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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published November 16, 2010

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2011 spring turkey, black bear permit application deadline is December 10

MADISON - Wild turkey and black bear hunters have until close of business on Dec. 10 to apply for available permits for the 2011 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season and the 2011 black bear hunting season.

Preliminary permit levels for the spring turkey season are set at 225,420 total permits (not including Ft. McCoy or State Park & Disabled Only Hunting Zones). This is the same number of permits that were available for the 2010 spring season.

Total permits available for the 2011 Black Bear Hunt has not yet been determined. The Natural Resources Board will take up the proposed black bear quotas and harvest permit levels at its January meeting. The preliminary harvest for 2010 is 4,969 black bears, but that number will likely go up once all registration stubs are collected and entered. Hunters registered 4,009 bears in 2009.

Applications for each of these two permit drawings cost $3 and may be purchased at all authorized license agents, through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at Wisconsin DNR Service Centers, or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Applications postmarked after the December 10th deadline, or filled out incorrectly, will not be considered for the drawings.

Hunters interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR's GovDelivery service. Just go to the DNR's website at and click on the "Subscribe to DNR Updates" link under the Online Services heading. There, you can select your subscription preferences.

Spring 2011 Turkey Season

The 2011 Spring Turkey Season officially begins with the April 9-10 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt. The regular turkey season begins on April 13 and consists of six, 5-day time periods that end on May 22. The drawing for permits will take place in late January or early February. Successful permit applicants can expect to receive a postcard by mid-February. All applicants may also check their drawing status through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website starting in mid-February.

Permit winners may then purchase their required 2011 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2011 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25). Conservation Patrons and Senior Citizen Recreation Card holders do not need to purchase a turkey license or turkey stamp. The permit (carcass tag) will be printed at the time of purchase.

Permits remaining after the initial drawing for the 2011 spring turkey season will be issued for sale one zone per day on a first-come, first-served basis in late March, at a date to be specified later.

More information is available on the wild turkey page of the DNR website.

Youth Turkey Hunt, April 9-10

The fifth annual spring turkey youth hunt will be held April 9-10, the weekend prior to the opening Wednesday of the first time period of the regular spring turkey season.

Thanks to the new mentored hunting law, the spring turkey youth hunt will be open to youth 10-15 years of age, both residents and non-residents, with or without a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment. There are special rules and regulations for those participating in the Mentored Hunting Program, and interested hunters should carefully review those rules prior to heading out to the field. You can follow the links above to find out more.

A spring turkey license, stamp, and a valid permit (carcass tag) are required to hunt during the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt weekend. All other existing rules and regulations in regard to turkey hunting zones, hours of hunting, bag limits and more apply. See the 2010 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations pamphlet, which includes the 2011 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations, for details. Interested participants in the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt should apply for a spring turkey permit by the December 10th deadline. Applications cost $3 and may be purchased at all authorized license agents, through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at Wisconsin DNR Service Centers, or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Applications postmarked after the December 10th deadline, or filled out incorrectly, will not be considered for the drawing.

Applications for Special Turkey Hunts for Hunters with Disabilities also due Dec. 10

As a reminder to those hunters with disabilities who wish to hunt turkey next spring on private lands, there is an alternate opportunity available 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 need to be submitted by Dec. 10 to the local DNR Wildlife Biologist or Department office for the county within which the hunt will take place. Please note that any hunter applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may NOT also apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey hunting drawing. For additional information, please visit the Wild Turkey page on the DNR website.

Free Turkey Hunter Education Clinics Begin in February

Free Turkey Hunter Education Clinics will again be offered throughout the state, occurring February through April. Clinics cover turkey biology and behavior, turkey hunting methods, regulations, safety precautions, and hunter / landowner ethics. Each clinic is taught by a dedicated volunteer instructor or a DNR employee working on his or her own time, eager to share years of turkey hunting knowledge and experience with students. Clinic sites and dates are still being finalized. Information on where clinics will be held will be available on the DNR's wild turkey page of the DNR website in early January, at DNR Service Centers, or by calling (608) 264-8963. Additional clinics may be added after the initial listing. Hunters that do not find a clinic in their area at first should periodically check the webpage or a local DNR Service Center for updates.

