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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 11, 2018

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Sept. 15 marks opening of archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

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

MADISON - Excitement levels are high as hunters prepare for fall deer hunting seasons in Wisconsin.

Hunters will have their first opportunity to enjoy the outdoors during the 2018 archery and crossbow deer seasons, which run concurrently statewide from Sept. 15 to Jan. 6, 2019. The archery and crossbow season is extended to January 31, 2019 in metro sub-units and some counties offering the antlerless-only holiday hunt.

Archery and Crossbow Seasons Preview - Facebook Live September 2018

"Deer numbers continue to look good across the state," said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deer and elk ecologist. "The central and southern farmland zones are expected to have excellent deer numbers in most areas. Portions of the forested zones experienced their first moderate winter after a string of mild winters. Although there was a heavy late winter snow storm in much of the north, a lush spring green up and reports of good fawn production are showing the population is stable and increasing in many areas. All reports indicate a fun and exciting upcoming season."

In 2017, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history. - Photo credit: DNR
In 2017, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history.Photo credit: Herbert Lange

In 2017, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history. Deer hunters in Iron County will be the only county to see buck-only hunting this year. Throughout the remainder of the state, antlerless hunting opportunities are available using Farmland (Zone 2) and bonus antlerless deer harvest authorizations. Visit the DNR website,, and search keyword "DMU" to access an interactive map to find more information on county-specific seasons.

Archery and crossbow hunters have a continuous season framework that includes hunting during all gun deer seasons in November and December, plus the option to fill a gun deer harvest authorization using crossbow or archery equipment during open firearm seasons.

Hunting with a crossbow has provided an additional opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin, and accounts for a higher rate of participation by women than any other deer hunting method. Those interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license. Hunters will use the buck harvest authorization and antlerless harvest authorization(s) issued with their first license of choice.

Treestand safety is also a key part of the archery season - hunters should always wear a safety harness, use 3 points of contact when going into or out of the stand and use a haul line to bring your unloaded crossbow and bow into the stand. For more information regarding treestand safety, search keyword "treestand."

Changes for 2018

Please note that there have been changes to several Deer Management Zone (DMZ) and metro sub-unit boundaries this year. Hunters are reminded to check the management zone before purchasing bonus antlerless deer harvest authorizations.

In addition, the rules for transporting deer carcasses harvested in Chronic Wasting Disease affected counties will change effective Oct. 1, 2018. Search keyword "CWD" on the DNR web page for the latest information on carcass transportation regulations, including a FAQ document [PDF]. Hunters are encouraged to explore the many opportunities available to submit a sample for CWD testing.

Bonus Authorizations Still Available

Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations remain available in many counties. Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations may be filled with any weapon type during the appropriate season, but must be filled in the zone, county and land type (public or private) designated on each harvest authorization. Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations are available on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of $12 each for residents, $20 each for non-residents, and $5 for youth hunters under age 12.

In 2018, additional Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations may be included with each deer hunting license, depending on the county of choice. Hunters who have not yet purchased a license for hunting deer will be prompted to select the county and land-type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorizations at the point of sale. Licenses may be purchased online at GoWild.WI.Gov or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses prior to June 1 may now select their Farmland (Zone 2) harvest authorizations. Hunters who have yet to determine a hunting location, may defer the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless harvest authorization selection. When ready, hunters may:


All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. As conservationists, hunters understand the importance of harvest registration and what it means to deer management in Wisconsin. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the unique harvest authorization number and date of birth.

Hunters have three options to register their deer:

For more information regarding electronic registration, search keyword "GameReg."

Wild Wisconsin

Following a successful first season, Wild Wisconsin will be back for season two with tons of helpful content for hunters. The series will launch in early September, just in time for the archery opener.

Wild Wisconsin Season 2 - Learn How You Can Join the Hunt

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record podcast - topics covered include public land hunting tips, a deer season forecast, and much more. Search keywords "Wild Wisconsin" for more information - episodes are available on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube.

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, 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 "white-tailed deer" distribution list (found within the "hunting" list).



Deer hunters encouraged to get deer tested for CWD and assist with surveillance efforts

Contact(s): Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief, 608-266-3143

MADISON - Deer hunting seasons are about to begin with archery and crossbow this weekend, and Department of Natural Resources staff remind hunters who harvest deer to have adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease - this is particularly important in areas affected by CWD.

For more information regarding CWD in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "CWD."

DNR staff continue to utilize disease surveillance objectives (disease assessment and disease detection) statewide, and will continue to sam­ple deer within the Southern Farmland Zone and at select loca­tions in other CWD-affected counties. Surveillance will also expand to all 19 counties of the department's west central district and parts of northern Wisconsin.

No targeted surveillance will occur in the 4-county surveillance area surrounding the Washburn County CWD positive area due to no additional positives being detected during six consecutive years of surveillance since 2011. However, hunters will still have opportunities to have their adult deer tested within the 4-county area.

Options for CWD sampling continue to include both in-person service as well as self-service options. Self-service kiosks are available 24/7 for hunters to drop off a deer head to be tested for CWD. Hunters can locate this option in the drop-down menu in the registration station database on our CWD webpages.

New for this deer season is the opportunity for local individuals or groups to "adopt-a-kiosk." The goal of the Adopt-a-Kiosk program is to enhance CWD sample numbers, ease, and options for hunters in the world of electronic registration. It also provides an opportunity for conservation groups or individuals to assist the department and it is due to these types of interests that this program originated.

Local DNR staff will work with the Adopt-a-Kiosk participants to identify kiosk location as well as discuss protocols and schedules. Overall feedback from hunters indicates an appreciation for kiosk available availability for CWD sample submission. Kiosks are a useful tool in areas without a current a cooperative sampling station.

Hunters are reminded to contact sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation and that CWD surveillance efforts focus on testing adult deer, since older deer are more likely to have the disease. For more information regarding where to take your deer for sampling, visit and search keywords "CWD sampling" or contact local DNR wildlife management staff.

Hunters can search for CWD test results individually or view a summary. Hunters will need a customer ID or CWD sample barcode to search for individual results. The average turnaround time from when the deer is brought to a sampling station to when the results are available is typically two weeks or less. For information regarding CWD test results, search keywords "CWD results".

If test results come back positive for CWD, hunters should follow advice from the Center for Disease Control [EXIT DNR], Wisconsin Department of Health Services and World Health Organization [EXIT DNR] to not consume venison from that deer.

The cooperation of hunters and private businesses has become increasingly vital to the success of our sampling process. Department staff would like to thank all those who continue to assist with CWD surveillance.

Hunters are also reminded to check out the Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record podcast to learn more about CWD in Wisconsin. The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube. Season two of the Wild Wisconsin web series will also feature a segment highlighting CWD in Wisconsin.



DNR asks for hunters to record their wildlife observations

Contact(s): Jessica Rees Lohr, DNR wildlife research scientist, 608-221-6349

MADISON - September hunting seasons usher in the tenth annual Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey, a survey in which hunters can easily record their observations of deer and other wildlife while in the field.

Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey results help track abundance trends for Wisconsin's deer herd and other wildlife.

DNR staff ask archery and gun hunters to record all their hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if no wildlife sightings were made during a hunt. The observations provide the department with an index to abundance for many wildlife species.

Hunters can enter observations by desktop, mail, or as launched last year, by smartphone. For those now interested in submitting observations by smartphone, or who participated last year, a new version of the survey is available for download on the survey's webpage. For more information regarding this survey, visit, and search keywords "deer hunter wildlife."

At the end of the survey, participants can choose to receive a personalized summary of all recorded wildlife from that season. The survey period ends January 2019.



Hunters reminded that collared deer on landscape are legal to harvest during fall hunting seasons

Contact(s): Dan Storm, DNR Deer Research Scientist 715-365-4712; Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist (608) 261-7589; Caitlin Henning, DNR Office of Applied Science communications specialist, 608-228-6518

MADISON - This fall, hunters may spot collared or ear-tagged whitetail deer in the fields and woods of southwest Wisconsin. These deer have been tagged as part of a mortality study by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and are legal to harvest.

"The most important thing for hunters to know is that collared and tagged deer are just like the rest of the deer in the area," said Daniel Storm, Department of Natural Resources deer research scientist. "DNR staff collared a random sample of deer, so the collars do not indicate anything about the deer's health or suitability for harvest. Hunters should make their decision without regard for GPS collars. Collared and tagged deer are absolutely OK to harvest."

