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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 3, 2012

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Spring turkey season opens April 11

MADISON - The April 11 opening of the 2012 spring wild turkey hunting season is just around the corner, and state wildlife officials say hunters can look forward to a good spring hunt. They also are encouraging experienced hunters to consider taking a youth out during the April 7 and 8 statewide spring turkey youth hunt.

"Turkey populations should have come through the relatively mild 2011-12 winter in good shape," said Scott Walter, upland game biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "As long as the critical nesting and early brood-rearing season remains dry and warm, populations can be expected to approach naturally occurring population limits imposed by habitat and predators, all good news for turkey hunters."

Wisconsin has seen record breaking spring weather, but biologists say the early warm weather won't have much effect on turkeys.

"Spring turkey seasons are set so that toms can breed many of the hens in a given zone before the opening date for that zone," said Walter. "This timing limits accidental harvest of hens but the toms are still active and coming in to hunters' calls and decoys.

"This shouldn't change since breeding activity is influenced by daylight and not so much by temperatures. Breeding and breeding behavior occurs about the same time every year. What could impact hunters is the amount of foliage in the woods. From what I've seen, leaf development is running three weeks or more ahead. The landscape during the first hunting period will look like third period on opening day."

Permits remaining in zones 1, 3, 4 and 5

More than 233,500 permits were made available for this spring's hunt, a slight increase from the number offered a year ago. More than 137,500 of those permits were issued in the preference drawing for the spring 2012 season, leaving 90,000 tags available for sale. Remaining permits went on sale March 19.

As of March 30, all permits were sold for zones 2, 6 & 7. There are permits remaining in zones 1, 3, 4 and 5 in later hunting periods. Remaining permits can be purchased until they are sold out or the season ends. Visit the spring turkey leftover permit availability page for up-to-date information. Go to DNR's spring turkey leftover permit page.

Spring hunting periods now seven days

Hunters can look forward to more days in the woods in 2012 as the hunting periods have been extended to seven days each. This evens out weather effects and offers a little more opportunity for time in the woods, Walter said.

The six 7-day 2012 spring turkey hunting periods start on April 11 and end on May 22. Find out more by going to the DNR website (search keywords "turkey meetings") or visiting the DNR's turkey hunting page.

Self-registration process in effect for spring 2012 season

First tried during the fall 2011 turkey hunting season with great success, self-registration is now in place for the spring season as well. Hunters no longer have to present their bird at a registration station. They must register the kill but they can do it by telephone 1-888-HUNT-WIS (1-888-486-8947) (this only works with a touch-tone phoe) or over the internet by going to the DNR's Wild Turkey Harvest Registration webpages.

In addition to harvest date, time, and location information, you will be asked to determine the age (adult or juvenile) and the sex (gobbler or hen) of your harvested turkey, according to Krista McGinley, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist. Please note that only male turkeys may be harvested during the spring wild turkey season. In the field, refer to the Wisconsin Small Game & Wild Turkey Hunting Regulations booklet for a graphic guiding you through the aging and sexing process, she said.

Hunters will also be asked to record a harvest 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.

Turkey Youth Hunt set for April 7 and 8

The 2012 Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will occur statewide April 7 and 8. The two-day spring youth hunt, successfully initiated in 2007, allows one-on-one mentoring of future hunters in a relaxed atmosphere without competition for hunting spots from regular season hunters.

Thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program that took effect starting with the 2009 fall season, youth hunters aged 10 and 11, in addition to youth ages 12 through 15, also may now participate in the 2012 youth turkey hunt.

Under the Mentored Hunting Program, youngsters ages 10 through 15 may hunt during the two-day youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, so long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow the rules of the program. Youth ages 12 through 15 who have already completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt while accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Each youth must have a valid spring 2012 turkey harvest permit, license, and stamp, McGinley said.

Youth are allowed to hunt on April 7 and 8 in the turkey management zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period their permit is issued for, and may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt, McGinley said.

A youth who does not successfully harvest a turkey during the two-day hunt may use the unfilled permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. There is no special application procedure for the youth hunt, but young hunters must either be issued a tag through the drawing or purchase a leftover tag. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, (608) 267-7861; Krista McGinley, (608) 267-7861; Bob Manwell (608) 264-9248

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Focus on safety for a successful spring turkey season

MADISON - The two most critical ingredients for a successful spring turkey hunt are a detailed hunting plan in one hand and a firm grip on firearm safety in the other, state recreation safety officials say.

