West-Central Wisconsin

VERNON COUNTY - Mid-January generally announces the onset of coyote and red fox breeding cycles. These two members of the dog family have one annual estrus cycle and typically breed between January and March.
Foxes and coyotes are more likely to travel in pairs now, and the fresh snow and increased activity means they are more visible than at any other time of the year. Cold, crisp winter nights afford opportunities to listen for the raspy barks of red fox or the high-pitched yipping of coyotes. Pup litters of both species are born in March or April in a natal den or burrow, but red foxes generally avoid raising pups in areas where coyotes have established territories, said Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua.

PERROT STATE PARK - We received about 5 inches of snow on Jan. 14 and 15. The cross-country ski trails were packed and tracked, but are in fair condition.
The snow was very light and the track is still soft due to cold temperatures. The wind has blown the snow around and some sections of the trail may have very little. The skate lane in the campground has been packed, but it is soft.
Hiking and snowshoeing are not allowed on cross-country ski trails. Brady's Bluff, Black Walnut Nature Trail and the Riverview trail are available for hiking and snowshoeing.
If you would like to rent snowshoes, please contact the park office to make arrangements. Pets are not allowed on cross-country ski trails, said Lois Larson, park manager.

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY - With all the recent snowfall in Eau Claire County, it is important to check trail conditions before going out.
As of Jan. 16, all Eau Claire County snowmobile trails are closed.
Information can be found at www.eccosnow.org.
When/if the trails open this season, snowmobilers need to remember to get their trail passes and current registration before hitting the trails. Always make sure to dress appropriately and plan your ride.
Free fishing weekend is coming and there are many places to take advantage. Large crappies have been caught on Lake Altoona so far this year. Ice is never 100 percent safe, but with the recent cold weather there is also a lot of ice on the lakes. When on the ice, stay away from naturally occurring springs and places where the current is strong. Those places have less ice and are more unpredictable, said Jacob Bolks, conservation warden, Eau Claire.

BUCKHORN STATE PARK - The trail into the new campground is open for dog walking and is packed when there is enough snow. Camp hosts are still needed for summer. We have spots open May-July for one site and May-July for the second site, said Heather Wolf, park manager.

ROCHE-A-CRI STATE PARK - Parking is in the winter/prairie lot on Czech Ave and park stickers are required (self-registration box at parking lot). The stairway is not maintained in winter and can be icy, said Wolf.