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Weekly News Published - December 5, 2017 by the Central Office


Deadline to apply for black bear permits and spring wild turkey harvest authorizations is Dec. 10

MADISON - Wild turkey and black bear hunters are reminded to submit their applications before midnight on Dec. 10. Applications for permit drawings can be purchased through Go Wild or at authorized license agents.

Black bear

Harvest numbers from the 2017 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 4,150 bears. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2018 harvest quotas.

The deadline to apply for 2018 black bear and spring turkey permits is Dec. 10. - Photo credit: Catherine Khalar
The deadline to apply for 2018 black bear and spring turkey permits is Dec. 10.Photo credit: Catherine Khalar

Bear hunters are reminded that due to the high interest in this hunt, hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.

If a bear management zone is selected at the time of purchase and the hunter is selected in the February drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of drawing status - applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing, and may purchase their 2018 Class A bear license beginning in March 2018. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.

The season structure for the 2018 bear hunt is as follows.

Zone C (dogs not permitted):

All other zones:

For more information, visit and search keyword "bear."

Spring 2018 turkey season

Dec.10 is also the deadline to apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization (previously referred to as a tag or permit). These are issued through a preference-based drawing system where Wisconsin residents have preference over non-residents and landowners have preference over non-landowners. For more information on the turkey preference drawing, see the Turkey Frequently Asked Questions.

Applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may also choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any time period. This third choice can be the same zone as the first and/or second choice. The second and third choices are optional, but applicants are encouraged to provide second and third choices to maximize their likelihood of success in the drawing.

The harvest authorization drawing will take place in late December. Successful applicants will receive a post card by late January. Applicants can also check their status online through Go Wild.

Successful applicants may purchase their required 2018 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2018 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25) in early March. Each harvest authorization will be printed at the time of purchase. All hunters are required to possess a valid spring turkey license and wild turkey stamp when they acquire their spring turkey harvest authorization.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive a preference point that will increase their chances of drawing a harvest authorization the following spring season. All leftover harvest authorizations for 2018 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March ($10 for residents, $15 for non-residents), plus the cost of the Spring Turkey License and Wild Turkey Stamp.

The 2018 spring turkey season will begin April 14 with the annual Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will begin the following Wednesday, April 18, and will consist of six separate seven-day time periods, with the final period closing May 29.

The Spring turkey season is as follows:

Turkey hunters are reminded that Wisconsin's state park turkey management zones were eliminated Sept. 1, 2014. However, state parks remain open for hunting for a portion of the spring turkey season. For more information, visit and search keywords "hunting state parks."

Harvested turkeys must be registered by 5 p.m. on the day following harvest. Hunters can register their turkey using the GameReg system, either online at or by phone at 1-844-GAMEREG (1-844-426-3734.)

Youth turkey hunt

The annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be held on April 14-15 for hunters ages 15 and younger. Youth hunters 12-15 years must have a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment, unless hunting under the Mentored Hunting Program. Youth under 12 years of age must participate in the Mentored Hunting Program during the two-day youth hunt, even if they have successfully completed a hunter safety education course.

A spring turkey license, stamp, and valid harvest authorization are required to participate in the youth hunt. All other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization before the Dec. 10 deadline. A permit for any time period can be used during the two-day youth hunt, but hunters are limited to the zone listed on their hunting authorization.

Applications for turkey hunts for hunters with disabilities are due Dec. 10

Hunters with disabilities who wish to turkey hunt next spring on private land are reminded of an additional opportunity to hunt using a separate application and authorization form.

Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms must be submitted before Dec. 10 to a local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county where the hunt will take place. Please note that any applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may not apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing.

For more information regarding bear and turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords "bear" or "turkey."

Those interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR's GovDelivery service. Visit, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page to "Subscribe to DNR Updates."



Bald eagle nests increase 5.7 percent in 2017 to hit another record

Kenosha County nest another highlight of annual survey

RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin bald eagle population is growing and thriving according to the 2017 bald eagle nest survey results. The comeback of the national symbol in Wisconsin continues 45 years after work to help restore eagle populations began.

Three findings in the 2017 survey report (click on dropdown bar for nongame) tell the tale of bald eagles' recovery:

Eagles are being seen in more parts of Wisconsin as they continue to expand their nesting range. - Photo credit: Donna Higgins
Eagles are being seen in more parts of Wisconsin as they continue to expand their nesting range.Photo credit: Donna Higgins

"The Kenosha County nest was probably the biggest news this year because it is the first documented nest in the county since the survey began," says Laura Jaskiewicz, the Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist who coordinates the aerial survey. "That was very exciting.

"We also find it very interesting that we had such a large increase in new nests. We find new nests every year and it's been steadily increasing, but we found twice as many as the previous year."

Jaskiewicz said the 5.7 percent nest increase in 2017, from 1,504 to 1,590 reflected at least in part more extensive efforts to look for eagle nests along the Mississippi River Valley, where it's typically more difficult to document them. The number of new nests in that part of the state contributed 30 percent of the total increase in nests over 2016.

"We also had some interesting findings that suggest the eagle population in the northern part of the state is getting close to its carrying capacity," Jaskiewicz.

Longtime bald eagle surveyor Ron Eckstein, a retired DNR wildlife biologist, noted that for the very first time since detailed aerial surveys began in 1974, no new eagle territories were found in Oneida County.

"This is a milestone because it reinforces the idea that in Oneida County we are near the biological carrying capacity for eagles," Eckstein says.

45th year for surveys that guide protection efforts

Click on image for larger size
Click on image for larger size

The 2017 survey, conducted by DNR staff from the Natural Heritage Conservation and Wildlife Management bureaus and DNR pilots, marked the 45th consecutive year that the bald eagle occupancy survey has been completed in Wisconsin, which makes it one of the longest running surveys of its kind in North America. "Bald eagle nests numbered 108 statewide when the surveys started in the early 1970s, when bald eagles were listed as state and federally endangered species. The record number of nests results from protections under the state and federal endangered species laws, declining levels of DDT in the environment, and DNR and partner efforts to help monitor and aid recovery. Bald eagles were removed from the state endangered species list in 1997 and the federal list in 2007.

Eagle nests are federally protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which celebrated its centennial in 2016.

Citizens and organizations can help fund bald eagle annual nest surveys by sponsoring an eagle nest Through the DNR's Adopt-An-Eagle Nest program. For a minimum contribution of $100, sponsors can receive an adoption certificate, an aerial photo showing the location of your eagle nest, results from the surveys and a full-color eagle calendar. For more information, search the DNR website,, for "AEN."

In addition, purchasing a DNR bald eagle specialty license plateoffers eagle enthusiasts a way to show their love for this majestic bird and to help fund the next conservation success. Search the DNR website for "eagle plate" for more information.

Read more about bald eagle recovery and eagle watching in Wisconsin, specifically along the Fox River, in the December 2017 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine cover story "Eagle encounters on the Fox."



Natural Resources Board to meet December 12-13 in Madison

MADISON - Updates on the 2017 Wisconsin firearm deer season and a request to set deer population objectives for coming years, and proposed rules related to lake trout harvest in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets December 12 and 13 in Madison.

The board will conduct two days of business meetings beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12 and 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13, in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

On Tuesday the board will hear a summary report of the 2017 firearm deer season from Department of Natural Resources wildlife and law enforcement officials. The board will also consider a request for adoption of proposed emergency rules related to Deer Management Unit boundaries and a request for approval of recommendations for 2018-2020 deer population objectives.

The board will also consider separate rules related to lake trout harvest in Lake Superior and in Lake Michigan. On Lake Superior the proposed rules would amend the commercial harvest limits and the daily bag and size limits for anglers in the Apostle Islands area of the lake. On Lake Michigan, the rules would increase lake trout harvest limits and create a continuous season.

