December 21, 2012
Snow has fallen across most of Wisconsin and temperatures have dropped. The second snow storm of the season has blanketed the half of the state that did not benefit from the snowfall earlier this month.
So after you are done digging out, put the shovel down and wax the skis, gas up the snowmobile and inspect snowshoe varnish and webbing before heading out to celebrate winter.
Some 16-18 inches of snow has piled up from Madison to Milwaukee and Green Bay, whipped into 3-4 foot drifts by high winds, and there maybe more. A couple inches of snow fell in the western and northwestern parts of the state, including Hudson and Ashland with more falling to the east and, including about six inches parts of Eau Claire County and LaCrosse.
Snowmobilers are reminded by state recreational safety specialists not to trespass on snowmobile trails before they are open. Opening of trails is done by county snowmobile trail coordinators based on recommendations from local snowmobile clubs that maintain the trails. Using the trails before they are open can make conditions more difficult for the volunteers, and can also jeopardize the easements that allow trails to cross private lands.
The return of colder weather during the past week began to form some good northern ice, but extreme caution is advised on all state waters. And beware of snow covering dangerous, thin ice.
Where ice has formed, or is starting to form, DNR officials encourages anglers to check in with local bait shops on conditions before going onto the early ice. And when you go out make sure you have a PFD, ice creepers on your boots, extra gloves, and a spud bar to check the ice while walking.
It is best not to go alone, but if you do, tell someone where you are going, when you will be back and carry a cell phone.
While many wait for the ice, there are still open water anglers having spotty success.
Browns and perch have been hitting in Lake Michigan at Lakeshore State Park on spawn sacks and minnows with some success with spoons and plastic. Sauger and walleyes were being caught on the Mississippi River in Pierce County and fishing was steady in Racine County this week with some browns and pike being caught in the marina area.
Gun deer hunters have one final opportunity this year to harvest a deer in the chronic wasting disease management zone of south central Wisconsin. The season, called the Holiday Hunt, runs Dec. 24 through the end of the ongoing late archery hunt, Jan. 6, 2013.
Hunters can fill unused antlerless tags, unused Gun or Archery Buck Carcass Tags or CWD Deer Carcass Tags. Bonus buck rules apply. Deer can be harvested with the use of any legal firearm, bow or crossbow. Archery hunters must meet legal blaze orange requirements during this open firearm season. This includes the wearing of at least 50 percent blaze orange outer clothing above the waste. The goal of the holiday hunt is to provide additional hunting opportunity as well as herd control.
Read and join the discussion on Wisconsin Outdoor Report Update for Dec 21 at OutdoorHub.com.
September 28, 2012
On the cusp of hunting season, the largest private property owner in Minnesota is blocking access to 128,000 acres of property previously open for hunting and snowmobiling. The landowner, Molpus Woodlands Group, based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a timber supplier.
Molpus actually owns 286,000 acres of Minnesota forest, 128,000 of which was enrolled in the Sustainable Forestry Incentives Act program. Under the program, the company’s tax break was at $2 million to maintain the land used by the public, but in 2010, the state capped payments for the program and Molpus saw its annual tax break cut down to $100,000.
The company has posted “Keep Out” signs and barred motorized access to the hunting land and snowmobiling trails popular with residents and visitors. Molpus’ land stands in between hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails.
Rep. Dave Dill, D-Crane Lake, is working toward restoring the tax incentive or reaching another deal with Molpus to reopen their land which is crucial to the local economy.
“We have hundreds of crossings on their land. This is going to shut down snowmobiling in that area if we don’t get this changed,” Dill told the Duluth News Tribune. “This is bigger than just deer hunting. If those snowmobile trails don’t open, they [snowmobilers] will just go somewhere else. It’s a big hit to the economy.”
The legislature convenes again in January to discuss further options, but it’s likely the matter will not change until then.
Read Private Landowner Shuts Off Access to Hunting Land Due to Decreased Tax Break in its entirety on OutdoorHub.com.