Happy Public Lands Day!

Its fitting that National Public Lands Day falls on the opening day of duck season. I did not duck hunt today, but I did spend the day hunting for grouse and squirrels, all within the boundaries and outskirts of public lands owned by the State of Wisconsin and Burnett County. I saw lots of vehicles and trailers parked along the waterways of Crex Meadows Wildlife Area as I drove around. I heard lots of gunshots from the wetlands as I walked and sat in the nearby woodlands.

My favorite scene in all of Crex Meadows

We enjoy about 150,000 acres of public land in Burnett County, including county forest, 11 state wildlife areas (Crex Meadows ~ 30,000 acres and Fish Lake ~ 15,000 acres), Governor Knowles State Forest, and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. There are dozens of parking areas, numerous hunter walking trails and hiking trails, and hundreds of miles of road access. I enjoy driving the multi-use trails in the county forest, which dissect the landscape and provide easy access to many great hunting locations.

Trail marker in the county forest indicating multi-use.

Today I did not see any grouse, which is of some concern. I drove many miles and did three big walks through areas where I have known grouse to be. None even flew up out of range. I did see lots of squirrels, and took two for the cook-pot. I also used the time to check out my favorite deer hunting spots for sign, and was pleased and excited by what I saw. Acorns are plentiful, and the oaky hillsides were full of hoof prints from the deer that browse there by night.

I also saw a whole bunch of mushrooms . It seemed I could hardly take a step without seeing another one. I took lots of pictures of them.

Winterberry, a species of holly. The berries will persist through the winter if if they do not get eaten.
One of the scenic ponds along the trail in the county forest.

October will be here in a few days. I am glad I was able to get out and spend a whole day exploring while it is still September!

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