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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 422 days

Weekly News Published August 27, 2019


DNR's free Hunt Wild mobile app is loaded up with new features for the fall season

Contact(s): Caitlin Henning, Wildlife Management communications specialist, (608) 228-6518

The DNR's Hunt Wild mobile app is back for the 2019 season with new features to improve your time afield. - Photo credit: DNR
The DNR's Hunt Wild mobile app is back for the 2019 season with new features to improve your time afield.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON - The Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application is back for 2019 with everything Wisconsin hunters need in the field. The app shows property boundaries and shooting hours and new this year, hunters can find chronic wasting disease sampling stations and deer carcass disposal locations.

Users can find new public lands to explore, brush up on the regulations or listen to podcasts all with Hunt Wild Wisconsin. With mobile mapping, up to the minute shooting hours and more, hunters have all the tools to focus on what's important - enjoying your time in the outdoors.

"After we rolled out the Hunt Wild Wisconsin app for 2018, we were thrilled to receive positive reviews from hunters using the app in the field. We also listened to feedback, and we've incorporated new features for the 2019 season based on hunter responses," said Tami Ryan, acting Wildlife Management bureau director. "One new feature we're excited about for this year is the in-app way to look up CWD sampling and deer carcass disposal location. Now hunters can easily find nearby options to help them plan their post-hunt logistics. Also new for 2019 are coding upgrades to enhance hunter's experience with the app."

What hasn't changed are all the features that drew hunters to Hunt Wild Wisconsin in the first place, like up-to-the-minute shooting hours, species-specific mobile mapping and price - it's free.

To download this free hunting app on a mobile phone, search "Hunt App" on the DNR website,, to find links to download from the iTunes app store or Google Play store on the mobile device. Be sure to check out a helpful tutorial to help navigate the app and learn its features.

This free mobile app has tons of features that will help improve your time in the field:

For support regarding the Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application, contact

Find download information and a tutorial by searching the DNR website,, for keywords "hunt app."



Wild rice harvest season outlook for 2019 now available

Contact(s): Jason Fleener, DNR wetland habitat specialist, 608-266-7408

Wild rice. - Photo credit: DNR
Opening harvest dates for date-regulated waters are determined jointly by DNR and tribal officials.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON - In Wisconsin, wild rice harvesters are beginning to plan their 2019 season. The Department of Natural Resources is reminding people to acquire the necessary license before heading into the rice beds and is asking them to complete the harvester survey sent by mail at the close of the season.

"Overall, the wild rice crop across northern Wisconsin appears to remain below the long-term average for abundance," said Jason Fleener, DNR wetland habitat specialist. "However, plenty of good harvest opportunities exist if ricers do their homework to locate the right body of water to harvest," he added.

Several waters in the Polk County and Northern Highlands regions are struggling to produce rice this year. Sustained high water tables have raised lake levels, especially in north-central Wisconsin, affecting wild rice production.

A helpful resource is GLIFWC's Off-Reservation Wild Rice Harvest Regulations web page (exit DNR). This page does not contain a comprehensive list of all Wisconsin wild rice waters, but it features reports on commonly harvested waters. The survey results posted on this page reflect a body of water's wild rice crop relative to historic yields on that water and do not necessarily reflect total abundance or predict harvest success. For example, a large lake assessed with a "fair" crop of rice may result in greater harvest opportunity than a small lake with a "good" crop. This page also contains a list of date-regulated waters with opening dates and closures as they are determined.

As the season progresses, lake opening notices will be posted on the GLIFWC page regularly as dates are determined. Often, lakes do not open until Labor Day weekend or later. Year-to-year variation occurs, so check the website out frequently for the latest information. Date-regulated lakes will also be posted at least 24 hours before the lake opens for harvest at commonly used boat landings. "The openings for local date-regulated lakes provides a good barometer for when local non-date-regulated lakes are ready for harvest," noted Fleener.

Opening harvest dates for date-regulated waters are determined jointly by DNR and tribal officials. Many of these date-regulated waters are producing insufficient crops or no wild rice and will be posted as closed for harvest this year.

Recreational boaters, anglers and early teal and goose hunters are encouraged to take precautionary measures using watercraft on waters with wild rice beds. Wave action has shown to cause damage to rice beds as they are maturing throughout the spring and summer. Watercraft usage directly in wild rice beds cuts and injures plants. Intentional cutting of wild rice plants is illegal over Wisconsin's public waters.

