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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 707 days

Weekly News Published - November 16, 2015 by the Central Office

 

2015 nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday November 21

MADISON - Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season opens this Saturday, November 21, and state wildlife officials say if summertime observations and reports from the public are any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be a good deer hunting year in many areas across Wisconsin.

In 2014, hunters across the state adapted to a number of new deer management regulations. In 2015 the biggest change is hunters' deer registration is going entirely paperless, and can be completed by phone or over the Internet. Hunters can register deer online through gamereg.wi.gov or by phone at 1-844-426-3734.

"Registering your deer has never been easier," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Hunters will also have the option of registering electronically at a participating in-person registration station or you can still go to any of your favorite spots after the hunt and register anywhere there's a phone or a computer with internet access." For a list of participating businesses in your area, search the DNR website for keywords "deer registration."

Wisconsin's four Deer Management Zones and Deer Management Units have not changed in 2015. DMUs follow county boundaries in most cases, and nine DMUs are split by zone boundaries. New for 2015, there are DMU and land type-specific antlerless permits to help more closely manage deer populations on each land type with the hope of enhancing the hunting experience on public land.

All hunters will receive a Farmland Zone Antlerless Deer Carcass Tag with the purchase of each deer hunting license (archer/crossbow and gun). This tag must be designated for use in a specific zone, DMU and land type (public access or private) at the time of issuance, or may be deferred until a later date with payment of a $2 convenience fee.

With each deer hunting license, hunters will receive one Buck Deer Carcass Tag valid statewide and one Farmland Zone Antlerless Deer Carcass Tag valid in the zone, county DMU, and land type (public access or private) of the buyer's choosing at time of license purchase. Farmland Zone tags may not be used in the Northern Forest or Central Forest zones, but bonus antlerless tags may be available in these zones. All Bonus Antlerless Deer Permits are zone, DMU and land-type specific. Bonus permits cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents and $5 for youth (ages 10 and 11).

Bonus antlerless deer permits are valid only in the Zone, DMUs and land type (public access or private) indicated on the carcass tag. Tags are limited, including 13 counties in part or whole where zero will be available.

Twelve county DMUs, in whole or in part, are designated as buck-only units. All buck-only units are restricted to the Northern and Central Forest zones. Only the Buck Deer Carcass Tag issued with each deer license is valid in these DMUs, with some exceptions for youth, Class A and C disabled and military hunters.

For more information about the 2015 gun deer season, search the DNR website for keywords "deer."

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A chronology of Wisconsin deer hunting from closed seasons to record harvests

MADISON - Wisconsin has a long and storied tradition of regulated gun deer hunting stretching all the way back to 1851. There have been many changes over the years, but few as dramatic as those experienced by hunters during the late 1990s and early 21st century.

1834 - Lafayette County, first reported crop damage by deer.

1851 - First closed season for deer, Feb. 1 - June 30; Indians permitted to hunt anytime.

1876 - Hunting with dogs prohibited statewide.

1887 - Two game wardens appointed by governor at a monthly salary of $50; night hunting prohibited statewide.

1888 - Game laws published in pamphlet form.

1890 - First chief warden appointed.

1892 - Lawful to kill any dog running or hunting deer.

1895 - Sheboygan first county closed to deer hunting; deer cannot be transported unless accompanied by hunter; last October deer season in state.

1897 - First bag limit for deer, two per season; resident license costs $1, nonresident license costs $30; estimated license sales total 12,000.

1900 - Twelve hunters killed by firearms.

1903 - Estimated 78,164 licenses sold.

1905 - Salt licks prohibited.

1909 - Season 20 days long, limit one deer; first civil service exam given on a competitive basis for prospective wardens.

1910 - Deer populations drop to record low numbers due to unregulated hunting and market shooting.

1914 - Twenty-four hunters killed, 26 injured; license sales at 155,000

1915 - First buck only season.

