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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published February 26, 2019

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Bonus harvest authorizations for spring turkey season available beginning March 18

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861

MADISON - Bonus turkey harvest authorizations, previously known as leftover permits, will go on sale the week of March 18, with a designated sales date for each zone.

The scheduled sales dates for the 2019 spring turkey season are:

Bonus harvest authorizations can be purchased online through GoWild.Wi.Gov and at all license agents. Sales begin at 10 a.m. and run through midnight each day.

After zone-specific sales, all remaining turkey harvest authorizations for all zones will be made available for purchase Saturday, March 23 at 10 a.m.

Hunters who missed the spring turkey drawing deadline last December or who want additional harvest authorizations can purchase bonus authorizations beginning March . - Photo credit: DNR
Hunters who missed the spring turkey drawing deadline last December or who want additional harvest authorizations can purchase bonus authorizations beginning March 18.Photo credit: DNR

Bonus harvest authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Both residents and non-residents will have equal opportunity for purchase. Bonus turkey harvest authorizations can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone and time period is sold out or the season closes. Bonus harvest authorization purchases will not affect preference point status for future spring drawings.

In total, 109,771 bonus turkey harvest authorizations are available across all seven turkey zones for the 2019 spring season. Hunters are encouraged to check the turkey zone map [PDF] and the spring turkey bonus harvest authorization availability to see if harvest authorizations are available for the time period and turkey zone in which they wish to hunt.

All spring turkey hunters are required to possess a valid spring turkey license, a 2019 wild turkey stamp and a valid turkey harvest authorization. If not already done, hunters will be required to purchase the spring turkey license and stamp authorization when they purchase a bonus harvest authorization.

Purchasing online

To purchase a bonus harvest authorization online through Go Wild, hunters will need to log on to their personalized dashboard at GoWild.Wi.Gov and click the "Buy License" button. From there, "Spring Turkey Bonus Harvest Authorization" will be at the top of the list.

During the sale of spring bonus harvest authorizations through Go Wild, the system will use an online queue to assign random numbers to customers who enter the site between 9:45 and 10 a.m. It is important to note that there is no advantage to entering the site prior to 9:45 a.m. Customers who enter after 10 a.m. will be added to the queue in order of arrival.

Department of Natural Resources customer service staff recommend that turkey hunters who are interested in purchasing a Conservation Patron license do so prior to March 18 to make the bonus harvest authorization process as quick and easy as possible.

Spring turkey season

The spring turkey season is comprised of six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones will be open for hunting in 2019 - spring Turkey season dates are as follows:

Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2018 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2018 Fall Turkey Regulations and 2019 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF].

Youth turkey hunt set for April 13-14

Youth hunters under the age of 16 may hunt during the youth turkey hunt April 13-14. Hunters under the age of 12 and youth hunters without hunter safety certification can participate in the youth turkey hunt through the Mentored Hunting Program. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a qualified adult and follow all youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules.

Spring turkey youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp and harvest authorization. A harvest authorization for any time period can be used during the youth hunt weekend, but youth hunters must hunt within the turkey management zone indicated on their harvest authorization.

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



Preliminary recommendations for 2019 antlerless quotas and deer hunting season structure to be developed at County Deer Advisory Council meetings in March

Contact(s): Jeff Pritzl, acting DNR deer program specialist, 920-662-5127

MADISON - County Deer Advisory Councils throughout Wisconsin will hold meetings the week of March 11 or March 18 to start the antlerless harvest quota and permit setting process for the 2019 deer seasons.

Final CDAC meetings will take place the week of April 15. Deer hunting season structure options for each county will also be discussed by the Councils. Those options may include extended antlerless deer hunting seasons necessary to reach county deer population objectives.

All council meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity to provide feedback as each Council develops their preliminary recommendations. Those interested in attending can find a schedule of CDAC meetings and their locations in the searchable CDAC database.

In addition to attending CDAC meetings, the public can review and comment on preliminary recommendations through an online survey, found by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "CDAC" from April 1-10.

Public feedback is considered alongside trends in metrics relative to deer management, winter impacts, and historical season structure and harvest data provided by Department of Natural Resources biologists, foresters and law enforcement.

DNR staff will review CDAC recommendations following the April meetings and provide recommendations to the Natural Resources Board for approval in May. Following Natural Resources Board approval, final recommendations will be in effect for the 2019 deer seasons.

