Now is a great time to get your 2023 Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker. An admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks, forests and recreation areas.
You can buy annual stickers online, at DNR service centers or at your favorite Wisconsin State Park System property. For details, go to dnr.wi.gov/ tiny/1256.
FREE FISHING WEEKEND
Lakes may ice over in winter, but the fish still bite. Try ice fishing on one of the state’s 15,000 lakes or dip a line somewhere along the 84,000 miles of rivers and streams.
Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 21-22, is a good chance to give it a go. Most state waters require no license on those dates, and special events often are planned to get people started. For everything you need to know about fishing in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing.
CHRISTMAS TREES FROM STATE FORESTS
As you prepare to deck the halls, consider looking in a Wisconsin state forest to help you decorate for the holiday season. Six state forests — Brule River, Black River, Flambeau River, Governor Earl Peshtigo River, Governor Knowles and Northern Highland-American Legion — offer permits for cutting a Christmas tree to take home.
Permits can be purchased in advance through the mail or at each property and are usually $5 per tree. Generally, a tree harvest cannot be within 100 feet of roads, trails, lakes or a designated recreation area.
A few tips for a perfect harvest:
*Bring a sharp, lightweight saw, as forests will not provide one.
*Wear work gloves to protect your hands from scratches and sap.
*Make it a family affair; many hands make the tree harvest easier.
LOOK OUT FOR SNOWY OWLS
Last winter was hot with snowy owls in Wisconsin. Will we see it again this year? It’s hard to predict these irruptions — periods of mass movement of a population — so we won’t know for sure until it happens.
Snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus) make their way to northern Wisconsin every winter, though usually in smaller numbers than we saw last year. They arrive around mid-November and depart by the end of March. They prefer treeless habitats and can likely be found in open areas, especially grasslands, wetlands, shorelines and agricultural fields.
Unlike other owls, which are often nocturnal, snowy owls may be diurnal, meaning active during the day. So it’s OK if you see one while the sun is out, as they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Adult male snowy owls are almost completely white, while females and immature males are white with black spotting on their feathers.
Learn more about snowy owls in Wisconsin at dnr.wi.gov/tiny/1276.
THE GIFT THAT LASTS ALL YEAR-ROUND
Looking for a gift idea this holiday season? Give a subscription to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, bringing news of the state’s beautiful outdoors and ideas for how to enjoy them directly to the doorstep four times a year to highlight every season.
For a limited time, take advantage of a special holiday offer — five issues for just $5. That’s more than half-off the regular subscription price. To buy a gift or subscribe for yourself, go to wnrmag.com, or call 1-800-678-9472.