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Weekly News Published - March 7, 2017 by the Central Office

 

DNR launches 2017 license year sales on Wednesday

Go Wild system offers many ways to enjoy Wisconsin's wild side

MADISON - If you like to hunt, fish, boat or just get outdoors and enjoy Wisconsin's wild side, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages you to visit GoWild.Wi.Gov.

Licenses and permits for hunting, fishing, trapping and more go on sale Wednesday, March 8, through DNR's Go Wild system, an online portal dedicated to the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by sound management of Wisconsin's natural resources.

DNR's 2017 Conservation Card features a hunting theme. The optional personal conservation cards offer one of several ways to provide proof of hunting, fishing and other license and stamp purchases.
DNR's 2017 Conservation Card features a hunting theme. The optional personal conservation cards offer one of several ways to provide proof of hunting, fishing and other license and stamp purchases.

"Our top rankings in the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young record books for trophy whitetail bucks, top-tier turkey and black bear hunting, world-record musky and exceptional walleye, trout and bass fishing are just a few reasons why hunting and fishing are so popular in Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "The Go Wild system makes it easier than ever for our hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy Wisconsin's wild side with all of the licenses and access information they need in one place."

The system, introduced in 2016, secures licensing information electronically and enables customers to provide proof of their purchases through an optional personal conservation card, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license, a plain paper print out or a pdf display on a mobile device such as a smartphone. Thanks to its 24-7-365 availability, the Go Wild system also expands the opportunities to purchase fishing and hunting licenses, as well as register boats, ATVs, UTVs, off-highway motorcycles and snowmobiles beyond the hours offered at vendors or DNR service centers.

Mark Rappe, of the DNR Bureau of Customer and Outreach Services, said licenses purchased for the 2016 license year remain in effect through March 31. Licenses purchased on or after March 8 are valid immediately for any open season.

Conservation wardens need help

When the new license year begins, anglers fishing Michigan and Minnesota boundary waters, as well as the Great Lakes, are again reminded they must possess a paper copy of their license to be legal. The paper printouts are needed because law enforcement officials in the surrounding states do not have access to the Wisconsin database. Wardens say that having the paper license handy will expedite license checks and allow enthusiasts to stay focused on their outdoor activity.

For tag species such as wild turkey, in 2017 hunters must again possess their carcass tags while hunting and validate tags immediately upon harvesting, Rappe said.

Following the regular license year sales that begin on March 8, the sale of left-over spring turkey permits begins on March 20. This year, sales for Zone 1 permits begin at 10 a.m. on March 20; Zone 2 permits on March 21; Zone 3 permits on March 22; Zone 4 permits on March 23; and Zones 5 and 7 on March 24. A total of 105,463 spring turkey permits will be available in all and leftover sales will continue for all zones on March 25, again starting at 10 a.m.

Fees for the 2017 license year remain the same as last year. To learn more, visit GoWild.Wi.Gov or visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search "Go Wild." Informational resources include fact sheets, descriptions of how and when certain forms of proof of license purchase apply as well as tagging information for a variety of game.

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Record number of extended growth walleye stocked in 2016 with more to come in 2017

Fish from initial year of Wisconsin Walleye Initiative reaching harvest size this year

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stocked a record number of extended growth walleye fingerlings in key Wisconsin waters in 2016, even as fish from the initial year of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative are expected to begin reaching harvest size this year.

In all, 797,815 of the 6- to 8-inch extended growth walleye were stocked in 150 Wisconsin waterbodies in 2016, up from the 760,969 fish stocked in 133 waters in 2015, said Dave Giehtbrock, DNR fisheries culture section chief. Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2017-2019 biennial budget continues funding the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative at current levels for both years.

Lake Mendota was among 150 waters statewide to receive extended growth walleye fingerlings as part of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative in 2016. The 6 to 8 inch fish survive better in some lakes to contribute to the recreational fishery.
Lake Mendota was among 150 waters statewide to receive extended growth walleye fingerlings as part of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative in 2016. The 6 to 8 inch fish survive better in some lakes to contribute to the recreational fishery.
Photo Credit: DNR

"We appreciate the vote of confidence in our program and the continued support for this important effort to restore and sustain Wisconsin as a premier walleye destination," Giehtbrock said. "This year, anglers can look forward to catching some of the 455,307 large fingerlings we stocked in 2013 with harvest opportunities increasing as more fish reach legal size in the years ahead."

In addition to the fish stocked during the first year of the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative in 2013, extended growth walleye stocking totaled 719,670 fish in 2014. Prior to the launch of the initiative, in 2012 the department stocked 142,121 extended growth walleye.

