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Bundle Up and Get Outside during Cold, Windy Weekend


DNR research vessel captain and avid outdoorsperson Brandon “Boone” Bastar shows off a 30-pound-plus chinook salmon at the Strawberry Creek facility near Sturgeon Bay on Oct. 2. Data and egg collection is nearing its peak there and at the Besadny facility west of Kewaunee. Visitors who want to see fish should go soon. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Lovers of the outdoors who are looking for a perfect weekend to enjoy their favorite pursuits are not going to find one anytime soon. 

A gorgeous weather week is expected to head south by the time you read this, with gusty winds pushing in cold air from late Thursday night to early Monday morning. Heavy rain is possible Friday, with a chance of sleet and maybe even a snowflake or two up north. After sunny skies and 60s earlier this week, a 20- to 30-degree drop in air temperature with chilling winds might make you feel like hibernating – or at least cozying up to a hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa.

But the optimists among us won’t let Mother Nature win yet another round. In fact, there’s a bright side to crummy-weather days: Not only are you likely to find less fishing pressure and a welcome break from mosquitoes, but blustery days are also good times to scout and set stands for deer hunting.

Options for anglers include fishing for perch in Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor or Little Sturgeon; casting for spawn-minded salmon and brown trout in Northern Door bays and harbors; and trolling for walleyes wherever they can escape the wind and waves. 

Death-run chinooks are dominating the Ahnapee and Kewaunee River fisheries right now, and though ugly, some are absolutely huge and a blast to see. Hooking up is another story. Even if you do, there’s a chance it might not end well because these fish are explosive. Be prepared with stout tackle, waders and a large net.

Coho salmon are in much better shape and are moving in with brown trout. The river run for both should peak in late October and early November, though browns can be found in both Kewaunee County rivers all winter. 

Avid waterfowl hunters live for weekends such as this because ducks especially can be incredibly active. Ducks and geese were off limits during the split-season southern-zone break this week, but the season will reopen Oct. 12.

Bow and crossbow deer hunters might not like the hand Mother Nature is dealing this weekend, but it’s a great opportunity to scout and place stands for bow, crossbow or even the November gun season. 

Through the first two weeks of the bow and crossbow seasons, Door County hunters had registered 143 whitetails, including 98 antlerless deer. The total in Kewaunee County was 76, including 41 baldies. Statewide, more than 10,000 deer were registered by Oct. 1: 5,229 with crossbow (2,367 bucks) and 5,099 with bow (1,885 bucks).

As of early Tuesday, updated numbers from the weekend youth hunt were not yet available. Saturday brought rain, but Sunday was a beautiful day. Judging by the photos on social media, many local youths scored some venison for their families. 

As a sidebar, the DNR is reminding hunters and anglers that high, fast and cold water can be very dangerous. Safety specialists are especially encouraging late-season boaters to wear life jackets and watch for floating debris washed out by flooding rains or pulled off beaches by high water.

It’s Time to Order Trees

Property owners and managers can order trees from the DNR for spring 2020 planting. Seedlings can also be purchased by youth groups and educational organizations.

State nurseries have provided high-quality seedlings of native species for more than 100 years. The trees are used for reforestation and conservation plantings on private, industrial, state and county forest lands. Forestry specialists say the seedlings can provide future forest products and revenues, wildlife habitat, soil-erosion control, living snow fences, aesthetics and shade. 

A minimum order consists of a packet of 300 trees or shrubs (in increments of 100 of each species), 500 shrubs or 1,000 tree seedlings. 

Available conifer species include white cedar; balsam fir; jack, red and white pine; black and white spruce; and tamarack. Inventories are strong for most species, but the 3-0 age class of white spruce, white pine and white cedar are limited.

Hardwoods include aspen; basswood; river, white and yellow birch; black cherry; hackberry; shagbark hickory; red, silver and sugar maple; bur, red, white and swamp white oak; and black walnut. 

Shrubs include red-osier and silky dogwood, American hazelnut, Juneberry, ninebark and American plum. 

Check out pricing and availability at dnr.wi.gov/topic/TreePlanting/order.html

Snapshot Wisconsin

Since its 2016 launch and statewide expansion last year, Snapshot Wisconsin has captured close to 35 million trail-camera images of wildlife on private and public land. This volunteer-based project provides a unique dataset to help DNR wildlife staff make management decisions. Even if you don’t host a camera, you can see and help identify images from all over the state. Learn more at dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot.