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Weekly News Published - September 19, 2017 by the Central Office


Recommendations on three-year deer population objectives to be finalized at October CDAC meetings

MADISON--County Deer Advisory Councils are set to finalize deer population objectives and deer management unit boundary change recommendations that will influence the 2018-2020 deer seasons. Final recommendations will be made at meetings scheduled in each county from Oct. 2-12.

Population objectives are expressed as using management practices to increase, decrease or maintain the county's deer herd. While these objectives influence overall deer numbers, they also influence various management strategies, primarily in the form of antlerless permit availability and the use of special deer seasons.

Deer Management Unit boundary or zone modifications were recommended in several counties, including Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Eau Claire, Florence, Marathon, Marinette, Oneida and Vilas. In addition, modifications to metropolitan deer management sub-units were suggested in several counties, including the creation of two new metro sub-units, one in Rock County and the other within Eau Claire and Chippewa counties.

A map of preliminary recommendations [PDF] is available at, keyword "CDAC."

All CDAC meetings are open to the public with time allotted for public comments before councils finalize recommendations. Public comments should be specific to population objective and boundary recommendation topics. A meeting schedule is available on the CDAC web page at, search keyword "CDAC."

In addition to attending a CDAC meeting, the public has the opportunity to review and comment on preliminary recommendations through an online survey on the CDAC web page through Sept. 22. Survey responses will be considered along with professional opinions from DNR biologists, foresters and law enforcement when the CDACs develop their final recommendations.

Final CDAC recommendations will be advanced to the Natural Resources Board for approval in December. After approval by the Natural Resources Board, population objectives will go into effect for the 2018-2020 deer seasons.

Councils will reconvene in March to put the new population objectives and any boundary changes into play as they discuss antlerless quotas, tags and season options for the 2018 seasons.

Additional information pertaining to CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership is available at keyword "CDAC" or through contacting with any additional questions.



Youth deer hunt is October 7-8; blaze orange required for safety

MADISON -- Youth hunters and those interested in mentoring young hunters are reminded this year's youth deer hunt is October 7 - 8, and please remember to wear blaze orange.

The youth hunt is an opportunity for boys and girls, ages 10-15, to hunt with a gun or other legal weapon prior to the regular firearm seasons. The youth hunt is open to all residents and non-resident youth hunters with a gun-deer license and appropriate tags.

Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sports coordinator for the Wis. Department of Natural Resources, says the weekend is ideal for families and friends. "The memories made last a lifetime and sharing with our children is rewarding. I know that from personal experiences with my own daughters."

Please note: Junior Antlerless Deer carcass tag is valid in all counties this year. Also, all hunters are required to wear blaze orange during the Youth Deer Hunt.

All youth hunters must be accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. Youth ages 12-15 with a hunter education certificate may hunt within visual and voice range of a mentor.

Hunters ages 10 and 11, as well as those ages 12-15 who have not completed hunter education, may gain hunting experience under the Hunting Mentorship Program. This program requires youth to hunt within arm's reach of a qualified mentor who has completed hunter education and holds a current hunting license.

Only one weapon may be possessed jointly between youth and mentor. Mentors may not hunt using a firearm during the youth deer hunt weekend, must be within arm reach and must possess a valid Wisconsin hunting license for the current hunting season. License type does not matter, unless the mentor will be hunting other game.

Download the complete rules for mentored hunting [PDF].

Hunters of all ages are reminded to follow the four rules of firearm safety:

First-time hunters and those that have not purchased a license in at least 10 years are eligible for a discounted first-time buyer license. Visit and search keyword "license" for more information.

As in previous years, those new to hunting can celebrate their first harvest with the official first deer or first hunt certificate. Simply follow the instructions on the page to upload a photo of your first deer and describe your experience. For more information, and to create your own first deer certificate, search keywords "first deer certificate."

To learn more about youth hunting and general deer season regulations, search keywords "youth hunt" and "deer" respectively.



First harvest and first experience certificates will help hunters remember time in the outdoors for years to come

MADISON - Hunters and trappers of all ages who harvest their first deer, turkey, bear, bobcat, otter, fisher, or simply have a great first year in the field are encouraged to check out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' selection of first harvest and first hunting experience certificates.

