By KEVIN NAZE
If you can’t get enough of the outdoors, October is your month.
As the length of the day fades, an incredible variety of reds, oranges and yellows mix with the greens and browns of the forests and fields to paint a picture that happens only once a year, and only for a few weeks.
There’s a crispness in the air in the morning, while afternoons are often mild enough to wear jeans and a favorite hoodie.
Whether you fish and hunt or just like to get out and hike, now is the time to check out your favorite public park, forest, or fish and wildlife area.
With no hard frost in the forecast for weeks, you’ll need bug spray if you spend time near woods and water.
Windy days help keep mosquitoes away, but ticks are still active.
If you want to see some of the biggest fish swimming in Lake Michigan, CD “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility, N3884 Ransom Moore Lane west of Kewaunee, is hosting an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday the 10th. October. 1.
There will be guided tours, egg collecting demonstrations, fishing displays and the chance to adopt a sturgeon to release into the river.
Wagon rides will be offered by Great Lakes sport fishermen from the Algoma-Kewaunee area, and food and drink will be available for sale.
On October 3-6, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries personnel will be spawning Chinook salmon at Sturgeon Bay’s Strawberry Creek facility.
The public can view the proceedings from Strawberry Lane, just east of County Hwy. U, about a mile south of the highway. 42/57.
Open hunting seasons
Meanwhile, October 1 is opening day for the southern duck hunting area, which includes much of Brown County.
Exceptions include the Northwest Part, which is in the North Zone (opens September 24) and the Green Bay Open Water Area (opens October 15).
Next weekend, October 8-9, is the Junior Gun Deer Hunt.
If you plan to take a youngster hunting, be sure to review all the rules.
A two-page summary is available online at p.widencdn.net/gpkljm/DeerYouthHunt.
A week later, the hunting seasons for ring-necked pheasant, ptarmigan and southern cottontail open at 9 am on October 15.
Other openers that day include the Zone B ruffed grouse hunt, plus fox, bobcat (by permit) and raccoon (residents) hunts.
Coyote hunting is open year-round.
Many nuisance species can also be shot throughout the year, including starlings, English (house) sparrows, opossums, skunks, groundhogs and porcupines.
Additionally, homeowners and family members can hunt or trap rabbits, squirrels, foxes, raccoons, groundhogs, beavers, and coyotes on their property year-round.
Stay safe outdoors
DNR recreation safety specialists are emphasizing safety after a deadly year on land and water in Wisconsin.
A total of 85 people were killed in RV accidents in 2021, including 34 in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents and 25 in boating accidents.
Twenty-six others, 13 in each activity, died while riding snowmobiles or using utility vehicles (UTVs).
Wisconsin registered more than 1.3 million RVs last year: 629,399 boats, 331,869 ATVs, 210,229 snowmobiles, 134,718 UTVs and 6,454 ATVs or OHMs.
UTV and OHM registrations have more than doubled in the last five years, and ATV usage is the highest on record, nearly 17,000 since 2017.
Boating registrations have increased by more than 4,500 in the last five years, while snowmobile registrations, which depend heavily on winter weather, have decreased in three of the last five years.
Not included in boat totals are hand-propelled boats without motors and sails, sailboats less than 12 feet without motors, and boats registered in another state that use Wisconsin waters for less than 60 continuous days.
Alcohol use and excessive speed topped the list of factors in fatal ATV, UTV, and snowmobile accidents, while reckless behavior by passengers or operators was the leading factor in fatal boating accidents.
Thirty of the 34 people who died in ATV accidents and the 13 who died in UTV accidents were not wearing helmets; Similarly, 21 of the 25 who died in fatal boating accidents were not wearing a personal flotation device.
Sixty-nine percent of those killed in UTV accidents were not wearing seat belts.
All 13 who died in snowmobile accidents wore helmets.
In addition to alcohol consumption, excessive speed and sharp turns were factors in most of them.
Safety education training rules vary by vehicle. Learn more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/Education/OutdoorSkills/safetyEducation.
Last call to comment
If you would like an opportunity to comment on the DNR’s three-year salmon and trout stocking plan for Lake Michigan and Green Bay, please do so by midnight on October 1.
You can learn more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/lakemichigan/LakeMichiganSalmonandTroutMeetings.