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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 31, 2012

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Operation Deer Watch runs August 1 through September 30

MADISON -- In an ongoing effort involve the public in deer management and to effectively monitor and evaluate Wisconsin's deer herd, people can record and report online all bucks, does, and fawns they see in the wild from August 1 through September 30.

Summer deer observations have been a part of the Department of Natural Resources deer management program for more than 50 years, but in 2010 the agency started a unique collaboration with citizen scientists to collect data called Operation Deer Watch. The public observations along with DNR observations provide greater insight on the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd. Since the survey's initiation in 2010, the DNR has received more than 7,000 citizen observations.

"This is an opportunity to be the daily eyes and ears for the deer herd in your area and to become personally involved and committed to the success of Wisconsin's deer herd," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys researcher. "The results from Operation Deer Watch become more meaningful as we gather many years of summer deer observations and can monitor production trends."

The number of deer seen and the number of fawns seen with each doe are indicators of annual deer herd production. Last summer, Operation Deer Watch generated more than 3,300 observations. A total of 4,004 deer were observed by 1,059 individual observers during August and September 2011. The statewide estimate for the 2011 fawn-to-doe ratio using Operation Deer Watch data was 93 fawns per 100 does.

Participating in the survey is simple. Beginning August 1 people record all bucks, does, and fawns seen during the day on a tally sheet and then enter those numbers online through September 30.

"It is important that all the information be filled out for each observation. Please ensure that the date, deer management unit, and the type and number of deer observed are recorded, without this information the data are of little value," Dhuey said.

A report summarizing the results of each participants 2012 deer observations will be produced at the end of the survey period and sent to all individuals who enter their email address on every observation form. For more information, videos, and results of previous years, go to the DNR webpage and keyword search "deer watch," and click on the link for "online wildlife surveys."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey at 608-221-6342 or Jes Rees 608-221-6360

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Public to review alternatives for routing North Country National Scenic Trail

Open house meeting Aug. 8 in Hurley

HURLEY, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity at an upcoming open house meeting to review and comment on two alternative 3-mile wide corridors within which a foot path could be routed for the North Country National Scenic Trail.

The section of trail would run from the Copper Peak Ski Area in Gogebic County Michigan to Copper Falls State Park in Ashland County.

The open house meeting will be held Wednesday, August 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the County Boardroom, Iron County Courthouse, 300 Taconite St., Hurley. A formal presentation on the project will be made at 6 p.m. by the National Park Service and the North Country Trail Association.

Representatives of the National Park Service, North Country Trail Association, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be present to answer any questions, and take comments.

The North Country National Scenic Trail was authorized by Congress in 1980 and will extend 4,600 miles from Crown Point, New York to the Missouri River in North Dakota, crossing eight states. In Wisconsin, the North Country Trail clips the northwest corner of the state for 200 miles, passing through Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland and Iron counties.

Approximately 2,200 miles of the trail have been developed and are open to public use. It is open to hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. On some sections, other non-motorized uses are permitted.

The two alternative 3-mile-wide corridors presented in the plan include: Alternative 1, heading south from Copper Peak to the towns of Ironwood and Hurley; and Alternative 2, heading west from Copper Peak to Saxon Harbor, with a spur trail north to Little Girls Point, and the shore of Lake Superior. The trail would be constructed as access is obtained through a variety of agreements.

The trail traverses federal, state, and local government lands and private lands, where permitted by the owner. Lands or easements can also be purchased from willing sellers (not by eminent domain) to secure a route for the trail. The National Park Service is the federal administrator for the trail, but relies on cooperation with other government entities and the efforts of volunteers who are the primary builders and maintainers of the trail.

The volunteers are members of the North Country Trail Association, which has its national headquarters in Lowell, Michigan, and coordinates the work of 30 chapters and affiliated trail clubs across the length of the trail.

The planning area for this corridor plan covers the territory of two local chapters: the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter based in Wakefield, Mich., and the Heritage Chapter, based in eastern Wisconsin.

"We are excited to be able to work with the National Park Service to close the gap on the North Country Trail between Michigan and Wisconsin with a better corridor that makes the best use of the beautiful public lands we have in this area, and will provide a hike quality experience for the public by allowing us to build a hiking trail off existing roads", says Dick Swanson, President of the Ni-Miikanaake Chapter.

The draft corridor plan will be available for review and downloading approximately one week before the meeting at the National Park Service park planning website: parkplanning.nps.gov (exit DNR). Comments on the plan can also be made on the website. Written comments can also be mailed to the following address: Trail Manager, North Country National Scenic Trail, 113 Riverwalk Plaza Lowell, MI 49331.

More information about the North Country National Scenic Trail (exit DNR) is also available on the National Parks Service website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brigit Brown, DNR state trails coordinator, 608-266-2183 or Jeff McCusker, NPS, 616-340-2004

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Wisconsin DNR salutes veterans

MADISON - Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp has a special message for active military members and U.S. veterans: We want to help you work and play in Wisconsin's outdoors.

"On behalf of our DNR staff, we want to thank our military service members who have fought for our freedoms and way of life. To show our appreciation we are offering a way for vets to get started in an outdoors career and to enjoy some of Wisconsin's most precious pass time traditions," Stepp says.

