In the Outdoors: Hunters head to the woods
By Kevin Naze
BROWN COUNTY – Hundreds of area hunters are gearing up for the season’s first opportunities, with thousands more ready to join them in the coming weeks.
The first of more than a dozen “fall” season openers get underway Wednesday, Sept. 1, including early Canada goose, early teal and mourning dove hunts.
Wildlife officials and many urban property owners can help trim a booming population of locally-raised Canada geese.
Even with a generous five-bird daily bag, goose numbers are soaring.
Next up, Sept. 8, is the black bear hunt with dogs in Zones A, B and D and with bait in Zones C, E and F.
Those baiting in Zones A, B and D can begin hunting Sept. 15.
More than 11,000 hunters were drawn for harvest tags, and a kill of more than 4,000 bears is again expected.
The state bear population is estimated to be in the 25,000 range.
September’s most anticipated opener — bow and crossbow deer — begins Sept. 18.
That’s also the starting date for fall turkey, gray and fox squirrel, crow, Zone A ruffed grouse and northern zone cottontail rabbit seasons, as well as the youth waterfowl hunt weekend.
New this year, the duck zone structure includes an Open Water Zone for Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
Regular waterfowl hunting will run for a 60-day season, with open and close dates set by the harvest zone.
The Northern Zone opens Sept. 25, the Southern Zone Oct. 2 and the new Open Water Zone Oct. 16.
After the early hunt ends, goose hunters will have a 92-day regular season, which includes two splits to allow hunting during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The South Canada Goose Zone has a daily bag limit of three Canada geese during the first portion of the season and five Canada geese during the Holiday Hunt (Dec. 20-Jan. 4).
Duck and goose hunters will see a state waterfowl stamp fee increase from $7 to $12 to adjust for inflation since the last increase 24 years ago.
Ducks Unlimited and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association were among the groups supporting the fee increase, which will fund waterfowl habitat restoration work across the state to improve breeding, bird health and hunter opportunity.
For the second straight year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has combined all the hunting regulations into one larger pamphlet.
It’s available online and soon will be at DNR service centers, Fleet Farms and all other license agents around the state.
Wolf count climbing
Through Aug. 23, gray wolves had killed nearly 60 pets and livestock in Wisconsin so far this year, with nearly two dozen other animals injured or missing.
More than 550 other livestock and pets have been involved in verified wolf harassment complaints, and more than 235 pets and livestock in unconfirmed depredations or complaints.
Wolf killings, injuries and harassment to pets and livestock have already taken place in 23 counties this year.
Disabled deer hunt
Disabled hunters can apply to participate in a special gun deer hunt on private property across the state through a DNR- and landowner-sponsored program.
This year’s hunt takes place Oct. 2-10 on select private lands.
Hunters must contact a landowner sponsor by Sept. 1.
To be eligible, hunters must possess a valid Class A, C or D disabled permit or Class B permit issued for longer than one year, authorizing shooting from a stationary vehicle.
If new to this opportunity, learn more on the DNR website.
Sports editor’s note: To read another In the Outdoors column by Kevin Naze, CLICK HERE.