By KEVIN NAZE
One of the most exciting times of the year is here for hunters — and drivers.
While those dressed in camouflage welcome the increased activity, the frenzied action caused by the white-tailed deer mating season could mean an unwanted run-in for motorists.
Yes, it’s slow-down-and-brake season in Wisconsin.
Drivers should be aware that from about Halloween through the third week of November, vehicle-deer collisions spike.
The time between dusk and dawn sees the most deer movement.
But when bucks are chasing does, daylight sightings increase anywhere whitetails frequent.
Vehicle repair specialists will be kept busy until the mating season wanes and the Nov. 19-27 gun season trims the numbers in rural areas.
Closer to home, motorists in the Greater Green Bay metro area compete with bow and crossbow hunters to see who can thin the herd more.
Through Oct. 23, Brown County hunters had taken 442 deer from the fields and forests, including 175 antlered bucks and 267 antlerless.
The totals included 235 with crossbow, 136 with bow and 71 in the youth gun hunt.
Statewide, more than 41,000 whitetails were harvested through Oct. 23.
That includes nearly 20,000 with crossbow, nearly 13,000 with bow and more than 8,000 during the youth gun hunt weekend.
Hunters are reporting a solid increase in rubs (on trees) and scrapes (on the ground), two telltale signs that bucks are getting aggressive.
Now’s an ideal time to hunt near scrapes and food sources.
The use of grunt calls, rattling antlers, doe-in-heat scents and decoys is also popular, but most experts say knowing where the deer want to be and getting into an ambush site without them seeing, hearing or smelling you is far more important.
The 10-day forecast calls for high temperatures in the 50s and lows in the 40s, better weather for hunting than last weekend’s unseasonably mild conditions.
By the time the last shot is fired — the end of January in areas of the state with extended bow and crossbow hunts — it’s likely that well over 300,000 deer will have been taken throughout Wisconsin, about 3,000 of them in Brown County.
Elsewhere, it’s prime time for waterfowl, both ducks and geese, and pheasants and wild turkeys have been luring hunters afield.
Check all the hunt seasons at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Hunt.
Hunt webinar Nov. 2
The last in a series of educational hunting webinars hosted by the DNR will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday for members of the public new to hunting or are curious about hunting.
The final webinar will share information about opportunities for new hunters to find hunting partners and mentors, and the audience can ask questions of the panelists.
Those tuning in will hear from hunters about their experience finding a trusted source of information and direction from someone that took them hunting for the first time.
All of the webinars are recorded, and will be available online.
Here’s the link: youtube.com/watch?v=d4IV5ZymEMw.
The Department of Natural Resources called off a planned meeting to gather feedback on salmon and trout stocking this week.
DNR Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor Brad Eggold said they were instead aiming for a meeting sometime in December in order to have more time to gather public feedback.
The DNR has reopened the public comment period through Nov. 30 and is willing to have staff meet with fishing groups to hear ideas and discuss future management options.
To request staff presence at a future meeting, or to suggest any salmon and trout fishery management ideas, email [email protected].
The DNR’s 2023 Keep Wildlife Wild poster contest is open to students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Submissions are due by Feb. 17.
For inspiration, visit eekwi.org/explore/animals and
For more on the contest, dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/posterdesigncontest.
Buy sturgeon license
If you want a shot at spearing a sturgeon in Lake Winnebago when the season opens Feb. 11, you need to purchase a license by Oct. 31.
The only exceptions are for military personnel home on leave during the spearing season and youth who will turn 12 between Nov. 1 and the last day of the 2023 spearing season.
Water levels update
Lake Michigan and Green Bay water levels are 34 inches above the 1964 record monthly low and four 4 inches above the 100-year average, but have dropped more than 30 inches the past two years.
As of Oct. 21, lake levels were 37 inches below the 1986 record high.
The lake has dropped one foot in the past year.
Six inches of that has been since mid-September.