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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 509 days

Weekly News Published May 29, 2019

 

Application period for Wisconsin elk hunt ends May 31

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-206-1107

MADISON - Time is running out for hunters who want to have opportunity to participate this fall in Wisconsin's second managed elk hunt: the application deadline is Thursday, May 31.

o	Dan Vandertie, who drew a tag for the 2018 managed elk hunt, harvested this bull last fall. The application deadline for the 2019 hunt is midnight on May 31. - Photo credit: Contributed
Dan Vandertie, who drew a tag for the 2018 managed elk hunt, harvested this bull last fall. The application deadline for the 2019 hunt is midnight on May 31.Photo credit: Contributed

"Interest in the hunt continues to be high and very positive," said Kevin Wallenfang deer and elk ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Everyone who applies has the same odds of drawing a tag, and we encourage anyone with an interest to get their application in to be one of five lucky state hunters to have an opportunity to hunt elk in Wisconsin."

Last year marked Wisconsin's first managed elk hunt in state history when the state wildlife officials set a harvest quota of 10 bulls in the original Clam Lake elk range. Over 38,000 hunters applied for five once-in-a-lifetime elk tags. Four bulls were harvested in October and November by state hunters, and five were harvested by members of the Ojibwa tribes.

A quota of 10 bull elk was approved for the 2019 hunt for which five bull tags will be awarded to state hunters through the DNR. Four of those will be awarded through the state application and drawing, and the fifth will be awarded through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle. Hunters may enter both but can only win once. Those interested in entering the RMEF raffle should look for more information on the organization's website. The Ojibwa tribes will again receive an allocation of the remaining five elk.

Elk license applications can be purchased in the DNR Go Wild license system from May 1-31, and only Wisconsin residents may apply. Each potential hunter may apply once online at gowild.wi.gov or by visiting a license agent. The application fee is $10. RMEF raffle tickets are also $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets each individual may purchase. The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49. Seven dollars from each application are earmarked for elk management and research in Wisconsin.

All five state hunters will be notified in early June. Prior to obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners are required to participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter education program offered in early September. The class will cover regulations, hunting techniques and more.

The 2019 hunting season will occur only in the Clam Lake elk range in parts of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, and Price counties in far north-central Wisconsin, where the original restoration effort was initiated with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995.

"A number of potential elk hunters ask if they will be able to find a place to hunt if they draw a tag," Wallenfang said. "With approximately 70 percent of the elk range under public ownership and open to hunting, finding a place to hunt should not be a concern. Despite the somewhat remoteness of the area, there are campgrounds, hotels and restaurants, so everything a hunter needs is within easy reach."

Wisconsin's elk hunting season will adhere to the following guidelines:

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, go to dnr.wi.gov and search the keyword "elk." To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit dnr.wi.gov 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 "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.

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Walleye fishing opportunities abound on Lake Superior

Contact(s): Dray Carl, DNR fisheries biologist, 715-779-0197

ASHLAND, Wis. -- When anglers think of fishing the big water of Lake Superior, walleye is rarely the first species that comes to their minds. However, a recent Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources walleye assessment in Chequamegon Bay showed bountiful numbers of walleye along the Ashland shoreline this spring, all ready to fill the livewells of lucky anglers.

Four fyke nets were deployed along the Ashland shoreline on April 27 to target spawning walleye as part of the department's monitoring efforts.

Pot-end of a fyke net along the Ashland shoreline of Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior is full of more than 250 mature walleyes. - Photo credit: DNR fisheries technician Randy Besonen
Pot-end of a fyke net along the Ashland shoreline of Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior is full of more than 250 mature walleyes.Photo credit: DNR fisheries technician Randy Besonen

"The first day of lifting showed the abundance of walleye near Ashland and demonstrates that our management is producing an abundant walleye population," according to Dray Carl, DNR fisheries biologist.

Out of the four nets on that first day, 905 walleye were captured, processed, and released back into the water. Carl indicated that during the 8-day assessment 3,560 walleye were sampled, and the nets contained a large number of female walleye between 19 and 22 inches. The largest walleye captured was a 31.9-inch female.

Each walleye was measured and given a unique numbered yellow tag. In addition, a dorsal spine was taken from a subsample of fish to obtain age estimates.

"The yellow floy tag placed just below the dorsal fin will allow us to gather information on walleye growth and mortality rates, which will increase our information on this important fishery in the Bay," Carl said.

"Anglers can further help improve our management by taking the time to contact the Bayfield Fisheries Office at 715-779-5051 with information including the tag color and letter-number combination, species, date, relative location, and whether the fish was harvested," Carl said.

This information will be used to aid management of Lake Superior fisheries, and in return, anglers will receive all information that the department has collected about that tagged fish. Also, anglers are asked to leave the tag in the fish that are released.

The regulations for walleye in Chequamegon Bay include a daily bag limit of 5 with a minimum length limit of 15 inches with only one over 20 inches.

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Northern bass zone fishing season opens to harvest on June 15

Contact(s): Mike Vogelsang, DNR Fisheries Management north district supervisor, 715-356-5211 ext. 239

WOODRUFF, Wis. - Smallmouth bass anglers in the northern bass zone will have the opportunity to bring home their catch beginning on June 15 with the opening of the regular harvest season.

Many waters in northern Wisconsin have the right characteristics to grow large bass. - Photo credit: DNR
Many waters in northern Wisconsin have the right characteristics to grow large bass.Photo credit: DNR

The northern bass zone encompasses the area north of highways 77, 27, 64 and 29. The smallmouth bass season in this zone was restricted to catch-and-release fishing only, while largemouth bass could be taken as part of the daily bag.

The statewide regulations for bass harvest consist of a 14-inch minimum length limit and a daily bag limit of five bass in total. However, anglers should check the 2019-20 Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for exceptions to these size and bag limits on certain lakes and streams.

"Anglers looking for good bass fishing opportunities should check out the regulations pamphlet and seek out those waters boasting 18" minimum size limits," said Mike Vogelsang, north district fisheries supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "These waters have all the right characteristics to grow respectable numbers of large fish."

Anglers can learn more about what to expect for bass fishing on waters across the state by reading the 2019 Wisconsin Fishing Report. The report contains information on fishing local waters, general fishing regulations, scientific updates and more.

Bass zones in Wisconsin. - Photo credit: DNR
Northern bass zone.Photo credit: DNR

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Edgerton to use DNR brownfield assessment funds to position site for redevelopment

Contact(s): Christine Haag, Remediation and Redevelopment Program Director, 608-266-0244; Andrew Savagian, communications, 608-261-6422

MADISON - Efforts to assess possible contamination at the former "shoe factory" in Edgerton will take a leap forward with a recently issued brownfields grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

The award comes from the DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies program and will provide for contractor services worth approximately $35,000. The work will help city officials assess possible contamination, which will help position the site for eventual reuse.

The former Nunn Bush Shoe Company building has been mostly vacant since 2011 and has fallen into disrepair.  - Photo credit: DNR
The former Nunn Bush Shoe Company building has been mostly vacant since 2011 and has fallen into disrepair. The city received a DNR $35,000 brownfields grant to assess the site for possible contamination.Photo credit: DNR

The 6.6-acre property on Main Street is the site of the former Nunn Bush Shoe Company, which operated a shoe assembly factory from 1933 to 1988. Since then, a 55,000 sq. ft. building on the site has seen a handful of tenants but has been mostly vacant since 2011. The building has been used to store various items but has fallen into disrepair. An investigation in the late 1980s found evidence of asbestos in the building and other contamination on the property.


Nunn Bush Shoe Company property redevelopment.

City officials say the run-down property on the city's most visible street hampers Edgerton's economic development and future growth of the area.

"The property has been for sale for many years but it's just not attractive to potential buyers in its present condition," said Edgerton Mayor Chris Lund. "The DNR's help with this project is a critical step toward cleaning up and redeveloping the site."

