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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 13, 2011

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Duck season opens Sept. 24 in Wisconsin's Northern and Mississippi River zones

MADISON - Hunters looking forward to the opening of Wisconsin's 2011 duck season in the Northern duck zone and new Mississippi River Zone on Sept. 24 should find good numbers of ducks, according to state wildlife officials.

The duck hunt in the northern zone opens at 9 a.m. Sept. 24 and continues through Nov. 22. The new Mississippi river zone, which was requested by duck hunters, also opens on Sept. 24 and runs through Oct. 2, followed by a 12-day split (closure), reopening on Oct. 15 and running until Dec. 4. Aside from opening day, hunting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise. The southern zone duck season opens at 9 a.m. on Oct. 1 through Oct. 9, and then closes and reopens Oct. 15 through Dec. 4

Mississippi River subzone

Hunters along the Mississippi River should be aware of the differing season dates in the area they are hunting. While the season may be open on one side of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, it could be closed on the other. Remember: the west side of the tracks is in the Mississippi River zone; the east of the tracks is in the Southern duck zone. A Mississippi River zone hunting factsheet (pdf) is available on the waterfowl in Wisconsin pages of the DNR website.

"Wisconsin waterfowlers have potential for a good hunting season," said Kent Van Horn, migratory game bird ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources. "Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 56 years reported record high numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with excellent early season indications, local conditions and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall.

"Many of the ducks harvested in Wisconsin come from birds that breed in the state's wetlands. The four most abundant ducks in Wisconsin's fall hunting harvest are mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal, and blue-winged teal," Van Horn said.

The daily bag limit is six ducks in total, not to include more than four mallards of which only one may be a hen, three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, two scaup, two pintail, and one canvasback. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five to include no more than two hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coot is 15.

"As always, hunters who do the early legwork - scouting for good wetland conditions and observing what areas birds are using -- will be the ones having a good hunt," said Van Horn "Hunter survey data in Wisconsin show that duck hunters who scouted 3 or more times harvested an average of 14.7 ducks while those who did not scout harvested an average of 4.8 ducks per season."

Licenses & Stamps

Licenses and stamps required include a Wisconsin small game license, a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp and a federal migratory bird stamp. The $15 federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing the federal stamp privilege at license vendors for an additional $2.50 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license. The stamp itself will arrive weeks later in the mail. State licenses, permits, and stamps are also available through Wisconsin's Online Licensing Center.

Be sure to be HIP

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their waterfowl harvest. HIP registration is free and should occur at the time hunters purchases their licenses or state waterfowl stamps.

Additional information is available on the Waterfowl in Wisconsin is available on

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn (608) 266-8841

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Waterfowl hunters reminded to be sure of their target

Don't shoot a swan or a whooping crane

MADISON -- With the opening of the regular Canada goose Exterior Zone hunting season on Friday, Sept. 16 and the northern duck season on Sept. 24, waterfowl hunters are reminded that swans, whooping cranes and other non-game birds are also migrating and to carefully identify all birds before shooting.

Successful efforts to restore trumpeter swans in Wisconsin removed them from the state endangered species list. Whooping cranes are found mostly in central Wisconsin as the result of an ongoing reintroduction project. However, wildlife ecologists remind hunters that the swans and whooping cranes are protected under state and federal law and caution waterfowl hunters to be sure of their target.

"Accidental or intentional shooting continues to be a concern for our expanding population of trumpeter swans and whooping cranes," says Sumner Matteson, an avian ecologists with the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Endangered Resources. "Hunters need to know the difference between swans and snow geese to prevent accidents."

Trumpeter swans

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl species in North America. Adults are all white and stand up to 5 feet tall, weighing between 20 and 35 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan. Younger swans, called cygnets, have grayish plumage and are smaller, but are still are significantly larger than Canada geese, with which they are sometimes confused.

Trumpeter swans were once fairly common throughout the northern United States and Canada. Market hunting and the millinery trade rapidly depleted nesting populations during the 19th century. By 1900, it was widely believed that the species had become extinct. But a small non-migratory population survived in the remote mountain valleys of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and later a population of several thousand trumpeters were found to have survived in remote parts of Alaska and Canada.

The DNR began a trumpeter swan recovery program in 1987 in cooperation with the Milwaukee County Zoo and other agencies and organizations The trumpeter swan was listed as a state endangered species in 1989 and Wisconsin began the first year of an eight-year program to collect trumpeter swan eggs in Alaska that were artificially incubated and hatched at the Milwaukee County Zoo and then released. Wisconsin's original recovery goal was to achieve a population of at least 20 breeding and migratory pairs by the year 2000. In 2009, biologists counted a record 183 trumpeter swan nests in 23 counties and the trumpeter swan was removed from the state endangered species list. In 2011, biologists counted 191 nesting pairs of trumpeter swans in Wisconsin.

Whooping cranes

The whooping crane is the tallest North American bird. It has a long neck, long dark pointed bill, and long thin black legs. A large crane can stand up to5 feet tall with a wing span of over 6 feet. Biologists believe that approximately 1,400 whooping cranes existed in 1860. Their population declined because of hunting and habitat loss until 1941 when the last migrating flock dwindled to an all-time low of 15 birds.

Since 1999, Wisconsin has played a major role in efforts to restore a migratory whooping crane population in eastern North America as a founding member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (exit DNR), a large group of nine government and private sector organizations, with the mission of restoring a second self-sustaining migratory population, with a core breeding area in Wisconsin. Prior to these restoration efforts, only one migratory population of whooping cranes existed in the wild that winters on the Gulf coast of Texas and migrates north in spring nesting in on the border of Alberta and Northwest Territories in Canada. Any catastrophic event in this area could have completely eliminated the species.

Two release methods are being used to rebuild the population. Initially, all captive-reared crane chicks were conditioned to follow an ultralight aircraft from central Wisconsin to the Gulf coast of Florida. These birds then make the return and subsequent migrations south unaided. This program was supplemented with the direct release of crane chicks into groups of whooping or sandhill cranes in central Wisconsin.

Including juvenile cranes expected to be reintroduced this fall, biologists estimate there are 115 cranes in the Wisconsin to Florida flock and a total whooping crane population of 599.

The unintentional shooting of a protected swan can result in state fines and restitution costs exceeding $2,000. The state penalty for intentionally shooting a whooping crane is a fine not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than nine months or both. In addition, violators face a three year revocation of all hunting privileges. Federal penalties can be substantially higher.

"Hunters have done a great job in learning the differences between swans and geese," Matteson said. "But with the growing number of swans in the state, we want to remind them to continue to be vigilant in identifying their game."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Van Haren (608) 266-3244.

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This fall, introduce someone to hunting

Friends, family, fun, and food! What could be better? Well, that's what hunting in Wisconsin is all about.

We've got a long tradition of being a leader in hunter numbers and participation and we intend to keep it that way. But participation in hunting is slipping some due to a variety of factors like increased urbanization, less unstructured free time, and a reduced deer population in parts of the state. We've done our best to address the deer population problem and we've gotten some cooperation from Mother Nature.

Now it's time for us as hunters to do our part. The future of hunting in Wisconsin is bright - there is a constitutional guarantee of our right to hunt. However, who hunts in the future is up to us. I got started in hunting through friends and colleagues who mentored me and I want to give that back by introducing someone new to hunting. I hope you do too.

New hunters are best started by an experienced friend or family member. It takes time and commitment to start a hunting tradition - as I'm sure many of you know. But commitment - our commitment -- will serve as our legacy to the next generation in Wisconsin.

Hunters are directly responsible for a big part of the conservation of this state's beautiful natural resources and we all want to pass that legacy on to the next generation. So invite a friend to try hunting this fall. Take your daughters hunting too. Nothing is better than time spent in the fall woods with our children.

Active hunters are clearly the most effective way to recruit new hunters. If each of us is able to start one more person hunting, the tradition will be secure for the next generation. So give it a try. Introduce a friend to hunting this fall. Your enthusiasm and commitment are needed and your efforts will be appreciated in the next generation. If we don't do it, who will?

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 576-5243

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Additional walleye, musky and trout to be stocked in state waters

MADISON -- State fish hatcheries are producing bumper crops of fish for stocking this fall, leading state stocking trucks to deliver additional walleye and musky to dozens of Wisconsin lakes and streams this September and October.

"The fingerling production at the warm-water hatcheries has been very good this year and that's going to translate into great news for anglers down the road," says Dave Giehtbrock, statewide fish production manager for the Department of Natural Resources.

