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.