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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 17, 2019

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Statewide Regular Season Duck Zones Open Sept. 28

Contact(s): Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841 or Jeff Williams, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458

Regular duck and Canada goose seasons open Sept. 28 - Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regular duck and Canada goose seasons open Sept. 28Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

MADISON, Wis. - Duck hunters in the North, South and Mississippi River zones will begin another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 28.

"With average spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters have the potential for a good hunting season," said Taylor Finger, migratory game bird ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Northern Zone hunt will begin Sept. 28 and run through Nov. 26. The Southern Zone hunt will run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6, close for a five-day split, then remain open from Oct. 12 to Dec. 1. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, close for a seven-day split, and reopen from Oct. 12 to Dec. 3. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise.

The goose season in the southern portion of the Exterior Zone will also be closed during the five-day split in October. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Subzone will not open until Sept. 28 and will be closed during the seven-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.

The 2019 continental breeding surveys showed a drop in populations of most species, though most populations remained above their long-term averages. Even with promising breeding indications, local conditions and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall. Because parts of the state have experienced wet conditions leading up to the duck season and some areas of the state remain dry, scouting this fall will be particularly important to identify the areas that are holding birds.

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers; 15 coots may be harvested daily.

Licenses and stamps required for duck hunting include a Wisconsin small game license (included in the Conservation Patron and Sports packaged licenses), a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp and a federal migratory bird stamp. The federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing the federal stamp privilege at DNR license vendors for an additional $3 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license, but the stamp itself will arrive several weeks later in the mail.

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program, which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their harvest. HIP registration is free. Hunters can register for HIP when they purchase their licenses or added later if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds.

Regular Goose Season

With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and average production of the Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities this year and will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior Zone with a three-bird daily bag limit.

Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

While afield, hunters must carry proof of their Canada goose harvest permit. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, Go Wild-generated PDF displayed on a mobile device, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license or Go Wild Conservation Card. As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.

State licenses and stamps, permits and HIP registration are also available through Go Wild. For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "waterfowl."



Waterfowl Hunters Asked to do their Part to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Contact(s): Jeanne Scherer, AIS Outreach Specialist, UW Madison-Division of Extension 608-266-0061;

Dog fur and life vests can hide mud, seeds and even small snails. Waterfowl hunters can do their part to make sure they are not transporting aquatic invasive species.  - Photo credit: DNR
Dog fur and life vests can hide mud, seeds and even small snails. Waterfowl hunters can do their part to make sure they are not transporting aquatic invasive species. Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin hunters will be able to hit the waters soon for the 2019 waterfowl hunting season. Opening weekend for wild ducks, Sept. 28-29, also begins the fourth year of aquatic invasive species outreach to waterfowl hunters.

That weekend, teams made up of staff from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, statewide partners and volunteers will meet hunters at access points in the Mead Wildlife Area, Big Muskego, Horicon Marsh, in multiple counties, and along the Mississippi River to talk about the impact of aquatic invasive species and what they can do to help stop the spread.

Modeled after the successful "Clean Boats, Clean Waters" (CBCW) program that reaches boaters throughout summer, boat inspectors/educators conduct a hunting version of the CBCW survey and talk with them about specific aspects of duck hunting that risk moving aquatic invasives. Mud, for example, can hide seeds, the bulbils of starry stonewort, and the eggs or larvae of tiny invaders, such as spiny water fleas.

Of particular concern to hunters is the Faucet snail. These snails carry intestinal flukes that can kill ducks if they eat them.

DNR staff and coordinators for the AIS Partnership are often available to provide presentations and other outreach at hunt club meetings and events. People can find a regional coordinator by searching the DNR website,, for "Aquatic Invasive Species Contacts."

Just a few minutes of preventative action can protect our hunting tradition for generations to come. Before launching into and leaving a water body, hunters should:

For more information about aquatic invasive species, including where they are prohibited and restricted in Wisconsin, search for keyword "invasives."



Hunters, Landowners Reminded to Check if Baiting and Feeding is Banned in their County

Contact(s): Erin Larson, DNR acting wildlife health section chief, 608-516-2783 Sarah Hoye, DNR Communications Director, 608-267-2773

Hunters are reminded to verify whether there is a baiting and feeding ban in their county before going afield. - Photo credit: DNR
Hunters are reminded to verify whether there is a baiting and feeding ban in their county before going afield.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - Before taking part in upcoming hunting seasons or placing feed for wildlife, hunters, landowners and wildlife enthusiasts should verify which counties currently prohibit wildlife baiting and feeding activities by searching the Department of Natural Resources website,, for baiting and feeding.

