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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published March 15, 2011

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Prime time to launch Learn to Hunt turkey outing

Family-friendly way to introduce state's heritage to new hunters of all ages

MADISON -- The spring melt means it's time for hunters and clubs to share the fun and purpose of hunting with neighbors, relatives and friends at a Learn to Hunt turkey event that can be easily organized in a few steps.

"A Learn to Hunt event is a fun, safe and comfortable way to introduce one of Wisconsin's truest traditions to your friends, relatives - even entire families," said Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources' Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator.

"Hunting means many things in Wisconsin -- family traditions, wildlife management and a healthy way to live by eating sustainably. Plus, it can be great exercise," Warnke said.

The DNR has posted on its web site the processes and application forms sponsors need to organize a Learn to Hunt event. Sponsors will need to submit a completed application form to the local wildlife biologist for approval, and ensure at least one of the event instructors is a certified Hunter Education Instructor. "Instructors emphasize firearm safety," he said.

Warnke also says Learn to Hunt events provide the key opportunity for a novice hunter to experience hunting "in a one-on-one mentored situation." Mentors names must be submitted to the DNR for a background check at least two weeks before the hunt is to take place.

Another key step in the process is getting the approval and the signature of the landowner or tenant of the private property where the hunt is proposed to occur.

"The focus of these learn to hunt events is to provide this opportunity to those who otherwise likely would never have a hunting experience," Warnke said. "Organizers may want to contact the local schools, civic groups and organizations such as Big Brother/Big Sisters and the YMCA/YWCA."

The DNR started the Learn to Hunt program in 1998 to provide youth and adults opportunities to experience a hunt with an experienced hunter. Hunts are combined with classroom instruction and field work before an actual hunt. More than 3,000 novice hunters in the past two years have gone to a Learn to Hunt event.

In addition to turkey, the program also includes small game, pheasant, wild turkey, upland game, waterfowl and deer. A Novice and Youth Hunting Opportunities bochure [PDF 260KB] is available on the DNR website.

"Hunters have shown they are willing to rise to many challenges," Warnke said. "I am confident they will eagerly embrace the challenge of passing along these great traditions to the next generation."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243 or Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-267-0798



Hunters register 7,394 birds in 2010 fall wild turkey hunt

MADISON - Wisconsin wild turkey hunters registered a total of 7,394 birds during the fall 2010 wild turkey season.

Hunters registered 5,530 birds during the Sept. 18 through Nov. 18 regular season, and 1,864 birds during the Nov. 29 through Dec. 31 extended season in Turkey Management Zones 1-5. In 2009, 8,265 birds were registered in the fall harvest.

"The fall 2010 turkey harvest was down, likely due to poor brood production in 2009," notes Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "The 2009 brood production was influenced by rainy and cold conditions. We saw impacts of this reduced brood production during the 2010 spring season with a higher proportion of adult birds compared to jakes in the harvest, indicating fewer jakes in the population."

Hunters also purchased fewer permits for the fall 2010 hunt compared to the previous year (61,567 permits issued in fall 2010 compared to 68,796 in 2009). Approximately 34,000 fall permits remained unsold by the close of the fall 2010 season. The total number of permits available for 2009 and 2010 was identical at 95,700.

Preliminary permit levels for the 2011 fall season have been set; hunters can again expect approximately 95,700 permits to be available.

"The statewide population of turkeys remains very strong," says Walter. "And with controlled permit levels in place, we were able to offer an extended fall season for Zones 1-5. The extension gave many hunters additional hunting opportunities over a longer time period."

Of the 95,700 permits available for the 2010 fall season, the DNR issued 48,908 permits in the drawing and sold another 12,480 remaining permits over-the-counter after the drawing had been completed. The 7,394 registered birds compute to a success rate of 12.0%, identical to the success rate for the 2009 fall season.

A pilot program allowing the use of dogs to hunt turkey was tested during the 2007-2009 fall seasons in a nine-county area in the southwest part of the state. The program went statewide for the 2010 fall season, and by all reports has been a great success.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter - (608) 267-7861, Krista McGinley - (608) 264-8963 or Sharon Fandel - (608) 261-8458



Spring turkey permits go on sale March 21

MADISON - Remaining permits for the 2011 spring turkey hunting season will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting March 21. Leftover permits will first be issued for sale by zone, one zone per day, with each zone having a designated sales date.

The spring 2011 turkey hunting season runs from April 13 through May 22. The season is divided into six 5-day time periods, each running from Wednesday through Sunday. In total, 225,729 permits were available for the spring 2011 turkey season. More than 145,500 permits were issued to hunters who applied for permits by the Dec. 10 application deadline, leaving about 80,000 permits available after the drawing.

