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Weekly News Published - August 14, 2018 by the Central Office


Bonus Fall Turkey Harvest Authorizations On-Sale Begins Aug 18 at 10 a.m.

Contact(s): Jaqi Christopher, 608-261-8458

MADISON -- New for 2018, one fall turkey harvest authorization is issued to each person purchasing a fall turkey license or conservation patron license, instead of being issued through a drawing.

Hunters can choose the zone for which their harvest authorization will be valid at the time of purchase.

Bonus fall turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased in addition to the fall turkey harvest authorization included with a license purchase. The bonus harvest authorization sale begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 18, availability is as follows:

Bonus harvest authorizations are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. They can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone sells out or the season ends. The cost is $10 for residents, $15 for nonresidents, and $5 for hunters under 12 years old. An annual turkey stamp authorization is required to hunt turkeys.

Hunters can purchase their bonus harvest authorization in person at any license agent or online at Hunters can purchase their fall turkey license and claim their fall harvest authorization anytime throughout the fall turkey season. Please note that customers who wish to purchase a bonus authorization will need to first purchase a fall turkey license and claim their harvest authorization.

The fall 2018 wild turkey season for Zones 1-5 is Sept. 15 to Jan. 6, 2019. For zones 6 and 7, the season will run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 16.

Availability for bonus harvest authorizations is determined by a variety of factors, including hunting pressure, customer demand, habitat availability, turkey population densities and turkey distribution in each zone.

The fall turkey regulations can be found within the 2018 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations [PDF]. For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search "turkey"



Conference tackles plunging populations of martins, swallows, swifts, other insect-eaters

Contact(s): Ryan Brady, DNR, (715) 685-2933; Karen Etter Hale, WBCI chair, 920-245-1395;

Registration closes Aug. 21 for September bird conservation conference

MADISON - Some of Wisconsin's most beloved birds - purple martins, chimney swifts, tree and barn swallows, Eastern whip-poor-wills, and common nighthawks - are in trouble and residents can learn more about why and how to help these birds around their home during an early September conference in Waukesha.

The Sept. 6-8 event is the combined annual meeting of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, a coalition of 180 groups committed to conserving native birds, and a summit of the 109 Bird City Wisconsin communities. Registration for the event (exit DNR), which includes evening field trips to look for one of these declining species, the chimney swift, closes Aug. 21.

Registration closes Aug. 21 for a combined conference of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and Bird City Wisconsin.  Declining populations of purple martins and other aerial insectivores are one of the main topics participants will tackle. - Photo credit: Arlene Koziol
Registration closes Aug. 21 for a combined conference of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and Bird City Wisconsin. Declining populations of purple martins and other aerial insectivores are one of the main topics participants will tackle.Photo credit: Arlene Koziol

"Conservation groups have taken notice and are beginning to address declines in these beneficial insect-eating birds, but citizens can help too," says Ryan Brady, a conservation biologist for the Department of Natural Resources and bird monitoring coordinator for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.

"We invite you to attend the conference to learn more about these birds, why we should be concerned, and the work being done to address the concerns. Most importantly, you can learn more about how you can help at home. The time to act is NOW!"

In Wisconsin, data from the federal Breeding Bird Survey indicate nearly a 2 percent annual decline in chimney swifts, a 4 percent decline in bank swallows, and a 7 percent decline in purple martins...each year! Brady says.

These birds, as well as other swallows, some flycatchers, and even bats, are known as "aerial insectivores," species that feed on their insect prey in flight. Causes of these declines are likely complex and involve multiple factors depending on the species, such as loss of foraging habitat, decreased availability of nesting sites, increased predation, etc., but the one feature these birds all share is their reliance on flying insects as a primary food source, Brady says.

"Although solid long-term data is lacking, there is widespread belief that numbers of flying insects have declined dramatically in recent decades," he says.

Adds Karen Etter Hale, WBCI chair and Wisconsin Audubon Council's Director of Community Relations, "Some of us remember, from years ago, how we had to scrape "bugs" off our windshields. That hardly ever happens anymore."

Hale says that the bird conservation coalition and the Bird City Wisconsin organization thought combining their meetings would offer the opportunity to quickly expand efforts on behalf of these aerial insectivores.

"Come and learn about these fascinating birds, how to visualize airspace as habitat, and what you can do to help. We can guarantee you'll head home inspired to take action in your own community."



Try these bassin' basics for success during the dog days of summer

Contact(s): Brian Brecka, DNR fisheries biologist, 608-685-6221

ALMA, Wis. -- While longtime Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Brian Brecka takes pride in being a multispecies angler, he typically finds time to catch a bass or two on each of his angling outings.

"Wisconsin boasts largemouth and smallmouth bass fisheries that are passionately supported by droves of today's anglers," says Brecka.

Brilyn Brecka has mastered her father's bass fishing techniques. Below: A plastic frog bait and a slow, steady retrieve can work well. - Photo credit: DNR
Brilyn Brecka has mastered her father's bass fishing techniques. Photo credit: DNR

A recent Wisconsin angler diary study found bass fishing to be similar in popularity compared to walleye fishing during the spring and summer months. The study found only panfishing, the pursuit of bluegill, crappie and perch, to be more popular during the May-September period.

"There's good reason for the popularity of largemouth and smallmouth bass," Brecka says. Bucketmouths and smallies together are the most widely distributed recreational fish in the state - found within inland lakes, cool and warmwater streams, large rivers, and the Great Lakes.

"No matter where you live in Wisconsin, you're within a short drive of quality bass fishing," he says. "While many of our higher quality bass fisheries are smaller in size and don't reach national notoriety, waterbodies such as Sturgeon Bay and the Mississippi River are consistently highly ranked as top bass fisheries in the nation."

One more reason bass are boss are their accessibility from the shore.

"If you're thinking you can't fish bass without a fancy boat and a dozen rods, think again," he says. "They can be caught from shore, by wading, by canoe or kayak, or from a float tube or your grandfather's 14-foot flat bottom boat."

No matter how you plan to fish, Brecka shares his bass fishing basics [PDF], updated from a 2002 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine article he wrote with Ken Snow.

He encourages anglers to learning more about bass life history, behavior, seasonal movements and fishing patterns to increase their chances of success. "But book learning cannot replace the benefits of spending time on the water "reading" the situation, adapting to changing conditions, getting in tune with your quarry and enjoying some time outdoors," he says.

For a line on places to fish for bass, check out the 2018 Wisconsin Fishing Report forecasts for largemouth bass [PDF] and smallmouth bass [PDF].


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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