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Outdoor Report

Published October 29, 2015 by the Central Office

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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).

Fall colors are now past peak across much of the state, but some good colors still remain in the southern and central portions of the state on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR). High winds and rain this week have brought down many leaves in the northern half of the state, greatly improving sight conditions for grouse, woodcock and archery deer hunters.

Sample Caption and Alt Text
Colors peaked the week of Oct. 12. in Governor Knowles State Forest 
Photo Credit: WDNR

Dropping temperatures have also been a relief to the archers and turkey and waterfowl hunters who are headed out to the fields and forests. Many areas of the state are now reporting whitetail bucks are moving into the pursuit stage of the rut. While bucks are busy seeking and chasing after does, most actual breeding activity doesn't take place until early to mid-November.

Pheasant hunters are having good success on state wildlife areas. Wild turkeys are being found in harvested soybean and corn fields, and areas adjacent to them and hunters are reporting woodcock in lowland forests. The woodcock season closes on Sunday, Nov. 2. Waterfowl hunting has been in a bit of a lull as many local birds have pushed out, and hunters are waiting for cold weather and north winds to push in new birds.

The windy, cool and wet weather seemed to limit the fishing activity in the Northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures have been holding in the upper-40s and musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure. Success has been inconsistent and with active musky being a bit tough to come by. There recent surge in crappie action has continued with a couple reports of some decent catches. Walleye fishing continues to be generally slow with only a few reports of catches being made.

This week's rain should help increase flows on Lake Michigan tributaries and draw fresh coho and brown trout upstream. There are still some reports of chinook but the run continues to slow and angling pressure has tapered off. There were some reports of chinook caught on the Kewaunee, Ahnapee, Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Root rivers.  Fishing pressure has also slowed on Green Bay, but some limits of perch continued to be reported at Sawyer Harbor, and musky were being caught in the lower bay and the Fox River.

The latest Horicon Marsh refuge count conducted October 22 tallied 134,000 birds of different species, including Canada geese, mallards and pintails.

The snowy owl irruption continues in Wisconsin, with more than 50 snowies documented in the state since October 15, marking the third consecutive year and fourth in the last five that we've hosted the birds in numbers far above average. Many of these appear to be young owls hatched this past summer. Unfortunately, some have arrived in poor health, exhausted or emaciated from the long journey south into unfamiliar territory. Observers are asked to give all owls plenty of space, avoid approaching or flushing them and contact a wildlife rehabilitator with concerns of a sick or injured bird.

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workdays

Volunteers are needed to collect seeds on the three units of the York Prairie State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of these prairie remnants on Saturday, oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to noon. The seeds will be used for a prairie restoration of a former agricultural field at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area near Albany. Because various plant species' seeds are ready at varying times, we have collection days scheduled every two weeks so we can collect things when they're ready. No experience is necessary. Stay up to date with all State Natural Area volunteer opportunities.  - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Statewide Birding Report

Snowy owls are returning. It's not even winter and these visitors from the Canadian arctic are already making a splash across Wisconsin. More than 50 snowies have been documented in the state since October 15, marking the third consecutive year and fourth in the last five that we've hosted the birds in numbers far above average. Many of these appear to be young owls hatched this past summer. Unfortunately, some have arrived in poor health, exhausted and/or emaciated from the long journey south into unfamiliar territory. Observers are asked to give all owls plenty of space, avoid approaching or flushing them, report sightings to Wisconsin eBird ebird.org/content/wi (exit DNR), and contact a wildlife rehabilitator with concerns of a sick or injured bird . - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Within the last week, a majority of the colors found in the trees and on the landscape have left, leaving the countryside laden with a variance of browns and golds. Even the tamarac trees went from vibrant gold to bare over the past few days. Light showers throughout the past week quieted things down in the woods and, according to the USGS Streamflow data, raised river levels above average. Reports are indicating that the rain received helped fishing on the Brule for fall-run fish. Copper Range Campground has still been very busy on the weekends as anglers have found the warmer than usual temperatures favorable for camping even into late October. The rut is underway as signs in the woods are showing that bucks are starting their breeding behavior. For hunters, this is great news. However abnormal behavior triggered by breeding activity means higher numbers of interactions on roadways that may result in car accidents. In the case that a deer is killed by a car and you or someone else would like to tag that deer, please adhere to the following guidelines that can be found by searching the DNR website for "car killed deer." Contact the DNR vehicle-killed deer hotline at 608-267-7691 prior to possessing or removing the deer from the scene. Upon completing notification to DNR, a vehicle-killed deer may be legally possessed and transported without a tag in compliance with the chronic wasting disease transportation rules, available in the annual Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet. Woodcock season closes on Sunday, November 2. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate

