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Bill Cosh
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Outdoor Report for November 7, 2013

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).

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 also 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.

Statewide Birding Report

Waterfowl migration picked up across the state this past week. Traditional hotspots remain good destinations but many water bodies across the state are now hosting numbers of various geese, swans, and ducks. 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. Scoters were reported in good numbers on southern Lake Michigan and at multiple inland locations. Tundra swans arrived in significant numbers as they stage here en route to wintering areas along the Atlantic coast. Also from the arctic, glaucous and Thayer's gulls made their first good showing this week along the Great Lakes. Pectoral sandpipers, dunlin, and a smattering of other shorebirds continue at Horicon Marsh and a few other locales, while sandhill crane numbers remain high at Crex Meadows and various central and southern Wisconsin staging areas. Land bird numbers are low now but Lapland longspurs, snow buntings, fox sparrows, American tree sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, bluebirds, blackbirds, and a few other species provide some diversity yet. Rough-legged hawks are showing well in fields and other open areas across central and northern Wisconsin. Birders are encouraged to keep their hummingbird feeders up this time of year (exit DNR) to attract late-season hummingbirds, which often represent species other than our typical ruby-throated. One such rufous/Allen's hummingbird was seen this week in Dane County. Finally, contrary to last fall, winter finches have been very scarce in the state and region so far this year. Purple finches and American goldfinches dominate, with scattered reports of pine siskins, only very small numbers of pine grosbeaks, bohemian waxwings, and crossbills, and no redpolls. No snowy owls have been seen, though several northern hawk owls in the western Great Lakes, including one in Douglas County, have birders hopeful of another winter owl irruption this year. Other rarities this week include a male harlequin duck in Milwaukee, yellow-throated warbler visiting a feeder in Dane, parasitic jaeger in Ozaukee, and continuing white-tailed kite in Adams. As always, help us track the migration and discover what other birders are finding across the state at www.ebird.org/wi. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Ashland County - Last week was continued wet and cold weather. Baiting for deer seems to be of greater interest to many hunters. Those with cameras over bait are reporting fewer deer than normal years. Waterfowl hunting continues with many birds flocked up on the big water just out of reach. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland

Pattison State Park - Water levels on the Black River have increased with the recent rainfall and Little Manitou Falls and Big Manitou Falls have excellent water flow for this time of year. The fall colors have begun to taper off but the yellow of the tamaracks mixed with the green of the conifers continues to provide fantastic scenery. All hiking trails are open and in good condition. All buildings with flush toilets and running water have been shut down until next spring. Please call the park at 715-399-3111 for up to the minute park conditions. Camping has slowed down for the year but several groups have taken advantage of the year round camping opportunities that are available. The shower building located in the campground and the potable water fill station have been shut down for the year. Pit toilets located on the outside loop of the campground remain open throughout the fall and winter. Those thinking ahead are reminded that camping reservations can be made 11 months in advance. - Phillip Brown, Ranger

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Sawyer County - With the dollar value of both land and water furbearers decent this year, there appears to be a fair number of trappers taking advantage of it. There were plenty of open water locations to set as of the beginning of the week, but the cold snap that started Wednesday and the two week forecast calling for cold temperatures a trapper will have to look for running water sets, concentrate on land sets, or wait for the water freeze over. The snow that occurred Tuesday night stayed with only minimal melting and small ponds have skim to light ice on them. Trappers are reminded to turn in their incidental catches. Either contact their local warden or contact the DNR hotline. Do not throw them in the brush/creek to waste and it is illegal to loan or borrow someone else's carcass tag for a furbearing animal. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Burnett County - In recent weeks the deer activity has picked up, but overall deer numbers are down in Western Burnett County. Please remember to use a safety harness at all times while hunting from an elevated tree stand. Waterfowl numbers are good to very good in the area and it could be more than worth a trip to your favorite duck hunting location. - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the cold and breezy weather of the past week, fishing pressure has been generally light across the North Woods. Most outdoors enthusiasts seem to have picked up their bows and are starting to key in on the deer rut that is just beginning. A few musky anglers have been out trying their luck and have had minimal success. They are seeing a few follows and getting some short strikes on slow-moving glide baits and live suckers, but the cold water temperatures have made the fish very reluctant to hit. Walleye anglers have pretty much given up until we see some ice cover, but a few river anglers have reported some fair success on smaller fish. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - We have approximately an inch of snow on the ground and it's likely to be around for a few days anyway, with the highs predicted to only be in the 30s. Roads and trails are in very wet condition, bring those rubber boots if you're planning to be on them. Local ducks and geese have moved on but a few mallards have moved down. Grouse hunting is reported as good in some pockets but not everywhere. Folks are seeing more scrapes recently. The rut appears to be off to a slow start but will likely be over by deer gun season. Lake of the Pines Campground is open till December 15. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Vilas County - Anglers in the Vilas and Oneida County area are reporting consistent catches of walleye fishing the edges of deep holes using minnows. Whitetail deer have begun to rut and late season duck hunters report some good success on buffleheads and other divers. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Whitefish have yet to appear in the Menominee River in any numbers, with that being said the walleye bite on the Menominee especially this past weekend has been excellent due to the fact one dam is open. Small jig heads and minnows or crawlers have been catching limits of fish on the rocks next to the dam on the Wisconsin side. Fish range in size from 17 to 24 inches. Perch and a few bluegill are being caught in the slough behind K-Mart using bobbers and crawlers or minnows. - Kevin King, creel clerk