1917 - Shining deer illegal while possessing a firearm; Conservation Commission delegated some powers related to deer season, but legislature retains authority to set seasons; deer tags (paper) required for the first time...they cost 10 cents.

1919 - Estimated kill is 25,152.

1920 - First use of metal deer tags...they cost 10 cents.

1921 - Wardens are instructed that "all deer found in possession...with horns less than three inches in length, is a fawn and should be confiscated."

1924 - Estimated kill is 7,000.

1925 - Legislature passes law closing deer season in alternate years.

1927 - No open season.

1928 - Deer hunters required to wear official conservation button while hunting; Game Division formed with Conservation Department; estimated kill is 17,000 with 69,049 deer tags sold.

1929 - No open season.

1930 - Estimated kill is 23,000 with 70,284 deer tags sold.

1931 - No open season.

1932 - Deer tag price is raised to $1; estimated kill is 36,009 with 70,245 deer tags sold.

1933 - No open season; Conservation Congress, an advisory group representing public opinion registered at annual county hearings, begins to assist the Conservation Commission in establishing a deer management policy.

1934 - First bow deer season; estimated gun kill is 21,251 with 83,939 deer tags sold.

1935 - No open season.

1937 - Shortest deer season on record, three days.

1938 - Use of .22 rifle and .410 shotgun prohibited.

1939 - Licensed children between ages 12 and 16 must be accompanied by parent or guardian; buckshot prohibited statewide.

1941 - Deer predators rare, timber wolves nearing extinction; estimated gun kill is 40,403 with 124,305 deer tags sold.

1942 - Back tags required while deer hunting.

1943 - First doe and fawn season in 24 years. The 1943 season was unique in Wisconsin, with a "split season" with forked (>1" fork) bucks-only for 4 days followed by a 3-day closure and then 4 days of antlerless-only (128,000 harvest).

1945 - First year of 'shotgun only' counties; wearing red clothing required while hunting deer.

1949 - The 1949 season was an unusual any-deer hunt - bucks with more than a two-inch fork were protected (159,000 harvest).

1950 - First 'any deer' season since 1919; estimated gun kill is 167,911 with 312,570 deer tags sold.

1951 - Deer hunting license and tag cost $2.50; orange clothing now included under red clothing law; Wisconsin leads nation in whitetail deer kill for third consecutive year.

1953 - First season gun deer hunters required to register deer at checking station.

1954 - Two-thirds of bucks harvested are less than three years old; portions of Walworth and Waukesha Counties and all of Jefferson County open for the first time since 1906.

1956 - 100th established gun deer season; registered gun kill is 35,562 with 294,645 deer tags sold.

1957 - Legislature authorizes party permit.

1958 - Longest deer season since 1916, 16 days; Rock County open for the first time since 1906; first harvest by deer management unit (in northwest and northeast only); registered gun kill is 95,234, of which 44,987 taken by party permit; 335,866 deer tags and 58,348 party permits sold, respectively.

1959 - First statewide deer registration by unit; Game Management Division of Conservation Department assumes responsibility for coordinating the state's deer program; first open season in Kenosha County since 1906.

1960 - Hunter not permitted to buy a license after opening day of gun season; Green and Racine Counties open for the first time since 1906; all counties now open except Milwaukee; registered gun kill is 61,005, of which 25,515 taken by party permit; 338,208 deer tags and 47,522 party permits sold, respectively.

1961 - Resident big game license increased from $4 to $5; first use of SAK - sex-age-kill population-reconstruction technique for estimating deer numbers; hunters required to transport deer openly while driving to registration station; legislation authorizing unit specific quotas for antlerless harvest established.

1962 - Deer population above 400,000; deer management unit specific population goals established.

1963 - First year of quota party permits in eight management units; assassination of President Kennedy lessens hunting pressure.

1964 - Party permit quota extended to 32 management units.

1967 - Hunter Safety Education Program begins.

1970 - Registered gun kill is 72,844 with 501,799 licenses sold; 13 hunters killed.

