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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published October 4, 2016

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Annual Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative meeting will connect conservation and art

Contact(s): Ryan Brady, DNR research scientist, 715-685-2933; Yoyi Steele, DNR wildlife biologist, 608-266-8169

MADISON - The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative's annual meeting will be held Oct. 27-29, 2016 at the Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center in Rothschild. WBCI has partnered with Bird City Wisconsin and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum to develop this year's theme: "Protecting Birds through Action and Art."

A full conference program is available on the WBCI website at [EXIT DNR], and the meeting is open to the public with advance registration.

The first day of the conference will address hazards facing birds throughout their annual life cycle and offer suggestions as to how to mitigate these challenges. The list of speakers includes renowned author, naturalist and conservationist Kenn Kaufman, Minnesota Audubon's Joanna Eckles, Tom Will of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Partners in Flight and many others. Presentations will cover topics including cats, collisions, the environment, native "plantscaping" and the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial.

An evening reception hosted by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum will give attendees an opportunity to enjoy a private viewing of the museum's 41st annual Birds in Art exhibition. The second day of the conference will feature presentations by artists, advocates and educators regarding how art can help advance bird conservation outreach and action.

The conference will serve as a second Bird City Summit for Bird City Wisconsin community representatives, and will bring together a number of partners, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, as well as over 180 other WBCI partner organizations. Additional support has been provided by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin's C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program.

People interested in attending should register online by Oct. 11 at (exit DNR). The $65 registration fee covers both days of the conference, including lunches, breaks and an evening reception.



Deer Donation Program provides great opportunity to help families in need this fall

Contact(s): Brad Koele, DNR wildlife biologist, 715-356-5211 Ext. 234

MADISON - Each year, hunters, meat processors, and food pantries help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its partners donate thousands of pounds of venison to those in need.

"The generosity of hunters has been incredible," said Brad Koele, DNR wildlife biologist. "The need for venison is great so we are hopeful hunters continue to donate more deer this year - individuals and families are truly appreciative of the venison they receive."

A list of deer donation sites [PDF] for 2016 can be found by searching the DNR website for keywords "deer donation."

Since the Deer Donation Program began in 2000, hunters have donated over 87,000 deer and nearly 3.9 million pounds of venison. The collected meat is distributed to Wisconsin families in need of food assistance, and relies on cooperation with counties across the state, USDA-Wildlife Services, and community programs like Hunt for the Hungry and Target Hunger. These organizations help organize donations, coordinate processing, and distribute venison.

For more information about the DNR's deer donation program and more on how you can help, search the DNR website for keywords "deer donation."



2016 Operation Deer Watch efforts come to a close

Contact(s): Brian Dhuey, DNR research scientist, 608-221-6342; Jes Rees Lohr, DNR research scientist, 608-221-6349

MADISON - Operation Deer Watch, the annual citizen-science survey that tracks the numbers of bucks, does and fawns, ended Friday, Sept. 30.

However, it is not too late to submit summer observations as fall approaches and play an important role in managing Wisconsin's wildlife.

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While Operation Deer Watch has ended - there is still time to submit summer 2016 observations.
Photo Credit: Linda Arndt

"The summer months are an important time to collect data the department uses to assess deer populations around the state," said Jes Rees Lohr, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources research scientist. "Each year, outdoor enthusiasts submit hundreds of observations which contribute to monitoring white-tailed deer population trends in Wisconsin - department staff would like to thank Wisconsin's citizens for their contributions."

Sightings from Operation Deer Watch supplement the department's existing summer deer observation database. These surveys provide information on fawn to doe ratios, which is used to create deer population estimates.

To submit observations online, visit and search keyword "deer watch," or mail a tally sheet to Wildlife Surveys, Attn: Brian Dhuey, 2801 Progress Road, Madison. Participants can also find more information on the site, including videos and results of previous year's surveys.



Reforestation program begins spring 2017 tree seedling sales

Contact(s): Joe Vande Hey,, 608-574-4904

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reforestation program will begin its annual tree seedling sales in early October.

Landowners can find ordering instructions at the Wisconsin DNR website, keyword "tree planting," or by contacting the Griffith Nursery office at 715-424-3700. Landowners can get information on seedling availability, species information and tips on how to prepare a site for tree planting.

"Every year, Wisconsin landowners plant millions of tree seedlings to enhance and restore forests," said Joe Vande Hey, reforestation program supervisor for the Division of Forestry. "The reforestation program offers affordable, high-quality seedlings to meet that need."

When landowners think about what species of trees to plant, the local DNR office is a great source of advice. DNR foresters throughout the state are available to visit landowner properties, answer questions and help landowners maximize benefits from their tree planting activities. Contact information for all DNR foresters can be found on the DNR website, keyword "forestry assistance locator."

"Landowners contemplating tree planting projects should contact their local DNR forester, private consulting forester or nursery staff for advice on species selection, site preparation, planting methods, cost-sharing programs, tree planter rentals and other considerations in establishing a successful forest tree planting," Vande Hey said. "They can also prepare an online planting plan by visiting the DNR website."

Although the tree seedlings will not be available for planting until spring, Vande Hey said it is important to order now because many species sell out quickly. Landowners can purchase seedlings from the DNR state nurseries for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes. Customers who would like to select specific seedlings or shrubs must order a minimum quantity of 1,000 tree seedlings or 500 wildlife shrubs or build their own packet of 300 seedlings, usually good for landowners new to planting or those with small acreages.

