From Southern Wisconsin

‘Tis the season to bring evergreens indoors. Wreaths, too, will do.
Of all the choices, even during a Wisconsin winter, three evergreens dominate: Fraser fir, balsam fir, and white pine.
There are others, but these three win hands down for a number of reasons. They are more fragrant, hold their needles, and have soft, flexible leaves (needles).
We can, and sometimes have to, go cheap or traditional and select a spruce, a native red or white cedar or grab hold of a deciduous oak with a few clinging broad leaves.
Literature and buyers usually give the out-of-state Fraser fir the nod, but our native balsam fir is close behind. Older dead and brown needles may cling. Just pull them off. Seed cones are usually spent and dropped, but sometime the Frasers hold them or their upright spikes where the seeds were attached. That’s normal, too. Knock them off or allow nature to take a hand.
Fresh trees usually don’t need water, but if it makes one feel better, supply it and watch it evaporate into the dry indoors air.
Do not cut trees on public land, even if it isn’t a Christmas tree. Fines may be waiting. A few deer hunters usually find out the expensive way.
A few other green things also remain, including a few ferns, lichens, clubmosses and some invasives.
Meanwhile, preliminary gun deer license sales topped 589,650 with residents claiming 541,515. Minnesota chipped in for 17,448 and all the other 48 states purchased a small number, along with 33 sold to residents in foreign countries. Some leader states spent as follows: Alaska 225, Colorado 670, Florida 960, Illinois 7,210, Michigan 1,043 and Texas 553.
It’s a lot cheaper for someone who has never purchased here to buy for the first time. Get them hooked and then ask more the next time around is the idea.
Grouse hunters have returned 219 sampling kits for West Nile Virus, and Michigan and Minnesota have done about the same. A University of Georgia laboratory will get to work on analyses when the seasons close, Dec. 31, in Wisconsin.
Ice is holding up a few anglers, but go easy if at all.
Wolf and coyote animal depredations continue, mostly in northern Wisconsin.
Deer predator study crews are out in force erecting circus-like netting and luring deer with corn bait to begin their third winter of trapping and collaring adult deer. Bobcat and coyote collaring also continues.
Even without ample snow, most bird feeders are emptied daily. Watch DNR reports on its web page for unusual sightings, including snowy owls in Dane and Iowa counties.
While some winter outdoors activities are limited by meager snow, others are made easier. Take advantage.

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