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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 3, 2013

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Archers can take up the deer hunt beginning Saturday, Sept. 14

MADISON - Cooler evening temperatures are a signal to many bow hunters that the Sept. 14 opening of Wisconsin's archery deer season is just around the corner.

"For those of us who love to bow hunt, it's an exciting time of the year and anticipation runs high," said Kevin Wallenfang, the big game ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources and an ardent, enthusiastic bow hunter.

With good conditions hunters can hope to see plenty of deer in most areas of the state, said Wallenfang. Archers set an all-time record buck harvest last year, he said, including yet another new state record trophy deer shot in Fond du lac County.

"In general, during the past couple of years we've had conservative antlerless quotas in the north to allow herds to increase," Wallenfang said. "As a result, I'm hearing from a lot of folks that they are seeing more deer across the north than in recent years. In addition, we continue to have good numbers of deer in most farmland areas."

Many archers in the chronic wasting disease management zone will be pleased to see the absence of a four-day October gun hunt, which has been the norm in recent years. The only interruption of the archery season will be a two-day statewide youth hunt Oct. 5-6.

Hunters understand, Wallenfang said, that all properties are not created equal when it comes to deer abundance. Deer change their movements in response to weather, food availability and other factors and are not evenly distributed through a deer management unit. Aerial surveys often show a large number of deer in one square mile of habitat with very few deer in one of the neighboring square-mile blocks.

As always, there is no substitute for scouting and pre-season contacts with neighboring land owners, Wallenfang said.

The 2013 archery deer season runs from Saturday, Sept. 14, through Thursday, Nov. 21 and then from Saturday, Nov. 23, the start of the gun season, through Jan. 5, a Sunday. As always, there is no deer hunting of any kind on the Friday preceding the gun deer hunt. This single day separates the early and late bow deer seasons.

Archery deer hunters will again be allowed to hunt during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November and for the second year will be able to fill a gun license deer tag with a bow or crossbow during the gun deer seasons. During the gun deer season, bow hunters are required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters.

There were 263,852 licensed archery hunters in 2012 who harvested a total of 94,267 deer, up from 255,426 archery hunters who harvested 90,200 deer in 2011.

Wallenfang urged bow hunters to be especially careful when climbing into and out of deer stands. This is when most injuries occur.

"Things are shaping up to be another excellent year. Be safe in your stand, wear a harness, and enjoy the fall woods."

More information is available by searching for "deer hunting" on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

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Youth Waterfowl and regular season Canada goose hunts about to open

MADISON - The popular two-day youth waterfowl hunt takes place Sept. 14-15 this year, followed by the regular Canada goose hunting season in the Exterior and Horicon zones, which kicks off Monday, Sept. 16.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

This special hunt offers youth age 12-15 - or those 10 and over hunting under the mentored hunting law - the opportunity to learn skills from an adult without some of the pressure that might be encountered during the regular season.

Normal season bag limits apply. All license and stamp requirements are waived, although participants still need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and if they wish to hunt geese during this time they would need to possess an early season goose permit. Licensed adults may also hunt geese since the early goose season is open during these dates.

While many youth enjoy this special hunt alongside a parent or relative, each year about one in seven hunters are able to participate solely because a family friend, neighbor, or volunteer mentor was generous enough to take the time to teach them the tradition of waterfowling, said Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist.

Another great opportunity would be a learn to hunt waterfowl clinic. For information on this and other learn-to-hunt opportunities, visit dnr.wi.gov and type "learn to hunt" in the search box.

Regular goose season

"With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and improved production of the Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities this year, and will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior zone with a two bird daily bag limit." said Van Horn.

"When combined with the 15 days of the early season, this puts Wisconsin at 107 days of Canada goose hunting this year, the maximum season length allowed by international treaty".

On opening day of duck season in each zone, the 9 a.m. start of shooting hours also applies to goose hunters in both the Exterior and Horicon zones.

Exterior Zone Canada goose seasons

The goose season is closed during the duck season split in both the south zone, which is closed Oct. 7-11, and the Mississippi subzone, closed Sept. 30 - Oct. 11.

Horicon Canada goose season

The Horicon zone Canada goose season has two time periods:

Hunters who applied for the Horicon zone will receive six harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese. Boundary and tagging requirements were discussed and approved during the summer regulatory process. These changes to the Horicon zone will take effect in 2014. For more information search for "waterfowl" on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, Migratory Game Bird Ecologist 608-266-8841

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Fall wild turkey, ruffed grouse seasons set to open

MADISON - Biologists with the state Department of Natural Resources have noticed a large increase this year in the number of applications for the fall turkey hunt.

One likely factor is that those individuals who purchased a conservation patron license were able apply online and were not required to file a paper application as in the past.

However, there has also been a significant increase in applications from individuals who did not purchase the broadly inclusive conservation patron license. Fall turkey hunting permits are awarded by lottery for each of seven turkey hunting zones.

"It just seems there is more interest this fall in turkey hunting," said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "Some hunters may have had more difficulty in drawing a preferred tag in some zones."

Prospects are good for both the fall wild turkey hunt and for the ruffed grouse season in zone A, both of which open with the start of shooting hours on Saturday, Sept. 14.

The fall turkey season runs through Nov. 21 statewide. The extended fall season runs Dec. 2-31 in turkey zones 1-5, which cover the lower two thirds of the state.

As during the past two seasons, hunters may use dogs statewide to hunt wild turkey this fall.

The grouse season in zone A runs through Jan. 31, 2014. Hunters interested in pursuing grouse in southeastern Wisconsin, in zone B, have a short season that opens a month later on Oct. 19 and runs through Dec. 8.

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong.

After 30 years of sustained population growth and expansion across the state, wild turkeys are now found statewide, and overall their numbers remain strong this year. Local populations fluctuate as weather affects survival and reproduction rates.

"Of course we had a late winter and cold wet spring," Walter said, "and this probably led to relatively low production. There were many field observations of late broods; even into August we had people reporting quail-sized turkey poults. This is very small for this time of year."

This is an indication that first nests failed, prompting hens to start a second nest later in the spring, according to Walter. Even with a late start, these young birds grow very quickly, he adds, and as long as they are able to find sufficient food, they should be fine going into the winter, which is still a couple of months away.

"The flip side of the weather coin is that 2012 was a fantastic production year," Walter said. "This should mean more adult gobblers are available to hunters."

Biologists closely monitor harvest during the either-sex fall season, as excessive hen harvest can affect turkey populations. Recent hen harvests in Wisconsin have been very low, however, and hunters can enter the woods comfortable with the knowledge that current hen harvest rates do not play a significant role in the dynamics of Wisconsin's turkey flock.

Turkey hunters are subject to the blaze orange requirement for ground blinds erected on DNR lands during any gun deer season. Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended during legal hunting hours must also have the owner's name and address or DNR Customer ID Number attached near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight and must be removed entirely from the property at the close of hunting hours each day.

These ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or to blinds built only out of natural vegetation found on the DNR property, except that all waterfowl blinds situated on state-owned property and used in hunting waterfowl must always bear the name of the owner affixed permanently to the blind in lettering one-inch square or larger, even when a person is using the blind.

Grouse and turkey hunters must wear blaze orange clothing during any gun or muzzleloader deer season. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.

Grouse hunters encouraged to "Be HIP!" certified if they also plan to pursue woodcock, mourning doves or other migratory game birds

Upland hunters that may harvest woodcock are subject to the federal requirement to be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting these and other migratory game birds. Registration is free and is available through all license vendors as well as online; hunters will only need to answer a few short questions.

Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse season dates and reminders

2013 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates (all zones):

2013 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 ONLY:

2013 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates:

2013 Woodcock Season

For more information, search the DNR website for "turkey" or "ruffed grouse".

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist, at 608-267-7861 or Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist, at 608-261-8458.

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Sept. 14 meeting set for new group to advise on panfish management plan

MADISON - Two dozen anglers, fishing instructors, representatives of conservation groups, bait shop owners and the Conservation Congress have been tapped for an advisory group to help shape the future of panfishing in Wisconsin's inland waters.