Rain raised water levels on the Brule River helping with fall fish runs.
Rain raised water levels on the Brule River helping with fall fish runs.
Photo Credit: WDNR

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Amnicon Falls State Park - Thanks to recent rain, the water falls are roaring again! Don't miss some of your last chances to view the falls before they freeze up. Fall seems to have left as quickly as it came. Leaves are mostly all on the ground besides those really stubborn ones. The silver lining is that you can now spot local wildlife through the woods a little easier, if you aren't tricked by their excellent camouflage. See if you can spot a ruffed grouse or snowshoe hare in our campground! See how many plants you can identify while you enjoy a hike on the 1.5-mile Snowshoe Trail or the .83-mile Thimbleberry Nature Trail. - Natalie Brow, ranger

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Governor Knowles State Forest - Fall colors have come and gone due to windy conditions at Governor Knowles State Forest. Water has been shut off at the campgrounds but camping is still available. Hiking trails are in good condition and are open for use. Colder weather hasn't stopped equestrian riders; however camping is starting to slow down. Be sure to stop by or visit Governor Knowles State Forest's website to find hiking trail and campground maps. - Brandi Larson, visitor services associate

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Windy, cool and wet weather seemed to limit the fishing activity in the Northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures have been holding in the upper-40s and musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure on our local lakes. Success for musky has been quite inconsistent and most anglers have reported somewhat slow fishing conditions with active musky being a bit tough to come by. Some fishermen are still tossing artificial baits and their slow action is being echoed by many of the sucker anglers. But there have been a few positive reports with some mid 40-inch fish being caught in the last week. There has been a recent surge in crappie action with a couple reports of some decent catches. The crappie have been found suspended over the deep-water areas, with a small minnow on a slip bobber providing the best success. Walleye fishing continues to be generally slow with only a few reports of catches being made. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are on the low side. We did get over an inch of rain over the past couple of days and even a bit of that white stuff this morning, which should raise the south fork a bit. Bucks are following does and we are seeing a lot of movement, drivers should use caution. We are seeing lots of turkeys and hunters are reporting flushing quite a few grouse now that the leaves are off. ATV trails are wet but in good condition. Just a reminder our trail system will close on Nov. 15th for the season and reopen in May. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by Dan Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Marinette County - No anglers were encountered on the Peshtigo River last week, only water fowl hunters. Anglers on the Menominee River report catching a few brown trout, walleye and small mouth from Stephenson Island to the Hattie Street Dam. Spoons, spinners, and plastics are being used. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Few trout or salmon are being caught below the dam at Stiles with low water conditions. A few panfish are being caught around the structure below the dam, with slip bobbers and minnows for crappie and chunks of crawlers for bluegill. Perch are being caught by the boat landings from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II using crappie rigs tipped with minnows or crawler chunks. Some smallmouth and a few walleye are being caught by the mouth of the Oconto River using spinner baits and plastics. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - The Bayshore Park launch has been closed for the season. Fox River walleye anglers are catching decent numbers of fish from shore and boats. Early evenings and mornings have been very productive times. Jigging and casting crank baits are both catching fish. Sizes have ranged from 14 to 26 inches, with many falling into the 14-16 inch group. The Fox River has produced fair numbers of musky this week. Casting large spinners and plugs in 6-8 feet of water has produced the most fish. Musky are also being caught retrieving lures 6-8 feet down in deeper water. Fox River side catches included freshwater drum and crappie. For most of the week water flow was slow and depths were down. Water clarity was 1-2 feet by weeks end. Nearly all shore anglers on the Suamico River are fishing for yellow perch. Minnows near the river bottom are the most popular approach. Catches have been hit or miss. Water clarity on the Suamico River was 5-6 feet for most of the week. Water flow and depth were normal. Fishing pressure was relatively light. Yellow perch fishing on Duck Creek was pretty good this week. Many fish are on in the 4-6 inch range, but decent sized ones are there. Minnows and night crawlers are the most common baits. Water flow and depths on Duck Creek were normal. Water clarity was around a foot. Fishing pressure was light. Musky anglers continue to catch fish at pretty good rates on the southern part of Green Bay. Large spinners and plugs are both being used equally. Boating anglers are both casting and trolling. The majority of fish are being caught in ten feet of water and less. Fishing pressure was relatively low. Water temperatures were in the mid-50s for most of the week.