"We've produced large fingerling musky and walleye above our intended goals, and we're stocking nearly every site at full quota."

Some stocking has already occurred and more is on tap. Tables showing how many fish were planned for stocking are now available online on DNR's fish stocking web page. Read on for short write-ups from hatchery supervisors describing where their facility is in the fall stocking process. Stocking tables from 1972-2010 are also available.

Giehtbrock says that cool spring temperatures helped production of musky and walleye by keeping the water quality in the ponds at optimal levels, boosting survival. As a result, there were extra fish available to be stocked out at smaller sizes -- more than 3 million walleye were stocked out in late June -- and there are surplus fish available to be stocked at the larger size.

Most of the fish stocked or soon to be stocked are known as "large fingerlings," and range in size from 5 to 9 inches, depending on the species. They were produced from eggs collected from the wild this spring or from hatchery stocks this fall by DNR fish crews, were hatched at DNR hatcheries, and raised at those facilities for the intervening months.

How long before those fish are big enough to be legally kept by anglers depends again on the species and the regulations on the particular waterbody, Giehtbrock says. The splake being stocked in Lake Superior will likely only need a year or so to reach the 15-inch minimum length limit while it will likely be eight to 10 years before the musky reach the 40-inch minimum size limit set to go into effect in spring 2012 on most state waters.

The extra musky and walleye are stocked in waters where biologists have requested stocking. A formula is used that distributes the fish equitably among water bodies and makes sure the carrying capacity of the water receiving the fish is not exceeded.

The vast majority of Wisconsin's lakes and rivers support naturally reproducing populations. Research has shown that stocking in these waters can hurt native fish populations, but stocking remains an important management tool for some waters.

DNR stocks fish to re-establish formerly self-sustaining populations, to provide research data on the effectiveness of stocking and other related practices, and to expand fishing opportunities for Wisconsin's anglers.

"It was an excellent year with excellent conditions overall, and hatchery staff made the most of the situation to produce large numbers of healthy, high quality fish for stocking," Giehtbrock says.

These reports were filed by supervisors and foremen at DNR hatcheries stocking fish this fall.

Brule River Fish Hatchery in Brule

We have two loads going out this fall, likely in the first week of October: 18,000 large fingerling Wild Rose browns for the Sturgeon Bay canal and 12,000 large fingerling Wild Rose browns for Milwaukee harbor. Everything else is going next spring. All fish are about 7 inches long now, probably will average 7-8 inches by stocking time. We also are finishing up a fin clipping operation on 100,000 Seeforellen browns destined for Lake Superior next spring. We had assistance from the Lake Superior fisheries management crew and the Les Voigt hatchery. - Bill Gobin, hatchery foreman

Les Voigt State Fish Hatchery in Bayfield

Most of our stocking takes place in the spring, but we are doing some stocking this fall. The first of October is when we start stocking. We'll be stocking lake trout into Lake Geneva, transferring lake trout into Green Lake co-op; and stocking splake in Lake Superior. Geneva Lake and Green Lake will each receive 25,000 lake trout; the splake quota is 80,000 for Lake Superior. It has been a pretty good production year. Starting in October, we'll be collecting eggs for splake and lake trout that will be stocked out next year. - Darren Miller, hatchery supervisor

Nevin State Fish Hatchery in Fitchburg

By the time this article is published, the Nevin hatchery will have stocked over 16,000 fall fingerling wild brook trout averaging 4 inches. Some surplus fish have been stocked to conduct an ongoing study with fisheries research on brook trout survival in the streams. Nevin has also stocked 11,000 wild brown trout fingerlings. Overall the production year has been very good. The hatchery staff have been utilizing some new fish rearing techniques that have been paying off. - Mike Aquino, hatchery supervisor

Art Oehmcke State Fish Hatchery in Woodruff

We finished harvesting the musky ponds yesterday, Sept. 6, stocking out over 47,000 fingerlings. Our original musky quotas were for 25,264, so we had a surplus of around 22,000 fish. This year we took eggs from the Minocqua Chain of Lakes and had good success with spawning and hatching. We had exceptional survival of the musky fry in the ponds this year, almost double of what we normally have, that led to our increased production. We will go over the information and data we collected this season to see if something stands out, but it is usually a combination of the things such as the late spring, water temps and weather, hatching healthy fry, maintaining water quality the best we can, feeding adequate amounts of forage, and the best efforts of the hatchery staff that made it a truly outstanding season. - Bruce Underwood, hatchery supervisor