Administered by the DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of properties with known or perceived contamination. The program is funded through a U.S. EPA brownfields assessment grant.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the program 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. The DNR uses WAM funding to assess brownfields throughout the state, concentrating on industrial sites and closed or closing manufacturing plants. WAM awards are also made for sites that may not have had a history of manufacturing but are in rural areas, racially diverse communities, and/or economically disadvantaged areas.

For more information, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search for "WAM" or search keyword "brownfield."

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Drain and clean in between to stop invasive species and protect Wisconsin's waters

Contact(s): Jeanne Scherer, Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist, 608-266-0061; OR Tim Campbell, 608-265-3727

MADISON - Draining live wells, bait buckets and bilges every time they leave a boat launch or fishing access is a great way for anglers to help keep our waters healthy by stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Drain Campaign, our annual reminder, will take place on May 31-June 2, 2019 and coincides with the Free Fishing Weekend.

"It's a great thing that the majority of lakes and rivers in Wisconsin don't yet have aquatic invasive species in them, but that makes it even more important that we protect our waters from those that do," says Todd Ambs, DNR assistant deputy secretary.

Draining live wells, bait buckets and bilges every time you leave a boat launch is a way for anglers to help keep waters healthy by stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species. - Photo credit: DNR
Draining live wells, bait buckets and bilges every time you leave a boat launch is a way for anglers to help keep waters healthy by stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species.Photo credit: DNR

Clean Boats, Clean Waters boat inspectors made up of volunteers, regional aquatic invasive species partners and WDNR staff will talk with anglers and boaters at launches around the state. At many lakes and river accesses, they will also hand out free ice packs to remind people that icing is the best way to keep fish fresh.

"Fishing success is tied to healthy lakes, rivers and streams. Anglers can help by not moving water that may contain tiny, even microscopic, species. Putting your catch on ice not only keeps the fish fresher and tastier, but it means you don't need to worry about moving AIS in your live well or bucket to another body of water," Ambs says.

Anglers are the best messengers to spread the word by passing on prevention steps to those new to the sport as well as to others who don't know the law and reasons behind it. People who use social media can also spread the word about the importance of draining livewells and other equipment by posting photos and messages using #JustDrainIt or #stopaquatichitchhikers.

The following steps are required by law to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin's waters and economy, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "invasives."

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May's heavy rains, snow demand boaters' attention

Contact(s): Joanne Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, joanne.haas@wisconsin.gov, 608-209-8147

MADISON -- The wet spring with May's heavy rainfalls and snowstorms have swelled some Wisconsin lakes, streams and rivers into flood stages.

Heavy rains in May have many Wisconsin rivers flowing high and fast. - Photo credit: DNR
Heavy rains in May have many Wisconsin rivers flowing high and fast.Photo credit: DNR

High water -- marked by surging currents and hidden floating debris - has Department of Natural Resources officials urging all water users to check local water conditions, to know the area's weather forecasts and to wear your life jackets.

DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement Captain April Dombrowski says the higher, fast-moving water also can tax an individual's boating and paddling skills.

"What may look like a flat, inviting river or stream, may disguise a fast-moving current pulling debris out of your sight and under the surface - and could put you in danger without a lot of warning," she said.

Dombrowski said this wet weather is a worthy reminder for all to check local water conditions before boating or paddling, swimming or any water activity. Good places to check are local tourism offices, DNR offices, local bait shops, sporting goods stores or the U.S. Geological Survey website for current conditions of Wisconsin streamflow (exit DNR).

High water level waterways can be a showcase of the state's beauty and natural resources. However, be aware of the power of the water's current -- which is strong and can vary.

Water levels also will vary due to weather and from water body to water body," she said. "Careful of downed trees, floating debris, strong currents submerged rocks and, along with strong winds causing increased wave activity that could affect how your watercraft handles."

And she reminds all on the water to take this easy step to safety.

"Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when venturing out on the water," Dombrowski said. "Today's models are comfortable versions. Wearing one just might save your life."

Here are some other safety tips from the captain:

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Contact information

Need an expert? Contact the Office of Communications.

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email DNRPress@Wisconsin.gov and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.