Door County - Angler pressure on Sturgeon Bay continues to be light. From shore, anglers continue to have success catching walleye fishing from the Stone Quarry and Bay View Park using crank and jerk baits during the evening hours. Shore anglers have also had success with northern pike from Bay View Park. Few anglers have been launching from the ramps and of those that have, they have been targeting walleye and northern pike. Reports on their success has been limited but walleye seem to be best within the bay and northern pike have been doing best from center point dock to the shipping canal on suckers. There have been no reports on salmon activity. Northern Door has seen very little fishing traffic over the last week. Some anglers were observed launching out of Egg Harbor for smallmouth bass, but there have been no reports on their success. One chinook salmon was observed swimming in Egg Harbor. No shore anglers were observed over the past week. The streams of Northern Door have all had low flow, low levels, temperatures in the mid to high 40s, and no fish observed. Sawyer Harbor saw moderate usage through the week. Perch fishermen continue to pull in good numbers, with most boats able to catch their limits. Minnows suspended just off bottom have provided the majority of fish with larger perch being found over weeded areas. Water temps have fallen into the low 50s and clarity was good. Smallmouth anglers around Little Sturgeon Bay had mixed results this week, with most finding at least some fish scattered throughout the area. Fishing deeper water than usual, a few boats managed higher catch rates late into the week. Drop shots fished in 25-30 feet of water provided the most action. Water temperatures continue to hold on the low 50s and water clarity is good. Water temperatures are holding in the low 50s and water clarity is poor.

Kewaunee County - In Kewaunee, as the chinook salmon run continues to slow down, angler pressure has also tapered off. Anglers are still finding success fishing between the foot bridge and the County Highway F bridge, although they have had to work for those fish. The most successful tackle has been spawn sacs and spoons. Recent surveys on the river have shown coho and brown trout are beginning to make their runs. Some anglers continue to try their luck out on the lake but there have been no reports on their success. Very few anglers have been observed fishing from the piers and those that have been interviewed have reported little success. The Kewaunee River was very slow and had low levels with a temperature in the low 50s but recent rains have raised the level 6-8 inches and dramatically increased the flow. The piers and ramps in Algoma saw very little use over the weekend. Many salmon anglers were observed fishing the Ahnapee River below the Forestville dam and at Blahnik Park. These anglers were mostly using spawn sacs and orange ear plugs. Few anglers had very much success, however. A handful of chinook and coho salmon were harvested. One angler was observed at Stoney Creek and caught two chinook salmon. Anglers who fish the earliest in the morning seem to be the most successful. Both the Ahnapee and Stoney Creek have been low and clear with temps in the low 50s.

Manitowoc County - The rain this past weekend helped the water flow in the area rivers. The Manitowoc River is muddy and has a water temperature of 56 degrees. The highest amounts of anglers on the Manitowoc River were fishing the areas downstream of the dam in Clarks Mills. Anglers at this location caught some king salmon by floating spawn sacs. People also continue to fish near the dam in Shoto where anglers have had some success with king salmon. Salmon wakes can be seen from the downstream of the bridge, and up near the dam. A couple of salmon carcasses were on shore near the dam. The West Twin's water was muddied from rain on Saturday, and has a water temperature of 57 degrees. The East Twin's water level has come up a bit as well. The East Twin's water temperature near Mishicot is 56 degrees. Salmon can be seen swimming in the waters downstream of the bridge near the fire station in Mishicot. At least one angler landed a king salmon near the dam in Mishicot by using a spawn sac. The Branch River and Silver Creek were both inactive on Friday and Saturday. People are still fishing the north end of the Manitowoc Marina. Not many fish were landed at this location on Friday. The water temperature in the Manitowoc Harbor is 55 degrees. No one was fishing from the piers in Two Rivers, or Maitowoc this weekend. Two Rivers harbor had rough water on Saturday with a water temperature of 54 degrees. Heavy wave action on Lake Michigan kept boats in port. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - Bucks are rutting in Southern Door County. Fall leaf color is coming to an end. Fall fishing for perch, northern pike, and walleye is underway on Green Bay. A reminder for fishermen on Green Bay that the invasive round goby is not legal for use as bait on Green Bay or any other waterbody. Fishermen may ask themselves why they can't use gobies as bait, since the invasive fish is already present in Green Bay. The logic is understandable, but not being able to possess the fish is a preventive measure to keep other fishermen from keeping and transporting the gobies as bait to other waters and infecting those places. Gobies are destructive to native fish populations. - Christopher J. Kratcha, conservation warden, Sturgeon Bay

Peninsula State Park - Logging activities will begin this week. Road closures include a section of Mengleberg Lane and a section of Middle Road. Trail closures include sections of Hemlock, Skyline and Nicolet Bay Trails.

