NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,098 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published November 8, 2011

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Rare southwestern birds show up in Wisconsin

A welcome wrinkle to annual bird migrations

HORICON -- Bird watchers are in their glory: the number of migrating water birds is building to its massive annual peak at Horicon Marsh, the Mississippi River and other flyway hotspots while southwestern U.S. birds are stopping by for a rare Wisconsin visit.

"It's a fantastic time to be a bird watcher in Wisconsin," says Ryan Brady, a Department of Natural Resources research scientist who coordinates bird monitoring for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative [] (exit DNR).

"We're really seeing a big push of the water birds into the state at the same time we're on red alert for these rarities -- birds that are native to some other state but likely got blown off course and are now being found in Wisconsin and the Upper Great Lakes."

The past week was a special one for spying rare birds in the state, especially birds from the southwest. Birders have reported the first ever Inca dove -- enjoying a bird feeder at Concordia College in Ozaukee County. A Vermillion flycatcher has been spotted in Rock County, marking the sixth time this species has been reported in the state, Brady says.

Inca dove
Inca dove
Contributed photo by Dave Freriks

Other rarities reported included the scissor-tailed flycatcher in Kewaunee County, the western tanager at a Lincoln County bird feeder, and the Say's phoebe, which Brady called "the 10-minute wonder. One person saw it and it left." That lucky person was at the Kohler Andre State Park in Sheboygan County. Photos of many of these rare birds can be found on the Flickr site of Wisconsin eBird (exit DNR).

Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Contributed photo by Dave Freriks

Such birds are called "vagrants" in ornithological circles, and no one is sure why they're alighting in Wisconsin, says Tom Prestby, DNR research technician.

"It's likely because of the southwest to northeastern-oriented jet stream, which steers some dispersing birds from their native areas to the Great Lakes," Prestby says. "Some young birds normally disperse in fall but a drought in the Southwest could be causing more than normal to do so because of a lack of food."

Most vagrants keep flying until something stops them -- in Wisconsin's case, the Lake Michigan or Lake Superior shoreline, he says.

The forecast is for the jet stream to remain almost the same so unusual species could keep showing up throughout the month, Prestby says. "Right now, the best chances to find something really rare are probably along the Great Lakes but the Vermilion and tanager (sightings) prove that anywhere is possible," he says.

Traditional migrants to put on a show as well

The start of November marks water bird season, Prestby says. "This is the peak of loon and diving and dabbling duck migration. Shorebird and hawk migration is winding down but a few of each can still be seen. Most warblers and other summer breeders have left but kinglets, creepers, yellow-rumped warblers, hermit thrushes and winter wrens are near the peak of their migration."

Andy Paulios, who coordinates the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, reports that tundra swans are beginning to stage on the Upper Mississippi River and in small numbers across Wisconsin. The first flocks showed up in Madison last week.

Northern and central Wisconsin birders are reporting common redpolls, siskins, and crossbills in decent numbers, he says.

"It appears that this may be a decent winter seeing finches. Waterfowl migration continues to progress and build to peaks at staging areas. Of interest are a relatively large number of scoter reports on larger inland bodies of water compared to a normal year."

At Horicon Marsh, for example, Liz Herzmann, assistant naturalist, reported late last week that Canada goose numbers remain at 50,000 there, but are expected to increase as the weather gets colder.

"At peak, geese numbers will be around 200,000," she says. "They use the marsh as a stopover on migration. Duck numbers are down slightly to 60,000. We are seeing high numbers of mallards, green-winged teal, gadwall, and shovelers. Diving ducks such as ruddy ducks, ring-neck ducks and bufflehead are on the increase. You can still see trumpeter swans from Highway 49. Also, there have been several sightings of horned grebes."

Where to watch birds and report what you see

Viewing and photographing birds are popular activities across all age groups and state regions -- more than 40 percent of Wisconsinites age 16 and over, about 1.7 million people participate in the activity, according to the Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

Migrating geese

Hurry to Horicon. Fall is Here! Migrating geese are at peak numbers through mid-November at Horicon Marsh. Get maps and find "hot spots," Horicon Marsh Birding [Video 00:02:26]

Wisconsin bird watchers are in luck. Horicon Marsh and the Upper Mississippi River backwaters are among 29 sites recognized as wetlands of international significance, in large part because they are so important to birds. Mississippi River wetlands, for instance, provide habitat to more than 300 birds and a flyway for 40 percent of the waterfowl in America.

Most birdwatchers don't need to go far from home to find what they're looking for--85 percent bird watch within 1 mile of where they live. Inland, places with a variety of habitat, especially a pond or wetland component probably have the best chance. Bird feeders and local parks are great places to view migration in many cases.

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Monthly web page provides links to maps, Horicon birding "hot spots" and easy instructions for creating a bird feeder.

Wisconsin eBird (exit DNR) also has a View and Explore Data function that shows public birding "hotspots" and these show where local birders are birding Wisconsin Society for Ornithology website [] (exit DNR) is a great source of birding information, Brady says.

People can also report what they see via eBird. The site is meant for common and rare birds alike and is a great tool for keeping track of your own bird sightings while at the same time contributing data to the larger cause of conservation, Brady says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Brady (715) 685-2933; Andy Paulios (608) 264-6137; or Tom Prestby (608) 333-2459.



New firearm rules take effect on opening day of gun deer hunt

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to reflect DNR Law Enforcement determination that the new law does not allow for loaded guns to be inside of vehicles, even if the vehicle is stationary.

MADISON -- New legislation signed Friday by Gov. Scott Walker modifies state law concerning the manner in which long-barreled firearms, bows and crossbows can be transported in motor vehicles or placed in or on stationary vehicles.

The new law will be published in time to take effect Nov. 19, opening day of the traditional, nine-day, 2011 gun deer season.

In its essence, the new law can be boiled down to a single statement, said Tim Lawhern, DNR division of enforcement and science administrator.

"Unless otherwise prohibited, you can carry a long gun, uncased and unloaded, in or on a motor vehicle in Wisconsin at any time," Lawhern said. The DNR has prepared a frequently asked questions on Wis. Act 51 page that available on the law enforcement pages of the DNR website.

While the law has changed, Lawhern said, there will still be many people who will continue to use a carrying case to transport unloaded firearms in motor vehicles, as hunters have been and will continue to be advised in hunter education courses.

"It's a great way to protect your investment in your firearms," Lawhern said.

As is always the case with a new law, Lawhern said, the first year is an educational opportunity.

DNR chief warden Randy Stark has already provided the state's warden force with detailed instructions on the new law and its enforcement. Wardens will use a mix of enforcement, communication and education to help hunters understand and comply with the new law, Lawhern said.

"We are always ready to help people in the field, to answer their questions and to provide advice," Lawhern said.

Here are a few things hunters might need to know about the new law:

Wisconsin hunters, as a group, are among the best trained and safest hunters in the world, said Lawhern. This is thanks in large part to the legions of volunteer hunter safety instructors who donate their time each year to educate new hunters.

"Our hunters have established an enviable safety record," Lawhern said. "We fully expect the vast majority of hunters in Wisconsin will continue to use common sense and safe practices when handling firearms. For most of us, these practices have become second nature."

Here are the four basic rules of gun safety, as taught in hunter education:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern, DNR enforcement and science division administrator, (608) 264-6133



Proposed Ice Age Trail hunting rule is postponed

Public meetings on hunting proposal have been postponed

MADISON - Work on a proposed rule to determine hunting and trapping opportunities on state-owned sections of the Ice Age Trail is being suspended and a series of meetings that had been scheduled around the state on the proposal are being postponed.

Under an administrative rule approved earlier this year, the state Natural Resources Board would determine a hunting classification for properties purchased throughout the state for the establishment and protection of the Ice Age Trail, known as State Ice Age Trail Areas or SIATAs.

The rule allows for a variety of hunting possibilities on SIATAs ranging from all hunting seasons allowed in administrative code, to all hunting between Nov. 1 and March 31, to deer hunting only, to no hunting allowed. The rule also lists specific factors to be taken into consideration when determining hunting season recommendations such as the size, shape, and location of the property.

