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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published November 1, 2011

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2011 Wisconsin gun deer season opens Nov. 19

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: The following news release is from the 2011 Wisconsin Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast (PDF, 6.5 MB, 48 pages). The fall forecast contains additional information including more detailed regional forecasts for the deer season.]

MADISON -- The 2011 gun deer season opens on Nov. 19 and barring bad weather, wildlife officials say all the pieces are in place for successful season.

"I sincerely hope everyone who enjoys and cherishes the traditions and excitement of deer hunting can find time to spend sharing these special days with family and friends," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Wisconsin is a special place when it comes to deer and deer hunting and I want to wish everyone a safe, enjoyable and successful hunt."

While portions of the state (96 deer management units) are included in Herd Control or CWD seasons that allow for addition harvest to curtail growth, 38 deer management units (DMUs) will have limited or no antlerless harvest to regulate or allow for herd growth, under the in the 2011 deer season structure.

This year, eight DMUs in the northern forest will have buck-only hunting during the archery and gun deer seasons. Some exceptions may apply to qualified members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are home on furlough or leave, Class A and C disabled permit hunters and youth ages 10 through 17 who have an unused any DMU antlerless tag (see 2011 Deer Hunting Regulations booklet for details. The Dec. 8-11 antlerless-only hunt will still be held statewide; however, in the eight units where zero antlerless tags are available, only hunters who qualify under the exceptions listed above will be eligible to hunt.

New in 2011, youth hunters ages 10 through 17 who purchase a firearm deer license will automatically be issued an antlerless permit that can be used with gun or bow in any DMU statewide.

The elimination of earn-a-buck outside of the CWD management zone in 2009 allowed hunters to take bucks and pass on antlerless deer.

Hunters are reminded that coyote hunting is closed in approximately the northern third of the state if any gun or muzzleloader deer hunt is in progress. See the 2011 Wisconsin Deer Hunting or Small Game Regulations for the southern boundary of the closed area. As with all hunting seasons, hunters are reminded to be absolutely sure of their target before they shoot.

Archery

Hunters may harvest deer with archery equipment during the nine-day gun deer season however they must observe blaze orange hunting clothing rules. The archery season for deer is Sept. 17 - Nov. 17 and Nov. 19 - Jan. 8, 2012. Note the archery season is closed on Nov. 18 for one day.

Fall Deer Hunter - Wildlife Observation Survey

In 2009, an online Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey reporting system was launched, which allowed deer hunters to report what they were seeing out in the field. Many hunters took advantage of this opportunity and observations from roughly

20,000 hunting trips were reported. The countless hours put into the field by hunters are a valuable source of information for creating indices of wildlife presence and abundance throughout the state.

The online wildlife observation reporting system will once again be available for the 2011 deer hunting season from Sept. 17 through Jan. 8, 2012. Wildlife officials hope archery and gun deer hunters from all corners of the state continue to take part in the survey and for new hunters to begin participating. A field observation sheet is available for hunters to keep track of their observations throughout the season, so they can enter their data at a later time

Data collected will become more meaningful as the number of survey years increases to show wildlife population and distribution trends over time. The more hunting trips reported by deer management unit, the more significant the data will become. Final results from the 2010 web survey and comparisons to 2009 can be found on the Wildlife Survey Reports page of the DNR website (click on the results tab).

Deer Management Units in 2011

Regular units deer populations are at or near goal in these deer management units. For the 2011 season, most regular units will have a limited number of unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tags available.

Hunters may purchase one antlerless tag per day. Fees are $12 each for residents and $20 each for non-residents. Units with lower numbers of available permits can be expected to sell out quickly. The supply of available permits in units with high numbers can be expected to last longer. Hunters may want to monitor permit availability online which is updated periodically. Hunters must purchase a 2011 Wisconsin deer hunting license before purchasing a unit-specific antlerless tag. Licenses and tags can also be purchased by phone (1-877-945-4236) or at the DNR Online Licensing Center.

Eight Regular units will not have any unit-specific antlerless tags available in 2011: DMUs 3, 7, 29B, 34, 35, 39, 44 and 45. These units are below deer population goals. Only certain hunters will be allowed to harvest antlerless deer in these units under the following circumstances:

Herd Control Units Herd Control Units are designated when deer population estimates are 20 percent or more above established overwinter goals. The 2011 Wisconsin gun and archery deer hunting licenses will each include one free Antlerless Deer Carcass Tag that may be used in any of the 74 Herd Control or 22 CWD units. Archery licenses will include a second antlerless tag which is also valid in Herd Control Units. There is no limit to how many additional Antlerless Deer Carcass Tags can be purchased at $2 each for use in Herd Control units. Tags can be purchased at any DNR license sales location or through the Online Licensing Center. Hunters are encouraged to take advantage of antlerless deer harvest opportunities in Herd Control Units to continue moving populations toward sustainable deer population goals.