"Planning your turkey hunt is critical when two or more hunters are jointly hunting the same area - and then agree to separate if the birds are not spotted," says Tim Lawhern, longtime hunter education administrator for the Department of Natural Resources and now administrator of DNR' s Enforcement and Science.

Lawhern notes that accidents can happen when the plan is abandoned. "Soon, one hunter is stalking either the decoy or the call of the other hunter."

The best way to avoid this potentially deadly situation, he says, is to "have a clear understanding and agreement on the areas each hunter will hunt, and then stick to that plan."

Such a plan also will help hunters be certain of their intended target. "In nearly all incidents where a person is shot by a turkey hunter, the shooter later said they thought they were shooting a turkey," Lawhern says. "With the introduction of more realistic turkey decoys, a turkey hunter must make every effort to verify that what they are shooting at is a real bird and not just another hunter's decoy."

Plus, Lawhern says, the eyes can play tricks when combining lighting, colors, and angles. "Imagination coupled with a strong desire to see a turkey produces a momentary image that isn't real. This moment, while short, lasts long enough for some to pull the trigger."

DNR statistics show that 80 percent of accidents during turkey hunting seasons involve hunters mistaking other hunters for game or hunters failing to positively identify their target. The only legal turkey during the spring season is a male or bearded turkey.

Hunters also are encouraged to remember that a successful and enjoyable hunt has more to do with safety skills and turkey expertise than with loading up on the latest hunting gear and gadgets. Ultimately, it's a hunter's knowledge, skill, patience, and well-practiced abilities that make or break the hunt, Lawhern says.

Not sure where to start? Lawhern recommends making use of the National Wild Turkey Federation's collection of turkey hunting tips and videos.

Warden Jon King, the new hunter education administrator for DNR, also says that turkey hunters - as is the case with all hunters - must practice four basic safety guidelines when handling their firearms: "Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, be sure of your target and what's beyond it, and keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon King (608) 575-2294; Joanne Haas (608) 267-0798; or your regional recreation safety warden

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Get (field) trippin' with the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine April issue

MADISON -- The cover story in the April issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine features the new season of Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trips. The 2012 theme is Outdoors Together: Connecting Generations to Conservation. Trips run April through November and offer chances for people of all ages and abilities to explore Wisconsin's natural resources.

Turn the page and thanks to donations such as those made when people are filling out their tax forms learn why the state Endangered Species Act turns has a lot to celebrate as it turns 40 this year.


Read Wisconsin Natural Resources and watch videos to learn why walleye have come back strong on the Lake Winnebago system

A canopy for partnerships highlights how urban areas are growing legacies by planting trees in their communities. Learn about such partnerships as "The First Down for Trees" and "Root, Root, Root for the Brewers" program.

Stetsonville's thirst for success follows one community's success in building a public water supply. Another community finds economic benefits to having a clean lake in Delavan Lake restoration efforts deliver.

Explore one of the state's newest parks, Straight Lake State Park, in Searching for solitude? Tucked in Wisconsin's northwest corner, this is a foot-traffic only park of 3,000 acres of woodlands and several pristine streams and lakes.

Walleye winning their way back shows how hard work is paying off for ol' marble eyes on Lake Winnebago.

Creature Comforts reminds readers to take caution when trying to help turtles cross the road. Traveler goes on birding treks around the state.

The issue also contains two timely inserts Facing Fire! Wildfire prevention and control in Wisconsin. The 2012 Wisconsin fishing forecast hints at what to expect when you wet a line.

Remember to consider the magazine as a thoughtful, inexpensive gift that can share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers 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 PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke, editor, (608) 261-8446; Karen Ecklund, circulation manager, (608)267-7410

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Meetings offer opportunity to be active participant in wild turkey management

MADISON - State wildlife officials say that the time has come to revise the Wisconsin Wild Turkey Management Plan and they are urging hunters to consider attending one of 11 public input meetings in April and May.

