Temperatures have finally fallen again, and light snowfall also dusted many areas and some, like the Brule River State Forest, got almost half a foot this week. Forest crews were able to roll the ski trails but skiers will still have a while to wait before trails are groomed and ready. Across most of the rest of the state, cross-country ski trails are open to hikers and bikers until there is enough snow for grooming.
Ice has reformed on some Northwoods lakes but those looking to get out on the ice are urged to use extreme caution, as much of the ice cover is only surface thick. Remember ice safety — always have a phone, a buddy, ice picks, and go slow while checking the ice depth in front of you. Until ice fishing really kicks in, a few anglers are still fishing on the Menominee River for whitefish, walleye and browns, and walleye fishing on the Wolf River has been hot, with anglers reporting great catches on the lower portions of the river.
Muzzleloader season wrapped up this week and leads right into the statewide four-day antlerless only season, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 10. This season provides an additional opportunity to fill an unused antlerless tag, but hunters must have a tag valid for the zone and land type they are hunting. All hunters must be wearing blaze orange this weekend. Archery remains open but even bow hunters can fill only antlerless tags during the four-day season.
Grouse hunters are still seeing birds and once in a while a grouse can be seen “budding” in Ironwood and Aspen trees. The last pheasant stockings for the season are done, but pheasants can still be found in the prairies for a little late season hunting. Large number of turkeys can be found in the mornings or evenings in open fields searching for food. Quite a few geese are still hanging around and will likely stay until snow covers their food sources. Turkey and bear hunters are reminded not to forget to submit their 2018 permit applications by the Dec. 10 deadline.
Results of recent population surveys on our state’s bald eagles show the population is hitting record highs. Reports of snowy owl sightings remain strong, but please be respectful and keep your distance. If you are close enough to illicit a response from the bird, you are too close.
On the Internet: www.dnr.state.wi.us
The Solunar Tables list top fishing times and days in the lunar month. For best results, begin fishing one hour before and continue for one hour after the times given:
Sunday, Dec. 10: Major — 5:05 a.m., 5:29 p.m. Minor — 11:17 a.m., 11:42 p.m.
Monday: Major — 5:51 a.m., 6:14 p.m. Minor — No a.m., 12:03 p.m.
Tuesday: Major — 6:33 a.m., 6:56 p.m. Minor — 12:22 a.m., 12:45 p.m.
Wednesday: Major — 7:13 a.m., 7:35 p.m. Minor — 1:02 a.m., 1:24 p.m.
Thursday: Major — 7:52 a.m., 8:14 p.m. Minor — 1:41 a.m., 2:03 p.m.
Friday: Major — 8:31 a.m., 8:54 p.m. Minor — 2:20 a.m., 2:43 p.m.
Saturday: Major — 9:13 a.m., 9:36 p.m. Minor — 3:01 a.m., 13:24 p.m.