by: Steve Suman
The forecast for this week indicates a damp one, with moderate, more “seasonal” high temperatures until the coming weekend. The forecast shows lows for the week in the 20s and 30s, which combined with expected precipitation, could make for slippery driving conditions, especially in the early morning and evening hours. There is also a chance for measurable snowfall late in the week, but that should please deer hunters looking ahead to the start of the traditional nine-day gun deer season that opens this Saturday, November 18.
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says anglers can find some good fishing on Lake Superior and Chequamegon Bay.
“If you dodge the weather and bring your cold weather gear, brown trout, splake, and a few coho are finally showing up off the Onion and Sioux rivers. Most anglers reporting success are flatlining shad style stickbaits.
“There are a few more days of tributary river fishing – the season closes November 15 – and there is some anxious anticipation of ice fishing, with a few people already venturing out on some of the inland waters!”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the DNR’s nighttime electrofishing surveys.
“People frequently ask fisheries biologists why they perform electrofishing surveys during the night. Certainly, fisheries crews would prefer not to stay up all night, so there must be good reasons for working after dark. There are, in fact, various reasons that are both biological and logistical.
“For starters, research shows that nighttime electrofishing is more efficient than daytime electrofishing for capturing adult bass and bluegill, the typical targets of many DNR electrofishing surveys.
“In addition, research shows that survey crews can capture more species at night than during the day, most notably walleye and sucker.
“Carrying out these surveys at night also reduces conflict with anglers and other recreationists who are more likely to be on the water during the day. Typically, DNR crews that are out at night have the lake to themselves.
“The last important factor has to do with wind speed. Electrofishing becomes considerably more difficult when blowing wind causes a ‘chop’ on the water. Winds tend to be calmer at night, thus creating better conditions for electrofishing surveys.”
Wisconsin’s traditional nine-day gun deer season opens this Saturday, November 18, and continues through Saturday, November 26. The DNR’s Whitetail Deer Hunting Forecast is available on the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/documents/2017MP_deer_forecast.pdf.
The DNR is advising hunters to check the current online regulations for deer tagging rules that changed since last year. Although the rules for tagging changed, successful hunters must still register their deer electronically through the GameReg system and have until 5 p.m. the day following recovery of the deer.
According to DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang, most hunters have adjusted well to using the GameReg electronic registration system since its launch in 2014. He says the simple and convenient process has resulted in high compliance of registration requirements, but the DNR continues to offer walk-in, electronic registration sites at hundreds of locations around the state. To find a site near you, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/wmcwd/RegStation/Search.
The GameReg system is simple, fast, and convenient for hunters and offers three registration options: Online at GameReg.Wi.gov; by phone at 844-game-reg; and at walk-in sites (visit dnr.wi.gov/wmcwd/RegStation/Search). Hunters registering their deer will receive system prompts that include a series of questions, beginning with the deer tag number and hunter’s birth date. For more information, visit FAQ about using your deer tags in 2017 on the DNR website.
The law no longer requires hunters to validate the tag, attach the tag to the deer, or keep the tag after processing the deer. Even with the elimination of the requirement to carry paper carcass tags, hunters still must carry proof of their deer tags and fill tags only within the deer management unit and zone designated on the tag. Hunters have several options for proof of their deer tags: paper copies; DNR issued Conservation Card; GoWild validated Wisconsin driver’s license; or GoWild digital file.
The whitetail rut is in full swing, say Wisconsin DNR biologists, and deer are moving more each week, in the daylight as well as just before and after sundown. Drivers should be especially alert at this time, as the majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur during the months of October and November when deer are most active during the breeding phase. Regardless of the time of year, motorists should be aware of the potential for deer to cross roads at any time.
Motorists can limit their chances of hitting a deer by remaining vigilant, especially in areas with trees and vegetation in close proximity to roads, as these are the places they will most likely encounter deer.
You can reduce your chances of a deer-vehicle collision if you follow these tips: Watch for deer, eliminate distractions while driving, and slow down in early morning and evening hours. When you see one deer, be prepared for another one, as deer seldom run alone. If you see a deer by the roadside, slow down and honk one long blast to frighten away the deer. If you see a deer in your headlights, do not expect the deer to move – headlights can confuse deer and cause them to freeze. Do not rely on deer whistles.
Any person may claim a vehicle-killed deer, but the driver has first priority. If the driver does not want the carcass, any other person arriving at the scene may request possession. To take possession, you must register the deer by phone or online prior to removing the deer. Individuals must provide their DNR customer ID and carcass location to complete the registration. For more information, search “car killed deer” (dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/cardeer.html) on the DNR website.
The DNR continues to encourage hunters to voluntarily record deer and other wildlife observations for the annual Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. The current survey runs through January 7, 2018. The survey helps biologists gain a better understanding of the relative abundance, distribution, and population trends of deer and other wildlife species in the state, as well as develop a long-term database of deer hunter observation data.
Participating hunters should record all wildlife activity during their hunt, even if there are no wildlife sightings. At the end of each year, survey participants can receive a personalized summary of all recorded wildlife. If you have trail camera photos of the following animals – cougar, lynx, moose, wolf, or wolverine – submit them to wildlife management at dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/mammalobsform.asp. For more information on the survey, search “deer hunter wildlife” on the DNR website.
Winter type weather greatly slowed interest in open water fishing, in addition to making it difficult (imagine that) and this will most likely be the final open water fishing report for this season. However, musky season remains open in the North Zone through November 30 and the game fish season for most species (check the regs!) continues through March 4. If you are looking ahead to ice fishing, keep in mind Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend is January 20-21.
Nov. 15: Trout and salmon fishing closes on Lake Superior tributaries (see regs).
Nov. 16: Crow season closes.
Nov. 17: Fall turkey season closes in zones 6 and 7.
Nov. 18-26: Traditional nine-day gun deer season.
Nov. 21: Duck season closes in North Zone.
Nov. 27-Dec. 6: Muzzleloader deer season.
Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.
Nov. 30: Seasons close: Musky in North Zone; Turtle.
Dec. 1: Lake Superior lake trout season opens.
Dec. 6: Seasons close: Muzzleloader deer; Bobwhite quail.
Dec. 7-10: Four-day antlerless hunt.
Dec. 8: Season closes: Ruffed grouse in Zone B.
Dec. 16: North Exterior Zone Canada goose season closes.
Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Antlerless-only Holiday Hunt – farmland units only.
Dec. 25: Period 1 Bobcat season closes.
Dec. 26: Period 2 Bobcat season opens.
Dec. 31: Seasons close: Pheasant; Fall turkey zones 1, 5; Hungarian partridge; Fisher trapping; Frog.