Metro Units Metro units 59M, 60M, 64M, 1M and 77M will be Herd Control units in 2011. These metro units have an extended regular gun season which will take place from Nov. 19 - Dec. 7. These metro units will also have an extended late archery season which will end on Jan. 31, 2012. Other season dates that apply to Herd Control units will be in effect. Metro Unit 76M around Madison is a CWD Management Unit and all CWD gun and archery deer seasons will apply to this unit. Shotgun restrictions will apply to all of unit 76M. All metro units in 2011 will have shotgun restrictions, except unit 1M which will allow rifle hunting. Check local ordinances to see if other weapon restrictions apply to local areas within metro units. It is important to check with local town officials to see if there are local ordinances prohibiting firearm use.

State Park Units State Park units 23A, 52A, 57D, 59E, 61A, 64A, 69C, 72A, 73A, 77D, 77E and 80C allow deer hunting during one or more deer hunting seasons. Hunters wishing to hunt in these state parks must purchase a $3 State Park Access Permit online or at any DNR license location for the state park of their choice. Available permits for many parks have already been sold out. Archery hunters may hunt in unit 77D (Loew Lake Unit - Kettle Moraine State Forest) without a $3 access permit, however, an access permit is required for muzzleloader hunting in this unit from Nov. 19 - Dec. 7. Special weapon restrictions or hunting season dates may apply to other parks. Check the 2011 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations for details before purchasing your permit.

Those who purchase a state park access permit early will have the park's special deer hunting regulations mailed to them before the season or they may find the regulations online. A state park sticker is required for all vehicles in a state park. Access permits are also required to deer hunt in state parks that allow deer hunting within the CWD Management Zone, but are free of charge and are not limited in quantity. Access permits for CWD state parks can be obtained at DNR Service Centers within the CWD Management Zone, at the state park's office, or the DNR website. Check the State Parks and Trails Hunting Opportunities page of the DNR website for more information on hunting within state parks, trails, and recreation area properties.

Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone

Chronic Wasting Disease continues to pose a significant risk to deer and deer hunting across Wisconsin. This disease has the potential to drastically reduce the size and health of our deer herd. The DNR remains committed to working with hunters and landowners to control spread of CWD to healthy deer. The Earn-A-Buck rule has been modified to allow the harvest of one buck deer per unused gun and one buck deer per unused archery buck deer carcass tag(s) without earn-a-buck requirements. Additional bucks can be harvested with a buck authorization sticker earned in 2010 or 2011 or by registering an antlerless deer with a harvested buck. Antlerless deer harvest is unlimited and hunters can obtain these tags free of charge (limit 4 per hunter per day) at registration stations and license vendors in the CWD Management Zone.

2011 Venison Donation

Wisconsin's Venison Donation Program is a partnership between local charitable organizations, counties, the Department of Natural Resources, meat processors and hunters. This effort has provided high quality protein to thousands of families over the years. In addition to donating deer to the program, since 2002 hunters have chipped in an additional $127,000 to the pantry program on top of the fee they pay for deer harvest permits. 2010 marked 11th anniversary of Wisconsin's Venison Donation Program. In 11 years the program distributed nearly 3.5 million pounds of ground venison from over 77,000 deer donated by hunters, processed by participating meat processors and distributed by volunteers to state food pantries. A list of participating meat processors is available on the DNR Web site and searchable by county. Rules of the program are simple. Hunters harvest, tag, field dress and register a deer same as they always have. After registration the hunter can drop off the carcass at a participating processor. There is no cost to the hunter other than transporting the carcass. Hunters are advised to call ahead to a processor to check on business hours and if the processor currently has space to accept the carcass.