Additional information pertaining to CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership is available at keyword "CDAC." Additional questions can also be sent via email to



Crucial Year for Breeding Bird Atlas

Contact(s): Nick Anich, Wisconsin DNR Breeding Bird Atlas coordinator, 715-685-2930; Ryan Brady, DNR conservation biologist, 715-685-2933

Call for Volunteers to Attend Kickoff Workshop in April

ASHLAND, Wis. - The snow may be flying, but great horned owls are already sitting on eggs, defying the idea of creature comfort. Their breeding activity is spurring hundreds of volunteers to begin the fifth and final season of collecting data for a comprehensive, once-in-a-generation statewide breeding bird survey.

To energize these volunteers for the final push and to recruit new volunteers to help survey remaining priority areas, Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey organizers are convening a final season Kickoff Event from April 5-7 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center in Stevens Point. Learn more and register now at: (exit DNR).

The spruce grouse, a threatened species in Wisconsin, is one of the hundreds of bird species that volunteer surveyors will be looking and listening for this field season.  - Photo credit: Nick Anich
The spruce grouse, a threatened species in Wisconsin, is one of the hundreds of bird species that volunteer surveyors will be looking and listening for this field season. Photo credit: Nick Anich

"The kickoff is a great time for motivated volunteers to meet with county coordinators so we can all strategize on how to efficiently finish the remaining blocks," says Nick Anich, lead coordinator of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey and conservation biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. "The biggest remaining gaps are in northern and western Wisconsin but there are still opportunities in every area of the state to help."

For volunteers of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, timing is everything. These volunteers, also known as "atlasers," are attempting to document where, when, and how many bird species breed across the entire state. Knowing when to look for each breeding species is key to success.

Great horned owls are the earliest of Wisconsin's breeding birds; by the time the breeding season winds down in August, more than 200 bird species will mate and raise young.

Strategy regarding when and where to survey, or "atlas," will underscore the weekend, says Ryan Brady, science coordinator of the atlas survey and DNR conservation biologist.

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II splits Wisconsin into more than 6,800 blocks, and 1 in 6 of these blocks, 1,283 "priority blocks," must be fully surveyed by late summer of this year. After four years of data collection, about 15 percent of Atlas priority blocks have seen little to no survey effort, while an additional 25 percent still need some work to be marked complete.

"It's time for Wisconsin's birdwatchers to step up in a big way," says Brady. "Thousands of volunteers have contributed so far--we'll need them and others more than ever in this fifth and final year of surveys."

Only a statewide effort will reveal trends of which species are increasing or decreasing, information that will help inform the next generation of bird conservation.

At the kickoff event, in addition to a job fair-style session with county coordinators, a full agenda including field trip opportunities will be offered throughout the weekend, beginning with an optional "Atlasing 101" session on Friday afternoon, and running through noon on Sunday. Topics range from an overview of project results to date, how-to tips for uncovering secretive species, and a Q & A session.

The meeting's keynote speaker will be Ian Davies, eBird project coordinator with Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Data collection for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas is administered entirely through eBird, and Wisconsin was the first atlas project to use eBird in this way. Davies says the process that Wisconsin began has continued to snowball, and there are now three active eBird Bird atlases (Wisconsin, Virginia, and Maine), with upcoming projects in New Zealand and New York in the next year.

Davies says Wisconsin volunteers have set a high bar for all future breeding bird atlases, and encourages more people to participate in 2019. "This is your last year to atlas in Wisconsin! Come out to meet new people and learn about one of the most fun ways to go birding," he says.



Initial Public Meeting Set for Blue Mound State Park Master Plan

Contact(s): Phil Rynish, DNR property planner, 608-266-5854; or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

Public invited to participate in small group discussions at March 12 meeting

BLUE MOUNDS, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity to give input and share ideas on the future use and management of Blue Mound State Park at an upcoming public meeting.

In June 2018, the Natural Resources Board approved the department's recommendation to develop a plan revision to the Blue Mound State Park master plan. The department has been gathering data and is now initiating the planning process. The result of this process will be a master plan that replaces the existing 1984 master plan. A master plan, guided by Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code, establishes the level and type of resource management and public use permitted on department-managed properties.

Trail use is one of the recreational areas that will be addressed through the master planning process. - Photo credit: DNR
Trail use is one of the recreational areas that will be addressed through the master planning process.Photo credit: DNR

Blue Mound State Park is 1,153 acres atop the highest point in Southern Wisconsin. The park offers spectacular views, opportunities to see and learn about unique geological features and a variety of recreational facilities. Over 20 miles of scenic trails, access to the Military Ridge State Trail, bike-in campsites, a family campground, summer swimming pool, and a rustic cabin for people with disabilities make Blue Mound a popular year-round destination.