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Most leaves now down. Woodcock are still hanging around making for decent hunting along with ruffed grouse. Tons of geese around using the freshly harvested corn fields. Deer still feeding heavily on acorns and the bucks are really starting to move. Rut is just beginning. Kind of the "tweener" time for ducks. Local birds are gone or well educated, northern migrants have not arrived in any great numbers. Trout should be spawning any day now. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Hartman Creek State Park - The colors at Hartman Creek have reached peak but deep golds, burnt reds and browns are still visible. The park has closed its shower building and dump and fill station for the season; however, camping remains open until Dec. 1 at the family camp and Nov. 1 at the group campground. Hunters: About 1.5 miles of the park's Ice Age trail has been rerouted. Be aware it is not legal to hunt within 100 yards on either side of this trail. A new hunting map, showing these changes, is available at the park office and will soon be online for further clarification. - Michael Bergum, Park Superintendent

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

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

Southeast Wisconsin is forecast to get about an inch of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday. This will help increase flows on area rivers and should get fresh coho and browns moving upstream.

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing effort has been low on both piers; however, a few coho and browns have been reported on the north pier not far from the rocks near the harbor. A couple of browns and rainbows have also been caught near the Deland Ramp by a few people fishing the area. The Pigeon River remains very low, and no fish have been reported. On the Sheboygan River, most anglers have been fishing from Esslingen Park upstream to the Kohler dam. Many browns were reported from Esslingen over the weekend, with some quality fish at 12 pounds and over in the mix. Egg patterns were the most popular and effective flies used. Fewer chinook were seen than last week, but coho and browns remained in generally good numbers. The water temperature was 45 degrees on Sunday.

Ozaukee County - Port Washington shore anglers have been concentrating near the power plant discharge and the mouth of Sauk Creek. A few fish have been reported from both spots, including a mix of chinook, browns, and rainbows. The most popular bait is still spawn or skein, and fly anglers have been using primarily egg patterns. No anglers have been seen on the pier, and fishing pressure inside the north slip was much lighter than last week. The water level in the upstream stretches of Sauk Creek is still very low. The mouth of the creek was filled with anglers over the weekend, and a few reported chinook and browns.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee there has been a fair amount of fishing effort focused in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon, with numbers of trout and salmon in there for the past several weeks. Browns, rainbows, and a few chinook have been landed recently, but the overall catch has been low. The best bite has been around sunrise, and spawn sacs and white tube jigs have out produced crankbaits, twister tails, and spoons. Decent numbers of browns, rainbows, and chinooks have been seen in the area around McKinley Marina. Anglers fishing at the pumping station gates near Lincoln Memorial Drive have been catching some browns and rainbows on spawn sacs fished on the bottom. A few rainbows, browns, and northern pike have been taken on the south side of the harbor from the Coast Guard Station Pier, the Cupertino Park shoreline, and the Lake Express Car Ferry fishing area. Crank baits, spinner baits, and spoons have been the most popular baits. Anglers on the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier have started to see a few more trout and salmon off the end of the pier. The Oak Creek remains very low, and the mouth is very narrow and shallow. The rain in the forecast for this week should help open that back up and allow more fish to move into the creek. Milwaukee River anglers have reported increased numbers of trout and salmon in the past week. Chinook can be seen trying to jump the falls at Kletzsch Park, and coho, rainbows, and browns are in the area as well. Orange egg pattern flies have produced fish, as well as drifting spawn sacs or skein under a float. Anglers in Estabrook and Hubbard Parks have also hooked into chinook on flies, spinner baits, crank baits, and twister tails. On the Menomonee River, chinook and a few browns have been caught in the deeper holes around Miller Park.

Racine County - In Racine, most anglers at the lakefront have been concentrating near the boat ramp and in the marina slips. A few browns and rainbows have been caught on orange flies, and the southwest corner of the marina has been the most productive area. High winds and dirty water kept most anglers off of the Racine piers over the weekend. On the Root River, anglers that have had success have been targeting areas of structure or deeper holes near Island Park, the Washington Park golf course, and in Lincoln Park below the Root River Steelhead Facility. Orange or purple flies have taken fish, as well as spawn sacs or worms. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, October 26, and DNR crews handled 333 fish. So far this season a total of 683 chinook, 41 coho, and 27 brown trout have been passed upriver. The next processing days will be Thursday, October 29 and Monday, November 2.

