Hoots, barks and yips make a forest chorus

Snow fell on much of the state last week, with heavy amounts in the north and northeast. The Door County Peninsula and nearby areas were blanketed with almost foot of powder.

Central and southern Wisconsin received considerably less and with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s much of that snow is nearly gone.

Counties across roughly the northern quarter of the state have snowmobile trails open and in good to excellent condition on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report.

Cross-country ski trails are being groomed in about the northern half of the state and range from fair to very good. With nearly a foot of new snow early there is roughly 20 inches of snow on the ground at the Brule River State Forest.

Ski trails are in very good condition at the Brule River State Forest after the area received an additional foot of snow this week.

Ice depths on northern lakes continue to range from 16 to 20 inches. Anglers on Sawyer County lakes have seen some panfish action on minnows and wax worms.

Anglers in the Park Falls area were catching crappies and walleyes.

Last weekend at a fishing tournament in northeastern Wisconsin walleye, bluegill, bass, and northern were being caught.

Large crappies have been caught on Lake Altoona in Eau Claire. There have been some good catches of panfish and walleye on the Wolf River. Fishermen are still pulling up brown trout and panfish through the ice at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee.

Coyote and fox activity seems to have increased recently. Mid-January is generally the onset of coyote and red fox breeding cycles.

Foxes and coyotes are more likely to travel in pairs now, and the fresh snow and increased activity means they are more visible then at any other time of the year.

Cold, crisp winter nights afford opportunities to listen for the raspy barks of red fox or the high-pitched yipping of coyotes. Pup litters of both species are born in March or April.

Great horned owls begin hooting and claiming territories this month.

Open water along the Lake Michigan shoreline and the Milwaukee Harbor was attracting thousands of scaup and goldeneyes, along with a few common and red-breasted mergansers.

As of January 16, an estimated 240 Snowy Owls have been found in 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties since the first arrived on October 20.

The warmer temperatures in the forecast will make weekends an excellent time to get outdoors. For all details and a complete list of activities search the DNR website for “Get Outdoors.”

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