Since the conclusion of the 2018 deer hunting season, new baiting and feeding bans are now in place in Green Lake, Kenosha, Waushara, Wood, Racine, Burnett, Barron, Polk and Washburn counties. Additional baiting and feeding bans may be added in 2019 if there are new chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis (bTB) detections in captive or free-roaming deer. All current county-level baiting and feeding bans will remain in effect throughout the 2019 deer hunting season.

The effects of baiting and feeding may artificially increase and sustain deer populations beyond carrying capacity and alter deer behavior. The primary intended goals of a baiting and feeding ban are to protect the local wild deer herd and reduce the spread of disease.

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.

The DNR is required by state statute (29.336, Wis. Stats) to enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer for a period of three years in any county where CWD or bTB has been detected in a wild or captive deer or elk as well as a two-year ban in any county that is within 10 miles of a CWD or bTB positive detection. Baiting and feeding bans may eventually be lifted if no new CWD or bTB positive detections are found or may be extended if there are additional positive detections.

Hunters, landowners, hunters, and wildlife enthusiasts can also contact a local wildlife biologist to determine if baiting and feeding ban end dates have changed within individual counties. For more information regarding baiting and feeding, search the DNR website,, for baiting and feeding. For more information regarding CWD in Wisconsin, search for keyword "CWD."



Natural Resources Board to meet September 24-25 in Mishicot

Contact(s): Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420, or Sarah Hoye, communications director, 608-267-2773,

MADISON - Requests to consider proposed rules related to increasing the operational efficiency of and simplifying the air permit process, proposed rules related to minor changes to fishing regulations, and proposed rules related to ruffed grouse management are among the topics the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will consider when it meets September 25 in Mishicot. The board meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. in the Southern/Northern Pines Room at Fox Hills Resort, 250 West Church St.

The Natural Resources Board will offer remote participation from the Department of Natural Resources Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg. Remote participation will be for an open forum with the board at approximately 10:15 a.m. following a break. Open Forum is an opportunity for citizens to provide testimony remotely or at the Mishicot meeting location on matters that are not otherwise on the meeting agenda. Comments generally should address broad general policy rather than the day-to-day operations of the DNR. Opportunities for remote testimony are noted on the meeting agenda. Pre-registration by the posted deadline is required.

Future remote Open Forum locations include: Rhinelander for the October 23 meeting in Madison; and Green Bay for the December 11 meeting in Madison.

Other topics on the September 25 meeting agenda include:

At approximately 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, the board may convene in closed session under the authority of s.19.85(1)(g), Wis. Stats., to confer with legal counsel regarding current litigation involving: 1) the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area Master Plan; 2) the Upper Wolf River State Fishery Area Master Plan; 3) Kohler Co. and Kohler-Andrae State Park; and 4) a proposed site specific phosphorus criterion for Lac Courte Oreilles in Sawyer County.

On Tuesday, September 24 the board will participate in area tours and presentations including:

The board will have an informal dinner meeting with the Lake Michigan Commercial Fishing Board at Fox Hills Resort in the Fox Fire Room, 250 West Church St., Mishicot. The board will not discuss business or take any actions. NOTE: The public must pre-register with board liaison to attend scheduled tours and provide their transportation.

The complete September board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting as well as during open forum (remotely or at the meeting). The deadline for board liaison receipt of requests to testify or provide written comment is 11 a.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019. Registration information is available on the NRB pages of the DNR website. No late requests or comments will be accepted.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.



Results of 2019 Wildlife Surveys Now Available

Contact(s): Jes Rees Lohr, DNR assistant wildlife population and harvest assessment specialist, 608-221-6349

Wildlife survey results for 2018 and 2019 are available on the DNR website. - Photo credit: DNR
Wildlife survey results for 2018 and 2019 are available on the DNR website.Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. - The public can find the latest results for a wide variety of wildlife surveys conducted in 2019 on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' website. Survey results include population surveys and estimates, harvest results and wildlife observation reports.

The reports include data collected on small game, big game, waterfowl, furbearer and non-game species and were made possible by Pittman-Robertson funding. DNR staff would like to thank all the volunteers who assisted with survey efforts for their continued commitment to Wisconsin's wildlife.

The following reports for 2019 can be found by visiting and searching keyword "reports."







Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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