Fish from the fall 2016 stocking in Lake Mendota averaged 7 inches in length.
Fish from the fall 2016 stocking in Lake Mendota averaged 7 inches in length.
Photo Credit: DNR

Through the years, the number of lakes that are stocked with the larger fish has varied depending on the size of the waters and number of fish available. Lakes are stocked on a rotating basis and some lakes require a larger number of fish to reach the standard rate of 10 fish per acre needed to support a good recreational fishery. For example, Lake Mendota received 98,077 fish in 2016, none in 2015 and 97,751 in 2014.

Walleye are a favorite quarry for Wisconsin anglers and boost the economy by driving expenditures for lodging, dining, retail purchases, guided trips and tournament participation among other things. Wisconsin remains one of the top three fishing destinations in the U.S. with resident and nonresident anglers generating an economic impact of nearly $2.3 billion per year, according to the American Sportfishing Association.

Giehtbrock said the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative fosters growth in the aquaculture industry, with some 245,000 fish coming from private and tribal hatcheries in 2016. The contributions from private hatcheries continue to climb, with some 239,000 in 2015 and 213,000 in 2014.

Justine Hasz, DNR fisheries bureau director, said support from the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative also has meant critical infrastructure improvements for the state hatchery system including a $4.6 million investment at the Art Oehmcke Hatchery in Woodruff; a $2.5 million investment at the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Spooner and a $1.1 million investment at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery in Wild Rose.

"Modernization of these facilities contributes to the efficiency of our stocking program with enhanced fish health and better outcomes for anglers," Hasz said. "The improved facilities are functioning well and helping us get these young fish off to the best possible start so that anglers can enjoy great walleye fishing for years to come."

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is part of DNR's overall management strategy to help restore naturally reproducing populations in lakes that formerly supported native populations and improve walleye numbers in lakes that need regular stocking to maintain good fisheries.

While stocking the larger, extended growth fingerlings makes sense in some lakes, DNR also stocks approximately 1.4 million small fingerlings each year. DNR fisheries biologists develop stocking plans for the different sized fish based on specific lake conditions; in some lakes the smaller fingerlings perform very well and are more cost effective than the larger fish.

To learn more, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search "Wisconsin Walleye Initiative."

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Public hearings throughout Wisconsin provide great opportunity to provide feedback regarding fall waterfowl hunting season structure

MADISON -- Public hearings in March will provide the public with an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed Wisconsin fall waterfowl hunting season structure.

Proposed 2017 migratory bird season structure and daily bag limits will be the subject of March public meetings throughout Wisconsin.
Proposed 2017 migratory bird season structure and daily bag limits will be the subject of March public meetings throughout Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: DNR

The public input process for establishing the 2017 waterfowl hunting seasons is slightly different from previous years due to a decision by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to set season structures using data from the prior year. Through this new process, hunters will know waterfowl hunting season dates by late April, rather than late August as in years past.

"The 2017 waterfowl seasons will be based on the 2016 continental waterfowl population estimates that were at near record estimates since USFWS surveys began 61 years ago," said Taylor Finger migratory game bird ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Due to very wet fall and winter seasons we expect populations to remain high in 2017 and if we have favorable conditions this fall, hunters can expect good waterfowl hunting opportunities"

Public hearings will be held at the following locations - each will begin at 7 p.m.:

DNR staff will accept public comments on the proposed waterfowl season structure at each public hearing. Those who would prefer to provide input directly or are unable to attend a hearing can send written comments through midnight Friday, March 17 to Taylor Finger, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, via email to Taylor.finger@wisconsin.gov, or via phone at 608-266-8841.

After public comments have been collected, final season structure will be set by the Natural Resources Board at its April 12 meeting in Madison.

To view the proposed waterfowl seasons online, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waterfowl."

Proposed 2017 migratory bird season structure and daily bag limits

Proposed Early Migratory Bird Seasons:

Proposed regular duck season structure and daily bag limits:

Proposed opening day shooting hours:

Proposed season structure:

The proposed daily bag limit statewide would be six ducks, including no more than:

Five mergansers could be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded - 15 coot could be harvested daily.

Proposed Canada goose regular season structure and daily bag limits

Proposed daily bag limits:

Exterior Zone (92 days total):

Snow/Blue Geese, Ross' Geese, Brant, White-fronted Geese and other geese season structure and daily bag limits

Proposed daily bag limits:

Exterior Zone (92 days total):

Horicon Zone

Coot, moorhen, rail, and snipe season structure and daily bag limits

Season structure for coot, moorhen, rail, and snipe will be the same as wild ducks in the zone in which you hunt.

Proposed Daily Bag Limits:

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "waterfowl."

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New Wisconsin deer metrics system places important data at your fingertips

MADISON -- A new deer metrics system provides a unique opportunity for people to take a detailed look at how County Deer Advisory Councils and the Department of Natural Resources work together with the public to manage Wisconsin's deer herd.

"DNR staff created a system that provides the public and County Deer Advisory Councils with a fast and easy method of learning about their deer management unit and the factors that influence management decisions," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist.

Metrics provided in the system include deer harvest figures, population trends, deer impacts on agriculture and forest resources, herd history, deer herd health, deer hunter surveys and more. To check out this new webpage and learn more about Wisconsin's deer herd, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "deer metrics."

County Deer Advisory Councils use these metrics annually to measure their local herd's progress toward the population objectives of increasing, decreasing or maintaining, and then apply management strategies accordingly. Each of the metrics provided in the system plays a role in deer management strategies, and this system allows users to easily discover information for their favorite deer management unit.

"The public sees what we see," said Wallenfang. "Our hope is that by using this system, people will take a greater interest and understanding in deer management and bring that knowledge to local CDAC meetings to help make informed recommendations in shaping the deer seasons."

This deer metrics system is unlike any other in the country and will provide anyone interested in deer management the opportunity to be better informed on their local deer herd. Users are encouraged to get more involved in local deer management through participation in County Deer Advisory Councils or the Deer Management Assistance Program.


This helpful tutorial video will help anyone interested in learning more about the deer herd in their area.
Video Credit: DNR
Are you interested in all things deer? Attend your county's CDAC meeting and let your voice be heard

Beginning March 13, County Deer Advisory Councils will hold their annual meetings to discuss key management actions for the 2017 deer hunting seasons. At these spring meetings, councils will review key deer metrics in order to develop preliminary antlerless harvest goals and antlerless tag level recommendations on public and private lands within their county.

Council members will also discuss options for additional deer hunting opportunities beyond the traditional seasons in 2017. Each CDAC meeting is open to the public - a statewide meeting schedule is available at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "CDAC." The councils will finalize their recommendations at meetings in late April following a public input period.

Councils will accept public comments at each meeting prior to forming both preliminary and final recommendations. Members of the public with an interest in deer management are encouraged to attend and provide feedback at any CDAC meeting or send comments to CDAC members.

A contact list for each council and other information is available at keyword "CDAC." For additional information, contact DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov.

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Visit with DNR staff at Canoecopia in Madison March 10-12 and get ready for another great year on the water

MADISON -Visitors to Canoecopia in Madison March 10-12 can find information about paddling and camping on some of the state's premier whitewater and quiet water rivers, learn how to stay safe on the water and purchase Wisconsin State Park admission stickers by visiting Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources displays in the exhibit hall and lobby.

Visitors also will be able to pick up a free paddle guide to state natural areas they can explore by canoe and kayak, enter a free drawing for the bald eagle license plate that is a fundraiser for endangered species, and sign up for fishing and hunting for food classes.

Head to Canoecopia March 10-12 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison and get ready for another great year of paddling and camping.
Head to Canoecopia March 10-12 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison and get ready for another great year of paddling and camping.
Photo Credit: Wis. Dept. of Tourism

Canoecopia, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, is the largest paddle sports consumer event in the world, and includes more than 250,000 square feet of kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, outdoor equipment and clothing and more than 140 seminars, speakers and clinics. Ticket prices are $15 for a day pass and $25 for a weekend pass - visitors ages 17 and receive free admission. Show hours are as follows:

More information regarding this annual event can be found at www.Canoecopia.com (exit DNR).

Wisconsin State Park admission stickers will be available for purchase at DNR's exhibit and staff from a number of programs will be on hand to share tips to stay safe on the water and help people sign up for fishing and hunting for food courses throughout Wisconsin.

A free paddle guide to state natural areas will help outdoor enthusiasts find a new favorite destination, and a drawing will be held for the bald eagle license plate - a fundraiser for endangered species. Visitors interested in helping DNR staff monitor a number of species can also learn more about volunteer opportunities for paddlers to help survey birds, bats, mussels, frogs, toads and more.

The department's Wisconsin Wild Harvest initiative will feature a display to promote sustainable lifestyles and encourage people to make Wisconsin's fish and wildlife a part of a 50-mile diet, as part of paddlers' lives.

DNR will also hold recreational safety education programs at Canoecopia to teach and train beginners to be safe in various forms of recreation.

Explore one of Wisconsin's wild waterways

Wisconsin's State Natural Areas are a great place to enjoy your time on the water.
Wisconsin's State Natural Areas are a great place to enjoy your time on the water.

Wisconsin state parks, forests and recreation areas offer a wide variety of paddling opportunities, including designated water trails.

(Wisconsin's State Natural Areas are a great place to enjoy your time on the water.) DNR photo

The Bois Brule and the Flambeau rivers are two of Wisconsin premier paddling destinations - both offer stretches of quiet water paddling and whitewater activities and extensive stretches within state forest property that offer campgrounds near the river at the Brule River State Forest and riverside campsites at the Flambeau River State Forest.

The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, home to 2,300 lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties, is also a great destination to enjoy time on the water and features a number of designated canoe routes. The forest itself has more than 900 lakes and 300 miles of rivers, with more than 100 remote water-access only campsites for paddlers

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Oshkosh, Stoughton to Benefit from DNR Brownfields Awards

MADISON -- Two Wisconsin communities will benefit from Department of Natural Resources brownfields awards to help investigate contamination at two former manufacturing properties, soon to be destined for new life.

In Oshkosh, the Housing Authority seeks to convert the former Waite Grass Rug Factory into new housing, parking, daycare and office space. In Stoughton, the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority wants to clean up the former Millfab Holley Moulding property, getting that site ready for redevelopment.

Awards from the DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies program comes in the form of contractor services, generally valued up to $35,000, for assessing conditions at these properties.

"The best thing about these WAM awards is that they may help make the difference between a property with historic contamination sitting idle and vacant or getting cleaned up and realizing a new purpose," said Christine Haag, chief of DNR brownfields section. "This is especially the case in smaller communities where resources and capacity to take on the challenges that come with brownfields are often strapped.

Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental assessments of contaminated properties, helping them to turn the property around and get it ready for a new use.

The 5-acre former Waite Grass Rug Factory has been empty for nearly six years, formerly housing Lenox Candles, Gray Marine, and a machine shop. The city has updated the zoning from industrial to commercial to accommodate the current change.

Stoughton's 7-acre Millfab Holley Moulding property, located on the Yahara River, has had a variety of industrial uses dating back to the late 1800s. Over the years it housed farm equipment, painting and foundry industries, prior to its most recent use of manufacturing wood products. Previous investigations of the property have identified the presence of foundry sand fill, cinders and construction debris.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities. In many instances, WAM awards are leveraged against other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on properties that may have been underutilized for many years.

Applications can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible.

More information is available on the DNR website by searching keyword "WAM," and "brownfield."

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Entries Sought for Wisconsin Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamp design contests

MADISON - Wisconsin artists have until July 20 to submit artwork for the 2018 Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests.

Funds derived from the sale of these stamps contribute to restoration and management efforts on thousands of acres of important wildlife habitat. Stamp design entries must be received or postmarked by July 20, 2017 in order to be eligible. Judging will take place in a closed session on July 27, 2017.

For rules, entry information, and Reproduction Rights Agreements, search the Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "Wildlife Stamps." All stamp contest applicants should review contest rules carefully to ensure the eligibility of their entries. Artwork must meet technical requirements in order to be properly processed and prepared for judging.

In 2016, Caleb Metrich, Sara Stack and Craig Fairbert took home first place prizes for their entries in the Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests.

This painting showing turkeys in a Wisconsin farmland setting, submitted by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk, took first prize in the 2017 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest.
This painting showing turkeys in a Wisconsin farmland setting, submitted by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk, took first prize in the 2017 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest.
First place in the 2017 Waterfowl Stamp design contest was awarded to Sara Stack of Marengo.
First place in the 2017 Waterfowl Stamp design contest was awarded to Sara Stack of Marengo.
First place in the 2017 Pheasant Stamp design contest went to Craig Fairbert of Tony for his depiction of a rooster pheasant.
First place in the 2017 Pheasant Stamp design contest went to Craig Fairbert of Tony for his depiction of a rooster pheasant.
Photo Credit: DNR

To receive contest entry deadlines, detailed event information, and the announcement for the winning artwork for the 2018 Stamp Competition, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and enroll in the "Waterfowl, Wild Turkey, and Pheasant Stamp Design Contests" list.

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Public comment period for draft management plans for State Natural Areas extended

MADISON - The public comment period for draft management plans for 13 State Natural Areas located in south-central Wisconsin and the Door County Peninsula has been extended through March 21, 2017.

Draft property management plans for these 13 properties, which include current conditions, recreational opportunities, property and acquisition boundaries, habitat management prescriptions, and motorized road inventories are available online at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "master planning" - select the link titled "Tier 3 Management Plans."

More background information about each natural area can be found on the DNR website:

Brown County

Columbia County

Door County

Sauk County

Tier 3 property management plans are classified as minor actions under Natural Resources Chapter 150.20(1 m)(k) of the Wisconsin Administrative Code and do not require an environmental analysis.

Please send comments and/or questions related to these draft plans to Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or via email at thomas.meyer@wisconsin.gov by March 21, 2017.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Contact information

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