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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published March 27, 2012

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Warm spring means fish are spawning up to a month early

MADISON -- March's record-breaking high temperatures following an unusually mild winter have fish spawning early across Wisconsin and state fisheries crews racing to finish the annual fish surveys that are a foundation for keeping Wisconsin's fish populations robust.

Musky
DNR fisheries technician Bryce Ottman shows off a 48-inch, 34-pound musky captured on a Bayfield County lake during fish surveys last week.
Scott Toshner Photo

"We're in full blown sampling mode across the state," says Tim Simonson, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist who coordinates fish surveys on lakes. "It's about a month ahead of time in some parts of Wisconsin, so we're doing our best to keep up with the natural cycles of fish in response to the accelerated warming trend we've seen."

DNR crews also are collecting eggs from fish earlier than normal at the state's two facilities that operate in the spring.

The spring fish surveys, however, involve the most people and most waters, and record temperatures in the 70s and even low 80s from Superior to Sturgeon Bay and Menomonie to Milwaukee temperatures during the week of March 18 have disrupted the normal progression of work from southern to northern waters.

Crews are done sampling in some parts of Wisconsin, while others are going full-bore. Altogether, DNR crews will sample 130 lakes across the state this spring; rivers and streams are sampled in the summer, Simonson says.

The spring and summer surveys, along with surveys done in the fall, help give fish biologists information that allows them to estimate the population of certain fish species, understand the distribution of fish size and age, and information about angler harvest.

The crews use different surveys and different sampling gear according to the goal of the survey and the fish species. During the spring, DNR crews use both fyke nets, large hoop nets that act as funnels to trap swimming fish, and electrofishing boats that deliver a low-level electrical current to the water that momentarily stuns the fish but doesn't hurt them. Fisheries crews collect the fish with dip nets and bring them on board

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Watch DNR's "Walleye shocking on the Winnebago" video to watch DNR crews use electrosfishing boats on spawning marshes in the Winnebago system.

Once on board, the fish are weighed, measured and often marked with a tag of some kind. DNR crews insert "floy" tags, which look like a thick piece of spaghetti, behind a fish's dorsal fin. Each tag is printed with a unique number, allowing DNR to keep tabs on the fish in coming years when it's recaptured by DNR crews or by anglers. Such information can help DNR generate population estimates, estimate natural mortality rates and harvest rates, and understand where the fish moves and when.

PIT tags, short for Passive Integrated Transponder tags, are sometimes used. They are inserted into the fish and also carry a unique number. These tags are more expensive, but are less likely to come out of the fish and they allow fisheries crews in coming years to run a scanner across a fish to read the number.

Simonson says warm up and earlier spawning season can be a good thing for the fish that hatch. "They get the potential for a longer growing season," he says. "The bigger they are in that first summer the better they survive that first winter."

"The flip side is we can get a cold snap that can be detrimental to the survival of the newly hatched fish," he says. The fast warm up and spawning also may potentially have meant eggs weren't able to fully develop inside the female fish, raising questions about the quality of the spawn.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Simonson (608) 266-5222; Steve Hewett (608) 267-7501

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Numbers of migrating steelhead up from previous years

GREEN BAY - Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff collecting eggs for state fish hatcheries from steelhead migrating up Lake Michigan tributaries report they are seeing more fish than they have in the past two to three years.

Besadny egg collection
DNR fisheries crews collect eggs from migrating steelhead at the Besadny egg collection facility.
DNR Photo by Trish Ossmann

Steelhead, also known as rainbow trout, spend two to three summers in the lake foraging for food before maturing. In spring, these shiny fish make their way back to the rivers from where they were born to spawn.

"There are few things more exciting for us than see these beautiful fish fight their way up small rivers in northeast Wisconsin to spawn," said Steve Hogler, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources in Green Bay.

What is making this year's spawn a little different is that there are more fish coming into the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility in Kewaunee than they've seen in several years.

"We're not exactly sure why this is happening," says Hogler, "We actually have been stocking fewer steelhead in the past few years to ensure that we stock larger, healthier fish. In the past week we've processed upwards of 550 fish through Besadny alone."

In addition to the eggs being collected at Besadny, steelhead are being spawned at the Root River facility in southern Wisconsin.

Steelhead
The average steelhead was running 25 to 29 inches long and 10 pounds.
DNR Photo by Trish Ossmann

The average size of a steelhead can run from 25 to 29 inches and upwards of 10 pounds. They got their name from the shiny, silver color they take on.

