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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published May 29, 2012

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Public meetings set to gather input for wolf hunting and trapping season rule

MADISON -- The public will have the opportunity at four upcoming meetings to provide input on the draft concepts to be included in a wolf hunting and trapping season rule that will be going to the state Natural Resources Board on July 17 in Stevens Point as an emergency rule.

The Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill calling for a wolf hunting and trapping season that the governor signed on April 2. The Department of Natural Resources has been directed to implement a wolf hunting and trapping season this fall. To do so, an emergency rule and harvest quotas and permit levels must be adopted by the Natural Resources Board.

The Natural Resources Board approved the rule scope statement [pdf] on May 23.

The public meetings will include a review of the history of wolf recovery and management in Wisconsin and will focus on major rule components such as harvest management zones, as well as potential wolf harvest quotas and hunting and trapping permit levels. Public comments and questions are welcome.

These meetings will start with an open house for visiting with DNR staff at 6 p.m. Staff presentations will begin at 7 p.m. with time for questions and comments to follow. The meetings are being held at:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Vander Zouwen, DNR wildlife and landscape ecology chief - 608-266-8840; Bill Cosh, DNR spokespers - 608-267-2773; or Kurt Thiede, DNR Division of Land administrator - 608-266-5833



Universe in the Park' helps park visitors learn night sky

MADISON - Wisconsin state park visitors will have multiple opportunities this summer to view and learn about the night sky by participating in the "Universe in the Park" outreach program conducted by the Department of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

There are 44 programs that will be held at 24 different parks throughout the summer and early fall.

A typical session begins just after sunset, usually about 9 p.m., with a 20- to 30-minute talk and slide show about astronomy intended to present a broad overview of astronomy or recent astronomical news. After the talk, when the sky is dark, visitors have an opportunity to view whatever astronomical objects are available through telescopes.

Most of the question-and-answer period takes place around the telescopes.. During the height of the summer, the sessions can attract audiences of 70 to 80 people.

Visitors can show up for the slide show and question-and-answer period even if it is cloudy and the sky cannot be viewed through the telescope. The sessions are held if it is raining only if there is a shelter available.

"Universe in the Park," [] (exit DNR) which began in 1996, is predicated on the idea that the best environment in which enjoy astronomy is outside under dark skies, according to Prof. Eric M. Wilcots, who coordinates the program.

Universe in the Park events themselves are free, but visitors to Wisconsin State Parks and Forests must have a daily or annual vehicle admission sticker.

Anyone interested in attending a session should always contact the park to make sure the program is on as scheduled, because the schedule occasionally changes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin DNR Customer Information - 888-936-7463 or Universe in the Park, Dept. of Astronomy, UW-Madison, 608-262-3071

2012 Universe in the Park Schedule



New rules call for rear license plate on some ATVs/UTVs as of July 1

Downloadable pamphlet details changes passed by State Legislature

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to clarify that the license plate requirement does not apply to ATVs or UTVs with private-use registration and are used exclusively on private property or those designated as private use with agricultural purposes.

MADISON - All-terrain vehicles and utility-terrain vehicles that have a public use registration and are used on public trails, frozen lakes and rivers are required to have a mandatory rear license plate, according to new rules slated to take effect on July 1.

The rules are part of a regulation package passed earlier this year by the Wisconsin Legislature.

License plates are not required for those ATVs and UTVs with private-use registration and are used exclusively on private property or those designated as private use with agricultural purposes.

Farmers who use these vehicles for agricultural purposes on private land are exempted from the mandatory license requirement.

Since first notice of these rule changes was issued in April by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, there has been some public confusion and questions.

Warden Gary Eddy, also the ATV Administrator for the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement, says he has often been asked why the new state law requires the plate and what it is supposed to accomplish.

"The legislation had strong support from the ATV/UTV community and land managers, it is the DNR responsibility to implement the change," Eddy said. "The rules are modeled after similar rules in place in Minnesota."

Like on a car, the plates will help with identification when it comes to theft prevention, complaints and questions about trail use or operation, Eddy said.

Some of the major changes kicking in on July 1 include:

A downloadable pamphlet detailing these changes is available on the DNR website.

A downloadable pamphlet detailing these changes [PDF] is available on the DNR website.

