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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

February 2007

Readers Write

Resident Quail
About the Pheasant Opener
Deer Season Extremes
Father and Daughter Team
Musky Stocking Logistics
Trespassing Hunters
Land Legacy Report Wins Awards
FCC Seeks Comment On Safe Passage For Migratory Birds

Resident Quail

Regarding bobwhite quail, (Silent whistle, June 2006), I just wanted to let you know I live in Rock County a few miles west of Janesville, and we have our own little population of bobwhites here on our property. We planted a section of our five acres in prairie grass and wildflowers when we moved here 13 years ago, and I started hearing the quail about three or four years ago and seeing them last year. This year they have been all over our yard and even up in the oak trees. They do a lot of "whistling!" They are a lot of fun to watch and will come out in groups to forage around the oaks.

Angela Hansen
Plymouth Township

Wildlife Biologist Mike Foy of DNR's South Central Region reports that bobwhite numbers seem to be picking up on other state properties in that region as well, probably in response to our recent string of mild winters. "It is a lot of fun to hear their whistle again," Foy said. "Having good habitat is of course necessary for the birds to take advantage of the break in the winter snows – keep up the good work!"

About the Pheasant Opener

No doubt the guy hunting pheasants on Bill Klein's land (The well-mannered hunter, October 2006), having asked permission only to hunt deer was in the wrong, but for the life of me, I can't figure out his reference to the "9 a.m. daily opener on pheasants." Could you please clarify that for me? I've always hunted pheasants (except for opening day) beginning at the crack of dawn, and can't find anything in the small game regulations to suggest otherwise.

David Seligman

Thanks for pointing out what we should have clarified in the story. Bill Klein is from Minnesota and was referring to that state's regulations which allow pheasant hunting from 9 a.m. to sunset during the season. In Wisconsin, except for opening day when hunting begins at noon, hunters can start hunting pheasant a half-hour before sunrise. Be sure to consult the small game hunting regulations for an explanation of how hunting hours change as days shorten throughout the season.

Deer Season Extremes

I read your article (Weather the weather, whatever the weather, October 2006) with interest. I've only been deer hunting for 16 years, but I've seen some extremes in that time. You mention that in some years, the weather switches from autumn to winter during the week of deer season. I'm curious whether you know the largest temperature swing during that week.

Jim Rudd

Author Dick Kalnicky delved into his data and came up with this report: The largest temperature swing was 65° F in 1977, at both Menomonie and La Crosse. On day two of that season, Menomonie reached 54░ F and La Crosse 56° F. On day eight, the low temperature at Menomonie was -11° and at La Crosse -9°. The next most notable year was 1982, with swings of between 48° and 60° –: with the warmest temperatures on days one or two and the coldest on day eight. In almost all the years where large temperature swings occurred, the swings went from the warm side to the cold side as we transitioned from autumn to winter.

What made 1977 quite memorable, and was a factor in the large temperature decrease, were two or three days of measurable snowfall between days two and eight at each station – from about three inches at Superior to over eight inches at La Crosse. The radiation cooling from the statewide fresh white snow cover no doubt helped temperatures fall considerably. In 1982, only the northern part of the state experienced snowfall.

Father and Daughter Team

As I was reading the October 2006 issue, I was drawn to the article titled The well-mannered hunter. Much to my surprise, one of the accompanying photos was of my daughter and me, from an article written in 1996 about women in the outdoors (Forging their own way, August 1996). Jennifer was chosen for the article because of an essay she wrote for the Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Camp. As Jen graduated from college in 2003 and started her science teaching career, she got involved in the DU Greenwing program on a much higher level, becoming the co-chair for Wisconsin. She is now finishing her third year and has asked me to help her as co-chair for the past two years.

The young hunter is our future. Jen's brother, Scott, has also become a hunter and whether or not we harvest game isn't important, it is the time spent together. Jen's fiancÚ is now taking hunter safety classes and will join us for deer hunting this season. All we need to do is take a youth into the outdoors and we will help the future of hunting.