The deer are collared as part of the Southwest Wisconsin Chronic Wasting Disease, Deer and Predator Study, a five-year investigation into deer mortality. To date, DNR researchers have placed GPS collars on 328 adult deer in portions of Grant, Iowa and Dane Counties.

The goal of this project is to comprehensively examine factors that could impact deer survival and deer population growth in southern Wisconsin. Those include CWD, depredation, habitat suitability and hunter harvest. The study is part of the Governor's initiative on chronic wasting disease.

"We're collaring deer over several years, and this sample will be the foundation for understanding deer mortality for the entire herd in the region. We know that one of the mortality causes for deer is hunter harvest, so we hope that our collared deer will be treated like any other deer by hunters this fall. If you would otherwise harvest a collared deer, go ahead and take it. If you would let it pass by, go ahead and let it go," Storm says.

Hunting licensing and normal harvest regulations apply equally to collared deer as they do to uncollared deer. "The only additional ask is that hunters who harvest collared deer call the number listed on the collar so we can come retrieve it," says Storm. The number to call is (608) 935-1940."

Whether you harvest a collared deer or an uncollared deer this season, the DNR asks for hunters' help by having their deer tested for CWD. The department needs to sample your adult deer to help further understand CWD in your area. For more information, visit and search keyword "CWD sampling."



Fall wild turkey, ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting seasons set to open

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861; Jaqi Christopher, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458; Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841; Trent Rohrer, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist 608-261-6458

MADISON - Hunters can expect another exciting fall hunting season for wild turkey, ruffed grouse and woodcock.

Wild turkey

The fall turkey season runs from Sept. 15 to Jan. 6 in Turkey Management zones 1-5, and Sept. 15 to Nov. 16 in zones 6 and 7. The use of dogs to hunt wild turkey is allowed statewide for the fall seasons.

"Fall turkey hunters can look forward to good opportunities this year," said Mark Witecha, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "The fall turkey season definitely offers some variety in hunting tactics and strategy compared to the spring season, and you can't beat the backdrop of a Wisconsin autumn."

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong. Following 30 years of sustained population growth and expansion across the state, wild turkeys are now found statewide. Wild turkey numbers appear to have stabilized at levels suitable to available habitat - they will likely ebb and flow around those levels in response to weather, food availability and other natural factors.

Biologists closely monitor harvest during the either-sex fall turkey hunting season, as excessive hen harvest can affect turkey populations. Recent hen harvests in Wisconsin have been very low, and current hen harvest rates do not play a significant role in the dynamics of Wisconsin's turkey flock.

"We saw a 10 percent decrease in harvest this spring compared to 2017, largely due to the late winter weather we experienced." said Witecha. "That late snowfall likely impacted nesting hens as well, so there may be fewer juvenile birds on the landscape in parts of the state."

Although a fall turkey license, fall turkey harvest authorization and annual Wild Turkey Stamp is required to hunt turkeys, hunters are reminded that for the first time, the fall turkey drawing has been waived. Each fall turkey license or conservation patron license now includes a fall turkey harvest authorization. Hunters must choose the zone for which their harvest authorization will be valid at the time of purchase. If more than one fall turkey harvest authorization is desired, hunters may purchase bonus turkey harvest authorizations in select zones while inventory remains. Licenses, stamps and bonus turkey harvest authorizations are available for purchase online at Go Wild or at any license agent.

Turkey hunters are reminded that ground blinds on DNR lands are subject to highly visible color requirements during any gun deer season. All unoccupied ground blinds must have the owner's name and address or DNR customer ID number near the door opening. Blinds and elevated devices can be left overnight September 1 to January 31 on DNR managed properties north of Highway 64. Blinds and elevated devices south of Highway 64 on DNR managed lands may not be left out overnight and must be removed daily at the close of shooting hours. Binds used for waterfowl hunting and blinds constructed entirely of vegetation do not have to be removed daily.

For more information on wild turkeys, visit and search "turkey."

Ruffed Grouse

In Zone A, the ruffed grouse season opens Sept. 15 and ends Jan. 31, 2019. In Zone B, the season will open Oct. 20 and close Dec. 8.

"Statewide ruffed grouse drumming activity was down 34 percent this spring compared to last year," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife survey coordinator. "While this decline does not follow the generally predictable nine to 11-year ruffed grouse population cycle, the 2018 drumming observations do fall within the normal range of variability for the population."