Panfish plan
Who doesn't love panfish? Catching them and eating them.
WDNR Photo

"The stakeholder group is one more opportunity for us to gather public input to help create a management plan for inland waters," says Joanna Griffin, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist leading the planning effort. "We are asking these stakeholders to work with us to use the angler surveys in combination with regulation evaluations and analyses to develop goals and objectives."

DNR has had management plans in place for many years for game fish species; biologists and some anglers believe such attention is necessary for panfish, reflected in proposals from the Conservation Congress in recent years, including in 2013, to reduce the daily 25 fish limit on panfish on select lakes.

Such concerns and analyses of fish populations showing panfish size going down statewide have spurred DNR to develop a management plan. As part of the process, DNR held public meetings in the spring and conducted an online survey to gauge angler preferences for their panfishing experiences, Griffin says.

Panfish survey results [PDF] revealed that anglers are evenly split on whether to keep the current statewide bag limit of 25 panfish per day and differ on size and number of fish they want to catch.

"The survey results are interesting. There is a clear split between people who are satisfied with their panfish fishery and people who want a change," Griffin says. "We hope the stakeholder group can help us try to get a better handle on panfish stakeholder diversity and attitudes."

The stakeholder meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 14, 2013, in the Legacy Room of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Dreyfus University Center, 1015 Reserve St.. The meeting is open to the public but there are no formal input opportunities.

Panfish are by far the most commonly targeted and caught category of fish in Wisconsin. Wisconsin results for the 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey of anglers showed that 75 percent of them identified themselves as panfish anglers and that 71 percent of the hours spent fishing were spent fishing for panfish.

As a category, panfish are by far the most common fish caught by anglers in Wisconsin although anglers report walleye as their favorite target. Wisconsin anglers reported catching 88 million fish in the 2006-7 license year, of which 57.7 million were panfish, according to a statewide mail survey done that year. About 25.7 million of those panfish were kept.

More information about the panfish planning process, survey results and information on panfish is available by searching the DNR website for "panfish plan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joanna Griffin 608-264-8953; Steve Hewett 608-267-7501

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Reel in mobile-friendly fishing regulation guide for inland lakes

MADISON - Anglers on the go will find it easier to know how many fish they can keep on a particular inland lake by using a new mobile-friendly inland lake regulation website.

Mobile regs

WDNR Photo

The searchable guide to fishing regulations on the Department of Natural Resources website can now detect if the angler is on a mobile device and serves up the information in a mobile-friendly format, according to Joanna Griffin, DNR fisheries biologist.

The mobile version allows an angler to search for a lake by name or county or will list regulations for the five closest lakes if the GPS functionality is enabled.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joanna Griffin, 608-264-8953

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Open House Meeting for the Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit and Lulu lake State Natural Area Master Plan

MUKWONAGO, Wis. -- The public will have an opportunity to review maps, background materials and talk with Department of Natural Resources staff at an open house for the Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit and Lulu lake State Natural Area Master Plan. The open house will be held Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 5-7 p.m. at the Mukwonago Town Hall, W320 S8315 Beulah Road, Mukwonago.

The Kettle Moraine State Forest Mukwonago River Unit and Lulu lake State Natural Area are located in Waukesha and Walworth Counties, Wisconsin consisting of almost 3,000 acres of forest, lakes and the Mukwonago River offering nature based outdoor recreation opportunities.

Copies of the Regional and Property Analysis, planning background materials and maps will be available for review and comment. A short presentation at 5:30 pm will be given to explain the planning process and gather comments about the properties.

Master Plans guide management activity on Department of Natural Resource's owned lands and are updated every 15 years. The plan is developed by an interdisciplinary team of land managers, resource specialists, property staff, and planners, and outlines recreational uses, forestry and land management practices, and other aspects of the property's future use and development. Throughout the planning process, the public's input serves as a planning tool to help identify planning issues and suggestions. The documents are available for review by searching the DNR website for "master planning" and then clicking on the link for "Southern Kettle Moraine Waters."

Those who are unable to attend the Sept. 17 meeting may submit comments via the master plan web site or by regular mail, e-mail, or phone.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Sandgren, Forest Superintendent, Kettle Moraine State Forest, 262-594-6200 or paul.sandgren@wisconsin.gov

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Live chat and annual report highlight Groundwater Protection Day, Sept. 10

MADISON - Wisconsin citizens can join in a live chat and read a new report about groundwater quality and quantity in Wisconsin as the state marks national Protect Your Groundwater Day Sept. 10.

"Seventy percent of Wisconsin residents rely on groundwater for their drinking water supply, and maintaining clean, safe groundwater is essential for a healthy Wisconsin," says Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Mary Ellen Vollbrecht, who leads the Department of Natural Resources groundwater section, says that Protect Your Groundwater Day, promoted by the National Groundwater Association, "is a great time to learn more about our groundwater and how we can all help protect a resource critical for healthy families, a healthy environment and a healthy economy."

"We invite people to join our live chat to get their questions answered, to read through the latest Groundwater Coordinating Council annual report, and to take steps around their home to help protect groundwater," Vollbrecht says.

The live chat on groundwater, private wells and public drinking water supplies is set for noon on Sept. 10; participate on that day by visiting dnr.wi.gov and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts." People also can join the conversation via DNR's Facebook page and by clicking the Cover it Live Chat" box at the top.

People can learn more about current groundwater conditions in Wisconsin from the recently released 2013 annual report from the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council. The council, or GCC as it's often called, includes representatives from state agencies and the University of Wisconsin system and is responsible for ensuring that the state's groundwater research and policies are coordinated and cost-effective and that state agencies provide consistent communications with the public.

The annual GCC report provides the current status of groundwater quality and quantity for Wisconsin, an assessment of the groundwater management programs, addresses current and anticipated groundwater problems, and recommends actions for addressing those problems.

Protecting a critical resource for people, the environment and the economy

Groundwater users capable of withdrawing 100,000 gallons a day are required to report their use. In 2011, groundwater withdrawals reported to DNR totaled 213 billion gallons from 11,754 wells. The largest category of groundwater withdrawals was public water supply, accounting for 42 percent of the total statewide groundwater withdrawals [PDF]]. The second largest category of groundwater withdrawal in the state was agricultural irrigation accounting for 35 percent of statewide groundwater withdrawals.

Steve Ales, who leads DNR's private water section, says that owners of private wells can make a difference in their water quality by how they manage their well systems and septic systems, by properly managing hazardous wastes, and by conserving water.

People who use municipal tap water also can help protect groundwater quality by properly managing hazardous wastes, maintaining their septic systems properly if they have one, conserving water, and advocating with local officials to safeguard municipal wells by being careful about the land uses surrounding those wells.

People using private wells:

For those on public water supplies:

Things everyone can do:

More information on groundwater and drinking water can be found on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for "drinking water" and on the DHS Water Issues Website: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/Water (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roy Irving, DHS, 608-266-2663; Mary Ellen Vollbrecht, DNR, 608-266-2104

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2014 National Archery in the Schools world tournament to be held in Madison

MADISON -- The 2014 National Archery in the Schools Program® World Tournament will be held July 11-13, 2014 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Madison Area Sports Commission have announced.

The National Archery in the Schools Program is an in-school curriculum for students in grades 4 through 12. Many participating NASP schools create after school programs and archery teams, in addition to their in-school archery program. These archers and teams from participating NASP® schools then participate in various local, regional and state tournaments.

This is the 6th annual NASP World Tournament. Archers and teams qualify for the NASP national tournament based on scores they achieve at their state tournaments. United States archers and teams then qualify for the NASP world tournament based on their scores at the NASP national tournament. Archers and teams from other NASP participating countries follow a similar qualification process through their respective provincial and national tournaments.

"We expect archers from approximately 25 states to participate in the 2014 NASP Worlds as well as archers from, Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mongolia," said Dan Schroeder, NASP coordinator for the DNR.

The 2013 NASP world tournament was held in St. Louis Missouri. The four prior world tournaments were held in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, near Orlando Florida. Participation from 2012 to 2013 increased by 134%. There were 2,907 archers at the 2013 world championship.

For information about the National Archery in the Schools Program search the DNR website "NASP," or visit www.naspschools.org for NASP tournament information please visit www.nasptournaments.org (both links exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Schroeder - 608-235-4619 or Daniel.schroeder@wisconsin.gov

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 03, 2013




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