Since wild turkeys were re-introduced into Wisconsin in the 1970s, their population has flourished, according to Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

"Turkeys can now be found throughout the state, and feedback from hunters, landowners, and others has prompted us to take a fresh look at the statewide Wild Turkey Management Plan, last revised in 1996," Walter said. "The chance to hear the ideas, concerns, and opinions of the public will be crucial to this process."

The public input meetings are intended to both share information on wild turkey management and gather information from hunters, landowners, and others about the turkey population where they live, hunt, or farm. Meetings should last no longer than two hours, and are open to the public - no registration required. Meeting attendees will be able to view a presentation giving the historical background of the existing Wild Turkey Management Plan and explaining current revision efforts. There will be opportunities during the presentation for attendees to ask questions and discuss turkey management issues.

"Anyone interested in the opportunity to discuss local turkey management issues, hunting seasons, and any other wild turkey topic is encouraged to attend," Walter said.

Attendees also will be able to fill out a survey in person. Anyone who is unable to attend a meeting can view the same presentation and fill out the same survey online at their convenience starting on April 19. To learn more about participating in this effort go to dnr.wi.us and search for "turkey meetings".

"We look forward to seeing you and hearing what you think about the management of Wisconsin's wild turkeys," said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist.

The public input meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. -- except for the May 3 meeting in Oshkosh, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. -- between April 19 and May 15 at the following locations:

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, (608) 267-7861; Krista McGinley, (608) 261-8458

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Madison awarded grant to help with environmental cleanup of contaminated property

MADISON - The City of Madison has received a $400,000 grant to help with environmental cleanup work as part of the city's efforts to revitalize a near-east side property with a history of industrial use.

The Department of Natural Resources awarded the $400,000 Ready for Reuse grant to Madison for the north 800 block of East Washington Avenue, which was most recently the site of a former car dealership, in an area Madison has designated as the Capitol East District.

Ready for Reuse grants are federal funds given to communities by the DNR to clean up contaminated properties known as brownfields. The city will use the funds to remove soil contamination at the site.

"Ready for Reuse funds don't just benefit environmental cleanup," said Darsi Foss, brownfields section chief for the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program. "They also have an economic impact for communities like Madison. We hope these funds serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment along East Washington Avenue."

The site was included with 8 acres of property purchased by the City of Madison in 2011 for the purpose of redevelopment. City officials say redevelopment of all the sites could provide 200,000 square feet of new commercial space, housing up to 700 employees. In addition, up to 250 residential units could be constructed. The result could be an increase of $95 million in the city's property tax base.

"Redevelopment within the Capitol East District is an important step toward providing the type of space that employers will demand in the years ahead," said Mayor Paul Soglin. "We are grateful for the partnership of the DNR on this important economic development effort."

The cleanup builds on work completed by previous owners, including the removal of several underground storage tanks. However, with the city's plans for a mixed use, commercial-residential redevelopment, additional work was needed.

"With what the city has in mind, a higher-end cleanup is desired," said Foss. "The Ready for Reuse funds will pay for that."

Foss added that the DNR has additional Ready for Reuse funds available, which can be awarded as either grants or loans. The grant awarded to the city required Madison to provide a 22 percent match.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darsi Foss, DNR, (608)267-6713, or Brynn Bemis, city of Madison, (608)267-1986; Drew Savagian, DNR, (608) 261-6422

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Most existing piers are now grandfathered

MADISON - Most existing piers and wharves are exempt from needing state approval and can be placed in lakes and rivers the same as they've always been under a new law signed April 2, state natural resources officials say.

"Required registration of larger existing piers is eliminated," said Martye Griffin, Department of Natural Resources waterway statewide policy coordinator.

"This means that there are no size requirements to meet; no paperwork to fill out; no registration needed to grandfather your pier or wharf. If your pier was initially placed before April 2012 and doesn't block your neighbors' ability to access the water, you can repair and maintain your existing pier as is, into perpetuity."

Lawmakers in 2004 passed a law that set size standards for piers and in 2008 created a free, one-time registration system to grandfather in larger piers that did not meet the size standards. The registration deadline was extended last year, and now, the registration system is repealed under Senate Bill 326, which Gov. Scott Walker signed April 2 in Woodruff.

"Pier owners who already sent in a registration form to grandfather their pier and have not heard back yet from the DNR can place their pier in the water this spring the same as they've been doing in previous years. They will be notified shortly that their pier is good to go," Griffin says.

The new law does make some other changes to Wisconsin pier laws, but Griffin notes that they are not effective immediately. "When it's closer to the effective date of these provisions, we'll provide more information on our website and in news releases."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martye Griffin (608) 266-2997; Lisa Gaumnitz (608) 264-8942

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Walleye bag limits adjusted for Ceded Territory lakes

MADISON -- Daily walleye bag limits have been adjusted on 537 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory in response to harvest declarations made by six bands of Chippewa in Wisconsin, the state Department of Natural Resources has announced. These bag limits are effective between May 5, 2012, and March 3, 2012, inclusive.

There will be a three-walleye bag limit for sport anglers on 225 lakes, a two-fish daily bag limit on 311 lakes, and a one-fish daily bag limit on Grindstone Lake in Sawyer County.

"DNR strives to maintain recreational opportunities for the public while assuring the tribes can exercise their court-affirmed rights," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Our mutual goal is a healthy, sustainable walleye fishery for future generations of all of our respective constituencies."

Most off-reservation Chippewa tribal harvest takes place during the spring spearfishing season. Tribal spearers typically harvest walleye from 170-180 lakes annually, regardless of the number of lakes initially declared. DNR will review tribal harvest following the spring spearfishing season and may revise bag limits upwards on lakes lightly or not speared. An administrative rule passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 allows the department to adjust initial bag limits to reflect actual spring spearing harvest and projected summer harvests.

The adjusted walleye bag limits are available in portable document format on the fishing regulations pages of the DNR website. They will also be posted to the fishing regulations page of the DNR Fishing Wisconsin website and are being published as an insert to the 2012-2013 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations. Lakes not listed are subject to the regulations printed in the regulations pamphlet. Anglers should check the regulations for special size and bag limits that are in effect on specific waters.

Of 232 lakes declared by the Lac du Flambeau Band, 217 will have a daily bag limit of three walleye for sport anglers, while 14 lakes and chains will have a daily bag limit of two walleye. Those lakes are: Rice River Flowage and Lake Mohawksin (Lincoln County), Clear and Tomahawk lakes, Rainbow and Willow flowages (Oneida), Butternut and Pike (Price), and Ballard, Big (Boulder Junction), Big Muskellunge, Island, and Star lakes (Vilas).

2012 marks the 15th year the Lac du Flambeau and state have cooperated on the agreement giving the band authority to sell fishing licenses in return for making declarations at a level that allows a three-walleye per day recreational angler bag limit.

"This year's agreement assures a three-walleye per day bag limit for sport anglers on most lakes the Lac du Flambeau spear," said Stepp. The band declared 14 lakes at the two-bag level. Also, the band has promised that it would not select any lake for a two-bag, two years in a row.

"We believe that the agreement is good for both the northern tourism interests and the tribe," said Stepp. "Our cooperation and respectful government-to-government consultation serves tribal members and the public alike."

As part of a 1983 federal Appellate Court decision affirming Chippewa off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, the six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa set annual harvest quotas for off-reservation lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. As part of court agreements, the Department of Natural Resources reduces bag limits for recreational hook and line anglers in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands to assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not jeopardize the ability of walleye to sustain its population in any lake.

For background information on Chippewa treaty rights, a description of the management and monitoring system used to ensure the long term viability of fisheries in the Ceded Territory, and to see data collected as part of that monitoring system, including walleye population estimates and creel survey summaries for all game fish, go to DNR's Fisheries in the Ceded Territory page and search for keywords "ceded territory."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurel Steffes (608) 266-8109 or Joe Hennessy (608) 267-9427

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Work*Play*Earth Day events scheduled for 18 state parks, forests in 2012

MADISON - People will be able to celebrate Earth Day while helping out and enjoying one of 18 Wisconsin state park and forest properties during the fourth annual Work*Play*Earth Day volunteer events sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. The events will be held April 14, 21, 27, 28 and May 5.

"Last year more than 250 volunteers donated more than 1,200 hours cleaning up and maintaining parks and trails," says Patty Loosen, friends group coordinator for the Wisconsin State Parks Program.