Ruffed grouse drumming surveys have been used since 1964 to help monitor ruffed grouse population trends.

This year, the DNR will be collecting West Nile virus samples from harvested ruffed grouse. Hunters interested in testing their bird for West Nile virus can request a self-sampling kit through their county wildlife biologist. The DNR is also asking for hunters to report and submit sick or dead grouse found in the field. More information on West Nile virus monitoring in ruffed grouse can be found here.

To address concerns over a noted decrease activity in drumming activity, a decrease in fall harvest last year and concerns regarding disease risk, the Natural Resources Board is considering an emergency rule to shorten the ruffed grouse season in zones A and B to end Nov. 30, 2018. The final decision to shorten the season will be made at the Sept. 25-26 Natural Resources Board meeting in Hayward. For more information on the Natural Resources Board, visit and search "NRB."

For more information regarding ruffed grouse, visit and search "ruffed grouse."


Wisconsin's woodcock hunting season is open from Sept. 22 to Nov. 5.

Hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) if they plan to pursue woodcock, mourning doves or other migratory game birds. Hunters must be HIP registered annually and can conveniently do this free of charge when purchasing their hunting license each year. For more information on HIP registration, visit and search "HIP registration."

A small game license is required to hunt woodcock and ruffed grouse. Small game licenses and HIP registration are available online through Go Wild or at any license agent.


The Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool gives hunters an interactive summary of young aspen and alder habitat to find woodcock and ruffed grouse hunting areas, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds and dove fields found on public hunting lands throughout Wisconsin

Features available within the program help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and provide access to maps and aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Users can also print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and estimate acreage and walking distance.

The mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access is required). Mobile users can use FFLIGHT on-the-go to find habitat suitable for the species they wish to pursue. To learn more, visit and search "FFLIGHT."



Game bird brood production unchanged or down in 2018 from 2017 levels

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland game ecologist, 608-267-7861; Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife survey coordinator, 608-221-6342

MADISON - Game bird brood rearing conditions should have been good in much of the state with temperatures above normal and precipitation normal to slightly above for much of the state during the month of June, though nesting may have been impacted by late snowfall.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and cooperating agency employees opportunistically collect observations of game bird (ruffed grouse, wild turkey and pheasant) broods for a 10-week period in June through August each year.

"While no large scale statewide event should have too adversely affected brood survival early in the brood rearing season, there were some localized events, particularly in the northwestern part of the state, that could have caused brood losses," added Dhuey. "Favorable conditions persisted into July and August with temperature and precipitation amounts at their averages or only slightly above. Again, there were a few localized events that may have led to brood losses in South Central Wisconsin, but nothing wide spread or prolonged."

Ruffed Grouse

Statewide, ruffed grouse broods seen per observer hour were up 1 percent compared to 2017, but 23 percent below the long term mean. Ruffed grouse production in their primary range of the central (-18 percent), and northern (-3 percent) forests were down from the previous year. While brood counts were up in other parts of the state, these areas are likely to have insignificant impact on grouse numbers hunters see this fall. Ruffed grouse brood size did rise from 3.6 in 2017 to 4.3 young per brood in 2018.

"Spring breeding grouse numbers were down in 2018, and brood production was down some in the primary ruffed grouse range. While some areas of the primary ruffed grouse range will be better than others, it appears that ruffed grouse numbers will be similar to last year and or down in some areas", said Dhuey.

Ruffed Grouse season opens in the primary portion of their range, Zone A, Sept. 15. For more information regarding ruffed grouse management in Wisconsin, search the DNR website,, keywords "ruffed grouse."

Wild Turkey

"Statewide, wild turkeys saw a decrease in brood production, with a statewide decrease of 11 percent in the number of broods seen per observer-hour over last year's level. Two of the five turkey regions saw increases, northeast (2 percent), southcentral (83 percent), while the northern (-23 percent), southeast (-34 percent), and western (-15 percent) regions saw a decrease. The size of those broods did show an increase though, from 4.1 in 2017 to 4.5 this year," Dhuey said.

The fall turkey season opens statewide in all zones Sept. 15. Each fall turkey license or conservation patron license now includes a fall turkey harvest authorization. Hunters must choose the zone for which their harvest authorization will be valid at the time of purchase. Bonus fall turkey authorizations went on sale August 18; for information on availability, please visit the Fall Turkey Bonus Authorization page. For more information regarding wild turkey management in Wisconsin, search for keywords "wild turkey management."