DNR biologists capture the fish as they make their way up the Kewaunee River. When they are brought into the facility, they are weighed, measured, and, depending on their age, are spawned. The eggs and milt harvested from the fish are then processed on site and taken to the Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery where another batch of young steelhead are raised to be stocked next year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Hogler - 920-662-5480 or Trish Ossmann, DNR Northeast Region public affairs manager - 920-662-5122

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Reduction in Lake Michigan salmon stocking topic of public meeting

Anglers can weigh in online or in person April 14

Editor's note: This release has been updated to note two related meetings set for Wisconsin in May to provide anglers more opportunities to get information and provide feedback.

MADISON -- Anglers can weigh in online or in person on April 14 to advise Great Lakes states on potential future fish stocking reductions in Lake Michigan to better balance the number of trout and salmon in the lake with the available prey for those angler-favorites. A lake-wide stocking reduction in chinook starting in 2006 has helped but not enough, new research suggests.

A half-day workshop on the issue and stocking reduction options is set for Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich. People can participate in person or online; those wanting to participate online must pre-register and will find instructions for doing so, and informational materials, at Michigan Sea Grant (exit DNR) website.

Fisheries biologists are concerned that stocking salmon and trout at the current levels may decrease alewife populations in the lake in future years, which in turn would affect the number, size and condition of the trout and salmon that feed on the alewives, according to Brad Eggold, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fish supervisor for Southern Lake Michigan.

"The April 14 meeting is a chance for people to review this model and help us determine the future direction of the salmonid fishery in Lake Michigan. We encourage anglers and others with an interest in Lake Michigan's fisheries to review and comment on this important topic."

Computer modeling conducted by Michigan State University researchers suggests that the number of trout and salmon being stocked in Lake Michigan will still be too high for available prey fish in the future, despite a 25 percent lake-wide cut in chinook stocking starting in 2006, and risks a future collapse in both prey fish and game fish if stocking levels stay the same.

Alewives make up the bulk of the food the trout and salmon eat, and the alewife, itself an invasive species, is now finding that its main food supply is being disrupted by invasive species that arrived after it, quagga mussels in particular.

Fish biologists from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan have been meeting over the last year with stakeholder groups to review the results of the chinook stocking cuts that started in 2006.

The review was part of a promise made by the states when the original reduction was proposed. In Wisconsin, the condition of chinook and egg collections were improving as a result of the 25 percent lake-wide reduction in chinook, according to Randy Schumacher, regional fisheries supervisor.

However, the modeling by Michigan researchers as part of the review suggests that reduction in chinook stocking wasn't enough. Changes to the alewife population and more natural reproduction of trout and salmon in Michigan tributaries to Lake Michigan are creating a continuing imbalance between the number of trout and salmon and the prey fish they feed on, Schumacher says.

Schumacher and Eggold encourage anglers to participate online or in person at the April 14 workshop, which begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, noon Wisconsin time, because this workshop will provide the most complete information on the status of the fishery and current model results. However, people who can't make this date will have two more meetings in May to learn similar information and give their feedback. These meetings will be May 1 at the UW-W WATER Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Avenue, Milwaukee, 53204 and May 8 at the Brown County Library, 515 Pine Street, Green Bay, 54301. Both meetings will run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold - 414-382-7921; Randy Schumacher - 266-894-3006 or Lisa Gaumnitz - 608-264-8942

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Annual spring hearings a chance to participate in the rule-making process

For nearly 80 years the Conservation Congress has been reaching out to the citizens of the state, asking people to join the conversation and share ideas on a variety of resource management topics.

The tradition continues Monday, April 9. There will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county, starting at 7 p.m. If you attend, you'll have the chance to elect delegates to represent your county on the Conservation Congress and you can weigh in on DNR wildlife and fisheries and Conservation Congress advisory questions and citizen resolutions.

New this year, the Conservation Congress will hold a town hall meeting at the end of the night to gather ideas from attendees on how to simplify regulations and how to eliminate participation barriers to activities like fishing and hunting.

This is a Wisconsin-born, unique opportunity to weigh in on natural resources issues that may affect you. It's incredibly important for you to be part of the process.

DNR questions gauge your support - or lack thereof -- on issues ranging from fishing and hunting questions.

This year, wildlife advisory questions seek feedback on permanent adoption of a two-period bobcat hunting and trapping season with permit applicants being required to select either the early or the late season; updating licensing requirements for hunting guides; and, expanding open water hunting opportunities for waterfowl.