Statewide December Antlerless-Only Gun Deer Hunt

The four-day December antlerless-only deer hunt will be held Dec. 8-11, 2011. Unlike the October antlerless-only gun hunt, this hunt will take place in all DMUs statewide, except state parks outside of the CWD Management Zone, and non-quota areas. Hunters will need to possess or be in a group that has at least one antlerless deer carcass tag valid for the unit which they will be hunting in. Unit specific tags will not be available for eight regular units in northern Wisconsin (see 2011 Deer Season Structure map) exceptions apply to qualified members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are home on furlough or leave, Class A and C disabled permit hunters and youth between the ages of 10-17 who have an unused any DMU antlerless tag. All gun and archery deer hunters and small game hunters are required to meet blaze orange requirements during this hunt statewide.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Hirchert - (608) 264-6023 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248

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Honor the hunter who does it right and nominate

Annual ethical hunter award nominations due to December 15

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Be safe. Be ethical.

Those four words represent two essential elements to a successful hunting trip.

"We must always remind ourselves about the importance of safety and ethical hunting each time we head into the field," said Bob Lamb, retired La Crosse Tribune outdoors editor and co-founder of the Tribune/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award. "In turn, by acknowledging safe and ethical hunting when we see it, we are encouraging more of the same."

Safe hunting reigns supreme and goes without saying. Ethical hunting also goes without saying, but is rarely talked about. That's why Steve Dewald, Jerry Davis and Lamb developed the state award in 1997.

Dewald, who retired as DNR conservation warden supervisor in the La Crosse area earlier this year, said the 15th annual award signifies the qualities of hunters helping others. It's also about hunters engaged in behavior that positively reflects on Wisconsin's hunting tradition.

"All hunters want to have an enjoyable hunt. In many cases, how their hunt goes, depends on the kind of interaction they have with other hunters," Dewald said. "The Hunter Ethics Award provides positive examples for all hunters to follow. These actions reflect positively on the tradition of hunting, and leave good memories with the hunters who are fortunate to encounter these individuals in the great outdoors."

Davis retired from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse several years ago and lives near Barneveld.

"We are usually writing, hearing and reading about hunters doing bad things, illegal things. But those cases are the minority, the tiny minority," Davis said. "We need, now more than ever, to write, read and recognize the great things that the majority of hunters are doing when they're in the fields and forests. It makes us all feel good when we hear of a hunter who took some of his or her own time to help a fellow hunter or landowner."

Dewald said nominations for the 2011 adult and youth hunter ethics awards must be submitted by December 15.

Past award winners have been recognized for restoring wildlife habitat, making private lands available to new hunters, assisting a warden who was dealing with a dangerous person, providing opportunities for disabled hunters, rendering aid to a citizen in a serious car accident, and helping find the rightful owner of a large buck that had fallen off the back end of a pickup truck.

Dewald said the award is about what you can do for the sport, not what you can do for yourself.

Last year's co-recipients were David Kobbervig and his son, Dustin, of Shullsburg. They helped warden Jeff King of Darlington uncover illegal hunting during the gun-deer season.

"Dustin and David both recognized that poachers steal wildlife from ethical hunters," Dewald said.

Davis added: "The actions of this father-and-son team in organizing a group of other hunters to help a warden collect evidence suggest that the overwhelming majority of hunters are concerned that everyone is safe and does things as lawfully as they do when killing a deer."

Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, who serves as the DNR Section Chief of Recreation Enforcement and Education, joined Dewald, Davis and Lamb on last year's selection panel. He remains an active member this year.

"The vast majority of our hunters are responsible and ethical, and support Wisconsin's hunting and conservation heritage," Schaller said. "However, the incidents that the public reads or hears about often puts hunters in a negative light. The Hunter Ethics Award is a way to highlight what most hunters are about."

To become eligible for the award:

Written nominations must contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses to the behavior that lead to the nomination and mailed to Todd Schaller at Todd.schaller@wisconsin.gov, or to Department of Natural Resources, Attention: Warden Schaller LE/5, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Dec. 15, 2011.

Nominations will be considered for any DNR regulated hunting activity in Wisconsin.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - (608) 267-2774; Steve Dewald - (608) 781-9774, Bob Lamb - (608) 526-3925

La Crosse Tribune/Wisconsin DNR Hunter Ethics Award Winners

(All are Wisconsin residents unless noted)

Adult Division

Youth Division (began in 2000)

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Daughters make the hunt all about family - you can, too

After sitting two hours in 25 degrees during the 2009 youth deer hunt, everything aligned.

My younger daughter, Olivia, then 8 years old, informed us she saw a deer headed our direction. Olivia quickly and quietly swapped places in our ground blind so her older sister, Sophie, could be in the right position. Then 10, Sophie was new to carrying a gun during the hunting season thanks to the new mentored hunting law.

When the adult doe was 40 yards out, I made a quiet cluck with my tongue and she stopped in an opening. One perfect shot and all we could say was "Wow!" High fives all around!

My daughters were introduced to Wisconsin's hunting tradition years earlier when we started taking them along on our family hunts. Sophie enjoyed it so much she counted the days until she was old enough to help add to the harvest as part of the family outing.

And that is the key word - "family." Sophie is among the growing number of females who are becoming hunters.

A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Applied Population Laboratory (PDF; exit DNR) found the number of licensed women gun deer hunters in Wisconsin is projected to increase by 50 percent from 50,000 to 75,000 in 20 years.

While this is good news for hunting in general, it doesn't solve the problem of declining hunter numbers among males. That same study projected resident male gun deer hunters would drop from 550,000 in 2009 to around 400,000 by 2030.

The last National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Associated Recreation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed an 11 percent decline in hunters nationwide from 1991 to 2006. But the federal fish and wildlife survey, published in 2007, indicated about 9 to 10 percent (1.2 million) of the nation's 12.5 million hunters are women. The ranks of female hunters, notably among the youngest girls, have been growing slowly but steadily since 1991 (The survey is done every five years. The process to compile the 2012 survey is under way.)

Our hunting is a tradition centered around family fun. My hunting party includes my wife, two daughters, my father and other relatives.

More men are taking their daughters hunting. Hunting shows are featuring more and more female hunters. Groups such as Becoming an Outdoor Woman and all-women outings sponsored by various groups are popular.

We live in a health-conscious era. Harvesting your family's meals can be a very healthy way to eat - the free range meat like venison has no preservatives. Plus, there is a lot to be said about living and eating more sustainably than we have in the past.

The mentored hunting law also has helped. Under Wisconsin's Mentored Hunting Law, anyone 10 or older can hunt without first completing a hunter education course. He or she must get a special license, be accompanied by a licensed hunter, have one gun between them, hunt within arm's reach of the mentor, and follow other rules.

Why not celebrate the Wisconsin tradition by expanding your family hunting event in the state's gorgeous outdoors? Consider recruiting someone to hunt with you this deer season. It is one of those gifts that never stops giving.

Plus, you may just harvest your favorite holiday meal.

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

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Wisconsin makes progress in aquatic invasive species control

MADISON - Wisconsin made significant progress in 2010-11 in efforts to prevent, contain, and control the damage done by aquatic invasive species, capitalizing on increased federal funding and growing involvement by counties and volunteers, according to a recent report to the Legislature.

"Wisconsin made important progress in building the partnerships and monitoring capacity that will help us slow the spread of aquatic invasive species and respond to new ones before they get established and start causing problems," says Bob Wakeman, Department of Natural Resources' aquatic invasive species coordinator.

"Staff, volunteers and partners spent countless hours protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species and this report shows that together we are making a difference and slowing the spread."

The 2010-2011 Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Progress Report (PDF) is available online, as are earlier reports.

Numbers and percentages reflect totals as of report publication date; for the most current totals, visit the Aquatic Invasive Species page of the DNR website.

More aquatic invasive species fast facts

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman (262) 574-2149

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Forest County Potawatomi community recognized for innovations in forestry

CRANDON - The Forest County Potawatomi community received the 2011 Innovations in Urban Forestry award from the Urban Forestry Council at an October 13 ceremony held at the Tribe's Cultural Center

The Potawatomi are the first Native American tribe to receive this award which is presented to a community, individual, association or organization exhibiting outstanding innovation in the development or enhancement of an urban forestry project or program. The award recognized proactive management the Tribe's forest land.

"We are honored and privileged to receive this award from the Urban Forestry Council," said Tribal Forester Al Murray. "The forests of northern Wisconsin are an important resource. It is essential that we properly address the threats facing them so they can continue to be used and enjoyed."

The Tribe's comprehensive approach to forest management included a large-scale forest inventory which identified approximately 1,200 trees that were in need of critical safety pruning or removal. The Tribe was also able to create a new Strategic Forestry Plan to address both developed and non-developed areas on the reservation. By prioritizing the condition of the forest, the Potawatomi have improved both the reservation's aesthetics and local public safety, while also increasing tree and land value.

"It is our hope that our plan can be used as a model for other communities faced with similar problems," added Murray. "If we work together and take a proactive approach, we can be sure that future generations can continue to enjoy our beautiful forests."

The Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin's urban and community forest resources.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Wyatt, Urban Forestry Council Liaison - (608) 267-0568

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 01, 2011




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