The number of pheasant broods seen per observer-hour was down 34 percent in 2018 compared to last year and well below the long term mean. Pheasant brood production was down in both the primary (-40 percent) and secondary (-19 percent) pheasant range from 2017 levels. Pheasant brood size was down as well, with an average of 3.5 young per brood in 2018, down from 4.9 in 2017.

"Breeding pheasant numbers were down a bit in 2018 and brood production numbers were too, overall breeding numbers have been declining for several years and pheasant numbers are down from the highs of the 1990s," said Dhuey. "Overall pheasant numbers are likely impacted by losses in Conservation Reserve Program grassland acres throughout the pheasant range."

Pheasant season opens statewide Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. For more information regarding pheasant management in Wisconsin, search keyword "pheasant."



Tiny transmitters help track survival of rare turtle hatchlings

Contact(s): Tiffany Bougie, UW-Madison, 920-410-7774,; Carly Lapin, DNR, 715-365-8954,

Wisconsin and Tomahawk river hatchlings recruited to advance science and conservation

RHINELANDER - It's wood turtle hatching time and up to 20 of these state-threatened species are being outfitted with tiny transmitters to allow state conservation biologists to track their survival and learn if the state's successful nest protection efforts pay off over the long-term.

Protecting nests from predators is one major part of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' statewide conservation strategy for wood turtles. Since a DNR study of wood turtles in 2014 and 2015 found placing cages over turtle nests increased the survival of eggs and hatchling production significantly, DNR conservation biologists have continued and expanded those protection efforts as well as relocated some nests to larger sites protected by electric fencing.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 9 photos

Tracking Wisconsin's rare turtles

"We are tracking hatchlings for a full year to see what happens to them. We suspect there's a lot of mortality but we don't know because no one has tracked them for a full year," says Tiffany Bougie, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student leading the joint project between the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.

"We also want to learn if the nest protection is worth the effort in terms of increasing turtle populations or at least preventing population declines."

If it's not, DNR can focus time and resources on investigating other potential strategies. Right now, nest restoration, nest protection and efforts aimed at reducing the number of adult turtles killed on roadways are major conservation strategies that the DNR has been investigating and improving upon since 2014.

That was the first year of funding for a multi-state partnership with Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa to improve riverine turtle conservation strategies and overall population numbers. Multiple facets of this larger project have been funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, American Transmission Company, and the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program, according to Carly Lapin, a DNR district ecologist stationed in Rhinelander.

Wood turtles are currently listed as a threatened species in Wisconsin and USFWS is assessing their status in the Midwest. Females do not lay eggs until they are 14- to 18-years old; their late maturity makes it harder for declining populations to come back because the loss of even one adult female can have a large effect on future population numbers, Lapin says.

Bougie and DNR conservation biologists glue the transmitters on hatchlings emerging from nests DNR has protected along the Wisconsin and Tomahawk rivers. The transmitter and glue together weigh about 0.7 to 0.8 gram, about one-tenth as much as the weight of the hatchlings, so biologists are careful to place the transmitters only on the larger hatchlings.

The batteries in the transmitters will be replaced after 90 days and in the winter, the turtles will be placed in overwinter enclosures in the rivers. Wood turtles hibernate in the winter; the turtles with the transmitters will be tracked again in the spring, Bougie says.

Help turtles by reporting turtle crossings this fall

Wisconsin residents can help add to that information base and wood turtle survival this fall by reporting roadways where turtles cross, whether hatchlings or adult turtles crossing roads to reach upland nests. 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. Report turtle crossings to the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program (exit DNR).



Records are meant to be broken, but really? Grass carp record changes hands in 2.5 hours

Contact(s): Karl Scheidegger, state fish records coordinator, 608-267-9426

MADISON - State fish records have been falling fast this summer but none faster than for an invasive species shot with a bow and arrow and hauled from the Mississippi River.

Michael Mahnke of Waukesha shot a 38-1/4 inch, 34 pound, 7.2 ounce grass carp on August 5 from the Mississippi River in Grant County. The fish broke the existing record by over a pound and a half.

