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Weekly News Published - January 16, 2018 by the Central Office

 

138,144 harvest authorizations issued for 2018 spring turkey hunt

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861

Remaining harvest authorizations available beginning March 19

MADISON - The 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization drawing has concluded and 138,144 successful applicants will receive spring wild turkey harvest authorizations. A total of 244,218 authorizations were available for the spring 2018 turkey season. The leftover harvest authorizations not issued in the drawing will be available for purchase beginning March 19.

Postcard notifications to successful applicants have been mailed. Hunters can also monitor their harvest authorization status in their online account at GoWild.WI.gov.

Along with a spring turkey harvest authorization, a valid 2018 spring turkey license and Wild Turkey Stamp is required to hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Stamps and licenses may be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any license agent or DNR Service Centers, beginning in March at the start of the license year.

Spring turkey periods run for seven days

The 2018 spring turkey season runs April 18 through May 29. - Photo credit: DNR
The 2018 spring turkey season runs April 18 through May 29.Photo credit: DNR

The spring turkey season begins on the third Wednesday in April. The 2018 spring season will run from April 18 through May 29, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday.

Hunters are reminded that spring turkey harvest authorizations are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these have been eliminated, state parks will remain open for spring turkey hunting during select periods, and have been absorbed into surrounding turkey management zones. For example, a hunter wishing to hunt within Governor Dodge State Park, previously Zone 1A, may still do so with a Zone 1 harvest authorization. For more information regarding hunting within state parks, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "state park hunting."

Hunters are reminded that the Fort McCoy spring turkey hunting season is managed separately from the State of Wisconsin spring turkey hunt. Hunters may apply for a 2018 spring turkey harvest authorization at Fort McCoy only if they have not received one through the regular spring turkey drawing. Applications can be obtained from Fort McCoy by calling 608-388-3337 or visiting www.mccoy.army.mil [EXIT DNR].

Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within 2017 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2017 Fall Turkey Regulations and 2018 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF].

Leftover spring turkey harvest authorizations go on sale March 19

The leftover harvest authorizations for the 2018 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, March 19 at 10 a.m. Leftover harvest authorizations will be first issued for sale by zone, one zone per day. Leftover harvest authorizations can be purchased online at GoWild.WI.gov, or in person at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey management zone map [PDF] and the leftover harvest authorization availability page to see if harvest authorizations are available for the period and zone in which they wish to hunt.

The following zones have leftover harvest authorizations, and scheduled sales dates are as follows:

NOTE: all available harvest authorizations for Zone 6 were issued via the drawing

After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 24. Extra turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time-period sells out or the season closes.

Leftover turkey harvest authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents - each will have equal opportunity to purchase leftover harvest authorizations. Purchasing a leftover harvest authorization will not affect preference point status for future turkey drawings.

Youth turkey hunt set for April 14-15

Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt on April 14-15. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. During the youth hunt weekend, hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters who have not completed a hunter education course can hunt under the Mentored Hunting Program. Special rules and regulations apply.

Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2018 turkey harvest authorization, license and Wild Turkey Stamp. A current, valid harvest authorization issued for any time-period can be used during the youth hunt, but the youth hunter must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization. Youth hunters may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt.

Youth who do not successfully harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use their unfilled harvest authorization for the time-period and zone for which their authorization was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations [PDF] apply.

For more information and the rules and regulations on the spring turkey youth hunt, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "youth hunt."

Wisconsin's public lands provide wealth of opportunities to find a place to hunt this spring

Each year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from birdwatching to hunting. For those interested in exploring all Wisconsin has to offer, the department has a number of tools available to help users find a new favorite spot in the wild.

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

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Snowmobilers: DNR conservation warden offers safety tips for every ride

Contact(s): DNR Snowmobile Administrator Gary Eddy, 608-245-2315 or gary.eddy@wisconsin.gov

MADISON -- A rollercoaster of seasonal temperatures and changing snow levels have launched Wisconsin's early snowmobile season, prompting Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Administrator/Warden Gary Eddy to urge operators to review important safety tips to prepare for safe and fun rides.

"Snowmobilers really need to be careful because conditions for safe, early season snowmobile riding are just developing," Eddy said. "Riding conditions can become less than perfect at any time of the season, but you can almost always count on them being a bit tricky early in the season. Corners become icy, rough terrain and rocks may be exposed, road routes may be bare and ice conditions can be inconsistent."

Many northern counties have opened some or all of their snowmobile trails and snowmobile enthusiasts have been able to take advantage of some early season riding. However, Eddy adds, many trails are in need of new snow to freshen conditions.

Here are Eddy's top tips for a safe and fun ride:

For more safety tips, information on safety classes or to view a copy of the snowmobile regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "snowmobile."