1973 - No deer season fatalities.

1978 - Record registered gun kill is 150,845 with 644,594 licenses sold.

1980 - Blaze orange clothing required; first season of Hunter's Choice permit; new law prohibits shining wild animals from 10pm to 7pm, Sept. 15 - Dec. 31; coyote season closed in northern management units to protect nascent wolf population.

1981 - Record registered deer kill of 166,673 with 629,034 licenses sold.

1982 - Another record registered gun kill of 182,715 with 637,320 licenses sold; three deer season fatalities.

1983 - Harvest continues to rise with another record registered gun kill of 197,600 with 649,972 licenses sold; experimental antlerless deer shunt in six southern management units to relieve crop damage.

1984 - Big jump in registered kill, fourth record harvest in a row of 255,726 with license sales totaling 657,969; handgun deer hunting allowed in shotgun areas; group hunting legalized.

1985 - Fifth consecutive record kill of 274,302 with 670,329 licenses sold; deer season extended in 21 management units; legislature further strengthens road hunting restrictions.

1986 - Gun deer season now nine days statewide; landowner preference program begins for Hunter's Choice permits.

1987 - First year of bonus antlerless permits; seven fatalities and 46 injuries.

1988 - Handguns permitted statewide.

1989 - Record registered gun harvest of 310,192 with 662,280 licenses sold; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.15 million deer; two fatalities and 37 firearm injuries.

1990 - License sales peak at 699,275. Another record gun kill of 350,040, including 209,005 antlerless deer; archers take 49,291 deer; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.3 million; season extended for seven days in 67 management units.

1991 - First year of separate, seven-day muzzleloader season; third consecutive year of record gun harvest, 352,330; archery harvest jumps to 69,097; hunters allowed to buy more than one antlerless permit.

1992 - Natural Resources Board approves DNR secretary's recommendation to keep the gun season at nine days; new metro management units established around La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee. After three record-breaking harvests, gun harvest drops to 288,820, still the fourth highest on record.

1993 - Pre-hunt herd population at 1 million with many units below prescribed goals; 34 units, mainly in the north, designated as buck-only units; license sales dip to 652,491; gun harvest at 217,584; archers take 53,008 deer; one fatality, 17 firearm injuries.

1994 - Gun harvest back up, by more than 90,000, to 307,629. Hunters Choice permit widely available; six northwest management units remain buck only; herd beginning to build up in southern agricultural range.

1995 - For the first time hunters can use their bonus or Hunter's Choice permits in either the gun, bow or muzzleloader seasons; gun harvest totals 398,002, a new state record; archers kill a record 69,269 deer; 32 firearm incidents, one fatality.

1996 - First October gun deer hunt since 1897; "Earn-a-Buck" rules, requiring hunters to harvest a doe before taking a buck, established in 19 deer management units in agricultural range; special four-day, antlerless-only season in October in all 19 of these DMUs. October gun harvest is 24,954 deer.

1997 - The safest gun season ever with one fatality and 10 injuries; 'Earn a Buck' provision scuttled; early Zone T (October gun) season in seven management units and three state parks.

1998 -Gun harvest of 332,254 is fifth highest; bow hunters take a record 75,301 deer, 18.5 percent of total; 19 firearm incidents with two fatalities; after a mild winter, most DMUs estimated to be above population goals; early October season held in one management unit, 67A.

1999 - Record gun harvest of 402,204 deer; record archery harvest at 92,203; licensed hunters at 690,194, second highest to date; resident deer license costs $20; non-resident license $135; early archery season, traditionally closed a week before November gun hunt, is extended in all 7 Zone T units through the Thursday preceding the traditional gun opener.

2000 - The gun harvest jumps by more than 125,000 deer to an all-time record of 528,494. With 694,712 licensed gun hunters, their success rate is an astonishing 76 percent. By comparison, in the 43 years from 1966 to 2009, the average success rate for gun hunters is 37 percent.

