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Weekly News Published - September 25, 2018 by the Central Office


Wisconsin State Park System to launch enhanced campsite reservation system

Contact(s): Chris Pedretti, state parks business operation chief, 608-264-8958 or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

MADISON - Beginning Dec. 17, 2018 people booking a campsite at Wisconsin State Park System properties will be able to use a new, improved - and less expensive - reservation system.

Under the new campsite reservation system, campers making reservations at Wisconsin State Park System properties will save almost $2 per reservation. - Photo credit: DNR
Under the new campsite reservation system, campers making reservations at Wisconsin State Park System properties will save almost $2 per reservation.Photo credit: DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is contracting with a new reservation provider, Camis USA, Inc., that was awarded the reservation contract through a competitive bidding process. Camis USA currently operates reservation systems for Michigan, Maryland and Washington state parks.

"We're really excited to launch this new system because we are so confident our customers will find the enhanced system easier to use, will have more options for booking facilities, and it will cost them less than under the previous system," said Ben Bergey, state park system director.

All reservations that are booked through the current provider, Reserve America [exit DNR], will be transferred to the new system.

Under the new system it will cost users $7.75 to make a reservation, compared to the current price of $9.65. Customers can also expect many enhancements when making reservations, including better searchability for campsites, and a mobile-friendly website that makes it easier than ever to make a reservation from a phone or tablet. The new system will also accommodate reservations for shelters and amphitheaters.

Camis plans to open a call center in Kenosha that will employ between 12 and 15 operators depending on the season.

During the first two weeks in December, there will be a transition period to the new system, and campsite reservations will not be available. On Dec. 17, the Camis system will be open to make reservations. Campers can make reservations for sites up to 11 months in advance of their arrival, either online or by phone.

All customers who have previously made reservations with Reserve America will receive email notifications confirming their reservations are in the new system.



New Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application has everything hunters need to take their time in the outdoors to the next level

Contact(s): Scott Karel, 608-267-2452

MADISON - New for Fall 2018, the Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application has everything hunters need to improve their time in the outdoors.

"Hunt Wild Wisconsin is going to help our hunters from day one - they can find new public lands, take a look at the regulations, and much more - all in one place," said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. "This is something our staff have worked extremely hard to roll out for fall hunting seasons - I think people are going to love using this app."

Find new public lands to explore, brush up on the regulations, or listen to podcasts - users can do it all with Hunt Wild Wisconsin. With mobile mapping, up to the minute shooting hours, and much more, we've given you all the tools to focus on what's important - enjoying your time in the outdoors.

To download this free hunting app on your mobile phone, simply search "Hunt Wild Wisconsin" in the iTunes app store [exit DNR] or Google Play store [exit DNR] on your mobile device. Be sure to check out a helpful tutorial to help you navigate the app and learn its features.

 - Photo credit: DNR
Photo credit: DNR

This free mobile app has tons of features that will help improve your time in the field:

For users with Android phones, it is important to note that this app is primarily intended for Android versions 8.0 and above. Android phones with version 7.0 may not have access to some mapping capabilities within the app and Android versions 6.0 and below will be unable to install the application - this is to help ensure a quality experience for our users. For support regarding the Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application, contact

You can find download information and a tutorial on the DNR website,, by searching keywords "hunt app."



Online tools show hunters where baiting and feeding is banned

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

MADISON - Before taking part in upcoming hunting seasons or placing feed for wildlife, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts should be sure to check the baiting and feeding webpage and verify which counties currently prohibit wildlife baiting and feeding activities.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding, visit and search keyword "bait."

Since the end of the 2017 deer season, Milwaukee, Lincoln, Washington, Marinette, Langlade, Florence, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau, Dodge, Fond du Lac, & Sheboygan counties have been added to the ban. Wood County which was previously subject to deer baiting and feeding prohibitions has reverted back to regulated deer baiting and feeding. It is important to note that baiting and feeding restrictions are in place for 43 of Wisconsin's 55 chronic wasting disease affected areas/counties.

Baiting and feeding bans are enacted when CWD is detected in wild or captive deer for a period of 3 years (county of detection) or 2 years (counties adjacent to counties with CWD detection) and may be lifted if no new detections are found in CWD affected counties. All current baiting and feeding bans will remain in effect throughout the 2018 deer season with the exception of Marquette County, which will be lifted in December 2018 if no new additional detection renews the baiting and feeding ban.

Individuals may still feed birds and small mammals, provided feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.

For more information regarding baiting and feeding, check out the baiting and feeding regulations.