Thunder River Rearing Station in Crivitz

We haven't started distribution yet for the fall but anticipate beginning the first week in October. We have Wild Rose Brown Trout that are scheduled to go out to Lake Michigan in Door County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County and will be approximately 7-8 inches. - Amy J. Gardon, hatchery foreman

Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Spooner

As of the end of today, Sept. 6, we have completed the harvest of eight musky ponds and have three remaining. At Thompson we stocked 110,000 fry and expect to produce between 50,000 and 55,000 large fingerlings measuring anywhere from 9.3 to 11 inches in length and which will give us an 8,000 to 13,000 fish surplus. I'd say that it was a good year because of the quality of eggs/fry that the Thompson Hatchery crew collected, incubated, and hatched this past spring and the hard work that they put into rearing the fish (i.e. obtaining the necessary forage to feed them and also, providing the proper water quality conditions for the fish to survive and grow in the hatchery rearing ponds) during the summer months. - Gary Lindenberger, hatchery supervisor

Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery in Wild Rose

On Tuesday. Aug. 30, we harvested and stocked out our first large fingerling walleyes from Wild Rose. They were started in ponds on May 23. Because of the budget we had to harvest them earlier than we wanted. However, it was a very successful harvest with 10,267 fish stocked out into the Waupaca Chain of Lakes (7,263) and Shawano Lake (3,004). All fish were given a RV clip and hand counted. Our quota for this year was 7,000 large fingerlings. - Randy Larson, fish propagation supervisor

Fall stocking of northern pike large fingerlings began today, Sept 8, with 8,200 eight-inch long fingerlings going to four lakes in southeastern Wisconsin (Lakes Loraine, Ivanhoe, Pell Lake and East Lake Flowage). These are the first of 60,000 northern pike to be stocked this fall from Wild Rose. The northern pike are scheduled to go into 16 lakes and rivers in the southeastern half of Wisconsin. All northern pike at Wild Rose are fed dry pellets diets instead of minnows. This makes the northern pike less expensive to raise and allows Wild Rose to raise more fish for the same amount of money. - Steve Fajfer, hatchery supervisor

St. Croix/Osceola State Fish Hatcheries in St. Croix and Osceola

At the St. Croix Falls/Osceola Hatchery work unit, no fish have been stocked yet due to warm water temperatures in lakes and streams. When water temperatures cool the facilities plan to stock trout at these numbers with all quotas being met: 1,800 adult broodstock rainbow trout; 59,500 large fingerling rainbow trout; 850 adult broodstock brook trout; 70,000 large fingerling brook trout; 1,100 adult broodstock brown trout; and 200,000 large fingerling brown trout. - Peter Jensen, hatchery supervisor

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dave Giehtbrock (608) 266-8229

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Spotted muskies arrive at Wild Rose

Musky Clubs Alliance gift helps feed hungry muskies

WILD ROSE - One key to keeping the trophy musky factory humming in Green Bay is now swimming in hatchery ponds here and eating everything in sight.

The 3,000 young spotted muskies that arrived Aug. 31 at Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery -- about 4 inches long and 4 grams each -- carry biologists' and anglers' hopes that eventually they will produce offspring that can build a self-sustaining population in the bay.

The Department of Natural Resources and partners have created a wildly successful fishery for Great Lakes spotted musky in Green Bay through stocking, but restoring the species to self-sustaining status there has been more elusive.

So these young fish will be raised at Wild Rose through the fall and winter and stocked in summer 2012 in Elkhart Lake in Sheboygan County and Anderson and Archibald lakes in Oconto County, according to Randy Larson, Wild Rose Hatchery fish propagation supervisor. Several years down the road DNR hopes to return to the lakes to collect eggs to produce future generations of spotted musky for Green Bay, the Fox River, Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan.

Spotted musky
Spotted musky fingerling.
WDNR Photo

Right now, however, the fish are busy getting used to their new surroundings -- two ponds at the hatchery -- and feeding on small fathead minnows and small forage paid for through a generous donation by the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin and natural resource damage award funds made by responsible parties in the cleanup of PCBs from the lower Fox River and Green Bay.