Oconto County - Crappie and some bluegill are still being caught below the Dam at Stiles, with minnows and leaf worms used in conjunction with a slip bobber has been working the best. Reports have it that some steelhead and brown trout are being caught from the Highway 141 Bridge to Holtwood Park. Fly's and small spoons have been the baits of choice. The perch bite is going well with the best places to fish are in the landings at Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II. Patience is required as there are many small fish being caught but larger fish in the 8 to 10 inch range are also present. Crappie rigs and slip bobbers tipped with either minnows or a chunk of crawler has been working well. - Kevin King, creel clerk

Brown County - At Fox Point only one trailer was observed this week with the anglers targeting walleye up by the dam. They did not have any luck and they were using gulps for bait in about 2 to 20 feet of water. The anglers caught a handful of white bass and they were all released. At the Suamico River shore there were a few anglers looking for perch with having little success. The anglers released all of the perch (due to small size) and they were using minnows and night crawlers for bait. - Elizabeth Kussow, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - In Little Sturgeon Bay fishing activity was very low here this week with only a few trailers being present. A anglers reported targeting perch, but no fish were caught. Bait used was minnows in 12-15 feet of water. - Elizabeth Kussow, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - A few straggler woodcock were still around for the last weekend of the season (season closed Nov. 4). Grouse hunters are having more success now in their late season spots with birds keying in on small fruits like hawthorn, grapes, and viburnum. Dove season closes Nov. 9. Fawns are beginning to split away from does and bucks are being seen more during daylight hours. Deer movement in general has increased, along with car deer collisions so drive carefully. Hunters in neighboring states are gearing up for gun deer season with the Minnesota opener on Nov. 9 and Michigan opener on Nov. 15. Wisconsin hunters have just a couple more weeks to prepare for their Nov. 23 opener. DNR staff members will again be collecting age data at registration stations during opening weekend. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Brown County - Musky anglers are still coming to the Bay to try their luck but it is fair to say they are not having much luck. With the cold temperatures the musky bite has decreased significantly. However, the musky that are being caught are well worth the wait. The walleye and perch fishing has also been slow. On a positive note the diver ducks are in and the duck hunters are having a blast. Shore hunters are doing alright but the most successful hunters are open water hunting with lay out boats. The big boat blinds are having a tendency to flare the ducks. As always wear your life jackets if you're venturing out on the water. - Darren Kuhn, marine unit conservation warden, Green Bay

Manitowoc County - Recent rains during Halloween have brought additional fall fish-run opportunities for anglers as additional salmon have made a run up the tributary streams of Lake Michigan in Manitowoc and Kewaunee Counties. Wardens continue to remind anglers that in order to keep fish they must be legally caught and hooked "IN" the mouth, not the gill plate, head or any other part of the body. Foul hooked fish have to be immediately released back into water. - David Allen, conservation warden, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Rock Island State Park - Anglers have been catching good numbers of smallmouth bass and walleyes lately around the islands when the wind lets up enough to get out in boats. Some really nice fish have been taken, mostly catch and release style. Duck hunters love the wind and rain that doesn't seem to stop for more than a minute. Rubs and scrapes have magically appeared on Rock Island State Park. It's important for hunters to know that the Town of Washington this week has passed a shotgun only ordinance for deer season effective immediately so all the islands including Rock Island are shotgun only. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - The deer rut is in full swing in Waupaca County. Deer have been observed during all hours of the day despite the amount of rain the Waupaca area has received recently. Trappers are out in full force and are reporting good success in harvesting raccoons. Some trappers feel the late harvest of corn is hampering their ability to find concentrations of furbearers.

