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Weekly News Published - May 29, 2018 by the Central Office


Application period for Wisconsin elk hunt ends May 31

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist, 608-261-7589

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the opportunity to apply for a tag to participate in Wisconsin's first managed elk hunt in state history taking place this fall, ends Thursday, May 31.

Check out this Facebook Live segment with DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang to learn more about this once in a lifetime hunting opportunity.

"Interest in the hunt has been high and very positive," said DNR deer and elk ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "Everyone has the same odds of drawing a tag, and we encourage anyone with an interest to get their application in to be one of five lucky state hunters to have an opportunity to hunt elk in Wisonsin."

A total of five once-in-a-lifetime bull tags are being made available to state hunters for the inaugural hunt. Four tags will be awarded through a random drawing, with the fifth awarded through a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle. Hunters may enter both, but can only win once. Those interested in entering the RMEF raffle should look for more information on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation website [EXIT DNR].

Elk license applications can be purchased in the DNR Go Wild license system through May 31, and only Wisconsin residents may apply. Each potential hunter may apply once online at or by visiting a license agent. The application fee is $10. RMEF raffle tickets are also $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets each individual may purchase. The cost of an elk hunting license for the winners of the license drawing is $49.

State drawing winners will be announced in early June and the winner of the RMEF raffle will be announced in August. Prior to obtaining an elk hunting license, all winners will be required to participate in a Wisconsin elk hunter education program offered prior to the hunt. The class will cover elk reintroduction history, regulations, health testing requirements, and more.

The 2018 hunting season will occur only in the Clam Lake elk range in parts of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, and Price counties in far north-central Wisconsin, where the original restoration effort was initiated with 25 elk from Michigan in 1995. The herd is projected to comfortably surpass 200 animals in 2018.

Additional information regarding the application process includes:

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, including a helpful FAQ document [PDF], go to and search the keyword "elk." To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.



Slinger High School student wins 2019 state park sticker design contest

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

MADISON - A pair of hiking boots hitting the trail by Slinger High School sophomore Rory Macha, is the winning design for the 2019 Wisconsin State Park admission sticker design contest. The winning design will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and will be displayed on more than 265,000 vehicles.

2019 Wisconsin State Park design contest winner by Rory Macha. - Photo credit: Rory Macha
2019 Wisconsin State Park design contest winner by Rory Macha.Photo credit: Rory Macha

"This design is a great fit for the Wisconsin State Park System's new OutWiGo initiative that encourages people to hit Wisconsin's thousands of miles of trails and encourages everyone to improve their overall health and wellness by getting out and active in the outdoors," said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System director.

Macha will receive an engraved plaque, a 2019 annual vehicle admission sticker featuring her design when they become available in December and a state trail pass. Macha's design was selected from more than 250 entries.

Second place was won by Rachel Slaybaugh of Jefferson High School whose entry depicted a hiker and companion dog walking along a state trail, and third place was won by Jocelyn Sveum, of Mt. Horeb High School, with a design of fireflies flying by fingers signaling a W.

Honorable Mention went to:

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 70 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Annual admission stickers cost $28 for Wisconsin residents or $38 for nonresidents. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for nonresidents. A senior citizen annual sticker for $13 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. The 2019 admission stickers will go on sale in early December.

This is the 28th year a Wisconsin high school student has designed the Wisconsin State Park admission sticker. The contest is open to students in grades nine through 12 or equivalent, attending public, private or parochial schools or home schooled in Wisconsin.

To see all of the winning entries and to find out more about the contest, search the DNR website,, for keyword "contest."



Pope and Young Club to hold archery rendezvous at MacKenzie Center June 8-10

Contact(s): Samantha Kueffler, DNR Property Manager, 608-635-8035; Rick Krueger, Pope and Young Club, 989-884-3800,

MADISON - The 2018 Pope and Young Club Bowhunters Rendezvous opens on June 8 at the MacKenzie Center in Poynette, Wisconsin.

