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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 24, 2013

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Hunters will again be able to have adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease

MADISON - State wildlife officials will again be testing white-tail deer shot by hunters this fall for chronic wasting disease in a continuing effort to monitor the status and spread of the disease in Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources will be testing deer from within and outside of the CWD management zone in south central and southeastern Wisconsin. The sampling strategies are aimed at detecting changes in the location and trends in prevalence of the disease. The plan focuses surveillance on adult deer - which are most likely to have the disease -- along the outer fringe of the CWD management zone.

Click to view large map of CWD Management Zone

"The testing is provided as a service to hunters but it is also an important tool for monitoring the disease," said Tim Marien, a DNR wildlife health biologist.

Samples will be taken from adult deer shot in an established monitoring area that include parts of Dane, Iowa, Rock and Walworth counties areas, and within an 84 square-mile area that encompasses Devil's Lake State Park.

"Sampling deer from these areas where there has been long-term monitoring of disease patterns is important to understanding the dynamics of this disease," Marien said. Biologists will also solicit voluntary sampling from deer shot within the CWD management zone in Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Green, and western Rock counties.

Outside of the CWD management zone, sampling will be focused around where a deer tested positive for the disease in Washburn County in northwestern Wisconsin and around where deer tested positive for CWD in Juneau, Adams, Portage, and Waukesha counties. The Deer Trustee Report completed last year noted that assessing the extent and distribution is a critical first step in dealing with the disease and should be accomplished as soon as possible.

In addition, testing will continue this year in the areas of Jackson and Sawyer counties that are being considered for potential elk range expansion.

"This is the second year of sampling in this area, where so far we have not detected the disease," Marien said.

The department will accept deer from anywhere within the CWD-MZ at hunters' request but will not solicit samples from fawns or areas that do not provide data for surveillance.

"We will also continue to test deer from outside the CWD-MZ that are brought by hunters to sampling stations." Marien said

All sampling stations are currently open or will be open by mid-October. People can find sampling stations by searching the DNR website for keyword "CWD," and then clicking on the link for "registration and sampling." Hunters should call stations in advance to verify hours of operation.

Samples will also be collected from select taxidermists in Vernon, Crawford, and Dodge counties. These taxidermists will sample older bucks which have the highest prevalence of CWD in the wild. DNR staff will also solicit voluntary samples from adult deer the weekend of Nov. 23-24 in these counties.

A map of the 2013 Sampling Plan [PDF] is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Marien, 608-264-6046

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Cedarburg high school student wins the 2014 Wisconsin State Park sticker contest

MADISON -- The winning design for the 2014 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a turtle and was designed by Ursula Reid, a junior at Cedarburg High School. The winning design was selected from 220 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.


2014 Wisconsin State Park sticker contest winner

The second place design featuring a maple leaf pattern by Zachary Podlewski of Waukesha South High School. The third place winner was a design of cattails was won by Kyra Verheyen, Waupun Area High School.

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents - the same as last year. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.

The 2014 vehicle admission stickers will go on sale in December.

2015 state park sticker design contest open

Entries for the 2015 Wisconsin state park sticker design contest are being accepted now through April 17, 2014. The contest is open to all high school age students (ninth through twelfth grades) attending public, private, or parochial schools in Wisconsin.

The design must be the artist's original creation and cannot be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, clip art or electronic graphic images. Photographs or photo manipulations are not accepted.

Images of the second and third place winners and honorable mention entries along with contest rules, a design template and entry form are available by searching for "sticker design contest" on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, Wisconsin State Parks, Forest and Trails public affairs manager, 608-267-7517

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Wisconsin's Southern zone duck season opens Sept. 28

MADISON - Hunters looking forward to the opening of Wisconsin's 2013 duck season in the Southern zone on Sept. 28 should find good numbers of ducks, according to Department of Natural Resources officials.

"Although a few areas have been seeing lowering water levels, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters should have a good season," said Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist. "Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 58 years reported near record numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with excellent continental breeding indications, local water levels and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall."

As hunters prepare for the season opener there are some important regulation details and changes that should be noted, said Van Horn.

The daily bag limit is six ducks in total, not to include more than four mallards of which only one may be a hen, three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, three scaup, two pintail, and two canvasback.

Two important changes to the daily bag limits, which were made in response to annual population estimates, are a decrease in the daily bag limit for scaup from four to three and an increase in the daily bag limit for canvasback from one to two. The possession limit has also been increased from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit across the country.

Additional information on waterfowl and waterfowl hunting is available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "waterfowl."

More information about waterfowl hunting in the northern and Mississippi zones along with license, stamp and other requirements is available on the DNR website, along with additional information on "waterfowl hunting."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist: 608-266-8841

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Proposal seeks to increase the number of fish habitat projects

MADISON - A quicker, less expensive permit process would allow lakefront property owners statewide to more quickly and easily create fish habitat near their shoreline under a state proposal.

Comments on the proposed statewide general permit are being accepted through Oct. 24, 2013 with the Department of Natural Resources hoping to have the permit finalized and available for property owners to use by Thanksgiving.

Fish sticks
Fish habitat projects that add clusters of large trees to lakes, also called "fish sticks," have become more popular.
WDNR Photo

In recent years, fish habitat projects that add clusters of large trees to lakes, also called "fish sticks," have become more popular among staff and non-DNR groups. However, these groups have had concerns about the cost of permits, the time it takes to go through the permitting process, and inconsistencies in the permit approvals among different parts of the State. In response, the DNR created a Lean Six Sigma Fish Sticks Team to improve the process for permitting fish sticks habitat projects in lakes.

