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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published August 20, 2019

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Hunters advised that bear management zones remain unchanged for the 2019 season

Contact(s): Scott Walter, DNR large carnivore ecologist, (608) 267-7865

Bear management zones remain unchanged for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. - Photo credit: DNR
Bear management zones remain unchanged for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin bear hunters should be aware that bear management zones remain unchanged for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The DNR Bear Advisory Committee developed the Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan 2019-2029 and the Natural Resources Board approved it in May. New management zones defined in the plan are scheduled to go into effect in 2021. The plan provides a concise and informative overview of black bear ecology and management in Wisconsin and includes goals and objectives that will guide bear management over the next decade.

Of interest to hunters, the plan recommends new Bear Management Zone boundaries, which are designed to better address issues with agricultural damage and allow a more flexible approach to managing bears in the central and southern portions of the state.

Those interested in learning more about the proposed boundary changes are encouraged to review the Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan for more information.

For more information on bear hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "bear."



Sept. 1 marks opener for mourning dove, early teal and early goose hunting seasons

Contact(s): Jeff Williams, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458

Sept. 1 marks the opening of early migratory seasons in Wisconsin. - Photo credit: DNR
Sept. 1 marks the opening of early migratory seasons in Wisconsin.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - The wait is almost over to get back out on the marsh. Sept. 1 marks the opener for Wisconsin's mourning dove, early teal and early Canada goose hunting seasons.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose hunting begins with the early season Sept. 1-15, with a daily bag limit of five geese during this time. This early season targets locally breeding geese with a higher daily bag limit, before the arrival of migrating geese from Canada. During the early goose season, regulations apply statewide, with no zone-specific regulations.


The early teal season will run Sept. 1-9, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Shooting hours for the early teal season are sunrise to sunset (see page 28 in Migratory Bird Regulations). Early teal season hunters are at minimum required to purchase the following licenses and permits:

  1. Small game license;
  2. Federal duck stamp;
  3. State duck stamp; and
  4. HIP registration.

The duck identification quiz found at, keyword "waterfowl," gives hunters an opportunity to brush up on duck identification before the early season.

While the early teal season is offered statewide, some state-owned properties have special waterfowl hunting limitations. For example, Mead Wildlife Area does not allow waterfowl hunting before the regular duck season, and Lake Mills Wildlife Area (Zeloski Marsh) has unique shooting hour restrictions. Contact a local wildlife biologist or consult the 2019 Migratory Bird Regulations for a list of areas with additional requirements or limitations.

To view a full list of waterfowl hunting seasons and the 2019 Migratory Game Bird Regulations, search keyword "waterfowl."

Mourning Dove

In 2019, the mourning dove hunting season will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 29. This season structure is identical to 2018. The daily bag limit is 15 doves, and possession limits for doves are three times the daily bag limit.

Go Wild

Early and regular goose permits print on regular white paper rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their Canada goose harvest permit. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy; department-approved PDF displayed on a mobile device; Wisconsin driver's license, or Go Wild Conservation Card. As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.

For more information regarding Go Wild, visit

Band Reporting

If you find or harvest a banded bird, please report it at [Exit DNR]. You'll need the band number, or numbers, where, when and how you recovered the bird. Even if the band you recover has a 1-800telephonenumber inscribed on it, you can only report it at [Exit DNR].

Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool

Dove hunters are encouraged to check out the Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat for grouse and woodcock hunting, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.

FLIGHT also allows users to print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and provides measuring tools to help estimate acreage and walking distance. Mobile users can use this tool on-the-go to find suitable habitat for hunting.

For more information, search keyword "FFLIGHT."



Final year of reintroduction effort provides 60 Kentucky elk to Wisconsin's Northwoods

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

The Wisconsin DNR has released the final round of translocated elk in Sawyer County, bringing the state's herd close to 300 animals. - Photo credit: DNR
The Wisconsin DNR has released the final round of translocated elk in Sawyer County, bringing the state's northern herd close to 300 animals. The centrally-located Black River herd adds approximately 80 more to the statewide total.Photo credit: DNR

WINTER, Wis. - After the final and most successful winter trapping effort, 60 more elk joined Wisconsin's growing herd. The elk are now settling into their new home in northern Wisconsin after their release from the acclimation and quarantine pen.

Forty-eight elk arrived at the holding pen this year in March, but numbers grew as pregnant cows gave birth this summer. The release of these 60 elk marks the fifth and final year of Wisconsin's elk translocation efforts and the second release of elk into the northern elk range in Sawyer County. Thirty-one elk were released here in 2017.

"We're happy to have the translocation effort complete and look forward to seeing the herd continue to grow," said Kevin Wallenfang, the Wisconsin DNR big game ecologist and elk reintroduction coordinator. "There are always challenges when holding live, wild animals for extended periods, but overall it was a successful effort and we surpassed our project goals."

"Both of Wisconsin's elk herds are doing quite well and increasing in numbers," Wallenfang said.