The Rendezvous will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 8 and run through 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 10, and is a family-oriented bowhunters' shooting event and social gathering suitable for all ages and skill levels. The Rendezvous is open to the public, and onsite registration and walk-ins are welcome.

Arial Archery course - Photo credit: Pope and Young Club
Arial Archery coursePhoto credit: Pope and Young Club

The Rendezvous is an opportunity to visit with bowhunting equipment manufacturers and participate in hands-on demonstrations of the latest traditional and modern archery equipment. Attendees will find themed 3-D courses, a long-range competition, an iron bear challenge, an aerial disk station, an adventure race, bowhunting seminars and clinics, outdoor films, great food, hunt and target auctions, gear giveaways, prize drawings and much more. All proceeds go toward the Pope and Young Club's Conservation, Education and Outreach Fund.

Just 25 miles north of Madison, the MacKenzie Center is one of the most diverse outdoor skills and environmental education centers in Wisconsin with hiking trails, exhibits, and museums. MacKenzie is a wonderful place to visit and learn about the natural world.

Admission to the property is free, but event activities may require pass or ticket purchases. For full details and a schedule of events, visit (exit DNR). Learn more about MacKenzie Center events and activities at, search "MacKenzie Center."



Time to report turtle sightings and turtle road crossings

Contact(s): Andrew Badje, 608-785-9472;

Information aids turtle survival and protection

MADISON - With turtle nesting season beginning for many Wisconsin turtle species, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologists are asking citizens to submit their turtle sightings, with an emphasis on road crossing hot spots, to DNR's Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program.

Turtle crossing hotspots 2018 - Photo credit: DNR
Turtle crossing hotspots 2018Photo credit: DNR

"Citizen reports in past years have been very important for turtle conservation," says Andrew Badje, who coordinates the turtle conservation program for the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau.

"Such reports have helped us identify problem road crossings throughout the state, and helped us document previously unknown populations of rare turtles."

Since the project began in 2012, more than 1,300 citizens have reported nearly 3,000 turtle sightings throughout Wisconsin and have identified more than 1,300 turtle road crossing hotspots. Those hotspots include 38 sites where turtles were being run over by cars at high rates.

Female turtles return to the same site year after year, known as "site fidelity," making citizen reports of hotspot road crossings very important in preventing turtles from getting run over.   - Photo credit: DNR
Female turtles return to the same site year after year, known as "site fidelity," making citizen reports of hotspot road crossings very important in preventing turtles from getting run over. Photo credit: DNR

From May through July, female turtles cross roads to find suitable nesting areas in sunny uplands with sand, gravel, and loose soil. Turtles getting run over by cars is considered a leading cause of decline in turtle numbers in Wisconsin, especially in highly fragmented areas and areas with high traffic volumes, Badje says.

"Keeping these adult, breeding-age, females around is critical in managing sustainable turtle populations," Badje says. "The loss of even one adult female can have a large effect on future population numbers, especially in species like the wood turtle and Blanding's turtle, which can take from 12 to 20 years to reach reproductive age."

Citizen reports have helped DNR identify significant problem areas throughout the state to advance work with local officials to address turtle mortality areas. For example, reports of one deadly crossing in central Wisconsin led to DNR, state transportation officials and UW-Stevens Point collaborations to install and monitor a wildlife underpass when a highway resurfaced. That project has decreased turtle mortality at the site by 85 percent and has shown how similar projects can be undertaken to duplicate this success. Read more about this project in the article "Tunnel Vision" in the December 2017 Wisconsin Natural Resources [PDF] magazine.

In southeast Wisconsin, additional reports from Waukesha County residents spurred the county highway department to create its own road stencil and apply it to those sites where residents have reported turtle crossings, Badje says.

In addition to saving turtles, citizen reports to the website have also provided DNR information on new locations of state-threatened wood turtles and Blanding's turtle, a protected species of "special concern" status, because its populations are low.

To report turtle crossings and other turtle sightings, or for additional information about Wisconsin turtles, search online for Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program (exit DNR).


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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