Outdoor activity kicks up another notch this weekend with the opening of Wisconsin’s archery deer, fall turkey, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, and exterior zone Canada goose and northern zone ruffed grouse seasons. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16 is also statewide youth waterfowl hunt [PDF] .
Some white-tailed bucks are still being seen in velvet but most have begun to or have already rubbed it off. Acorns are reportedly “dropping by the bucket full” in some areas, so archers may want to look for oak stands. Also, with many crops already cut, deer have been feeding mornings and evenings in harvested fields.
Conservation wardens are getting questions about leaving tree stands on state lands. While the law changed to make it legal to leave trail cameras out on DNR lands this year, there has not been a rule change on tree stands and won’t be this year. Tree stands may not be left overnight on DNR lands. They must be removed each night.
There are still plenty of leftover turkey permits available so that hunters can enjoy more opportunities and time outdoors and take someone new hunting. The fall turkey season is very different from the spring season, and DNR wildlife biologists offer tips for finding flocks and having fun and success during the fall season.
The early Canada goose season closes Saturday and reports were mixed, with hunters reporting many ponds dry and not holding geese. But with the recent change in weather the first migratory geese have been reported and more are expected to come in with the current cold front.
Despite abundant natural foods, early season bear hunters reported some very good success with a 485-pound bruin reported in Shawano County.
Fall fishing is also picking up a notch, with some very good musky fishing continuing in the Northwoods and walleye action also picking up as water temperatures start to drop. There were also reports of improved musky fishing in the south, with action reported on Dane County’s lakes Monona and Waubesa.
While water levels remain low on Lake Michigan tributaries, the first reports have started to come in of trout and salmon being caught in rivers, with fish taken on the Manitowoc and Sheboygan, but fish are just beginning to stage near shore and in the harbors, and are not running upriver yet in any numbers. State fisheries biologists say there are good prospects for some fast action and some really big fish in coming weeks. Check the DNR website for forecasts and tips for increasing success this fall.
This week will mark the peak for warbler and other long-distance migrant passerine migration as they make their way to the tropics. Cold fronts and associated rainstorms should bring new birds statewide and also lead to good warbler watching in local woodlots and migrant hotspots.
Fall color is about a week or two from peak in Bayfield County and still several weeks off in central Wisconsin, though many areas are reporting colors are earlier than most years. Check the Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report (exit DNR) for updates.
DNR Outdoor Report in Portable Document Format (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
DNR Outdoor Report in Rich Text Format
Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources