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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published November 29, 2011

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Preliminary count shows hunters harvested 226,260 deer during the nine-day season

No hunting fatalities recorded for second consecutive year

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to reflect that 2011 was the third safest hunting season on record and not the second. A seventh hunting incident has been reported since the original version of this news release was issued.

MADISON - A call around survey of 600-plus deer registration stations all across Wisconsin completed today shows a preliminary harvest total of 226,260 for the just completed nine-day gun deer hunting season, up 3.6 percent from 2010. At the same time, hunters posted the second all around safest season on record.

The nine-day harvest numbers are preliminary and are expected to change before a final report is published in late winter. The total does not include harvest information from the archery, October antlerless gun deer hunt, muzzleloader, December antlerless deer gun hunt or late archery seasons. The preliminary nine-day gun harvest count in 2010 was 218,144 and in 2009 was 201,994.

"Overall participation was good. We had a 3.6 percent increase in deer harvested compared to 2010 and the reports that we've been getting in from the field are that in many parts of the state hunters saw more deer," stated Tom Hauge, wildlife director for the state Department of Natural Resources. "That said, we do know that not everyone got a deer this year, or saw a deer. The herd in parts of the state is still rebounding and that even within counties with higher harvests, deer aren't distributed evenly."

A table of county by county harvest (pdf) broken down by DNR region, with a comparison to the 2010 preliminary harvest is available on the DNR Web site.

The preliminary tally showed hunters harvested 102,837 bucks and 123,423 antlerless. This compared to 2010 preliminary harvest figures of 102,121 bucks and 116,160 antlerless.

"Harvests suggest that deer herds are increasing in some of the units where deer numbers were previously below goal," Hauge said. "We also saw an increase in buck harvest in the CWD zone with the new provision this year allowing hunters to shoot a buck first before having to go to earn-a-buck rules for a second buck in the zone. This was a popular change among hunters I've heard from."

"As far as hunting conditions and deer observations, we will be interested in seeing the data hunters provided on their registration stubs," added Hauge. "We know broadly what weather conditions were like, but data from individual hunters in the field provides a much more personal and localized perspective. We will summarize these finding along with the harvest totals in February."

In February, DNR biologists will use unit-level harvest numbers to develop overwinter population estimates and will propose season structures for 2012 in March.

Deer hunt wrap up

The books have closed on Wisconsin's 160th gun deer hunt but the season's memories and tales will live for years to come. Over the past nine days the DNR Facebook page received dozens of pictures of happy hunters and some pretty impressive deer. Visitors to the page can view the photos share them with you along with a You Tube video that highlight's Wisconsin Hunters sharing their stories.

People can join the conversation by visiting the DNR on Facebook at Facebook.com/widnr.

Late seasons now open

There are still days to hunt in 2011. The muzzleloader hunt is already underway through Dec. 7 for hunters holding unused gun buck and antlerless deer tags. There is also a statewide antlerless deer hunt Dec. 8-11.

"We could use some extra help in the CWD zones and Herd Control Units, so we want to encourage hunters to take advantage of our remaining seasons," said Hauge. "Consider taking an extra deer for the freezer or for the deer donation program to help those in need of the meat."

Hunters are reminded that the antlerless deer hunt Dec. 8-11 in regular units is open only to hunters with a valid antlerless deer tag for the unit in which they are hunting. Regular unit antlerless tags are still available for many units at $12 each. In herd control units, hunters can purchase as many $2 antlerless tags as they wish.

The Holiday Hunt in CWD zones in south central Wisconsin that starts Dec. 24 and lasts until Jan. 8, 2011.

Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey

The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed 9-day gun hunt and during any hunting trips they make through the end of all deer hunting seasons. This data helps to provide valuable data biologists can use to help provide an additional human element to the completed deer season.

Third fatality free season on record

"Hunters can be proud of a second consecutive firearm-related, fatality-free year and the third fatality free season on record," said Tim Lawhern, Law Enforcement Administrator. "This is an important milestone and one we hope to see again and again in future seasons."

Overall, there were (updated) seven hunting incidents during the nine-day deer gun season. Lawhern said that for the families of those injured hunters, 2011 didn't feel like a success and that everyone at DNR wishes the injured a speedy recovery. The agency only tracks firearm-related incidents and does not keep track of deaths or injuries due to heart attacks, tree stand falls or other causes.

This would make it the (updated) third all-around safest hunt ever in Wisconsin. The lowest number of incidents occurred in 2004 when there were four incidents and two of those were fatal.

Three of the incidents occurred during deer drives. Two of the incidents were self-inflicted injuries. Four incidents involved rifles and two involved shotguns. Two of the incidents involved juvenile shooters. Four of the six shooters in these incidents had completed the Hunter Safety certification course.

"Ultimately, nearly all are linked to a violation of one or more of the four basic rules of firearm safety - treat every firearm as if it is loaded, never point your firearm at a person, never put your finger in the trigger until you are ready to shoot and know what is behind your target," Lawhern said.

The downward trend in hunting incidents speaks highly about the hunter education program, the thousand of volunteer instructors who teach the course and hunters. Hunter education is required for anyone born on or after Jan 1, 1973, and Lawhern encourages "All hunters should take the hunter education certification course - no matter the age."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt Thiede - (608) 266-5833, Tom Hauge (608) 266-2193 (deer and deer harvest) or Todd Schaller (608) 267-2774 (injury reports)

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2012 Wisconsin state park admission stickers, trail passes go on sale Dec. 1

MADISON - 2012 Wisconsin State Park, Forest and Recreation Area vehicle admission stickers and 2012 Wisconsin State Trail passes go on sale Dec. 1 at state park, forest and trail offices and Department of Natural Resources service centers.

