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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar

The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Outdoor Report | Outdoor Calendar 2014

Outdoor Calendar 2015

* Indicates date remains the same each year, except some permit deadlines may be extended one day if they fall on a Sunday or Federal Holiday.

January 1

  • Southern Farmland Zone holiday hunt closes.

January 4

  • Late archery deer season closes.

January 8

  • Mississippi River zone goose season closes.

January 25

  • Winter crow season opens, through March 20.

January 31

  • Squirrel season closes.*
  • Ruffed grouse seasons closes in zone A (northern zone).*
  • Bobcat hunting and trapping season Period 2 closes.

February 14

  • Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season opens. Season runs for 16 days (March 1) or until the harvest level is reached. Season hours are 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily. The season will close after one day if one of the harvest caps is reached. Sturgeon must be registered by 1:30 p.m. the day they are harvested. There are separate, annual spearing seasons for Lake Winnebago and for the system’s upriver lakes of Butte des Mort, Winneconne and Poygan. Previously the Upriver Season occurred only once every five years but was open to anyone who wanted to participate in it and bought a license. Spearers who wanted to participate in the Upriver Lakes season had to submit an application by Aug. 1. Licenses for the upcoming season must have been purchased by Oct. 31 of the previous year.

February 15

  • Coyote trapping season closes.*
  • Raccoon trapping and hunting seasons closes.*
  • Red and gray fox gun and trapping seasons close.*

February 20

  • Ice fishing shelters must be removed from Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters.*

February 28

  • Cottontail rabbit season closes in northern and southern zones.*
  • Mink trapping season closes in the northern, southern and Mississippi zones.*

March 1

  • Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season closes unless season closes early due to harvest caps being reached.
  • Ice fishing shelters must be removed from Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters.*
  • Lake trout season opens on Lake Michigan, Green Bay & Lake Michigan tributaries through Oct. 31.*

March 7

  • Early catch-and-release only trout season opens statewide, with exception of spring ponds and Great Lakes tributaries; artificial bait only, but barbless hooks no longer required. Season runs to midnight April 27.

March 15

  • Yellow perch season closes on Green Bay and its tributary streams and the Fox River from the mouth up to the De Pere Dam.*
  • Beaver trapping season closes in the Mississippi River zone.*
  • Ice fishing shelters must be removed from inland lakes north of Highway 64, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior, and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters by the first Sunday following March 12.

March 20

  • Winter crow season closes.*

March 23 - 28

  • Remaining spring turkey permits not issued through the permit drawing will be available for sale beginning at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first served basis through license sales outlets, and DNR service centers. In addition, licenses can be purchased on line through the DNR Web site or by phone at 1-877-945-4236. A complete list of units with the number of permits is available is on the DNR Web site.

March 28

  • Trout season opens on designated sections of some Lake Superior tributaries on the last Saturday in March. See the current Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide for more information.

March 31

  • Hunting, fishing, sports, and conservation patron licenses expire.*
  • Otter trapping season closes in central and southern zone.*

April 11 - 12

  • Youth turkey hunt.

April 13

  • Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings held in every county.

April 15 through July 31

  • It is illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and Federal Waterfowl Production Areas lands during this time unless the dog is on a leash no longer than 8 feet. Doe not apply to class 1 field trial grounds or DNR lands open to dog training.*

April 15 - 21

  • Spring turkey hunting period A

April 22 - 28

  • Spring turkey hunting period B

April 26

  • Early catch-and-release only trout season closes at midnight. Season is artificial bait, barbless-hook only.

April 29 - May 5

  • Spring turkey hunting period C

April 30

  • The yellow perch season closes on Lake Michigan and tributaries. The season reopens June 16.*
  • Otter trapping season closes in the North zone.*

May 2

  • General inland waters game fish opener (trout, walleye, northern pike, bass in the southern zone). Check current Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations pamphlet for exceptions regarding specific game species and waters.
  • Catch and release only bass season opens through June 19 in the northern zone.
  • Muskellunge season in waters south of State Highway 10 opens.
  • Frog season opens. Runs through Dec. 31
  • From Sept. 15 through the first Saturday in May, hook and line fishing is prohibited from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise in all Lake Michigan tributaries except the Oconto River and its tributaries and the downstream portion of the Peshtigo River (see regulations for details).*

May 6 - 12

  • Spring turkey hunting period D

May 13 - 19

  • Spring turkey hunting period E

May 20 - 26

  • Spring turkey hunting period F

May 23

  • Muskellunge season opens north of State Highway 10.