Fishing questions this year ask your opinion on allowing year-round fishing seasons in areas we are comfortable it is unnecessary to protect certain fish populations; having a single, statewide musky season opener date; and eliminating some fish refuges if DNR finds that fish populations can be adequately protected by other regulations such as season, bag, or size limits in the same area.

Wisconsin is a fantastic place to hunt and fish. Help us make it even better. Join the conversation at this year's annual hearings. Share your ideas on how we can continue to work together to protect natural resources while making fishing, hunting, and trapping more fun for more people.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Cosh - 608-267-2773

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Warm spring means don't delay in controlling garlic mustard and other invasive plants

MADISON -- With the warm winter and the unseasonably warm spring, plants are emerging and growing several weeks earlier than usual, and this includes invasive plants that threaten to crowd out native species.

"Invasive plants don't pay attention to calendars, so if you are used to pulling your garlic mustard in April and May, you may need to adjust your plans this year," says Kelly Kearns, a native plant specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "It is likely to be a banner year for weeds, so landowners and land managers need to get to work now to keep ahead of them."

Picture of Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard -- a biennial plant that smells like garlic and has four small white petals that flower in spring -- is famous for taking over entire forest floors and displacing trilliums and other wildflowers.

"Diligent efforts to prevent the plants from producing seed can keep woodlands free of the weed and protect the habitat for an array of wildflowers and native trees," Kearns says.

Small patches can be hand pulled starting as soon as the ground has thawed and the roots can easily be pulled out. But, Kearns adds, they must be pulled before seed pods mature, which is likely to be by mid-May this year.

If the bright green rosettes are pulled before they start to flower, the pulled plants can be scattered about in the woods. However, garlic mustard is so persistent that if flowering has begun and the plants are left in the woods or even in piles on a driveway, the plants will continue to grow and develop mature seeds.

"Pulled plants that have begun flowering need to be removed from the forest and buried, burned or sent to a landfill," Kearns says.

Although state law bans yard waste from landfills, any plants that are now regulated as "restricted invasive plants" can now be sent to landfills to keep their seeds and roots out of municipal and county compost facilities. The list of regulated invasive species and photos and fact sheets for most of the invasive plants can be found on the DNR's website and type in keyword "invasives."

Homeowners, and especially landowners, should be vigilant in watching for any plants that seem to be spreading and "taking over." Even some native species can become aggressive and more abundant than is desired. The key to keeping any invasive plants from completely overtaking an area is to keep them from reproducing.

Pulling, cutting, burning or using an herbicide before the plants flower to keep them from developing seeds is critical to keeping them under control. Some plants also spread by creeping stems or roots, so additional effort may be needed to stop their spread.

If herbicides are used, it must be done early and carefully to prevent killing wildflowers and other desirable plants. There is information about controlling these plants on the Web and in publications from the DNR and University of Wisconsin-Extension (exit DNR).

"Pay attention to what is growing on your land," Kearns says. "If something is increasing too fast, figure out what it is and what needs to be done to stop its' spread. We can all keep these invasive plants from spreading if we each take responsibility for our own little patch of the planet and don't let invasive plants from our land spread around."

Photos of garlic mustard can found on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Kearns, Invasive Plant Coordinator, Endangered Resources, 608-267-5066 or Paul Holtan, Office of Communication, 608-267-7517

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Family sweeps both adult and youth 2011 Hunter Ethics Award honors

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Brothers David Sander, of Woodville, and James Sander, of Baldwin, are co-winners of the 2011 Hunter Ethics Award, while David's son, Colton, is the recipient of 2011 Youth Hunter Ethics Award.

The trio was nominated by Dan McGuire, principal at Tomahawk Elementary School in Tomahawk, and 15-year-old son, Jacob, for their efforts to help Jacob recover a deer he had shot that ran onto the Sanders' private hunting property.

2011 Ethical Hunter award
Brothers David (left) and James (right) Sander and David's son, Colton (center), are recipients of the 2011 Ethical Hunter Awards
Contributed Photo

Jacob shot a trophy buck that ran onto property owned by the Sander family. Colton saw the buck go onto his family's land after Jacob shot it, but didn't see it had been hit until the deer ran past him.

"We walked to the fence line and Colton came down from his tree stand," Dan McGuire said. "We introduced ourselves and Colton used his cellphone to communicate with his dad."

"Colton spent a good chunk of the time tracking and trailing that buck," Dan said. "He actually took up the blood trail. He knew the property."

Colton, 16, knew he wanted to help recover the deer when he was first approached across the fence line by Dan and Jacob.

