WILD THINGS: Strawberry Creek Harvest Begins Oct. 2

Fall colors will be on full display at the Department of Natural Resources Strawberry Creek salmon spawning facility next week.

Visitors can admire the mix of reds, oranges, yellows and greens on the foliage inside the 79.51-acre parcel of state property, but the real stars will be the bronze, copper and black-backed Chinooks, a far cry from their silvery selves swimming the past three or four summers on Lake Michigan.   

DNR Northern Lake Michigan Fisheries Team Supervisor Nick Legler said the pump that supplements the natural creek flow with water from the nearby ship canal was installed Tuesday, and would be turned on by late this week.

Even without the assist – and the drought that has plagued the area most of the month – Legler said there were a lot of salmon already showing up in the creek, a state fish refuge with no angling or harassing of the salmon allowed.

What does occur there every year, however, is a bit risqué: female salmon are stripped of their eggs, and males milked for their sperm, in a decades-old process that delivers more than a million offspring for spring stocking.

Legler said the fisheries team aims to collect the healthiest fish from throughout the run in twice-weekly spawning efforts (Mondays and Thursdays) between Oct. 2-19. 

Chinook salmon await their final destiny in the holding pond at Strawberry Creek. Many go to food pantries, some become liquid fish fertilizer, and others are tested for disease by agency fish health scientists. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Meanwhile, even after the pumps are turned on at the Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility prior to next weekend’s open house at the Kewaunee River collection site  (9 am–2 pm on Oct. 7), visitors there can expect to see the large dorsal fins of spawn-minded “kings” sticking out of the water below the dam, and in the man-made fishway that leads to the sorting ponds.

The open house is an opportunity to check out the fall run and get questions answered by fisheries staff. It features wagon rides to and from the parking area, guided tours, Adopt-A-Sturgeon opportunities, games, displays, demonstrations, fish art T-shirt printing, and food and beverages available for purchase. The facility is located at N3884 Ransom Moore Lane, Kewaunee.

Deer Count Climbs

Bow and crossbow deer hunters registered 3,012 bucks and 4,127 antlerless deer the first 10 days of the 2023 season, including 55 bucks and 121 antlerless combined in Door and Kewaunee counties.

Statewide, there were 1,841 bucks and 2,165 antlerless (4,006) reported by crossbow users, and 1,171 bucks and 1,962 antlerless (3,133) by vertical bow shooters.

Kewaunee County was one of the few where archers reported more deer than crossbow users, 36-34. A total of 22 bucks and 48 antlerless deer were registered there.

Thirty-three bucks and 73 antlerless were registered in Door County, with 72 of the 106 deer taken with crossbows.

Brown County had 46 bucks and 62 antlerless, with crossbows outpacing vertical bow harvests 62-46. 

Of the 7,139 total, Central Farmland hunters racked up 4,542 deer; the Southern Farmland Zone, 1,374; the Northern Forest, 1,005; and the Central Forest, 218.

Blaze Orange Oct. 7-8

It’ll be blaze orange for all except waterfowl hunters during the youth gun deer hunt Oct. 7-8.

All youth hunters must have successfully completed a Hunter Education Program or participate in the Mentored Hunt Program. Valid licenses and harvest authorizations are needed, and an adult 18 years of age or older must accompany the youth.

Learn more about the hunt at

Wolf Caution Areas

Wolves have killed at least 24 dogs and injured seven since early July. Twenty-one of the attacks happened during the bear hound training season in July and August, and 10 occurred within the first three weeks of the hunt, which began Sept. 6. Where allowed, bear hunting with hounds ends Oct. 3. 

Upland game bird, small game animal and predator hunters should be mindful of wolves when hunting with dogs in northern Wisconsin. View an interactive wolf depredation and threats mapping application for some of the locations to avoid at

Although wolf attacks on pets in residential areas are still rare, they do occur and have increased in recent years. For guidance on protecting pets from wolves, visit

Wolves killed more elk in Wisconsin last year than state and tribal hunters did (four for each group). There were 10 known deaths of elk to predators (mostly wolves; one was reported as a black bear kill). There are also likely a number of elk killed that are uncollared, and thus not discovered in time to investigate cause of death.

Meanwhile, the DNR is hosting two open houses next week to talk about the revised draft of the 2023 wolf management plan, including one from 5-7 pm at the UW-Stevens Point Marshfield campus (Room 514) from 5-7 pm. 

The draft was released Aug. 1, and is expected to be presented to the state Natural Resources Board at its Oct. 25 meeting. You can see the plan at