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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published May 29, 2014

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Natural Resources Board approves 2014 deer hunting season structure`

MADISON - The Natural Resources Board approved today the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' recommendations for the 2014 deer hunting season. With board approval, antlerless quotas, antlerless permit levels and an updated CWD affected area have been established for 2014.

"With the severity of this past winter, recommending a buck only hunting season for much of Northern Wisconsin is a first step in allowing the deer population to recover," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We have received a great deal of public input on these recommendations and have received great support."

In 2014, 19 counties (all or in whole) and four tribal reservation deer management units will allow buck only hunting with an antlerless quota of zero for most hunters. New deer management units will follow county lines and reservation boundaries. It is important to note that youth hunters, disabled hunters and qualified military personnel will be allowed to harvest a limited number of antlerless deer in buck only units. All proposed buck only counties fall within the northern and central forest deer management zones.

In addition to each hunter receiving one free antlerless permit for use in farmland zones in 2014, approximately 175,000 bonus antlerless deer permits will become available for purchase in mid-August. At purchase, hunters will designate the zone, county and land type where they will use each bonus permit. Public versus private land designation will allow the department to limit antlerless harvest on heavily-hunted public lands.

The board also established the boundaries of an updated CWD affected area. This area will include 35 counties where CWD has been detected in either wild or game farm deer or elk since 2008. The department will continue to work with stakeholders throughout Wisconsin to learn more about the disease. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CWD."

Implementation of the approved recommendations will involve public outreach to inform hunters, landowners and others about changes and opportunities prior to the 2014 deer season. For more information, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Hauge, DNR wildlife management bureau director, 608-266-2193 or Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game specialist, 608-261-7589

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Survey reveals diverse fishing methods and fishing preferences among trout anglers

MADISON - Results from the most comprehensive survey ever of Wisconsin trout anglers [PDF] provide a clearer picture of the people who pursue the wily trout, the fishing methods and baits they use, their opinions of fishing regulations, and the kind of fishing experience they're looking for, state researchers say.

"What we found is that there is no single profile of a trout angler in Wisconsin, and that trout fishing in Wisconsin may not fit the popular image often portrayed in the media," says Jordan Petchenik, the Department of Natural Resources resource sociologist who conducted the survey.

"Most stream trout anglers use a variety of fishing techniques, meaning they are not exclusively fly anglers. More anglers pursued trout with live bait than by any other methods such as spinners or lures or artificial flies. And the majority of trout anglers said that bringing fish home for a meal was important to them."

DNR conducted the survey as part of the state's review, launched in 2011, of inland trout fishing . An earlier mail survey polled anglers who no longer trout fished on their reasons for leaving and this particular survey targeted active anglers on a range of topics.

The comprehensive survey was mailed to a random sample of 1,000 Wisconsin resident purchasers of the 2011 Wisconsin inland trout stamp; 534 anglers, or 56 percent, completed and returned the survey. Follow up interviews were done with a random sample of anglers who didn't return the survey to make sure the results weren't biased.

Scot Stewart, the southern district fisheries supervisor who is leading DNR's review of inland trout fishing, says that the results from the survey were used to develop advisory questions at the 2014 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings on expanding trout fishing opportunities.

"First, thanks to the anglers who completed the survey," Stewart says. "It was 18 pages long and required considerable thought from the anglers. It was not one you could rip through in five to 10 minutes.

"The time you took to fill out the survey has provided us with information that will be important to help fish managers try to provide the variety of experiences across all our waters that our anglers are looking for," he says.

Petchenik says that the survey results show that anglers are generally satisfied with the stream regulations - more than twice as many anglers are satisfied (59 percent) with the regulations than are dissatisfied (28 percent). And two-thirds of anglers reported that the stream regulations are easy to understand.

But a sizeable minority -- 41 percent of the anglers responding - reported that regulations for a specific stream have prevented them from fishing that stream. "The finding indicates that some anglers are being displaced from streams they would like to fish because of the regulations for that stream."

The survey also showed that trout anglers today are spending less time trout fishing than in the past, with 45 percent reporting less time spent compared to 17 percent spending more time trout fishing.

"As found for other outdoor recreations, time constraints is the primary reason for an angler's declining participation and one-half of them attributed it to a lack of available time," Petchenik says. "The other primary reasons they reported are ones DNR can address, from trout regulations being too difficult to understand or too restrictive, to inadequate public access to degraded stream habitat that makes it more difficult to fish."

The questionnaire also provided the opportunity for anglers to express their support or opposition to existing and hypothetical regulations.