June 6 - 7

  • Free Fishing Weekend. No license or stamps required to fish inland waters or outlying Wisconsin waters of the Great Lakes and Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. All bag and size limits and other regulations apply.
  • State Parks Open House -- free admission to all state parks, forests and trails.
  • Free ATV trails weekend. ATV/UTV owners can ride free; you do not need to have your machine registered in Wisconsin. Nonresident ATV/UTV owners do not need to have a trail pass on these days. All other rules apply -- safety education certification is required for all UTV and ATV operators who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988.
  • Free trails weekend. People participating in activities that require a state trail pass (biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, inline skating) to use state-owned and managed trails do not require a trail pass this weekend in honor of National Trails Day June 1 and Wisconsin State Park Open House Day June 2.

June 16

  • Yellow perch season opens on Lake Michigan with a bag limit of five (5).*

June 20

  • Northern zone smallmouth bass season goes from catch-and-release to daily bag limits. Check current regulations for bag and size limits.

July 1

  • Training dogs by pursuing bear allowed through August 31. (Note exception on DNR lands; see current Wisconsin bear hunting regulations for rules.)*

July 15

  • Turtle season opens statewide through Nov. 30 for those species that are not listed as endangered or threatened.*

August 1

  • Fall turkey hunting applications due.*
  • Deadline to apply for goose hunting permits for the Horicon zone.*
  • Deadline to apply for bobcat, fisher and otter permits.*
  • Deadline to apply for Upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season.*
  • Sharp-tailed grouse season and permits: there are 100 permits available this year in management unit 8.*

August 3, 4, 5 & 6

  • Public hearings on the proposed 2015 migratory game bird season hunting zones, season length and bag limits. Check the DNR Hearing Calendar for times and locations.

August 17, 18, 19 & 20

  • Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags for regular deer management units with a quota go on sale at noon. Tags can be purchased at the rate of one permit, per person, per day until the unit is sold out or the hunting season ends.

August 22

  • Fall wild turkey harvest permits remaining after the drawing will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. Turkey permit availability will be posted on the wild turkey page of the DNR Web site.

August 25

  • Deadline for successful applicants to transfer Class A Bear License to a youth hunter.

August 31

  • Bear dog training by pursuing bear closes. It is illegal to train dogs from April 15 through July 31 on DNR lands, unless dogs are on a leash no longer than 8 feet, except for Class 1 field trail grounds or for bear dog training on DNR lands other than state parks after July 1.*

September 1

  • Early teal season through Sept. 7
  • Early September Canada goose hunting season open in designated areas through Sept. 15. The season is open over the Labor Day weekend. The season is open to all hunters who possess an Early September Canada Goose Hunting Permit. Hunters can purchase their permit for $3 from DNR offices and many license vendors through the last day of the season.
  • Mourning dove hunting season opens through Nov. 29.
  • Wild ginseng season opens; through Nov. 1.*
  • Deadline for hunters with disabilities to apply to participate in a sponsored hunt.

September 5

  • Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens on designated waters through Sept. 30. See current Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.

September 9

  • Black bear hunting season opens. Runs through Oct. 13. See current black bear hunting regulations for zone and hunting method specific dates.

September 12

  • Fall turkey hunting season opens through Nov. 19. Zones 1-5 reopen Nov. 30-Dec. 31.
  • Archery and crossbow deer season opens through Jan. 3, 2015.
  • Ruffed grouse season opens in the Zone A through Jan. 31. (Zone B opens Oct. 19 - Dec. 8.)
  • Cottontail rabbit season opens in the northern zone, runs through Feb. 29.
  • Gray and fox squirrel season opens, runs through Jan. 31.
  • Fall crow season opens, runs through Nov. 20.

September 15

  • Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.*

September 16

  • Canada goose season opens in the North Exterior Zone and runs through Dec. 16.
  • Canada goose season opens in the South Exterior Zone and runs through Oct. 11. Season reopens in the South Zone Oct. 17 and runs through Dec. 21.
  • Period 1 Horicon Zone Canada goose opens runs through Nov. 1.

September 19

  • Woodcock season opens through Nov. 2.

September 19 - 20

  • Special two-day waterfowl duck hunt. Open to youth 10 to 15 years of age who are hunter safety certified or participating in a mentored hunt; all other state license requirements are waived except for HIP registration and Canada goose permit requirements; youths must be accompanied by adult. The bag limit and tag requirements apply for the respective zone. These days overlap with open goose season in most zones so adults will also be able to shoot geese but not duck during the youth hunt.

September 26

  • Duck season opens in the Northern Zone through Nov. 24.

September 30

  • Trout season closes on inland waters and on rivers flowing into Lake Superior from their mouths to the first impassable permanent barrier (unless listed otherwise in trout regulations).*
  • Lake trout season on Lake Superior closes.*
  • Hook-and-line sturgeon season closes on inland waters.
  • Set or bank pole and setline fishing season on specified waters in the Wolf and Fox river basins closes. Check the current Setline, Set or Bank Pole Regulations for open waters.*
* Indicates date remains the same each year, except some permit deadlines may be extended one day if they fall on a Sunday or Federal Holiday.

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For more information, contact DNR Public Information Officer Paul Holtan.

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