"I just did what I thought was right, and tried to make sure the deer wouldn't suffer," Colton said. "I didn't expect this (the award) at all. You just have to be ethical when hunting, and do everything in your power to recover a deer, and respect your neighbor's property."

The Sander trio not only allowed Dan and Jacob onto their property, but helped them track the deer for about four hours and then gave up for the day. The next day the entire hunting party spent another hour or more before David found the dead deer.

"There was lots of handshaking, smiles, pats on back, and we couldn't thank them enough," Dan said. "They were as happy as we were. They were invested in that deer."

"I was with Colton when he shot his very first deer," James Sanders said. "This episode brought me back to then."

Retired Wisconsin DNR conservation warden Steve Dewald, who co-founded the Hunter Ethics Award with former La Crosse Tribune outdoors editor Bob Lamb and Jerry Davis, a free-lance outdoors writer, noted he was impressed with how helpful the landowners were in responding to a stranger asking to track a wounded buck on their property.

"They not only gave up five hours of their own hunting time on opening weekend of the deer season, they also avoided hunting some of their hunting area so that the buck would not leave the area," Dewald said. "It is no wonder that the father of the young hunter was so appreciative of being helped by total strangers. The father understands how much this meant to his son and hopes he can return the favor to other hunters in the future. That is what this award is all about -- serving as a positive example for all hunters to follow."

The awards were presented March 17 at the Wisconsin Sport Show in Eau Claire. John Leigh of Argyle, finished runner-up for the 2011 award. Scott Braund of Holmen, received special recognition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - 608-267-2774 or Joanne Haas - 608-267-0798

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Trash burning hazardous to air, leading cause of wildfires

Environmental, forestry officials urge alternatives to burning

MADISON - People conducting spring cleanups who are thinking about taking a match to a debris pile may want to think twice, according to state environmental officials, who caution that burning household trash adds dangerous pollutants to the air. And while burning some yard waste is legal in some areas, state forestry officials caution that debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Wisconsin, causing approximately 30 percent of such fires each year.

"Burning any material, whether plastic, paper or wood, produces a variety of hazardous and toxic air pollutants, including carcinogens such as arsenic, benzene and formaldehyde," said Brad Wolbert, of the Department of Natural Resources Waste and Materials Management Program. "Children and others with asthma are especially harmed by smoke from burning garbage. If you burn trash, you're affecting your health and the environment more than you know."

A study by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency found that the amount of cancer causing dioxin and furan emissions from 15 households burning trash each day is the same as those emissions from a 200 ton per day municipal waste incinerator with high efficiency emission control technology.

Because of its environmental risk, burning trash in Wisconsin is illegal. In addition, Wisconsin's recycling law and local ordinances prohibit burning or disposing of recyclable materials in landfills.

"Recycling programs are available in every community for plastic, glass and metal containers, corrugated cardboard, newspaper, and magazines," Wolbert said.

Agricultural and horticultural plastics like silage film, haylage bags, bale wrap, woven tarps, nursery pots, and trays must also be recycled or landfilled. It is illegal to burn plastics in Wisconsin. Materials that are not recyclable should go to a legal disposal facility, not a burn barrel or pile.

Materials that are legal to burn, such as leaves and brush, are also regulated under state codes.

Burning permits, issued by the DNR, are required for debris burns. Burning permits are designed so that people may burn brush only in areas where and at times when the risk of wildfire is low. Burning permits only authorize the burning of legal materials.

Instead of burning, state environmental and forestry officials recommend people visit the DNR website and search keywords "open burning" for alternative such as composting and recycling.

Current law requires individuals wishing to burn legal materials to first obtain a burning permit and then call or check online on the day of the burn for the daily restrictions. Permits can be obtained online or calling 1-888-WIS-BURN from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Customers may also visit their local Ranger Station or Emergency Fire Warden for permits in-person. Permits are free and valid for one year. For more information on burning permits and the current fire danger in Wisconsin, see the DNR website.

For more information on how to handle waste materials, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waste." For information on recycling of agricultural pesticide containers see www.acrecycle.org (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, 608-264-6286 or Bill Cosh, 608-267-2773

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Look for the Loon when preparing Wisconsin income tax forms

Donations big and small vital to protect rare wildlife, plants

MADISON - Wisconsin residents have roughly three weeks to take a simple step that can assure Wisconsin's rare plants and wildlife and special places will be around for their kids and grandkids to enjoy.