Kenosha County - Kenosha shore anglers fishing off the south pier have taken a few coho and browns on silver spoons or spinner baits. A few coho and browns have also been caught further in the harbor near the hotel, below the 50th Street Bridge, and near the boat ramp. Fishing has been generally slow, but silver spoons and white tube jigs have produced best in the harbor. Fishing effort remains low on the Pike River, and water levels are still very low as well.

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Waukesha County - There are still antlerless deer bonus carcass tags available for purchase across the state, including in Milwaukee County. Deer rutting activity will be at its peak now and into the early weeks of November. Now is the time to take advantage of our bow deer hunting season. There are also opportunities for pheasant, squirrel, and rabbit hunting. We have had an early influx of snowy owls into Wisconsin this year. We have had reports of at least 50 owls being reported across the state, approximately two to four weeks earlier than normal. It's too early to know why this is happening or whether another big flight is in store. If you spot a snowy owl, enter your report at www.ebird.org/wi, so we can keep track of this unique occurrence. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Sheboygan County - Crappie have been biting on some Sheboygan County waters but we have few Lake Michigan salmon in the rivers. - Michael Clutter, conservation warden, southern Sheboygan County

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Most of Washington received 0.5 to 1 inches of rain on October 27-28. Strong easterly winds pushed more floating bogs up against the marsh dam. The bogs were eventually passed through the dam, so all access channels are again open. A couple thousand sandhill cranes, several thousand Canada geese, and lesser numbers of egrets, coots, mallards, wood ducks and other migrants are using the two waterfowl refuges on the marsh. There are good viewing and photography opportunities especially for sand hill cranes, along Highway 28 just west of Highway 41 and from the Mohawk Road overlook along the east side of the marsh. The bow hunters are coming out in larger numbers as the peak of the rut approaches. Several muskrat trappers were out on Theresa Marsh for the opening week of trapping judging from the number flags and stakes in the wetlands. Twice a week pheasant stocking on Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Marsh will be done this week and the week of Nov. 2, followed by once a week stocking the two weeks before the gun deer opener. All day pheasant hunting on the three properties begins Nov. 4. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Iowa County - Fall leaf color is past peak, with many trees having lost their leaves. Oaks are still holding leaves with vibrant color. White-tailed deer are showing rutting behavior, with numerous scrapes and rubs being found in the woods. Bucks are very active now. Wild turkeys can be found in harvested soybean and corn fields, and areas adjacent to them. Hunters are reporting woodcock in lowland forests. Waterfowl reports have been sketchy, other than wood ducks and Canada geese which are being found in good numbers. Migrating birds include: juncos, white-throated sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, large flocks of sandhill cranes in the Arena area. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville

New Glarus Woods State Park - Fall colors are now past peak. Foraging fox, dear and raccoons can been seen getting ready for winter. Migrating song birds skip through the branches looking for meals to help them continue their journey south. The campground is open through November, campsites are available on a first come first serve basis. - Brad Bates, ranger

Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area - Fall colors are just past peak. Migrating waterfowl can be seen gathering on the lakes. Snakes, frogs and toads enjoy the last days of sunshine as they brave the color temperatures to get warmed by the sun. Migrating song birds pass through looking for a meal to help them continue on their journey south. Deer, muskrats and fox are preparing for winter. - Brad Bates, ranger

