The annual deer firearm season was both safe, with no hunting fatalities reported, and successful for many with more than 90,000 deer registered opening weekend.
Weather for the start of gun deer season in much of the state was near perfect with cold nights and comfortable days, allowing for long sits in the deer stand. Snowy conditions up north the second half of the season helped hunters with visibility for the last few days of the season. However, it also made it tougher to reach stand locations.
Recent warm temperatures have resulted in lingering open water conditions. The early-season ice fishermen need to be extremely cautious when out on early ice. Snowfall on already iced-over lakes is now bringing more concern to anglers trying to fish the hardwater.
Remember, muzzleloader season opened on Monday, Dec. 2, so anyone venturing out should wear blaze orange or other brightly colored clothing.
Anglers continue to fish secluded bays in northern Wisconsin. Early-ice panfish are being caught for those braving the winter conditions, while those using tip-ups are finding active walleyes and northern pike, with an occasional bass or dogfish.
The early season ice fishermen to be extremely cautious when out on early ice. Bring flotation, picks, rope and other safety equipment when heading out.
Many hunters reported they were happy with the number of deer they saw, and the weather was reasonably warm. Some hunters said deer were tough to see without any snow, although the end of the season snowfall helped visibility in the woods. The rut is past peak with most scrapes inactive, and few reports of bucks chasing does. Deer movement seems to be during the evening, and moved toward nighttime patterns.
A large number of swans was reported in the Nelson area in Pepin County last week.
Recent warm temperatures have resulted in lingering open water conditions in southern Wisconsin. There are waterfowl around where they haven’t been hunted heavily. Goose numbers are still not at peak yet. Birders are again seeing common loons lingering on the Madison chain of lakes.