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Making the most of Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 20-21

Contact(s): Pamela Toshner, DNR, 715-635-4073; Scott Toshner, DNR, 715-372-8539

Tips for ice fishing fun with the whole family

MADISON -- Free Fishing Weekend, Jan. 20-21, gives newcomers of all ages a chance to try ice fishing without a license, and a Department of Natural Resources fish-loving couple passes on their tips for making that first trip fun for the whole family, particularly kids.

Pamela and Scott Toshner, a DNR lake and watershed protection specialist and a DNR fisheries biologist, respectively, are avid ice anglers and parents of twin girls. They started getting the girls involved in fishing when they were about 3 years old. The first couple of years were short trips and by 5 years old, the girls were already fairly seasoned ice anglers.

Pamela Toshner and Scott Toshner started taking their daughters fishing when they were toddlers. - Photo credit: DNR
Pamela Toshner and Scott Toshner started taking their daughters fishing when they were toddlers.Photo credit: DNR

Here are the Toshners' tips for ice fishing fun with the whole family.

Getting ready for adventure

They caught on early! Scott Toshner helps daughter Corina handle a nice northern pike.  - Photo credit: DNR
They caught one! Scott Toshner helps daughter Corina handle a nice northern pike. Photo credit: DNR

When they catch a fish...

The girls were seasoned anglers by 5 years old and catching some nice fish on their own. - Photo credit: DNR
The girls were seasoned anglers by 5 years old and catching some nice fish on their own. Photo credit: DNR

More Free Fishing Weekend tips

Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish almost anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend, January 20-21, 2018. Most waters of the state are included, except for spring trout ponds. All other inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are open; all other regulations and seasonal restrictions are in force.

DNR has ice fishing equipment available for loan at 22 of our 56 tackle loaner sites. And 16 sites have fly fishing gear in case you want to take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend to give the early catch and release trout season a try. Free ice fishing clinics are a great way to get introduced to ice fishing, so check out DNR's listing of events by searching the DNR website for "Free Fishing Weekend."

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Natural Resources Board to meet January 24 in Madison

Contact(s): Jim Dick, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773; Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420

MADISON - A request for adoption of proposed rules relating to runoff management and nonpoint source performance standards, a request for adoption of proposed rules related to the federal cost shared state program for suppression of gypsy moths and a request for approval of recommendations for the 2018 bear harvest quotas are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets Wednesday, January 24 in Madison.

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

The Department of Natural Resources has found that in some areas of the state groundwater standards will not be attained under current performance standards found in NR 151 of the Wisc. Admin. Code due to the particular geological make-up of the bedrock and soil. The performance standards in the proposed rule are designed to minimize the risk of pathogens reaching groundwater.

Required requests for gypsy moth suppression spraying by the DNR have reduced dramatically since the mid-2000s. The department is proposing deactivating the suppression program and allowing private business to take over this service. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is continuing its gypsy moth "Stop the Spread" gypsy moth program, so people in some parts of the state will still see planes spraying this summer.

The board will also hear request for approval of the fisheries and wildlife management questions for the 2018 Fish and Wildlife Spring Meetings and hear an information update on a new demand based pricing system for the Wisconsin State Park System properties among other items.

At approximately noon the board may convene in closed session under the authority of s. 19.85(1)(e) Wisconsin Statutes to discuss the department's competitive bargaining and negotiation position with respect to a potential real estate transaction in Southeast Wisconsin and in South Central Wisconsin.

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

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to, testify, or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018. 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.

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Feeding deer throughout the winter can do more harm than good

Contact(s): Tim Marien, DNR wildlife health specialist, 608-264-6046

MADISON -- Wisconsin's deer herd is faring well so far this winter as low snow levels have deer moving freely throughout the state. Yet, the onset of snow and cold often turns people's thoughts to overwinter survival and a desire to feed deer and other wildlife. Residents should consider the negative impacts of wildlife feeding as well as alternatives that provide long-term benefits to help wildlife through a cold and snowy winter season.

"People want to see healthy deer on the landscape, but feeding is not the best solution," said Tim Marien, a wildlife health specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Improving habitat provide natural food sources that support deer and many other types of wildlife year-round."

Through the end of December, the Winter Severity Index has tallied a small number of below zero temperature days, but is lacking the more stressful impacts of heavy snows. Even a mild Wisconsin winter can cause concerns, but deer and other wildlife commonly seen in Wisconsin adapt both physically and behaviorally to even the harshest winter weather. Animals with adequate fat reserves and good winter cover are more likely to survive.

"Deer start preparing for winter during the summer, when nutritious natural food sources are abundant," said Marien. "When winter arrives, they seek out shelter in stands of pine, cedar and fir that provide cover from snow and wind, and search for winter foods in the vicinity until spring."

