More days of blaze
Gun deer hunts continue into December
By KEVIN NAZE
Area deer hunters who haven’t yet bagged their buck aren’t out of luck just yet.
While the general nine-day gun deer hunt ends Sunday, firearm deer hunting, where permitted, is extended through Dec. 7 in Brown County’s metro subzone.
Elsewhere, a 10-day muzzleloader deer season begins Monday.
After those hunts conclude, there’s four more days of firearm opportunity Dec. 8-11 during a statewide antlerless-only deer hunt.
Then, after a nearly two-week return to camo and bows, select farmland units will reopen to the blaze orange and pink brigades during a holiday antlerless gun hunt Dec. 24-Jan. 1.
Deer Hunt ’22 dawned cloudy, cold and windy throughout the state.
It was spitting light snow at times, and low temperatures both mornings ranged from single digits in the north to teens closer to home.
With west winds 15-25 miles per hour and higher gusts, wind chills were well below zero Saturday and Sunday mornings.
While the preliminary opening weekend numbers weren’t available as of this Monday writing, it’s likely the totals will reflect a rebounding deer herd and decent conditions.
Yes, it was very windy and cold, but snow in many areas helped hunters spot and track deer easier, both before and after the shot.
Cold temperatures also tend to get deer and deer hunters moving more, increasing sightings.
And plenty of lucky license-buyers caught the tail end of the annual whitetail mating season, which had more mature bucks moving in daylight hours.
A wild card will be just how many hunters purchased licenses.
If a recent trend in dropping sales continues, that could impact the numbers.
Additionally, the early harvest, which includes the bow, crossbow, youth gun, disabled and damage deer hunts, was approaching 100,000 whitetails before the 9-day traditional season even opened.
That’s a lot of deer off the landscape.
More hunting news
It’s time to start thinking about spring wild turkey and fall black bear permits.
Application deadlines for both are Dec. 10.
You can apply wherever licenses are sold, online at gowild.wi.gov, or from the Hunt Wild app on your Android or Apple device.
Elsewhere, the southern duck hunting zone is open through Dec. 4 and the open water duck zone through Dec. 13.
The northern zone closed Tuesday.
Canada goose hunters can take advantage of big numbers of locally-raised birds.
The southern zone closes Dec. 4 but reopens Dec. 18 and runs through Jan. 3.
The northern zone closes Dec. 16.
Wild turkeys are legal through Jan. 8 in zones 1-5.
That’s the same closing date for pheasant and Zone A ruffed grouse.
Zone B grouse hunting ends Dec. 8.
Wolf Plan released
Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the Department of Natural Resources finally released its long-awaited draft wolf management plan one day after Tony Evers was announced as the winner of the governor’s race.
The biggest news was that the agency did away with the minimum goal of 350 wolves in the state, instead recommending that wildlife officials and a wolf advisory committee monitor populations within the six wolf hunting zones and decide — in years when and where management is allowed — whether to try to reduce, stabilize or grow the population.
Citizens are encouraged to read and comment on the draft plan.
The deadline to submit comments is Jan. 10.
You can find links to the draft and the survey at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolfmanagementplan.
Trees free for fourth graders
Wisconsin fourth grade students can receive a free tree seedling from the DNR reforestation program for next spring’s Arbor Day observations.
School principals, fourth grade teachers and fourth grade homeschool parents are encouraged to visit dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/treeplanting/arborform to order the seedlings.
Water levels update
As of Nov. 18, Lake Michigan and Green Bay water levels were 35 inches above the 1964 record monthly low and five inches above the 100-year average.
Levels are down about 30 inches in the past two years, however, and were 33 inches below the 1986 record high.