MADISON -Wild turkey and black bear hunters have until Dec. 10 to submit an application for 2017 hunting season permits.
Bear hunters are reminded that harvest permits (Class A licenses) are issued via drawing, and hunters must apply for several years in some management zones before they receive a permit.
Harvest numbers from the 2016 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 4,600 bears. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2017 harvest quotas.
Bear hunters are reminded that they can apply for a permit or purchase a preference point for future years. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.
If a bear management zone is selected at the time of purchase and the hunter is selected in the February drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of drawing status - applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing, and may purchase their 2017 Class A bear license beginning in March 2017. Applicants may also check their status through Go Wild or by contacting a DNR Customer Service Representative.
The season structure for the 2017 bear hunt is as follows.
Zone C (dogs not permitted):
All other zones (use of dogs permitted):
The 2017 spring turkey season will begin April 15 with the annual Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will begin the following Wednesday, April 19, and will consist of six seven-day time periods, with the final period closing May 30. New this year, the spring turkey season is opening on the third Wednesday in April.
A permit drawing will take place in late December. Successful permit applicants will receive a postcard by late January 2017. Applicants may also check their drawing status online through Go Wild beginning in late January.
Permit winners may purchase their required 2017 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2017 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25) in early March. Leftover permits following the initial drawing for 2017 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March.
Turkey hunters are reminded that Wisconsin's state park turkey management zones were eliminated Sept. 1, 2014. However, state parks remain open for hunting. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "hunting state parks."
Hunters have two options for registering their turkey:
All turkeys must be registered by 5 p.m. on the day following harvest. GameReg will generate a 10-character confirmation number, which must be written on the paper tag that accompanies the harvested turkey. Hunters are reminded to carry a pen or pencil to write the confirmation number on the tag, at which point the animal is considered to be legally registered. Hunters must retain the tag with the confirmation number as proof of registration until the meat has been consumed. More information on electronic registration is available at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "GameReg."
The ninth annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be held April 15-16, the weekend prior to the opening of the regular spring turkey season.
In conjunction with the Mentored Hunting Program, the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be open to resident and non-resident youth hunters ages 10-15. A Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment is not required for Spring Turkey Youth Hunt participants. Special rules and regulations apply to those who choose to participate in the Mentored Hunting Program, and interested hunters should carefully review these rules prior to entering the field.
A spring turkey license, stamp, and valid permit/carcass tag is required to participate in the youth hunt. All other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply.
Youth hunters who do not harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use an unfilled permit during the zone and time period for which the tag was issued. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey permit before the Dec. 10 deadline.
Hunters with disabilities who wish to turkey hunt next spring on private land are reminded of an additional opportunity to hunt using a separate application and authorization form.
Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms must be submitted before Dec. 10 to a local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county where the hunt will take place. Please note that any applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may not apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.
Hunting and fishing licenses and applications for permit drawings can be purchased through Go Wild, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (hours for service centers vary - check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).
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. Select non-resident licenses are also discounted for first-time buyers. For information search for keywords "first-time buyer."
MADISON - All deer hunters with a valid antlerless tag for the county and land type they are hunting are encouraged to take advantage of additional opportunities to hunt deer in December and January.
A four-day antlerless-only hunt will take place statewide Dec. 8-11. Hunters may fill any unused antlerless tag while hunting in the proper deer management zone, unit and land type specified on the tag.
Additional opportunities may be available for U.S. Armed Forces members and Class A and C disability permit holders.
The antlerless-only holiday hunt will be offered in just 13 counties Dec. 24 to Jan. 1, 2017. Any legal firearm, crossbow or archery equipment may be used during these hunts. Again, hunters may fill any unused antlerless tags in their proper deer management zone, county and land type. Any unit where the holiday hunt is not offered will be open for archery and crossbow hunting, and bucks may be taken.
As a reminder, the archery and crossbow season will remain open through Jan. 8, 2017 statewide. The gun deer season will remain open through Dec. 7 in metro sub-units, while archery hunting in these areas is open through Jan. 31. All hunters except waterfowl hunters are required to wear blaze orange clothing during any open firearm deer hunt.
For more information regarding which hunts may be offered in each county, check out the interactive deer map on the Department of Natural Resources website by searching keyword "DMU."
Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey
The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey will remain active until all deer seasons have ended, and wildlife managers ask that hunters submit a report of what they saw during their time in the field. This information will provide valuable data used to improve population estimates for Wisconsin's deer herd and other species.
For additional information, search keywords "deer hunter wildlife."