Black bear

The 2011 Black Bear Season begins Sept. 7, the first Wednesday after Labor Day, and runs through Oct. 11. The opening week of Wisconsin's bear hunting season alternates -- allowing those who hunt over bait to go first one year and those who hunt with the aid of dogs to go first the next year. In 2011, hunters who use the aid of dogs will go first in those management zones open to hunting bear with dogs; the season for those hunting over bait and or using other methods will open Sept. 14. In Zone C, where hunting with dogs is prohibited, hunters may hunt bear over bait or by other means not using dogs from Sept. 7 through Oct. 11.

Preliminary harvest figures indicate bear hunters harvested 4,969 black bears in Wisconsin during the 2010 bear season. There were 33,930 hunters who submitted applications for the 8,910 Class A bear harvest permits available for the 2010 bear season. A total of 97,467 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or a preference point in 2010.

Applicants currently need to have collected between four and ten preference points in order to successfully draw a bear harvest permit. Hunters can check their preference point status in one of three ways: by visiting the online licensing center, by calling Customer Service & Licensing toll-free at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463), or by contacting a local DNR Service Center.

The bear drawing is held each year in early February. Drawing winners will be notified via U.S. Mail shortly after the drawing. Drawing winners may purchase their 2011 Class A bear license beginning March 9, the start of the 2011 license year.

Total permit availability for the 2011 black bear season has not yet been determined. Proposed quota and permit levels will be taken up by the state Natural Resources Board at its January meeting.

More information is available on the bear hunting page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on spring turkey contact: Krista McGinley, (608) 264-8963; on Bear contact: Linda Olver, (608) 261-7588



Preliminary deer hunter wildlife survey results

MADISON -- Eight weeks into the 2010 deer hunting seasons, deer sightings are up slightly over 2009 in most areas of the state, according to early returns from the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey.

With the archery season in full swing, and the opening of the 2010 gun deer season only a few days away, 797 Wisconsin hunters have sent in reports from 3,026 hunting trips to the online survey. Trips were reported from all 72 counties in the state, and in 124 of 139 deer management units. Hunters reported spending 14,577 hours in the field, and averaged 4.5 hours per trip.

"Thanks to all the hunters who have sent in reports," said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "This is valuable information that will become more valuable as the years go by and we can begin to track any trends in wildlife abundance and range.

Preliminary results from 2010 are available on the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page of the DNR website, final results from the 2009 season can be found there as well. Periodically during the deer season the department will publish up-to-date deer observation numbers giving hunters a good snapshot of what they and others are seeing in their hunting area.

"For this kind of survey the more reports the better, so please consider participating and send in a report or multiple reports. We publish this information online where hunters can easily access it and use it to their advantage in planning their hunting strategy."

The survey asks deer hunters to report their hunting activity and share their observations of deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, elk or any other wildlife seen where they hunt.

The most frequently observed species other than deer were turkeys. The next most frequently seen animal was ruffed grouse.

Deer hunters have reported 1,444 bucks, 1,949 does, 1,376 fawns, and 503 unknowns. Statewide, hunters averaged 0.36 deer seen per hour. Deer seen per hour varied between regions with the high being the Western Farmland averaging 0.51 deer per hour and the low being the Central Forest averaging 0.15 deer per hour. The Northern Forest and Southern Farmland reported 0.32 and 0.35 deer per hour, respectively. Hunters in the Eastern Farmland saw 0.46 deer per hour.

New this year, hunters can get a summary of their hunting activity and observations at the end of the survey period. All they have to do is provide their email address when they log their hunting activity and the DNR will send them a summary at the end of the survey period. This year, 243 individuals have supplied an email address to have a summary of their observations e-mailed to them at the end of the survey period.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023

Deer seen per hour

Deer seen per week



Seven tips for a safe hunt this season

MADISON -- Gun deer hunters marked the third safest season on record in 2009, but it's no time to rest on their laurels, recreation safety officials say.

"It doesn't matter how safe you have been -- you're only as safe as your next outing," says Tim Lawhern, Wisconsin's hunter education administrator and a lifelong hunter.

