January 10, 2013
An early January thaw and rain in the forecast for this week has conservation wardens across the state cautioning people about thin ice and potentially dangerous conditions on lakes throughout the state. There have been a number of reports this week of vehicles and ice anglers going through the ice at various locations.
With no new snow since the late December snowstorm, snow levels have dropped statewide, and most counties have now closed snowmobile trails, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR). Trails remain open in the most northern tier of counties but are in poor to fair condition. Cross-country ski trails were faring better as of Thursday, but rain in the forecast Thursday night could change that. Lake Kegonsa State Park in Dane County had cancelled a candlelight ski scheduled for Saturday night, but candlelight events at Kohler-Andrea and Wildcat Mountain state parks and the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest were still scheduled. People interested in attending these events should contact the properties directly on Saturday to confirm if they will be held.
In the cold snap before the recent warm-up, ice had been forming on Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay with some people beginning to drive vehicles out, but extreme caution needed as an ATV went through a pressure ridge with the operator getting out after a cold and wet wake up call. Ice was also forming on Lake Michigan’s Green Bay, but there was still open water off Oconto. Ice conditions along Door County are extremely poor at best, with ice only present on a sheltered bays. Several anglers had to be rescued this week day when a section of ice they were fishing on near the southern end of Door County broke off and began floating away with the anglers still on it.
Inland, lakes in the Northwoods have ice depths up to 9 to 10 inches, with only about 2 to 3 inches of snow on top. Some undisturbed areas of the lakes may still only have 6 to 7 inches of ice and not enough to support larger vehicles.
Despite nice fishing weather, walleye action has continued a generally erratic trend into the new year. Northern pike success has been fair to good. Panfish action has been sporadic, with a few nice catches of crappie, bluegill and perch reported but anglers have had to move around quite a bit to find the active fish.
In the south, ice conditions vary greatly, with some larger lakes like Mendota still having open water, to smaller lakes having ice ranging up to 4 to 6 inches, but still highly variable. Anglers have been having some decent success in the south for panfish, and open water anglers have been fishing walleye and sauger below the Prairie du Sac dam.
While the warm-up is not favorable for human winter recreation, wildlife have been be enjoying the weather. Deer are somewhat grouped up and have been able to paw through the snow, or use exposed south-facing slopes. Raccoons have ventured out of their dens for a stretch and a snack. Squirrels are also out of their nests looking for a bite to eat. Otters have been running and sliding on the ice in the backwaters. Muskrat and beaver trappers were pretty active until the ice got too thick to easily chop through.
Bald eagles have begun to congregate along open water stretches of the Wisconsin, Baraboo, Fox, and Mississippi rivers. Visitors to backyard feeders have included juncos, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals, blue jays and red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers. It’s been a good season for varied thrushes in Wisconsin so far with no fewer than 10 reported. A female northern shrike first banded in March 2006 has returned to its winter territory near Ashland for at least an eighth consecutive year, making her at least 8.5 years old and by far the oldest northern shrike ever known in North America
Read and join the discussion on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Report for Jan. 10 at OutdoorHub.com.
January 9, 2013
Statistics released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show 2012 as the warmest year on record for the continental U.S. Last year did not shirk on extreme weather either, as drought, forest fire, and hurricane Sandy battered the nation. Even as the year was coming to a close, a final snowstorm in the east rolled in as the year turned to 2013.
According to the NOAA, 2012 boasted a record-hot spring, the second-warmest summer, and a fourth-warmest winter. This severe change in temperature ranked a full degree over the previous warmest year in 1998. Hunters and anglers are already feeling the effects of the changing climate as water levels decline and bird migration alters. Hunting and angling seasons are also changing, and perhaps not for the better. Conservation groups such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others are working hard to promote awareness in congress and preparing policies that will benefit sportsmen.
It doesn’t take regulation changes to feel the heat, 2012 took a bite out of the American wallet as well. Natural disasters racked up billions in damages and put the northeastern fishing industry in peril. The Boat Owners Association of the United States estimates the number of boats damaged by hurricane Sandy at 65,000. A massive drought in the Midwest grew to affect more than half the country, shooting up the prices for essentials like corn and grain to record highs worldwide. Summer wildfires took their toll as well, burning through millions of acres of forestland and drastically impacting conservation efforts.
However, not all is bad. Last year also saw an increase in outdoor activities, bringing large numbers of people outside to preserve America’s sporting heritage. Winter sports are seeing brisk business for the first time in years, as the late snowstorm packed the lines for ski lodges and retail stores. Recovery efforts for areas affected by Sandy show incredible progress and spirits remain strong into the early days of 2013.
Read and join the discussion on 2012 Ranks as Hottest Year on Record for Continental U.S. at OutdoorHub.com.