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Unseasonably warm weather has been perfect for visitors to hike and enjoy the Horicon Marsh, and all it has to offer. The latest refuge count conducted on Oct. 22 tallied 134,000 birds of various species using the marsh, including 40,000 Canada Geese, 51,000 mallards and 15,000 pintails. Birders also report seeing bald eagles, whooping cranes and snowy owls in the area. Please remember that the snowy owls have just endured an arduous journey under difficult circumstances. Many of the birds are very under nourished and need space to hunt and acclimate to their new surroundings. Please give them plenty of space and enjoy their beauty from a distance. Do not harass these birds, especially for photographic purposes. Archers, fall turkey and waterfowl hunters continue to take to the fields, despite the warmer than normal temps. With the corn and soybean harvest in full swing and waterfowl using these harvested fields to feed, waterfowl hunters are reminded that you must ask local farmers for permission to hunt before setting up on private lands. Why not take it one step further and offer a gesture of thanks if permission is granted! Deer hunters are reminded to review the new regulations to familiarize themselves with the new E-Registration process this year. Thinking about cutting your native and/or perennial flower gardens down before winter? Why not consider leaving many or all of your plants up throughout the fall and winter. Birds will enjoy the seed heads for many months and the dried plant remnants provide important habitat for over-wintering pollinators. The dried flower stalks also add winter interest to your garden and can be safely cut back in the spring while you add your new compost and mulch for the season. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Reports of deer starting to move are picking up - many more bow hunters have been seen heading out to the woods. Duck movement has been a little stagnant, but mallards and some divers have been reported in decent numbers. This past weather system we've had might bring in some more. Geese and sandhill cranes have been on the move in large flocks across the county. Snowy owls are being reported, along with a trumpeter swan family being spotted in northern Columbia County. Pheasant stocking is still occurring twice a week on the stocked properties -- there are plenty of birds to pursue this year. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Tree color has peaked with many trees losing the majority of their leaves. Still waiting to see ducks migrating through the area. Sandhill cranes are in the area staging before heading south. Deer are on the move with many car/deer accidents early morning and just after dark. Pheasant hunters are having good success on local state wildlife areas. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - White-tailed deer are running everywhere in Vernon County, and many of them have met their demise by colliding with motor vehicles. This is a particularly dangerous time of the year for motorists and deer alike. The reason: deer are in what is known as the seek/chase phase of their breeding cycle. Contrary to popular belief, not many white-tailed deer in Wisconsin actually breed during late October; rather bucks are busy seeking and chasing after does, checking to see whether does are receptive for breeding. Most does are not receptive to the courting advances of bucks until early to mid-November. Does that are not bred during November will come into estrus again about 28 days later. White-tailed deer breeding pretty well ends with the close of the calendar year. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Perrot State Park - Some white pelicans can still be seen in the adjacent Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge for their last gathering before migrating. Adult and immature eagles are seen soaring in the bluffs and above the bay. Many of the migrating songbirds have moved through the area but you might see the cedar waxwings and bluebirds.  Many or the trees have lost their leaves but the oaks are still holding on and give a gentle glow of orange, yellow, and brown. Some tundra swans have been reported along the river at Brownsville, MN south of the La Crosse and La Crescent, MN area but we have not yet had any in Trempealeau Bay in the park. All campsites are still open on a first-come, first-save basis.  The campground water system is turned off for the season. Electrical sites will still have electricity. The dump station will remain open for dumping but there will be no water. Our shop building will have water available for campers. - Lois Larson, park manager

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Juneau County - Fall hunting is in full swing in Juneau County. It appears that the rut is in its early stages, and the bucks are moving around fairly decent. Local clubs such as Outdoors Forever and New Lisbon Sportsman Club, did a great job of stocking pheasants to provide hunting opportunities opening weekend of the pheasant season. Further stockings are in coming in the future. The waterfowl hunting is in a lull at the moment. A lot of the local birds have pushed out, and we are waiting for cold weather and north winds to push new birds in. Walleye fishermen have caught good numbers of fish on the Wisconsin River this fall, but as usual getting legal size fish is a struggle. - Kyle Lynch, conservation warden, Mauston

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -The drawdown of Lake Altoona to accommodate needed dam repairs is exposing a lot of shoreline to treasure seekers - please avoid trespass to private property. Fall fishing activity is picking up on the Chippewa River. Now is a great time enjoy fog shrouded sunrises and leaf colors. Archery hunters report an increase in deer movement and harvest success. A reminder that the baiting and feeding of deer is not allowed in Eau Claire County. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Lake Wissota State Park - Fall colors are over with most of the leaves having dropped due to windy conditions. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls, barred owls, bald eagles, and Canada geese. The tamaracks are still a brilliant gold. Labor Day through early May our campsites are available on a walk-in basis. The water and shower buildings are shut down in the campground for the season. The sanitary station will be open as the weather allows. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around. As the park office is not regularly staffed at this time of year, please use the self-registration station located at the office entrance.- Dave Hladilek, park manager

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Backpack sites open are 9, 16 and 26-29. All other backpack sites are now closed. Fishing pier and boat boarding piers are removed for the season. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Camping and the main gate are now closed for the year. Please do not park in front of the gate. Parking will be in the winter lot on Czech Ave and park stickers will still be required. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, October 29, 2015

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