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Outdoor Report for November 21, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
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.
Statewide Birding Report
Some November birding doldrums have set in across the state as we transition from fall to winter. In contrast to this time last fall, winter finches and owls continue to be scarce (exit DNR), although American goldfinches are prevalent statewide and the season's first Snowy Owl was reported this week along the Sheboygan lakefront. On the up side, 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. This is a Wisconsin birding spectacle not to be missed! Sandhill cranes continue to stage in large numbers as far north as Burnett County but flocks are departing southward with each passing cold front. Whooping cranes continue with sandhills near Horicon Marsh, and another was found this week near Crex Meadows Wildlife Area. Some sparrows remain in the south, along with fruit-eating birds such as American robins, eastern bluebirds, and cedar waxwings. Both northern shrikes and rough-legged hawks are showing well in many locations across the state. Rarities spotted recently include black-billed magpie in Bayfield County, harlequin ducks in Racine and Kenosha, and Townsend's solitaires at their tradition spot in Devil's Lake State Park. Finally and most regretfully, the Wisconsin birding community recently lost one of its shining stars with the passing of Noel Cutright. Noel's list of accomplishments (exit DNR) is very long and includes prominent roles in the formation of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, Bird City Wisconsin, Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, and many other bird conservation projects in the state. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Bayfield County - Woodcock have moved out of the area but grouse hunters are having much success now that all the leaves have fallen. Though grouse numbers appear to be down this year, those hunting the young regrowth of aspen and or near tag alters claim to be having the most success. Rutting activity appears to be at its prime right now with much daytime activity being seen. It's been said if you see a doe right now, a buck won't be too far behind which will be perfect timing for this weekend's gun deer opener. There appears to be a thin layer of ice on many of the smaller inland lakes right now with below zero temperatures expected by the end of the week. - Jill Schartner, conservation warden, Drummond
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - In recent weeks the deer activity has increased just in time for the opening of the gun deer season. Deer numbers seem down in the Grantsburg area, but all that could change depending on the deer density where you are hunting. Most lakes are in varying stages of ice up, but are not completely covered. There is no snow in Burnett County and no snow in the seven day forecast. Please remember the four basic rules of firearm safety on your upcoming hunts. 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, keep your finger outside the trigger guard and off the trigger until you are ready to fire. - 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) - Seasonably cold weather along with the peak of the deer rut and the upcoming gun deer season has kept fishing pressure to a minimum on most waters across the north. Only a very few die-hard anglers have been venturing out and nearly all of these have been musky anglers. Most of these late-season anglers have been dragging large suckers around, but there have been no reports of any success in the last week. Water temperatures have fallen into the low 40s to upper 30s on most local lakes, with some skim and fringe ice just being observed in the side bays on a few of the waters. Ice thickness has been less than an inch, and any kind of walkable ice is still a couple of weeks away. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Trails and roads are in very wet condition. Still have open water on both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River as well as local lakes. We are seeing lots of rubs and scrapes from bucks, and seeing quite a bit more grouse. Snow geese and buntings are on the move. The winter berries are beautiful this year. Thursday morning, Nov. 21, we had about 2-3 inches of wet snow that has for the most part melted. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Vilas County - Rut is in full swing in Vilas and Oneida counties. Brave musky anglers are having success row trolling on area waters but will likely be iced out before the end of the season. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Brown County - At Fox River Metro fishing pressure remains slow, but there were a few more anglers out looking for musky than last week. Anglers had no luck catching musky while fishing anywhere from 3 to 10 feet of water with 6 feet being the average depth. They were using cranks baits (perch and other dark colors) for bait. There were also a few duck hunters out, reporting they were doing well. The docks at the Brown County Fair Grounds have been removed for the season. On the Suamico River fishing activity remains to be slow this week with a few anglers out looking for perch. The anglers did very well with reporting catching about 100 perch and keeping their limit. The average size was about 7 to 8 inches while using minnows for bait in about 8 feet of water. There were also a few duck hunters out reporting doing fairly well. On the Suamico River shoreline there were a few anglers looking for perch. They were doing okay keeping only a handful due to small size. The average size was about 6 inches and they were using minnows and night crawlers for bait. - Elizabeth Kussow, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Oconto County - For bird watchers a good number of bald eagles are congregating along the west shore of Green Bay. This week as many as six eagles could be seen from the end of the break wall in Oconto. Hunters are still report deer in the rut and it should continue into opening weekend. Perch fishing is still productive in Oconto and Pensaukee. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Shawano County - The rut is starting to wind down, but deer can still be seen out in fields during the day. Bucks seem to be slowing down a bit. Car deer collisions are still pretty high with most coming in the hours just after dusk. Waterfowl are still very plentiful in the area and ducks can be seen using recently picked corn fields. Geese are still winging around in good numbers. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Governor Thompson State Park - Both inland lakes and the south bay of Caldron Falls are now iced over. The main river channel is still open but cannot be accessed by Boat Landing 13 due to the ice. The park is now open for bow and gun hunting seasons. No hunting permitted in the refuge areas. Please check the map at the park office for open hunting areas. The east loop of the campground is open until December 1. The shower building is closed for the season, but water is available by site 21. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Musky fishing on the lower Bay of Green Bay has died right off. Anglers are still trying the Fox River with very limited success. Reports of walleyes being caught near the mouth of the Fox River are coming in although wardens have not actually observed any more walleyes on stringers than normal. Perch fishing at Suamico and Oconto is picking up but the perch being caught are pretty small. Duck hunting continues to be pretty good. Layout boat hunters are having the best success but shore hunters are still getting near limits of ducks. The primary duck species being bagged are scaup and goldeneyes. Scoters are being seen but few are being harvested. - Darren Kuhn, marine unit conservation warden, Green Bay
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Whitefish Dunes State Park - Despite the cooler weather, wildlife is out and about within the park. Large waves powered by November gales can be heard from the parking lot. Watch the mergansers, buffleheads, and goldeneyes as they dive among the waves. An immature bald eagle has been sighted during the mornings soaring over the beach. Bundle up as the brisk winds can chill to the bone. Inland, blue jays and grey squirrels are actively "planting" beechnuts. Two large bucks have been seen around stop numbers 13 and 5 on the Brachiopod nature trail. Chickadees and nuthatches can be seen in large numbers throughout the forested dunes. A hike along the black or brachiopod trail will provide a glimpse of various woodpeckers; redheaded, pileated, downy and hairy. The porcupines have been busy feasting on sugar maples and hemlock trees. Don't forget to look up when hiking on the Green or Red trails. -Carolyn Rock, natural resource educator
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - The rut is in full swing in northern Waupaca County. Bow hunters have been harvesting some nice bucks. Deer movement will probably begin to taper off as we reach opening weekend of the gun deer season. - Mark Schraufnagel, conservation warden, Wautoma
The rut is winding down as we get closer to the gun season. Corn harvest is progressing well, which should really help improve deer hunting. Bring your long underwear as weather looks chilly for the opener. Hunter's who tough out the chilly conditions should do well. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Bucks are still being seen chasing does but hunters have reported that the rut activity is slowing down. Some hunters were somewhat frustrated with the rain and stormy weather experienced during portions of the rut. Canada geese are still in the area and hunters have reported good success harvesting geese in agricultural fields. Wardens have been receiving numerous complaints of persons trapping along roadside ditches. Trappers are reminded to first obtain permission from the appropriate landowner/government agency prior to setting traps along the roads. Only small water bodies have had ice in which it is thin or skim ice. Ice users should use caution on early ice. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Waushara County - Deer are being seen more now at late morning, and bucks moving with their does. The scrapes are diminishing due to the bucks have mostly all found their female partner. The fawns and yearling deer are moving in early afternoon looking for food to get their fat reserve up for the cold harsh nights that are coming quickly. Just a reminder to all hunters, take your deer stand off public lands before you go home at night. Also, please do not litter on your public lands. Good luck to all and remember to take a kid hunting! -Dave Westphal, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County - Hunters in Outagamie County will be able to use rifles for the first time. Care should be taken when hunting and the shooting zones which may have been safe when utilizing shotguns may be unsafe if utilizing a rifle. Remember the four basic firearm safety rules TAB-K. The rut is in full swing and the cooler weather may increase deer movements. Corn is coming down at a faster rate as winter nears and may change deer movements. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
