Author Archive: Carol Moore

Sept. 16 marks opening of archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

MADISON – Increased deer observations following another mild winter have hunters and state wildlife officials alike excited for fall hunting seasons – the 2017 archery and crossbow deer seasons run concurrently statewide from Sept. 16 to Jan. 7, 2018.

“I’m hearing a lot of optimism from all corners of the state,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deer and elk ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. “Hunters should expect good to excellent deer numbers in most areas within the central and southern farmland zones, and more deer in the forested zones after several years of no antlerless harvest and mild winters. With our most recent mild winter, reports of excellent antler growth and good fawn production are common.”

In 2016, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history, and Wallenfang expects similar, if not an increase, in the buck harvest this year. Deer hunters in just four predominantly forested counties will see buck-only hunting this year. Throughout the remainder of the state, antlerless hunting opportunities are available through the use of Farmland Zone and bonus antlerless deer tags.

Archery and crossbow deer 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 tag using crossbow or archery equipment during open firearm seasons.

In its first three years, hunting with a crossbow has provided an additional opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin, and accounts for the highest 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 same buck tag and antlerless tags issued with their first license of choice.

In addition, please note that regulations regarding tree stands and ground blinds used on department managed lands have changed for fall 2017. For other types of property such as county or federally owned lands, contact the property manager to learn about these rules.

Bonus antlerless tags remain available in many deer management units. Bonus tags may be filled with any weapon type during the appropriate season, but must be filled in the zone, county and land type designated on each tag. Bonus tags 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 age 10-11.

In 2017, up to five Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags are included with each deer hunting license, depending on the Deer Management Unit (DMU) of choice. Hunters who have not yet purchased a license for hunting deer will be prompted to select the unit and land-type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the point of sale. Licenses may be purchased through the Go Wild website, GoWild.WI.Gov or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses earlier in the year, or who have yet to determine hunting location, may defer the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag selection. When ready, hunters may:

  • make a tag selection online from their Go Wild account and print themselves;
  • request desired tag(s) at a local DNR Service Center; or
  • visit a license agent (this will require a $2 processing fee).

GameReg

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. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the carcass tag number and date of birth.

Hunters will have three options for registering their deer:

  • online at GameReg.WI.Gov (fastest and easiest option);
  • by phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG); or
  • electronically at a participating in-person registration station (keyword “registration stations”).

For more information regarding electronic registration, search “GameReg.”

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov 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 are also encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding changes for 2017. And, remember to check out the carcass tagging FAQ (search keywords “tag it”).

For more general information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword “deer.”

Online tools show hunters where baiting and feeding is banned

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

State statutes 29.336 (2) (b) and 29.336 (2) (c) have been amended to remove deer baiting and feeding prohibitions for counties in which 36 months have passed since any confirmed positive test for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis within the county. This amendment also removes deer baiting and feeding prohibitions in adjacent counties that are within a 10-mile radius to counties in which 24 months have passed since any confirmed positive test for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis.

The following 15 counties previously subject to deer baiting and feeding prohibitions have reverted back to regulated deer baiting and feeding as a result of this proposal’s enactment: Barron, Burnett, Calumet, Clark, Dodge, Jackson, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Polk, Racine, Sheboygan, Washburn, Washington and Waushara. It is important to note that baiting and feeding restrictions remain in place for 28 CWD affected areas/counties, of which none will be lifted in 2017.

This change affects counties in which an individual is restricted on the placement of bait/feed. The current regulations for placement of bait/feed in counties where this practice is allowed are still in place, including timing, location, quantity, and other requirements. Hunters should continue to follow local ordinances that may prohibit baiting and feeding of deer until they are notified of a change locally.

Those interested in baiting/feeding should take time to be familiar with the associated regulations, found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords “baiting and feeding.”

These outcomes apply equally to positive samples from free-roaming or captive animals. More information regarding current baiting and feeding rules in response to CWD detections can be found at keyword “CWD.”

During the 2017 deer hunting season, DNR will continue to sample deer within the Southern Farmland Zone and at select locations in the CWD-affected area. To learn more about the 2017 CWD surveillance plan, or for more information on CWD, search keyword “CWD.” Hunters are reminded that the surveillance plan identifies where the Wisconsin DNR will be attempting to collect samples from deer however if hunters anywhere in the state are interested in having their animal tested, they should contact their local wildlife biologist for the county they are located.

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.

2017 Fall Turkey Hunting leftover permits go on sale August 26

MADISON – Hunters who were successful in the fall turkey permit drawing will begin receiving notification in the mail early next week. Please note, it is possible that the notifications may arrive after the leftover permit sales begin.

Leftover fall turkey permits go on sale August 26 for the season that opens Sept. 16.
Leftover fall turkey permits go on sale August 26 for the season that opens Sept. 16.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady

Hunters can check to see if they were successful in drawing a fall turkey permit by logging into their accounts at GoWild.WI.Gov. A fall turkey license needs to be purchased, along with the turkey stamp [PDF], unless the stamp was purchased for the spring turkey hunt. Conservation Patron license holders already have their fall turkey license and stamp privileges and they will receive their fall turkey permits in the mail, if they were successful in the drawing.

Those not successful in the drawing will have the chance to purchase a leftover permit. All remaining fall turkey permits will go on sale Saturday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. Leftover permits can be purchased at a rate of one per day until the zone sells out or the season ends. The fall turkey hunting season for zones 1-5 runs Sept. 16 to Dec. 31 (season may be extended to Jan. 7, 2018, consult online regulations for updates), while the season for zones 6 and 7 runs Sept. 16 to Nov. 17.

Leftover permit availability in each Wild Turkey Management Zone [PDF] is as follows – total permits made available prior to the drawing are in parentheses:

  • Zone 1: 15,486 (27,500);
  • Zone 2: 5,073 (22,000);
  • Zone 3: 18,531 (30,000);
  • Zone 4: 7,936 (15,000);
  • Zone 5: 180 (4,200);
  • Zone 6: 0 (1,900); and
  • Zone 7: 0 (1,500).

Remaining fall turkey permits may be purchased using the online license center or through any license agent. Leftover fall turkey permits cost $5 for 10 and 11 year olds, $10 for residents, and $15 for nonresidents. This is in addition to the cost of the fall turkey license and turkey stamp (if not already purchased).

The 2017 Fall Turkey regulations are included in the 2017 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations pamphlet, available now on the hunting regulations page of the DNR website and at DNR Service Centers.

For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “turkey.”

Lake sturgeon hook and line season opens Sept. 2

Opportunities to catch and release or harvest a big, hard-fighting fish

MADISON – Anglers interested in pursuing a big, hard-fighting fish will want to try their hand at fishing for lake sturgeon–armed with a stout rod and heavy line.

The hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 30 on several major river stretches for a fish that can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds. The world record taken by hook and line was a 170-pound, 10-ounce lake sturgeon pulled from Yellow Lake in Burnett County in 1979.

DNR Fisheries Technician Matt Simonson with a 47-pound sturgeon captured during a 2017 hook and line survey on the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Fish captured during the survey ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds.
DNR Fisheries Technician Matt Simonson with a 47-pound sturgeon captured during a 2017 hook and line survey on the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Fish captured during the survey ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds.
Photo Credit: DNR

While anglers can purchase a carcass tag to harvest one fish per season of 60-inches or greater, the growing catch and release opportunities for this fish are what’s exciting many anglers, says Lori Tate, a fisheries biologist and member of the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon team.

“There’s definitely still an interest in harvesting sturgeon in the state but we’re also seeing anglers enjoy catch and release opportunities for lake sturgeon,” Tate says. “Sturgeon fishing opportunities are improving as a result of the more protective length limit we implemented in 2007.”