2001 - Routine testing by DNR, weeks after the close of hunting, reveals that three deer harvested in the Town of Vermont in Dane County had CWD, or chronic wasting disease. The gun harvest drops to 361,264, still the fifth highest on record and higher than any harvest prior to 1995. Archery harvest remains high at 83,120, so the total harvest is fourth highest on record. October and December Zone T gun hunts in 67 DMUs.

2002 - The DNR and hunters begin looking for answers after CWD is found for the first time in wild deer east of the Mississippi River. For two decades, the always fatal, contagious disease had been largely confined, in the wild, to deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming. DNR reacts aggressively, setting up a CWD management zone, with expanded hunting, and a smaller disease eradication zone, with a 14-week gun hunt. DNR samples 41,000 deer statewide for CWD. License sales drop 10 percent.

2003 - Bow hunters harvest a record 95,607 deer. Gun deer license sales up 14 percent over 2002, climbing to 644,818. Earn-a-buck rules in effect and no bag limit in the CWD management zone in southwest Wisconsin; 115 wild deer test positive for CWD with all but two positives from the disease eradication zone.

2004 - Hunters set a new record with venison donations by giving 10,938 deer yielding nearly 500,000 pounds of venison for food pantries across the state. Widespread use of earn-a-buck and Zone T hunts. Bow hunters set yet another record, harvesting 103,572 deer. License sales up slightly to 649,955.

2005 - Top five gun deer harvest counties - all located in central Wisconsin - are Marathon (15,871), Clark (13,918), Waupaca (12,260), Shawano (11,748) and Jackson (11,461). DNR tests 4,500 deer in the agency's northeast region and CWD not detected.

2006 - Gun deer license sales at 644,906. Demographics show a gradually declining number of hunters nationwide due to a variety of changing social conditions. DNR, wildlife organizations and hunting clubs across state are ramping up efforts to encourage young hunters. NRB has approved a special, 2-day youth hunt in early October. Total gun harvest is 393,306, fifth highest on record.

2007 - Wisconsin's 156th deer season; archery harvest peaks at 116,010 deer; gun hunt now lasts 23 days in the CWD Zones; 57 of Wisconsin's 130 DMU's have earn-a-buck rules.

2008 - Most of southern Wisconsin now lies within the new CWD-management zone; focus has shifted to managing rather than eliminating the disease; rifles can be used to hunt deer in previously shotgun-only areas of the CWD zone; more than 642,000 licensed hunters kill 352,601 deer during all gun seasons.

2009 - The new "Mentored Hunting Program" is introduced, allowing any licensed hunter aged 18 or older to take any new hunter age 10 or older on a hunt. The mentor does not carry a weapon and stays within arm's reach of the novice. Nine-day gun hunt opens with unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy fog throughout much of the state. Gun harvest drops to 241,862.

2010 - Hunters may now divide a deer into up to five parts (four quarters plus the head attached to the spinal column and rib cage) to facilitate removal from the field. Hunting regulations are available on DNR's web site; 18 DMUs in the north have buck-only hunting during both gun and bow seasons to allow herd to grow in the north. No earn-a-buck units except in CWD zone.

2011-Archery season is permanently extended to run through the gun deer season. Hunters report higher deer numbers in north. There are no October herd control hunts outside the CWD Management Zone. . Earn-a-buck rules are completely eliminated by legislation statewide and hunters in the CWD Management Zone may shoot a buck first. Earn a Buck is replaced with "bonus buck". CWD detected in a doe harvested outside of Shell Lake in Washburn County, prompting sampling and public outreach. State hires independent deer trustee to review Wisconsin deer management. DNR embarks on multi-million, multi-year study to quantify various causes of deer death (whether by hunter, disease, weather, vehicle collision or predation by wolf, bear or coyote). More than 400 hunters volunteer help make the first year of field research a success.

