MADISON - Nearly 600,000 hunters donned blaze orange attire and headed into the outdoors for opening weekend of the annual nine-day gun deer hunt in Wisconsin.
"We are off to a good start to the nine-day season, but the forecast is calling for some wet weather this week," said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources big game ecologist. "Harvest is up in many counties, even where some hunters said deer movement was poor. We saw excellent hunting conditions in much of the state over the weekend, so that combined with improved deer population levels following a mild winter and efforts to increase deer numbers, and we are hoping things continue to go well for hunters through the rest of the season."
As of opening morning, 591,783 gun deer licenses (828,664 gun, archer crossbow combined) had been sold, compared to 589,830 gun deer licenses (816,292 gun, archer crossbow combined) as of opening day in 2014.
For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."
Preliminary Registration Numbers
As of 5 p.m. Monday, 119,495 deer have been registered using the GameReg system, compared to 103,746 as of the Monday evening following opening weekend in 2014. Hunters must register their deer by 5 p.m. the day after harvest in 2015, as opposed to 5 p.m. the day after the nine-day season closes in years past.
The GameReg internet registration system and call-in phone option are working well overall, and hunters have continued to visit walk-in stations that offer these services. The department is providing extra customer service staff to field calls and help hunters register deer using the new system.
Positive feedback was received throughout opening weekend as hunters learn to use the new system, and many hunters have continued to head into town to show off their deer.
Hunters who forgot to register their deer are required to do so, even if beyond the 5 p.m. daily deadline.
"This information is important to how we manage deer in Wisconsin and registration is still mandatory, so even if you forgot, please register it now," said Wallenfang.
For more information, search keywords "electronic registration."
Opening weekend hunting incidents
DNR investigated two non-fatal (Rock and Marathon counties) and one fatal (Columbia County) hunting accident during opening weekend. Through the continued efforts of hunters and hunter education volunteers, Wisconsin remains a safe place to hunt, and hunters are reminded to follow the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety (TAB-K):
For more safety tips, search keywords "safety tips."
Pictures and stories from all over Wisconsin have continued to flood in as hunters share their experiences.
MADISON -- People looking for a holiday gift that keeps giving throughout the year can give outdoor enthusiasts access to thousands of miles of trails, hundreds of nature hike opportunities, dozens of beaches, and some of the most scenic areas found in Wisconsin with a 2015 Wisconsin state park admission stickers or state trail pass.
2016 stickers and state trails passes go on sale Dec. 1 at state park facilities and Department of Natural Resources service centers statewide. State park properties will honor 2016 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails beginning Dec. 1, 2015.
The admission stickers are designed by high school students and the winning design is chosen in a statewide contest.
The winning design for the 2016 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features two hikers under a starry night sky and was designed by Rachael Wirth, a senior at Appleton North High School. The winning design will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and will be displayed on more than 265,000 vehicles.
The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.
A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.
Admission stickers cost is $28 for Wisconsin residents or $38 for nonresidents. If there is more than one vehicle registered to the same household, additional state park stickers are available for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for nonresidents. A senior citizen annual sticker for $13 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $25 for residents and nonresidents, and increase of $5 from 2015.
In addition to park, forest and trail offices and DNR service centers, stickers and trail passes are available over the phone from the DNR call center. Phone customers can call the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, Dec. 16 to receive them for the holidays.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also offers online sales of admission stickers and trail passes with a donation to the statewide friends group through the organization's website www.fwsp.org (exit DNR).
MADISON - Eleven communities and organizations with outstanding recycling efforts in 2014 received state recognition thorough the Department of Natural Resources Recycling Excellence Awards program.
The DNR gives annual recycling awards for achievements in four categories: Projects and Initiatives, Overall Program and Special Events and Innovation.
"Recycling has long been a priority for Wisconsin communities and a shared value for Wisconsin's citizens. These awards provide us with an opportunity to tell the stories and share the innovative and effective approaches local programs develop to meet the needs of their individual communities" said Ann Coakley, Waste and Materials Management Program director.
The town of Cedarburg and city of Thorp earned the Projects and Initiatives Award for successfully increasing recycling in those communities through program improvements and concentrated education and outreach.
The village of Paddock Lake and cities of La Crosse, Onalaska and Middleton received the Overall Program Award recognizing the communities' ongoing commitment to provide expanded recycling services coupled with strong education and outreach efforts.
The town of Metomen in Fond du Lac County and city of Rice Lake in Barron County received the award for Special Events. These municipalities increased opportunities for away-from-home recycling and for offering opportunities to recycle items that cannot be collected curbside.
The Innovation Award was presented to the city of Milwaukee, Waukesha County and the Clean Green Action Organization in Wood, Portage and Adams counties for their collaborative efforts to expand recycling services while providing cost savings to their communities.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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