Hunters interested in purchasing a leftover turkey permit should check the turkey zone map [PDF] to verify where they want to hunt and then check the spring turkey leftover permit availability page to see if permits are available for the period and zone they wish to hunt in.

Sales will start at 10 a.m. on March 21 and continue through midnight each day or until all permits are sold. These sales will be held for five consecutive days, one zone per day, with customers able to purchase one permit per day. Any remaining leftover permits for all zones will go on sale Saturday, March 26 and will continue until sold out or until the season ends. Leftover permit purchases are limited to one permit per day until each zone and time period is sold out.

The following zones have leftover permits. The scheduled sales dates are as follows:

A limited number of disabled-only turkey permits for state park areas are available among the leftover permits. Disabled hunters should note that these permits will only be available through DNR Service Centers. Hunters who have been issued either a Class A or Class C Disabled Hunter Permit should visit a DNR Service Center or call the DNR Customer Call Center at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) beginning Monday, March 21st, 2011 after 10:00 a.m. to purchase one of these permits.

The fee for leftover turkey permits is $10 for residents, $15 for non-residents and $5 for hunters who are 10 or 11 years old. All hunters will also be required to pay the spring turkey license and stamp fees, unless they have previously purchased the license and stamp, or are a 2011 Conservation Patron License holder. Residents and non-residents will have equal opportunity to purchase these leftover permits. Purchasing leftover permits will not affect preference status for future spring or fall turkey permit drawings.

Leftover permits can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter - (608) 267-7861, Krista McGinley - (608) 264-8963 or Sharon Fandel - (608) 261-8458



33rd annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention April 12-14 in Green Bay

STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The 2011 Wisconsin Lakes Convention -- Speaking for Lakes -- will be held on April 12 through 14 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. Organizers say participants at the convention will see and hear how the collaboration of the arts and science can speak for Wisconsin's Lakes.

Topics at the convention include the "State of Wisconsin Lakes," methods to control and even eradicate aquatic invasive species from lakes, statewide volunteer efforts that provide valuable water quality data, and stewardship efforts and success stories from around the state.

Eric Eckl, founder of Water Words that Work, will be the guest speaker at the opening plenary session on Tuesday afternoon and he will also present an in-depth workshop earlier that morning. Eckl has more than 15 years experience planning and carrying out issue advocacy, fundraising, and behavior change campaigns. He'll share ideas and methods to professionalize and modernize communications on water conservation.

Other speakers include Terry Daulton, an artist, educator and biologist, John Bates, a poet and naturalist/writer, and other scientists who will share their work blending the arts and science to explore and illustrate future scenarios for research lakes in northern Wisconsin. Participants will also get an underwater perspective of lake life in Wisconsin from Eric Engbretson, who is known for his exceptional underwater fish photography.

In all, the convention will offer more than 75 speakers sharing a mix of lake stories, research ideas, and management tools, and more than 15 workshops on topics ranging from capacity building of lake groups, to aquatic plants and invasive species, to shoreland property management.

Tuesday evening will offer one of the premiere showings of a recently completed Aldo Leopold documentary, Green Fire. Wednesday evening will feature the Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Awards and banquet ceremony that celebrates Wisconsin's Lake Stewards, recognizing the extraordinary volunteer and professional efforts of lake enthusiasts who are nominated by their peers.

People can register for the 33rd annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention through the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point website (exit DNR), either with an online registration to pay with a credit card over a secure site, or by printing a registration form that you can be sent in via mail.

Since its genesis in the early 1970s, the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership has become a national model of a true partnership. Three groups form the core of this unique team: the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-provides technical and financial assistance and regulatory authority; the University of Wisconsin-Extension Lakes-designs and delivers educational materials and community outreach; and Wisconsin Lakes-advocates for local lake people and organizations at the state level.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin Lakes Partnership - (715)-346-2116



Networking big at Hunting Heritage Conference

Second annual event delivers optimism about future, cultural insights

ROTHSCHILD, Wis. - While attendees of this year's Hunting Heritage Conference learned how to organize a local educational outing, others say the most valuable benefit of the two-day session was meeting others dedicated to recruiting hunters of all ages and ethnicities.

"My sense is that others at the conference found it helpful, and like me, enjoyed meeting others fighting the same fight," Jim Shurts of Madison said. "The primary highlight was the opportunity to meet with others who are active with hunter recruitment and share common goals."