November 15, 2012
Wisconsin’s regular nine-day gun deer season opens this Saturday, and with one of the earliest openings possible, reports from around the state are indicating white-tail bucks are still in rut, or the breeding season. A few areas are reporting the rut is past peak, but many locations are reporting bucks are still actively moving in pursuit of does.
The Department of Natural Resources is ramping up social media to connect with the public on the excitement and traditions of season. Seasoned hunters, new hunters, and those interested in learning more about hunting in Wisconsin can take part in online chats, a new wildlife-focused blog, special facebook posts and a facebook photo contest centering around Wisconsin’s rich hunting tradition, and a “tweet-along” with DNR conservation wardens.
Hunters looking for a place to hunt have the opportunity to enjoy access to more than 43,000 acres of private land open to the public within close proximity of the state’s metropolitan areas. A new video captures the success of the Voluntary Public Access program in opening up large tracts of prime habitat land, often connected to public land, for multiple outdoor recreational activities. People can find private lands open to hunting through this program by searching keyword VPA on the DNR website.
In addition, more than one million acres of private forest land is open to hunting through the Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law. DNR launched a new online mapping application that makes it easier for people to find lands open to hunting under these programs. Finally, more than four million acres of county, state and federal public lands are open to hunting. People can find links to information about all these lands through a new Voluntary Public Access feature page that is part of a 2012 deer hunt feature on the website that kicked off with a video greeting from Gov. Scott Walker and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on how Wisconsin is making it easier to introduce family and friends to Wisconsin’s great deer hunting traditions, including reduced license fees for first time hunters and people who haven’t hunted in the last 10 years..
Also, hunters with smart phones now have an easier way to be sure when hunting hours open and close where they are hunting with a new DNR Sunrise/Sunset app that can be purchased for just 99 cents.
People can get the latest news and information by following DNR on Twitter twitter.com/WDNR. From Nov. 17- 25 there will be live-feed tweets and images from a ride-along with a DNR conservation warden to reveal interesting events and insights into the deer hunt that many of us never see.
Last weekend’s rain and strong winds slowed waterfowl hunting activity some, but there continue to be a few more reports of northern diving ducks moving into the state, along with increasing numbers of migratory Canada geese. Pheasant hunting has been good, and the last of the stocking on public hunting grounds will take place over the next few weeks.
People putting up winter bird feeders are seeing juncos, chickadees, goldfinches and purple finches and even some early pine grosbeaks.
Read and join the discussion on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Report for Nov. 15 at OutdoorHub.com.
October 30, 2012
Powered by ScoutLook, World-Class Resource Available for iPhone and Android Users
North American Hunting Club, the premier community for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, is pleased to present the FREE Mossy Oak Hunting Weather App, powered by ScoutLook, is now available to smartphone users. Just in time for the hunting season, this new app features map-based weather, solunar, and popular ScentCone wind tool that help hunters decide where, when and how to hunt. And thanks to North American Media Group and Mossy Oak, this new app is FREE! View a brief video on all Scoutlook apps on huntingclub.com here.
“This is a hunting weather app like we’ve never seen before,” said Rick Dow, Chief Branding Officer at North American Media Group. “ScoutLook is ‘weathermen who hunt’, and the only major weather service we know of that is owned by hunters. They know what we need and are delivering big time by integrating data our members care about.”
“North American Media Group and Mossy Oak made this free version of our original app possible and we’re proud of our association with them. The new app remains a world-class resource with location based weather details integrated with solunar, moon, tides, wind maps and other tools, so hunters get important information right at their treestand or duck blind, not just their zip code,” said Cy Weichert, co-founder of ScoutLook weather.
Available for iPhone and Android based phones, the Mossy Oak Hunting Weather app is map-based to bring users weather details including radar, wind activity, solunar times, lunar phase, hourly barometric changes, and other information hunters can’t live without before heading afield. Hunters can save their favorite stand or hunting spot locations for quick reference anytime, and manage them or create new spots from a free account at scoutlookweather.com. It’s easy!
ScentConeTM and SetZoneTM wind tools are the first of their kind, delivering visually mapped wind speed and direction for users’ tree stands and duck blinds hourly for 72 hours. Download the app, create a free private account at the Login screen, and go. The Mossy Oak Hunting Weather app is ready when and where you are.
ScoutLookweather.com in the only major weather service that is owned and operated solely by hunters and fishermen. ScoutLook is a free online service providing pinpoint, map-based weather details, wind map tools, solunar times, lunar phase, tides, hourly barometric changes, and a log book to help hunters decide where, when and how best to hunt or fish. Log in from your app or online and get all you need to know from one resource before heading out.
Join the North American Hunting Club FREE for the first 30 days and receive a digital copy of North American Hunter; just log onto HuntingClub.com.
Read and join the discussion on North American Hunting Club Presents FREE Mossy Oak Hunting Weather App at OutdoorHub.com.