Annual tree seedling sales to begin on October 1

Contact(s): Joe Vande Hey, 608-574-4904,

Red pine are one of many species available from state nurseries beginning Oct. 1. - Photo credit: DNR
Red pine are one of many species available from state nurseries beginning Oct. 1.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' reforestation program will be accepting orders starting October 1, 2018 from Wisconsin forest landowners for trees and shrubs to be planted in spring 2019. The high-quality seedlings are native species appropriate for planting throughout Wisconsin.

Seedlings grown at the state nurseries are used for reforestation and conservation plantings on private, industrial, and state/county forest lands. A minimum order consists of a packet of 300 trees or shrubs of the landowner's choosing in increments of 100 of each species, or 500 shrubs or 1000 tree seedlings. Seedlings can also be purchased by youth groups and educational organizations for their reforestation and conservation planting projects.

"The DNR Division of Forestry grows 3-5 million seedlings annually," according to Joseph Vande Hey, reforestation team leader at the Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel.  "However, since some species sell out quickly, customers are encouraged to place orders early."

"Planting trees or shrubs is a great way to improve wildlife habitat, increase land value, reduce soil erosion, produce future wood products, and improve the overall aesthetics of your property," Vande Hey says. "Planting trees is also a great activity that involves all ages of family members. It provides an educational experience and an opportunity to become more invested in the stewardship of the environment."

Forest landowners may place orders starting October 1st using an online form found on the DNR website (keyword "tree planting") or by printing the order form, completing it and mailing it in. Customers may also contact the reforestation staff or the DNR forester who serves the area where their property is located for personal assistance. Printed copies of the order form are also available at local DNR offices.

In addition to the online form, customers can also find the following items on the reforestation section of the DNR website:

In addition to growing seedlings for use in Wisconsin, the reforestation program participates in research efforts, including tree improvement, nursery soils, nursery insect and disease and reforestation monitoring efforts. The DNR nurseries also purchases tree seed collected by state residents.



Extended inland trout season offers more opportunities for anglers

Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator, 608-264-8953

Biologists update fishing conditions in many popular fishing areas

MADISON - Even in areas hit with historic flooding this August, Wisconsin trout populations are holding strong and anglers can expect good opportunities for fishing. As water levels return to more normal levels, anglers can enjoy the benefits of the harvest season running through Oct. 15.

Fish biologists conducting fall surveys to assess trout populations in streams statewide are finding strong adult fish populations.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 10 photos

Fall trout surveys and fishing prospects

"The past 10 days of dry weather have allowed stream water levels to lower and become clearer, leading to some good fishing through the remainder of the season," says Kirk Olson, fisheries biologist for Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties.

"Anglers will probably notice that trout in the area are very robust as fish have gorged on prey that washed into the stream during the flood. Recent fishing outings on area streams have brought many hungry trout to hand on both spinners and sub-surface flies."

The inland trout season runs through 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15, giving anglers for the third year an extra two weeks on most waters except as noted in the "Specific Waters by County" section of the Guide to Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations, 2018-2019 [PDF]. The open season closes Sept. 30 for streams flowing into Lake Superior from their mouths to the first impassable permanent barrier, unless noted in the Specific Waters section.

Justin Haglund, fisheries biologist for Iowa and Richland counties, says fishing is still going strong in Iowa County and that Richland County streams, while hit hard by flooding, are now at near normal levels. "If there is continued dry weather over the next few weeks this will provide good opportunities for fishing throughout the southwest region," he says.

Survey results on the Tomorrow and Plover rivers in central Wisconsin earlier this month, as well as on small streams like Comet Creek, suggest good fishing opportunities on a variety of waters, says Tim Parks, fisheries biologist for Marathon and Portage counties.

Not only are anglers more likely to see larger fish at this time of year, as the fish move upstream toward spawning grounds, but the change to darker colors, particularly for male fish, allows anglers to see some beautiful fish in a variety of places.

"I know a lot of anglers have their sweet spots, but my message is to be adventurous," he says. "Take a roll of the dice. Hit one of the small streams and you'll be surprised. There's places where we were surveying this last month where we found fish either larger or more abundant than we expected.

Season regulations and tools to find a trout water

Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources DNR's trout team, says trout anglers planning their fall fishing trips will want to check out DNR's online trout tool beforehand and even consult this mobile tool while fishing.

T.R.O.U.T. stands for Trout Regulations and Opportunities User Tool, and it shows anglers where to access streams and where to park, displays habitat projects around the state, and provides on-the-go mobile access to trout stream regulations.