Link to Video

The four Rules of Firearm Safety[VIDEO Length 0:33]

Hunters were involved in eight hunting incidents in the 2009 gun deer season, for an incident rate of 1.25 per 100,000 hunters, according to the 2009 Hunting Incident Report (Powerpoint document; opens in another window). One of the incidents was a fatality: A 36-year-old male hunter was killed in Rock County on opening day when he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot while raising his loaded shotgun into his tree stand.

Hunters heading out into the field for the 2010 gun deer season opener can make sure they have a safe and enjoyable hunt by following seven basic safety tips, according to Lawhern, and Recreation Safety Chief Todd Schaller.

  1. Plan your hunt and hunt your plan. - Hunters have to know where they are going to hunt and when they'll be back, and plan for a variety of details in-between. Think about the kind of hunting you'll be doing -- sitting in a tree stand or participating in a deer drive -- and make sure to dress appropriately and bring the proper equipment, food and water, and medicine if you take it. Once you've made that plan, then follow it, and let someone else know it.
  2. Wear proper blaze orange. - At least half of the outer clothing hunters wear above their waist must be blaze orange. A hat, if worn, must be at least half blaze orange. Faded or stained blaze orange clothing is unsafe and may not meet law requirements. Camo-blaze that is 50 percent blaze orange is legal, but is not as visible as solid blaze clothing. All ground blinds used on DNR-controlled lands (does not include Managed Forest Law or Forest Crops Law lands) must display at least 144 square inches of solid blaze orange material visible from all directions around the blind.
  3. Follow safe practices when using a tree stand, including using a full body harness. - Falls from tree stands are the leading cause of injuries during the gun deer season, according to a study of Wisconsin hunters treated at the UW Hospital and published in 2008 in the Wisconsin Medical Journal. A 2010 study at an Ohio hospital confirmed those results. The good news is such falls are easily preventable by wearing a full body harness and following other tree stand safety tips].
  4. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. - Never assume a firearm is unloaded and never treat it that way, even if you watch as it is unloaded. Make it a habit to treat guns like they are loaded all the time.
  5. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. - About one-third of all hunting incidents are self inflicted injuries. That means the muzzle was pointed at some part of the hunter's body. A safe direction is a direction where the bullet will travel and harm no one in the event of an unwanted discharge. There are no accidental discharges with firearms, only unwanted discharges.
  6. Be certain of your target and what's beyond it. - Positive target identification is a must. To shoot at something you only think is a legal target is gambling. In the case of human injury, that means gambling with human life. You must be absolutely certain and correct in judgment before deciding to shoot.
  7. Deer drives. - Make sure that everyone involved knows his or her role in a deer drive...then stick to it; do not deviate from it. Plan the drive for safety first and getting a deer second.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern (608) 266-1317; Todd Schaller (608) 267-2774; Or your regional recreational safety warden



Deer hunters can now text message possible violations to DNR hotline

MADISON - New this gun deer season, hunters can report potential hunting and public safety violations by text messaging an anonymous tip to DNR hotline operators.

Anyone with a cell phone with texting service can now send an anonymous tip to the Department of Natural Resources, which is participating in a national program being used by agencies in more than 27 states to receive tips from citizens who observe potential violations. .

Enter the Alt Image Name

"People play a critical role in our efforts to protect our natural resources and safeguard public safety," says DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark. "This new capability creates an additional way for the public to quickly, easily, and anonymously report violations that would endanger public safety or steal opportunities from law abiding hunters."

Anyone with a cell phone with texting service can now send an anonymous tip by texting the information to tip411 (847-411). The text message itself must start with the letters TIPWDNR to ensure it is routed to Wisconsin DNR hotline operators and not operators from other states participating in the program. DNR monitors texted tips from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days per week. Texted tips received between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. will not be viewed until the next business day, so if a situation requires more immediate attention, people should call the DNR Tipline 1-800-TIP-WDNR, which is monitored 24 hours per day.

Wisconsin DNR joined the national program in late April 2010; since that time 26 texts reporting possible hunting, fishing, environmental, trapping and other violations have been received, according to Adrienne Sullivan, the DNR hotline operator overseeing the texting program.