The ink was barely dry on his record when two-and-a-half hours later Tim Hill of Lancaster shot a 40-3/4 inch, 39 pound grass carp the same day from the Mississippi River in Grant County. Hill's record bested Mahnke's record by about 4 1/2 pounds.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 3 photos

Shortest fish record ever?

"I thought two and a half months was a short time to hold a record," says Karl Scheidegger, the fisheries biologist who has coordinated the state record fish program for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 1995, referring to a longnose gar record change from earlier this year. "But two-and-a-half hours? It's the shortest held record on record in Wisconsin."

Grass carp are an invasive species that were first introduced into southern states in the 1960s to control aquatic vegetation in fish farms and have since spread through accidental and illegal, intentional releases. Grass carp have the potential to seriously disrupt the food web, as they can consume considerable amounts of aquatic vegetation that other organisms rely on for food and cover.

The other state fish record was set in August, also in the alternate methods category and also eclipsing a recent state record. Jason Behrens of Arcadia shot a 56-1/8 inch, 19 pound, 5.4 ounce longnose gar on May 24 from the Mississippi River in Trempealeau County. The fish broke the current record by almost a pound.

But Behrens' record was short-lived. Noah Renner of Mauston shot a 54-1/2 inch, 22 pound 12.8 ounce longnose gar on Aug. 4 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County. The fish broke Behrens's record by over three pounds.

See what other state fish records have been set in 2018 in DNR's three record categories: traditional, by weight category; alternative method; and live release.

Learn what steps to take if you think you have a state record catch. Go to and search "record fish."



Grants now available to groups to help introduce Wisconsin residents to fishing

Contact(s): Keith Warnke, R3 team leader, 608-576-5243; Jill Sunderland, DNR Grant Manager, 715-635-4167; Theresa Stabo, Angler R3 Coordinator, 608-577-6332

MADISON - A total of $75,000 in grants are now available under a new Department of Natural Resources initiative aimed at helping local governments, organizations and others recruit new anglers, particularly adult women and other groups underrepresented in the activity.

The Angler Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (Angler R3) grant program will provide financial assistance to local governments, organizations and others who conduct Angler R3 programs and activities in Wisconsin.

A new grant program seeks to help introduce more adults to aspects of fishing, including showing them how to prepare their catch for dinner.  - Photo credit: DNR
A new grant program seeks to help introduce more adults to aspects of fishing, including showing them how to prepare their catch for dinner. Photo credit: DNR

"This is a brand new opportunity that groups can use to shore up our angling heritage in Wisconsin," says Keith Warnke, R3 team leader.

The DNR will award a total of $75,000 during this first grant cycle in 2018. The maximum award amount for each project will be $10,000. These grants will be administered as a reimbursement program and the DNR plans to accept grant applications only in even numbered years, according to Jill Sunderland, Angler (R3) Grant Manager.

Tribes, municipalities, schools, community-based organizations, conservation organizations, individuals and local food organizations are among the entities eligible to apply for the grants.

The deadline for applying electronically is Oct. 15, 2018. Find information about grant eligibility and application materials on the DNR website,, by searching for  Angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Grant Program.

Wisconsin license sales are growing but not immune to national leisure-time trends

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and partners, including state agencies like DNR, have embarked on an effort to grow participation to 60 million anglers in 60 months, by following recommendations for angler Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) efforts.

More than twice as many Wisconsin adult residents fish - about 20 percent -- as the national average and Wisconsin's fishing license sales have increased over the past 15 years and now stand at about 1.4 million, according to a recent DNR study, "What the Evidence Suggests for the Future of Fishing and Hunting License Sales in Wisconsin [PDF]."

But Wisconsin faces the same national trends of younger people spending less time outdoors, and concerns that there will not be enough new anglers in the future to replace anglers who discontinue participation as they age.

Justine Hasz, Wisconsin's fisheries director, says the new grant program builds off DNR's Fishing for Dinner program and is part of the 60 for 60 initiative led by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (exit DNR) to increase the number of anglers nationwide to 60 million by 2021. DNR's Fishing for Dinner program is aimed at adults and combines classroom learning, fishing with veteran anglers, and learning how to prepare their catch.

"We're looking at new, innovative ways to introduce people and recruit them into fishing, especially people in the 18- to 35-year-old group," she says. "We're very excited to be offering our first grants and see people's ideas for bringing more people into this fun, family-friendly activity."


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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