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Outdoors
OUTDOORS CALENDAR
OUTDOORS CALENDAR

Nov. 15 – Trout and salmon fishing closes on downstream section of Lake Superior tributaries that remained open after Sept. 30. (see current trout fishing regulations for stream sections). … Fall crow season closes.

Nov. 20 – Weekly Nature Walk from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Meeting location varies each week. For information call 920-387-7860.

Nov. 21 – Stories at the Marsh: Turkeys, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Program for ages 6 and younger. For information call 920-387-7860.

Nov. 22 – Fall turkey hunting season closes in zones 6 & 7.

Nov. 23 – Regular gun deer season open through Dec. 1.

Nov. 23 – Shinrin-yoku: Forest Bathing Walk, from 10 a.m. to noon at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo. This hike is for adults. Meet at the East Bluff Trailhead on the north shore. For information call 608-356-8301.

Nov. 26 – Duck season closes in the north zone.

Nov. 29 – Mourning dove season closes.

Nov. 30 – Muskellunge season closes. … Turtle season closes.

Dec. 1 – Regular gun deer season closes. … Southern zone duck and goose seasons close. … Canada goose seasons close in the South Exterior Zone. Reopens Dec. 16-Jan. 4.

Dec. 2 – Muzzleloader deer season opens, through Dec. 11. … Lake trout season on Lake Superior opens, through Sept. 30.

Dec. 3 – Mississippi River zone duck season closes.

Dec. 4 – Weekly Nature Walk from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Meeting location varies each week. For information call 920-387-7860.

Dec. 7 – Holiday Greenery Workshop, from 9 a.m. to noon at the MacKenzie Center in Poynette. Registration required. Event costs $10. All supplies provided. To register or for information call 608-635-8105.

Dec. 7 – Hikin’ With Your Hound from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo. Bring your dog and hike the East Bluff Woods Trail. If you don’t have a dog, you are still welcome to join the hike, which will be about 2 to 2 ½ miles. For information call 608-356-8301.

Dec. 7 – Full Moon Hike from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo. Please leave your dogs at home for this hike, which will be 1 ½ to 2 miles in length. Meet at the North Shore Visitor Center. For information call 608-356-8301.

Dec. 8 – Ruffed grouse season closes in the zone B.

Dec. 10 – Spring turkey permit application deadline. … Application deadline for bear hunting kill permit.

Dec. 11 – Muzzleloader deer season closes. … Bobwhite quail season closes.

Dec. 11 – Weekly Nature Walk from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Meeting location varies each week. For information call 920-387-7860.

Dec. 12 – Stories at the Marsh: Evergreen Magic, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Program for ages 6 and younger. For information call 920-387-7860.

Dec. 12 – Full Cold Moon Hike from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. For information call 920-387-7860.

Dec. 12-15 – Antlerless-only firearm hunt.

Dec. 14 – Owl Prowl from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon. Presentation featuring live owls in auditorium, followed by a walk to Indermuehle Island to call for owls. For information call 920-387-7860.

Dec. 16 – Canada goose seasons reopens in the Southern Exterior Zone through Jan. 4.

Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 – Antlerless only Holiday Hunt Only in valid farmland units. Please see deer regulations booklet for valid units. To submit an item for the Outdoor Calendar, email Outdoors Editor Travis Houslet at thouslet@wiscnews.com.


Recreation
AN OUTDOORSMAN’S JOURNAL
WALTERS COLUMN: Opportunity at big buck caps off swamp bow hunt

Hello friends,

I recently spent eight days traveling by canoe and foot, while living in a tent on a bow hunt that took place on the backwaters of the Chippewa River in Pepin and Buffalo Counties. Last week I wrote about the first three days of that trip, and his week I am writing about the final five.

Monday, Oct. 28

High 38, low 22

The high and low temperatures are changing dramatically and I have four days max before I will be iced in. In other words, I could not paddle my canoe back to my truck or walk on the ice, as it will be too thin. This same thing happened to me last year, and it was a situation that would have been pretty cool to have on video, as I broke ice with my paddle.

Every day starts with me in a tent that is lit by a propane lantern. I leave my outerwear hunting clothes outside, so they do not take on the smell of camp. I wear these clothes over hip boots, and they are always soaked from the waist down. In the morning, they are froze solid, which means I have to thaw them out just to wear them.

After getting dressed, I paddle my canoe in the dark for about three-quarters of a mile, and what is incredibly cool, is the relationship that I am developing with the most concentrated population of beaver I have ever witnessed.

These beaver see me at the start of my day, when it is dark, and at the end of the day, when it is dark.

Generally, I cannot see them, but now they have become so used to me. There are times that there are two to four of them swimming right next to me, and they slap their tails on the water to warn other beaver, and now they are so close that it gets me wet. This is very comical.