Hunters can still report violations by calling 1-800-TIP-WDNR

The ability to text violations will be in addition to the 24 hours a day/seven days per week confidential telephone tip line DNR operates to report suspected or observed illegal activity, according to Steve Sisbach, DNR's environmental enforcement chief. The number is easy to remember, 1-800-TIP-WDNR (1-800-847-9367 or cell#367.

In 2009, more than one quarter of the 5,252 calls to the hotline concerned hunting and trapping violations, making it the largest single category, Sisbach says.

Hunting question? Call, e-mail or chat online to get your answer

Hunters with questions about regulations during the hunting season (and all year) can reach DNR customer service staff by phone and online from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Spanish and Hmong bilingual customer service representatives are also available.

Customers may reach Customer Service at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) or by e-mail at An online chat link is also available at

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Sisbach (608) 266-7317 or Laurel Steffes, Office of Communications (608) 266-8109



Deer Hunt 2010 now viewable online

Link to Video

Deer Show 2010 aired Nov. 11 on the Wisconsin Channel of Wisconsin Public Televsion. Click on the photo to watch the entire program online."  [VIDEO Length 52:05]

MADISON - Deer Hunt 2010, an hour long look at the event of the season and one of Wisconsin's most fervent traditions - not to mention a cash-box bonanza for local economies, can be viewed on the Department of Natural Resources website at [].

Originally broadcast on Nov. 11 on Wisconsin Public Television, the entire show is now online. Organized by "chapters," viewers can settle in and watch the entire show start-to-finish or select chapters of interest.

The show is hosted by Dan Small, widely recognized host of Wisconsin Outdoors. Dan walks viewers through preparations for the hunt from gear selection to finding places to hunt and in a wrap-up segment around a campfire, hears from four veteran hunters why they hunt along with a few stories about how they became hunters.

DNR wildlife biologists and conservation wardens discuss season forecasts, safety and important new rules.

There is also a segment highlighting efforts to recruit new hunters and opportunities for parents from hunting and non-hunting families to expose their kids to hunting in safe and educational programs.

"We tried to build this year's show to offer something for every level of hunting experience and interest," said Small. "From seasoned veterans to first timers, I think all may find a thing or two that will help them enjoy the hunt and the traditions that go with it."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248



Chronology of Wisconsin gun deer hunting

From closed seasons to antlerless permits

FITCHBURG, Wis. -- Wisconsin has a long and storied tradition of regulated gun deer hunting, going back to 1851. There have been many changes over the years, but none more dramatic as those experienced by hunters during the 1990s and early twenty-first century.