Many sandhill cranes can be found in the Waupaca area. Look for the birds feeding in agricultural fields. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Rut in full swing. Bucks are currently running 24-7, actively chasing does. Woodcock season now over, and most birds had flown south already. There is not many ducks around right now. Mainly wood ducks have left, and the migrants have not yet arrived. There are lots of geese around, and hunting corn stubble is best tactic to bag them. Currently there is excellent grouse hunting conditions. There is not a ton of grouse in Central Wisconsin, but if you like to walk, you will get some flushes. Walleyes should start biting on the Wolf River anytime now. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - The leaves are falling and so has the rain. Waushara County has seen plenty of wind and rain over the past few days. The rut is just itching for some colder temperatures to really start going. Reports of deer movement have been on the rise and deer vs. car accidents have increased dramatically in the last two weeks. Trapping pressure is high in the muskrat areas and many are out and about trapping raccoons. Waterfowl has been hit and miss in the area due to the fluctuation in temperatures. The next cold front should see a good push of birds as water up north begins to freeze. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Lakeshore State Park - Fishing has picked up recently, especially along the river entrance. Salmon are commonly seen in the park lagoons, and perch have been biting along the river. The park shrubs and trees are in full color, but are fading fast. The prairie grasses are dormant, with good stands of red-orange little bluestem. Some asters are still in bloom. Snow buntings and tree sparrows are again at the park, as are juncos. The fox activity has increased somewhat, and they are looking good now that their winter coats are in. - Thomas Kroeger, parks and recreation specialist, Milwaukee

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan water levels are decent on the Sheboygan River. In the Kohler area most catches have been on flies, with coho and brown trout taken, as well as the occasional rainbow. Chinook concentrations have dwindled, but a few are still being landed mainly on flies and spinners. In the Esslingen Park area, catches have consisted mainly of brown trout caught on flies. Very few anglers have been observed downstream of Kiwanis Park, and no catches have been reported in the lower reaches. Fishing effort at the Sheboygan lakefront has been low off the piers, but a few anglers have been working off the docks near the Deland boat launch and in the slips in the marina. Those casting crank baits and spoons from the launch docks reported catching a few rainbows, and those using dead alewives in the slips caught a few rainbows and a brown trout.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington a couple of coho, chinook, and rainbow trout have been caught on spawn sacs near the power plant discharge and in the north slip. Fishing effort from shore has been relatively low in recent days due to rain and poor weather. A couple large schools of coho were spotted on the marina side of the pier, but no anglers have been fishing off the pier recently. The fish cleaning stations in Port Washington have been closed for the season. Water levels on Sauk Creek have increased by about an inch or two with recent rainfall. A few anglers continue to fish near the mouth of the creek, and a couple chinook were landed using white twister tail jigs.

Milwaukee County - Milwaukee shore anglers have had success using crank baits or floating spawn near the rocks or weed patches along the Sailing Center and skein was effective from the launch ramps at McKinley as well as across the street from the Colectivo coffee shop. There have also been some perch caught on minnows off the bottom by anglers under the Hoan Bridge near the Sail Loft restaurant, as well as in the Summerfest lagoon. Water is being discharged at the Oak Creek Power Plant pier, but fishing has remained slow. Anglers have been seen fishing the Milwaukee River, with the majority of pressure concentrated in Kletzsch, Estabrook, and Hubbard Parks, as well as the area around the North Avenue dam. Coho, brown, and rainbow trout have all been caught throughout the upper reaches of river. Both spawn and small flies have been effective. A few anglers have been seen on the Menomonee River near Miller Park, but success has been limited. The best presentation has been using skein, small flies, or small spinning baits to trigger a reaction strike. There have been a few crappies and perch caught on minnows under floats near the MMSD building.