Wisconsin DNR worked with several key partners to release a total of 164 elk since 2015. Some were used to start a new wild elk herd in Jackson County in 2015, now estimated to be approximately at 80 elk. In addition, more Kentucky elk were added to the northern herd which was first established in 1995. That herd is now approaching 300 elk.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ho-Chunk Nation, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Jackson County Wildlife Fund, Flambeau River State Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Jackson County Forestry and Park, and several others provided funding and other support for the project.

Each year upon arrival from Kentucky, the elk received 24-hour care and monitoring while being held in a seven-acre pen during the required quarantine period. This year's quarantine was extended into early August to conduct additional bovine tuberculosis testing for one "suspect" animal. Ultimately, that animal did not have the disease and the quarantine was lifted earlier this month.

Before release, each elk is fitted with a tracking collar that will provide years of extremely useful information about elk movements, habitat preference, survival information, and much more.

September Brings Great Opportunity to See and Hear Wisconsin Elk

Wisconsin's two elk herds are being observed and enjoyed by many, and September is a particularly great time to make a trip to the elk ranges.

"The rut will soon be here, which means a great chance to catch a glimpse of elk and hear them bugling," Wallenfang said. "Traveling the area at dawn and dusk will offer the best opportunity. The bulls will start bugling in late August and continue through September as they search out females and fend off other bulls."

When viewing elk, remember to keep your distance to avoid unnecessary disturbance of the elk, especially those recently released into the Flambeau River State Forest that will be settling into the area for several weeks.

To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, 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 the "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.

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



Make your milkweed plants count for monarchs

Contact(s): Brenna Jones, DNR conservation biologist, 608-267-0797

A Monarch butterfly on milkweed. - Photo credit: DNR
A Monarch butterfly on milkweed.Photo credit: DNR

New, free app tallies up habitat added in Wisconsin to benefit iconic butterfly

MADISON, Wis. - Seeking to reverse an over 80 % decline in monarch butterfly populations over the last 20 years, Wisconsin conservation biologists are urging gardeners, farmers, and other landowners to use a new, free mobile application to record the number of milkweed and wildflower nectar plants in their backyard or farmyard habitat.

The app, HabiTally, is aimed at improving data collection about pollinator habitats, and groups in Wisconsin and other states are using it to track progress toward reaching statewide and overall regional goals for restoring habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.

Information collected through the app will be completely anonymous and aggregated entirely at the county level.

"Entering information about the number of plants you now have or plan to plant can make your efforts count even more for monarchs," says Brenna Jones, coordinator of the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative and a conservation biologist with the DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.

The DNR is part of the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative, a coalition of more than 40 groups committed to working to voluntarily add 120 million new milkweed plants to Wisconsin by 2038.

"Not only will you be providing important breeding and feeding habitat for monarchs and other pollinators, but we can count your habitat toward Wisconsin's share of the overall goal," Jones says.

Wisconsin and 15 other Midwestern states in monarch summer breeding grounds have collectively agreed to add more than 1.3 billion milkweed plants to the region over the next 20 years.

Anyone can use the app, available as a free download for iOS devices from the App Store. Bayer and The Climate Corporation, with support from Iowa State University's Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology, collaborated to develop the app.

Drop a pin and add to the state, regional and national habitat tallies

To participate, HabiTally app users drop pins on a map to mark their conservation habitat location and enter basic, key characteristics of the habitat which include the estimated number of milkweeds, the percent of nectar flowers and, if known, the date the habitat was planted, according to Steve Bradbury, professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University involved in developing the app.

HabiTally will then automatically calculate the size of the habitat based on the user's entry and auto-populate information about the milkweed density and land use classification. Users can also record whether they have seen monarchs in their habitat, says Bradbury, of Iowa State University.

Users will be able to see national and state accounts of efforts logged within the app,

More information about the app, its development and partners can be found in this Aug.7 news release from Iowa State University.

The DNR's Jones says that everybody can add monarch habitat and enter their data, from people who plant a few milkweed or nectar flowers in pots on their balcony to landowners with a back 40, to farmers who can add milkweed and nectar producing wildflowers to non-productive areas including ditch banks, field margins, and farm yards.

"The modeling shows that every sector can do its part to help add monarch habitat, and that no effort is too small. It all adds up, and recent research in fact suggests that urban areas can play a big role."

Information on adding habitat specifically on farms, in urban areas, and along right of ways can be found on the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative website,



Incidental take notice for La Crosse County

Contact(s): Rori Paloski, 608-264-6040,

MADISON, Wis. - A proposed La Crosse County bridge project may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare snake and turtle under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

The DNR proposes to conduct repairs to four bridges on state property in La Crosse County.

The presence of the state threatened wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) and state endangered and federally threatened eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. The DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes and turtles.

The department has concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered and threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the eastern massasauga and wood turtle are available by searching the DNR website for "incidental take public notice" or upon request from Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or

The department is requesting comments from the public through Sept. 3, 2019, regarding project-related impacts to the eastern massasauga and wood turtle. Send public comments to Rori Paloski, DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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