White-tail rut continues strong

The white-tailed deer rut - or breeding season - continued to go on strong in the last week, with almost all areas of the state reporting very active deer at all times of the day, but most active at dawn and dusk. Rubs and scrapes are very apparent and lots of hunters have been out archery hunting with very good success and scouting for the upcoming gun season.

The hunting and trapping season opens November 15 in state parks, with maps online and posted at all properties indicating which areas are open and closed to those activities. Hikers, wood cutters and other outdoor enthusiasts should be safe and wear orange or other brightly colored clothing when out on the trails or in the woods.

Pheasant hunters looking for another day out with the dog can still find hunting areas stocked with game farm birds. Reports of active wild turkey and woodcock also continue coming in. With some cooler night temperatures there has been a greater influx of some diving ducks migrating in, but there has still really not been a big push from the north. Muskrat huts have become more obvious with the die-back of vegetation.

In the Northwoods, open-water fishing continues to wind down. Several musky and walleye anglers are still trying their luck, though success is hard to come by. Along Lake Michigan anglers were catching perch as well as some trout and salmon on the Milwaukee Lakeshore.

Some coho and fair numbers of brown trout remain in the Sheboygan River. Decent numbers of brown trout were being found in the Milwaukee harbor, and fair numbers were also moving up the Milwaukee River.

Browns were also in the Racine harbor, and some steelhead were also starting to move in. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility for the last time on Monday, Nov. 9, and the facility is now shut down for the season.

More than 900,000 coho eggs were collected, and DNR crews handled a total of 1,436 coho, 1,309 Chinooks, 86 browns, and 9 rainbows.

The recent mild weather has several bird species, such as the tundra swan, waiting for their peak migration times.

On Nov. 9, more than 50,000 canvasbacks were noted on the Mississippi River at Lynxville while over along Lake Michigan, nearly 30,000 red-breasted mergansers were tallied flying past Harrington Beach State Park.

Horicon Marsh is reporting approximately 150,000 geese, ducks and cranes are currently using the marsh. Sandhill cranes are staging in counties across Wisconsin before migrating further south. Staff at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area counted over 13,000 on November 9.

Also overhead it’s time now for the “big raptors,” including bald eagles and red-tailed hawks, as well as small numbers of golden eagles, red-shouldered, and rough-legged hawks, to make their move south.

The Mississippi River valley and Lake Michigan shoreline are two good places to view concentrated numbers of migrating raptors.

While reports have slowed in the past several days, around 72 snowy owls have been noted at over 37 counties in the state. More are expected in the weeks to come. Check out the snowy owl page of the DNR website for more information.


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