Loon Graphic on Tax Form

State tax forms are due April 17, and people can help keep Wisconsin wild by looking for the loon on their state income tax form and making a donation to the Endangered Resources Fund, says Laurie Osterndorf, who leads Wisconsin's endangered resources program.

"Every year, private donations account for 25 percent to 40 percent of the funding to safeguard our natural heritage," she says. "They are critical investments for our state and local economies."

The tax check-off is found in the "donations" section on state income tax forms. Donations made through this form are critical to funding work to help protect and restore rare plant and animal species, to prevent more common non-game species from declining, and to protect the State Natural Areas that provide habitat for these species and represent the best remnants of the state's natural communities, Osterndorf says.

Every dollar contributed through the tax check off or through a direct donation is matched by a state dollar up to $500,000. Private donations also are critical because there is not a more stable, dedicated funding source as there is for managing game animals such as deer, turkey and fish, Osterndorf says. The management of game animals is funded largely through the sales of state hunting and fishing licenses and receives federal dollars in proportion to the number of licenses sold every year.

Private contributions to Wisconsin's Endangered Resources Fund also are vital for the state's and local communities' economies: wildlife watching activities generate a $1.2 billion annual economic impact, support 17,166 jobs, and bring in $111 million in state and local tax revenues annually, according to "Wildlife Watching in the U.S.: The Economic Impact on National and State Economies."

"Every little bit helps," Osterndorf says. "Your contribution big or small is an investment in making sure that future generations can enjoy a big part of what makes Wisconsin so special: our native plants, and wildlife and state natural areas."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Osterndorf (608) 267-7552

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Report recognizes Wisconsin's partners in wildlife management

MADISON - Across Wisconsin, hundreds of citizens in more than 100 organizations, agencies and companies devote thousands of hours each year to improve the quality of life for wildlife and Wisconsin's citizens. Many of those contributions have been captured in a first of its kind report that seeks to highlight key partnerships that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has developed to promote, protect and enhance Wisconsin's environment.

"Wisconsin citizens love nature and the wildlife that is part of it," says Bill Vander Zouwen, DNR wildlife ecologist section chief. "It is part of our cherished quality of life and an essential driver of our economy."

While DNR has been given a trust responsibility for wildlife conservation by the people of Wisconsin, Vander Zouwen notes, "the job is too big for any one agency to do well. It takes a broad conservation coalition."

Thanks to fees and excise taxes that recreationists have been willing to contribute to fund these responsibilities, Vander Zouwen said, Wisconsin is rich in wildlife and the habitats that support them.

The purpose of the Wildlife Management Partner Recognition Report (pdf), which is being presented this week to the State Natural Resources Board, is not only to express the agency's appreciation to partners, but to show how the DNR works in partnerships to accomplish its mission.

"We hope this will encourage others to partner with us to improve the quality of life for wildlife and Wisconsin's citizens and to help people understand how we approach nature resources management in Wisconsin," Vander Zouwen says.

The report recognizes the critical partnerships that produce surveys and research, and manage wildlife habitat and populations.

The land ethic that Wisconsin's own Aldo Leopold called for, Vander Zouwen said, is seen in the many partnerships between DNR and organizations, landowners, and recreationists.

"Wildlife and the appreciation that Wisconsinites have for it is one of the great things about Wisconsin that many people around the country notice and envy," he said .

The report can be found on the DNR's web site dnr.wi.gov by using the keyword "wildlife."

"We encourage people to review this report and see how fellow citizens are engaged in wildlife conservation partnerships," said Vander Zouwen. "If you aren't already, we are hoping that you will see an opportunity for volunteering your time and resources in the Wisconsin wildlife conservation coalition through one of these partners or by working directly with department staff."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Vander Zouwen - 608-266-8840 or Bill Cosh - 608-267-2773

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Leftover turkey tags a great opportunity to start new hunters

When I was a kid just starting to hunt, I spent a lot of time with a second cousin whose family, although from dairy farm, didn't hunt. My cousin wanted to try hunting and he put himself through hunter's education. I asked if he could join us hunting and, fortunately, my father agreed.

Fast forward a couple of decades.

My second cousin is part of one terrific camp I enjoy a lot. Whatever season it is, that's what camp we're part of. During duck season, it's duck camp. During deer season, of course, it's deer camp.

His boys are hunters now as are my girls, but that wouldn't have happened if my father hadn't invited him along and mentored him over several years until he was fully immersed in the hunting heritage.

This is your invitation to do the same thing. Protect and build our heritage. Invite a new hunter this spring. As of this writing, there are more than 55,000 spring turkey tags left available for purchase. This is a great opportunity to invite a neighbor, friend, or relative to join Wisconsin's hunting heritage.

