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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published August 16, 2011

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Early Canada goose and mourning dove seasons open Sept. 1

MADISON - As September approaches so do the first fall hunting opportunities -- the early Canada goose and mourning dove seasons.

The early Canada goose season in Wisconsin runs Sept. 1-15 statewide. The dove season runs Sept. 1 - Nov. 9 statewide.

The early Canada goose season is made possible by the historic growth of local giant Canada goose populations. Wisconsin's breeding population was up 12 percent this spring with 176,095 geese counted during the spring waterfowl survey. Harvest of Canada geese in the early season now amounts to one-third of the total annual Canada goose harvest in Wisconsin.

"The early season provides additional and ample opportunities for our goose hunters and directs harvest pressure toward these locally nesting geese," said Kent Van Horn, migratory game bird ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

The early season daily bag limit is five birds. In addition to the standard small game hunting license and state and federal waterfowl stamps, participation requires a $3 early Canada goose permit and HIP certification. Registering for HIP (the federal Harvest Information Program) is free and can be done at any DNR service center or licensing sales agent. The national HIP registry allows biologists to more accurately survey hunters about important harvest information and participation.

There are no "zones" or "subzones" during the early season. The hunt is statewide regardless of what area hunters may hold a permit for during the regular goose season.

Wisconsin's resident geese often change feeding and movement patterns this time of year, biologists say.

"Hunters who scout prior to the hunt and stay mobile during the season give themselves the best chance for success," said Van Horn.

Dove season details and safety tips

Mourning doves are one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds in Wisconsin and throughout North America and populations are stable and slowly growing, Van Horn said. On average, about 14,000 Wisconsin hunters harvest 140,000 mourning doves each year. As with Canada geese, mourning dove hunters should benefit from scouting to see where birds are flying as they move between roosts, water and feeding areas.

With a holiday weekend quickly following the opening of these hunts, there likely will be large numbers of people spending time outdoors.

"We encourage everyone to respect each other's interests," said Van Horn.

Dove hunters also must be HIP certified to be in compliance with state and federal law. This free and easy certification can be requested when purchasing a small game hunting license.

The national HIP registry allows biologists to more accurately survey hunters about important harvest information and participation.

Dove hunting regulation and safety reminders:

• Doves are migratory birds so hunters must use a plugged shotgun with a capacity not to exceed 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined.

• Nontoxic shot is required to hunt doves on all DNR managed lands.

• Avoid shooting at doves near power lines or shooting horizontally at low-flying birds where other hunters may be present. Following the basic rules of firearm safety should avoid these situations.

For more information see the Waterfowl in Wisconsin or mourning dove pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn (608) 266-8841; James Christopoulos (608) 261-6458



DNR firmly supports removing gray wolf from federal endangered species list

The Department of Natural Resources firmly supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in delisting the wolf in the upper Great Lakes states. Wisconsin has exceeded its delisting goal eight times over and must have flexibility to manage problem wolves if any support for wolves by the public is to continue.

While the department is committed to long-term conservation of wolves in Wisconsin, it is critical that we be allowed to manage wildlife populations within our borders. Wisconsin has approximately 800 wolves; this is the most wolves ever counted in the state. Wolf numbers far exceed the federal delisting recovery goal of 100 wolves for both Wisconsin and Michigan, and are causing real problems.

It is time for management of wolves in Wisconsin to be turned over to us. The same is true for Minnesota and Michigan. For this to happen, the wolf must first be removed (delisted) from endangered or threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.

We support the USFWS in its current attempt to delist, but we also strongly disagree with its conclusion that a newly discovered and separate species of wolf exists in the Western Great Lakes. Wisconsin's wolves are the same species that was listed in 1978, and are most closely associated with the gray wolf. Recent genetic analyses refute the existence of Eastern wolves as a separate species. Wisconsin's wolves are of mixed genetics, but they are physically indistinguishable, readily interbreed, and occupy the same range.

Wolves in Wisconsin act and behave as a single population and must be managed as a single population. Accordingly, our message to the USFWS is clear and strong: Don't muddy the waters with this indefensible two-population concept. We need a solid, defensible, delisting proposal, and we need it now.

Minnesota, Michigan, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, Timber Wolf Alliance, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, prominent scientists actively working with wolf genetics, and other organizations and government agencies support Wisconsin's position: Wisconsin has a gray wolf population that has successfully recovered.

