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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 28, 2015

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Wisconsin DNR gears up for the Wisconsin State Fair

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- The 2015 Wisconsin State Fair kicks off next week in West Allis and the Department of Natural Resources has a lot of exciting things for the entire family to enjoy.

Archery at DNR Park
There will be expanded archery hours for both youth and adults at DNR Park at the Wisconsin State Fair.
WDNR Photo

DNR Park is a shady oasis in the northwest corner of the state fairgrounds, across from the cream puff pavilion, where visitors can take a break from the heat and enjoy interactive displays. There are several hands-on activities for kids including a scavenger hunt, games, live animals and interactive learning opportunities.

"We have expanded opportunities for families to create new memories when they visit us at the Wisconsin State Fair," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We've expanded our archery hours so adults and kids alike can give archery a try. And we encourage you to check out our new rest area where you can take a break and enjoy the trees, birds and other animals that call DNR Park home."

In the north building visitors can learn about ways to help wild baby animals, discover ways to protect the air and water and try their hand at virtual shooting at our laser shot trailer.

In the south building, visitors will find numerous interactive displays. Natural Heritage Conservation will have an expanded live animal display and back by popular demand is the photo booth where kids and adults can have their photo taken as a woodland firefighter, a biologist or in a cave with bats. There are many hands-on experiences for the kids, too, at the Science Services display and in our natural play area with our Parks program.

Among the many displays, visitors will experience classics like the live fish tanks and Smokey's Schoolhouse.

There is a lot more to do at DNR Park at the Wisconsin State Fair. For a map, directions, and more, search the DNR website,, for keyword "State Fair." For more information about the Wisconsin State Fair visit its website at (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Trish Nitschke - 920-360-3252



Bonus antlerless deer permit sales begin Aug. 17

MADISON -- Bonus antlerless deer carcass tags are available for purchase starting Monday, Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. Antlerless tags will be sold at a rate of one per person per day. Sales will continue until sold out or until the 2015 deer hunting season ends.

Twelve counties, in part or in whole, will have no antlerless permits available in 2015. It is important to remember that permit availability will vary between public and private lands.

For a list of units and available tags, search the Department of Natural Resources website,, for keywords "bonus availability." Tags will be available for purchase through the Online Licensing Center and at DNR license sales locations.

Hunters will need to know which deer management zone and unit they plan to hunt within, and must determine whether they will hunt on public or private land.

"Bonus permits are very limited or non-existent in some areas this fall in order to implement deer hunting recommendations from County Deer Advisory Committees," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "Hunter demand for tags in many counties will be greater than tag availability, so we encourage folks to check out their situation early and begin to plan fall hunts now."

Bonus permits will be sold by management zone beginning at 10 a.m. on the following dates:

Those who purchase a 2015 deer hunting license before Aug. 17 can expedite the tag purchasing process, since hunters must obtain a deer hunting license before they can purchase a bonus antlerless tag.

To learn more, join DNR staff for an antlerless tags chat at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 5. For more information, visit and search keyword "chat." Hunters are encouraged to stay tuned, as additional chats will focus on season forecasts, finding a place to hunt, novice hunting programs, new regulations and electronic registration.

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting regulations, reminders and other important information, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "Crossbow Deer Hunting" distribution list.

For more information, including frequently asked questions and other helpful links, search keyword "deer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-206-1107



Newton-Blackmour State Trail grand opening Aug. 2

SHIOCTON, Wis. - The grand opening of a new state recreational trail -- the Newton Blackmour State Trail -- will be celebrated with a public event beginning at 1 p.m. on Aug. 2, at Lake Park in Shiocton. While nine miles of the trail were already open to the public, this event is to celebrate 14 additional miles recently developed.

Newton Blackmour State Trail
The Newton Blackmour State Trail crosses the Wolf River on an abandoned railroad trestle.
WDNR Photo

The 23-mile trail connects the cities of New London and Seymour, via the villages of Black Creek and Shiocton. East of Seymour, it links to the Duck Creek trail, which extends into Brown County and is anticipated to eventually connect to Pamperin Park in Green Bay.

"At long last, this beautiful trail is open to everyone", Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said. "Whatever you enjoy, from cycling to horseback riding, snowmobiling or just taking a walk, this trail provides a perfect avenue. The Highway and the Parks Departments have done some great work on this"

The Newton Blackmour State Trail becomes Wisconsin's thirty-seventh state rail trail, and the twenty-fourth that is cooperatively managed with counties and other municipalities.

"We're very proud of our State Trails, and especially the cooperative trails developed and operated by county partners. We're excited that Outagamie County is joining in the fun of celebrating 50 years," says Brigit Brown, state trails coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Parks and Recreation.

The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Wisconsin rail trails. Wisconsin became the first state to convert an abandoned railroad corridor into a recreational trail - the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in 1965. The "rails to trails" movement has since spread across the state, nation and the world.