1834 - Lafayette County, first reported crop damage by deer.
1851 - First closed season for deer, Feb. 1 - June 30; Native Americans permitted to hunt anytime.
1876 - Hunting with dogs prohibited statewide.
1887 - Two game wardens appointed by governor at a monthly salary of $50; night hunting prohibited statewide.
1888 - Game laws published in pamphlet form.
1890 - First chief warden appointed.
1892 - Lawful to kill any dog running or hunting deer.
1895 - Sheboygan first county closed to deer hunting; deer cannot be transported unless accompanied by hunter.
1897 - First bag limit for deer, two per season; resident license costs $1, nonresident license costs $30; estimated license sales total 12,000.
1900 - Twelve hunters killed by firearms.
1903 - Estimated 78,164 licenses sold.
1905 - Salt licks prohibited.
1909 - Season 20 days long, limit one deer; first civil service exam given on a competitive basis for prospective wardens.
1910 - Deer populations drop to record low numbers due to unregulated hunting and market shooting.
1914 - Twenty-four hunters killed, 26 injured; license sales at 155,000
1915 - First buck only season.
1917 - Shining deer illegal while possessing a firearm; Conservation Commission delegated some powers related to deer season, but legislature retains authority to set seasons; deer tags (paper) required for the first time...they cost 10 cents.
1919 - Estimated kill is 25,152.
1920 - First use of metal deer tags...they cost 10 cents.
1921 - Wardens are instructed that "all deer found in possession...with horns less than three inches in length, is a fawn and should be confiscated."
1924 - Estimated kill is 7,000.
1925 - Legislature passes law closing deer season in alternate years.
1927 - No open season.
1928 - Deer hunters required to wear official conservation button while hunting; Game Division formed with Conservation Department; estimated kill is 17,000 with 69,049 deer tags sold.
1929 - No open season.
1930 - Estimated kill is 23,000 with 70,284 deer tags sold.
1931 - No open season.
1932 - Deer tag price is raised to $1; estimated kill is 36,009 with 70,245 deer tags sold.
1933 - No open season; Conservation Congress, an advisory group representing public opinion registered at annual county hearings, begins to assist the Conservation Commission in establishing a deer management policy.
1934 - First bow deer season; estimated gun kill is 21,251 with 83,939 deer tags sold.
1935 - No open season.
1937 - Shortest deer season on record, three days.
1938 - Use of .22 rifle and .410 shotgun prohibited.
1939 - Licensed children between ages 12 and 16 must be accompanied by parent or guardian; buckshot prohibited statewide.
1941 - Deer predators rare, timber wolves nearing extinction; estimated gun kill is 40,403 with 124,305 deer tags sold.
1942 - Back tags required while deer hunting.
1943 - First doe and fawn season in 24 years.
1945 - First year of shotgun-only counties; wearing red clothing required while hunting deer.
1950 - First "any deer" season since 1919; estimated gun kill is 167,911 with 312,570 deer tags sold.
1951 - Deer hunting license and tag cost $2.50; orange clothing now included under red clothing law; Wisconsin leads nation in whitetail deer kill for third consecutive year.
1953 - First season gun deer hunters required to register deer at checking station.
1954 - Two-thirds of bucks harvested are less than three years old; portions of Walworth and Waukesha counties and all of Jefferson County open for the first time since 1906.
1956 - 100th established gun deer season; registered gun kill is 35,562 with 294,645 deer tags sold.
1957 - Legislature authorizes party permit.
1958 - Longest deer season since 1916, 16 days; Rock County open for the first time since 1906; first harvest by deer management unit (in northwest and northeast only); registered gun kill is 95,234, of which 44,987 taken by party permit; 335,866 deer tags and 58,348 party permits sold, respectively.
1959 - First statewide deer registration by unit; Game Management Division of Conservation Department assumes responsibility for coordinating the state's deer program; first open season in Kenosha County since 1906.
1960 - Hunter not permitted to buy a license after opening day of gun season; Green and Racine counties open for the first time since 1906; all counties now open except Milwaukee; registered gun kill is 61,005, of which 25,515 taken by party permit; 338,208 deer tags and 47,522 party permits sold, respectively.
1961 - Resident big game license increased from $4 to $5; first use of SAK - sex-age-kill population-reconstruction technique for estimating deer numbers; hunters required to transport deer openly while driving to registration station; legislation authorizing unit specific quotas for antlerless harvest established.
1962 - Deer population above 400,000; deer management unit specific population goals established.
1963 - First year of quota party permits in eight management units; assassination of President Kennedy lessens hunting pressure.
1964 - Party permit quota extended to 32 management units.
1967 - Hunter Safety Education Program begins.
1970 - Registered gun kill is 72,844 with 501,799 licenses sold; 13 hunters killed.
1973 - No deer season fatalities.
1978 - Record registered gun kill is 150,845 with 644,594 licenses sold.
1980 - Blaze orange clothing required; first season of Hunter's Choice permit; new law prohibits shining wild animals from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m, Sept. 15 - Dec. 31; coyote season closed in northern management units to protect nascent wolf population.
1981 - Record registered deer kill of 166,673 with 629,034 licenses sold.
1982 - Another record registered gun kill of 182,715 with 637,320 licenses sold; three deer season fatalities.
1983 - Harvest continues to rise with another record registered gun kill of 197,600 with 649,972 licenses sold; experimental antlerless deer hunt in six southern management units to relieve crop damage.
