Wild Things: Fruitful Harvest at Strawberry Creek

The Department of Natural Resources’ Strawberry Creek weir at Sturgeon Bay saw nearly 4,000 salmon handled this month. 

In six work days between Oct. 2 and Oct. 19, 3,942 Chinook salmon and 51 cohos were processed. An estimated 3.4 million-plus eggs were taken from 650 female Chinooks. The cohos were sorted for data only. 

After close to 70 percent of the eggs failed to hatch in 2021– resulting in hundreds of thousands fewer salmon stocked the following spring – the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been taking far more eggs than usual the past two years to ensure they have enough to meet the annual quota of 1.2 million fingerling Chinooks.

At Kewaunee, only 414 “kings” and 18 cohos were sorted Oct. 7 and Oct. 18, but collection of cohos for spawning was to begin Oct. 25. A good number were moving up with heavy rain this week.

Meanwhile, in eight processing days between Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2,304 Chinooks and 1,236 cohos were handled at the Root River facility in Racine. There were 124 cohos spawned, with more collected Oct. 26.

No state egg take is done on the Ahnapee River, but some anglers are finding salmon, northern pike and a few brown and rainbow trout between Algoma and Forestville this week.

In addition, northern Door bays and harbors have produced some salmon and trout, along with pike, bass, walleye and yellow perch.

Updated Deer Count

Drivers concerned about having a run-in with a whitetail have more than 800 fewer to deal with thanks to Door and Kewaunee counties after the first six weekends of the 2023-24 deer hunting seasons.

Including Brown County, where hunters have registered 460 deer so far, the three-county region had produced 1,263 whitetails through Oct. 22. Door hunters reported 436 deer (147 bucks), and Kewaunee County hunters 367 (148 bucks).

Statewide, the youth gun count stood at 7,849 deer (3,947 bucks), the crossbow tally at 15,876 (7,520 bucks), and the bow harvest at 11,097 (4,425 bucks).

Buck movement is increasing as the annual mating season heats up. In the past week alone, bow and crossbow hunters in Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties registered 89 bucks.

Some hunters who’ve already taken a deer or two with arrow or bolt are preparing for the nine-gun hunting season opener, Nov. 18, by sighting in their favorite firearm and checking stands or blinds for needed adjustments or repairs.

Local hunters get free antlerless deer tags with each license purchased. Many units also have bonus permits available. Check the state list at

Report Roadkills

Drivers who hit deer (or others who may be interested) can legally salvage what they can from the carcass once they report it.

A phone line – 608.267.7691 – is staffed daily 7 am to 10 pm. After hours, leave a voice message with your name, call-back number with area code, deer location (road name, township, county) and whether the deer was a buck, doe or fawn. 

By leaving a message, you are authorized to take possession of the whole carcass. A DNR dispatcher will call you the next morning for additional information.

Alternatively, you can register a vehicle-killed deer or turkey online at

DNR Secretary Resigns

Wisconsin will have its third DNR Secretary in little more than 12 months after Secretary-designee Adam Payne said in a letter he will step down from his post Nov. 1.

Payne was appointed by Gov. Evers late last December, after Preston Cole resigned after serving four years. 

Payne said he needed to spend more quality time with his aging parents and support his wife’s role as caretaker. He also said he wanted to spend more time with four young grandchildren and focus more attention on his personal health and well-being.

New Board Meets

Did the state Natural Resources Board vote on the DNR’s new Wolf Plan Wednesday? You can check the webcast of what could have been one of the more interesting monthly meetings in some time – thanks to the recent politics involving the dismissal of four previous members and the addition of four new ones – at The bios of the four members added last week can be seen via a link at

Lights Out For Birds

Millions of birds are winging their way south, and as they do so, birding experts say homeowners can help by using bird-friendly products to reduce collisions with windows by day and turning off or dimming non-essential lights at night.

Artificial lights confuse and disorient birds migrating under the cover of darkness. Lights Out campaigns aim to put a spotlight on helping birds safely complete their journeys.

DST Ends Nov. 5

Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 am Sunday, Nov. 5, so take that into account if you want to be in the woods by dawn. It’s a good idea to change any clocks that don’t do it automatically before you go to bed the night prior, and set your alarm accordingly.