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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published January 15, 2013

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Aerial eagle survey finds hundreds of eagles along lower Wisconsin River

BOSCOBEL, Wis. -- An aerial survey of bald eagles that state wildlife biologists conducted Jan. 8 along the lower Wisconsin State Riverway found 434 adult and juvenile birds between the Petenwell Flowage and the Mississippi River. This number tops the 2012 survey, which counted 186 eagles, and is the third highest tally recorded since the surveys began in 1992.

The greatest concentration of birds was observed from slightly below the Prairie du Sac dam to the Highway 14 bridge over the Wisconsin River.

"While the count is a useful indicator of eagle abundance, the number swings widely from one year to the next and depends a lot on ice conditions," said Dan Goltz a Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist who has taken the survey on this stretch of the river for the past five years. "Fish are a major component of an eagle's diet and they need open water to fish. Generally, they'll move as they need to to find good fishing."

Goltz, who is based out of Boscobel, said in the weeks leading up to last week's survey he'd been seeing groups of eagles in the uplands around Boscobel, either on perches overlooking smaller streams or on the occasional carrion pile and he wasn't sure how many they would see actually on the river.

"It started out slow at the northern end of our route but a little downstream of the Prairie du Sac dam it really picked up. It's hard to predict just where they'll concentrate other than it will be somewhere near flowing open water," he said.

DNR aircraft pilot Jeff Oimoen was the pilot for this flight, his third time on this particular assignment.

"I've flown all over the United States and nowhere is the scenery better than along the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway,"said Oimoen. "We're there to count eagles but I see a lot of other wildlife, too. Last week I saw a number of coyotes on the near shore ice, an otter and of course a variety of other birds."

Asked about any reaction by the eagles to a slow moving aircraft so close to the ground (200-300 feet typically) Oimoen says, "they pay us almost no attention at all. Occasionally coyotes will look up or run but the eagles? They pretty much ignore us and the aircraft."

Fox River eagles counted

Steve Easterly, DNR wildlife technician in the Fox Cities area, completed his annual aerial survey of the Fox River corridor from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay. His count of 140 adults and immature eagles is down somewhat from previous years. He attributed the drop to there simply being more ice on the water.

"It's hard to say where the birds are if they are not here," Easterly said. "They could be as far away as Illinois. It's all tied to food availability."

"Overall we're seeing a healthy eagle population along the Fox River and an increasing number of nests over the past 20 years," said Easterly, "both are positive indications that the river is attractive to wildlife."

Eagle watching events

Communities and their partners are finding eagle watching events to be popular winter activities. Several are planned for the coming months. New this year, is an eagle watching event in the Fox Valley on Jan. 26, joining a slate of longer running celebrations and educational programs held along the other rivers: Bald Eagle Watching Days in Prairie du Sac and Sauk City on Jan. 18-19; Eagles on Ice in Alma on Jan. 19; Bald Eagle Appreciation Day in Prairie du Chien on Feb. 23; Bald Eagle Days in Cassville on Jan. 26 and 27, and Eagle Day in Ferryville on March 2.

More information and links to these events, and more information about bald eagles in Wisconsin can be found on DNR's bald eagle feature page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Golz or Steve Easterly

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135,155 permits issued for 2013 spring turkey hunt

MADISON - There were 135,155 successful applicants in the drawing for 2013 Wisconsin spring wild turkey permits through the spring turkey preference drawing. A total of 234,765 permits will be available for the spring 2013 turkey season, and the remaining permits will be available through over-the-counter sales in March.

Postcard notifications to successful applicants should be arriving within the next few weeks. Hunters can also check on the status of their permit application online through the Department of Natural Resources Online Licensing Center or by calling the DNR Customer Call Center from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).

Of the permits available for 2013, 345 permits are allocated to State Park and Disabled-only Turkey Hunting Zones.

Due to high historic demand for permits in Zone 2, as well as a healthy turkey flock in this zone reflected in relatively high recent hunter success rates, an additional 1,200 permits were available for the zone compared to 2012 permit levels.

"These additional permits will go a long way toward meeting hunter demand in these zones, and will allow hunters greater access to permits for their desired time period," said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist.

Hunters harvested 42,433 turkeys during the 2012 spring season. Final harvest numbers for the 2012 fall season will be available this spring.

Spring turkey periods run for seven days

The spring 2013 turkey hunting season will run from April 10 through May 21, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. This is a change from spring turkey seasons prior to 2012, during which the six time periods ran for five days. A total of seven zones and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting. In addition, hunters were able to apply for turkey permits within 17 designated state park units.