Shurts, chair of the John M. Keener Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society, was among the roughly 110 who gathered here for the second annual conference for Learn to Hunt organizers.

Sponsored by the state Department of Natural Resources, the heritage conference began in 2010 as a combination brainstorming and information-sharing event for hunting mentors, organizations and volunteer instructors interested in solidifying Wisconsin's hunting future.

Mike Skaife of Prairie du Chien, whose local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted the state's first Learn to Hunt event 13 years ago, especially enjoyed his conversations with Sheboygan-based Hmong American Sportsmen Club members.

"We talked with them a lot, about their background and it was very interesting to hear their stories," Skaife said. The Hmong initially were unaware of Wisconsin property laws which caused unintentional frictions, and prompted the creation of outreach and education programs to rectify the situation - including the DNR's Harmony in the Woods.

Hmong club president Addison Lee agreed these conference conversations are valuable and enjoyable, and suggested "a more diverse selection of guest speakers to consider the wide array of perspectives of hunters throughout Wisconsin" for future hunting conferences.

DNR Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator Keith Warnke says Wisconsin, like other states, has lost active hunters which affects conservation activities that benefit everyone. DNR records show gun-deer hunting licenses sold to Wisconsin residents declined 6.5 percent between 2000 and 2010. The decrease occurred even though 10- and 11-year-old hunters were added for the first time in 2009.

"This means there is less funding for conservation efforts, and less conservation being practiced," Warnke said. "Fewer hunters participating in legal hunting means fewer resources for, and less focus on, conservation. Everything from game management to wetland restoration will be impacted."

The DNR started the Learn to Hunt Program in 1998 to provide youth and adults opportunities to experience an actual hunt with an experienced hunter. The program involves classroom and field instruction in addition to the hunt. Warnke says the program in 2010 saw a 10 percent increase in participation. "This increase was, in large part, due to last year's first Hunting Heritage Conference," Warnke said. "We expect this conference to have a similar impact."

The Learn to Hunt program has reached more than 3,000 novice participants in the last two years through the cooperation and funding of the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Hunting Heritage Partnership Grant Program and the Wisconsin DNR. The foundation's grant program has funded the Wisconsin conference both years.

Lil Pipping of Elkhart Lake, past president of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, says the first great hunt provided by Learn to Hunt programs needs to be followed by another to keep the interest going. Rich Kirchmeyer, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, agreed and suggested borrowing from other children's programs. "If we could adopt-a-kid not only to take them turkey hunting, but also grouse and they get the full experience of all the outdoors has to offer," he said.

Warnke says the conference attendees were united on one goal. "They clearly understand their role in recruiting the next generation of hunters in Wisconsin."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: : Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243; Todd Schaller, Administrator, Recreation Enforcement and Education, 608-267-2774 or Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-267-0798



Learn to hunt deer program scheduled at Buckhorn State Park

NECEDAH, Wis. - Novice hunters can apply to participate in a learn to hunt deer workshop and then attend a special deer hunt this fall at Buckhorn State Park. The Buckhorn Learn to Hunt Deer Program is open for both youth at least 10 years old by Nov. 5 and adults who have not purchased a deer gun hunting license in 2010 or previous years.

Participants must attend the learn to hunt workshop on either Sept. 10 or 11, and then may return to the park for a two-day hunt Nov. 5 and 6 to help participants learn deer hunting techniques.

"We're trying to give novice hunters a quality experience where they can have a chance at actually harvesting an animal and learn to do it safely," said Joe Stecker-Kochanski, superintendent of Buckhorn State Park.

A license is not required for participants, and the hunt will be with shotguns for either antlerless or antlered deer. The hunt will take place on approximately 2,200 acres of Buckhorn State Park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area south of Necedah in Juneau County.

Each youth must be accompanied by a qualified chaperone. Applicants can select a qualified family member or friend as the chaperone or authorize the park to assign a chaperone. The chaperone is not allowed to hunt or carry a firearm, must be at least 18 years old, and have at least 5 years deer hunting experience.

The deadline to apply is July 15. Applications are available from: Learn to Hunt Deer, Buckhorn State Park, W8450 Buckhorn Park Ave., Necedah, WI., 54646-7338. Buckhorn Learn to Hunt Deer Program information and application is also available on the DNR Web site.

Applicants will be selected on a first come, first serve basis and will be notified upon receipt of their application. A $25 fee for the workshop and hunt will be collected by Friends of Buckhorn State Park.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Stecker-Kochanski (608) 565-2789


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Last Revised: Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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