2012 state park and forest vehicle admission sticker

New this year - The DNR call center will be accepting phone orders for annual admission sticker and state trail passes! Customers can order over the phone using MasterCard or Visa Over the phone by calling the DNR at (888) 936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, December 19 to receive them for the holidays.

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin.

The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.

Admission stickers and trail passes are valid from the date of sale through Dec. 31, 2011, so cross-country skiers can use a 2011 trail to enjoy the ski trails yet this December. There is no increase in sticker or trail pass fees for 2012. Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.

State park stickers and trail passes both make year-long gifts for the outdoors lovers on holiday shopping lists. In addition, the state parks program offers additional gift giving ideas on their web pages.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin State Parks - (608) 266-2181

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Wisconsin leads the way in biomass crop planning

Joint effort creates nation's first planning guidelines with energy in mind

MADISON - Wisconsin has positioned itself to be a national leader in planting and harvesting biomass crops while protecting and sustaining the state's precious natural resources, thanks to the recent release of voluntary, science-based biomass cropping guidelines.

The document, "Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvesting Guidelines for Nonforest Biomass," is the result of a two year joint project conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Council.

Scott Hull, DNR wildlife research scientist calls the guidelines the nation's first document detailing recommendations for multiple biomass crops that encompass both the field and watershed scales. Hull also chaired the technical team that developed the guidelines.

The guidelines will help users make informed decisions about bioenergy production on Wisconsin's public and private lands while also helping to shape future bioenergy policy decisions. They will not only sustain the resources but benefit them as well.

"Wisconsin is very well positioned to be a leader in the biomass and bioenergy arena", according to Sara Walling, DATCP Bioenergy Policy Advisor. "These guidelines will help assure that we do so sustainably."

The document focuses on site and crop selection and management guidelines for sustainable biomass planting and harvest on perennial grasslands, non-forest tree and shrublands, wetlands, and agricultural crop residue. Energy products made from biomass include biodiesel, gasoline, ethanol, charcoal, syngas, bio-coal, and power and heat from direct combustion.

Expansion of the biomass energy industry has the potential to benefit Wisconsin's water resources, wildlife habitat, and agricultural sectors by reducing erosion, providing a market for materials removed during habitat management activities, expanding markets for agricultural products, creating jobs and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

These guidelines were developed using cutting-edge, scientific knowledge and have gone through scientific review and public comment with the help of Wisconsin Bioenergy Council members. "Central to our mission to build a biomass market in Wisconsin and the Midwest is respecting and maintaining our state's natural resources and rich agricultural history," said Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative Director Gary Radloff. "The research efforts of UW-Madison agronomy and soil science experts helped ensure that the harvesting and cropping practices are sustainable and promote environmental benefits."

These guidelines also have the potential to help Wisconsin's bioeconomy, says Jamie Derr, co-chair of the Wisconsin Bioenergy Council. "As a landowner and producer, these guidelines will be extremely valuable in helping farmers make sound biomass cropping decisions."

The guidelines will be revised approximately every two years as new scientific information becomes available. The complete Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvesting Guidelines for Nonforest (pdf; exit DNR) document is available on DATCP's Wisconsin Bioenergy Council website, or at the Wisconsin Grasslands Bioenergy Network, www.wgbn.wisc.edu (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Hull,- (608) 224-6196, Sara Walling, DATCP - (608) 224-5041, or Gary Radloff, UW-Madison - (608) 890-3449.

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Warm up with December Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

MADISON - As winter sets in, the December issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources encourages readers to warm up to a nice mix of stories about wildlife encounters, natural resource progress and environmental successes.

The cover story, Hunt. Harvest. Help, takes a look at the state's new Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan with a homegrown NASCAR driver's endorsement.

December Wisconsin Natural Resources
December Wisconsin Natural Resources

Another piece, A family of foxes, follows one writer's encounters with kits and their kin. Timothy Sweet's photos of foxes young and old are so endearing that you'll be reminded to keep your camera close and ready when you venture out snowshoeing or skiing this season.

Mother Nature Triumphs is a light-hearted and humorous story of an urban couple's confrontations with neighborhood wildlife. The author, Andrew Ewert, shares a valuable lesson and presents the photographic evidence to back it up.

Count on it, reviews the state's new bear population estimate, which is based on bones and bait. The story is told by a volunteer who took part in a recent tetracycline survey. This research is a great example of what partnerships can accomplish.

Another feature, Marine Enforcement Unit, follows the history of DNR's Lake Michigan warden force. Last year marked its 25th anniversary and the unit has come a long way in terms of building positive relationships with anglers and seeing to equipment upgrades to get the complex job done.

Give in to fish fervor, contains important health information for those who love to eat fish from Wisconsin waters. Clip the safe eating guidelines for fish you catch and purchase. Learn how to fillet your fish to reduce PCB exposure. Submit your healthy Wisconsin fish recipe.

Finally, Creature Comforts makes a case for social media for the pet-minded masses and Traveler offers alternatives to hibernation and gives advice for getting out and dealing with winter.

Remember to consider the magazine as a thoughtful, inexpensive gift that can share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends and professional colleagues. Six colorful issues are delivered to reader's doors all year for less than $1.50 a copy. Year-round the magazine shares ways and place to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors for only $8.97. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at www.wnrmag.com or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke, editorial, at (608) 261-8446 or Karen Ecklund, circulation editor, at (608) 267-7410.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 29, 2011




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