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The Wisconsin Outdoor Calendar was furnished by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Outdoor Report | Outdoor Calendar
Outdoor Calendar 2012
* 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.
- Late archery deer season closes.
- CWD management zone holiday firearm deer hunt closes.
- Winter crow season opens, through March 20.
- Squirrel season closes.*
- Ruffed grouse seasons closes in zone A (northern zone).*
- Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season opens. Season runs for 16 days (Feb. 26) 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.
- Coyote trapping season closes.*
- Raccoon trapping and hunting seasons closes.*
- Red and gray fox gun and trapping seasons close.*
- Ice fishing shelters must be removed from Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters.*
- Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Spearing Season closes unless season closes early due to harvest caps being reached.
- Cottontail rabbit season closes in northern and southern zones.*
- Mink trapping season closes in the northern, southern and Mississippi zones.
- 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.*
- 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 29.
- The fishing season for all game species closes on inland waters that do not remain open all year. Check the current fishing regulations for waters that remain open to fishing.
- The game fish season closes on tributary streams and ditches of Green Bay and the Fox River up to the first dam or lake (except yellow perch is open until March 15). There is an exception to this closure for portions of 9 major Green Bay Tributaries. Check the current fishing regulations for waters that remain open to fishing.*
- Ice fishing shelters must be removed from inland waters south of Highway 64 by the first Sunday following March 1.
- 2012-2013 hunting and fishing licenses go on sale.
- 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.
- Winter crow season closes.*
March 19 - 23
- 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.
- 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.
- Hunting, fishing, sports, and conservation patron licenses expire.*
- Otter trapping season closes in central and southern zone.
- Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings held in every county.
April 11 – 17
- Spring turkey hunting period A
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 18 – 24
- Spring turkey hunting period B
April 25 – May 1
- Spring turkey hunting period C
- Early catch-and-release only trout season closes at midnight. Season is artificial bait, barbless-hook only.
- The yellow perch season closes on Lake Michigan and tributaries. The season reopens June 16.*
- Otter trapping season closes in the North zone.*
- Frog season opens. Runs through Dec. 31
May 2 - 8
- Spring turkey hunting period D
- 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 17 in the northern zone.
- Muskellunge season in waters south of State Highway 10 opens.
- 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 9 – 15
- Spring turkey hunting period E
May 16 – 22
- Spring turkey hunting period F
- Yellow perch season opens on Green Bay, the Fox River and other Green Bay tributaries through March 15 with a bag limit of 15. Yellow perch season on Lake Michigan opens June 16.*
- Muskellunge season opens north of State Highway 10.
June 2 - 3
- 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 Day -- free admission to all state parks, forests and trails.
- Yellow perch season opens on Lake Michigan with a bag limit of five (5).*
- Northern zone bass season goes from catch-and-release to daily bag limits. Check current regulations for bag and size limits.
- Turtle season opens statewide through Nov. 30 for those species that are not listed as endangered or threatened.*
July 30, 31, August 1 & 2
- Public hearings on the proposed 2012 migratory game bird season hunting zones, season length and bag limits. Check the DNR Hearing and Meeting Calendar for times and locations.
- Fall turkey hunting applications due.*
- Deadline to apply for goose hunting permits for the Horicon zone.*
- Sharp-tailed grouse permit application due.*
- Deadline to apply for bobcat, fisher and otter permits.
- Deadline to apply for Upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season.*
- Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags for regular deer management units with a quota and for state park units will go on sale at 10 a.m.. 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.
- Deadline for successful applicants to transfer Class A Bear License to a youth hunter.
- 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.
- 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.*
- 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. 9.*
- Wild ginseng season opens; through Nov. 1.*
- Deadline for hunters with disabilities to apply to participate in a sponsored hunt.
- Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens on designated waters through Sept. 30. See current Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.
- Black bear hunting season opens. Runs through Oct. 9. See current black bear hunting regulations for zone and hunting method specific dates.
- Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.*
September 15 - 16
- 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.
- Fall turkey hunting season opens through Nov. 15. Zones 1-5 reopen Nov. 26 through Dec. 31.
- Early archery deer season opens through Nov. 15 The late season runs Nov. 17 - Jan. 6, 2013; see current regulations for special zones). Archery season opens in the CWD management zone through Jan. 6 (Antlerless only during the four-day early and late firearm seasons.)
- Ruffed grouse season opens in the Zone A through Jan. 31. (Zone B opens Oct. 20 - Dec. 8.)
- Cottontail rabbit season opens in the northern zone, runs through Feb. 28.
- Gray and fox squirrel season opens, runs through Jan. 31.
- Fall crow season opens, runs through Nov. 15.
- Canada goose season opens in the North Exterior Zone and runs through Nov. 4. Reopens Nov. 10 and Runs through Dec. 21.
- Canada goose season opens in the South Exterior Zone and runs through Oct. 7. Season reopens in the South Zone Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 21.
- Period 1 Horicon Zone Canada goose opens runs through Oct. 28.
- NOTE: Collins Zone- Eliminated and now part of the Exterior Zone.
- Duck season opens in the Northern Zone through Nov. 4. Season reopens Nov. 10-25.
- Duck season opens in the Mississippi River Zone and runs through Sept. 30. Season reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 2.
- Canada goose season opens in the Mississippi River Subzone and runs through Sept.30. Season reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 21.
- Woodcock season opens through Nov. 5.
