Northwestern Wisconsin Receives Snow; Whitetail Deer Rut Continues
A band of snow moved across northwestern Wisconsin this week dropping 3 to 4 inches in some areas with only minimal melting reported due to colder temperatures, which are also forming more skim to light ice on small ponds.
The white-tail deer rut continues in full swing in many areas, though some areas report it is just getting underway. Deer have been observed during all hours of the day. Fawns are beginning to split away from does and bucks are being seen more during daylight hours. Archers continue to reports some very good success.
Trappers are out in full force and are reporting good success in harvesting raccoons but some areas are reporting lower numbers of muskrats.
Grouse hunters are having more success now in their late season spots with birds keying in on small fruits like hawthorn, grapes, and viburnum. A few straggler woodcock were still around for the last weekend of the season which closed Nov. 4. The dove season closes Nov. 9.
Visitors to Wisconsin state park properties are reminded that many properties will open to hunting and trapping on Nov. 15. Maps are posted at all properties indicating which areas are open and closed to hunting. All park visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing during the hunting seasons, which remain open in parks through Dec. 15 for firarms and through Jan. 5 for archery. For a list of open properties, maps and more information search the DNR website for “hunting state parks.”
Waterfowl migration picked up across the state this past week. Aerial surveys taken 1 to 10 miles offshore from Manitowoc to Door County tallied more than 20,000 long-tailed ducks and 5,000 red-breasted mergansers this week. Tens of thousands of canvasbacks, mallards, ring-necked ducks, wigeon, and other ducks continue on the Mississippi River pools. On Chequamegon Bay in Ashland, birders reported hundreds of common goldeneyes, typically one of the latest migrant ducks. Migratory Canada geese numbers continue to build up at Horicon and Theresa Marsh wildlife areas.
With the cold and breezy weather of the past week, fishing pressure has been generally light across the Northwoods. A few musky anglers have been out trying their luck and have had minimal success. The walleye bite on the Menominee River in Marinette County has been very good. In the south, musky and walleye anglers have been reporting moderate to good action on Lakes Monona and Waubesa and nice catches of walleye have been reported on Lake Wisconsin. Anglers along the Rock River have been catching walleye, white bass, and northern pike.
Rain late last week brought additional fall fish-run opportunities for anglers as additional salmon made a run up Lake Michigan tributary streams. Coho moved up the Root River in large numbers along with some chinook and brown trout. Fish were also reported in the Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Oconto rivers.
Sandhill cranes are plentiful and the newly released whooping cranes that were reared at Horicon this past summer are still in the area and can be seen hanging around with sandhill cranes in farm fields near the marsh. Tundra swans arrived in significant numbers as they stage here en route to wintering areas along the Atlantic coast. Loons are heading south, with three seen on Lake Monona this in Madison this week.
Fall colors (exit DNR) are now past peak in southern Wisconsin, though many areas report oak trees came into their own glory last week with impressive colors, ranging from yellow, orange, deep reds and the traditional russet browns.