The public grows weary of the delays and government inaction. They need to know that their state DNR is pushing hard to get this done. The ball is in the USFWS's court, again. It needs to make the right decisions and to publish an effective delisting rule that will withstand challenges from those opposed to the delisting of wolves.

I will not stop pushing on this issue until we have delisting of wolves and relief for Wisconsin residents who are seriously struggling with our unchecked and unmanaged growing wolf population. That's a promise.

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



Hunt. Harvest. Help. New CWD website launched

Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth
WDNR Photo

MADISON - Hunters and landowners can learn more about what they can do to maintain a healthy deer herd and Wisconsin's strong hunting traditions through a new website dedicated to sharing information on Chronic Wasting Disease.

The website,, carries the theme of "Hunt. Harvest. Help" and features racing champion Matt Kenseth, a deer hunter and Cambridge, Wis., native, in a public service announcement talking about the importance of teamwork in tackling CWD.

"As a deer hunter, I'm concerned about CWD," Kenseth says in a video public service announcement on the website. "But it's going to take more than one person to slow the spread of CWD...It's a team effort Wisconsin. So get out there and hunt, harvest and help."

Hunt, Harvest, Help.
Hunt, Harvest, Help.
WDNR Photo

Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials say the website was developed to share information on how CWD is spread, where the disease exists in the Wisconsin deer population and what other states with CWD are doing about it. There also is information about human health risks. Several additional tabs on the website direct visitors to information on how individuals can help, frequently asked questions and videos.

The website also links to important CWD management information including Wisconsin's CWD Response Plan and current and past CWD research and statistics.

"CWD has the potential for significant, negative impacts on the future of deer and deer hunting anywhere it exists," said Davin Lopez, DNR's CWD coordinator. "Minimizing the area of Wisconsin where the disease occurs is the responsible thing to do. Wisconsin's current CWD policy is containment, rather than elimination of the disease. Hunter and landowner participation is key to this effort.

Beginning the week of Aug. 15 TV viewers in the CWD management zone will see CWD public service announcements featuring Kenseth. Also the "Hunt. Harvest. Help." theme will appear on billboards, in print ads and in other online sources.

The website and materials were developed with the aid of a U.S. Department of Agriculture/Veterinary Services grant and a private sector communications firm.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Davin Lopez (608)267-2948



Go Back to School Green

MADISON -- August has arrived. For many families this means back-to-school shopping or a move to a new city or apartment. Although shopping for new school supplies or packing up an old home can leave you with extra waste, state recycling specialists say a little planning can help people reduce, reuse and recycle more and throw away less.

To assist people in shopping or moving, Department of Natural Resources recycling specialists have put together tips on reducing waste and finding recycling and reuse options.

"We know it's a busy time for students and their families," said DNR Recycling Coordinator Cynthia Moore. "But with just a little planning, you can reduce waste and save money."

Back-to-school suggestions include:

• Reuse paper, folders, backpacks and calculators when you can. If purchasing new supplies, look for those made from recycled content, and those that use minimal packaging.

• Use reusable food and beverage containers for school lunches.

• Donate or recycle clothes and supplies that are still in good, usable condition.

• Recycle old electronics. E-Cycle Wisconsin, a DNR program, makes recycling electronics easier by providing a list of collection locations across the state for items like computers, printers, cell phones and more. See E-cycle Wisconsin for more information.

• Share ideas about waste reduction and recycling with kids and their teachers. For potential recycling activities, see the EEK!—Environmental Education for Kids! pages of the DNR website.

Moving suggestions include:

• Develop a plan to pack and organize what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. Approaching moving with a plan will give you more time to think about what to throw away, what to reuse and what to recycle. It'll save you room in the truck , too.

• Reuse boxes, cloth bags or plastic containers from move to move and use reusable or recyclable materials (including newspaper, T-shirts and others) to package fragile items.

• Reuse or dispose of hazardous materials, including paint, cleaners and other household chemicals safely. See How Do I Handle My Waste Materials for more information.

• Donate or recycle old electronics, furniture and other household items.

More tips and links to more information are available on the Go Back to School Green web page and Green Your Move webpage on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Moore, DNR Recycling Coordinator, (608) 267-7550



Trail map iPhone app for state's largest forest

MADISON - Visitors to the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest can have a "virtual" guide to help them as they explore Wisconsin's largest state forest trail system. A free iPhone/iPad/iPod application providing users with trail locations, maps and details is now available.

Developed in partnership with the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters, the application is available through the Discovery Center's website.