Ducks and geese are continuing to move through the area and waterfowl hunters have been doing very well with the continual rain in the area. Bucks seem to be actively chasing does and hunters have been seeing deer; however, many are reporting they aren't seeing as many as last year. Leaves are completely off nearly all trees and the ground is beginning to solidify in many areas. - Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton
Winnebago County - Weather conditions appear to be somewhat cooperative with temperatures starting to dip. The biggest change for the deer season is statewide rifle usage. There are certain townships that restrict the use of rifles, so hunters should check with local agencies on any restrictions. Even with change there are always things that don't change and that would be safety. This includes both tree stand safety and firearm safety. One out of every three hunters will at some point in time fall from a tree stand. An easy solution is wear a harness and move slow up and down slippery ladders or steps. Firearm safety is one thing that if everyone followed we would see no hunting accidents. Every hunter should follow TAB-K and never be a statistic. The most important thing is not that you harvest a deer but that you go home safely each and every day when leaving the woods. - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - Leaf fall is now complete, except of course for the oak trees, and most migratory birds have left the area. However, some mild-weather days are still allowing opportunities for a late fall hike before the winter snows set in. Note the Tamarack Trail at Mauthe Lake and the Summit Trail at Long Lake are completely within no-hunting zones. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan the Sheboygan River continues to produce fish in the Kohler area. Most catches have been on flies, with coho and brown trout taken, as well as the occasional rainbow. 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 few coho, browns, and rainbows have been caught on spawn sacs near the power plant discharge. Decent numbers of browns should remain in the harbor area throughout the late fall and winter months.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee shore anglers have been catching some perch on minnows off the bottom under the Hoan Bridge as well as in the Summerfest Lagoon. Access to the fishing pier at the Oak Creek Power Plant is closed for the winter. It will reopen March 15, weather permitting. 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, browns, and a few rainbows have all been caught throughout those stretches of river. Both spawn and small flies have been effective.
Racine County - In Racine, fishing activity at the lakefront was slow with the majority of action concentrated on the Root River. Water levels in the Root are rising after the weekend rainfall, but should peak in the next couple of days. Coho remain in the river, and brown trout and a few rainbows can be found in the lower reaches. Both spawn and brightly colored flies have been productive. The Root River Steelhead Facility is closed for the season. DNR crews handled a total of 3,788 fish, including 1,666 coho, 1,948 chinook, 7 rainbows, and 167 browns.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha fishing pressure in the harbor has dropped. Most anglers 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. Shore anglers have also reported catching perch in the harbor, though most have been fairly small.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Washington County - Deer hunters are reminded that baiting is not allowed in Washington County. With the new statewide rifle use during the gun deer season, hunters should check with local townships to see if local ordinances prohibit the use of rifles during the gun deer season. - Robert Lee, conservation warden, Hartford
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - The last stocking of pheasants before the gun deer season was done this week on Allenton, Jackson and Theresa Marsh wildlife areas. No pheasant stocking will be done on the properties during the nine day gun deer season. One final pheasant stocking for the season will be done during the week of Dec. 9. Gun deer hunters are reminded that entry into the two waterfowl refuges on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area (other than "drive through only" access on posted roadways) is prohibited prior to opening day of the nine day gun season. Entry for other activities (trapping, pheasant hunting, bow deer hunting, etc.) is allowed between Dec. 1 and Aug. 31 each year. Waterfowl hunting is prohibited at all times within the refuges. Hunters and trappers are cautioned that last weekend's heavy rains caused water levels on Theresa Marsh and on other area rivers and ponds to rise and may result in hazardous "shelf ice" conditions as the surface waters freeze and water levels underneath go down. Canada geese and sandhill crane numbers are now at peak on Theresa Marsh, and will begin to decline as the marsh freezes over. Duck hunters have been having moderate success on Theresa Marsh, Loew Lake and other area lakes. A pair of bald eagles continue to use the north end of Theresa Marsh and can often be seen perched in a tree about 150 yards south of the river bridge along Highway 28. The location is on Highway 28 about a half mile west of the Highway 28/Highway 41 interchange. On Jackson Marsh, the two "Closed Areas" established for the gas pipeline maintenance project were un-posted and opened back up to public use two weeks ago. The pipeline maintenance work was completed, but removal of the swamp mats and equipment from the staging areas is still ongoing so hunters should avoid parking in those areas. Questions can be directed to the Pike Lake Wildlife Biologist at 262-670-3409. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - It has been a chilly fall this year. Most of the backwaters have had some ice off-and-on for the past three weeks. It is not enough to walk on, but enough to cause many of the ducks to move on, or at least out to open water on the big rivers. There are still a few wood ducks, teal, mallard and ring-necked ducks around. Beaver and otter sign is plentiful again this year. Muskrat seem a little harder to find, though. It is likely that the prolonged drought in 2012, combined with exceptional June flooding, created difficult conditions for them to raise litters. Trappers report that the muskrat kits they are catching this fall are quite small, suggesting that late litters fared better than earlier ones. Raccoons were abundant in late October and early November, but seem a little scarce recently. Deer activity is still very noticeable in the woods. There has been a decrease in the amount of rubs and scrapes recently, but sightings of bucks chasing does across roads and through the fields are very common. Most of the leaves are down, and there is a chance for a little snow Thursday night, followed by colder temperatures for opening weekend. Many farmers have harvested their corn recently. All these factors point toward a good hunt this fall. - Daniel Goltz, wildlife biologist, Boscobel
Iowa County - The rut is in full swing in western Iowa County as bucks have been seen during daylight hours chasing receptive does. Many deer sightings have been reported in state hunting areas. Hunters looking forward to the upcoming nine day gun deer hunt are reminded to review the 2013 Deer Hunting Regulations for changes from last season. Please feel free to call or stop in the Dodgeville DNR Service Center with questions; Service Center hours are 11 a.-m.-2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Pheasant hunters continue to report success, especially in the Avoca Units of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Pheasant hunters are reminded that although blaze orange is not required outside the scheduled gun deer seasons, it is recommended for safety. With the upcoming gun deer season and increased number of expected hunters, safety cannot be overstated so please be safe out there! - Chris Weller, conservation warden recruit
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Excitement is in the air as blaze orange can be seen airing out on porches across the county. Deer have really been on the move this week, which should give hunters a good chance at seeing deer. Again, motorists should be cautioned about deer crossing roads - I've seen more road kills this week than in the last few months combined. Where one deer crosses, check for other deer, and make sure to watch not only the road but also the ditches while driving. Large flocks of mallards and Canada geese were seen flying in the area. Pheasant stocking will resume after the nine day deer season ends, but for hardy pheasant hunters, there should be some birds left on the stocked properties to pursue. Good luck to the deer hunters and remember to stay safe. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - With the recent cold and wet weather, wardens have seen fewer anglers along the Rock River, but have seen a marked increase in the number of people sighting in their deer rifles and scouting locations for the upcoming gun deer opening weekend. The deer rut seems to have slowed, but deer registration stations have maintained a steady number of registrations from archery hunters. Many archers have been putting in longer hours in their stands as the nine day gun deer season fast approaches. Archers are reminded that blaze orange is required when hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow when any gun deer season is open, including the muzzleloader season. Hunters on DNR managed lands are reminded that tree stands cannot be left overnight, and if unattended during the day the hunter's name and address or DNR Customer ID number must be visible from the ground. A number of public hunting grounds are open throughout Rock County, including state-owned lands, Federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) and Voluntary Public Access (VPA) lands. VPA properties within Rock County can be located by searching the keyword "VPA" on the DNR website, or by stopping by the Janesville DNR Service Center. Pheasant hunters have seen continued success, and wardens continue to see birds on all stocked public hunting grounds. Pheasant hunters who plan to hunt during the gun deer season are reminded that blaze orange is required. Any garment above the waist must be at least 50 percent orange, and a hat, if worn, must also be 50 percent orange. Wardens have seen a steady number of waterfowl hunters on area wetlands and corn fields, with a variety of birds in hunters' bags. Swans have been migrating through the area, and hunters are reminded that all swans are protected in Wisconsin. Wardens continue to see a large number of duck hunters in boats without the required Personal Floatation Devices. With the water temperature dropping fast, it is more important than ever to ensure everyone aboard has fitted, serviceable PFD available. - Boyd Richter and Keith Meverden, conservation wardens, Janesville