Racine County - In Racine, fishing activity at the lakefront was slow with the majority of action concentrated on the Root River. After the rain late last week, coho have moved upriver in large numbers. Anglers have been fishing all the way up to the Horlick dam with success. Most fish caught were coho, browns, and chinook. Both spawn and brightly colored flies have been productive. The Root River Steelhead Facility is now closed for the season. DNR crews handled the last of the fish on Monday, November 4, with 1,190 fish processed. An additional 802 coho, 107 chinook, 2 rainbow, and 1 brown trout were passed upriver, bringing the season totals to 1,281 coho, 1,070 chinook, 7 rainbow, and 166 brown trout released upstream.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha County fishing pressure in the harbor has slowed. Most have been concentrated in the corner near Navy Memorial Park. Anglers have been seeing nice size brown trout, and some have been caught on spawn fished under a bobber. Flows on the Pike River increased after the rain last Thursday. Anglers have been seen working the entire stretch from Petrifying Springs Park down to the mouth. The mouth of the Pike had been closed off by a sand bar, but it should have opened up over the weekend with the amount of rain that fell.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - In Washington County, the two "Closed Areas" in Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area that surrounded the West Shore gas pipeline maintenance project west of Hwy G will be reopened to public access by Friday, Nov. 8. We appreciate the cooperation of hunters and other property users during the closure period. Users are advised that finishing work is still underway on the pipeline project including the removal of swamp mats and other equipment and restoration and seeding of disturbed areas. We ask hunters to voluntarily avoid hunting in the areas where they that see work is still underway. Questions about the project are directed to the DNR Wildlife Biologist at the Pike Lake Unit office in Hartford (262-670-3409). At Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, migratory Canada geese and sandhill crane numbers continue to build up in the north and south refuges. Mallards and other duck numbers have also increased in the refuges. A small flock of about a dozen swans (presumably tundras) have taken up residence in the south refuge and if they are still there can be viewed from the Mohawk Road overlook. Two adult bald eagles like to roost in a tree about 150 yards south of the Highway 28 bridge (half mile west of the Highway 28/Highway 41 intersection). A few more cattail bogs were cleared from in front of the Theresa Marsh dam this week. Water levels are still at "full pool" and access to most open hunting areas is good by canoe. The muskrat trappers are out in full force. Deer rutting activity has been picking up. Several nice bucks were registered locally. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Green County - In Green County deer season is in full swing and the rut is upon us. Numerous bucks have been seen following does during the night and day. Trappers are reporting moderate success trapping raccoons. Remember to get your rifles and shotguns out of the closet and sighted in before the season so you are ready to go. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe! - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus

Wyalusing State Park -Peak fall color was definitely much later than normal this year. Many people commented on the lack of color on Columbus Day Weekend, which is normally peak color for this area. The oak trees certainly came into their own glory last week and many are still beautiful. My good friends and Wyalusing State Park campers George and Mary Tilley always talked about the Oaks of Wyalusing and how brilliant they are in late fall. There is still some color, and some trees still have leaves, but I think peak color was actually last weekend. Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is 8.1 and is expected to stay at that level for a number of days. All sites in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground are open on a first-come first-served basis. Showers and flush toilets are closed for the season. November 6 was the first night of this camping season without a camper. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Dodge County - Geese, ducks and swans are still abundant on the Horicon Marsh. Cranes are also plentiful and the newly released whooping cranes that were reared in the marsh this past summer are still in the area and can be seen hanging around with sandhill cranes in farm fields near the marsh. Many leaves have fallen, but there is still some color in wooded areas. The water level in the marsh remains at the long term average. Deer are in rut and turkeys are active. - Paul Samerdyke, wildlife biologist, Horicon

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Fish are biting on Lake Wisconsin and below the Wisconsin Dells Dam. Deer are on the move with a much higher rate of car/deer crashes on area roads. Many of the area trees are past peak colors with a bunch that have already dropped all their leaves. Columbia County DNR properties have been well stocked with pheasants. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

All tree species put on a brilliant show, but the plentiful oaks of Columbia County were particularly impressive, ranging from yellow, orange, deep reds and the traditional russet browns. Although last weekend's winds brought down quite a few leaves, there's still a lot of trees, particularly oaks, that are still hanging on to their leaves and makes for a beautiful hike on one of the many state properties in the county. Please be aware there are multiple hunting seasons open, so wearing blaze orange on the state lands is a good idea. Users at Pine Island will notice 27 acres off Tritz Road were recently planted with trees, mainly swamp white oaks, to enhance wildlife habitat on the property. This will be the last week that Mud Lake, French Creek and Pine Island Wildlife Areas will be stocked with pheasants twice a week. Next week, the stocking rates on all properties drop down to once a week, but birds will be stocked into mid-December. Weather is perfect for pursuing pheasants right now. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Dane County - Dane County waterfowl hunters are having moderate action hunting puddle and diver ducks on the Yahara River and Madison Chain of Lakes. Muskie and walleye anglers have been reporting moderate to good action on Lakes Monona and Waubesa. Pheasant hunters have been observed enjoying good action on stocked DNR properties throughout Dane County. Archery hunters have been reporting signs of the rut, with many reporting success harvesting antlerless deer. Car killed or injured buck deer reports have increased in recent days, also indicating rut activity. - Henry Bauman, conservation warden, Fitchburg