The state Natural Resources Board accepted a $20,000 donation from the alliance earlier this year. The gift included about $10,300 to buy minnows to feed the hungry young muskies, $6,100 for a new utility four-wheeler at the Woodruff hatchery, $2,500 for PIT (passive integrated transponder) tags and readers, which allow DNR to individually mark wild brood fish used for spawning, and $1,000 for supplies to make hauling young muskies to their ultimate destinations more efficient, according to Tim Simonson, a DNR musky biologist.

The money is also paying for forage for spotted muskies produced from Fox River parents and being raised at the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility in Kewaunee and associated ponds. These fish will be stocked back into Green Bay to supplement the burgeoning fishery there, Simonson says.

"The alliance's gift will play an important role in bringing Wisconsin closer to restoring these native fish to Green Bay and Lake Michigan, and their future commitment of money will allow us to plan more musky stocking in the heart of the northern Wisconsin musky range," Simonson says.

DNR's long-standing partnership with the Musky Clubs Alliance has resulted in enhancements to the muskellunge fishery and management program that would not have otherwise been possible, based on current budgets alone, Simonson says.

The spotted musky delivered to Wild Rose originated from Lake St. Clair, a world-famous spotted musky fishery located between the State of Michigan and Ontario, Canada. DNR staff helped Michigan DNR staff collect the eggs, which were incubated, hatched, and reared to small fingerling size at the Wolf Lake Hatchery in Michigan.

The fish were tested and certified as disease free before being brought to Wisconsin and will be tested again before being stocked in Elkhart, Anderson and Archibald lakes, all of which have been found to be VHS-free.

Stocking continues to be one of the main strategies to try to restore populations of spotted musky. DNR, in cooperation with several local musky clubs and the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, stocked the first spotted musky into Green Bay in 1989 and later into the Winnebago system, which is in the same basin. The fish have grown very fast in the favorable conditions of those large waters and are now accounting for a large proportion of the trophy muskies caught in Wisconsin. The contribution of big fish from Lakes Michigan and Superior to the Muskies Inc. registry has increased from 2 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2009.

The effort hasn't been as successful in establishing an inland lake brood stock population nor in developing a self-sustaining population in Green Bay. Until recently, no evidence of natural reproduction had been documented.

Now it has, and with the arrival of the 3,000 musky and the continuing partnership with Michigan and the Musky Clubs Alliance, DNR fisheries officials are hopeful they can continue to build up the critical number of spawning age fish needed to realize successful and significant natural reproduction of the Great lakes spotted musky.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Simonson (608) 266-5222; Randy Larson (920) 622-3527

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Deer hunters asked to report deer, wildlife observations

MADISON - State wildlife officials are again asking Wisconsin deer hunters to report what they are seeing or not seeing while they are out pursuing deer.

Coinciding with the start of the archery deer season, the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey goes live online beginning September 17, the opening day of the 2011 deer season. This will be the third year of the survey which asks deer hunters to report their field observations of a variety of wildlife species, hunting conditions and hours spent pursuing game.

"Deer hunters' efforts have produced valuable information for estimating abundance and distribution of many of Wisconsin's wildlife species" said Jes Rees, Department of Natural Resources wildlife survey technician. Results of previous years are available online.

"We ask that all deer hunters consider participating in this survey effort. All they need to do is record the date, number of hours, county, deer management unit, weather conditions and the type and number of animals observed during each day of deer hunting," says Rees. "Hunters can also enter their email address along with their observations and I will send them an email summary of their hunting activity at the end of the survey period."

Hunters can find survey instructions, record sightings, and view survey results online at the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey webpage. A tally sheet is also available for times when hunters do not have access to the internet or a computer. Hunters should record all of their hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if no wildlife sightings were made. The survey period begins September 17 and runs through January 2012.

The Hunter Wildlife Survey overlaps another citizen-participation survey currently underway. Operation Deer Watch started Aug 1 and runs through Sept. 30. The primary objective of Operation Deer Watch is to determine trends in deer reproductive success by reporting does and fawns seen together during the late summer and early fall.

Trail Camera Photos Wanted

The Wildlife Surveys group is also interested in photographs of rare or endangered species hunters may have captured on their trail cameras. Photos can be emailed to Wildlife Management. shawn.rossler@wisconsin.gov This information will help document their existence and location within the state. Trail camera photos can be viewed in our online trail camera gallery (exit DNR).

Questions about the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey, accessing the tally sheet, reporting your observation, or the results of the survey, can be referred to Jes Rees at (608) 221-6360.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jes Rees at (608) 221-6360

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Fall turkey season extension permanent beginning in 2011

Archery deer season also extended

MADISON - Turkey hunters will have additional time in the field this fall and in future years, under a permanent extension to the fall wild turkey hunting season that state legislature has approved, and that will go into effect in time for the upcoming 2011 fall turkey season.

The extended season will start on the day after the close of the nine-day gun deer season and continue through the end of December. This fall, the extended season will run from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. The extension is limited to turkey management zones 1-5 only; zones 6 and 7 in northern Wisconsin are excluded in order to limit hunting pressure on that region's smaller population of turkeys.

"I'm very excited that Wisconsin's turkey hunters will have this chance to spend more days in the field," says Scott Walter, Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "The turkey hunting tradition in this state has grown very strong since DNR reintroduced the species, and wildlife managers are thrilled that the turkey population has increased and spread enough to easily support this opportunity. It's truly a wildlife success story."

Turkey hunters reminded to register their turkey online or by phone this fall

Turkey hunters are reminded that this fall's wild turkey hunting season will see a big change in turkey harvest registration procedures - the previous system, which required hunters to transport their turkey to a local registration station, is being replaced by more convenient phone-in and online registration options.

Hunters will be able to register their turkey remotely through the DNR website or via the phone-in Harvest Registration Hotline. In-person registration stations will not be available. All harvested turkeys must be registered using one of the following two methods:

  • Call the DNR's Harvest Registration Hotline at 1-888-HUNT-WIS (1-888-486-8947). This phone-in system will accept touch-tone entries only; or
  • Visit the online Harvest Registration System (NOTE: link will become active once season opens) via the DNR website.
  • Hunters will be asked to record a harvest registration confirmation number on their hunting permit at the end of the call or online session. Hunters will still have until 5 p.m. on the day after harvest to register their turkey.

    Part of the registration process will involve determining the age (adult or juvenile) and the sex (gobbler or hen) of the harvested turkey. In the field, hunters can refer to page 18 of the 2011 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations booklet for a graphic guiding them through the aging and sexing process. The same graphic, as well as a full-color identification guide, can by found on the turkey registration page of the DNR website.

    Archery deer hunt extended

    In addition to the fall turkey hunt extension, the season for hunting deer with archery equipment has also been extended to include the nine-day November gun deer hunt.

    Archery deer hunters must comply with hunter orange clothing rules during any gun deer season. The new dates for the archery deer season are now Sept. 17 - Nov. 17 and Nov. 19 - Jan. 8, 2011. Archery hunters should be careful to note that the archery season is closed for one day, Nov 18, the Friday before the gun deer hunt.

    An archery deer hunting license and a deer carcass tag valid for tagging a deer killed with archery equipment is required to hunt deer with a bow, or with a crossbow by persons eligible to use a crossbow. As in the past, it is not legal to tag or possess a deer with an archery deer carcass tag that was shot with a firearm.

    Waupaca County deer hunters can use rifles beginning Nov 1

    The legislature also approved a proposal to allow gun deer hunters in Waupaca County to use rifles beginning Nov. 1, 2011. The upcoming Oct. 8-9 Youth Gun Deer Hunt will still be restricted to shotgun and muzzleloader only in Waupaca County.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist, at (608) 267-7861 or Sharon Fandel, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist, at (608) 261-8458

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    $972,000 destined for Driftless Area land management

    MADISON - Private and public landowners in what is known as the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeaster Iowa will be able to restore more than 4,700 acres of prairie, savanna and oak woodland habitat thanks to a $972,000 federal grant awarded to a multi-state partnership.

    The grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's State Wildlife Grants Competitive Program is aimed at restoring habitat to benefit up to 79 Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Through the grant, private landowners will be able restore 1,600 acres and another 3,150 acres of publicly-owned land will also benefit from restoration. The grant will also support acquisition and permanent protection of 140 acres in Wisconsin and Iowa.