Rock County is starting to feel the effects of Wisconsin's winter season as it approaches. Many of the calmer waters are beginning to start the day with a layer of ice, and some of it lasts through the day. The deer movement, especially bucks, has been good for hunters who are braving the colder weather. There has been talk that this year's rut will continue to ebb and flow through the end of the nine day gun season. In talking to some hunters, they have begun to see some of the larger bucks coming out of the woodwork to tend does. Remember to be safe in this upcoming gun deer season and review the regulations before heading out to the stand. Pheasant hunters continue to enjoy hunting the birds which are being stocked on state properties and are having some success. Many waterfront owners are adjusting to the season, and pulling out their docks and boats in preparation for winter. Trapping is also in a slight lull as the critters adjust to the colder weather, and are holing up for longer periods of time. - Bryan Harrenstein and Mike J Dieckhoff, conservation wardens, Janesville
West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County - The deer rut is still in full swing in St. Croix, Dunn, Pepin and Pierce counties. Smaller bodies of water have been icing up, but good numbers of geese are in the area and hitting fields especially in St. Croix County. A fair amount of corn is still standing, which hopefully will get harvested prior to gun deer season. Diver ducks and more mallards are being seen on the Mississippi River areas. Walleye and sauger are being caught on the Mississippi River in the Hager City area, but smaller fish are more the norm with an occasional 16 to 18 inch fish. - David A. Hausman, warden supervisor, Baldwin
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Buck activity has appeared to slow a bit in the area. Less chasing is occurring as bucks are tending and breeding receptive does. During the 24 hour estrus period, bucks bed and feed with does until they become receptive. After breeding the buck will remain with the doe and drive away other interested bucks. This may last for more than 24 hours. About 20 percent of the corn crop remains standing in the fields in Crawford and Vernon County. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - The deer hunting season is almost here and cold weather is in store. Highs are expected to be below average for the next several days and lows may be in the single digits this weekend. There is a chance for 1-2 inches of snow on Friday. All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and UTV trails are now closed for the season and will re-open to snowmobiles and ATVs on Dec. 15 as long as frozen ground conditions are present. UTVs, due to their weight, are not allowed on the trails in the winter. The flush toilet, shower building and dump station at Castle Mound are closed for the season. Vault toilets and water at the hand pumps are still available. All campgrounds are currently open on a first come, first served basis. We now have a new group camp that opened on June 7. This would make a great place for fall hunting groups to use. The outdoor group camp and East Fork will close for the season on Dec. 1. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Trempealeau County - Large bucks appear to be in full rut in the area. The deer are still quite active during daylight hours and do not appear to be shifting into nocturnal activity yet. Local trappers are reporting good success on raccoons. Pheasant hunting success has been limited. Most of the final pheasant stocking will be finished within a week or two. Shining remains a popular activity in the area. Shiners are reminded that shining after 10 p.m. is prohibited. Shiners are encouraged to be courteous to their rural neighbors and refrain from shining into homes and barns. - Robin Barnhardt, conservation warden, Osseo
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -A few anglers have been using the renovated boat landing at Lake Altoona County Park to access the water for some fall walleye and perch fishing. Canada geese are very numerous in the Chippewa River Valley. Goose hunters are bagging some birds on local ponds and farm fields. The area offers great opportunities for hunters to harvest deer. Please share your tradition of safe hunting. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Wausau DNR Service Center area
Marathon County - Deer rut is still occurring as it is common to see bucks in the fields with their nose to the ground following does. Reminder to deer hunters in Marathon County that both the registration stations in Mosinee (east side Shell gas station) and Halder will have DNR staff on hand to collect CWD samples from deer harvested on opening weekend. Ice is starting to form around the edges of smaller bodies of water however the lakes and rivers are still wide open. - Benjamin Herzfeldt, conservation warden, Wausau
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Ice is forming on the lake again after the warmer weather and rain this past weekend. Remember, staff does not monitor ice conditions. Some campsites are open and non-reservable. Hunting maps and state park rule sheets are available at the park office or online. When the office is staffed, we will register deer. The area of the park south of County G and south of 31st Street, including the Buckhorn Wildlife Area is bow only and bow hunters must wear blaze orange. The area north of County G, north of 31st Street and the Yellow River Wildlife Area are open for the gun deer season and gun small game. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground is closed for the season. Parking is in the winter lot on Czech Avenue and park stickers are required. Please use the self-registration in the winter/prairie lot. Cypress Avenue and 13th Drive also border the park and stickers are required if parking on the park side of the road. Park stickers are not required on Highway 13, and parking is not allowed in front of the park gate. Hunting is going on in the park so hikers are encouraged to wear blaze orange. Maps of hunting area, closed areas and rules are available in the map box in the winter lot and online - Heather Wolf, park manager