Wisconsin’s regular nine-day gun deer season opens this Saturday, and with one of the earliest openings possible, reports from around the state are indicating white-tail bucks are still in rut, or the breeding season. A few areas are reporting the rut is past peak, but many locations are reporting bucks are still actively moving in pursuit of does.

The Department of Natural Resources is ramping up social media to connect with the public on the excitement and traditions of season. Seasoned hunters, new hunters, and those interested in learning more about hunting in Wisconsin can take part in online chats, a new wildlife-focused blog, special facebook posts and a facebook photo contest centering around Wisconsin’s rich hunting tradition, and a “tweet-along” with DNR conservation wardens.

Hunters looking for a place to hunt have the opportunity to enjoy access to more than 43,000 acres of private land open to the public within close proximity of the state’s metropolitan areas. A new video captures the success of the Voluntary Public Access program in opening up large tracts of prime habitat land, often connected to public land, for multiple outdoor recreational activities. People can find private lands open to hunting through this program by searching keyword VPA on the DNR website.

In addition, more than one million acres of private forest land is open to hunting through the Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law. DNR launched a new online mapping application that makes it easier for people to find lands open to hunting under these programs. Finally, more than four million acres of county, state and federal public lands are open to hunting. People can find links to information about all these lands through a new Voluntary Public Access feature page that is part of a 2012 deer hunt feature on the website that kicked off with a video greeting from Gov. Scott Walker and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on how Wisconsin is making it easier to introduce family and friends to Wisconsin’s great deer hunting traditions, including reduced license fees for first time hunters and people who haven’t hunted in the last 10 years..

Also, hunters with smart phones now have an easier way to be sure when hunting hours open and close where they are hunting with a new DNR Sunrise/Sunset app that can be purchased for just 99 cents.

People can get the latest news and information by following DNR on Twitter twitter.com/WDNR. From Nov. 17- 25 there will be live-feed tweets and images from a ride-along with a DNR conservation warden to reveal interesting events and insights into the deer hunt that many of us never see.

Last weekend’s rain and strong winds slowed waterfowl hunting activity some, but there continue to be a few more reports of northern diving ducks moving into the state, along with increasing numbers of migratory Canada geese. Pheasant hunting has been good, and the last of the stocking on public hunting grounds will take place over the next few weeks.

People putting up winter bird feeders are seeing juncos, chickadees, goldfinches and purple finches and even some early pine grosbeaks.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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