The public can learn more about and engage in the planning process by attending the public meeting from 5-7:30 p.m., March 12, at the Mount Horeb Middle School Cafeteria, 900 E Garfield Street; Mount Horeb.

A brief presentation will take place at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by small group discussions focused on sharing perspectives and identifying topics to be considered during the planning process.

People are also encouraged to visit the Blue Mound State Park Master Plan website by going to the DNR website,, searching keywords "property planning" and Blue Mound State Park under "Property-based plans in progress". In addition to opportunities to learn more about Blue Mound State Park and the planning process, an online public input form is also available. For more information about the park, search keywords "Blue Mound."

"We welcome everyone to visit our website and attend the public meeting to share their perspective on future use and management of Blue Mound State Park and to learn about the department's property master planning process." said Diane Brusoe, Property Planning Section Chief.

In addition to the opportunities to offer input online or at public meetings, people may contact DNR Planner Phil Rynish, by email at, phone at 608-266-5854, or US mail at Phil Rynish, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921.

The public comment period for the first phase of planning is open through March 26, 2019.



DNR seeks public help to identify and map invasive cork trees

Contact(s): Mike Putnam, DNR forest invasive plant coordinator, 608-843-5475;

MADISON -- Wisconsin invasive species officials are asking the public to help identify and locate populations of the invasive Amur cork tree.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has records of Amur cork tree in at least 12 counties with individual populations ranging from a single tree to several thousand. It is possible this number will increase with improved mapping efforts. The species, prohibited under Wisconsin's invasive species rule, is harmful to diversity in forested communities.

Corky bark and bright yellow cambium.  - Photo credit: DNR
Corky bark and bright yellow cambium. Photo credit: DNR

Often planted in parks, yards and cities, Amur cork tree can quickly invade forests when its fruits are eaten and dispersed by birds. Dense mats of seedlings can stop the growth of native plants and harm wildlife populations that depend on them.

Amur cork tree's listing as a prohibited species is unique because female trees are regulated but male cultivars and seedling stock, which were thought to be unable to produce fruit, are not. There is some indication, however, that trees previously thought to be fruitless may produce fruit.

To identify this species in the winter, look for the signature corky outer bark or the bright yellow cambium (tissue just beneath the bark). Use a knife to peel away the thinner bark on branches or cut into the corky bark on larger trees using a small axe. Winter buds and fruits can also be used for identification. Winter buds are reddish brown and encircled by a horseshoe-shaped leaf scar. The fruits are black when fully ripe and remain on trees into winter. Even after the fruits have fallen or been eaten by birds, spiky stems can be seen still attached to the upper branches of the tree. Pictures of these features can be seen in the invasive species photo gallery on the DNR website.

If you know of possible locations of this species in Wisconsin, you can email with the subject line "Amur cork tree location." Please include a street address and coordinates (use this site to pinpoint a location) and photos of characteristic features described above. Photos of fruiting structures (fruits, stems) are especially helpful in finding the trees that contribute most to the spread of this species.

For more information about Amur cork tree, including details on identification and a map of known populations, search the DNR website,, for Amur cork tree. If you would like to know more about funding options to control this species on your property, please contact Mike Putnam, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Coordinator, at or 608-843-5475.



DNR awards grants for surface water project planning

Contact(s): Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader,, 608‑266-0502; Raechelle Belli, DNR communications,, 608-264-8942

MADISON -- Communities throughout Wisconsin will soon reap the benefits of 229 surface water planning and education grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This year, the DNR is providing over $2.8 million in assistance for efforts to improve water quality, reduce runoff, create aquatic habitat and reduce the spread of invasive species.

The surface water grants program is a cost-sharing program. When local matching funds contributed by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups are included, the total amount for planning and education work proposed is valued at $4.6 million.

"Improving water quality, protecting lakes from nutrient enrichment and preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species is work best guided by a local management plan, which this program helps organizations develop," says Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader.

Planning grants help communities collect data, assess waterbody condition and understand the source of water quality problems. Education projects focus on capacity building, outreach, and understanding of prevention and management needs. Funding for these grants originates from the gas tax on fuel used in recreational boats.

"There were a lot of exciting projects proposed this year. For example, the Riveredge Nature Center is focusing on community involvement to support a large-scale water quality project currently underway for the Milwaukee River watershed," Mikulyuk said.

