Fall’s first hunts begin Thursday
By KEVIN NAZE
It’s still summer on the calendar — and feels like it, too — but the first “fall” hunting seasons already begin next week.
Sept. 1 is opening day of the early goose, teal and mourning dove hunts, and black bear enthusiasts lucky enough to draw a tag can begin Sept. 7.
The early goose hunt has a liberal daily bag limit of five Canada geese, and runs through Sept. 15.
It is designed to reduce a booming population of locally-born Canada geese.
The regular goose hunt opens Sept. 16.
There’s a three-bird daily bag limit for most of it, but a five-bird bag returns for the Southern Zone’s holiday hunt Dec. 18-Jan. 3.
While migratory birds attract a small percentage of the state’s 800,000 or so hunters, thousands of venison lovers have been scouting in anticipation of the archery and crossbow deer opener Sept. 17.
That’s also opening day for the wild turkey, gray and fox squirrel, Northern Zone cottontail rabbit and Zone A ruffed grouse seasons.
The youth waterfowl hunt weekend is Sept. 17-18; the Northern Zone duck season opens Sept. 24 and the split Southern Zone duck hunt runs Oct. 1-9 and Oct. 15-Dec. 4.
Learn To Hunt
The Department of Natural Resources is hosting the second of several educational webinars at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 for those with a new interest in hunting.
This series has been made in partnership with Becoming an Outdoorswoman, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever.
Guest speakers share experiences getting started in hunting and include common challenges faced by those new to hunting, fishing or trapping.
Wednesday’s webinar is titled, “Wanna Go Hunting: What Can We Hunt?” and covers a wide variety of hunting opportunities available and basic equipment needs to get started.
Tune in at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdejnOkO9ec.
The webinar will be recorded and can be viewed on YouTube any time using the same link.
Meanwhile, you can find links on mentored hunting, hunter education classes, licenses and more at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt.
Shooting Sports Month
More than 20 state governors — all Republicans except for Tony Evers — have signed a proclamation dedicating August as National Shooting Sports Month for the positive impacts of hunting and recreational shooting.
Gov. Evers said the state was joining the DNR and all Wisconsinites engaged in hunting and shooting sports in recognizing these activities and continuing to promote a culture of safety, responsibility and environmental stewardship.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation says more than 56 million adults and youths practice responsible firearm ownership.
Shooting sports are a $70 billion industry that provides over 375,000 jobs nationwide.
The proclamation signed by Evers highlighted those contributions as well as millions raised for wildlife and conservation efforts through excise tax payments paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers.
These payments are returned to the states based on land size and the number of paid hunting license holders.
Report wildlife sightings
Wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to report game bird observations this month, and deer sightings through Sept. 30.
The Game Bird Brood Survey and Operation Deer Watch are easier than ever to use, thanks to an online app.
For info on how to get set up, visit https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/GameBirdBroodObservations and
Zoom in to meeting
The DNR will share the latest state and federal Lake Michigan fisheries research and take public input on salmon and trout stocking at a meeting Aug. 30 from 6-9 p.m. at Lakeshore Technical College’s Centennial Hall West in Cleveland.
Anyone can attend in person, or online via Zoom.
More information, including a link to pre-register, is available at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/lakemichigan/LakeMichiganSalmonandTroutMeetings.html.
Water levels dropping
As of Aug. 19, Lake Michigan water levels were down two inches in the past month, nine inches in the past year and 26 inches from the monthly record, set in 2020.
Lake levels were still 39 inches above the record monthly low, set in 1964, and seven inches above the 100-year average.