"The first time you harvest an animal can be very exciting, however the first time sitting in a tree stand or setting a trap can be just as memorable," said DNR wildlife data coordinator Erin Larson. "The department offers first trapping and hunting experience certificates to commemorate the entire experience."

Those interested can submit a photograph of their special moment to be included, as well as details about the experience. To help preserve hunting memories with friends and family, these free certificates can act as a personalized memento.

While first deer and turkey certificates remain popular throughout the state, hunters and trappers also have the option to create additional certificates, including:

Hunters are asked to fill out information regarding when and where the animal was harvested to complete the form - this information will be displayed on a customized certificate. Certificates will be sent electronically to each successful hunter within a few weeks.

To create a certificate, visit and search keywords "first certificates."



Natural Resources Board to meet September 26-27 in Minocqua

MADISON - A request for adoption of an Integrated Lake Michigan Fisheries Management Plan and revision of the 15-year Brule River State Forest master plan are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets September 27 in Minocqua.

The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27, at the Waters of Minocqua, 8116 U.S. Highway 51 South, Minocqua. On Tuesday, September 26, the board will tour and/or receive presentations on: the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest Recreational Opportunities Analysis, the Good Neighbor Authority; Powell Marsh Wildlife Area Master Plan; Dead Pike Lake Management Plan Status; Walleye Fisheries Management: Walleye Initiative and other topics.

The Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management Plan will define Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources management and policy direction pertaining to sport and commercial fisheries in Lake Michigan for the coming decade. The plan was developed under the following five broad Lake Michigan fishery visions: a diverse, balanced and healthy ecosystem; a diverse multi-species sport fishery; a sustainable and viable commercial fishery; science-based management; and effective internal and external communication.

The Brule River State Forest Master Plan revisions include expanding the popular Afterhours ski area, including additional miles and developments, additional remote campsites along Lake Superior and the Brule River, and a small number of electric campsites. No changes to the project boundary are proposed and users indicated there is a good balance of existing open and closed roads for access and use.

The complete September board agenda is available by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to attend the Tuesday tours and/or to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to attend the tours, testify, or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, September 22, 2017. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.



September 23 Proclaimed Hunting & Fishing Day in Wisconsin

Public can share adventures on Wisconsin DNR Twitter and Facebook!

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has declared Saturday September 23 as Hunting and Fishing Day in Wisconsin to coincide with National Hunting and Fishing Day across the country.

Click on image for PDF
Click on image for PDF

This day is dedicated to learning and sharing the great Wisconsin traditions of hunting and fishing. We celebrate the day by recognizing the valuable role anglers and hunters play in conservation and maintaining wildlife.

It's also a day to get outdoors and enjoy fishing or hunting now that several fall hunting seasons are underway and share that experience with someone new to sport of fishing or hunting. You may even be able to catch, harvest or bag something healthy you can turn into a hardy meal by the end of the day.

Created by an act of Congress in 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day is also a time to make note of the fact that it's hunters and anglers who fund fish and wildlife management efforts in Wisconsin and other states.

"Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts fund 90 percent of fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin through license fees and excise taxes, "says DNR Interim Secretary Kurt Thiede. "Even if you don't hunt or fish, this day is a good time to say thank you to those who do for their support of wildlife management efforts that help make the beauty of the outdoors possible for everyone."

Whether you're going outdoors this Saturday to hunt, fish or just take a quiet walk through the woods, share your pictures and videos with DNR on our Twitter account and Facebook page using the hashtags #WildWI and #MyFirstHunt. Or, if you have a favorite recipe for that catch or harvest, share that too.

"Just the simplicity of being outdoors is appealing," said DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller. "Nature is the place to strengthen family ties and friendships, but remember to be safe out there when casting a line or hunting for game."

Visit the DNR website for a reminder on how to keep your Hunting and Fishing Day a safe one. Go to and search "safety education."