Lake Redstone - Photo credit: Donna Sefton
Lake RedstonePhoto credit: Donna Sefton

Other applicants proposed watershed management plans to improve water quality, like the project proposed by the Lake Redstone Protection District. Lake Redstone will use planning funds to complete a 9-key element watershed plan to address non-point source pollution. Big Roche-A-Cri in Adams county is just starting their watershed management effort, taking their first steps toward holistic management with a data inventory and gaps analysis.

"In addition to watershed work, a common theme shared by many applicants was a focus on assessing shoreland health to help landowners reduce local-scale runoff and create quality habitat at the water's edge," Mikulyuk said.

The 2019 surface water planning grant applications were submitted to DNR in December 2018. Clean Boats, Clean Waters projects, which fund staff to conduct boat and trailer inspections and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species at boat landings, accounted for the largest number of awards with 140 grants totaling more than $730,000. Aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning efforts represented the greatest area of investment with 31 grants totaling more than $1.2 million. Below are grant award summaries, by grant type.

Grant Type

Grants Awarded

Award Amounts

Total Project Costs

Lake Planning




AIS Education, Prevention, & Planning




River Planning




Lake Classification




Clean Boats, Clean Waters




Total FY19 Planning Grants




To see the full list of awards, visit and search "surface water grants." Links to awarded grants can be found on the right hand side of the Web page under "Related links" on a desktop computer or under the "Show more" dropdown on mobile devices.



Wisconsin tree champions lauded for outstanding community service

Contact(s): Sara Minkoff, DNR Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-669-5447,

MADISON - The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council recently announced award recipients honoring those dedicated to protecting, preserving and increasing the number of trees that line city streets, fill community parks and beautify neighborhoods throughout the state. The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the management of urban and community forest resources.

"These awards honor individuals, organizations and communities for their hard work and dedication to trees and the critical benefits they provide," said Kristin Gies, chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council's award committee. "Each year we review the nominations and learn about the great things happening around Wisconsin that support healthy community forests."

One of the principal organizers of last year's Innovations in Urban Forestry Award winner, Ken Holman, chair of Hudson's Urban Forestry (HUF) Board, shared that "this award has served as an ongoing source of pride and incentive for the HUF Board, citizen volunteers, teachers and especially the students who have taken real ownership in THEIR Tree Treks project. The award for our Tree Treks Project gave all of those involved a real boost to create the next school/neighborhood trek and continue our community outreach efforts."

This year's recipients were announced recently at the 2019 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR urban forestry conference in Green Bay.

Rotary International District 6270 was recognized for an extraordinary partnership.  - Photo credit: DNR
Rotary International District 6270 was recognized for an extraordinary partnership, presented by council member Kristen Gies.  Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council  received this year's innovation award.  - Photo credit: DNR
Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. received this year's innovation award. Presented to executive director Joshua Benes (r) by council member Dwayne Sperber. : Sally Prideaux was honored for her decades of service  - Photo credit: DNR
Sally Prideaux was honored for her decades of distinguished service, presented by council member Kristen Gies. DNR photos

To learn more, see previous winners and nominate your community tree champion, visit, keyword, "Urban Forestry Council." The deadline for 2020 nominees is October 31, 2019. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.



Nominations open for "Invader Crusader" award honoring work on invasive species issues

Contact(s): Tara Bergeson, DNR invasive species team leader, 608-264-6043; Bernie Williams, DNR plant disease specialist, 608-444-6948

MADISON -Nominations are being accepted through April 1, 2019, for "Invader Crusaders," Wisconsin citizens and organizations who made significant contributions in 2018 to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that harm Wisconsin's native species and wetlands, forests, prairies, and lakes and rivers.

The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council is seeking nominations for individuals, groups, or organizations for their exemplary efforts at addressing issues surrounding terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including plants and animals. The Invader Crusader Award will be presented in both volunteer and professional categories.

Nominations are being accepted for "Invader Crusader" awards. Past winner Valerie Stabenow helps control water hyacinth in Lake Winnecone to keep it from spreading.  - Photo credit: DNR
Nominations are being accepted for "Invader Crusader" awards. Past winner Valerie Stabenow helps control water hyacinth in Lake Winnecone to keep it from spreading. Photo credit: DNR

To nominate an individual or organization, download and fill out a nomination form available on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council's Invader Crusader web page (exit DNR). Email the completed form to

A panel of Wisconsin Invasive Species Council members will review the nomination materials and select the award winners. All nominators and winners will be notified by mid-May.