For more information search "ATV" on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Eddy, Law Enforcement, 608-267-7455 - Laws and safety; Penny Kanable, Customer and Outreach Services, 608-264-8985 - Registration & trail pass; Diane Conklin, Community Financial Assistance, 715-822-8583 - Trail grants, maintenance & signage; or Joanne M. Haas, Public Affairs, Division of Enforcement and Science, 608-267-0798



Deadline for learn to hunt deer program at Sandhill extended

Program for adult novice hunters who must be accompanied by chaperones

BABCOCK, Wis. -- Adults who have had an interest in hunting but weren't sure how to give it a try are encouraged to consider a fall Learn-to-Hunt outing at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center - on the stunning 9,150-acre Sandhill Wildlife Area managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Applicants will need to recruit a chaperone (or mentor) to attend the hunt with them. The chaperone is necessary to ensure novice hunters get the complete hunting experience in a safe environment. Chaperones help hunters with firearm safety, deer identification, scouting, and field dressing, among other things.

Adults have been learning how to hunt at the Wood County-based center, located between Black River Falls and Stevens Point, since 1990. Last year, one novice hunter from Maryland sent this note: "I was intrigued by hunting here, but daunted by all the gear and knowledge that seemed necessary. The Learn the Hunt program was a great crash course that made me feel like I had a chance in the woods. My mentor was a crucial part of that."

There are two parts to the Learn to Hunt Deer at Sandhill. First, the workshop is held from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on September 22 at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center at Babcock. Attendance by hunters and chaperones is mandatory. Second, the hunt occurs November 3 and 4 on the property. Hunters will have an assigned a hunting area.

This learn to hunt event is for persons ages 16 and over. Applicants must sign an affidavit indicating they have not hunted deer with a gun before. All participants must be enrolled in or have completed a Hunter Education course.

Chaperones also are needed, says DNR Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator Keith Warnke.

"If you are a hunter and want to give back to the hunting heritage by getting a new hunter started, your skills are needed!" Warnke said.

The deadline to participate in this annual event has been extended by one month from May 31 to June 30. People interested in participating must complete the Sandhill Learn-to-Hunt application and mail it to the address on the application.

"Learn to Hunt events are a great way to break into hunting. Novice hunters paired up with an experienced hunter will learn about conservation, safety, ethics, deer hunting tactics and firearm safety during a one-day workshop," Warnke said. "Then, the novice hunters get a chance to experience a two-day November gun deer hunt."

Sandhill was named for a series of gently rolling sandy ridges crisscrossing the property. The State Wildlife Area lies within the bed of ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin an expansive region of flat, marshy land interspersed with forests covering parts of seven counties in central Wisconsin. The property features low, sandy uplands of oak, aspen and jack pine forests, large marshes, and many flowages.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator , 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, Public Affairs, Division of Enforcement and Science, 608-267-0798



Public listening sessions set on guidance to address disease killing pine trees

MADISON - The public is invited to comment on a guide being developed to address a growing threat to Wisconsin's pine forests and plantations called annosum root rot, a fungal disease that kills pine trees and causes wood decay.

First confirmed in Wisconsin in 1993, annosum has been found in 23 Wisconsin counties, including Adams, Buffalo, Columbia, Dunn, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marinette, Marquette, Oconto, Portage, Richland, Sauk, Shawano, Taylor, Trempealeau, Walworth, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood counties.

The disease spreads primarily in two ways: by spores from conks on infected trees and stumps landing on freshly cut stumps and through root contacts between adjoining trees/stumps, according to forest health experts. A fungicide treatment applied at the time of cutting prevents the disease from affecting fresh cut stumps that are not yet infected.

"Though it is an effective tool to protect the health of the pine resources, applying fungicide treatments at a local level presents operational complexities and additional burdens on loggers," said Kyoko Scanlon, forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Our challenge is that in order to protect our wood resources and maintain an economy that relies on healthy logging and paper industries we must find a way to implement a treatment program that is practical for the forest industry."

While all four sessions are open to the public, the first two public listening sessions are focused on DNR forestry partners and those the guidelines would have the most impact on and will be held:

The second two listening sessions will be focused on the general public and will be held:

More information is available by searching for "annosum" on the DNR website.