1984 - Big jump in registered kill, fourth record harvest in a row of 255,726 with license sales totaling 657,969; handgun deer hunting allowed in shotgun areas; group hunting legalized. Tagging of deer changed from gambrel to ear or antler.
1985 - Fifth consecutive record kill of 274,302 with 670,329 licenses sold; deer season extended in 21 management units; legislature further strengthens road hunting restrictions.
1986 - Gun deer season now nine days statewide; landowner preference program begins for Hunter's Choice permits.
1987 - First year of bonus antlerless permits; seven fatalities and 46 hunting accidents.
1988 - Handguns permitted statewide.
1989 - Record registered harvest of 310,192 with 662,280 licenses sold; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.15 million deer; two fatalities and 37 hunting accidents.
1990 - Another record kill of 350,040, including 209,005 antlerless deer; record license sales of 699,275; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.3 million deer; season extended for seven days in 67 management units.
1991 - Third consecutive year of record harvest, 352,330; hunters allowed to buy more than one antlerless permit; season extended to 72 management units, mostly in the north; first year of separate, seven-day muzzleloader season; salt licks legalized.
1992 - Though kill fourth highest on record, 288,820, many hunters voice discontent over lack of success and claim DNR raised expectations by pre-hunt harvest prediction of around 370,000; hunters allowed to apply for bonus antlerless permits in more than one unit; Natural Resources Board approves Secretary's recommendation to keep the gun season at nine days; new metro management units established around La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee.
1993 - Harvest drops to 217,584, including 100,977 antlerless deer; pre-hunt herd population at 1 million with many units well below prescribed goals; 34 units, mainly in the north, designated as buck-only units; one fatality, 17 hunting accidents.
1994 - Hunters Choice permit availability jumps to 177,340 from 103,140 in 1993; six northwest management units remain buck only; herd beginning to build-up in southern agricultural range.
1995 - Harvest totals 398,002, a new state record; 32 accidents, one fatal; over 577,000 antlerless permits available with 414,000 plus applicants with 163,000 bonus permits offered to hunters; for the first time hunters can use their bonus or Hunter's Choice permits in either the gun, bow or muzzleloader seasons.
1996 - 'Earn a Buck" requirement placed on hunters in 19 deer management units situated in agricultural range where existing deer seasons and permit systems aren't controlling herd growth; special four-day antlerless only season, state's first October hunt since 1897, takes place in 19 'Earn a Buck' units, resulting in a kill of 24,954 deer.
1997 - 'Earn a Buck' provision scuttled; early Zone T season in seven management units and three state parks results in more than 7,000 deer killed; the safest gun season even with one fatality and 10 accidents.
1998 - An early October gun season for third year in a row held in one management unit, 67A; harvest of 332,254 is fifth highest; accidents total 19 with two fatalities; most units in all regions of the state estimated to be above prescribed goals due to the mild winter of 1997-98.
1999 - Early antlerless Zone T deer season held in seven mainly east-central management units and one state park; early archery season is extended through Nov. 18 in Zone T units; pre-hunt herd estimate is 1.5 to 1.6 million deer; 33 management units in the central and southern part of the state are designated 'watch unit's that are above population goals and may be designated as Zone T units next year if quota numbers aren't filled; resident deer license costs $20; non-resident license costs $135; record harvest of 402,204 deer.
2000 - Early four-day Zone T antlerless hunts produces kill of 66,417 deer; 97 of the state's 132 deer management units listed as Zone T; two free antlerless permits given to all hunters buying deer-related licenses; hunters kill a record 528,494 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day, muzzleloader and late antlerless only gun seasons; nine-day gun harvest totals a record 442,581 (170,865 antlered, 271,573 antlerless); 694,957 licensed gun hunters.
2001 - Wisconsin's pre-hunt population estimated at 1.5 million deer; free antlerless permit given to all hunters buying deer-related licenses; 67 deer management units and nine state parks designated as Zone T; October and December four-day, Zone T antlerless hunts results in kill of 58,107 deer; nine-day gun harvest is the state's fifth largest, totaling 361,264 (141,942 antlered, 219,260 antlerless); chronic wasting disease (CWD) later identified in three deer harvested in the Dane County Town of Vermont.
2002 - Herd estimate at 1.34 million deer; DNR samples about 41,000 deer during the early Zone T antlerless hunt (Oct. 24-27) and opening weekend (Nov. 23-24) of the nine-day gun season to determine if CWD is present anywhere else in the state besides the Disease Eradication Zone in southwest Wisconsin; expanded hunting opportunities set-up in the CWD Management Zone and a gun deer season slated for Oct. 24 to Jan. 31 in the CWD Eradication Zone; October and November four-day, Zone T antlerless hunts in 25 deer management units produce a harvest of 36,228 deer; hunters register 277,755 deer during the traditional, nine-day season; number of licensed gun hunters drops about 10 percent with much of the decrease attributed to concerns about CWD; baiting illegal statewide in response to discovery of CWD.
