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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 13, 2017

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Preliminary spring turkey harvest registrations see slight decrease from 2016

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861; Jaqi Christopher, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458

MADISON - Preliminary totals show turkey hunters registered 43,341 birds during the 2017 spring turkey hunting season in Wisconsin, a slight decrease from the spring 2016 season.

"Overall, turkey hunters experienced another successful spring season," said Mark Witecha, Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "The spring turkey harvest exceeded my expectations considering the persistent, rainy conditions in the second week of the season and an estimated 27 percent decline in turkey production in 2016."

A total of 212,088 permits were issued for the spring 2017 spring turkey season, compared to 212,772 in 2016.

Zone 1 produced the highest overall turkey harvest at 12,573 birds, followed by zones 2 and 3, where hunters registered 10,675 and 9,925 turkeys respectively. Overall, the statewide success rate was 20.4 percent, compared to 21.3 percent in 2016.

The highest hunter success rate was seen in Zone 2, with a rate of 22.2 percent, followed by Zone 4 at 21 percent and Zone 1 at 20.4 percent. Success rates were between 14 and 19 percent for the remaining zones.

"We are very happy with the high success rates seen across the state this spring," said DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist Jaqi Christopher. "It's clear that Wisconsin's turkey population has enjoyed milder winters recently, and hunters were rewarded for their efforts in the woods this year."

The Youth Turkey Hunt and Learn to Hunt events were again offered in 2017. Youth and novice hunters enjoyed an early onset of spring and decent weather conditions in the pre-season, which helped increase the harvest during the Youth Turkey Hunt and Learn to Hunt events by 17 percent from 2016. These efforts are aimed at recruiting new turkey hunters.

A key objective of Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Management Plan is to maximize opportunities for hunters with a minimum amount of interference, while ensuring that harvest does not lead to population declines. Biologists in Wisconsin closely monitor harvest, hunter interference rates, and hunter satisfaction along with turkey populations through time, to maintain a successful and enjoyable spring turkey hunt.

"Following another mild winter, hens have entered the breeding season in good condition," said Witecha. "If we can avoid cold, rainy weather during the critical nesting and brood rearing periods, we should see good numbers heading into the fall season."

For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "turkey."



Shakespeare in the Park returns for third season at Wisconsin State Parks

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517 or A.J. Magoon, Public Relations Director, Summit Players, 262-227-0880

MADISON - Visitors to Wisconsin State Park System properties will have 16 opportunities to enjoy "Shakespeare in the Park" performances this summer. The performances begin July 17 and run through July 30.

A scene from last summer's Summit Players production of Shakespeare in the Park.
A scene from last summer's Summit Players production of Shakespeare in the Park.
Photo Credit: Summit Players

The Wisconsin-based traveling theatre group Summit Players Theatre is returning for a third season to Wisconsin state park system properties, this year performing Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. All performances are free, but a daily or annual state park admission sticker is needed to enter most park system properties. Each performance is preceded by a 45-minute educational workshop.

Each The Comedy of Errors show is 75 minutes long. The group's educational workshop, "Playing with Shakespeare: Get Outside with Will," is offered before every show. It serves as a way for kids and "fun adults" to get comfortable with Shakespeare's language, as well as learning more about the man himself and the way nature played into his works. Participants get to take part in Shakespeare games and exercises culminating in performing a short scene.

Through a collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Summit Players are also able to introduce audiences to different state park system properties around the state.

This summer the theater troupe will be performing
This summer the theater troupe will be performing "A Comedy of Errors" at 16 different properties.
Photo Credit: Summit Players

"We're extremely happy to establish yet another partnership with outside groups that work with us to enhance visitor experiences at Wisconsin State Park System properties," said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin state parks director. "Partnerships are key to us being able to provide a multitude of opportunities for visitors to enjoy our parks."

After being founded by a group of Marquette University students two years ago, the Summit Players Theater group is now an established nonprofit company. The company is still seeking donations for their 2017 season, which can be made through its or website (exit DNR).

"The Summit Players' mission is to promote overlap between nature and the performing arts by providing accessible outdoor theater to young people and their families," said A.J. Magoon, an actor and public relations director for the troupe.