At these sessions DNR Division of Forestry staff will share the scientific information that informed the development of the guidelines, the considerations that were made to make the recommendations operationally practical in the field, describe the main parts of the guide and solicit input and feedback.

The proposed guide is designed to be used as a tool to help landowners/property managers determine whether the fungicide treatment should be considered to reduce the risk of the introduction of annosum root rot in a particular forest stand. A series of questions will help the user learn whether a fungicide treatment is recommended based on current scientific knowledge and observations in Wisconsin.

Once finalized, the guide can also be used by foresters and loggers to help communicate with landowners/property managers about the fungicide treatment option. State managed lands will be required to follow the guide's recommendations, in keeping with the state's commitment to protect sustainable forestry resources.

Written comments will be accepted during the sessions and will be posted on the DNR website. Written comments can also be sent to by July 20, 2012.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kyoko Scanlon, DNR forest health specialist - 608-275-3275 or Bob Manwell, DNR Office of Communications 608-264-9248



Fall and spring turkey season applications now available

New this year, applications only available online and at sales locations

MADISON - Applications for the 2012 fall and 2013 spring Wisconsin turkey hunting season are now available and can be purchased at any of the 1,350 locations that sell Department of Natural Resources licenses or over the Internet through the DNR Online License Center.

The fall turkey application deadline is August 1, and the 2013 spring turkey application deadline is Dec. 10.

Beginning this year, there will no longer be a paper applications process. Turkey application information will be collected at the sales locations or online. The new electronic application process will make it is easier for hunters to view and/or change application choices if necessary. Changes can be completed through the on-line License Center, or through the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463. Changes can be made right up to the deadline, with the last submission superseding all previous applications.

People who purchase a Conservation Patron license prior to July 4 will receive special instructions on how to submit their turkey applications in if they did not provide this information at the time of purchase. As in the past, Conservation Patron holders can go on-line at any time from now until the deadline and submit their applications for free.

Up to four people can apply as a group application. Each person in the group will need to submit the exact same choices and provide the same group leader Customer ID number. Hunters should be aware that during the drawing, the entire group will receive the preference associated to the customer in their group with the least preference points. This means that if one of the group members has zero preference points, the entire group will go into the pool of applicants at the level of zero points. Landowner preference cannot be applied to group applications.

Customers who wish to claim landowner preference will be able to do so when they apply for their turkey application. To qualify, the landowner must own at least 50 contiguous acres of land and apply for the zone where the land is located. Customers who claim landowner preference when purchasing their application at an agent location will be required to provide the last four digits of their social security number as a form of electronic signature verifying that they understand and comply with the landowner preference requirements.

The bobcat application is also now available for purchase. The bobcat drawing application fee is $6. The deadline for the bobcat application is August 1. This application can also be purchase via the Online License Center or at any DNR agent location.

To find a license agent closest to you, visit the web site and search with the key words "License Agents", or call the Call Center at 1-888-936-7463. Customer Service Representatives are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DNR Customer service 1-888-936-7463



Grants available for forest and wildland fire suppression

MADISON -- Local fire fighting agencies have until July 2 to apply for a Department of Natural Resources grant program for suppressing forest and wildland fires. This program provides fund on a 50/50 cash match basis.

Local fire departments and county or area fire organizations can apply for Forest Fire Protection Grants, which were established in 1997 to strengthen local fire departments' and county or area fire organizations' capabilities to assist the DNR forestry staff in suppression of forest fires.

The grant program provides funds for the purchase of forest fire suppression equipment and training, including: personal protective equipment (clothing must meet NFPA 1977 standards); forest fire training; forest fire prevention; forest fire tools and equipment; radio reprogramming; communication equipment; dry hydrant installation; rural fire mapping and numbering; and off-road all-wheel drive initial-attack vehicles.

Wisconsin fire organizations statewide received notice of this application cycle and informed of the availability of application materials on the DNR Web site. FFP applications must be postmarked on or before July 2, 2012.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Eileen Trainor - (608) 267-0848; Chris Klahn - (608) 297-2214

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Forest Fire Protection Grant Program is one of 33 grant programs administered by the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance. The Bureau issues approximately 3,600 grant awards each year to local units of government, Indian Tribes, nonprofit conservation organizations, fire departments, dry cleaners, and individuals. For more information search grants and loans on the DNR website.]


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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