2003 - Fall deer population estimated at 1.4 million; landowners in CWD Disease Eradication Zone (DEZ) can request free permits to harvest deer without a license and receive two buck tags per permit; earn-a-buck (EAB) rules in effect and no bag limits on deer in the CWD management zones; deer hunting license sales up 14 percent over 2002, but down 13 percent when compared to 2001; overall, DNR collects 15,025 samples for disease surveillance with 115 wild deer testing positive for CWD; all but two positives are from the Disease Eradication zones (DEZ) of southwest Wisconsin and Rock County; hunters killed 388,344 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day gun, muzzleloader and land antlerless only deer seasons; salt, along with other legal types of bait again allowed outside of the 26 counties in or near CWD Zones, but bait (including salt) limited to two gallons.
2004 - Many deer management units (DMUs) in all regions of the state estimated to be above prescribed management goals with 48 DMUs designated as Zone T and 26 units as EAB; fall deer population estimated at 1.7 million deer; hunters issued one free antlerless permit for each license type (archery or gun) up to a maximum of two; during all seasons, hunters in the CWD DEZ and much larger Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) are required to kill an antlerless deer before harvesting a buck; hunters kill 413,794 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day gun, muzzle loader, late antlerless only and CWD zone deer seasons; eight gun deer hunting accidents documented with two fatalities; all accidents are either self-inflicted or shooter and victim were in the same party; hunters set a new record of venison donations by giving 10,938 deer yielding nearly 500,000 pounds of venison for food pantries to feed needy people across the state.
2005 - Forty-five DMUs designated as Zone T units with unlimited antlerless permits and expanded gun hunting opportunities; hunters issued free antlerless permits for both archery and gun licenses; permits valid in any Zone T and CWD units; hunters in CWD units could get an unlimited number of antlerless permits at the rate of four per day; hunters harvest 387,310 deer during the early October, regular gun, late December and muzzleloader seasons combined, the eighth highest kill on record; 195,735 deer harvested during the opening weekend (Nov. 19-20) of the nine-day gun season; gun deer sales total 643,676, down one percent from 2004; DNR conducts CWD surveillance survey in the agency's Northeast Region where 4500 deer are tested and CWD not detected; 14 accidents, including three fatals, during the nine-day season (Nov. 19-27); top five gun deer harvest counties - all located in central Wisconsin - are Marathon (15,871), Clark (13,918), Waupaca (12,260), Shawano (11,748) and Jackson (11,461).
2006 - Statewide harvest quota totals 469,385 antlerless deer; over 1 million antlerless deer permits issued to reach this quota; all hunters issued one free antlerless permit for each license type (bow and gun) with permits valid in any Herd Control, EAB and CWD units; hunters kill the fifth highest gun total (393,306) during the youth, regular gun, late December and muzzleloader seasons combined; 10 accidents, one fatal, with five self-inflicted and five with shooter and victim in the same party.
2007 - Again, over 1 million antlerless deer permits issued and all hunters again get one free antlerless permit for each license type valid in any Herd Control, EAB and CWD units; nine-day gun season (Nov. 17-25) earliest possible opening day under the current season structure; 402,563 deer killed during all gun seasons is the third highest total on record, surpassed only by 2000 (528,494) and 2004 (413,794).
2008 - 57 DMUs under EAB regulations and hunters must "earn" a buck sticker authorizing them to shoot a buck by first killing an antlerless deer; 51 DMUs are on the EAB "watch list" meaning they could be designated as EAB units in 2009 if a sufficient number of antlerless deer aren't harvested; most of southern Wisconsin lies within the new CWD-Management Zone (CWD-MZ) boundary and rifles can be used to hunt deer in previously shotgun only areas of the CWD Zone; traditional gun season runs from Nov. 22-30, the second latest possible opening day under the current nine-day season; hunting conditions considered above average throughout the state for most of the nine-day season; over 642,000 licensed hunters kill 352,601 deer during all gun seasons (103,845 antlered & 248,756 antlerless); nine accidents, one fatal, all either self inflicted or shooter and victim in the same party, during the nine-day season.
2009 - Opening morning of the nine-day gun hunt had above normal temps with heavy fog throughout much of the state. No portions of the state had snow cover for the season's opening weekend. While conditions were conducive for hunters sitting in stands, deer activity and sight ability were probably reduced due to fog. Temps return to normal by mid-week, with little or no snow fall during the rest of the season. New Mentored Hunting Program permitted a licensed hunter 18 years or older to take out anyone 10 years and older for a hunt. Gun deer license sales 2.1 percent lower than in 2008. Hunters kill the 25th highest total during all gun seasons - 241,862 (92,754 antlered, 146,917 antlerless).
2010 - The 159th deer season. 19 DMUs in the north have buck only hunting during the gun and bow seasons. The total statewide antlerless harvest is likely to decline has the herd is allowed to grow in some areas. The buck kill will vary among units, but from a statewide perspective it likely will not change much. No EAB units except in CWD-MZ. Still, roughly half of the DMUs are in a herd control season structure where deer population estimates are currently 20 percent or more above goal. Hunters may now divide a deer into up to five parts (four quarters plus the head attached to the spinal column and rib cage) to facilitate removal from the field. Hunters are also reminded that deer abundance on the property or local level often does not reflect population trends on the larger scale. Pre-season scouting and talking with neighbors will give hunters a better chance of hunting in areas where deer are located. Wisconsin's hunting regulations are available on DNR's web site.