“We’re very lucky–I don’t think there is any other place in North America where you can fish for lake sturgeon like anglers can in Wisconsin rivers.”

Wisconsin offers a hook-and-line season on several major inland waters, including sections of the Chippewa River, Wisconsin River, Flambeau River, Jump River and Yellow River.

Harvest tag requirements and other hook and line season regulations

All anglers fishing for lake sturgeon must have a valid Wisconsin hook and line fishing license. Anglers need to purchase a harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. Anglers who harvest a legal-size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.

Find a list of harvest waters, harvest registration stations and instructions for properly tagging a harvested fish on the Lake Sturgeon Hook and Line Season page of the DNR website. 

Tips for fishing for lake sturgeon using a rod and reel, including safe release

Ryan Koenigs, the fisheries biologist who chairs DNR’s sturgeon committee, offers these tips for anglers wanting to fish for lake sturgeon during the hook and line season.

  • Use a good sturdy rod and reel and heavy tackle including high pound test line.
  • Use a large gob of night crawlers as bait. Cut bait can be effective as well.
  • Present the bait along the bottom in either deep holes or areas with swift current, making sure to use an adequate amount of weight to hold the bait in place.
  • Try fishing in the tailraces below dams, as fish are drawn to current.
  • Use special care after landing the fish if you plan to release it. Take any photos or measurements quickly and release it quickly to reduce stress on the fish. If it is a large fish, consider leaving it in the water when taking your photos. Do not tether or tie the sturgeon by the tail to weigh it or lift it by the head as this can damage the fish. If a smaller sturgeon is caught, simply hold the fish under the belly when handling.

Fishing forecasts for waters open for the season

DNR fish biologists have submitted summaries detailing some of the lake sturgeon populations that provide hook and line angling opportunities for this large and exciting fish. See their forecasts below and find others in the 2017 Wisconsin Fishing Report [PDF].

Lower Chippewa River

The Chippewa River is home to a healthy lake sturgeon population. In 2017, 196 lake sturgeon were captured by the DNR fisheries crew out of the Eau Claire office. The fish ranged from 13 to 67 inches and weighed up to 56 pounds, so there are trophy fish out there to be caught. Last year, eight sturgeon were harvested from the lower Chippewa River and anglers reported catching numerous sub-legal fish. Most anglers use night crawlers or cut bait and fish downstream of the dam or in deep holes of the river. Anglers should be prepared for a hard fighting fish, so a stout rod is needed along with heavy line and a large landing net. – Joseph Gerbyshak, fisheries biologist, Eau Claire, 715-839-2877

Lake Wisconsin

Lake Wisconsin, starting above the Prairie du Sac Dam and including the main lake and the Wisconsin River up to the Kilbourn Dam in Wisconsin Dells, holds a lake sturgeon population that is completely self-sustaining. The adult sturgeon population in the lake (those greater than 50 inches) currently sits at around 1,600 individuals, and has remained stable for many years. Although no fish have been harvested from this section of lake/river since 2012, anglers continue to catch and release many fish each hook and line season, with the upper end of the main lake and the segment of river just below the Kilbourn Dam in Wisconsin Dells being two popular places to fish. – Nathan Nye, fisheries biologist, Poynette, 608-635-8122

Lower Wisconsin River

The Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac Dam remains a very popular place for sturgeon anglers to fish as well, and all of the sturgeon harvest from the Wisconsin River since 2012 has occurred below the Prairie du Sac Dam, with nearly all of the harvest occurring from the tailrace down to the Highway 12 Bridge at Sauk City. The tailwater adult population is generally between 150 and 200 fish in a given year, and since the 60-inch minimum length limit was instituted for the 2007 fishing season, harvest has averaged around eight fish per year. Typically more fish are harvested later in the season as adults move up from points further downriver and concentrate in the deeper areas immediately below the dam. – Nathan Nye, fisheries biologist, Poynette, 608-635-8122