As of the beginning of July 2012, veterans may qualify for a one-time fee waiver for an occupational or professional license. To find out if a veteran qualifies for the fee waiver program or to find a complete list of eligible Wisconsin licenses they should visit the Department of Veterans Affairs [exit DNR]. Veteran's eligibility related questions should be directed to the Veteran's Information Resource Center via Web chat [exit DNR], email or phone 800-947-8387.

To find which DNR licenses fees are waived for qualifying veterans, search the DNR website for "veteran."

Disabled veteran and former prisoner of war fee waivers

Wisconsin law also extends many privileges for hunting, fishing and trapping - including a free small game hunting license -- to active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Wisconsin National Guard or Reserves who are Wisconsin residents. Different sections of Wisconsin statutes authorize these privileges, each with their own qualifications. To find out more, search for "Armed Forces hunting privileges," on the DNR website.

Free passes to Wisconsin state parks and forests

Certain Wisconsin resident disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are eligible to receive waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees. To apply for this fee waiver, follow the instructions below.

Discounted fishing license

A discounted Resident Disabled Veterans Fishing License is available to veterans who are receiving veteran's disability compensation for a disability of 70 percent or more for a service related disability; or are receiving service related disability benefits as individually unemployable. Acceptable evidence to receive this license includes:

Disabled veteran recreation card

Issued to any veteran that has a 50 percent disability from the military and has their VA benefits letter. This permit entitles the veteran to a fishing license, state trail pass, small game license and park admission sticker for $7. Search license sales location to find an agent near you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773 or Penny Kanable, DNR Customer Service, 608-264-8985

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Property owners need to follow appropriate ways to resolve problems with raccoons

MADISON - Reports from property owners in many corners of Wisconsin suggest raccoon populations are large enough to cause nuisance problems in some areas. While there are methods for dealing with "critters," property owners are reminded that there are no poisons approved for use on raccoons.

"If you have a problem raccoon family in your attic, walls, shed or barn, I know how frustrating it can be. Cute, maybe, but destructive, for sure. Most people are looking for humane ways to deal with them," said Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Depending on the situation there are a number of alternatives property owners can choose from when dealing with raccoons. Removing food sources, harassment, exclusion, and live trapping and relocation are all non-lethal options to consider.

"There are no legal toxicants or poisons approved for use on raccoons and it's against both state and federal law to use pesticides such as fly bait and rat poison in a manner inconsistent with package labeling," Koele said. "Non-target animals like the family pet dog or cat, or other wildlife may ingest the poison."

Anyone relocating animals must have the landowner's permission when releasing the animal on private property. Live trapped animals cannot be released on DNR owned or managed properties. In areas where the discharge of a firearm is not legal, live trapping is the legal alternative.

"If you are experiencing problems with raccoons and need assistance removing the animal, contact a local wildlife control operator. DNR does not remove raccoons for landowners," Koele said.

If lethal control is needed, trapping and shooting are options. State law allows landowners or occupants of land of legal age to trap or shoot raccoons year-round and without a hunting or trapping license with the exception of the 24-hour period preceding the gun deer season.

Anyone conducting removal efforts on behalf of the landowner must possess a valid trapping license if they are trapping the raccoons or a valid small game license if they are removing raccoons by shooting and in both cases must have written permission from the landowner. Individuals must also follow all other trapping and hunting regulations.

For assistance on how to deal with nuisance wildlife go to dnr.wi.gov and search "nuisance wildlife." This webpage also has a link to the Wisconsin Trappers Association's Nuisance Wild Animal Removal Handbook which includes a list of trappers around the state who can help with animal removal.

For more information on dealing with raccoons and other wildlife causing problems search for "nuisance wildlife," on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact(s): Brad Koele, DNR Wildlife Damage Specialist, 608-266-2151 or Sean Strom, DNR Wildlife Toxicologist, 608-264-6121

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August issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine goes to the dogs

MADISON -- The cover story in the August issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, "Dog days for hunting," takes readers on a waterfowl hunt with Hank, a silver Labrador retriever, and his proud owner. It's a reminder that the joy of a hunt can come from simply sharing it with a friend.

August <i>Wisconsin Natural Resources</i>

Trapping takes the back seat to spending time with family in "Trapping memories." The author explains why time on the river makes him reminisce about the important people in his life. "Sharing a passion for upland birds and bird dogs" takes a look at a Learn to Hunt pheasant program that is very popular contributes to the future of pheasant hunting in Wisconsin. Much of the program's success is because of the hard work of the Friends of Poynette Game Farm.

An incoming sixth grader at DeSoto Middle School relives the thrill of her first waterfowl hunt with a mentor and his hunting dog, Marley, in "My first waterfowl hunt." Find out why she has so many reasons to be smiling in her photos.

Landowners are asked to consider enrolling their land in the Voluntary Public Access program in "Finding hunting land is easier." But the land use is for more than just hunting. The deadline to apply is fast approaching: August 31.

"A chance for a Reel Recovery" explores a fishing program for men facing cancer. A program for women with breast cancer is called Casting for Recovery. "Hunt, climb, canoe and make crafts" gives a shout out to the Women in the Outdoors program.

There is a lot to learn about state park upgrades including some high tech options for understanding the parks in "State parks get innovative accessibility upgrades."

Find out why some businesses are voluntarily cleaning up their properties and what it means for the future of those businesses in "Volunteering to clean up? Who would do that?" Crickets get the last word in "Cricket talk." Find out how to make a fall date with a river in the Wisconsin Traveler column.

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 at (608) 261-8446.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 31, 2012




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