Let the games of fall begin throughout state

DNR REPORT - Wisconsin’s outdoors are turning toward fall. Bear hunting season is going strong and a number of seasons have opened including archery, small game, goose, turkey and grouse season; and last weekend was the youth waterfowl hunt.

With the recent mild winter and a fairly lush summer, wildlife populations are in excellent shape.

Throughout the state there have been groups of deer observed foraging in the fields both in the early mornings and late evenings. A buck with polished antlers was seen this week in Waupaca County.

Many archers will be staking out some time and space next to a nice acorn producer, in order to get a great early start to the archery season.

Ducks and geese are starting to migrate and will soon be filling the marshes.

While fall weather will keep hunters cool in the woods, it is also already bringing out the bite in the Northwoods. Bull elks have begun bugling in the Flambeau River State Forest.

There have been numerous reports of strikes, follows and general musky success, along with smallmouth bass and largemouth, though the latter remain more elusive.

The dropping temperatures are also slowly improving the walleye bite, with area rivers and flowages showing the most consistent success. Northern pike have also continued their active trend and panfish action has stayed consistent.

Anglers in the northern Lake Michigan counties are reporting improved success for perch and bluegill, as well as a slowed increase in walleye pressure and success.

Intermittent and sporadic weather patterns over the past two weeks in the Bay, seem to have dropped the bite for all but musky anglers, who continue to do well in the cooling waters.

One other exception are those seeking walleye in Door County, were a strong and consistent evening/night bite has been reported.

Smallmouth bass fishing has also continued to be very good and a good number of trophy sized fish have been reported throughout the Door County peninsula.

Anglers in the southern Lake Michigan counties are reported a more sporadic and difficult bite, with heavy rains in many counties dampening pressure and visibility over the weekend.

Milwaukee anglers saw some early morning success for trout and salmon, but by and large, the bite from Sheboygan to Racine still has yet to bounce back from the rain.

Most humming birds that swarmed the feeders this summer have disappeared now from northern Wisconsin, headed off to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America.

The slow but steady southward raptor migration has begun. Numerous red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, and kestrels are moving through the area on their way to wintering regions.

Monarch observations have increased over the last week as they nectar on early fall wildflowers like goldenrod and yellow coneflower.

The forest floor is starting to fade and dim, with the ferns turning brown. Some early yellow and red fall color is appearing in ash and maple in lower wet areas and other areas.

Most area trails are in improving shape after the rains of last week and weekend. With lower amounts of mosquitos, whether you’re hunting, biking, hiking or paddling, it’s looking a great time to be in Wisconsin’s outdoors. With the full moon, there was a full moon hike at the Pike Lake unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a full moon paddle at Merrick State Park, a candlelight hike and stargazing evens at Richard Bong State Recreation Area and Harrington Beach State Park. For a complete list of events search the DNR website for keywords “Get Outdoors.”


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