As a hunter, you have the skills and knowledge gained by spending seasons in the woods and fields. You've sharpened your techniques over many years of practice. You have fostered the strongest conservation heritage in the nation. Now pass it on.

There are kids, adults, relatives, friends you know interested in hunting. Being a mentor is a reward in itself. You have a unique chance to pass along the skills and knowledge you have to a pretty captive audience. In today's world of high-speed 4G-everything, having the opportunity to take time to establish the bond and help a novice hunter understand the benefits of slowing down is critical to starting a new hunter.

Mentoring a new hunter is that opportunity. Anyone 10 or older can now hunt without first completing a hunter education course. I encourage you to mentor an adult. An adult hunter is likely to keep hunting and recruit new hunters.

A new hunter born after January 1, 1973, with a mentored hunting license must be accompanied by a licensed hunter, hunt within arm's reach of the mentor, hunt within the season dates and with a valid tag, and follow other rules. This one-on-one mentoring opportunity gives first-time hunters a chance to try hunting and enables veteran hunters to pass on their passion for the outdoors and help keep Wisconsin's hunting heritage strong.

For more information on mentoring a hunter, go to the DNR website and search "mentored hunting."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-267-0798

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Chippewa Flowage conservation project receives Wings Across the Americas award

MADISON - An interagency partnership that collaborated to protect more than 18,000 acres of exceptional forest, wetlands and waterways along the Chippewa Flowage has received a 2012 Habitat Management and Partnership Award from Wings Across the Americas.

The Chippewa Flowage Forest Legacy Program offers food and shelter for both migrating and nesting birds, and is one of the few places the public can observe an active heron rookery. In addition to its great value for birds, the flowage supports a world-class fishery for musky and walleye.

Wings Across the Americas (exit DNR) is a program of the U.S. Forest Service that works with a wide range of partners across landscapes in the United States and overseas to conserve birds, bats and butterflies as well as their habitats.

Tony Ferguson, Northeast Area State and Private Forestry Director with the Forest Service, said that the Chippewa Flowage Forest Legacy Program project exemplifies the award ideal -- recognizing the partnership between the Forest Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land and the Plum Creek Timber Corporation and their collective three-year effort to establish conservation easements that are vital to the region's many species.

"By permanently protecting important forest habitat surrounding the Chippewa Flowage, one of Wisconsin's largest wilderness bodies of water, important ecological, recreational, social, cultural and economic benefits have been preserved for future generations," Ferguson said.

"This project ensures that this land remains intact, protecting wildlife habitat while continuing to produce wood to feed mills that employ many people, both locally and statewide," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "It also ensures these lands are open to the public for recreation."

DNR Real Estate Director Dick Steffes accepted the award on March 15 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Wings Across the Americas ceremony held in conjunction with the 77th annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Nicole Potvin and Amy Singh, the Division of Forestry staff who guided this conservation easement through its many steps, will also receive individual awards to commemorate their achievements.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karin Theophile, US Forest Service - 202 501 5513 or Nicole Potvin - 608-266-2388, Amy Singh, DNR - 608-266-9805 or Kirsten Held - 608-264-6036

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Find DNR website only at dnr.wi.gov

Older domain names are being phased out

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website -- once reachable at a variety of web addresses -- will now be found only at one simple address: dnr.wi.gov.

"We've consolidated our website to use just one domain in order to reduce costs and improve consistency and customer service," says JD Smith, who is leading DNR's website redesign team.

"We look forward to continuing to serve our website users at that one domain name: dnr.wi.gov. Thanks in advance for updating your bookmarks, favorites, or links so you can reach our site the first time."

Beginning in early April domains that will no longer work when going to DNR's website include:

All of the above domains have been updated to use only the "dnr.wi.gov" domain, according to Jeff Margenau, of the DNR Office of Communications. For example, a bookmark or link to "www.dnr.state.wi.us/news" will need to be updated to "dnr.wi.gov/news". Anyone clicking on a link that uses an outdated domain will be redirected to a Web page explaining the need to update links to the dnr.wi.gov domain.

Anyone with general questions about the domain change can call DNR Customer Service line at 1-888-936-7463, open a chat session, or click on the feedback link in the footer of any DNR Web page.

"We invite people to visit DNR's newly redesigned website. We think you'll like it as we have expanded your search options and added keyword features. As always, we are looking for ways to improve our site," Smith said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: JD Smith - 608-266-0855

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 27, 2012




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