To find all events at Wisconsin state park system properties, search the DNR website,, for keywords "Get Outdoors."  To find Shakespeare in the Park performances, click on the "Type" button and select only "Theater Productions."

The Players' third season will consist of the following performances:



Wild parsnip blooms early, time to mow or take other control steps

Contact(s): Kelly Kearns, DNR invasive plant coordinator, 608-267-5066

MADISON- Wild parsnip, an invasive plant that can cause painful burns to people who come into contact with it, is blooming early in Wisconsin. Invasive plant experts encourage property owners to mow this plant or take other actions now to prevent its spread.

Wild parsnip can be pulled from the ground or cut with a sharp shovel 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.
Wild parsnip can be pulled from the ground or cut with a sharp shovel 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.
Photo Credit: Kitty Kohout

"The warm weather last week probably pushed wild parsnip to bloom. The earlier you can control it the more successful your efforts will be," says Kelly Kearns, invasive plant coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation program. "Mowing is the easiest way to prevent it from seeding - it won't kill it but it will prevent it from spreading."

Wild parsnip grows very successfully in habitats where soil was recently disturbed and invades prairies, oak savannas, roadsides, and pastures throughout Wisconsin. The species can be easily identified by its 4 to 6 foot stems and yellow, flat-topped, umbrella-shaped flowers that bloom from late spring to midsummer.

If allowed to go to seed, this plant can rapidly spread, forming large, dense patches. In addition to competing with native and pasture plants, the sap from wild parsnip can cause painful burns on the skin, even on a cloudy day. The burns may appear as rashes or blisters, and can cause skin discoloration for several months or even years - always wear gloves, long sleeves, and long pants if you expect to come into contact with it.

Wild parsnip can be controlled by removing the plants, mowing it, conducting a prescribed burn to kill the plant or applying herbicides. Wild parsnip can be pulled from the ground or cut with a sharp shovel 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. If flowers are present, bag the plant material and send it to a landfill or burn it in order to prevent any seeds from spreading and colonizing new areas.

Mowing can be an effective control method if it is done during the early flower stage, before the seeds have developed. Though the plants may grow, re-sprout and re-flower, seed production will be greatly reduced. The targeted and repeated application of chemical herbicides can also limit the spread of wild parsnip. Prescribed burns conducted by trained professionals can also reduce the abundance of wild parsnip.

Wild parsnip has been documented in all 72 Wisconsin counties. Read more about this invasive in "Still Feeling the Burn [PDF]," in the June 2017 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. For more information regarding wild parsnip, visit, keyword "invasives" or please check out the the UW Extension fact sheet (exit DNR).



June public meeting will gather feedback regarding outdoor recreation in northern Wisconsin

Contact(s): Cameron Bump, DNR recreation specialist, 715-839-2786

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release was previously issued to Northwoods media outlets.]

MADISON - Department of Natural Resources staff will hold a June 19 public meeting to gather input regarding the draft Northwoods Region portion of the Recreation Opportunities Analysis.

This initial Northwoods Region ROA draft [PDF] identifies future opportunities to provide high-quality recreation experiences and the potential role of DNR-managed properties in helping to meet those opportunities within the region.

A June 19 public open house will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Hodag Banquet Center, 1540 Pueblo Dr., Rhinelander, to outline current efforts in the Northwoods Region. Department staff will give brief presentations at 5:30 p.m.

Recreation Opportunities Analysis process will identify future recreation needs

The Recreation Opportunities Analysis will examine existing outdoor-based recreation opportunities and future recreation needs in eight regions throughout Wisconsin. The study will identify future opportunities for providing high-quality recreation experiences and the potential role of DNR properties in helping to meet those priorities. The Northwoods Region includes Forest, Florence, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Taylor, and Vilas counties.

In April, department staff began to gather public input to look at existing outdoor-based recreation opportunities and consider future recreation needs in nine regions throughout Wisconsin. The Recreation Opportunities Analysis will generally describe recreation opportunities across the state and contain more details for each region of the state.

While the ROA process will begin in these nine northern counties, additional regional public meetings will be held as the process moves forward.

To receive email updates regarding the ROA process, 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 "Recreation opportunities analysis," found within the list titled "outdoor recreation."

For more information regarding the recreational opportunities analysis, search keyword "ROA."


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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