- Duck season opens in the South Exterior Zone and runs through Oct. 7. Season reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 2.
- Duck season closes in the Mississippi River zone; reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 2.
- Canada goose season closes in the Mississippi River subzone. Season reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Jan. 3.
- 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.*
October 6 - 7
- Youth deer hunt [PDF]. Youth hunters ages 12 to 15 who have successfully completed a hunter education program and possess a gun deer hunting license may participate in this hunt. In addition, hunters ages 10 and 11, and youth 12 through 15 who have not completed hunter safety, can participate in the youth hunt with a hunt with a mentor license. Qualified hunters may harvest one buck deer on their gun buck deer carcass tag and additional antlerless deer with the appropriate carcass tag. Adults accompanying the youth may not gun deer and cannot accompany more than two youths. All hunting regulations apply, including blaze orange clothing requirements. Archery hunting remains open but archers must wear blaze orange. See regulations for additional requirements.
October 6 - 14
- Special deer hunt open to people with disabilities who have a disabled hunting permit. The hunts are held by landowners who have agreed to sponsor the hunters on their property. Hunters must have registered to participate at a designated sponsor location by Sept. 1.
- Duck season closes in the southern zone; reopens Oct. 13 through Dec. 2.
- Canada goose season closes in the south exterior zone. Season reopens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 21.
- Black bear season closes. See current Wisconsin Bear Hunting Regulations for specific season dates and zones.
- Duck season in the southern and Mississippi River zones reopens through Dec. 2.
- Canada goose season in the south exterior zone and Mississippi River subzone reopens through Dec. 21 in the southern zone and Jan. 3 in the Mississippi River zone.
- Pheasant season opens at noon; runs through Dec. 31.
- Ruffed grouse in the zone B opens through Dec. 8.
- Sharp-tailed grouse by permit opens through Nov. 11.
- Bobwhite quail season opens at noon through Dec. 12.
- Hungarian partridge season opens at noon through Dec. 31 (closed in Clark Marathon and Taylor counties).
- Cottontail rabbit opens in southern zone at noon through Feb. 28.
- Raccoon gun and trapping for state residents opens through Feb. 15.
- Red and gray fox hunting and trapping opens through Feb. 15.
- Coyote trapping season opens through Feb. 15.
- Muskrat season in the northern zone opens through Feb. 29.
- Mink season in the northern zone opens through Feb. 29.
- Fisher trapping season opens in various zones, through Dec. 31.
- Period 1 hunting and trapping season for bobcat north of Hwy. 64 through Dec. 25.
- Mink season opens in south and Winnebago zones through Feb. 28 in south and March 15 in Winnebago.
- Muskrat season opens in south zone through Feb. 28, and Winnebago zone through March 15.
- Period 1 Horicon Zone Canada goose closes.
- Period 2 Horicon Zone Canada goose runs through Dec. 16.
- Lake trout season closes on waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan and their tributaries.*
- Deadline to purchase Lake Winnebago system sturgeon spearing licenses.*
- Wild ginseng season closes.*
- Duck and Canada goose seasons close in the North Exterior Zone. Reopen Nov. 10 and run through Dec. 21.
- Beaver trapping season opens in the northwest zone (A), northeast zone (B) through April 30 and in the southern zone (C) through March 31.
- Otter trapping season opens in all zones and runs through April 30 in the North zone and through March 31 in the Central zone and South zone.
- Non resident raccoon season opens through Feb. 15.
- Sharp-tailed grouse season closes.
- Mourning dove season closes.*
- Duck and Canada goose seasons reopen in the North Exterior Zone through Dec. 21.
- Early archery deer season closes statewide. Reopens Nov. 17 through Jan. 6.
- Fall turkey hunting season closes. Fall turkey season extension reopens in zones 1-5, on Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 31.
- Fall crow season closes.
- Trout and salmon fishing closes on downstream section of Lake Superior tributaries that remained open after Sept. 30. (see current trout fishing regulations for stream sections).*
- It is illegal to hunt with a firearm or bow the day before the gun deer season opens, except for waterfowl hunting or hunting on licensed game farms or shooting preserves, or within the CWD management zone.
- Regular gun deer season open through Nov. 25.
- Late archery season opens through Jan. 6.
- Northern zone duck season closes.
- Regular gun deer season closes.
- Muzzleloader deer season opens, through Dec. 5.
- Fall turkey season extension opens in zones 1-5, through Dec. 31.
- Muskellunge season closes.*
- Turtle season closes. *
- Lake trout season on Lake Superior opens, through Sept. 30.*
- Southern and Mississippi River zone duck seasons close.
- Muzzleloader deer season closes.
December 6 - 9
- Antlerless-only firearm hunt in Herd Control and CWD management units.
- Ruffed grouse season closes in the zone B.*
- Spring turkey permit application deadline.*
- Application deadline for bear hunting kill permit.*
- Bobwhite quail season closes.
- Horicon zone Canada goose hunting periods 2 closes.
- Canada goose season closes in the North and South Exterior Zone.
- Holiday firearm season in CWD management zone through Jan. 6 (Earn-a-buck).
- Bobcat hunting and trapping season closes in Period 1.
- Period 2 hunting and trapping season for bobcat north of Hwy. 64 through Jan. 31.
* 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.
- Pheasant season closes.*
- Fall turkey season extension in zones 1-5 closes.
- Hungarian partridge season closes.*
- Fisher trapping season closes.*
- Frog season closes.*