West-Central Wisconsin

VERNON COUNTY - There is no need to travel to Australia to view an animal that uses a kangaroo style means of locomotion. Meadow jumping mice use bipedal saltatorial locomotion or ricocheting to propel themselves with their two large hind limbs just like kangaroos and wallabies. When startled, they bound away with 2-3 foot long hops, stopping motionless after a leap or two.
Much like any other animal that uses this style of locomotion, meadow jumping mice have long tails for balance, large hind feet for take-off and landing and enlarged muscles in the hips.
These mice are found throughout Wisconsin and prefer moist sites with lush growths of grasses and forbs, including areas such as sedge meadows, swamps, marshes, shrubby fields, woodland edges, and grassy shorelines and streambanks. Meadow jumping mice are mainly nocturnal, but may exhibit infrequent daytime activity especially on cloudy days. They feed heavily on grass and weed seeds, berries, beetle and moth larvae, and certain fungi.
When traveling roads at night, especially quiet back roads that traverse grassy habitats, keep an eye out for these critters, as they are often observed bounding along the roadway. Their kangaroo-like hopping, long tails, and yellowish sides assist with identification, according to Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist in Viroqua.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY - Anglers can find diverse fishing opportunities on the Eau Claire River near the Altoona River Prairie development. Since the River Prairie development is just upriver of the confluence, almost any species found in the Chippewa River can be found in the Eau Claire River. Smallmouth bass are the most abundant game fish in this stretch of river. They are hard fighters and a lot of fun to catch.
As the water temperature warms, smallmouth bass begin to feed aggressively. They can be caught on a variety of baits, but top-water baits seem to be preferred. Perch and walleye can also be found in this stretch of the Eau Claire River. These species will generally be found in deep pools and can be targeted with live bait. Another species that draws a lot of interest are musky. The Wisconsin DNR stocks musky annually at the Hobbs Boat Landing on the Chippewa River. A good musky fishery has developed in the Chippewa River near Eau Claire and on the lower Eau Claire River.
A reminder that illegal possession of lake sturgeon is a crime. Lake sturgeon are found in the Chippewa River and Eau Claire River downriver of the Lake Altoona Dam according to Scott Thiede, conservation warden in Eau Claire.
BUCKHORN STATE PARK - Mosquitoes have hatched with the rain and humidity/heat. Remember to bring bug spray, screen tents and/or thermo-cells. The beach is a great place to hang out! We still have openings for a camp host in September. Please call the park office at 608-565-2789 for information if interested, said Heather Wolf, park manager.
ROCHE-A-CRI STATE PARK - We still have an opening for a camp host in August. Please call the Buckhorn park office at 608-565-2789 for information if interested, said Wolf.