"This will increase the service provided to our customers by using mobile applications to meet user demands," said Teague Pritchard, a public lands specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. "The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest averages 3 million visitors each year and having this free downloadable application will reduce the number of paper trail maps the forest must print. That saves the forest money that can be used for other needs and means the visitor with a mobile device won't have to trek back to a visitor center to request a map if they want to go hiking."

The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is also featured in this month's issue of Natural Resource Magazine in the article, "Hidden in Plain Sight." The 225,000 acre forest was established in 1925 and features 930 lakes and 250 miles of rivers and creeks.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kirsten Held - (608) 264-6036



Angler survey shows August still a good time for fishing

MADISON -- The dog days of summer are here, but the fishing is anything but dull for many fish species.

The last statewide survey of Wisconsin anglers found that the fishing was as good for most fish species during August as during any other month, says Brian Weigel, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries researcher who analyzed results from the survey during the 2006-7 license year.

"There is a hint that largemouth bass and catfish success may peak during August," he says. "In general, it appeared that fishing for walleye, brook trout, and brown trout wasn't quite as successful in August compared to spring or fall, however.

August is a great time to fish for  catfish
Boys having fun fishing
WDNR Photo

"Walleye is the single most targeted species, which may inspire the misperception that August is a slow month for fishing."

In fact, a slew of state record fish were caught in August. Bluegill, common carp, black crappie, mooneye, northern pike, white perch, coho salmon; pink salmon, pinook salmon (a cross between a Chinook and pink salmon), green sunfish and tiger trout records were all set using hook and line in this month. One state record fish -- for bowfin -- was captured in August in the alternate methods category.

Tips for fishing for walleye, bass and catfish

Skip Sommerfeldt, a DNR fisheries biologist stationed in Park Falls and a walleye fishing fanatic, suggests that anglers who want to target walleye in August try shifting tactics somewhat.

"A good summer tactic is to use a small weedless jig (1/8 or even 1/16 ounce) and only a HALF nightcrawler," he says. "Cast to deep weed edges, weed pockets and medium depth break lines and move it very slowly. The bites are often very subtle but the results can often be a limit of eater walleyes!"

Sommerfeldt's favorite target this time of year is largemouth bass, and he passes along a productive technique for finicky fish.

"Use a heavily salted and scented rubber 'worm'. They come in a variety of styles and names such as sinkos, rat tails, dingers, etc. - which are all different names for the same general bait. The key to using them at this time of year is to rig them un-weighted and weedless (usually Texas-rigged, or wacky style).

"The 'worms' are heavy enough to cast without weights and the way to fish them is to cast them to the deep weed edges and let the worm slowly sink to the bottom. Close attention is required as the strikes are not real hard and the bite is often just a subtle pick up, with the fish slowly swimming to the side. The angler must watch the line for any indication of the bite - which is often just a short jerk on the line, or slow movement to the side. If this is detected - set the hook and wait for the pull of the fish!"

While catfish aren't as popular a target as either walleye or bucketmouths, anglers still reported catching 777,094 of them in the statewide survey. In Wisconsin, representatives of the family include the familiar bullheads, channel and flathead catfish, and three small, reclusive species of madtoms, according to "Felines with Fins," in the November 2007 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Even bullheads make a tasty meal when prepared following "The best o' bull: four tasty recipies for bullhead," in the October 1998 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Bradd Sims, DNR fisheries biologist stationed in Dodgeville, advises that anglers targeting channel catfish in rivers stay with moderate to strong current. "Cut bait or dip bait are good choices. Cut bait usually produces fewer fish but typically larger. Dip bait seems to produce more fish but smaller. Cut bait can be described as fillets of smaller fish."

For flathead catfish, Sims advised anglers stay on waters with slow to moderate current associated with lots of wood and deeper water. Live bait (smaller fish) are best for flatheads. For flatheads fish above or below deep runs with lots of woody debris.

For both species areas with woody debris will always hold catfish, he says, and reminds anglers to follow VHS rules when using cut bait and live bait.

One other note to remember about fishing in August. Ben Heussner, fisheries biologist stationed in Waukesha, notes that northern pike are extremely vulnerable in hot weather. Water temperatures are extremely high in many water bodies right now, and it is easy to catch them congregated in coldwater sources.

"Just a reminder that if you practice catch and release, please be mindful of proper handling techniques. Try not removing the fish from the water when possible by using a cradle," Heussner says. "Another technique is to try pulling the hook from the fish's mouth with a pliers while the fish stays in the water. Practicing these easy steps can not only enable the fish to grow even bigger, but can also give you a second chance to catch em'!"

Some fish biologists, technicians and supervisors shared some favorite tips for successful fishing during August for a variety of species. Reports of what fish are biting where can be found in the DNR Outdoor Report, which is updated every Thursday, and which people can subscribe to for free.

Yellow perch and walleye fishing on Green Bay

Yellow perch fishing usually improves in August on Green Bay. Anglers concentrate for this tasty panfish on the edge of weed beds from 10 to 20 feet of water. It's as simple as using a small minnow and split shot with a bobber or drifting just off the bottom. If you leave your bait on the sand then a round goby will likely steal it. Popular locations are off the Peshtigo, Oconto or Pensaukee rivers. On the east shore, popular landings are Chaudoirs and Bayshore parks. Please remember that you're fishing large waters and caution should be used if rough weather occurs. Walleye angling continues to be very good in Green Bay. Most anglers troll at very slow speeds (1 mph) with a night crawler harness. Good blade colors are gold and purple. You can also troll with a crank bait-style lures and common colors are purple, green and yellow. You want to place enough weight 6 feet in front of the lure or harness so it trolls in depths from 5 to 10 feet. Walleye fishing has been good throughout the bay from nearshore areas off Sturgeon Bay to Fox River and up to the Menominee River. Anglers may also catch sheepshead, catfish or large perch with this method. - Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo

Smallmouth bass fishing

Try wet wading rivers for smallmouth bass. Use inline spinners, crank baits like shad raps and crayfish imitations, crawlers and chub tails. Fly fishers use wooly worms, Clouser minnows, frog imitations, and big streamers. Fish pools, log jams, and boulders in rivers like the upper Wisconsin River, the Wolf, Little Wolf, Black, Flambeau, Embarrass, Red Cedar, Apple, Menominee, Grant rivers. There is good river smallmouth bass fishing all over Wisconsin in August. - Pete Segerson, field operations team supervisor, Black River Falls

Trout fishing and warmwater river fishing

Trout anglers should try fishing in early morning or late evenings for best success. Many waters in western Wisconsin have a good Trico hatch this time of the year and can provide a real nice early morning bite. In addition, late summer is also grasshopper season and many large trout are caught annually by anglers using grasshopper patterns. Hopper fishing usually is best in late afternoon and can provide some real exciting action for larger trout. Warmwater rivers can provide good smallmouth bass, pike and musky fishing this time of the year. Try spinners, lures, streamers or crayfish patterns near woody structure as well as pocket water near boulders and other instream structure. Fishing can be good throughout the day and a small float trip in a canoe or small boat can make for a fun day on the water. - Heath Benike, fisheries biologist, Eau Claire

Walleye and largemouth bass fishing

If you're interested in walleye, a good summer tactic is to use a small weedless jig (1/8 or even 1/16 ounce) and only a HALF nightcrawler. Cast to deep weed edges, weed pockets and medium depth break lines and move it very slowly. The bites are often very subtle but the results can often be a limit of eater walleyes!

One of the most popular gamefish during this time of year is largemouth bass. They are usually fairly sedentary in heavy cover and several tactics can provide some great action. First is a weedless frog or other weedless surface bait - and slowly 'hop' it across the top of lily pads or dense weed beds. A key is to keep a slow, steady hopping, as that seems to allow the bass to time its attack and get you more hook-ups. Another key is to learn to avoid setting the hook as soon as you see the splash - wait for the line to tighten a bit (indicating the bass has the lure) and then pull back to set the hook! And have fun getting them thru the thick weeds! Another very popular tactic for largemouth is a weedless rubber worm and fished right next to and IN the heaviest woody cover that is in 2 to 6 feet of water. A Texas-rigged worm or sinko is good for this and some heavier line and a stouter rod is required - because once a nice fish is hooked, you have to horse it out of the cover! The technique is to cast on the edge or into the wood tangle and let the bait sink into it. The bites are often subtle - a thunk or two on the line - and the fish will back up a foot or two to get back under cover. And here's the key - once you set the hook, you have to keep pulling to get the fish up and out of the wood so you can fight it in open water. If you set the hook and try to reel down, it's often too late and the fish has you wrapped up in the wood! And that's the need for heavier gear - you need some strong line and a stout rod to 'horse' them from the cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, fisheries biologist, Park Falls


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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