The proposal would allow property owners on lakes to have a streamlined permitting process to submerge groups of trees near their shoreline, says Martye Griffin, the DNR waterway science policy coordinator who, with the Fish Sticks Team, developed the new general permit. "The streamlined permit process is less costly and can be reviewed in less time," he says. It also allows for fish sticks sites constructed in later years and by different property owners on the same lake to "add on" to the existing approved permit without a new application fee - something the DNR has never done before.

Trees in the near-shore areas of lakes play a crucial role in a lake's ecosystem. These areas provide shelter and feeding areas for a diversity of fish species and may also provide nesting and sunning areas for birds, turtles, and other animals above the water.

Fish habitat
Trees in the near-shore areas of lakes provide shelter and feeding areas for a diversity of fish species
WDNR Photo

The proposed general permit identifies the location, design, and other standards and conditions these beneficial projects must meet to qualify for the general permit and to ensure minimal impacts to public rights in the waterway.

After the general permit is on the books, people who apply for the permit would receive a decision within 30 days and the permit would be good for five years, Griffin says.

That contrasts with the individual permits that were previously the only option available for lakefront properties. Such individual permits required a 30-day public comment period for each application. Individual permits would still be required for projects that do not meet the general permit standards and conditions, he says.

DNR has prepared an environmental assessment of the general permit and has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement is not required because the general permit is not expected to result in significant environmental impacts, Griffin says.

To view a copy of the proposed statewide general permit and environmental assessment, go to DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov and search for "fish habitat."

Public comments are being accepted through October 24, 2013. For more information or to submit written comments on the draft general permit or environmental assessment, contact Martin Griffin (WT/3), DNR Headquarters, 101 S. Webster, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, or via email at: MartinP.Griffin@wisconsin.gov.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin Griffin - 608- 266-2997

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Participants of deer study come to learn about on-going research on deer mortality

Not your typical deer camp

MADISON -- More than 40 participants who have assisted Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists in a deer mortality study met at Navarino Nature Center in mid-September to hear updates on a deer research program. DNR staff hosted the volunteer appreciation dinner to thank participants from Shawano and surrounding areas and to update them on the status of the projects.

Deer research appreciation
Deer and elk researcher Dan Storm meets with landowners Heidi and Mike Mischler during the deer research volunteer appreciation event.
WDNR Photo

"We want to thank all of the volunteers and landowners for their help with the deer mortality studies over the last three years," said Dan Storm, deer and elk researcher. "This project wouldn't be possible without landowner's permission to capture deer on their land and all the volunteers' help catching deer."

Since 2011, more than 1,000 volunteers in two study areas helped researchers locate fawns and capture bucks to equip them with radio collars used to track the deer throughout their lifetime. Researchers are trying to understand the role of predation and hunting in deer population change. The studies take place in a northern, forested area near the town of Winter and eastern farmlands near Shawano.

Volunteers at the event listened to a presentation given by Storm, learned about results and trends from the study and asked questions. The 2013 spring was the last season of capturing and collaring fawns, but the buck mortality study will continue until 2015 with capturing events scheduled for the upcoming winter.

"We are always looking for helping hands each season," said Storm. "We have a range of groups come to help every year, from interested landowners to school groups looking for an adventurous, hands-on field trip."

Those interested in volunteering can register at the DNR website by searching keyword "deer research."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Storm, deer and elk researcher; danielj.storm@wisconsin.gov

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New land owner incentives program for spring turkey hunting

MADISON -- For hunters looking to take part in next spring's turkey season, finding available land can be difficult. A new Department of Natural Resources program known as the Turkey Hunting Access Program, "THAP," is aimed at making that easier.

THAP sign

"Both landowners and hunters can benefit from this pilot program aimed at opening new hunting lands for the spring turkey season," said Justin Blindert, DNR turkey hunting access coordinator.

THAP provides financial incentives to private landowners who open their land to the public for spring turkey hunting. .

Priority will be given to properties greater than 40 acres with at least 50 percent forest cover within zone 2 only. Land directly adjacent to public land, or land enrolled in the Voluntary Public Access Program, is not eligible. Land enrolled in other conservation programs such as Conservation Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Program, or Managed Forest Law may be eligible for enrollment.

Spring turkey hunting, is the only activity allowed on THAP properties. Lands will be open for public use from March 1 through May 29 for legal spring turkey hunting and scouting. Turkey stamp funds are used to implement this program through 2014-2015

For more information, contact your local DNR wildlife biologist or call Turkey Hunting Access Program Coordinator Justin Blindert at 262 -224-9884.

Turkey Hunting Access Program Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Justin Blindert, 262 -224-9884 justin.blindert@wisconsin.gov

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Sauk County stream bank stabilization project may result in the incidental take of rare frog

MADISON - A Sauk County stream bank stabilization project may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare frog under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

The Department of Natural Resources proposes to stabilize a section Clark Creek in Sauk County. The primary purpose of the project is to reduce sediment delivery to Clark Creek by arresting bluff erosion, while adding habitat complexity to the stream.

The presence of the state endangered northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some frogs.

Department staff concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of this species or the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the northern cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040. Public comments will be taken through October 8, 2013 and should be sent to Rori Paloski, Conservation Biologist, WDNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski, 608- 264-6040

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 24, 2013




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