DNR officials stress the importance of waiting to harvest until rice falls with relatively little effort while flailing. If most of the rice appears to be milky or still growing inside the hull, it is best to come back and try harvesting later. Premature harvest attempts often inhibit the maturation of the rice kernels and can damage plants if harvesters use excessive force in the flailing process. This not only affects harvest opportunities for other rice harvesters but can also have long-term effects on the sustainability of rice beds. As a general rule-of-thumb, rice growing on river systems tends to mature sooner than lake rice. Lakes such as Pacwawong Lake in Sawyer County and Island Lake in Vilas County are notorious for ripening later and often do not peak until mid-September.

How to harvest wild rice.

Wisconsin DNR produced a video on harvesting wild rice that offers an introductory look at the tools and proper techniques for wild rice harvesting. people can view the video on the DNR website,, by searching keywords "wild rice." Information regarding wild rice licensing and harvest regulations are also available on the wild rice web page.

People who purchase a wild rice harvesting license through DNR's Go Wild licensing system will be mailed a wild rice harvest survey following the harvesting season. The survey is coordinated jointly between the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) and Wisconsin DNR. The survey is a critical tool in gathering data that helps inform future management and research of wild rice. The survey tracks biological trends over time, such as estimates of annual harvest, estimates of average harvest (pounds) per trip, and trends in the presence of disease and pests. The survey also addresses social issues such as harvester experience and preferences. Those harvesters who receive a survey are encouraged to fill it out and mail it in as another way to support wild rice conservation.

To receive email updates regarding wild rice in Wisconsin, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics" and follow the prompts and select the appropriate distribution list.



DNR asks for hunters to record their wildlife observations

Contact(s): Jessica Rees Lohr, wildlife research scientist, 608-221-6349

Hunters can help monitor deer and other wildlife from their phone or desktop with the DNR's easy-to-use Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. - Photo credit: DNR
Hunters can help monitor deer and other wildlife from their phone or desktop with the DNR's easy-to-use Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON - With the start of the 2019 deer hunting season Sept. 14, the Department of Natural Resources is kicking off its 11th annual Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. The easy-to-use survey is a way for hunters to record their observations of deer and other wildlife while out hunting. Survey results help track abundance trends for Wisconsin's deer herd and other wildlife.

The DNR asks archery and gun hunters to record all their hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if no wildlife were seen during a hunt. The observations provide the DNR with an index to abundance for many wildlife species.

Hunters can enter observations by desktop, mail or smartphone. For more information about entering Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey observations go to the DNR website,, and keyword search "Deer Hunter Wildlife."

At the end of the survey, participants can receive a personalized summary of all recorded wildlife from that season. The survey period ends January 2020.



Public hearings to review two proposed DNR rules for assessing health of Wisconsin waters

Contact(s): Kristi Minahan, DNR water quality standards specialist, 608-266-7055

Hearings scheduled for Sept. 12 in Madison and Green Bay

DNR staff surveying a lake's aquatic plants to assess lake health.  - Photo credit: DNR
DNR staff surveying a lake's aquatic plants to assess lake health. Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity to learn more about and comment on two proposed administrative rules concerning the assessment of overall health of Wisconsin lakes and streams at a joint public hearing on Sept. 12 in Madison and Green Bay.

The goals of these rules are to clarify policies, provide consistent processes and provide protection of aquatic life and recreation for the public. The rules describe how biological communities within a lake or stream, such as fish, insects, plants and algae, are used to assess its overall health. It also establishes how algae and plants will be used to determine whether a lake is responding to elevated phosphorus levels and whether a waterbody may need a different phosphorus criterion.

DNR staff examine the catch from a fish survey on the Sugar River to assess the river's health.   - Photo credit: Jim Amrhein
DNR staff examine the catch from a fish survey on the Sugar River to assess the river's health. Photo credit: Jim Amrhein

Public participation is a critical component of agency rulemaking. The proposed language is available by searching the DNR website,, for "proposed permanent rules" under Board Orders WY-23-13 and WT-17-12.

The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 at the Department of Natural Resources, 101 S. Webster Street, Room G09, in Madison. To allow greater participation, the public may also attend in Green Bay, where the hearing will be simulcast to the Green Bay DNR Service Center, 2984 Shawano Avenue, Lake Michigan Room.

Written comments may be submitted at the public hearings or to Kristi Minahan by email at,, by U.S. mail to Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, or calling 608-266-7055. The deadline for comments is Sept. 20, 2019.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

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