The Department of Natural Resources decided to postpone further implementation of this rule pending discussion in the legislature regarding hunting in State Parks. This includes postponing public meetings scheduled for next week in New Auburn, Delafield, Lodi, and Stevens Point, and the public comment period planned through the end of November. The department will announce when the meetings will be rescheduled; likely in early 2012 .

The Ice Age Trail follows the approximate extent of the last continental glaciation in Wisconsin some 10,000 years ago. The purpose of the trail is to provide premier hiking and backpacking experiences and to preserve and interpret Wisconsin's glacial landscape and other natural and cultural resources in areas through which the trail passes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brigit Brown - (608) 266-2183.



DNR appoints Kevin Wallenfang as state's big game ecologist

MADISON - Kevin Wallenfang has been appointed as the state's big game ecologist. Wallenfang, 44, of Middleton, is expected to assume his new duties in mid-December.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Kevin heading up the big game program," says Tom Hauge, director of the DNR's Bureau of Wildlife Management. "Kevin's an avid big game hunter and he understands and respects the passion Wisconsin has for our deer, bear and elk populations."

Kevin Wallenfang
Kevin Wallenfang
Contributed photo

A Wisconsin native hailing from Green Lake, Wallenfang holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and has worked in professional wildlife management for over 20 years. He is currently Wisconsin's Regional Wildlife Biologist for Pheasants Forever and also spent several years as a biologist and initiative director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He is not a newcomer to DNR as he previously held the position of assistant big game ecologist before his stints with Pheasants Forever and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

"Everyone knows deer management is a real hot-button issue in Wisconsin," said Wallenfang. "But that just shows how important it is to our state, both for individuals as hunters and to our economy. I've really hated to see the loss of some of the passion that some deer hunters have had in Wisconsin in recent years because of issues like CWD. I'm hoping that together, with the help of hunters and the various groups out there, that we can bring back the excitement and traditions that is missing for some people."

"Kevin has an excellent reputation as a leader in Wisconsin conservation and as a biologist, but his real strength is his likable personality," said Hauge. "He is a good communicator and has the knack of working with partners to get things accomplished and in finding middle ground on tough issues. Big game management, especially deer, has always been a challenge and I think these traits will serve the public and him very well."

Wallenfang's work with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation focused on preserving land and habitat for elk, and providing public access and permanent habitat protection through purchases and conservation easements.

"I'm proud that I was here in the beginning of Wisconsin's elk reintroduction and spent several years of my career working on various aspects of that effort," he says. And about bears he adds, "Wisconsin has an incredible bear resources, both numbers and trophies. I've enjoyed a lot of great bear hunts from Wisconsin to Alaska, and hope I can put that experience to work on behalf of not only the bear resource, but for hunters as well."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Hauge - (608) 266-2193 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248

[Media Availability: Wallenfang does not begin his official duties until Dec. 19 and will not be readily available for media interviews until then. Wallenfang will be winding up his current responsibilities with Pheasants Forever. Interview requests can be placed Robert Manwell, DNR acting chief of communications (608) 264-9248



A chronology of Wisconsin deer hunting from closed seasons to antlerless permits

MADISON - Wisconsin has a long and storied tradition of regulated gun deer hunting, going back to 1851. There have been many changes over the years, but none more dramatic as those experienced by hunters during the 1990's and early twenty-first century.

1834 - Lafayette County, first reported crop damage by deer.

1851 - First closed season for deer, Feb. 1 - June 30; Indians permitted to hunt anytime.

1876 - Hunting with dogs prohibited statewide.

1887 - Two game wardens appointed by governor at a monthly salary of $50; night hunting prohibited statewide.

1888 - Game laws published in pamphlet form.

1890 - First chief warden appointed.

1892 - Lawful to kill any dog running or hunting deer.

1895 - Sheboygan first county closed to deer hunting; deer cannot be transported unless accompanied by hunter; last October deer season in state.

1897 - First bag limit for deer, two per season; resident license costs $1, nonresident license costs $30; estimated license sales total 12,000.

1900 - Twelve hunters killed by firearms.

1903 - Estimated 78,164 licenses sold.

