There were white ghosts and black ghosts, dancing away in the murky light an hour before sunrise. The ghosts were racing for cover because dawn was coming, and combined with the full moon’s illumination, there was little darkness remaining.

When I was in fourth grade, I was assigned a project and presentation on the state of Indiana, where I spent most of my growing-up years. Since I was a budding nature geek, I decided on natural history as a topic and made a big poster board display with various species and ecosystems found a…

Weighwood went missing for awhile early this winter. I feared I had mistakenly burned this chunk of white ash firewood. But finally, on the umpteenth frantic search through the wood piles, there it was, the dates and weights still visible on the side of the chunk I named Weighwood back in 2006.

SPOONER — Although the morning weather forecast called for brisk and sunny weather, young ice fishermen on the Yellow River flowing through Spooner had to settle for brisk. The sun was hidden behind clouds, but nobody seemed to mind.

I’m intent on getting the best of winter before it gets the best of me. And I thought I had it nailed as I strapped on snowshoes for “Snowshoe 10,” the 10th time this winter pounding all that early snow into a submission of trails.

Smoke from the cabin chimney hangs over the valley, the sweet smell of woodsmoke filling the air as dawn’s first light begins to chase the darkness of the chilly late-December night.

On New Year’s Day morning the birds will flock to the feeder not long after Orion the Hunter has finished stalking across the night sky, east to west. Off and on I will watch the variety of birds that have found this easy, seedy supply of food.

RICE LAKE — Dawn had painted the horizon all around in hues of yellow, orange and mauve. The trapper takes note. But on this single-digit temperature morning on the back roads, he’s looking for white.

Winter arrives on the calendar this weekend with little notice since it already showed up on the front steps several weeks ago.

BARRONETT — A whitetail deer found dead in Washburn County in the town of Barronett during the recent Wisconsin gun deer season was killed by a mountain lion.

It may have been below zero this week with the winter solstice only a week away. But there’s a ray of good news in the sunsets coming our way.

A donation from the Menard family to UW-Stout will lead to the expansion of programming at the university’s Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.

CODY, Wyo. — For the past three years our hunting trip to Wyoming had fallen victim to hot, dry temperatures that kept the mule deer hidden high up the back country mountains near Cody in the dark timber. Our chances for downing a nice heavy-antlered buck were very slim.

So the fall ended with the snowfall. First a couple of inches, then several more, and then a final round that put us into double digits of white to be pushed and shoveled as we dip our toe into winter.

From early childhood through my mid-teens there was only one dog in my life, Scamp, my black lab. No dog after ever tugged at my heart … until Gus came along.

Morning had broken, and the morning had promise. Not that I would shoot deer, or even that I would see deer. But I would see something.

It’s opening morning but not opening of shooting. Not yet. So that silhouette of a deer, a buck, on the hillside over there is mightily testing my nerves.

One of my favorite bird encounters happened when I was camping with a friend on the shores of Lake Tomahawk. It was a summer weekend with a lot of kids and families enjoying the area, and we heard what sounded like a kid making silly bird noises — “BRRAAAAWWK!” It went on for some time, to t…

Every time I climb that ladder, the song verse is wafting through my mind, “Strap yourself to a tree with roots, you ain’t going nowhere.”

The owl has me baffled. I’ve never seen it, but I hear it every night. It may be midnight or 3 in the wee hours. I step outside, and great horned hoots.

All my shotgun would knock down on this day would be apples. I was hunting for ruffed grouse, but I found smooth-skinned apples.

Sitting in a local coffee shop, the jovial Rev. Don Wisner has just come from putting away his beloved oar-powered western-style drift boat, dubbed “Row vs. Wade,” for the season. It’s a ritual that leaves this highly-respected theologian and widely-admired fly fisher with a feeling of grati…

The breeze seemed to pause along the fence line, next to the tanning corn field, perhaps to wonder at the same yellow-leafed birch tree that captured my gaze. Then the breeze picked up again, rustling the leaves against a blue sky.

A bit consumed with migration and a need to fuel the flight, some birds are a bit easier to see this time of year, especially with the cloak of leaves fading.

When I first moved to the Ashland area last year, I was excited to be living near so many places I had enjoyed visiting and exploring prior to relocating.

There were seven of them, their size and colors indistinguishable from each other. Blue jays had suddenly filled the backyard on an early September morn.

Autumn arrives early next week, on Monday, before dawn, before deer bed down from their nocturnal meandering, before flying squirrels end their night gliding and gathering, before honey bees bounce along the pink blossoms of the sedum.

Every year about this time of late summer, the usual predictions for the upcoming hunting seasons of various game species come out — projections for upland birds, ducks, deer and bear.

There was so much time, so much daylight, just a month ago it seems. Or was it longer than that?

BRAINERD, Minn. — On a recent 50-ish degrees early fall day, the calm, mostly deserted waters of Gull Lake would add to a treasure chest of memories for a foursome boat of anglers hopelessly caught up in sportfishing’s circle.

The moods of Mother Nature are easily changed by the seasons. Now at the end of summer, with Labor Day weekend set to begin, she spreads her warmth across the landscape and provides almost unlimited food to sustain the wildlife of the region.

Eau Claire is a diverse community. It’s populated by people of every race and ethnicity. It’s home to white collar and blue collar workers, retired people and children and college students. And it’s home to two-wheeled dreamers.

SAWBILL LAKE, Minn. — Anyone who travels in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness becomes obsessed with portages.

Have you ever been called a turkey? I am sure I probably have been tagged with that moniker on several occasions. It is generally meant as a somewhat derogatory, but kidding, admonishment.

GRANTSBURG — Most people have that special place where they like to go to escape for a while. It is the place where you can reload, charge your batteries and just disappear for a few hours. For me that spot is often the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area near Grantsburg, a sprawling wetland prairie …

STOUGHTON — “There are times for quiet reflection and times for interacting in groups. Those who are most successful with managing their PD do both.”

With camera in hand, I set out to explore familiar locations, places I visit regularly in search of wildlife. I was a little later than normal. It had been one of those “Five more minutes of sleep” mornings when the bed was comfortable and the cat was snuggled next to me, laying on my arm … …

Harbor Lights owners Bill and Grace Hines watched Oronto Creek’s flow flood in a flash, obliterating Saxon Harbor Marina and Campground one night in 2016 when a high-powered, unrelenting thunderstorm struck the Northwoods.

We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law — anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And, in our day-to-day living, we have all probably found that, to some degree, this is true.