Wisconsin deer opener today; rut winding down

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Hunters should still see some bucks pushing does around, but the rut appears to be winding down, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said.

Today’s the opener for the nine-day gun deer season in Wisconsin while Michigan hunters are in the second week of a 16-day season ending Nov. 30.

Today’s forecast is sunny with a high near 40 and gusty winds. Clouds are expected to move in Sunday with a chance of rain or snow.

“Sunny days and above freezing daytime temps have softened the ice in low lying areas, making walking through swampy areas trickier,” the Wisconsin DNR advised. Hunters are also reminded that baiting and feeding is prohibited in all local Wisconsin counties.

Hunters with permits will, however, be allowed to kill does in every Wisconsin county for the first time in a decade.

The DNR is encouraging hunters to dispose of carcasses in landfills or in trash bins the agency has placed around the state to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Hunters will be allowed to move deer killed in CWD-affected areas only to another county within the CWD-affected area, an adjacent county, a meat processor or a taxidermist.

The department also is asking hunters to turn in deer heads for CWD testing.

At Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis., Doug Whisler said archers continued to harvest a few bucks while anglers were getting an early start on ice fishing.

“I’d use caution because of the rain that we had this week,” he added.

There is still some open water on bigger lakes.

Whisler noted he was busy Friday with license sales for the deer hunt. Earlier in the week, the DNR said overall sales were roughly on pace with 2018.

The Michigan DNR reported these Upper Peninsula fishing conditions:

Overall: On Lake Superior, surface water temperatures were in the low 40’s. Deep snow could be found along the northeastern end of the Upper Peninsula.

Little Bay De Noc: Only two launches have been used because some are closed, and some had ice. Most use the Kipling launch, which reopened with the warmer weather. The only other launch is Gladstone, however there is no dock in. The handful of anglers that have gone out reported good to excellent walleye catches. Most were trolling stick baits in 20 to 35 feet from the First Reef to the Center Reef. A few that anchored on the Center Reef also caught fish when casting stick baits along the break. The catches were a mix of large and small fish including some limit catches. Boat anglers should watch for any floating ice. Looking ahead at the extended forecast, the bay should remain open and fishable for the next week or so especially for boat anglers.


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