Southern and Mississippi River duck zones open one-half hour before sunrise Sept. 30

MADISON - Duck hunters in the Southern and Mississippi River zones can head into the outdoors for another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 30,

"With good spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters have potential for a good hunting season," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist Taylor Finger.

The Southern Zone will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, close for a five-day split, then remain open from Oct. 14 to Dec. 3. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, close for a seven-day split, and reopen from Oct. 14 to Dec. 5. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise.

Waterfowl hunters should note that the goose season in the southern portion of the Exterior Zone will also be closed during the five-day split in October, while hunting in the Horicon Zone will not be affected. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Sub-zone will not open until Sept. 30 and is closed during the seven-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.

"Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 62 years reported record high or near record high numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with promising breeding indications, since parts of the state have experienced wet conditions leading up to the duck season and some areas of the state remain dry local conditions, scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall," said Finger.

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers; 15 coot may be harvested daily.

Licenses and stamps required for duck hunting include a Wisconsin small game license, a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp, and a federal migratory bird stamp. The federal duck stamp costs $25. The federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing the federal stamp privilege at DNR license vendors or online for an additional $2.50 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license, but the stamp itself will arrive several weeks later in the mail.

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program, which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their harvest. HIP registration is free and can be done at the time hunters purchase their licenses, but can always be added later if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds. State licenses and stamps, permits, and HIP registration are also available through Go Wild.

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

Go Wild

With the Exterior goose season opening in the Mississippi River Zone on Sept. 30, there have been some important changes concerning our transition to Go Wild. The Canada goose harvest registration phone number is now consistent with all other species registered in Wisconsin - this new system also provides for online registration. Hunters can now register online at or via phone at 844-426-3734 (844-GAME-REG).

In addition, Early, Exterior and Horicon Zone goose permits are now printed on regular white paper, rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their proof of license/permit but infield validation is no longer required - department staff encourage hunters to carry paper permits in a plastic bag to shield it from any adverse weather conditions.

For more information regarding Go Wild, visit



Madison's man generosity to father-son hunters earns 2016 Wisconsin DNR Ethical Hunter Award

MIDDLETON, Wis. -- A Madison man who gave up a favorite hunting spot to a stranger who unknowingly scouted the same location for an opening day of the nine-day gun hunt with his 9-year-old son was honored recently with the 2016Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Ethical Hunter Award.

Dan Burns received the award from DNR Capt. April Dombrowski, of the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Program, and corporate sponsor Vortex Optics' representatives Shamus Terry and Nick Laufenberg at a September 2 ceremony at the Vortex Optics Headquarters in Middleton. Also in attendance was Burns' mother.

Left to right: Capt. April Dombrowski of the Bureau of Law Enforcement's Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Program, Winner Dan Burns of Madison, and corporate sponsor Vortex Optics' representatives Nick Laufenberg at a September 2 ceremony at the Vortex Optics Headquarters in Middleton.
Left to right: Capt. April Dombrowski of the Bureau of Law Enforcement's Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Program, Winner Dan Burns of Madison, and corporate sponsor Vortex Optics' representatives Nick Laufenberg at a September 2 ceremony at the Vortex Optics Headquarters in Middleton.
Photo Credit: Jerry Davis

Burns' hunting buddy Dan Lyksett, of Eau Claire was one of two men who nominated him for the annual ethics award. Michael Dettlaff of Stanley also nominated Burns.

As the story goes, on 2016 gun-deer opening day Dan Burns retreated from his cherished deer hunting location on public property in Washburn County when he met Keith Halverson of Esko, Minn., who arrived at the same time at the same location.

The two men realized they had both scouted the same location before the season. Burns had hunted the area numerous times in the years before, and Halverson had scouted it as a good location for him and his 9-year-old son, who also was there at the simultaneous arrival. When Burns realized this, he gave up his spot to the father-son hunters.

Bob Lamb, retired outdoors editor for The La Crosse Tribune who helped create the annual honor in 1997 and continues to serve on the award committee, says the generosity and understanding Burns exhibited is why the award was created.

"This year's award winner is synonymous with the exact definition of the hunter ethics award," Lamb said, adding Burns' behavior reflects the positive hunting traditions.

