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Dick Ellis Blog:
5/8/2019
Now it starts.  Too much to keep up with in Wisconsin, and that is one nice problem for an outdoorsman. OWO Columnist Wayne Morgenthaler and his son Neal spelled double trouble for two Richland County gobblers after four days of not filling tags. We put the May-June issue of On Wisconsin Outdoors to bed last week with 100,000 copies being distributed statewide. Look for your copy at any Kwik Trip statewide…that’s 400 stores ...
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3-20-14 DNR Outdoor Report

Complete DNR Outdoor Report (Reports from conservation wardens, wildlife and fisheries staff and property managers from around the state)

Winter holds on in the north, while spring advances in the south

Spring may have officially began with the arrival of the vernal equinox on Thursday this week, but at least in northern Wisconsin old man winter is not ready loosen his grip. Some areas of the north received between 8 to 12 inches of new snow in the last week, and about the northern third of the state continues to report that snowmobile and cross-country ski conditions are in good to excellent condition on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR).

Both snowmobile and ski groomers were out again this week after the new snowfall and are reporting trails are in exceptional condition for this late in March. Conditions may change rapidly with a warm up in the forecast this week, but temperatures are expected to drop again for the weekend, providing some good late season winter recreation opportunities.

The winter severity index that wildlife biologists use to track the impact of cold and snow on wildlife is now at severe or very severe at most locations across the north, with the Spooner area tying and expecting to surpass the record for the severest index since biologists began keeping the records in 1960.

There is still 20 to 30 inches of ice on northern lakes, with layers of crusted snow and slush. Wardens caution that conditions have become quite unpredictable with many people reporting getting stuck in deep slush pockets. In the south smaller lakes with river current and some rivers have begun to open up. While most larger lakes still have ice cover, shorelines are beginning to open up making access difficult.

Anglers continue to fish Green Bay with reports of whitefish and northern pike and some perch along both the east and west shores. Southern Lake Michigan tributaries are opening up, but they are running high cloudy. The lake front has opened up at Racine, but the fishing piers remain covered with ice. People continued to fish for brown and rainbow trout through the ice in harbors.

The main channel of the Mississippi River has opened up, but ice along the shorelines and fishing barges has limited early walleye and sauger fishing. The Wisconsin River is also opening up and there was some successful walleye fishing below the Prairie du Sac dam this week.

While the north remains locked in snow, snow cover is rapidly disappearing from the south and wildlife and bird activity has increased greatly in the last week. Horicon, Theresa and other large marshes are thawing, with many water birds returning.

Fox and coyotes are being seen during the day as they patrol territories and red fox kits are being born. White-tail bucks are shedding antlers and shed hunters have been out in good numbers, and they are being asked to report any dead deer they encounter to local wardens or wildlife biologists.

Sandhill cranes have arrived on territories and are displaying and calling. There have been a few reports of tom turkeys starting to gobble and display. The first few days and nights of over 50 degrees will begin the process of frogs and other amphibians emerging from winter hibernation. Volunteers are being sought to help conduct frog surveys this spring. Search the DNR website for "frog surveys" for more information.

And a sure sign that spring is actually on its way, there were reports that maples are being tapped and buckets hung in sugar bushes across the state.