September 24, 2012
With the opening of the rifle deer season less than a week away (Saturday, Sept. 29), ODFW and Oregon Department of Forestry are warning hunters they may find more private forestlands closed this year due to the high fire danger.
“This year, it’s more important than ever that hunters check for closures before heading afield and follow fire restrictions,” said Tom Thornton, ODFW game program manager.
Mike Dykzeul with the Oregon Forest Industries Council estimates that 50 percent more private lands are closed this year than at the same time last year.
Forestland managers say forest vegetation is extremely dry. Although light rainfall fell today in some areas, moisture content in vegetation in western Oregon ranges from 10-20 percent, while east of the Cascades it is in single digits. “Under these parched conditions, any fire started could spread rapidly,” said Dan Postrel, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
ODF keeps a list of landowner closures on its website below. It changes frequently and lands could be opened if Oregon gets some significant wet weather, though current forecasts aren’t predicting rain next week. Hunters should check back before the season opener or the day they plan to hunt for the latest information. http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Pages/fire/corporate_closure.aspx
Hunters that don’t see their local landowner listed should call them directly. ODF will also host several hunter information booths in Central Oregon Wednesday-Friday of next week that will have the latest information on restrictions and closures on hand for hunters.
Read Dry Weather Could Mean More Land Closures for Oregon Deer Hunters in its entirety on OutdoorHub.com.
September 12, 2012
Sign up for free youth pheasant hunts in September
ODFW hosts pheasant hunts for those age 17 and under at locations around the state in September. Space is limited. Sign up online or at a license sales agent. Dates, locations and more information
Fire season brings closures – check before you go hunting
Wet weather could relax fire restrictions and closures but hunters should check the “corporate closures” list on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Internet site regularly to learn the access status of large private timberlands. For private and non-federal public forestlands, call the Oregon Department of Forestry field office nearest your destination. Office phone numbers
Hunters: Return black-tailed deer teeth
ODFW asks that successful Western Oregon deer hunters return blacktailed deer teeth for population modeling. See this flyer (pdf) for tips on how to remove. Include following information with tooth: hunter name, address, date of kill, species killed, sex of animal, and wildlife management unit or hunt where harvested. Mail to: ODFW Wildlife Population Lab, 7118 NE Vandenberg Ave, Adair Village, OR 97330. Pre-paid, pre-addressed envelopes for teeth are available at ODFW offices and many license sales agents. Hunters that submit teeth will receive a postcard with information about their animal after about nine months.
Game bird seasons are on
Forest grouse, quail, mourning dove and September Canada goose are all good early season opportunities. Band-tailed pigeon season runs Sept. 15-23.
Fall hunting forecast
Find out what to expect this hunting season, visit the Fall Hunting Forecast online.
Learn to fish, hunt, crab or clam
See the ODFW Outdoors Program calendar and sign up for a class that interests you.
Crab, crab, crab
Crabbing on the Oregon Coast has been excellent. Never been? Find out all you need to know
Wild coho fisheries open this weekend
For the fourth year in a row, anglers can fish for wild coho in several coastal streams and rivers. Find all the details about where to fish, bag limits and quotas.
September 11, 2012
Wisconsin farmers were able to harvest hay from 6,265 acres of state land under emergency haying provisions the Department of Natural resources put in place earlier this summer as part of the agency’s drought relief initiative. The agency issued 286 emergency haying permits and an additional 5 emergency grazing permits for 63 acres for grazing.
The special harvest ended on August 31. This allows time for adequate regrowth of the grass to provide habitat for wildlife and hunting cover to sportsmen and women in the fall.
“Overall, I’d say it was a super-human effort on the part of the many field people that dropped what they were doing to answer phone calls, meet with farmers, and issue permits,” said Alan Crossley, DNR public lands wildlife management specialist. “By any measure I think we should deem the effort a success. “
“Farmers really appreciated the hay, couldn’t believe it was free, and in many cases property managers were able to achieve some level of needed habitat management on land that at least some years is hard to get to,” said Kurt Thiede Division of Lands Administrator. “Win-wins can sometimes be hard to come by. This was clearly one of them.”
The last time the DNR issued such permits was during the drought of 1988.
Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - 6,265 Acres of Hay Harvested under Emergency Haying in Wisconsin
September 7, 2012
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists are assessing the impact of Hurricane Isaac on the deer populations in parishes flooded by the storm.
Flood conditions created by Isaac’s heavy rainfall moved deer out of normal habitat and in some instances resulted in deer mortalities. Biologists are working to determine the overall effect on the deer herd within impacted areas of the state. Aerial, waterborne and ground surveys will continue throughout the month of September.
The data collected would be utilized by LDWF’s Deer Program manager to develop any recommendations for changes to the upcoming deer season. Any recommendations for changes will be presented to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission for consideration at the October 4, 2012 Commission meeting.
For more information, contact Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - Louisiana DWF Assessing Hurricane Isaac Impacts on Deer