Volunteers join Department of Natural Resources staff, local friends group members, and people from nearby communities for a day of getting their hands dirty helping repair and improve park and trail facilities. Activities include planting trees and shrubs, installing benches, removing invasive plants, staining and painting picnic tables and other structures, raking and clearing up leaves and pine needles, and picking up litter. Refreshments will be provided and Friends of Wisconsin State Parks will also provide appreciation gifts for volunteers.

When the work is done, volunteers join staff in hiking or biking park trails, visiting nature centers or interpretive displays, or enjoying any of the recreational opportunities available at the different parks.

Volunteers helped fix up Peninsula State Park at a past Work*Play*Earth Day event
Volunteers helped fix up Peninsula State Park at a past Work*Play*Earth Day event
WDNR Photo

Each work day will run from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The schedule may vary slightly at each location. Volunteers should wear work boots or athletic shoes, long pants and bring their own work gloves. Advanced registration is free, but required. People can register through the park, forest, trail or recreation area where they would like to volunteer.

Work*Play*Earth Day events are schedule on the following dates:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Loosen - 608-264-8994; Bob Manwell 608- 264-9248

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Gypsy moth caterpillars hatch early this year -- act soon

caterpillars hatching from gypsy moth egg masses
Caterpillars hatching from gypsy moth egg masses
Photo credit: Bill McNee, DNR

MADISON - Spring is early this year and state forestry health officials say it is already time to battle this year's population of gypsy moths. A new generation of gypsy moth caterpillars has already started hatching in southern Wisconsin, about three weeks early.

"This is the earliest hatching of gypsy moth caterpillars in memory and it is due to the very warm March weather," says Bill McNee, a gypsy moth suppression coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources in Oshkosh.

"This summer we are likely to see the return of nuisance caterpillars in many areas of Wisconsin, and more interest in aerial spraying in 2013 as the populations rebound to high levels," McNee said.

"A wet spring and summer would help to keep the gypsy moth populations down," he said. "Abundant rain favors diseases that kill most of the caterpillars."

At high numbers, gypsy moth caterpillars are a tremendous nuisance and strip trees of their leaves, which may kill the tree. The insect's favorite food is oak leaves, but it will feed on many other tree species such as birch, crabapple, aspen and willow.

What you can do about gypsy moths that are here early

Homeowners are urged to take action to reduce the number of caterpillars that will feed on their trees.

Find egg masses: "As soon as possible in April, search for the tan-colored egg masses," said Mark Guthmiller, another gypsy moth suppression coordinator with DNR for south-central Wisconsin. "Egg masses are about the size of a nickel or a quarter. They can be found on any protected surface including trees, houses, firewood piles, bird houses, and other outdoor objects. Tree trunks and the undersides of branches are common places to find them."

Drown egg masses: Carefully scrape egg masses that you can reach into a coffee can or bucket and drown them in soapy water for at least two days to kill the eggs.

"Do NOT simply scrape the egg masses onto the ground, step on them, or break them apart. Many of the eggs will still survive and hatch," Guthmiller cautioned. "You will have 500 to 1,000 fewer caterpillars for every egg mass you properly drown before hatch."

Too late to oil: Oiling egg masses with horticultural oil is usually recommended between October and April on days with temperatures above 40 degrees. However, the oil needs to be on the egg mass before caterpillars hatch, so this year it may already be too late for oiling to work well in southern parts of the state.

Use sticky bands: If you find egg masses on your trees, place sticky barrier bands on the trees right away. A demonstration of the technique is available online: http://fyi.uwex.edu/gypsymothinwisconsin/files/2011/01/Sticky-Band-Video.mov

"These bands will prevent crawling caterpillars from climbing into your trees," says Guthmiller. At a convenient height, wrap a belt of duct tape 4-6 inches wide around each tree trunk, shiny side out. Smear the center of the band with a sticky, horticultural pest barrier available at garden centers. "Each day, sweep the caterpillars below the sticky band into a bucket of soapy water to kill them," says Guthmiller.

Get help to spray: People who have many egg masses on their property and are not in an aerial spray area can hire a certified arborist to protect yard trees after gypsy moth caterpillars hatch. "Spray while the caterpillars are small so they don't become a nuisance or strip the tree's leaves," Guthmiller says. "Arborists are busy in the spring, so find out whether this is an option for you and then make arrangements as soon as you can."