The complete December board agenda is available by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. Public participation deadline: NRB liaison receipt of a request to testify and/or written comment is 11 a.m. on Friday, December 8, 2017. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.



Start planning now for your Healthy Lakes project before the snow flies

Grant funding available for simple lakeshore projects to continue improving Wisconsin's lakes

MADISON -- There is still time for eligible sponsors to start planning a Healthy Lakes project before snow begins to cover the lakeshores and to submit grant applications to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to fund projects that encourage private sector innovation in caring for Wisconsin's lakes.

Funding is available to eligible sponsors for projects that improve fish habitat, integrate native plantings, divert and clean runoff water, and promote natural beauty. Eligible sponsors include lake groups, waterfront organizations and local governments like towns and counties. Grants are capped at $25,000 and each Healthy Lakes best practice is capped at $1,000 in state funding. Applicants apply on behalf of lakeshore property owners. Application materials and assistance can be found at (exit DNR).

"Water quality and good habitat go hand in hand. Together we get greater recreational use and better, more sustainable, property values," said Carroll Schaal, DNR lakes and rivers section chief in the bureau of water quality. "The more property owners who implement one of the best practices, the greater the benefit for our lakes."

Best practices that will be considered for funding include:

This year, to assist those that want to pursue the native planting option, the program has compiled a 350 ft2 Native Planting Companion Guide. The guide provides step-by-step instructions for creating your own planting beds that, based on your property and interests, can achieve several benefits.

"Depending on what you want your native planting to do--from restoring an area of bare ground to providing bird and butterfly habitat--you can choose the appropriate planting diagram and order plants from a list of native species that will not only improve the health of the lake, but also beautify your property," said Patrick Goggin, UW-Extension Lakes Specialist and author of the guide.

The Healthy Lakes funding is not intended for large, complex sites with substantial runoff or erosion problems where engineering design is more appropriate. Before undertaking any major projects, lake associations and homeowners are encouraged to consult local zoning ordinances. The Healthy Lakes initiative is an effort of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership supported by DNR, the UW-Extension Lakes Program, Wisconsin Lakes, counties and the many lake groups and citizens who work to protect, improve and restore Wisconsin lakes.



December Wisconsin Natural Resources features eagles, turtles and more

MADISON -- Eagles have landed on the pages of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, with a December cover story about "Eagle encounters on the Fox." The story pinpoints prime bald eagle viewing spots in the Fox River Valley and includes information on other places around the state to see eagles in winter.

Also in the magazine, "Tunnel vision" tells of a collaboration aimed at aiding wildlife, especially turtles, by creating an underpass for them to travel near a busy highway in central Wisconsin. The project--involving the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and UW-Stevens Point--already has shown promise in reducing animal road mortalities and improving motorist safety.

Recollections of deer hunting and what it has meant to a group of brothers are shared in
"Driven by memories." And "Managing for woodland diversity" outlines forestry plans at Brule River State Forest, with strategic cuts designed to foster long-term tree diversity and woodland health.

In the magazine's regular features, "Back in the Day" shares "Recipes and memories"
from a cookbook written by noted Wisconsin author Jerry Apps and his daughter, Susan Apps-Bodilly, based on the well-worn recipe cards of Jerry's mother.

"Keeping it wild: Outdoor food and forays" focuses on venison, with preparation
and cooking tips. "Wisconsin Traveler" provides details on several seasonal activities around the state including outdoor happenings, botanical garden holiday displays and historical site events. And "Wisconsin naturally" looks at Mecan Springs State Natural Area, a geological gem in Waushara County.

In addition, the December magazine includes two bonus features: the annual report of the DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, with highlights of 2017 accomplishments, and the 2018 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks calendar. The latter is a striking tribute to state properties, featuring winning images from the Friends' annual photo contest.

Consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as an inexpensive gift that gives all year for only $8.97. Subscribe at 1-800-678-9472 or online at


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Contact information

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James Dick
Director of Communications