New this year is the opportunity to hunt turkeys within many additional state parks, during the first three time periods. Hunters interested in hunting on state park or state trail lands within the zone for which they received a permit should be sure to examine information pertaining to specific season dates and open areas for that property.

Hunters are reminded that the Fort McCoy spring turkey hunting season is managed separately from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters who do not receive an approval to hunt turkeys through the state drawing in a Wisconsin turkey hunting zone for the 2013 spring season are eligible to apply for a spring permit at Fort McCoy. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling (608) 388-3337 or by visiting their website at www.mccoy.army.mil [exit DNR].

Leftover spring turkey permits go on sale March 18

The 99,612 remaining permits for the 2013 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting Monday, March 18 at 10 a.m. Leftover permits will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day, with each zone having a designated sales date.

Hunters should check the turkey zone map (PDF) to verify where they want to hunt and then check the turkey permit availability page to see if permits are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.

The following zones have leftover permits, and the scheduled sales dates are as follows:

There are no leftover permits for time periods A or B in the regular turkey management zones listed above. After the zone-only sales days, all remaining turkey tags will then be available for purchase Saturday, March 23. Extra turkey tags can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period sells out, or the season ends.

A limited number of disabled-only turkey permits for state park areas is available among the leftover permits. Disabled hunters who have been issued either a Class A or Class C Disabled Hunter Permit should visit a DNR Service Center or call the DNR Customer Call Center at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) beginning on March 18 after 10 a.m. to purchase one of these permits.

The fee for leftover turkey permits is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. All hunters will also be required to purchase a spring turkey license and 2013 Wild Turkey Stamp, unless they have previously purchased the license and stamp or are a 2013 Conservation Patron License holder. Residents and non-residents will have equal opportunity to purchase over-the-counter permits. Purchasing these permits will not affect preference point status for future spring or fall turkey permit drawings.

Leftover permits can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Hunters should have their DNR customer ID number ready. Hunters with any questions about when or how to buy permits may call the DNR Customer Call Center from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m., seven days a week, at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).

Youth turkey hunt set for April 6 and 7

Youth ages 12-15 who have already completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt on April 6 and 7 while accompanied by an adult aged 18 or older. In addition, thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program that took effect in the fall of 2009, youth hunters aged 10 and 11 may now also participate in the 2013 youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, as long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow the rules laid out under the laws of the program. Each youth must have a valid spring 2013 turkey harvest permit, license, and Wild Turkey Stamp. They may hunt in the turkey Management Zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period for which their permit is issued, and may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt.

Youth who do not successfully harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use their unfilled permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 267-7861 or Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist, 608-261-8458

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Fishing season booklet and 2013 fishing calendar now available

MADISON - A downloadable fishing calendar and booklets with all of the season dates are now available online to help anglers plan their 2013 fishing trips, state fisheries officials say.

"We hope the calendar and season dates allow people to plan ahead for some great fishing in Wisconsin," says Karl Scheidegger, a Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist and outreach leader for fisheries.

The season booklet [PDF] lists the season dates for the different game and panfish species anglers most frequently target. The "Fish are photogenic calendar 2013," can help anglers learn about important fishing dates; moon phases; game fish identification and more, says Scheidegger, who created both documents.

The calendar and season date booklet are free and designed to be printed at home on standard size paper.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger, 608-267-9426

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DNR seeking applicants for Wildlife Rehabilitation Council by Jan. 31

MADISON - People with experience in wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife health, and the captive wildlife industry can apply through Jan. 31, 2013, to serve on a newly formed Wisconsin Wildlife Rehabilitation Advisory Council.

The council was established to assist the Department of Natural resources with recommendations pertaining to decisions on wildlife rehabilitation and captive wildlife matters. Council members will also identify and implement education and training opportunities, and assist the department with inspections of licensed wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

The Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for up to 11 voting and seven non-voting members who will be appointed by DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to the council for three-year terms.

"The council will be made up of diverse stakeholders providing valuable insights and recommendations on a sector of conservation important to both the department and the public. They will be an essential group of voices providing assistance to DNR, educating the public, and developing consistent standards as we broaden the scope of wildlife rehabilitation to include legal and illegal captive wildlife matters," Stepp said.

DNR is seeking applications from leaders actively engaged in wildlife rehabilitation, including licensed rehabilitators, experts in topics related to rehabilitation, and members of the captive wildlife and cervid industries.

To apply, please visit dnr.wi.gov, search keyword "rehab." More information on the Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, duties and structure is also available at this location or by calling Amanda Cyr, Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Manager, 715-359-5508.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Pelej, Public Affairs Manager, 608-264-9248 or Amanda Cyr, Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Manager, 715-359-5508

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Plant a seedling for conservation, wildlife - and family fun!

MADISON -- Interested in attracting birds to your property? Looking to restore your lake shore? Want to get kids outside engaged in learning about the natural resources? Or perhaps you are interested in giving a gift of green for a birthday present or special occasion. The Department of Natural Resources has an idea - tree planting.

The DNR Division of Forestry nursery program offers high-quality, native tree seedlings to landowners in Wisconsin. Conifers, hardwoods and wild shrubs are available and must be planted for conservation purposes. The minimum order is 1,000 seedlings or one packet.

People can contact their local DNR forester for information on reforestation practices, cost-share opportunities, and planting machine availability. Visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and search "tree planting" for an order form or call 715-424-3700.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Griffith State Nursery, 715-424-3700

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Sandhill Outdoor Skills center to offer porcupine ecology, wolf tracking clinics

BABCOCK, Wis. - The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center will sponsor two upcoming workshops for people interested in Wisconsin wildlife: a porcupine ecology clinic on Saturday, Feb. 2 and a timber wolf tracking and ecology clinic Feb. 9-10.

Porcupine ecology on snowshoes

During the porcupine ecology clinic skills center staff will discuss the results of more than 17 years of winter research on Sandhill Wildlife Area's porcupines conducted by area high school students. Participants will then join staff on snowshoes to visit porcupine winter dens and learn more about these fascinating and prickly rodents. The Skills Center will provide snowshoes if needed. The clinic runs Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is limited to 20 people ages 12 and up on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by mailing in a $15 per person fee by Jan. 23.

Timber wolf tracking & ecology clinic

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center and Timber Wolf Information Network are co-sponsoring a Timber Wolf Ecology Clinic on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9-10 from 9 a.m. Saturday to noon Sunday.

Biologists and volunteers from Timber Wolf Information Network have teamed up to provide instruction on aspects of wolf ecology, including status, population biology and field study techniques. Saturday afternoon will be spent outdoors exploring wolf habitat.

Registration is limited to 25 people ages 12 and up on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by mailing in $90 per person by Jan. 30. This fee includes instructional fees, transportation on Saturday afternoon, Saturday supper and Sunday lunch, and dorm use.

To register for either clinic, include the name of each participant and the address, email address and daytime phone number of one person in each party and send the registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413. For the porcupine clinic checks should be made out to the Sandhill Outdoor Skill Center; for the timber wolf clinic checks should be made out to TWIN.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Britt Searles, 715-884-6335

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Land managers invited to February workshops focusing on stopover habitat for migratory birds

MADISON - Land managers are invited to attend one of three February workshops to learn how to address the threat of stopover habitat loss for migrating songbirds in Wisconsin's Lake Michigan watershed.

"Every spring and fall, tens of millions of migrating birds sweep through the Great Lakes region on their way to breeding grounds, relying on stopover sites in the state for critical food and shelter," says Kim Grveles, Wisconsin stopover initiative coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "Loss of stopover habitats poses an ongoing threat to the health and stability of migratory bird populations in the Great Lakes region including the Lake Michigan basin of Wisconsin."

To help address this threat, the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, a partnership comprised of agencies, private organizations, businesses, and individuals, is offering a one-day workshop called Landscaping for Migratory Birds: A Workshop for Land Managers to teach about Great Lakes stopover sites, what birds migrate through the Lake Michigan basin, how to create or enhance stopover habitat, and other important information for management consideration. There will also be a question and answer session with a panel of experts.

This comprehensive workshop will be offered at three locations and feature keynote speaker and stopover ecology specialist, Dr. Dave Ewert, Senior Conservation Scientist with The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. The dates and locations are:

To help offset costs, a $10 registration fee will be charged. The fee includes lunch, break food and take-home materials including fact sheets, brochures, management guides, funding sources, and helpful web links. Registration forms and payment must be returned to DNR by Feb. 12.

Registration forms are available on the DNR website.

For more information you may view the agendas on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Grveles, Wisconsin Stopover Initiative Coordinator, 608-264-8594

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 15, 2013




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