You can find certified arborists in your area by searching the Wisconsin Arborist Association Web site at www.waa-isa.org (exit DNR). Also look in the phone book under 'Tree Service'.

Learn more: More information on the gypsy moth's life stages and options for yard trees and woodlots is available on the Wisconsin gypsy moth website (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill McNee, DNR gypsy moth suppression coordinator, northeast and southeast Wisconsin, (920) 303-5421; Colleen Robinson Klug, suppression program public information officer, statewide, (608) 266-2172

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State-of-the-art technology helps biologists "tag" hundreds of thousands of fish

WILD ROSE, Wis. -- For the second consecutive year, a high-tech machine is helping tag hundreds of thousands of salmon as part of a multi-state effort to track the movement of the fish in the Great Lakes.

For 10 days, two mass marking trailers owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are helping Wisconsin fish biologists do a job that was once done by hand. One trailer is at the Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery and the other is at the Wild Rose Hatchery, tagging as many as 8,000 fish an hour at each facility. Later this spring, a trailer will be at the Les Voigt State Fish Hatchery in Bayfield.

A look inside the trailer where fish are being tagged
A look inside the trailer where fish are being tagged
Photo credit: Trish Ossmann, DNR

"This state-of-the-art technology is an incredible advancement for us," said Randy Larson, supervisor of the Wild Rose hatchery. "We used to tag and fin clip each fish by hand. Now the machine can process as many as 80,000 fish a day. Almost 740,000 fingerlings will make their way through this trailer in the next week and a half."

The trailer is equipped with six stations that funnel the small salmon into a slot where a 1-millimeter imprinted metal tag is inserted into the snout of the fish. This tag contains a series of numbers that identifies individual fish or batches of fish. At the same time, the machine clips the adipose fin on the top of the salmon.

The million dollar trailers travel to states like Michigan, Illinois and Indiana doing the same process there. The fish clipped and tagged this spring were raised from eggs harvested from spawning salmon last fall as they came in from Lake Michigan.

Sport fishing for Lake Michigan trout and salmon depends on stocking by state fish hatcheries and on a growing number of naturally reproduced fish. Getting a handle on how many of those fish from hatcheries and how many are naturally produced is critical to helping match the number of trout and salmon out there with available prey fish, Larson said.

"The information we gather from the tagged fish is very important to all of us who live in the Great Lakes region," he said. "Through the tagging process we can learn about the movement of salmon to and from Lake Huron and also determine how many chinook are naturally reproducing.

"It also helps us lay out a fish management plan in relation to predator numbers and abundance of alewife which are critical factors in the impact on salmon populations."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy Larson (920) 622-3527 or Trish Ossmann - (920) -662-5122

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Strong turnout, new online survey highlight statewide deer forums

MADISON - Participation in the 2012 deer forums was significantly higher than in the previous year, with double the number of people turning out for meetings and more than 6,500 providing comments online, state wildlife officials said.

Throughout March, Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff held 36 deer forums throughout Wisconsin to listen to hunters and others interested in deer and to share current information about deer management and prospects for the 2012 season.

New this year, the public was also able to get unit-specific information and contribute feedback about their favorite deer management unit through the DNR website. While attendance at the forums was just shy of 1,200 people, more than 6,500 provided feedback through the DNR website.

"Attendance at the local meetings more than doubled this year, but the response to the online forum option has been very good, in fact it greatly exceeded our hopes," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "With three times the people taking advantage of the on-line forum it seems we've found a good way to accommodate people who don't want to drive great distances, but still want to participate in some way."

Results of both the local forums and on-line survey indicate strong public support for reduced permit numbers in the north for the 2012 deer season and DNR is listening to this feedback, Wallenfang said.

Preliminary results indicate the majority of on-line feedback came from people in northern Wisconsin, with 39 percent representing the northern forest deer management region, 21 percent southern farmland, 18 percent eastern farmland, 13 percent western farmland, and 9 percent central forest. The majority of online respondents were hunters, and most hunt deer during both the gun and archery season.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, (608) 261-7589; Bill Cosh (608) 267-2773

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 03, 2012




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