2012 - For the first time since 1995, there are no October herd-control gun hunts anywhere in the state. CWD zone hunters can take additional bucks under "bonus buck" rules. Anyone may now hunt with a crossbow during any gun deer season. Hunter participation in deer field research remains strong; $5 introductory licenses for various game species are introduced to help recruit new hunters and encourage past hunters to return. Bowhunters set an all-time record harvest of bucks.

2013 - Rifles allowed for hunting statewide after research shows they pose no greater risk than shotguns even in more populated counties. Hunting allowed in most state parks for the first time for about a month in the spring and a month in the fall, with archery hunting in parks running longer. Citizen "action teams" working on the Deer Trustee Report complete their recommendations, the DNR prepares proposed changes to deer management and 35 public hearings are held statewide. One proposal: reduce the number of deer management units, either by combining units or managing deer by county. CWD surveillance expanded in Adams, Juneau and Portage counties after four deer test positive outside the CWD management zone in southern Wisconsin.

2014 -A crossbow season for deer is established for the first time, and the sale of crossbow licenses is robust. The crossbow season runs concurrently with the archery season, from mid-September through the first weekend in January. Crossbow permits are no longer limited to handicapped hunters or those aged 65 or older. Deer management units now coincide with county lines and fall under "farmland" or "forest" zones. After a second consecutive severe winter, antlerless permits are eliminated in 19 forest zone counties. As a precursor to a major change scheduled for 2015, a pilot program for electronic deer registration is established.

2015 - This year marks the first year of statewide electronic registration for recording harvested deer. Electronic registration allows hunter to use a telephone or a computer with internet access to record their deer harvest, as well as, honoring past traditions to register in-person at a number of stations statewide. County Deer Advisory Councils and citizen involvement through programs like the Deer Management Assistance Program continue to play a key role in decision making and resource and habitat management as we enter a new era of deer hunting in Wisconsin.

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Cap it for safety's sake this hunting season and introduce someone new to the outdoors!

MADISON -- Wisconsin's conservation wardens again remind hunters of a 1980 Wisconsin law that recognized the importance of wearing the color synonymous with safety -- blaze orange.

The law states if you opt to wear a hat during your hunting, it must be 50 percent blaze orange. Wardens sometimes come upon hunters not wearing the appropriate cap, and in some cases colors simply fade over the years.

Wardens will have several blaze orange knit hats to distribute as an outreach and education effort to hunters in the field during the 2015 gun-deer season. The hats are embroidered with the phrase, "Hunt Safe in Wisconsin." Blaze orange clothing for hunters is cited as one of the reasons Wisconsin's hunting incidents have declined.

This year, stay safe and introduce someone new to the outdoors! There has never been a better time to show friends and family your favorite outdoor activities and introduce them to all Wisconsin has to offer. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "hunt" to learn more.

For more information regarding safe hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "safety tips."

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Keep some helpful tips in mind to ensure another safe hunting season in Wisconsin

MADISON - After the safest deer hunt on record in 2014, Wisconsin remains one of the safest places in the world to hunt deer.

DNR Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller credits Wisconsin's reputation as safety-minded to hunters themselves and a strong corps of volunteer instructors dedicated to sending new hunters into the woods equipped with the best safety practices around.

"Wisconsin hunters value this annual state tradition that is as much about family and friends as it is about harvesting a deer," Schaller said. "This state is fortunate to have thousands of volunteer hunter education instructors dedicated to keeping everyone safe while enjoying the outdoors - and even more hunters who carry on that safety priority during their own hunts and as mentors. This is what makes Wisconsin a great hunting state - the people."

Experts trace the state's culture of hunting safety to 1967, almost a half century ago, when the department launched a six-hour course stressing firearm safety. The course was voluntary, and while the impact was not momentous, the number of firearm injuries during the gun deer hunt began to slowly fall off.