Anglers will have a chance late this summer to weigh in on those same questions, and on other proposals concerning inland trout fishing, at public informational meetings planned for summer 2014. Both will be used to shape a proposed trout regulation rule package for consideration at the 2015 Spring Fish & Wildlife Rule Hearings, Stewart says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jordan Petchenik, 608-266-8523

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Fishing is free June 7-8; fishing clinics, loaner gear make it easy to reel in fun

MADISON - People itching to try fishin' can reel in the fun on June 7-8, when fishing is free everywhere in Wisconsin. More than two dozen free fishing clinics statewide can help people get started, as can fishing equipment available for loan from more than 50 DNR sites including many state parks.

"June 7-8 is our Free Fun Weekend and it offers wonderful opportunities for people to coax their friends and families outdoors to try fishing," says Theresa Stabo, Department of Natural Resources angler education coordinator.

"We have free loaner gear that people can borrow at many of our state parks, all of which are open for business free of charge on this weekend. And fishing clubs, civic organizations and DNR staff are providing learn to fish opportunities all across the state."

On Free Fun Weekend, Wisconsin residents and visitors also can enjoy free entry to state parks, forests and recreation areas, bike state trails for free, and ride their ATVs and UTVs on public trails open to such use.

"The fun doesn't have to end when Free Fishing Weekend is over; buy a fishing license to go out and do it again," Stabo says. "We have a first-time buyer's license that costs $5, and other discounted licenses that make it easy to get out and enjoy this great activity."

Free fishing details

Residents and visitors can fish for free anywhere within Wisconsin on June 7-8 - neither a fishing license nor inland trout stamp nor Great Lakes trout stamp are needed. All other fishing regulations governing the species, number and size of fish anglers can keep are still in place, as are fishing season dates.

Fishing equipment available for loan and free fishing clinics statewide

People who don't have their own fishing equipment can borrow rods and reels and other gear from nearly 50 DNR tackler loaner sites across the state. Many of these loaner sites are located at state parks on lakes or along rivers.

To borrow the equipment, contact the DNR staff listed at the site to arrange to pick up the gear.

People who want a little fishing instruction before making their first cast can find it at more than two dozen fishing clinics offered statewide. The fishing clinics, conducted by fishing clubs, civic organizations and DNR staff, are free. Many of them are targeted to kids, but others are open to all ages and parents or guardians are required for children. Most of the clinics supply equipment during the instruction and fishing time; others note where loaner equipment is limited.

The current listing reflects the information provided to DNR as of Tuesday, May 27; check back for more listings as Free Fun Weekend gets closer.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Theresa Stabo, 608-266-2272

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Meetings set to preview draft plan concepts for the Menominee River State Recreation Area

PEMBINE, Wis. - The public has an opportunity to review and comment on draft plan concepts for the Menominee River State Recreation Area master plan at two upcoming open house meetings. The meetings will provide opportunity to review and comment on future land and recreation management for the recreation area. Master plans and management plans guide management activity on Department of Natural Resource's owned lands and are updated every 15 years.

Established in 2010, The Menominee River State Recreation Area in Marinette County. Wis. and Dickinson County, Mich. consists of 7,283 acres of recreation lands that includes 17 miles of Menominee River frontage that includes Piers Gorge, Quiver Falls Rapids and Pemene Falls. The recreation area offers camping, hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, ATV and snowmobile trails.

The States of Michigan and Wisconsin are cooperatively planning this property. The draft plan concepts emphasize protection of the scenic river corridor for river-based recreation but also envision a number of improvements to the recreation area facilities that will advance recreation experiences. Those improvements shared between the states include improved river access, restroom facilities, more camping opportunities, picnic areas, trail developments and educational and interpretive resources

The draft plan concepts and related documents are available by searching the Wisconsin DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords "master planning" and then clicking on the link for the Menominee River State Recreation Area.