Bob Foster

Musky Stocking Logistics

I read the story about musky stocking in the August 2006 issue (Keeping the fight in the king of fishes). I was wondering which seven lakes in the St. Croix River basin are to be stocked with muskies. Have they already been stocked and did the muskies come from Minnesota?

John Steele

Northern Lakes Ecologist Martin Jennings explains that the study mentioned in our story will evaluate performance of muskies from two sources. Some are taken from the Chippewa River drainage basin and raised at the Gov. Thompson Hatchery, and others are offspring of muskies from Minnesota's Leech Lake, also raised at the Gov. Thompson Hatchery. None of the seven lakes has native musky populations and all are located in the St. Croix River basin, are managed for muskies and have been stocked with Chippewa River basin fish in the past. Stocking began with both strains of fish in late September in Sand Lake (Barron County) and Des Moines Lake (Burnett County). Deer Lake (Polk County) was stocked with only Chippewa basin fish because our production of Leech Lake stock fell short. Each of these three lakes is scheduled for stocking with both strains of fish again in 2008. The other four lakes in the study are Shell and Matthews (Washburn County), Benoit and Twenty-six (Burnett County). Each is scheduled for stocking from both sources in 2007 and 2009.

Trespassing Hunters

I've subscribed to your magazine since 1988 and read each issue cover to cover. Thank you for the wonderful article, The well-mannered hunter (October 2006) by Bill Klein. We moved to a "country subdivision" one mile from Manitowoc about four years ago. In the past four gun deer hunting seasons, we have twice had hunters, with their guns, within ten feet of our backyard. We own three acres and have a small fenced-in yard for our two dogs. It was scary and disheartening to me to see these hunters so brazen and disrespectful of our property. All hunters should be required to read the wonderful article by Bill Klein.

Chris Heironimus

We're disheartened to hear your story, too, Chris. However, many hunters we know and hear from remind us of Bill Klein. Private property deserves respect and there's plenty of opportunity to build trust and responsible behavior that opens many doors. We hope by carrying Bill's story that we reinforced the habits we aspire to for all outdoor activities.


Land Legacy Report Wins Award

The Wisconsin Land Legacy Report (A path of our own making, December 2005) won a Scenic Beauty Award from the Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin in October, 2006. The nonprofit organization promotes conservation of natural scenery and vegetation along roadsides and responsible land-use planning. Lowell Klessig, chairman of the awards committee, thanked DNR staff for the multiple ways they contribute to the beauty of Wisconsin. "The legacy report can serve as a guide to those efforts for many years," Klessig said.

FCC Seeks Comment on Safe Passage for Migratory Birds

In our February 2000 issue (Battered by the airwaves), we reported how the rise of digital and cellular communications towers was adding to the growing risks faced by migratory birds during their seasonal flights. Since then, the problem has grown and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now estimates that as many as 50 million birds are killed each year, mostly when night-migrating birds are attracted to and orient themselves to the lights that mark the towers for pilots. The birds have been observed flying around in circles, and many strike the guy wires that support taller towers, and possibly hit the towers themselves.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in early November 2006 said it will begin to develop rules and asked for public comment on how to reduce the number of migratory bird collisions with communications towers. The FCC is asking for comment in four areas:

  • whether it has the legal authority to address tower-bird collisions in rules
  • the role of tower lighting in bird strikes and how lights can be changed without compromising aircraft navigation safety
  • the role of other tower factors – such as height, location, use of guy wires, and collocation of new antennas on existing towers – on migratory bird collisions
  • whether FCC should require tower applicants to prepare environmental assessments for towers or antennas that might affect migratory birds. Commenting on the commission's action, Commissioner Michael J. Copps said, "Communications towers are essential to modern American life, we all understand that. But we also must be mindful of the effects we have on the nation's fragile ecosystem. Through hard work and a willingness to learn from both conservationists and tower operators, we will find ways to encourage communication technology while minimizing avian death tolls."

For more information, visit Federal Communications Commission.