|Door County’s Peninsula’s Lake Michigan side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Fall color now at peak in central Wisconsin; youth deer hunt to be held
Fall color is now at peak through central Wisconsin, and approaching peak in southern Wisconsin, though some areas still have quite a few green leaves. In the north colors are generally past peak and leaf drop is not progressing rapidly in some areas. Tamaracks are now providing some excellent golden color in northern wetland areas.
Deer are really starting to move with the colder temperatures, especially in southern Wisconsin. Deer observations have increased in the mornings and evenings and deer are spending a lot of time in the woods feeding on a bountiful acorn crop versus the cornfields, especially in the day. There are some rubs and scrapes showing up in the woods.
There is a youth deer hunt this weekend, -12 and all hunters except waterfowl hunters are reminded they must wear blaze orange when any gun deer season is open. The youth hunt allows boys and girls ages 10 through 15 who are accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. A fair amount of rain has fallen over the past few weeks so be prepared for low land and swampy areas to be filled with water.
The early duck season in the southern zone was unusually warm with wood ducks and mallards the main birds bagged if hunters could stand the mosquitos. Small numbers of scaup, redheads, and canvasback have also been found. The southern zone now closes October 12 and then reopens.
The variable fall weather has made for some challenging fishing conditions in the Northwoods and kept pressure at a relatively low level. Musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure, and they have been enjoying some very good success, with many fishermen having switched to live suckers. Musky were being found suspended near mid-depth cover such as fish cribs and rock bars.
Along Lake Michigan, anglers have been fishing the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers heavily this past week as the salmon run continues strong. Chinook salmon are in the rivers heavy and coho salmon have also begun their spawning runs. The Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility in Door county processed more than 1,900 chinook last week, collecting about 350,000 eggs, enough to meet Kettle Moraine Hatchery annual chinook egg collection goal. With recent rains salmon have also moved into southern Lake Michigan tributaries and were being caught on the Sheboygan and Milwaukee rivers.
This past week saw some big migration events across Wisconsin, with large numbers of American robins, yellow-rumped warblers, rusty blackbirds, and various sparrows, including the first major push of dark-eyed juncos. The raptor migration was also very heavy with great diversity of birds including sharp-shinned hawks and merlins near peak and building numbers of red-tail hawks and a smattering of vultures, eagles and harriers.
There is an abundant crop of woolly bear caterpillars this year so watch where you step. Woolly bears overwinter as caterpillars and turn into Isabella moths the following spring. They wander around a lot on sunny, fall days before picking a spot under leaves, logs, or rocks to overwinter. Reptiles and amphibians are also moving to their winter hibernating spots.