Officials from Outagamie County, DNR, the cities of Seymour and New London, along with the Villages of Black Creek and Shiocton, will host the event, which will also include representatives from Fox Cities Greenways, Inc., the Fox Cities Cycling Association and the Appleton Bicycle Shop. Free brats and hot dogs will be available while they last. Cycling safety instructions will be provided. The program will include bicycle and bike gear giveaways.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Abitz, Office of the Outagamie County Executive, 920-832-1684 or Brigit Brown, Wisconsin DNR, 608-266-2183



Accessible cabin available Harrington Beach State Park

Reservations for new cabin accepted as of August 1, 2015

BELGIUM, Wis. - People with disabilities can explore and enjoy the great outdoors by camping at the newest of the specially designed and equipped "Cabins in the Woods" at Wisconsin state parks and forests.

Harrington Beach State Park accessible cabin
Reservations begin Aug. 1 for the new Harrington Beach State Park accessible cabin.
Friends of Harrington Beach Photo

Harrington Beach State Park will begin accepting reservations for the new cabin for the remainder of the 2015 camping season beginning August 1, 2015, with occupancy to follow beginning August 10, 2015. Cabin occupancy preference will be given to those with the greatest level of physical disability.

With the opening of this cabin, the Wisconsin state park system will offer eight cabins with accessible kitchens and bathrooms and bedrooms, and two accessible one-room rustic cabins. The cabins have become extremely popular in recent years, and are often booked well in advance for weekends and holidays.

The fully equipped cabin has kitchen counters that allow wheelchairs to roll under them, a bathroom with roll-in shower, family and dining areas and a bedroom large enough for wheelchairs and attendants to move about. The campers sleep on hospital-style beds with Hoyer lifts nearby if they are needed. Additional sleeping space for family members is also provided on a pull-out bed in the living room and on cots on the screened porch.

The Friends of Harrington Beach State Park (exit DNR) and the Wisconsin DNR have partnered together to be able to provide this new cabin. The cabin has been built through generous donations and gifts of building funds, building plans and furniture and equipment from a wide variety of organizations and businesses.

Reservation forms and a calendar of available dates will be available on the state parks pages of the Department of Natural Resources Web site at, choosing "Parks and Recreation," and then "Accessible Cabins." Applications should be mailed to Harrington Beach State Park, 531 County Road D, Belgium, WI 53004.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin State Parks 608-266-0866 or Harrington Beach State Park - 262-285-3015



Shooting Range Grant recipients announced

MADISON -Seven public and three private shooting ranges will receive a combined total of $803,822.25 in grant funding this year through the Shooting Range Grant Program. The recipients were notified on July 3, 2015.

Seven public shooting ranges located in Barron, Chippewa, Columbia, Dunn, Florence, Portage and Vilas counties will receive grants totaling $646,450.25. One of the seven is a new range that will be developed in Columbia County. Three private shooting ranges were given grants for a total of $157,372. These existing private ranges are located in Marathon, St. Croix and Sauk counties.

The shooting range grant program began in 2013. Shooting range grants are available to counties, cities, villages, townships, other governmental agencies or units, clubs or organizations, businesses or corporations and education institutions. Currently, grants are awarded every two years and recipients must pay a portion of the total project costs.

Eligible project types include archery ranges, backstops and berms, target holders, restroom facilities, shooting benches, baffles, trenches, signs, gun racks, platforms, protective fencing and other items the DNR deems essential for a project. Most projects include improving the range to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing safety aspects and developing shooting lanes for a variety of firearms. Indoor ranges may be eligible as well, including classroom, storage and restroom facilities.

Listed below are the grant recipients:

Public Shooting Range Grant Recipients

Private Shooting Range Grant Recipients

For more information about the Shooting Range Grant Program and DNR grant programs is available on the DNR website.



Put your deer observations to use with Operation Deer Watch

MADISON -- In an ongoing effort to include public input in deer management, and to effectively monitor and evaluate Wisconsin's deer herd, the Department of Natural Resources is continuing its annual citizen-science survey, Operation Deer Watch.

The data from the public provides insight to the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd for 2015. The number of bucks, does and fawns seen are indicators of annual deer herd production.

"This is a fun and useful opportunity for the public to be the daily eyes and ears for the deer herd in their area," said Brian Dhuey, DNR surveys coordinator. "Every year, citizens provide thousands of observations which the department uses directly to help monitor the herd."

To get involved, record all bucks, does and fawns seen during the day from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30. Daily observations can be tracked using an online tally sheet available at, keyword "deer watch."

According to Dhuey, an additional 14,000 deer hunters were selected at random this year and sent a letter inviting them to participate in Operation Deer Watch. Dhuey encourages anyone to take part of the survey even if they were not one of the hunters selected to participate.

For more information, videos and results of previous year's surveys, search the DNR website,, for keywords "deer watch."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey, DNR surveys coordinator, 608-221-6342 or Jes Rees, DNR research scientist, 608-221-6349


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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