Recipients of the awards will be recognized at an awards ceremony June 5 at Olbrich Gardens in Madison.

Invasive species are nonnative plants and animals that cause great ecological, environmental, or economic harm. Some can affect human health. Once an invasive species establishes, it can be difficult to control, so the most important action Wisconsinites should take is to avoid moving invasive species to uninfested sites in Wisconsin and to other states.



Winter is time to prep for spring Learn to Hunt classes

Contact(s): Ryan Serwe, DNR R3 Assistant,; 608-225-2310; Emily Iehl, DNR R3 Coordinator,; 608-445-8168

MADISON - State hunting coordinators urge hunting enthusiasts eager to host a Learn to Hunt session to plan now for a spring turkey session.

The Learn to Hunt program is designed for hunting novices of all ages and backgrounds to experience and to enjoy the sport of hunting. It is part of the R3 program, coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. R3 stands for Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation of hunters, anglers, trappers and shooting sports participants.

"Specifically, Learn to Hunt helps those people who do not have a hunting mentor," R3 staffer Ryan Serwe said. "The goal is to make hunting an accessible activity for anyone interested."

Learn to Hunt is not just for kids! These novice adult hunters at LTH turkey event in Dane County display their successful harvest. - Photo credit: DNR
Learn to Hunt is not just for kids! These novice adult hunters at LTH turkey event in Dane County display their successful harvest.Photo credit: DNR

But first, Serwe says, a Learn to Hunt event needs a host.

Hosting or acting as a mentor in a Learn to Hunt event is a great way for experienced sportsmen and women to pass on their knowledge and ensure the future of a strong hunting heritage in Wisconsin. Whether your goal is locally sourced sustainable meat, a closer connection with the land or the thrilling pursuit of wild game, the Learn to Hunt program has something for everyone.

"We have received a ton of feedback that indicates a rewarding experience for both mentors and mentees of these events," Serwe said. "These hunting opportunities give the participants great memories and friendships."

The Learn to Hunt program has evolved much over the past 20 years, with a focus on recruiting more adults, women and families as participants in these programs.

"In the face of a declining hunting population, it is crucial that we take steps to nurture a new foundation of hunters, and the Learn to Hunt program aims to do just that," Serwe said.

To learn more about this program and how to get involved: visit the DNR website,, and search keyword "LTH."



Winter's grip hanging on for a while as time to remove shanties nears

Contact(s): Capt. April Dombrowski, Section Chief of Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-852-9456

MADISON -- As Wisconsin meteorologists predict more snow and more sub-zero temperatures well into March, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Law Enforcement today urged all ice shanty owners to take steps and plan now to remove ice shanties by the deadlines.

Capt. April Dombrowski, head of the Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section, says the deadline are to remind people to start removal efforts sooner when the ice is more likely to be solid. "The deadlines also are to help people avoid the additional costs and safety hazards of shanties breaking through the ice," she said.

However, Dombrowski says the DNR realizes the challenges of Wisconsin's sometimes rapid weather changes.

Discretion will apply for those working to remove; check local help options

"We understand shanties may be frozen in place by several inches of ice - and some lakes have thick snow from the recent major storm which poses even more challenges," Dombrowski said. "However, based on current Wisconsin winter weather conditions, enforcement discretion will be applied for those who are actively working to get their structures off the ice."

Dombrowski recommends anglers begin immediately to assess their shanties removal possibilities and work with local vendors, fishing clubs, friends and others for assistance.

"Try your local businesses. Anglers may find services in their home areas who can either do the removal, rent the equipment to assist in that removal or some other help in removing those shelters from the ice," she said.

Anglers who have difficulty getting their shelters off the ice by the deadline due to deep snow, or shanties frozen to the ice still need to work actively to free their shelters from the ice and arrange to have the shelters removed from the ice.

Report status to hotline

The DNR encourages ice anglers to call the department's Hotline, 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367, to report their situation if they are having difficulty meeting the removal deadline. The angler's information, to include name, water body and approximate location where shanty is located will be passed on to the local conservation warden who will use discretion in the enforcement of the deadline.

After the removal deadlines, anglers can continue to use portable ice fishing shelters daily if they feel the ice is safe -- and if they remove their shelters daily and when not actively being used. Permanent shelters, meaning those normally not removed daily from the ice, must be removed from the ice no later than the specified removal date for that water body.

Here are the statewide ice shanty removal dates:


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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