However, some winters can overly stress individual animals, and this can reduce their chances of survival. Especially during hard winters, concerned people may turn to feeding to help deer through the winter. While this may have some benefit to individual animals, feeding often occurs on a scale too small to affect the overall condition of the deer herd. Feeding can also have a negative impact on deer, as it draws them out of winter range that offers the best food and cover to help deer conserve energy. Feeding also increases the risk of disease spread and severe digestive issues.

As a reminder, deer feeding is illegal in some counties in Wisconsin. Where it is legal, regulations restrict how much food may be placed and where. Feeding deer is also prohibited when elk and bear are using the site. For a full list of wildlife feeding regulations and what counties feeding is allowed, visit the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search "feeding regulations."

"Feeding restrictions are in place to protect the health and safety of both humans and wildlife," said Marien. "In areas where elk and bear are present, feeding can present a safety risk when these animals acclimate to people. Also, elk are susceptible to several diseases that deer carry, which can weaken the elk herds that Wisconsin has been working to grow over the past few decades."

Improve habitat to help deer through a tough winter

Creating and improving habitat can give deer and other wildlife the resources they need during summer months and sustain them during the winter. Maintaining nutritious natural food sources, like oak, aspen and crabapple provides summer and fall food, while evergreen stands create winter cover and food for deer. Cutting trees and providing browse is a more natural food source and can also provide better cover in the long run. Good habitat fulfills the needs of many deer, rather than individuals.

A variety of resources are available to help landowners improve their land for wildlife, including the Deer Management Assistance Program, Young Forest Initiative and the Landowner Incentive Program. More information on these programs and additional publications is available on the DNR website by searching keyword "landowner."

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Baiting and feeding ban to begin for Milwaukee County after first positive CWD detection

Contact(s): Dianne Robinson, DNR wildlife biologist, 262-424-9827; Kevin Mickelberg, DNR Southeast conservation warden captain, 262-818-1705

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received confirmation that a wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in the West Allis metropolitan area of Milwaukee County.

As required by law, this finding will establish a baiting and feeding ban for Milwaukee County effective Feb. 1, 2018. Milwaukee County is already classified as a CWD-affected county due to being adjacent to a county with a detection; however, because of this finding, a new three-year baiting and feeding ban will go into effect.

A 4-year-old buck displaying clinical symptoms of CWD was tested from an urban setting in West Allis. It is the first confirmed positive in Milwaukee County. To determine if the disease is present in other wild deer in the area, the DNR will conduct disease surveillance within a 10-mile radius around the positive location. Milwaukee metro sub-unit deer hunters are encouraged to submit adult deer harvested for CWD sampling during the remainder of the metro sub-unit season.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, and how to have adult deer testing during the remainder of the metro sub-unit season, visit the department's website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords "bait" and "CWD sampling" respectively.

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Registration opens for Northeast Wisconsin Woodland Owners Conference

Contact(s): Scott Lyon, DNR forest products specialist, 920-662-5184, 920-360-3722 (cell), Scott.Lyon@wisconsin.gov

Five additional conferences scheduled around the state

GREEN BAY - The 2018 Northeast Wisconsin Woodland Owners Conference is scheduled for January 27 at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. The conference will focus on topics of interest to private woodland owners. Registrations are due by January 24. Forest landowners and all those interested in forest management are welcome to attend.

"Private woodland owners hold the largest portion of forestland in Wisconsin," said Scott Lyon, forest products specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Conferences like these are important to encourage the sharing of ideas so they can help collectively shape the future of Wisconsin's landscape. The decisions made today impact the quality of resources for future generations."

The Department of Natural Resources is a supporting partner of the conference and DNR staff will be presenting on a variety of topics.

Linda Williams, DNR forest health specialist for northeastern Wisconsin, will present "Forest Health Update/EAB Concerns." Linda works with foresters and landowners to diagnose forest health problems from insect and disease issues to abiotic issues like weather and storm damage.

Greg Edge, DNR forest ecologist/silviculturist, will present "EAB and the Private Woodland Owner - What You Need to Know." He has been involved in the development of "Wisconsin's Forest Management Guidelines for Emerald Ash Borer" and in the creation of a stand assessment/decision tool for field foresters writing silvicultural prescriptions for lowland ash stands.

Scott Lyon, DNR forest products specialist located in Green Bay, will present "Ash Wood Markets - Impact of EAB on Wisconsin's Wood Industry." Lyon provides assistance to support and grow Wisconsin's forest products industry.

Steve Kaufman, DNR forester covering Brown County, Outagamie County, and Navarino Wildlife Area, will talk about "Log-a-Load Event for Kids."

For more information and to register for the conference, go to glacierlandrcd.org, under events, or call Glacierland RC&D at 920-465-3006. Conference registration will be $15 per person.

DNR foresters are assisting with these additional regional woodland owner conferences during the coming weeks:

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773