The open houses will be both run from 5 to 7 p.m. with a short presentation summarizing the draft concepts at 5:15 p.m. and will be held

  • Wednesday, June 11, Faithorn, Mich.-- Faithorn Township Hall, W8508 County Road 577.
  • Thursday, June 12 Green Bay, Wis. -- Brown County Public Library Weyers-Hilliard Branch 2680 Riverview Drive.
  • People may provide comments on the draft plan concepts during the open houses as well as online or by U.S. mail. The comment deadline is June 30, 2014.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Prey, Wisconsin DNR 608-266-2182 or Jeff.prey@wisconsin.gov or Debbie Jensen, Michigan DNR, 517-284-6105 or JensenD1@michigan.gov

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    Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approves conservation easement that expands public access, provides endangered species protection in Iron County

    GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A key tract of Iron County forest will remain in timber production and will continue to offer public access under a conservation easement approved Wednesday by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

    The board, meeting in Green Bay, approved purchase of the easement that will expand hunting and other recreation on 10.5 miles of private roads in the working forest. In addition, the easement includes provisions and funding that will ensure continued road access into the interior of the property. The $4.5 million easement, for 13,692 acres, covers the Twin Lakes area in the towns of Knight and Mercer.

    "By protecting this land through the Forest Legacy program, we are assuring its preservation for continued sustainable forest management while increasing public access and recreational opportunities on existing roads," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "The easement supports the local tax base by retaining private ownership and provides significant public benefits for much less than an outright purchase agreement."

    The property is 89 percent forested and in addition to serving as home to the endangered American marten - a sleek and naturally curious member of the weasel family - it provides habitat for a diverse array of wildlife including deer, wolves, bobcat, bear and occasional moose. While the marten has been reintroduced in other parts of the state and western Upper Michigan, individual animals from other release areas found and naturally populated the actively managed Twin Lakes forest.

    The forest serves as an important location for bear hunting and also draws anglers to its waters. Its six lakes total more than 70 acres and it boasts 3 miles of frontage on LeClair and Apple creeks, both Class I trout streams.

    At the same time, the forest has been continuously managed for timber production. Paul DeLong, chief state forester, said the agreement will secure the property's value to the local and state economy, as Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in the value of forest product shipments.

    "The easement helps protect and preserve the integrity of a very large tract that contains a mix of upland and lowland forests and pine plantations," DeLong said. "We're connecting existing public lands and reducing forest fragmentation in a way that also provides outstanding opportunities for recreation such as hunting, trapping, hiking and cross country skiing."

    Acquisition of the easement is being made possible through an agreement with The Conservation Fund, which is buying the property from its current owner, RMK Select Timberland Investment Fund II. The Conservation Fund purchase is expected to close on July 24 and the DNR easement agreement is subject to final review from the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee.

    Previously, DNR's Forest Legacy program has gained permanent protection of 204,175 acres.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin Chief Forester Paul DeLong, 608-575-3770; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084.

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    Third annual invasive species education summit to take place June 10

    MADISON -- Education and outreach professionals from around the state will meet June 10 near Eau Claire to discuss ongoing issues and initiatives to combat invasive species.

    Topics include updates of local and statewide projects as well as ways to inform, empower and engage communities to take action against invasive species. A keynote talk will focus on "crazy worms," and their impacts on forested regions.

    "We would like to invite those interested in helping to slow the spread of invasive species in our state," said Jennifer Feyerherm, invasive species program coordinator. "This is a great opportunity to get up to speed on the latest invasive species issues, collaborate on outreach messages, and share effective education techniques and materials."

    The deadline for registration is June 3, 2014 and is free of charge. Those unable to participate in person will be able to watch via webinar broadcast. The summit is hosted by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    To register and view conference agenda, visit the summit website invasivespecies.wi.gov/awareness (exit DNR).

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Feyerherm, invasive species program coordinator, 608-266-6437

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    Learn to hunt bear course application deadline June 6

    MADISON -- June 6 is the new, later deadline to for people to apply to participate in a Learn to Hunt Bear outing featuring classroom and field instruction capped with a real hunt with skilled mentors.

    "The Learn to Hunt Bear program represents an opportunity of a lifetime for novice hunters of any age," said Keith Warnke, hunting and sporting sport coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Working in partnership with many dedicated bear hunters and local conservation organizations, wardens and wildlife managers, successful Learn to Hunt Bear events have been held across northern Wisconsin during the last several years."

    The program is limited to novice bear hunters only. A novice hunter is anyone age 10 and older who has not participated in a Learn to Hunt Bear event and has not previously purchased a Class A or Class B bear license. Preference will be given to applicants who would not otherwise have an opportunity to get involved in bear hunting. Applications must be postmarked by June 6.

    In 2005, the DNR began the Learn to Hunt Bear program as another outreach program for novice hunters. Other Wisconsin wildlife featured in the Learn to Hunt program include turkey, deer, pheasant, upland game and waterfowl. For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "LTH."

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243 or Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-354-1184

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    Read more: Previous Weekly News

    Last Revised: Thursday, May 29, 2014




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