1905 - Salt licks prohibited.

1909 - Season 20 days long, limit one deer; first civil service exam given on a competitive basis for prospective wardens.

1910 - Deer populations drop to record low numbers due to unregulated hunting and market shooting.

1914 - Twenty-four hunters killed, 26 injured; license sales at 155,000

1915 - First buck only season.

1917 - Shining deer illegal while possessing a firearm; Conservation Commission delegated some powers related to deer season, but legislature retains authority to set seasons; deer tags (paper) required for the first time...they cost 10 cents.

1919 - Estimated kill is 25,152.

1920 - First use of metal deer tags...they cost 10 cents.

1921 - Wardens are instructed that "all deer found in possession...with horns less than three inches in length, is a fawn and should be confiscated."

1924 - Estimated kill is 7000.

1925 - Legislature passes law closing deer season in alternate years.

1927 - No open season.

1928 - Deer hunters required to wear official conservation button while hunting; Game Division formed with Conservation Department; estimated kill is 17,000 with 69,049 deer tags sold.

1929 - No open season.

1930 - Estimated kill is 23,000 with 70.284 deer tags sold.

1931 - No open season.

1932 - Deer tag price is raised to $1; estimated kill is 36,009 with 70,245 deer tags sold.

1933 - No open season; Conservation Congress, an advisory group representing public opinion registered at annual county hearings, begins to assist the Conservation Commission in establishing a deer management policy.

1934 - First bow deer season; estimated gun kill is 21,251 with 83,939 deer tags sold.

1935 - No open season.

1937 - Shortest deer season on record, three days.

1938 - Use of .22 rifle and .410 shotgun prohibited.

1939 - Licensed children between ages 12 and 16 must be accompanied by parent or guardian; buckshot prohibited statewide.

1941 - Deer predators rare, timber wolves nearing extinction; estimated gun kill is 40,403 with 124,305 deer tags sold.

1942 - Back tags required while deer hunting.

1943 - First doe and fawn season in 24 years.

1945 - First year of 'shotgun only' counties; wearing red clothing required while hunting deer.

1950 - First 'any deer' season since 1919; estimated gun kill is 167,911 with 312,570 deer tags sold.

1951 - 100th established gun deer season; deer hunting license and tag cost $2.50; orange clothing now included under red clothing law; Wisconsin leads nation in whitetail deer kill for third consecutive year.

1953 - First season gun deer hunters required to register deer at checking station.

1954 - Two-thirds of bucks harvested are less than three years old; portions of Walworth and Waukesha Counties and all of Jefferson County open for the first time since 1906.

1956 - Registered gun kill is 35,562 with 294,645 deer tags sold.

1957 - Legislature authorizes party permit.

1958 - Longest deer season since 1916, 16 days; Rock County open for the first time since 1906; first harvest by deer management unit (in northwest and northeast only); registered gun kill is 95,234, of which 44,987 taken by party permit; 335,866 deer tags and 58,348 party permits sold, respectively.

1959 - First statewide deer registration by unit; Game Management Division of Conservation Department assumes responsibility for coordinating the state's deer program; first open season in Kenosha County since 1906.

1960 - Hunter not permitted to buy a license after opening day of gun season; Green and Racine Counties open for the first time since 1906; all counties now open except Milwaukee; registered gun kill is 61,005, of which 25,515 taken by party permit; 338,208 deer tags and 47,522 party permits sold, respectively.

1961 - Resident big game license increased from $4 to $5; first use of SAK - sex-age-kill population-reconstruction technique for estimating deer numbers; hunters required to transport deer openly while driving to registration station; legislation authorizing unit specific quotas for antlerless harvest established.

1962 - Deer population above 400,000; deer management unit specific population goals established.

1963 - First year of quota party permits in eight management units; assassination of President Kennedy lessens hunting pressure.

1964 - Party permit quota extended to 32 management units.

1967 - Hunter Safety Education Program begins.

1970 - Registered gun kill is 72,844 with 501,799 licenses sold; 13 hunters killed.

1973 - No deer season fatalities.

1978 - Record registered gun kill is 150,845 with 644,594 licenses sold.

