely died of chronic wasting disease. The Department of Natural Resources wildlife health section chief, Tami Ryan, reported 1,060 white-tailed deer tested positive of CWD during 2018 surveillance testing. This compares to 597 in 2017.
More than 17,200 deer were tested in 2018, while 9,841 were evaluated the previous year. In the Southern Farmland Zone, 8,571 deer were sampled with 1,039 testing positive.
The DNR hunter ethics selection committee is wrapping up their deliberations and hopes to announce a winner in early June at the Vortex Optics headquarters, the award’s cooperate sponsor.
The USDA-Wildlife Service confirmed wolves depredated a Myotonic goat in Burnett County. This animal is known, too, as a fainting goat that seizes when panicked.
More and more plants are commemorating “birthdays” this month, with pasque flowers (special at Easter) already finished in some regions. Tree flowers, especially those with catkins, are making pollen.
Gardeners are getting impatient for asparagus and rhubarb picking, and lettuce and onion planting.
Morel gatherers are waiting and listening for rumors in an activity known for secrecy.
A few wild greens are being collected.
Some winter-weathered and deer-browsed trees and shrubs are being eyed with a pruning tool in hand. In many cases, wait until new growth begins to determine what is spent and what is living.
The inland fishing season opener is not too distant, including trout keeping.