Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

Nuisance beaver trapping has resumed down at Ol’ Tom’s boathouse.
La Crosse’s Mike Roskos, his dad Rollie and I met at the boathouse at noon Wednesday. Mike intended to set one Conibear trap in the water near a beaver den just across from the boathouse. After feeling the river bottom with his feet in waders, Mike discovered a second run entering the den, so he placed another Conibear trap over that.
We hoped the river raised enough overnight to fill the hole leading to the lodge below the walkway and dock leading to the boathouse, but not yet. We may have to wait another day or two because it is illegal to place a Conibear trap on dry land. A leghold trap wouldn’t work either because - as we found out last fall - when trapped, a beaver will simply chew off its foot.  
Tuesday night, Mike did some reading in an outdoors magazine about live trapping bobcat and beavers. He has a live trap for bobcat at the family cabin up north and plans to pick it up and try it down at Ol’ Tom’s boathouse soon, too.
“Wouldn’t that be great to get a video of a beaver being live trapped?” Mike said with a big smile.
Mike has a video-equipped trail cam set up pointing directly to the hole where he will place the live trap. All we need now is the live trap and a beaver.
Elsewhere, eagles are congregating along several ice shelves near open water. Shopko Bay is the most popular viewing area and is attracting not only lots of eagles, but many onlookers as well.
Increasing numbers of duck and Canada geese are returning along with many songbirds.
The pair of sandhill cranes have also returned to the lowlands that our condo association owns. They raised two colts last year.
Anglers continue fishing below locks and dams on the Mississippi River, but I haven’t heard of any trophy walleyes taken yet. Action has picked up a little for sauger and perch, according to a few reports.  
Meanwhile, across the Mississippi River, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, in La Crescent, spent the week conducting airboat training for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers. New operators received training in maintenance, patrol and emergency/rescue operations.
DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, reports fishing pressure for open water along with ice fishing has slowed. The people who were out fishing did well. He also received several calls about injured wild animals.
DNR conservation officer Mitch Boyum, in Rushford, reports assisting at an airboat training on the Mississippi River. Time was also spent checking anglers on the Mississippi River. Fishing was fair, but most anglers were pushed off the river by the rain and wind. Boyum took calls of injured deer and checked trout anglers.
As always, remember to take a kid hunting or fishing. It’ll be the best thing you ever did.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors!

Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

Farmers have a saying, “don’t curse the rain.” 
Rain is too important to wish it away even when it comes during an imperfect time.
The same goes for time changes. There also are advantages to Daylight Saving Time when we jumped ahead on March 12.
Many animals are crepuscular, active primarily during the twilight periods, being more active at dawn and dusk. Other animals are diurnal, while still others nocturnal.
Now is a magical period to scout turkeys which starts with DST. Also, with an hour more at dusk by having to get up an hour earlier, watching deer feed after work may be possible.
The light periods are increasing each day, too, and short jaunts before and after work are sometimes possible.
Doug Williams, at D W Sports Center in Portage, was able recently to finish farming chores and still had enough light to watch deer in a field for an hour.
“Some don’t like DST, but they get used to it each year,” Williams said. “It may have as much to do with the lack of sunny days leading up to setting the clocks ahead that some are grumpy about DST. Cloudy days have an impact on us, too, and this past winter was particularly noticeable.”
Kelly Maguire, manager at the Poynette Game Farm, sort of makes her own version of DST by messing with daily photo-period (length of light and dark in a day) up to 14 hours of light two weeks early to stimulate indoors pheasant hens to begin laying eggs, which are collected and then incubated to hatch ahead of the hens that are kept outdoors. This spreads the hatching periods enough so that she can get 13 hatches with the machinery at Poynette.
Eggs that are laid outdoors and freeze overnight when the temperature falls below 32 degrees, are collected and destroyed.
With hatches and growth spread out, releases of adult birds throughout Wisconsin’s pheasant season help without holding and feeding the birds for a longer time. The first eggs collected indoors are now beginning to hatch.
Eggs collected, incubated and hatched should provide 75,000 birds to be released and 14,000 birds from day-old-chicks given to 11 conservation clubs to raise and release.
Elsewhere, most migrant birds, such as robins, killdeers, swans and bluebirds are back. Juncos will be leaving soon, while sapsuckers and hummingbirds will be here in a few weeks.
“I saw a small buck that had lost one antler and the next day he came into the field with the other one gone,” Williams said.
Some guys just wait it out, fishing or turkey hunting when the weather calms, while others gamble the weather will be fine, or have stopped asking for the early turkey season periods due to late snowstorms, according to Don Martin, at Martin’s in Monroe.
“A few guys are buying night crawlers for catfish bait on river,” he said.
Fishing for walleyes and perch is usually good right before a rain, according to Wally Banfi, at Wilderness Fish and Game in Sauk City. 
“Fishing is often good during a light rain, too, and the good areas are not as crowded,” he said.
Turkey permits are now being sold, with all zones available starting Saturday, March 25. There is a limit of purchasing one authorization per day, but no limit on the total number purchased. Cost is $10 for residents.
Wayne Smith, an outdoorsman in Lafayette County, has noted rafts of gobblers displaying on public and private land. 
“During the early hunting periods, if there’s a snowstorm, turkeys can be tracked like deer. If the tracks go into a woods and don’t come out, set up and call them out the other side,” Smith said. “It’s pretty easy to tell hen and gobbler tracks.”
Interested in gambling? Purchase a chance at being drawn for a 2023 elk hunting authorization. Buy it with any license purchase. It’s 10 bucks for a chance at a bull.

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