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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 20, 2010

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'Operation Deer Watch' kicks off August 1

Online reporting system will help track state's deer population

MADISON - Beginning August 1, Wisconsin citizens will have a new opportunity to be part of managing white-tailed deer in Wisconsin. Dubbed Operation Deer Watch, people are being asked to record and report all deer they see between Aug 1 and Sept 30. Go to the Department of Natural Resources website [] and click on the Operation Deer Watch button to get started.

"All deer seen including bucks, does and fawns should be reported during this two month period," said Jason Fleener, assistant DNR deer specialist. "The observations will be entered into a database and will be used to determine doe to fawn ratios, which are a part of the population estimation equation."

Summer deer observations have always been part of the population estimation process, according to DNR biologists. The number of deer seen and the number of fawns seen with each doe are indicators of annual production in deer herds. In addition to deer seen, observers are asked to note date and location. Only deer seen between sunrise and sunset are to be counted.

In previous years, the observation period lasted three months and only state and federal biologists, foresters, law enforcement and other government staff participated.

"One of the recommendations of a panel of experts that that reviewed our deer population estimation model a few years back was to increase the number of observers and to shorten the summer deer observation period to two months from three," said Fleener "We hope to capitalize on the intense public interest in Wisconsin's whitetail deer population. It's a great chance for the public to help keep an eye-on-the-herd and add a lot more observations to our database."

Operation Deer Watch is yet one more way in which the deer enthusiasts can help monitor the herd. In 2009, the department launched a hunter observation website that asked hunters to record observations from their trips in the woods. Valuable information on species distribution, as well as, data the number of hunting days, hunting hours and environmental conditions they experienced was gathered. Nearly 20,000 hunting trips were logged into the online database. In addition, similar new data questions were added to the deer registration form that successful hunters complete and this provided over 320,000 observations.

"We expect the value of these citizen-based monitoring efforts will grow with each additional year. We will be able to look at year-after-year changes that provide insights to our deer populations across Wisconsin" added Fleener.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248, Jason Fleener - (608) 261-7589 or Jessica Rees - (608) 221-6360



August 2 is application deadline for many fall species harvest permits

MADISON - August 2 is an important harvest permit application deadline for hunters, trappers and sturgeon spearers. Applications are due for the fall turkey, Horicon and Collins zones Canada goose, sharp tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, otter and Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing seasons. After Aug 2, any remaining fall turkey permits will go on sale beginning at noon Aug 28. Leftover fall turkey permits can be purchased at a rate of one per day until zones are sold out.

Season dates:

"It's easy to apply for these permits through any license vendor or through the DNR Online Licensing Center," said Dave Argall, DNR permit sales coordinator. "Our DNR Information line staff can also help answer any questions folks may have about the permit application process."

The line is staffed by live operators 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week at 888-936-7463 (888-WDNR-INFo).

Sharptailed Grouse

For 2010, 330 sharp-tailed grouse hunting permits are available. This is a decrease from 2009 when 635 permits were available. The reduction in permits is the result of a combination of continued habitat loss or conversion, increasingly isolated populations, and cyclical grouse population dynamics, according to wildlife biologists.

"While on some properties there was either no change or a slight increase in observations of sharp-tailed grouse, survey numbers as a whole were down from 2009," said Sharon Fandel, DNR's acting upland wildlife ecologist.

Sharp-tailed grouse management units use the same boundaries and designations as deer management units (DMUs). In 2010, only two units will have permits available. DMU 2 will have 295 permits DMU 8 will have 35.

"Although there were a few more birds observed this spring in some areas, some of our traditional sharp-tailed grouse dancing grounds have become less stable in comparison to recent years, warranting a conservative approach in our harvest framework," said Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist.

"Because sharp-tailed grouse numbers are generally low, it's a challenge to locate these birds," said McGinley. "Anticipating and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience of the hunt is encouraged and likely more realistic than the prospect of finding and harvesting a sharp-tail."

Hunters are reminded to carefully review the zone map and apply only for units that are open. Applying for closed units will result in an invalid application.

Fall Turkey

There will be 95,700 wild turkey permits available to hunters for the Fall 2010 turkey hunting season, the same number that was available during the 2009 fall season.

The 2010 fall season runs from September 18th through Nov. 18 for all seven of Wisconsin's turkey management zones (pdf; 243 kb). The extended season for Zones 1-5 ONLY will run from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31. Hunters who receive a fall turkey permit in Zones 1-5 can use those permits during the extended season in the zone for which they were issued. The bag limit is one turkey of any age or sex per fall turkey hunting permit (also known as a carcass tag). Hunters must bring their tagged turkey to a designated registration station no later than 5 p.m. the day after it is harvested.

What's new for Fall 2010?

Upriver sturgeon season

An annual lottery for permits to spear sturgeon on the Upriver Lakes began in 2007. Spearers need to apply for an Upriver Lakes sturgeon lottery tag by August 2 and are notified no later than October 1 if they were successful in receiving authorization to purchase an Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing license.

Group lottery applications of up to four persons are also accepted. Group applications must be submitted through the DNR Online Licensing Center. Spearers who applied for but not authorized to purchase an Upriver Lakes license receive a preference point, and can still purchase a license for Lake Winnebago, but must do so by the Oct. 31 license sales deadline (spearers can only buy one tag or the other, not both). Sales for both Lake Winnebago and Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing licenses end Oct. 31. The Upriver Lakes sturgeon lottery fishery limits participation to 500 tags in 2011 and will have a small sub-allocation of the overall sturgeon harvest cap.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dave Argall - license sales (608) 267-7699; Krista McGinley - grouse and turkey (608) 264-8963


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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