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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published October 26, 2010

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Deer Hunt 2010 will air Nov 11 on Public Television across the state

MADISON - Deer Hunt 2010, hosted by Wisconsin Public Television's Dan Small and sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, will air Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. on Milwaukee Public Television station MPTV 10.1 and the Wisconsin Channel of Wisconsin Public Television across the state. A directory of stations can be found on the Wisconsin Public Television website [www.wpt.org/wisconsinchannel] (exit DNR).

The goal of the hour-long broadcast is to review what every hunter needs to know and share some tips that might be new even for the most skilled veteran deer hunters. Viewers will also hear from several veteran hunters "sitting 'round the campfire" sharing stories and thoughts about memorable hunts, memorable moments in their hunting careers and why they hunt.

DNR customer service specialists will be standing by phones to answer questions from viewers during the broadcast and every other day of the year. DNR operates its information line 1-888-WDNR-INFo (936-7463) 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7-days a week, year round, including right through the hunting seasons when operators have taken calls from hunters sitting on their deer stands on opening morning.

Host Dan Small will be joined by DNR and UW-Madison wildlife biologists and DNR conservation wardens who will share updates and important information hunters should review before they head to the woods for the November deer hunt.

"Even the most seasoned hunter can forget pieces of important gear or find themselves scrambling at the last minute to get stuff in the truck and hit the road on Friday night," says Small. "I hope our show will provide a reminder of what to think about and what to have ready to go as you head for deer camp -- including being familiar with the hunting rules for your hunting location."

Highlights of the show will include some interesting aerial footage shot last January from a helicopter as biologists surveyed deer populations in the chronic wasting disease management zone, review of tree stand safety, a statewide deer season forecast, new hunting rules, and an update on CWD. There is also a discussion on scouting for deer and placing food plots in effective spots.

Deer research has been getting a lot of interest lately and the DNR is investing $2 million over the next several years to answer some of the questions hunters have been asking about the role of predators on deer populations, different methods of population surveying, and causes of death among bucks and fawns. This is a joint effort involving the DNR, University of Wisconsin-Madison, many hunting and conservation groups and even AFL-CIO union shops. A UW- Madison wildlife researcher will give viewers a run down of what's going on and how hunters can get involved. Volunteers are needed for the field work and more than 180 have already signed on.

The face of deer hunters is changing and in addition to research aimed at understanding changes among older hunters, viewers will also get a look at Wisconsin's Mentored Hunting Law which allows hunters as young as 10 years of age to experience hunting without first passing a hunter education course. The mentored hunt was enormously successful in its first season (2009) with more than 10,000 10- and 11-year-olds participating in the mentored hunting program.

"I hope you'll join Dan and the rest of the crew in this annual salute to one of our most hallowed traditions, the November deer hunt," said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management. "It's part of who we are in Wisconsin and I wish all hunters good luck and safe hunting."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Manwell (608) 264-9248

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Wisconsin's Mentored Hunting Law continues to grow in second year

MADISON - With the fall hunting seasons in full swing, now is the time hunters can help secure the future of their tradition and introduce someone to hunting by taking advantage of Wisconsin's mentored hunting law.

Link to Video

Learn more about mentored hunting in Wisconsin."  [VIDEO Length 1:06]

"Mentored hunting is a great way for families to involve their kids in family gatherings and in Wisconsin's greatest hunting tradition. Participation continues to grow especially among 10 and 11-year-olds with gun deer license sales in this age group up 26 percent over this date last year," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank. "Wisconsin hunters can be proud of the rapid growth and spotless safety record of our mentored youth hunt -- and of their own personal effort to grow the next generation of Wisconsin hunters and conservationists."

Kids with a mentored hunting license and a mentor can participate in the special youth hunts for deer, waterfowl and turkey. These special hunts take place the weekend before the general hunting seasons open for popular species, allowing youths the opportunity to hunt under generally milder weather and with the complete with attention of their adult mentor.

In 2009, the first year of the program, more than 12,000 new hunters participated under the mentored hunting program. Ten thousand of these hunters were kids age 10 or 11, who also are entitled to purchase the various types of hunting licenses at a reduced rate of $7.00.

Key to the Mentored Hunting Law are safety provisions and a focus on a one mentored hunter to one mentor pairing. Only one firearm or bow is allowed between the two and the new hunter must be within arm's reach of the mentor at all times. Mentors may not hunt if it is a designated youth hunt weekend but may hunt if they have the appropriate license during a regular season. The pair still may only carry one bow or firearm between them and must remain within arm's reach at all times. All normal hunting rules are in effect in regard to open seasons, firearm restrictions and bag limits.

Wisconsin's Mentored Hunting Law provides an opportunity to experience hunting under carefully controlled conditions designed to provide a safe experience. If the hunting bug bites, the new hunter can dig in and complete a hunter education safety course, allowing them to hunt on their own starting at age 14.

After the mentored hunt

People born after Jan. 1, 1973 must complete a hunter education course before they can hunt on their own. Courses are often in high demand and this can present a scheduling barrier to getting started in hunting especially for some busy families. The mentored hunt allows anyone over 10 years of age to experience hunting with a trusted mentor who is already a licensed hunter until the time they can complete a hunter education course.

Requirements for mentors

To serve as a mentor, a person must be at least 18 years old, have a hunting license and be a hunter education course graduate or have completed basic training with U.S. Armed Forces, if born on or after Jan. 1, 1973. The mentor and the mentored hunter must be within arm's reach at all times and may only carry one gun or one bow between them. The mentor, if not the youth's parent or legal guardian, must also have the permission of the youth's parent or legal guardian to accompany the youth.

"Mentored hunting has proven to be a safe and rewarding experience for both the new hunter and the mentor," said Todd Schaller, conservation warden and chief of the Department of Natural Resources' recreational safety programs. "The smiles on the faces of the kids who have watched and listened to the hunting stories told by their older brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and parents and who now have a hunting story of their own are priceless. It is an important first step to becoming a responsible hunter and conservationist at a time when kids are very impressionable and are beginning to get a feel for the activities they will pursue as adults."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller - (608) 267-2774

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Sale of mercury-containing devices prohibited in Wisconsin Nov. 1

New rule also regulates use of mercury in Wisconsin schools

MADISON -- Mercury-containing devices may no longer be sold in Wisconsin under a new law that goes into effect Nov. 1.

Signed in October 2009, Wisconsin Act 44 created Sections 118.07 (4) and 299.49 of the Wisconsin Statutes to ban the sale of many devices made with mercury.

"Mercury is a hazardous material that can cause serious environmental and human health problems," says Sue Bangert, administrator of the Air and Waste Division in the Department of Natural Resources. "When products containing mercury are broken, disposed of in a landfill, or incinerated, they risk releasing mercury into the environment, and once it is in the environment, mercury cannot be removed."

The ban covers devices for which mercury-free alternatives are widely available:

The law does allow the DNR to grant exemptions to the ban for specific circumstances. See the mercury as an element pages of the DNR website for more information.

In addition to a general ban on the sale of mercury-containing devices, Act 44 also includes regulations on mercury in schools. Since the beginning of this year, schools were no longer allowed to purchase free-flowing mercury or any mercury-containing equipment. Beginning January 1, 2012, schools may no longer store mercury anywhere in the building, and must remove all traces of mercury from science labs, equipment and machinery. Schools are not required to make any unplanned changes to equipment such as thermostats or other mercury-containing HVAC infrastructure.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sue Bangert at (608) 266-0014

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Fall is good time for invasive plant control

MADISON -- The summer of 2010 was a banner year for many of the weedy and invasive plants of concern in Wisconsin, according to state officials who are urging landowners to not yet put away their garden gloves and pruning saws for the year.

"Fall is the perfect time to find and control many of the invasive plants that thrived during this hot wet summer," notes Kelly Kearns, a native plant ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

"Early warming got most plants off to a fast start this year. Crops, native plants and those from other parts of the world all emerged, flowered and set fruits about two weeks early across most of the state," Kearns said.

The regular and heavy rainfalls combined with the warm temperatures also allowed many of the weedy species to grow larger and produce more seeds this year than normal.

Kearns says locating and identifying invasive plants is the first step in controlling them, and it becomes easier to spot certain species in autumn, once people know what fall color to look for. Kearns offers these tips for identifying invasive plants in the fall:

common buckthorn
Common buckthorn

Oriental bittersweet
Oriental bittersweet

All of the woody species -- trees, shrubs and vines -- are best controlled in the fall. Cutting them down alone is generally not sufficient for these persistent plants. Most will resprout the following year, often with many more stems. To prevent resprouting, a small amount of herbicide labeled for killing brush must be applied to the cut stump soon after cutting.

