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Opening Day A Week Away Insect repellent essential


Mosquito and tick repellent will be almost as essential as having a license, bow, gun or crossbow next weekend when many Wisconsin hunting seasons get underway.

Men, women and youths out during the early teal, early goose and mourning dove hunts this past week reported very heavy concentrations of mosquitoes.

Ticks haven’t been too bad along the Green Bay and Lake Michigan shores, but there are plenty as you head north or west.

Seasons that get underway next Saturday, Sept. 17, include archery and crossbow deer, youth waterfowl, wild turkey, squirrel, crow, Zone A ruffed grouse and northern zone cottontail rabbit hunts.

Be sure to pick up your hunting license before heading out.

Do it yourself via gowild.wi.gov or visit a business that’s hooked up to the state’s automated license issuing system.

If you want the opportunity to use both a vertical bow and a crossbow legally, buy the archery or crossbow license, then a $3 upgrade that makes the license valid for either.

Conservation Patron buyers can already use either.

Hunting regulations, public land maps and game registration can all be done with your phone by downloading the DNR’s Go Wild app.

If you’d rather go on your computer, check out dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt as a one-stop spot for season dates, hunting hours, safety education classes, and more.

In addition to readying gear and practicing their shooting, many hunters have been scouting via long-distance glassing and via trail cameras so they’ll have the best chance at seeing game opening weekend.

If you don’t own or lease hunting land, there’s a good chance you’ll be competing for a prime spot.
Thankfully, there’s a lot of acreage available for public hunting.

In addition to DNR-owned or leased properties and county, state and national forests, hunters can find access on open managed forest law lands and many land trust and nature conservancy areas.

As always, those willing to go deep into cover typically see fewer hunters.

But the edges of public and private can be good, too, especially early in the season.

It can get dicey, though, if you shoot something on public land and it ends up running onto or flying across onto private property.

It is illegal to track or retrieve game on private property without the landowner’s permission.

The Hunt Wild app, onX Hunt and other phone apps are extremely popular for finding public land properties and landowner names.

You can also search on your computer.

A good starting point is dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/lands.

Bonus Deer Tags
Hunters in Brown, Manitowoc and Outagamie counties can get two free antlerless deer permits with each archery or crossbow and gun deer hunting license, while those in Door, Kewaunee, Oconto and Shawano counties can get three with each.

While many hunters choose to only target bucks or shoot one antlerless, others take advantage of multiple free tags to help reduce farmland or metro deer numbers.

Things are different in the northern or central Forest zones, where you’ll need to purchase a bonus antlerless permit for either public or private land.

Some units are already sold out, but permits remain in many others.

Those cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents or $5 for youth ages 11 and under.

A list of units that still have bonus antlerless harvest authorizations is available at dnr.wisconsin.gov/permits/bonusavailability.html.

Comment on Stocking
A meeting on Lake Michigan fisheries and salmon and trout stocking plans for 2023-2025 lured dozens of anglers in person and more online Aug. 30.

Anyone who missed the in-person or Zoom presentation can find links to everything shown at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/lakemichigan/LakeMichiganSalmonandTroutMeetings.html.
A 30-day public comment period on a three-year stocking plan is underway, ending Oct. 1.

Weekly Water Levels
As of Sept. 2, Lake Michigan water levels were down nine inches from last September and two feet below the monthly record, set in 1986.

Levels were nine inches above the 100-year average.

The lake’s level is projected to drop three more inches by early October.

Action good on reefs and mud flats
Walleye and perch fishing are very good on the bay of Green Bay, with good catches of both taken in and around Geano’s Reef, Vokes Reef, Oconto Shoal, Larson’s Reef and the west shoreline mud out in 24-30 feet of water.

Trolling crankbaits or crawler harnesses are taking the most fish, and casting Ripper minnows or hair jigs has been good too.

Perch are being caught on redworms, nightcrawlers, or minnows.

Musky fishing has been good.

Trolling crankbaits and bucktails, or casting bulldogs or tube jigs has been best.

If you go, please be safe, take a kid fishing and call your local tackle shop for wind and wave conditions.
For more information on what to use and where to fish give Smokeys a call at (920) 593-1749.

Yah, only at Smokeys!!!

Capt Jerry Ruffolo

Anglers Plus Guide Service


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