In 1980, hunters were required to wear blaze orange during gun deer hunts, and the number of firearm incidents dropped more dramatically. Then, in 1985, an expanded hunter education certification program became mandatory for all hunters in Wisconsin born or after Jan. 1, 1973.

The state's ingrained hunter safety culture was created and is sustained by the program's dedicated, experienced volunteer instructors who have instilled skills, responsibility and ethics in more than one million students. About 28,000 new students are trained each year.

In 1966 in Wisconsin, the hunting incident rate was 44 injuries for every 100,000 hunters. Now the rate, based on a 10-year-average, is 4.04 incidents per 100,000 hunters, a reduction of more than 90 percent. Wisconsin has experienced four gun-deer seasons free of fatalities, (1972, 2010, 2011 and 2013) with three of them occurring in the past four years.

Conservation Warden Jon King, who leads the Hunter Education Program, said hunting in Wisconsin is a safe, fun activity for the entire family.

King credits the expanded course and outstanding instructors as the main factors behind Wisconsin's safety record, but there are others. "Trends in hunting patterns have changed," King said. "There are fewer deer drives. The tendency is for gun hunters to go out and sit. It's more like bow hunting, where you sit for a couple hours

King is confident more incidents can be prevented by following these four basic principles of firearm safety - known as TABK:

For tree stand users, here are some easy tips to follow:

Each deer drive should be planned in advance with safety as the top priority, King said. "Everyone involved in the drive should know and understand the plan."

If you plan to participate in a deer drive:

The department would like to thank Wisconsin hunters, who continue to serve as an example for ethical and safe hunting.

For more information regarding hunter education and tips for safe hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "safety tips."

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A number of resources are available to help you find a place to hunt this fall

MADISON - It has never been easier to find a place to hunt in Wisconsin, and there are a number of tools and programs available to help you find a new favorite spot before the nine day gun deer season.

Public Access Lands atlas

Whether you are looking for new public hunting grounds or a spot for a fall picnic, the atlas is a great tool for finding new public lands and creating new memories. The atlas includes all DNR properties as well as nearly all federal and county-owned lands. You can download and print these maps free of charge from your home computer.

The University Book Store's digital storefront provides a web-based option for those interested in purchasing a PAL Atlas. The original PAL Atlas, with 441 maps, two indexes and a glossary is available for $89.95. A separate PAL atlas is also available for each of Wisconsin's 72 counties for $24.95. Lastly, a DVD with over 450 pages of public lands access data is available for $5.95.

For orders using a check, a mail order form [PDF] is available on the University Book Store's website. Please do not send cash or credit card information with a mail order form.

To place an order by phone using a credit card, call: 1-800-993-2665 EXT 5929. In order to simplify the purchasing process, be sure to mention the item number (099127660) in your call.

For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "atlas."

Pocket Ranger App

The Pocket Ranger mobile application is a great way to not only find a place to hunt, but also connect with other hunters and have a number of tools at your fingertips in the field.

Pocket Ranger features include:

Since its launch in November 2013, more than 128,000 people have downloaded the Wisconsin Pocket Ranger to their Apple or Android mobile devices.

To learn more and download the free application, search keyword "mobile apps," or search "Wisconsin Pocket Ranger" in the Apple App Store or Android Market from your Apple or Android device.

Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool

Those interested in hunting on DNR managed lands are reminded to check out the department's Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.

Features available within FFLIGHT can help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and view topographic maps or aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Users can choose which type of habitat to highlight - FFLIGHT can help you find the best grouse and woodcock cover in the woods near your cabin.

The FFLIGHT mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access is required). To learn more and start your search for hunting land, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "FFLIGHT."

Hunting Wisconsin's State Parks, Trails and Forests

In general, fall gun and archery hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of these properties during the open season from Nov. 15 - Dec. 15 in Wisconsin's state parks (where applicable, hunting with legal archery methods is allowed through Jan. 3).

Search keywords "hunting state parks, trails and forests" or check with local department staff to learn more.

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law programs

Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law are landowner-incentive programs that incorporate sustainable forest practices, such as timber harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and recreation- all while improving public access to these lands.

When landowners enroll in the Managed Forest Law, they may choose whether they want their lands designated as open or closed to public recreation. Open Managed Forest Law lands are open to public recreation available for hunting, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and sight-seeing.

Forest Crop Law lands are open to public recreation for hunting and fishing only.

A mapping tool shows the approximate location of all MFL-Open and FCL lands in Wisconsin - here, you can find landowner information, acreage and enrollment information. To access the mapping tool, search keywords "MFL open land." Users are encouraged to refer to a plat book or other online data sources to help them decipher the information shown in the mapping tool.

For more general information regarding these programs, contact your local DNR Forester or search keyword "forest landowner."

Voluntary Public Access program

The Voluntary Public Access program provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.

With additional USDA funding over the next 3 years, the department is hoping to extend the current leases as well as add more properties. New with this grant will be the ability to fund some habitat work on properties as well as lease public access.

To learn more, search keyword "VPA."

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New to the outdoors? Enjoy discounted prices for first-time license purchases and be sure to fill out your first deer certificate!

MADISON - In its fourth year, the first-time buyer license continues to provide an opportunity to explore Wisconsin's outdoors at a reduced price.

Successful first-time deer hunters are also reminded to fill out a first deer certificate to commemorate their hunt. A printable certificate will be sent to the email address provided.

Certain resident hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses are available for as little as $5 for those who have never purchased that same type of license or have not purchased a Wisconsin license authorizing that activity in any of the prior ten years. Certain nonresident licenses are also discounted for first-time buyers.

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website and at license sales locations.

DNR Customer and Outreach Services staff is available to assist the public online and via phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Customers may reach customer service at 1-888-WDNR INFo (1-888-936-7463) or by e-mail at csweb@wisconsin.gov. An online chat link is also available.

For more information regarding the first-time license buyer program and first deer certificate, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "first time buyer" and "first deer certificate."

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Wisconsin deer hunters have the opportunity to get their deer tested and help with CWD surveillance

MADISON -- State wildlife officials will continue testing harvested white-tailed deer for chronic wasting disease this year. This testing is part of the state's ongoing efforts to monitor the status and spread of the disease in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be testing deer from select areas of the state. Surveillance will focus on adult deer, since older deer are more likely to have the disease.

A map of the 2015 CWD sampling area [PDF] can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "CWD."

The department will continue to collect samples from deer harvested in Dane, Iowa, Rock, Walworth, Washburn, Juneau, Adams, Portage and Marathon counties.

New for 2015, wildlife staff will be sampling in the Fairchild/Augusta area in Eau Claire County, where the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection discovered a CWD-positive deer on a private deer farm earlier this year. In Marquette and Green Lake counties, samples will be collected at select taxidermists throughout the deer hunting season.

"With electronic registration fully in effect this deer season we would like to remind deer hunters that there are still in-person locations available for them to have their deer sampled for CWD," said Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief.

The department works closely with a number of private businesses throughout Wisconsin to offer CWD sampling, and is currently piloting a self-service kiosk program in 2015 in parts of southern and northern Wisconsin. Kiosks are currently open around the clock, and sampling materials and tools are available onsite. CWD tests and kiosks are free of charge, and test results will be sent within three to four weeks.

For information regarding where to take your deer for sampling, search keywords "CWD sampling" or contact the DNR call center at 888-936-7463. Hunters are reminded to contact sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation.

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ATVs and UTVs are a great tool for hunters - be sure to check out some helpful tips and stay safe!

MADISON - All-terrain vehicles and utility-terrain vehicles are great tools to assist hunters with their hunts - but state recreational safety specialists say ATV and UTV operators need to keep a few safety tips in mind and ensure a safe hunt and ride.

For more information regarding ATV/UTV laws and safety, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "ATV."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Monday, November 16, 2015

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773