    "This grant will help us work collaboratively with private landowners to protect species and habitat in the Driftless Area," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Wisconsin's Driftless Area is home to many unique plant and animal species with great need, and through these joint efforts we will continue our work to preserve these important natural resources."

    Species of greatest conservation need include those that are listed as either endangered or threatened, as well as some that are not yet listed but show signs of decline. In many cases, habitat loss is a major factor for their decline. Taking action to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered or threatened is a proactive approach that is less costly and helps avoid regulation.

    The largest portion of Wisconsin's share of the funding will be directed toward the DNR Landowner Incentive Program that provides assistance to private landowners through a competitive grant process. Available only for use on private lands (including lands owned by land trusts) within the Driftless Area, $115,000 in assistance grants are earmarked for projects that benefit at-risk wildlife species, and include management objectives such as prescribed burning, invasive species control, tree removal and restoring native vegetation.

    The cost-share program can reimburse a landowner for up to 75 percent of the cost for the on-ground practices involved in the management of the project, and the landowner is required to contribute a minimum of 25 percent in match. The Landowner Incentive Program is currently accepting pre-proposals for projects within the Driftless Area with funds to be distributed in early spring of 2012.

    The Driftless Area, found in portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and a small portion of Illinois, is marked by deep river valleys and rugged, steep topography. Across the region, Driftless Area habitat has changed greatly during the past 150 years, with less than two percent of intact savanna and one percent of prairies remaining. Wisconsin's Driftless Area, located in the southwest of the state, is roughly 24,000 square miles and consists of two ecologically important landscapes, the Southwest Savanna and Western Coulee and Ridges.

    Other Wisconsin plans for the funding include:

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darcy Kind - 608-267-9789 or Dawn Hinebaugh - 608-266-5243

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    Horicon Marsh fall naturalist programs to begin

    HORICON, Wis. -- The Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area fall naturalist program is ready to kick-off its 2011-12 schedule.

    "Horicon Marsh is an outstanding natural resource that thousands of people visit each year," said Bill Volkert Department of Natural Resources natural resources educator. "Public naturalist programs are offered in spring and fall at the height of the migration when wildlife is most active and visible."

    "The naturalist programs help visitors understand the marsh, its wildlife and management. We want to connect people with our wildlife and enhance their understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage."

    The 32,000 acre Horicon Marsh includes an 11,000 acre State Wildlife Area, with the remaining land designated a National Wildlife Refuge. The marsh received the prestigious title of "A Wetland of International Importance" in 1991 and it's also designated a unit of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and recognized as a Globally Important Bird Area.

    Programs will be conducted at the International Education Center, located at N7728 Highway 28 between the cities of Horicon and Mayville. All programs are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

    2011 Fall Horicon Marsh Naturalist Programs
    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area office at 920-387-7860.

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    Wisconsin State Nursery System celebrates 100 years with open houses

    MADISON -- Two Wisconsin state tree nurseries are opening their doors to the public on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of the state nursery system's year-long centennial celebration. The nurseries in Boscobel and Wisconsin Rapids will be offering tours of their facilities, a tree planting demonstration and a centennial tree dedication. Attendees will also have the opportunity to view history exhibits and receive a free tree seedling as well.

    Joe Vande Hey, Wilson Nursery Supervisor, says, "Whether you've never planted a tree or have planted thousands, there will be something to keep your interest at the nursery open houses."

    The two nurseries celebrating with the open houses are located at:

  • Wilson State Nursery - 5350 St. Hwy. 133 East, Boscobel
  • Griffith State Nursery, 473 Griffith Ave., Wisconsin Rapids
  • The Wisconsin state nursery system has produced more than 1.5 billion seedlings over the past 100 years.

    According to Vande Hey, "These seedlings have been planted by public land managers and private landowners from a southern Kenosha County farm field to the cliffs of the Bayfield peninsula. The seedlings have blocked gusty winds from eroding soil, provided habitat for songbirds and white-tailed deer, shaded picnickers and hunters, been processed into paper and lumber and provided fruits, nuts and sap for maple syrup."

    More information about the history of Wisconsin's state nursery program is available on the DNR website.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Vande Hey at the Wilson Nursery in Boscobel: 608-375-4123 or Jeremiah Auer at the Griffith Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids: 715-424-3700

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    Read more: Previous Weekly News

    Last Revised: Tuesday, September 13, 2011




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