Wild Things: New Fishing, Hunting Licenses Ready

Hunters and anglers can now purchase 2024-25 licenses via the state’s Go Wild site (, or in-person at one of 16 locations in Door and Kewaunee counties.

Door County businesses that offer in-person license buying include the Forestville One Stop Mobil; Brussels General Store; PJ’s of Door County; JP Express near Carlsville; and Howie’s Tackle & Archery, Greystone Castle, American Petroleum Shell and Wal-Mart, all in Sturgeon Bay.

In Kewaunee County, in-person sales are available at Graf’s Mobil Mart and both JP BP gas stations in Algoma; the Dyckesville Kwik Stop; Lee’s Sports and Lemen’s Hardware in Luxemburg; Kewaunee BP; and Bradley Gun Sales near Denmark.

Current-year licenses expire March 31. 

The only change in fees this year is that nonresident archery and crossbow licenses increased to $200, the same as the nonresident gun deer license. There’s a one-time discount for new nonresident buyers: $99.75. 

If you missed out on applying for a spring turkey permit – or just want a shot at some leftovers – get your license and stamp privilege soon so you’ll be ready when the Zone 2 tags go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Thousands of extras are available at a cost of $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. The tag-buying limit is one per day.

Zones 1 and 3 have the most, a combined 72,000-plus in periods C through F. Zone 2 has more than 16,000, with all but 552 of them in E and F. Zone 4 has more than 13,000 over three periods, Zone 5 more than 3,000 the last two weeks, and Zone 7 218 in period F. No extras are available for Zone 6.

Meanwhile, reduced bag limits on walleyes and special closures for many bay creeks and ditches went into effect this week, as did the 28-inch minimum size limit on the Fox River. Yellow perch season closes on Green Bay at the end of the day March 15, but perch are legal on the lake side through the end of April. 

Anglers are already fishing open water from boats and shore. Walleyes, perch, whitefish and pike are being targeted most on Green Bay waters, while Lake Michigan is producing some brown and lake trout.

Finally, if you’re an early riser, you’ll have an extra hour to prepare for dawn adventures starting Sunday. Daylight Savings Time kicks in at 2 am, March 10. Depending where you are on the peninsula, that’ll put sunrise at about 7:09 am and sunset at about 6:49 pm. The 11 hours and 40 minutes of daylight will stretch to 12 hours and 45 minutes by month’s end. 

$40 Million for DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is slated to receive more than $40 million in federal apportionments from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during fiscal year 2024.

Funding comes from excise taxes paid last year on ammunition, firearms, archery and angling equipment by manufacturers, and a fuel and small engine tax.

Combined with fish and wildlife agency funding, agencies across the country have supported the stocking of more than one billion fish, managed and monitored more than 500 species of wild mammals and birds, provided hunter education to millions of students, and constructed or renovated more than 800 target ranges.

“Around the country, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funding supports collaborative wildlife and habitat conservation, fish and wildlife health, clean water and outdoor access efforts of our state, commonwealth and territorial partner agencies,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “This vital funding fosters efforts to monitor and manage our nation’s fish and wildlife resources, supports hunter and aquatic education, improves access for outdoor pursuits like hunting, fishing and boating and connects people to wildlife and wild places.”

Wisconsin’s federal take includes $27,739,539 in wildlife restoration and hunter education funding, $11,822,290 in sport fish restoration dollars and $983,772 in state wildlife grant apportionments.

Wisconsin’s sport fish and wildlife restoration kickbacks are similar to the 10-year average, though the wildlife dollars dropped by more than $6 million from last year’s record number.

This conservation funding combines the excise taxes with license, permit and stamp fees paid by those who hunt, fish, trap, and target shoot. The money provides funding for various types of conservation, public access, safety, education and habitat initiatives. 

Updated Bird Totals

A whopping 7,895 species were seen or heard during last month’s Great Backyard Bird Count, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

Updated totals after the March 1 reporting deadline include 676 species in the United States, the ninth-most of more than 250 countries or subregions. Columbia, Ecuador, India and Brazil were the top four, each with more than 1,000 species.

Wisconsin was 36th in the U.S. with 131 species. Among the counties, Brown was sixth with 63 species, Manitowoc seventh with 61, Door 14th with 54 species Kewaunee 28th with 41.

Lake Levels Down

Lake Michigan’s water levels are only about an inch above the long-term average, continuing a downward trend that began after the record high levels in 2020. 

Water has dropped nearly 3 feet since, but is still about 30 inches above the all-time monthly low, set in 1964. Levels are down about 3 inches from last March.