Hardwood tree species available from the state nurseries include red oak, bur oak, black cherry, silver maple, sugar maple, river birch, shagbark hickory, butternut and black walnut. Conifer tree species available include white spruce, black spruce, white pine, tamarack, red pine, jack pine, hemlock and white cedar. Wildlife shrubs available include American highbush cranberry, hawthorn, American plum, red osier and silky dogwood. A current inventory of which species are still available is maintained on the DNR website.

"The seedlings grown at the state nurseries are high-quality native species grown from seed adapted to growing in Wisconsin," Vande Hey said. "Planting these Wisconsin-grown trees and shrubs is a great way to improve wildlife habitat, increase the value of the land, reduce soil erosion, improve overall aesthetics and possibly generate income for the landowner."

Seedlings and shrubs are distributed in April and early May. Landowners who order from the DNR can pick up their seedlings at the state nurseries located in Boscobel, Hayward, Wisconsin Rapids, or in many counties, at a central location designated by the local DNR forester.

Additional information is available from reforestation program staff at the Griffith State Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids, 715-424-3700 or Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel, 608-375-4123.



Forest Fire Protection Grant recipients announced for forest and wildland fire suppression

Contact(s): Chris Klahn, DNR cooperative fire control specialist, 608- 297-2214 or Jennifer Feyerherm, DNR financial assistance specialist, 608- 266-1967

MADISON -Fire departments in 196 Wisconsin communities will receive a total of $645,487 in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forest Fire Protection Grant Program in 2016. This funding can be used for equipment, prevention, and training to enhance forest fire protection and suppression ability.

"These grants will enable local fire departments to increase their level of preparedness and ability to respond and protect their communities," said Chris Klahn, DNR cooperative fire control specialist. "Throughout the year, DNR and local fire departments work cooperatively on numerous wildfire suppression efforts. It's an effective partnership and these grants help make it possible."

The Forest Fire Protection Grant Program was established in 1997 to strengthen the capacity of local fire departments and county or area fire organizations to assist the DNR forestry staff in suppression of forest fires.

The grant program provides funds for the purchase of forest fire suppression equipment and training, including: personal protective equipment; forest fire training; forest fire prevention; forest fire tools and equipment; communication equipment; dry hydrant installation; rural fire mapping; and off-road all-wheel drive, initial-attack vehicles.

A complete list of 2016 FFP grant recipients [PDF] is available on the DNR website, The Forest Fire Protection Grant Program is one of more than 40 grant programs administered by the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance. To learn more about these search the DNR website for keyword "grants."



Shared hunting experiences highlight fall issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Contact(s): Andrew Savagian, Department of Natural Resources Communications, 608-261-6422

MADISON - "I never thought I'd say that my favorite year hunting was one when I didn't shoot a trophy buck."

Strange-sounding words for the lead story in the October issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, especially the fall issue that annually focuses on our state's traditional deer hunt.

But if you read on those words make perfect sense as you listen to author Steve Pierce share his experiences as a parent taking his two sons on their first deer hunt last year.

That theme of honoring our fall hunting tradition holds true in "It's worth the punishment" as author Matthew Peterson relates the up and down emotions that come with pursuing a big buck, even one you don't get, as a hunter learns and grows from the experience.

Following that story you can read about how hunting and conservation go hand in hand in Ryan Theiler's interview with Wildlife Management Program Director Tom Hauge, learn about hunting from a bygone era in "Back in the day" and read John Motoviloff's "Great things in small packages" piece about delectable outdoor foods you can bag this fall that don't have to be big game.

From hunting deer and other game to bird hunting of a different kind, October's issue also focuses on the state of North America's bird population in Wisconsin, following a 2016 report from the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. The report, conducted to commemorate the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, paints a clear picture of accomplishments and the challenging work ahead.

In addition, "A graceful touchdown" provides an essay on the beautiful aerial displays of the cranes of Crex Meadows, and "An aerie of eagles" follows the curious story of bald eagles as they flock to Lake Onalaska to fest on waterfowl killed by invasive exotic species.

Urban coyotes provide a different twist to wildlife watching, and this month's issue looks at what Wisconsin cities are doing to help citizens understand and coexist with them.

Finally, you can read about one man's fat tire bike tour of Wisconsin's highways and byways, clocking more than 5,000 miles in 2015, or read about how to build a Leopold bench, those funny-looking gray benches with backrests that defy the vertical plane, created by famed Wisconsin conservationist Aldo Leopold.



DNR to host online bobcat chat Oct. 13 at noon

Contact(s): Shawn Rossler, DNR furbearer Ecologist, 608-267-9428; Nathan Roberts, DNR carnivore and furbearer research scientist, 715-490-9345

MADISON - Join Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts Thursday, Oct. 13 at noon for an online chat about bobcats in Wisconsin.

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Bobcats and other predators will be collared as part of the upcoming Southwest Wisconsin Deer and Predator Study - chat participants can learn about this project and much more during the Oct. 13 bobcat chat.
Photo Credit: DNR

Visit and search keyword "chat" to submit questions and view responses from DNR experts. Here, you can also view past chats and sign up to receive email notifications. For more information regarding bobcats in Wisconsin, search keyword "furbearer."


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 04, 2016

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