Today I put a trail camera near their lodge, and in one night the camera took 160 pictures of them working on it. Where I hunt, I must hike in about 600 yards, and the beaver are majorly expanding a dam which is flooding the forest. The hike to my stand is brutal, because the water is knee- to waist-deep due to my toothy friends.

So the beaver could get to the forest and stay underwater the entire time, they built a canal, which is not much bigger than their bodies, which is just another display of the beaver’s work ethic and brains.

When I started this hunt, I was having a lot of action as far as seeing deer. I passed up some shots at a good buck and a small buck. One problem was that I was only seeing deer the first and last hour of daylight, and the four trail cameras that I have out were not showing any daytime deer movement.

I hunted four different areas and used muskrat droppings for a cover scent, so I think the deer were nocturnal. This was a real bummer, as I was looking forward to this trip for a whole year, as I would be hunting the early rut in an area with lots of whitetail deer, where very few humans are willing to spend time.

On the paddle back to camp every night, I would open a can of beer and just enjoy the ride, and of course, the beaver trying to intimidate me. At the tent I would get rid of my hunting clothes, and cook a very good meal, such as steaks from a 10-point buck that I whacked last year, or walleye that I caught in Canada, or chicken thighs.

On the final hunt, I had a very good feeling, as I was hunting near a hot scrape. I was in my stand over an hour before daylight and what I am sure was a buck came to the scrape just as I got comfortable.

As night was becoming day, a deer came to the scrape without warning. I had been in my tree almost 90 minutes, it was 20 degrees and the deer was a good buck at 12 yards. I went to pull my bow back and my shoulder, or something in my shoulder, locked up in mid pull.

I got my defect to work, but the damage was done. The buck hung out in my area at 15 yards for a good five minutes, but was in too much cover for me to take a shot.

That experience got me thinking on a decision that I have to make, and on the canoe trip back to camp, I broke ice, which was my sign that I needed to break camp and head to civilization.

In reality, the deer add up, as do the fish, so no cares about the buck that got away!

Sunset


Recreation
DAVIS COLUMN: Take advantage of early winter

This fall has provided winter, or winter-like temperatures and precipitation, more than October and November usually do.

More snow and more thermometer readings in single digits threw many in the mood or necessity of engaging winter.

We thought more of grabbing shovels, boot chains, suet cages; collecting evergreen branches, cutting birch logs; and locating photo sites for holiday cards than making sure there was a venison roast, turkey breast or walleye fillets in a freezer for the holidays

The best wild bird feed options are still black oil sunflower seeds (fruits to the botanist and likely the birds) and plain or doctored suet cakes.

Nyjer (thistle) brings finches; ground feeding birds go for white millet but for many, why complicate the menu more than the top two or three foods.

Small and large game carcasses, when possible and desirable have some advantages, too, and so do holiday turkey carcasses if soup is not in the immediate future.

Beware of feed mixes with too many fillers. Rather cracked corn if going cheap is desired.

Eric Jerdee, at Beast Buffet in Green County’s Monroe, believes most bird feeds will remain about as is, rather than elevate or drop significantly in price this year.

“Most feeders like to purchase mixes, too, rather than buying separates,” he said. “But beware of cut rate prices, especially at this time. It could be that the feed is old, maybe as much as a couple years and the birds may shy away.”

If the price is too good to be true, there may be an overly generous supply of filler feed or just plain old stuff. Buy small in those situations, so there may be less to toss out.

Wayne Whitemarsh, at McFarlanes’ in Sauk City, reminds customers that displaying a large stock of feeds often means voluminous sales, fresh stock and many choices to fit what the customers’ hopes to attract bird species.

Whitemarsh’s tips for the week are “the deer continue to be on the move, big fish are still being taken on Lake Wisconsin and ice fishing could be just around the corner.”

Rather than testing the ice, test the equipment, notice the goldenrod galls and sharpen the augers and check the “boot chains.”

Pheasants and flushing retrievers have already crossed on the ice on farm ponds, but following hunters have not.

Fawn deer statistics from the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study in Dane, Grant and Iowa counties have been released. Seventy-two female fawns and 54 males were collared this past spring. About 60 died by August, Twenty-three were likely taken by coyotes, while 24 deaths have yet to be determined. Other deaths were caused by starvation (4), bobcat (2), EHD (2), domestic dog (1), hay equipment (1) and vehicle (1).

With winter-like conditions, this month will provide opportunities for early Christmas card photos. Mammals, birds, vegetation, hoar frost and folks enjoying the outdoors are some beginning possibilities.

Avoid a waiting period. Purchase a deer license this week or locate the one purchased last April. If necessary, locate the closest CWD sampling station, should one be necessary.