A similar technique of basal bark application involves spraying or painting an herbicide in an oil carrier in a band around the base of the tree. Also done in fall or winter, this method allows the tree to be killed without first cutting it.

"Anyone using the cut-stump treatment and basal bark treatment should be cautious, and follow the label recommendation for the formulation and habitat where applied," Kearns said.

After a hard frost most native plants have gone dormant, making it easier to apply the herbicide without impacting any non-target plants. Cut-stump and basal-bark treatments can be done throughout fall and winter as long as it is warm enough that the herbicide doesn't freeze.

For garlic mustard, dame's rocket, wild parsnip and other invasive herbaceous plants that retain their leaves well into fall, this is a window of opportunity for targeting control work to those plants. It is important for these plants to be actively growing for herbicides to be effective, so it is more effective to spray when there is good soil moisture rather then during an extended dry period. . The herbicide will be most effective if applied to leaves when temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit C and will stay above freezing the first night after applying.

Fall is also a time when most plants are dispersing their seeds. Some have developed mechanisms to hitch a ride with animals and are easily spread by hunters, hikers and others enjoying the outdoors. People should inspect clothing when in the woods or field and avoid moving seeds from a weedy area to one that is still relatively uninfested.

"Learn to identify these plants all year long and you can stop their spread before they can degrade the wild places you like to visit," Kearns said.

People can learn more about identifying and controlling invasive plants in a series of videos available on the invasive species pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Kearns (608) 267-5066

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Order tree seedlings now for spring 2011 planting

MADISON -- Autumn is a great time of year for landowners to enjoy their property but it is also a good time to work on improving the property by preparing for tree planting next spring.

The Spring 2011 Tree and Shrub Ordering Form (pdf) is now available from the Department of Natural Resources State Nursery Program. The form includes information about tree and shrub species that are available and directions on how to order online or by mail. Species information and tips on how to prepare a site can also be found on the forestry pages of the DNR website.

"Every year, Wisconsin landowners plant millions of tree seedlings to enhance and restore native forests," says Avery Dorland, a tree nursery specialist with the Wisconsin DNR Forestry Division. "As busy as the last part of the year can be, autumn is the ideal time to prepare tree planting sites and to order seedlings."

And when a landowner is thinking about what species of trees to plant, the first place to turn for advice is the local DNR office. Each county has a DNR forester available to visit your land, answer questions, and help the landowner get the maximum benefits from their tree-planting activities.

"Landowners contemplating large tree planting projects should contact their local DNR forester or a private consulting forester for advice on species selection, site preparation, planting methods, cost-sharing programs, tree planter rentals, and other considerations in establishing a successful forest tree planting," Dorland said. Contact information for DNR foresters can be found on the DNR website.

Even though these trees will not be distributed and planted until next spring, Dorland said it is important to order now because many desirable species sell out quickly.

Landowners can purchase seedlings from the DNR state nurseries for reforestation, wildlife habitat, and windbreak and erosion-control purposes. The nurseries offer pre-mixed seedling packets of 300 seedlings for small landowners with mixes for windbreaks, wildlife habitat, shoreland, and hardwood and savannah restoration.

Customers who would like to select specific seedlings or shrubs must order a minimum quantity of 1,000 tree seedlings or 500 wildlife shrubs. Hardwood tree species available from the state nurseries include red oak, bur oak, swamp white oak, black cherry, silver maple, sugar maple, green ash, white ash, quaking aspen, river birch, white birch, yellow birch, and black walnut. Conifer tree species available include white spruce, black spruce, white pine, red pine, jack pine, and white cedar. Wildlife shrubs available include hazelnut, ninebark, American plum, silky dogwood and red-osier dogwood.

"The seedlings grown at the state nurseries are high-quality native species grown from seed harvested in Wisconsin," Dorland said. "Planting these Wisconsin-grown trees and shrubs is a great way to improve wildlife habitat, increase the value of the land, reduce soil erosion, improve overall aesthetics, and possibly generate income for the landowner."

Seedlings and shrubs are distributed in April and early May. Landowners who order from the DNR can pick up their seedlings at the state nurseries located in Boscobel, Hayward, or Wisconsin Rapids, or in many counties at a central location designated by the local DNR forester.

"Staff at the state nurseries place a high value on customer service," Dorland said. "Information on tree and shrub inventory is updated regularly. The state nursery seeding catalog (pdf) provides information on the various seeding species. A frequently asked questions page along with links to additional tree planting information help landowners to maximize their investment."