Sauk County - Reports are coming in that the deer rut is in full swing with a number of large bucks being taken in Sauk County. There was a buck that scored 195 recently. Archery hunters are reminded to be careful when using tree stands to hunt with. In Wisconsin there are a number of falls from tree stands each year. The leaves from the trees are coming off the trees and the deer and squirrel hunting will be good this next week. The fall fishing has been really picking up on Lake Wisconsin with a number of nice catches of walleyes being reported. The walleyes on Lake Wisconsin are biting on jig and minnows. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Anglers along the Rock River have been catching walleye, white bass, and northern pike, but fishing has been generally slow with the cold and rainy weather. Duck hunting areas have been busy during the weekends, with wood ducks making up the largest percentage of ducks seen in hunter's bag limits. Wardens have received several complaints of hunters shooting before and after hunting hours, and hunters are reminded to check legal shooting hours before they head to the field. Shooting hours change by a few minutes daily, so hunters need to recheck legal hunting hours every day. Wardens have also found many hunters without wearable personal floatation devices (PFDs) for each person aboard a boat. Hunters are reminded to check for PFDs before getting underway. Type IV throwable boat cushions are not legal replacements for a wearable PFD. All boats 16 feet and over are required to have one Type IV in addition to one wearable PFD for each boat occupant. The archery deer season is in full swing, and wardens are encountering buck rubs and scrapes on all public hunting grounds. Wardens have received a large number of complaints of unmarked and unoccupied tree stands left on public hunting grounds. Hunters are reminded that on all DNR managed lands all tree stands need to be removed each evening. Tree stands must be marked with the user's name and address or customer ID number if left unoccupied during the day. These markings need to be visible and legible to a person on the ground. Screw-in tree steps are damaging to trees and are not legal to use on DNR managed properties. Likewise, the cutting of branches and shooting lanes is not allowed. Baiting and feeding is prohibited in all of Rock County. Wardens have seen an increased amount of dumped garbage, yard waste, and animal carcasses on public lands. This is not only illegal, but greatly detracts from all users' access and enjoyment of these areas. If you witness any illegal dumping activity, please write down vehicle license plates and person descriptions and call your local warden or the DNR Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR. - Boyd Richter and Keith Meverden, conservation warden, Janesville

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

La Crosse County - For the furbearer enthusiast now is the time to get the trapline out. Most furbearer seasons are open (see regulations) and fur is coming into prime. With the crops coming off the fields the raccoons have transitioned to running the waterways seeking food. Trapping is a great way to get out and enjoy the fall weather and get in touch with nature. Make point to introduce a child, friend, or neighbor to the many kinds of outdoor recreations available in the fall. - Tyler Strelow, warden supervisor, La Crosse

Vernon County - Raccoon hunters and trappers are reporting successful harvests during the last several weeks. Raccoon activity should remain strong as fall progresses, and there seems to be no shortage of raccoons, which is the most abundant wild carnivore in Wisconsin. It is hard to believe that between 1936-1950, raccoons were so scarce that the Wisconsin Conservation Department raised thousands of these nocturnal mammals in captivity and released them around the state. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Fall colors in the state forest are over, clearing up the obstructions of hunter's views. Slightly below average temperatures are in store for the Black River area through this weekend with highs in the low to mid 40s predicted. The outdoor group camp and East Fork will close for the season on Dec. 1. Backpackers and hunters who wish to camp offsite during the nine day gun deer season may use our online permit. - Peter Bakken, superintendent

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Waterfowl hunters continue to enjoy some late season hunting upriver of Lake Altoona and on the Chippewa River outside the Eau Claire city limits. Corn is coming off of area fields, so the goose hunting opportunities are available for hunters that can secure access permission from the landowners. The skies are full of geese as they move from the City of Eau Claire to feeding locations not far from town. Archery deer hunters have noted an increase in deer activity. Some big does and nice sized bucks have been harvested in recent weeks. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Wood County - There seems to be a large increase in the amount of trappers afield this fall. High projected prices on muskrats are a contributing factor. Trappers using the Mead Wildlife Area have reported low numbers of muskrats and muskrat houses. Whitetail bucks have really started to move this week as they approach the peak of the rut. Smaller bucks are frequently being observed chasing does this week while the larger animals seem to be lagging behind. - Barry Fetting, conservation warden, Milladore

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Last Revised: Thursday, November 07, 2013