Anglers wanting a printed map can use the tool to find the water they want and then print off a copy, or anglers can also print off county maps showing Wisconsin's classified trout streams. These PDFs will not have regulations public lands and fishing easements noted on them.

Fisheries forecasts for selected waters

Current trout fishing forecasts from fisheries biologists are available for waters in the following counties: Chippewa, Crawford, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, Green, Iowa, La Crosse, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Pepin, Portage, Richland, Rock, Vernon and Waushara. Other more general forecasts and survey results are found in the trout section of the 2018 Wisconsin Fishing Report, starting bottom of page 15 [PDF].

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 5 photos

Dunn County habitat works benefits trout anglers



Open houses at fish egg collection stations a chance to see salmon and trout up close

Contact(s): Jason Meacham, fisheries technician at Root River, 414-382-7924,; Andrew Gorniak, fisheries technician at Besadny facility, 920-388-1025,

Events set for Oct. 6 at Kewaunee and Oct. 13 in Racine

MADISON - See where Lake Michigan trout and salmon get their start and enjoy a variety of family friendly fishing related activities when state fish egg collecting facilities in Kewaunee and Racine hold open houses this October.

The events give fish enthusiasts of all ages a chance to see Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources crews collecting eggs from fish to produce the next generation of Lake Michigan salmon to be raised at state hatcheries and stocked back into the "big pond."

See where Wisconsin's Great Lakes trout and salmon begin by attending open houses this October at two DNR egg collection stations along Lake Michigan. - Photo credit: DNR
See where Wisconsin's Great Lakes trout and salmon begin by attending open houses this October at two DNR egg collection stations along Lake Michigan.Photo credit: DNR

The open houses also offer fun, hands-on learning for fishing skills like fly tying, knot tying and casting, all in beautiful settings along two major tributaries to Lake Michigan.

Come watch us spawn some Chinook salmon, have some fun at all the activities, and then get out there and catch some fish!" says Brad Eggold, Great Lakes District fisheries supervisor. At both facilities, after DNR staff complete their work, fish are returned to the rivers along with other spawning fish, providing good fishing opportunities for shore anglers.

More information is available on the DNR website,, by searching "fish open houses."



Planning to use a tree stand in your hunts? Stay safe with body harness & defy odds of falling

Contact(s): Jon King, hunter education administrator 608-575-2294; Joanne M. Haas, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement public information officer, 608-209-8147

 - Photo credit: DNR
Photo credit: DNR

MADISON -- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety Administrator Jon King is urging Wisconsin hunters to beat the 1 in 20 chances of falling from a tree stand by wearing body harnesses climbing up -- and down-during the archery and crossbow deer season and upcoming gun-deer hunt.

King says he understands hunters wanting to enhance their ability of seeing and bagging their deer during the archery season. "But, without a mind on safety, all enhancements may come with a risk of falling to an injury that will end your hunting season on impact," he said.

The 2016 Wildlife Society research showed 'the most avid hunters' face a 1-in-20 risk of getting hurt in a fall from a treestand. "Hunters can beat these odds and enjoy safe, healthy hunts by wearing a body harness and reviewing treestand safety rules," King said.

King offers these safety tips, and suggests people search the DNR website for keyword "treestand" for more tree stand safety tips:

Prefer a course instead? Consider this free online treestand safety course. A 15-minute investment of your time in taking an online safety course could save your life. The Treestand Manufacturers Association provides a free, interactive course that you can finish in minutes. TreeStand Safety Course [exit DNR].

King also urges hunters to always inspect their stands -- especially the ones left up all year. "Inspect the tree, check straps to make sure animals haven't chewed on them," he said. "Another way to check your stand is to pull on the stand and move it around to see how much it moves, check the hardware and make sure nuts and bolts are tight and make any adjustments that need to be made."

King also says now is the perfect time to review the four basic rules of firearm safety. "These apply to crossbow use and hunting in general."

For more information search the DNR website,, for keyword treestand and view the "Free" Tree Stand Safety Course.



Updated 2018 Wisconsin wildlife reports now available

Contact(s): Brian Dhuey, DNR Wildlife population and harvest assessment specialist, 608-221-6342

MADISON - Results are available for several wildlife surveys completed during the first half of 2018, which include data collected from small game, big game, waterfowl and non-game categories.

The following reports for 2018 are viewable on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at, keyword "reports."


Department of Natural Resources staff would like to thank volunteers who assisted with survey efforts for their continued commitment to Wisconsin's wildlife.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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