FOR MORE INFORMATION: CONTACT: Griffith State Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids (715.424-3700), Hayward State Nursery in Hayward (715.634-2717), Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel (608.375-4123), or Avery Dorland at 608.264-6044.

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Volunteers needed to help monitor wolf population in the state

Wolf tracking training sessions and ecology courses set

MADISON -- People interested in volunteering to locate timber wolves and other forest carnivores in the coming year can learn how to track wolves during a series of upcoming training sessions.

Volunteer trackers are assigned survey blocks in forest portions of northern and central Wisconsin, and are asked to conduct three or more surveys in their assigned block each winter. Data volunteers gather can be compiled to help Department of Natural Resources biologists in evaluating wolf populations.

Wolf and Carnivore Tracker Training sessions are scheduled:

Training sessions at Ashland and Babcock will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applicants should register as soon as possible because space is limited. There is a small fee for the classes. Training run at Treehaven near Tomahawk will be held on Dec. 11-12 will be presented by world renowned tracker, Dr. James Halfpenny. Cost of the workshop has yet to be determined.

People interested in the training should register at least two weeks before each session.

Details about the volunteer tracking program and the wolf ecology and tracking training sessions are available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

In late winter 2010 DNR biologists estimated there were between 690 and 733 wolves in the state, including 655 or more outside Indian reservations. About one-third of the state packs are monitored by radio-telemetry, the remaining packs are monitored by DNR and volunteer trackers.

In 2010, 140 volunteer trackers surveyed 78, 200-square-mile survey blocks covering 7,055 miles of snow-covered roads and trails. Volunteers averaged 4.2 surveys per block, and detected more than 363 different wolves.

The volunteer carnivore tracking program is critical for us to obtain accurate counts of the state wolf population," said Adrian Wydeven, DNR mammal ecologist who coordinates the state wolf program. "These surveys will continue to be important for long-term management of wolves and other forest carnivores in Wisconsin."

Volunteers are helpful in other ways, Wydeven said. Last fall, several volunteers conducted hunter outreach in the field and made contacts with deer hunters across several northern counties. During the spring volunteers helped with wolf trapping, radio collaring, donations of radio collars, and howl surveys as well as staffing educational booths at sport shows and other events.

Volunteers are also strongly encouraged to take a wolf ecology course if they have not done so already, and biologists recommend taking the ecology course before signing up for track training workshops. Wolf ecology courses will be offered next year on the following dates at the locations listed:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven - (715) 762-1363

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New videos document 'extreme makeover' of Lake Tomah

TOMAH, Wis. - The restocking of nearly 6,000 largemouth bass as part an ongoing "extreme makeover" of Lake Tomah is featured in one of two new videos on efforts to restore this Monroe County lake to its former glory.

Restocking Lake Tomah

Play Video
Restocking Lake Tomah [Length 2:10]

The video shows the lake being restocked earlier this month, a year after state and local partners chemically treated the lake to get rid of carp that had destroyed habitat, pushed out game fish, and left the lake carpeted in algae.

Protecting Lake Tomah

Play Video
Protecting Lake Tomah [Length 3:50]

A second video shows efforts by farmers on surrounding land to work with Monroe County Land Conservation Department staff to keep soil and manure from running off and into the lake, thus preserving the gains made in the last year in clean water and habitat.

"Everything so far has turned out well, very well," said Jordan Weeks, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist serving as project coordinator.

Tomah Mayor John Rusch said most of the city's hopes for the project have already been fulfilled: the carp have been eradicated, the water is much cleaner, and game fish are being stocked in Lake Tomah. "The lake is back to where it should be...My hope is five years from now I can catch one of those fish."

Work on the project continues, with Department of Natural Resources fisheries crews ready to stock about 75 adult largemouth bass in early November, assuming those fish pass health certification. Northern pike fingerlings will be stocked in 2011, and DNR staff will continue monitoring water quality and the fishery. The Monroe County Land Conservation Department will continue working with farmers on implementing their nutrient management plans.

The project partners include the City of Tomah, its Tomah Lake Committee, DNR, the Monroe County Land Conservation Department, and individual citizens and fishing club members. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant funded the chemical treatment and a DNR Lake Protection grant paid for shoreline habitat restoration work. A separate DNR grant paid for farmers in the watershed to have their soils tested and to participate in workshops to develop their own nutrient management plans.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jordan Weeks (608) 785-9002

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 26, 2010




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