Retired DNR Warden Steve Dewald, another award founder, says Burns' action reflect the positive hunting tradition. "By being considerate to another hunter and his 9-year-old boy, Dan Burns created a positive outdoor experience for another hunting group."

In partnership of this award, Vortex Optics presented Dan Burns with an outdoors package that included a rifle scope, a pair of binoculars and a range finder -- all items the award committee views as helping hunters see the outdoors more clearly.

Each year, anyone in the public can nominate a licensed Wisconsin hunter for the DNR Ethical Hunter Award for an action that took place during that calendar year. While many nominations are made during gun deer season, the ethical action could be during a squirrel hunt, turkey hunt, waterfowl hunting or any other Wisconsin hunting season.

The licensed Wisconsin hunter nominated need not be helping another hunter, or anyone in the outdoors, but must demonstrate actions that reflect positively on the tradition of hunting, committee member Dewald said.

Past winners have helped wardens, landowners, people lost in the woods and someone unable to drag or load a deer carcass.

The first ethical hunter winner, in 1997, was awarded to a man and young boy who found a registered deer carcass that had fallen off a truck. They gave up most of their opening weekend to get the deer back to the rightful owner.

The selection committee is chaired by DNR chief warden, Todd Schaller. In addition to Lamb and Dewald, Jerry Davis is the fourth committee member and helped found the award.



Horicon Marsh joint trapping auction scheduled for Oct. 4, 2017

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public trapping auction at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. to provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and review information. The auction will begin promptly at 6 p.m. USFWS and DNR personnel will review trapping seasons and regulations, unit boundaries, special conditions/restrictions pertaining to each individual unit, trapping reports, as well as other information with successful bidders.

All USFWS and DNR trapping units will be sold to the highest bidder with a limit of one unit per trapper. Bidders must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the auction. Trappers who are bidding must be present at the auction and will be required to make full payment at that time. Both USFWS and DNR reserve the right to reject any or all bids.

The Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, managed by DNR staff, will offer 10 wetland units during the 2017-18 trapping season. An additional unit will be also be set aside for any interested youth (between the ages of 12 to 17) or disabled (must possess a disabled hunting permit) trappers. The trapping season for all wetland and upland units on Horicon State Wildlife Area will run from Oct. 28, 2017 through March 15, 2018.

Upland trapping permits will also be available, at no charge for those interested who possess a valid trapping license. Interested trappers are encouraged to scout the units prior to the auction and may do so, by foot or boat, at any time.

The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, managed by USFWS staff, will offer 11 dike/marsh units for bid at the auction. In addition, upland trapping will be offered to any interested trapper, at no charge. An additional unit will be also be set aside for any interested youth (between the ages of 12 to 17) or disabled (must possess a disabled hunting permit) trappers. Two trappers will be randomly drawn for trapping in this area, at no charge. The drawing will be held at the auction. Trappers do not have to be present at the drawing. As a reminder, seniors must be 62 years of age or older and trappers with disabilities must have a disabled hunting permit from the DNR.

For all units including dike, marsh, and upland the trapping season will be as follows, and trappers must follow state regulations for start dates for specific species:

The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge will be open Tuesday, Oct. 3 and Wednesday, Oct. 4, during daylight hours only, to all trappers who wish to scout areas of the Refuge that will be open to trapping. Interested trappers must obtain a permit at the Refuge Office/Visitor Center, located near County Road Z (W4279 Headquarters Road, Mayville) before accessing the units. A scouting permit can also be obtained by emailing a request to the refuge contact provided. Scouting permits can be picked up or received via email on weekdays from Sept. 25 through Oct. 4.

USFWS will accept payments by check, money order, debit card, or credit card (no cash will be accepted), while DNR will only accept checks or cash.

The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is located between Horicon and Mayville on Highway 28. The full address is N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon, WI 53032.

More details regarding the 2017/2018 Horicon Marsh trapping season are available for both the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (exit DNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's State Wildlife Area.



Gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities runs from Oct. 7-15

MADISON - In 2017, 67 landowners in 42 counties have enrolled roughly 80,300 acres of hunting land to provide opportunities for hunters with disabilities to take part in the gun deer hunt.

This annual hunt, which runs from Oct. 7-15, gives landowners an opportunity to provide a positive experience for hunters with disabilities throughout Wisconsin.

"This hunt relies upon the generosity of landowners and is a tremendous opportunity to provide a unique opportunity for hunters with disabilities," said Maggie Stewart, DNR assistant big game ecologist. "In 2017, we've got roughly 80,000 acres enrolled thanks to a number of generous landowners."

The gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities is only open on properties enrolled in the program. Hunters with a valid disabled hunting permit were required to contact a participating landowner before Sept. 1.

Landowners who are interested in enrolling their property to host a disabled deer hunt in the future are encouraged to contact DNR staff before June 1, 2018. For enrollment and program information, contact Maggie Stewart at 608-261-7588 or via email at

To learn more about this rewarding program, visit the Department of Natural Resources website,, and search keywords "disabled deer hunt."



Pittsville, Edgerton receive DNR brownfield awards

MADISON - Two Wisconsin communities stand to benefit from Department of Natural Resources brownfields awards to assist with the investigation of historic contamination.

Pittsville and Edgerton received Wisconsin Assessment Monies from the DNR for contractor services worth a combined $45,000. Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of contaminated properties.

"The work will help the communities better understand the contaminated areas in question, leading to potential job growth, retention and economic development," said Christine Haag, DNR brownfields section chief.

In Pittsville, city officials will use the award to investigate contamination on a 2-acre site on the east side of town that used to be the home of numerous businesses dating back nearly a century. The buildings housed a number of businesses over the years, including Pittsville Pottery in the early 1930s and a shipping and cold storage business, and eventually was the home to Pittsville Lumber.

The site is now the new home to Vantage Mechanical, a steel manufacturing and fabrication business. The company has already done some environmental work to evaluate contamination on the property, but a limited site investigation is required to quickly and cost-effectively evaluate the level of risk associated with contamination from an old petroleum tank at the site.

Edgerton is using its award to evaluate a nearly five-acre property referred to as the Lawton Street site. The property is near the city's downtown area and has been through numerous uses since it started as a rail yard in the late 1800s, including tobacco warehouses, a grain elevator, a pottery business, lumberyard, stockyard, feed mill, auto repair shop and various agrichemical companies.

Edgerton officials will use the award to assess site contamination and ensure compliance with current environmental investigation standards before considering the location for future development.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities. In many instances, WAM awards are leveraged with other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on properties that may have been underutilized for many years.

Applications can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible.

For more information, search the DNR website, for WAM or search keyword "brownfield."



Peninsula State Park Eagle Tower design concept public meeting

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release was previously issued to media in northeaster Wisconsin.]

FISH CREEK, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity to review concepts for a new Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park at a public meeting that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. September 28 at the Sturgeon Bay Public Library.

The park closed the tower to public use in May 2015 to protect public safety after an inspection report raised significant concerns over its structural integrity and an inspection by the Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory staff found considerable deterioration of the structural and non-structural wood members. The tower was deconstructed in September 2016.

Current plans are to rebuild a new structure to look as similar as possible to the existing tower, while complying with building codes, accessibility and taking into consideration new technologies.

This meeting will provide the public an opportunity to review and comment on different concepts for a new tower rather than any specific designs. The Sturgeon Bay Public Library is located at 107 S 4th Ave., Sturgeon Bay. The public will also have an opportunity to provide comment online beginning in late September until early October. Visit the Eagle Tower webpage for more information later this month.

The Friends of Peninsula State Park in cooperation with interested community members has formed a subcommittee, the Eagle Tower Fund Committee, which is raising funds to rebuild Eagle Tower.

People who are interested in donating to the reconstruction of Eagle Tower can find more information and a link to the donation website through the Friends of Peninsula State Park website at

People can also sign up to receive email updates on tower progress by searching the DNR website,, for "Eagle Tower" and clicking on the "subscribe for Eagle Tower updates" email icon.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications