October abounds with opportunities for Packerland outdoorsmen
Salmon sightings, duck opener Oct. 1
By KEVIN NAZE
If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, October is your month.
As the day-length melts away, an amazing array of reds, oranges and yellows mix with the greens and browns of the woods and fields to paint a picture that happens just once a year — and only for a fleeting few weeks.
There’s a nip in the air in the morning, while the afternoons often top out mild enough for jeans and a favorite hoodie.
Whether you fish and hunt or just like to get outside and take a hike, now’s the time to check your favorite public park, forest or fish and wildlife area.
With no heavy frost in the forecast for weeks, you’ll need insect repellent if spending time around woods and water.
Windy days help keep the mosquitoes off, but ticks are still active.
If you want a shot at seeing some of the biggest fish that swim Lake Michigan, the C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility, N3884 Ransom Moore Lane west of Kewaunee, is hosting an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.
There will be guided tours, egg collection demonstrations, fishing displays and an opportunity to adopt a sturgeon for river release.
The Algoma-Kewaunee Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen will provide wagon rides, and food and drink will be available for sale.
On Oct. 3 and Oct. 6, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries staff will be spawning Chinook salmon at Sturgeon Bay’s Strawberry Creek facility.
The public can watch the process off of Strawberry Lane, east of County Hwy. U, about a mile south of Hwy. 42/57.
Hunting seasons open
Meanwhile, Oct. 1 is opening day of the southern duck hunting zone, which includes much of Brown County.
Exceptions include the northwest part, which is in the northern zone (opened Sept. 24) and the open water zone of Green Bay (opens Oct. 15).
Next weekend, Oct. 8-9, is the youth gun deer hunt.
If you plan on taking a youngster hunting, be sure to brush up on all the rules.
There’s a two-page summary available online at p.widencdn.net/gpkljm/DeerYouthHunt.
A week later, the ring-necked pheasant, Hungarian partridge and southern zone cottontail rabbit hunting seasons open at 9 a.m. Oct. 15.
Other openers that day include the Zone B ruffed grouse hunt plus fox, bobcat (with permit) and raccoon hunting (residents).
Coyote hunting is open year-round.
Many nuisance species can be shot all year, too, including starling, English (house) sparrow, opossum, skunk, woodchuck and porcupine.
Additionally, landowners and family members can hunt or trap their own property all year for rabbit, squirrel, fox, raccoon, woodchuck, beaver and coyote.
Stay safe outdoors
DNR recreational safety specialists are stressing safety after a deadly year on land and water in Wisconsin.
A total of 85 people died in recreational vehicle accidents in 2021, including 34 in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes and 25 in boating accidents.
Twenty-six others — 13 in each activity — died while snowmobiling or using utility task vehicles (UTVs).
Wisconsin registered more than 1.3 million recreational vehicles last year: 629,399 boats, 331,869 ATVs, 210,229 snowmobiles, 134,718 UTVs and 6,454 off-highway motorcycles, or OHMs.
UTV and OHM registrations have more than doubled the past five years, and ATV use is the highest on record, up nearly 17,000 since 2017.
Boating registrations are up more than 4,500 the past five years, while snowmobile registrations — highly dependent on winter weather — dropped three of the past five years.
Not included in the boat totals are manually propelled boats without motors or sails, sail boats under 12 feet without motors and vessels registered in another state that use Wisconsin waters for less than 60 continuous days.
Alcohol use and excessive speed topped the list of factors in fatal ATV, UTV and snowmobile crashes, while reckless behavior by passengers or operators was the top factor in fatal boating accidents.
Thirty of the 34 people who died in ATV accidents and all 13 who died in UTV accidents were not wearing helmets; similarly, 21 of the 25 who died in fatal boating accidents were not wearing a personal flotation device.
Sixty-nine percent of those who died in UTV accidents weren’t wearing seat belts.
Helmets were worn by all 13 who died in snowmobile accidents.
In addition to alcohol use, excessive speed and sharp turns were factors in most of those.
Safety education training rules vary by vehicle. Learn more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation.
Last call to comment
If you want an opportunity to comment on the DNR’s three-year salmon and trout stocking plan for Lake Michigan and Green Bay, do so by midnight Oct. 1.
You can learn more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/lakemichigan/LakeMichiganSalmonandTroutMeetings.