White-tailed deer rutting activity is going full throttle, with reports of bucks moving all day in pursuit of does in many areas. Archery deer hunters have been out in force and many nice large deer were registered this week. With the rut at its peak, wardens are also reporting many vehicle-deer collisions taking place. Drivers should watch rode sides closely and if they see a deer cross the road, slow down and be prepared for another deer to be following.
With just 10 days to go before the 2012 gun deer season, hunters should be getting prepared by sighting in firearms and making sure blaze orange clothing is in good condition. The Wisconsin DNR will be ramping up its social media efforts during the upcoming season, with online chats, a new wildlife blog, special facebook posts, and a “tweet-along” with conservation wardens.
The northern zone waterfowl zone reopens this Saturday, and timing should be good as reports of northern diving ducks — which have been slow so far this year – started to pick up this week. Southern zone waterfowl hunters are still reporting some green-winged teal and wood ducks in the area, which is late in the year for them to still be around. There were 160,000-plus ducks and large numbers of geese using the federal refuge areas at Horicon Marsh and waterfowl numbers along the Upper Mississippi wildlife refuge are at peak right with very impressive numbers of canvasbacks on Pools 5 through 9.
Turkey hunters are reporting that turkeys are forming into large groups already, with as many as 70 birds being seen in some areas. Trappers are reporting fairly good success, particularly for raccoons and that raccoon pelts have primed up over the past several days. The wolf harvest was at 64 animals as of Nov. 7, with the majority of wolves taken so far by trappers.
Water temperatures have fallen to the low 40s on northern lakes, and skim ice has been forming on ponds and a few of the larger lakes have had some shoreline ice, but full ice cover is still a couple of weeks away. There have also been some mornings with some light snow on the ground, but nothing significant as of yet. The seasonably cold weather has kept fishing pressure to a minimum, with only a few die-hard anglers venturing out mostly for musky. In the south, some anglers are getting some walleyes on the Madison lakes but they have had to work pretty hard to get them. Musky anglers have still been having a lot of success on lakes Monona and Waubesa.
Anglers have been in pursuit of walleye, sauger, bluegills and crappies on the Mississippi River, but fishing slowed for walleye and sauger in the last week. Along Lake Michigan, fall salmon runs have pretty much come to an end, but a few brown trout and coho salmon were still caught in the Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Root rivers.
The young whooping cranes released with sandhill cranes at Horicon Marsh left this past weekend and are now almost to their wintering areas. The birds being led by ultralight planes are in Kentucky. Loon migration is now beginning with decent numbers of birds beginning to show up on Lake Michigan and inland lakes in southern Wisconsin. As northern lakes freeze over the next two weeks check large lakes in the Madison area or southeastern Wisconsin for groups of migrating loons.
Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources