Contact(s): Marcus Smith, DNR communications, 414-263-8516 or Joseph Liebau Jr., DNR secretary's director of southeastern Wisconsin, 414-263-8570
WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Outdoor enthusiasts will have an opportunity to meet Department of Natural Resources staff at the 77th Annual 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show which opens Wednesday, March 8, and runs through Sunday, March 12, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said the relationship between the agency and the sports show dates back to the days when the agency was called the Wisconsin Conservation Department. "It's been a long and happy engagement, Stepp said, "Because the focus of our agency is customer-driven, this is a great opportunity for the public to ask questions and engage with our staff," she added.
The DNR's exhibit features a 600-gallon freshwater tank where visitors can view live bluegills, crappies, perch, largemouth and small mouth bass. Live reptiles and amphibians will be on display at the wetlands and waterways section, according to Joe Liebau Jr., DNR secretary's director of southeastern Wisconsin and manager of the DNR section of the show.
As they've done for several years, DNR wildlife staff will bring an array of wildlife pelts including beaver, badger, coyote, fox and wolf for youngsters eager to learn more about our furry friends. "This is definitely a 'please do touch' display," said Liebau.
Also returning will be the free kids' casting clinics where young anglers can hone their skills. "We're pleased that this popular attraction is cosponsored by the Kenosha Sport Fishing and Conservation Association and members of Salmon Unlimited," said Liebau. "Their willingness to step up and help out is greatly appreciated."
Visitors to the DNR booth can also purchase their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. New this year will be a GoWild self-service license sales area where people can purchase their licenses online with assistance from Customer and Outreach Services staff. License sales are a big attraction, especially since previous year licenses expire March 31. "Customers have told us that buying their license from us at the sports show is a tradition," according to Liebau.
Visitors can also learn about the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund when purchasing a license. The Fund was established to protect, restore and improve habitat for plants and animals from voluntary, tax deductible donations to the extent allowable by law.
While visiting the DNR booth, the public is encouraged to enter a free drawing to win a beautiful bald eagle license plate. Two winners will be randomly selected on Monday, March 13, and will receive the plates free for the first year, a $40 value. The plate features a striking photograph of a bald eagle and was selected from more than 2,000 photos submitted to DNR in 2015. Sales of the plate raise funds for endangered resources work. Private gifts to the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program pay for the plate giveaway and other plate marketing efforts.
The 1,800-square-foot DNR exhibit is located in the southwest corner of the exhibition center. The hours for the 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show are Wednesday, March 8, through Friday, March 10, from noon to 9 p.m. On Saturday, March 11, hours are from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. On Sunday, March 12, doors open at 10 a.m. and the show closes at 6 p.m.