Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season kicks off this Saturday, Nov. 23, and reports from around the state indicate that while the rut – or white-tailed deer mating season – is beginning to wane in some areas, it is still going on fairly strong in many locations, including the Northwoods.

While scrapes and rubs are diminishing due to many bucks having found partners, sightings of bucks chasing does are still common. Less chasing is being reported in some areas as bucks are tending receptive does and driving away other interested bucks. Bow hunters have been out in large numbers and continue to report very good success.

As always, conservation wardens are reminding hunters of the four basic rules of firearm safety: TAB-K: Treat every firearm as if it were loaded; always point the muzzle in a safe direction; be certain of your target and what’s beyond; and keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to fire. And they strongly encourage anyone hunting from an elevated tree stand to use a safety harness: statistics show one of three hunters will experience a fall from a tree stand. All hunters, except waterfowl hunters, are required to wear blaze orange clothing including a hat if worn whenever a gun deer season is open, but everyone venturing out into the outdoors over the next two week is encouraged to wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing: remember to be seen and be safe.

Just in time for the deer season, DNR has launched its first free mobile app, available now for iPhones and Nov. 22 for Androids. Through the convenience of smart phones, hunters can use the app to find places to hunt, registration locations, rules, regulations, and more. Visit the DNR website and click on one of the homepage app promotions, or search keyword “deer” to get the app and other information for this year’s deer hunt.

Canada goose numbers are now reaching peak at the major marshes of southern Wisconsin and goose hunters have been reporting some very good success. Ice that is beginning to form on river backwaters and marshes has moved more ducks south, but divers are still plentiful.

Pheasant hunters have also been out in good numbers with most of the stocking of public hunting having been completed. Stocking will not be done during the nine-day gun deer season, with the final stockings to resume after the deer season.

Only a very few die-hard musky anglers have been venturing out on Northwoods lakes with no reports of any success in the last week. Water temperatures have fallen into the low 40s to upper 30s on northern lakes, with some skim and fringe ice being observed in bays, but ice thickness has been less than an inch and safe ice for fishing remains weeks away yet. Perch anglers were doing well along Lake Michigan at Oconto, Pensaukee, Suamico and to the south at Milwaukee and Kenosha. A few late run trout and salmon were being caught in the Sheboygan and Root rivers. Some smaller walleye and sauger were being caught on the Mississippi River.

The waterfowl migration has reached a fever pitch, especially along the Mississippi River south of La Crosse where tens of thousands tundra swans, canvasbacks, and other ducks were reported this past week, along with many bald eagles.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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