1980 - Blaze orange clothing required; first season of Hunter's Choice permit; new law prohibits shining wild animals from 10pm to 7pm, Sept. 15 - Dec. 31; coyote season closed in northern management units to protect nascent wolf population.

1981 - Record registered deer kill of 166,673 with 629,034 licenses sold.

1982 - Another record registered gun kill of 182,715 with 637,320 licenses sold; three deer season fatalities.

1983 - Harvest continues to rise with another record registered gun kill of 197,600 with 649,972 licenses sold; experimental antlerless deer hunt in six southern management units to relieve crop damage.

1984 - Big jump in registered kill, fourth record harvest in a row of 255,726 with license sales totaling 657,969; handgun deer hunting allowed in shotgun areas; group hunting legalized.

1985 - Fifth consecutive record kill of 274,302 with 670,329 licenses sold; deer season extended in 21 management units; legislature further strengthens road hunting restrictions.

1986 - Gun deer season now nine days statewide; landowner preference program begins for Hunter's Choice permits.

1987 - First year of bonus antlerless permits; seven fatalities and 46 hunting accidents.

1988 - Handguns permitted statewide.

1989 - Record registered harvest of 310,192 with 662,280 licenses sold; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.15 million deer; two fatalities and 37 hunting accidents.

1990 - Another record kill of 350,040, including 209,005 antlerless deer; record license sales of 699,275; pre-hunt herd estimate of 1.3 million deer; season extended for seven days in 67 management units.

1991 - Third consecutive year of record harvest, 352,330; hunters allowed to buy more than one antlerless permit; season extended to 72 management units, mostly in the north; first year of separate, seven-day muzzleloader season.

1992 - Though kill fourth highest on record, 288,820, many hunters voice discontent over lack of success and claim DNR raised expectations by pre-hunt harvest prediction of around 370,000; hunters allowed to apply for bonus antlerless permits in more than one unit; Natural Resources Board approves Secretary's recommendation to keep the gun season at nine days; new metro management units established around La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee.

1993 - Harvest drops to 217,584, including 100,977 antlerless deer; pre-hunt herd population at 1 million with many units well below prescribed goals; 34 units, mainly in the north, designated as buck-only units; one fatality, 17 hunting accidents.

1994 - Hunters Choice permit availability jumps to 177,340 from 103,140 in 1993; six northwest management units remain buck only; herd beginning to build-up in southern agricultural range.

1995 - Harvest totals 398,002, a new state record; 32 accidents, one fatal; over 577,000 antlerless permits available with 414,000 plus applicants with 163,000 bonus permits offered to hunters; for the first time hunters can use their bonus or Hunter's Choice permits in either the gun, bow or muzzleloader seasons.

1996 - 'Earn a Buck" requirement placed on hunters in 19 deer management units situated in agricultural range where existing deer seasons and permit systems aren't controlling herd growth; special four-day antlerless only season, state's first October hunt since 1897, takes place in 19 'Earn a Buck' units, resulting in a kill of 24,954 deer.

1997 - 'Earn a Buck' provision scuttled; early Zone T season in seven management units and three state parks results in over 7000 deer killed; the safest gun season even with one fatality and 10 accidents.

1998 - An early October gun season for third year in a row held in one management unit, 67A; harvest of 332,254 is fifth highest; accidents total 19 with two fatalities; most units in all regions of the state estimated to be above prescribed goals due to the mild winter of 1997-98.

1999 - Early antlerless Zone T deer season held in seven mainly east-central management units and one state park; early archery season is extended through Nov. 18 in Zone T units; pre-hunt herd estimate is 1.5 to 1.6 million deer; 33 management units in the central and southern part of the state are designated 'watch unit's that are above population goals and may be designated as Zone T units next year if quota numbers aren't filled; resident deer license costs $20; non-resident license costs $135; record harvest of 402,204 deer.

2000 - Early four-day Zone T antlerless hunts produces kill of 66,417 deer; 97 of the state's 132 deer management units listed as Zone T; two free antlerless permits given to all hunters buying deer-related licenses; hunters kill a record 528,494 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day, muzzleloader and late antlerless only gun seasons; nine-day gun harvest totals a record 442,581 (170,865 antlered, 271,573 antlerless); 694,957 licensed gun hunters.

2001 - Wisconsin's pre-hunt population estimated at 1.5 million deer; free antlerless permit given to all hunters buying deer-related licenses; 67 deer management units and nine state parks designated as Zone T; October and December four-day, Zone T antlerless hunts results in kill of 58,107 deer; nine-day gun harvest is the state's fifth largest, totaling 361,264 (141,942 antlered, 219,260 antlerless); chronic wasting disease (CWD) later identified in three deer harvested in the Dane County Town of Vermont.

2002 - Herd estimate at 1.34 million deer; DNR samples about 41,000 deer during the early Zone T antlerless hunt (Oct. 24-27) and opening weekend (Nov. 23-24) of the nine-day gun season to determine if CWD is present anywhere else in the state besides the Disease Eradication Zone in southwest Wisconsin; expanded hunting opportunities set-up in the CWD Management Zone and a gun deer season slated for Oct. 24 to Jan. 31 in the CWD Eradication Zone; October and November four-day, Zone T antlerless hunts in 25 deer management units produce a harvest of 36,228 deer; hunters register 277,755 deer during the traditional, nine-day season; number of licensed gun hunters drops about 10 percent with much of the decrease attributed to concerns about CWD.

2003 - Fall deer population estimated at 1.4 million; landowners in CWD Disease Eradication Zone (DEZ) can request free permits to harvest deer without a license and receive two buck tags per permit; earn-a-buck (EAB) rules in effect and no bag limits on deer in the CWD management zones; deer hunting license sales up 14 percent over 2002, but down 13 percent when compared to 2001; overall, DNR collects 15,025 samples for disease surveillance with 115 wild deer testing positive for CWD; all but two positives are from the Disease Eradication zones (DEZ) of southwest Wisconsin and Rock County; hunters killed 388,344 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day gun, muzzleloader and land antlerless only deer seasons.

2004 - Many deer management units (DMU's) in all regions of the state estimated to be above prescribed management goals with 48 DMU's designated as Zone T and 26 units as EAB; fall deer population estimated at 1.7 million deer; hunters issued one free antlerless permit for each license type (archery or gun) up to a maximum of two; during all seasons, hunters in the CWD DEZ and much larger Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) are required to kill an antlerless deer before harvesting a buck; hunters kill 413,794 deer during the early antlerless only, nine-day gun, muzzle loader, late antlerless only and CWD zone deer seasons; eight gun deer hunting accidents documented with two fatalities; all accidents are either self-inflicted or shooter and victim were in the same party; hunters set a new record of venison donations by giving 10,938 deer yielding nearly 500,000 pounds of venison for food pantries to feed needy people across the state.

2005 - Forty-five DMU's designated as Zone T units with unlimited antlerless permits and expanded gun hunting opportunities; hunters issued free antlerless permits for both archery and gun licenses; permits valid in any Zone T and CWD units; hunters in CWD units could get an unlimited number of antlerless permits at the rate of four per day; hunters harvest 387,310 deer during the early October, regular gun, late December and muzzleloader seasons combined, the eighth highest kill on record; 195,735 deer harvested during the opening weekend (Nov. 19-20) of the nine-day gun season; gun deer sales total 643,676, down one percent from 2004; DNR conducts CWD surveillance survey in the agency's Northeast Region where 4500 deer are tested and CWD not detected; 14 accidents, including three fatals, during the nine-day season (Nov. 19-27); top five gun deer harvest counties - all located in central Wisconsin - are Marathon (15,871), Clark (13,918), Waupaca (12,260), Shawano (11,748) and Jackson (11,461).

2006 - Statewide harvest quota totals 469,385 antlerless deer; over 1 million antlerless deer permits issued to reach this quota; all hunters issued one free antlerless permit for each license type (bow and gun) with permits valid in any Herd Control, EAB and CWD units; hunters kill the fifth highest gun total (393,306) during the youth, regular gun, late December and muzzleloader seasons combined; 10 accidents, one fatal, with five self-inflicted and five with shooter and victim in the same party.

2007 - The 156th deer season; state's deer herd estimated between 1.6 and 1.8 million animals heading into the regular nine-day (Nov. 17-25) gun hunt and the 23-day (Nov. 17-Dec.9) hunt in the CWD Zones; 57 of Wisconsin's 130 DMU's have EAB rules; more than 65,000 hunters "prequalified" for a buck sticker in 2007 by registering an antlerless deer during 2006; 40 DMU's, many in the north, are on the "EAB Watch List" and may be EAB units in 2008 if antlerless kill isn't sufficient.

2008 -57 DMUs under EAB regulations and hunters must "earn" a buck sticker authorizing them to shoot a buck by first killing an antlerless deer; 51 DMUs are on the EAB "watch list" meaning they could be designated as EAB units in 2009 if a sufficient number of antlerless deer aren't harvested; most of southern Wisconsin lies within the new CWD-Management Zone (CWD-MZ) boundary and rifles can be used to hunt deer in previously shotgun only areas of the CWD Zone; traditional gun season runs from Nov. 22-30, the second latest possible opening day under the current nine-day season; hunting conditions considered above average throughout the state for most of the nine-day season; over 642,000 licensed hunters kill 352,601 deer during all gun seasons (103,845 antlered & 248,756 antlerless); nine accidents, one fatal, all either self inflicted or shooter and victim in the same party, during the nine-day season.

2009 - Opening morning of the nine-day gun hunt had above normal temps with heavy fog throughout much of the state. No portions of the state had snow cover for the season's opening weekend. While conditions were conducive for hunters sitting in stands, deer activity and sight ability were probably reduced due to fog. Temps return to normal by mid-week, with little or no snow fall during the rest of the season. New Mentored Hunting Program permitted a licensed hunter 18 years or older to take out anyone 10 years and older for a hunt. Gun deer license sales 2.1 percent lower than in 2008. Hunters kill the 25th highest total during all gun seasons - 241,862 (92,754 antlered, 146,917 antlerless).

2010 - The 159th deer season. 19 DMUs in the north have buck only hunting during the gun and bow seasons. The total statewide antlerless harvest is likely to decline has the herd is allowed to grow in some areas. The buck kill will vary among units, but from a statewide perspective it likely will not change much. No EAB units except in CWD-MZ. Still, roughly half of the DMUs are in a herd control season structure where deer population estimates are currently 20 percent or more above goal. Hunters may now divide a deer into up to five parts (four quarters plus the head attached to the spinal column and rib cage) to facilitate removal from the field. Hunters harvest a total of 253,038 deer during the gun seasons and 83,833 during archery seasons.

2011 - The number of DMUs in the north restricted to buck-only harvest for most hunters has been reduced to 8 from 19 in the previous season due to herd growth; 96 DMUs are in Herd Control or CWD season structures; all other units have limited antlerless deer harvest quotas. The October antlerless deer gun hunt in areas outside the CWD Management Zone is suspended in 2011. Hunters in the CWD Management Zone may shoot a buck first before having to follow EAB rules. Archery season is extended through the gun deer season. It is now legal to hunt deer with a rifle in Waupaca County. A Deer Trustee has been contracted for a scientific review of Wisconsin deer management policies and procedures. The first year of a multi year study to determine causes of deer death by hunter, disease, weather, predator, vehicle and other causes is a success. Over 400 hunters volunteer time to help with the research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Manwell - (608) 246-9248



Report details activities to strengthen safe drinking water

MADISON -- A report detailing what Wisconsin's 11,000-plus public water suppliers, the state, and partners do to help assure safe, adequate drinking water into the future is now available online.

Wisconsin's Capacity Development Program for Public Drinking Water Systems 2011 Report to the Governor (pdf) describes the activities and partnerships aimed at helping public water systems achieve and maintain the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide safe drinking water.

Public water systems are those that regularly serve at least 25 people 60 days of the year. They range from small restaurants and gas stations up to the largest cities such as Madison and Milwaukee. Wisconsin has 11,444 public water systems, second only to Michigan.

All states are required to have capacity development programs. Wisconsin uses a combination of activities to accomplish this, including requiring water system operators be certified, technical assistance visits to small systems, regular inspections, water quality monitoring, and low interest loans, according to Lee Boushon, who leads the Department of Natural Resources program overseeing public water suppliers in Wisconsin.

The program also benefits from the work of partners around the state including county health departments, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association and the Wisconsin Water Association, he says.

The combined efforts are paying off at the tap. In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, 96 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems did not have a single water sample exceeding health-based standards for regulated contaminants, according to the 2010 Annual Drinking Water Report for Public Water Systems (pdf). On average, Wisconsin residents pay $4 for 1,000 gallons of tap water--mere fractions of a penny per gallon, according to the state Public Service Commission.

Activities taken to build and strengthen the system's capacity include:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee Boushon (608) 266-0857



Recycle more! Ten tips for America Recycles Day

MADISON -- Recycling has long been a daily habit for Wisconsinites and for good reason—recycling works! Every can, bottle and newspaper that is recycled helps save resources and energy, reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and supplies raw materials to industry, creating jobs.

On November 15, Wisconsin residents can celebrate all that recycling does by participating in America Recycles Day. The annual event encourages Americans to waste less, recycle more and purchase recycled products.

In honor of America Recycles Day, the Department of Natural Resources recycling program offers 10 ways people can boost the amount they recycle:

  1. Compost food and yard debris. For suggestions on how to construct and maintain a bin, see the home composting page of the DNR website or check out a new composting poster (pdf).
  2. Donate clothing, furniture or other household items you no longer use to a local nonprofit or resale store. By donating reusable items, you're helping others in your community while reducing waste.
  3. Take time to reacquaint yourself with your community's recycling program. Many recycling programs have changed in recent years to collect a wider range of recyclables and simplify the recycling process. See Recycle More Wisconsin (exit DNR) for a list of recyclables collected in your community.
  4. Recycle your electronics. E-Cycle Wisconsin, a program funded by electronics manufacturers, is making it easier to recycle electronics like TVs, computers and computer accessories. See the program website to find a recycler near you.
  5. In addition to standard recyclables, find out what other products your recycling program accepts. Many communities have special programs to recycle scrap metal, prescription pills, electronics, household hazardous wastes and other materials—even athletic shoes!
  6. In places you visit frequently—the grocery store, your workplace, gas stations and others—ask whether they accept recycling. If not, ask them to put out a recycling bin for customer and employee use.
  7. Recycle construction and demolition debris. Several businesses across the state recycle or reuse shingles, construction lumber, lighting fixtures, drywall, concrete, glass and other construction materials.
  8. Talk to your kids about ways they can recycle at home and at school. For ideas on simple activities to teach you kids about recycling see the DNR's EEK website.
  9. If you operate a business in Wisconsin, make sure your business is saving money by reducing waste and recycling as much as it can. The Wisconsin Recycling Markets Directory (exit DNR) connects businesses with recyclers across the state. See the directory online.
  10. Be a thoughtful shopper. Look for products labeled with a high recycled content or that use "post-consumer" recycled materials, or buy products with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.

Recycling is easy, and with 5 million Wisconsinites all doing it, it makes a big difference.

For more information on America Recycles Day, including a listing of events, see The Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin's Recycle More Wisconsin (exit DNR) also providing a list of America Recycles Day links, Wisconsin specific events and resources.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Kiefaber - (608) 267-2463



Volunteer carnivore track-training and clinic offered

BABCOCK, Wis. - People interested in contributing volunteer time assisting state wildlife officials in annual winter wolf census can sign up for a volunteer tracking training clinic that will be held at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center on Dec. 3.

The training is mandatory for people who want to participate in conducting the wolf census, and is not to be confused with educational workshops. People who sign up to assist with the Wisconsin's Volunteer Carnivore Tracking Program commit to running three surveys per winter.

Registration is limited to 30 people on a first-come, first-served basis and is confirmed by mailing in a registration fee of $15 per person by Nov. 18. Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Participants may stay in the center's dorm on the night before or after the course for a donation of $15 per person per night. Send your registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413.

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Britt Searles - (715) 884-6335


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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