MADISON - As part of the first study of its kind in Wisconsin, the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Research Project will actively monitor coyote and bobcat populations in southwest Wisconsin, and trappers and landowners are reminded of opportunities to play a key role in this study.
GPS collars will be placed on predators in Grant, Iowa and Dane counties to provide a more definitive look at how predator abundance and distribution may impact deer populations.
Trappers within the study area are encouraged to contact Department of Natural Resources staff at 715-577-6288 if they capture a bobcat that they cannot keep or a coyote that they do not wish to keep. Willing landowners who frequently observe bobcats or coyotes in this area are also encouraged to contact DNR staff, who may be interested in capturing those animals as part of this study.
"Tracking collars will help us better understand bobcat and coyote population size and distribution, habitat use, and what influence they may have on deer." said Nathan Roberts, DNR carnivore and furbearer research scientist. "It is exciting to partner with trappers, hunters, and landowners to help find answers to these important questions."
To receive email updates regarding deer research in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "white-tailed deer research" list.
MADISON - A request for the approval of the draft master plans for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area and the Powel Marsh State Wildlife Area, a request to designate a new state trail and two separate rules pertaining to management of lake trout on lakes Superior and Michigan are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets December 14 in Madison.
The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 14, in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 South Webster St., Madison.
The 3,380-acre Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, located in southeastern Sauk County, consists of a portion of the decommissioned Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Hunting, hiking, horseback riding and recreational and mountain biking trails are proposed in the draft plan, as are some structured opportunities for motorized use, dog training, and rocketry.
The board will also be asked to designate a new state trail, the Great Sauk State Trail, which will pass through the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area and eventually follow an abandoned rail corridor into the villages of Prairie du Sac and Sauk City. The trail would be developed and maintained by Sauk County under a cooperative agreement with the state.
The 4,850-acre Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area in western Vilas County is bounded on three sides by the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest and by the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation on the south. The draft master plan calls for maintaining and enhancing hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing and other compatible recreational opportunities, and adding additional hiking trails, including accommodations for people with disabilities.
The proposed lake fish rules are intended to add additional protection for lake trout in parts of Lake Superior by reducing recreational and commercial harvest, while the rule proposed for Lake Michigan would allow for additional harvest in portions of the lake.
The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments for this business meeting is 11 a.m. on Friday, December 9, 2016. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.
Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.
MADISON - Searching for cozy fireside reading as the temperature begins its annual winter trek down the thermometer? Then grab something warm to drink and peruse the latest issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine (www.wnrmag.com) with us!
For many readers, hiking and camping in any weather is an exciting adventure. In our lead story, "In search of winter," author Ed Culhane and his son snowshoe and backpack the Rainbow Lake Wilderness in Bayfield County and tackle nearly all the challenges one might expect on a winter retreat.
Winter weather also brings a mythical atmosphere to our state's landscape; author Stephen Lars Kalmon shares such an experience from a moonlit night more than a half century ago in "Wolf song."
For the snowflake savant in all of us, "Let it snow" provides readers a microscopic view of how different shaped flakes affect snow packs, snow depth and ultimately winter recreation across Wisconsin.
Going even deeper in "A world beneath the ice," author Paul Skawinski and a small group of fellow intrepid biologists go below frozen lakes with probes and cameras to learn how underwater plants function and the role they serve in the ecosystem over the frigid winter months.
Of course you can't talk about winter in Wisconsin without a story about life in the snowy north, and Charles Mortensen's "Rewards of a little cabin in the woods" spins a tale about a once neglected cabin on Jackson Lake in the Chequamegon-Nicolet Nation Forest.
Daydreaming about warmer climes is also a favorite winter hobby of many a Wisconsinite, and readers can find those moments in three feature stories in this month's issue: "The great pretender" offers a wonderful view of the hog-nosed snake's famous ability to put on a rattling good show; "A greater clarity" shows how yet again volunteer citizen monitoring can help lead to cleaner, clearer lakes; and "Choose wisely" gives great advice on "eating your catch," whether one is fishing above the ice or quietly floating on the surface of your favorite warm-weather lake.
Finally, as always you can find tasty recipes in John Motoviloff's "Keeping it wild," read about some excellent winter activities in our regular "Traveler" section and marvel at one man's 50 years' worth of environmental education in "Back in the day."
And don't forget, one of the great perks of reading the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine is our wonderful inserts. This month you get two for the price of one: the 2017 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar and the Natural Heritage Conservation Program 2016 Annual Report. Fourteen photos were chosen from 275 entered from around the state in the FWSP photo contest. Find out more about the 2017 photo contest at friendswiparks.blogspot.com/ (exit DNR).
Subscribe to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at www.wnrmag.com or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from the circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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