Groundbreaking virus research cited as highlight

2010 report on state activities to protect groundwater

MADISON -- Wisconsin research about viruses in groundwater that led to adoption this year of new rules to better protect public health is among the highlights cited in a new report on state activities in 2010 to protect groundwater.

The 2010 Groundwater Coordinating Council Report to the legislature highlights research by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation that showed that viruses carried in municipal wastewater can seep out of leaky sanitary sewer systems and contaminate municipal groundwater wells. The viruses are not filtered out naturally as they seep through layers of soil and rock, as previously believed.

That work, and others on microbial contaminants recommended by the council and funded by the Department of Natural Resources, led to new rules requiring that all municipal water systems disinfect their water to kill viruses. The rules go into effect later this year.

"This research has a tremendous state and national impact on drinking water policy, with the result in Wisconsin providing better protection for many citizens who get their drinking water from groundwater."

"Research and monitoring are essential to state agencies developing effective science-based policy to protect the public and to identifying what research is needed is a main duty of the Groundwater Coordinating Council," says Bruce Baker, council chair and administrator of DNR water-related programs.

The Groundwater Coordinating Council identifies priority research issues, facilitates review and selection of research proposals and helps to publicize results. The agencies make the funding decisions and pay the bills, Helmuth says.

The 2010 report also described recent research on arsenic treatment, the effects of nitrates on stream invertebrates, the occurrence of mercury in wetlands, extreme precipitation events and developing new tools for investigating fecal contamination.

The last one was successfully implemented in the last two years by DNR and UW-funded researchers who developed a "toolbox" to help determine whether microbial contamination of groundwater is due to human sewage or animal wastes. The suite of tests has been used around the state when well contaminations have been documented. They help investigators identify what caused the problem so they can more efficiently target cleanup efforts.

The 2010 report also assessed groundwater quality and the major threats to clean water, and includes recommendations(pdf), including evaluating the scope of manure pollution of groundwater, the occurrence and potential human health effects of pharmaceuticals and pesticide breakdown products in groundwater, and focusing research to better understand the links between land use and groundwater quantity and quality.

For the first time, the GCC report is available only electronically to save paper and the significant cost of printing the reports. It allows people to find the information they want more easily, Helmuth says. The report is displayed by chapter instead of as a single document, making it easier to locate specific information on groundwater legislation, groundwater quality, benefits from research projects, and other topics.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Helmuth - (608) 266-5234


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

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