Yellow River

DNR crews sampled 105 adult sturgeon that averaged 55.2 inches and 41.3 lbs in 2017. All fish were captured upstream of Yellow Lake in the Yellow River during their spawning migration. The largest fish this season was 72.8 inches and 106 lbs. Yellow Lake anglers traditionally do very well during the September hook/line season and are generally catch and release anglers with very few fish harvested. Harvest last season was four fish and the 2015 season had one fish registered. Overall, anglers can expect to see a good hook and line season with cooler water temperatures going into September. – Craig Roberts, fisheries biologist, Spooner, 715-635-4095

Menominee River

DNR has stocked 10 miles of the upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls with lake sturgeon since 1982 and has documented a few legal size fish (60+ inches) in that section, including this 66-inch fish collected by DNR Fisheries Technician Derek Apps.
DNR has stocked 10 miles of the upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls with lake sturgeon since 1982 and has documented a few legal size fish (60+ inches) in that section, including this 66-inch fish collected by DNR Fisheries Technician Derek Apps.
Photo Credit: DNR

The section of the Menominee river upstream from Grand Rapids Dam is open to hook and line with a 60-inch minimum size limit. DNR has stocked the 10 miles of upper Menominee River from Sturgeon Falls Dam to Quiver Falls since 1982. Crews just surveyed the river and caught a fish over 60 inches near the Sturgeon Falls dam. It’s the first fish in that size range that has been caught in that section of river. If the public wants to try a new section of the river they could explore that area.- Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo, 715-582-5050

Flambeau and Upper Chippewa rivers

Veteran sturgeon anglers as well as newcomers to hook-and-line sturgeon fishing should find plenty of catch-and-release opportunity for sublegal-size fish in the Flambeau and Upper Chippewa rivers, along with an occasional chance to harvest one far exceeding the 60-inch minimum length limit. Of the eight sturgeon harvested from these river segments in the 2016 open season, two were 74 inches long. Popular shore fishing spots include the tailwaters of most hydroelectric dams and the deeper pools in the free-flowing river reaches, though some sturgeon anglers prefer to fish from boats in the impoundments. Some prefer cut bait or prepared stink baits, but many sturgeon anglers use a gob of night crawlers. Fishing is always prohibited in the fish refuges immediately downstream of the Turtle-Flambeau Dam and the Upper Park Falls Dam on the North Fork Flambeau River and below the Arpin Dam on the Chippewa River. – Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls, 715-762-1354

Sept. 1 marks opener for mourning dove, early teal and early goose hunting seasons

MADISON – Migratory game bird hunters are reminded that Friday, Sept. 1 marks the opener for Wisconsin’s mourning dove, early teal and early goose hunting seasons.

Wisconsin will again be offering an early teal hunting season in 2017.
Wisconsin will again be offering an early teal hunting season in 2017.
Photo Credit: DNR

To view a full list of waterfowl hunting seasons [PDF] and the 2017 Migratory Game Bird Regulations, search keyword “waterfowl.”

Canada Goose

Canada Goose hunting begins with an early season Sept. 1-15, with a daily bag limit of five geese. Goose hunters are required to complete registration within 48 hours of harvest; however, in-field validation of harvest permits is no longer required. During the early goose season, regulations apply statewide, with no zone-specific regulations.

Teal

An additional year of the experimental early teal-only duck hunting season will run Sept. 1-7, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Wisconsin is required to have an additional year of this experimental season due to a change in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulatory timeline. Opening day shooting hours for the teal season will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., followed by sunrise to 7 p.m. for the remainder of the season. Early teal hunters are not required to purchase any licenses or permits in addition to those required for hunting ducks during regular waterfowl seasons.

While the early teal season is offered statewide, some state-owned properties have special waterfowl hunting limitations. For example, Mead Wildlife Area does not allow waterfowl hunting prior to the regular duck season, and Lake Mills Wildlife Area (Zeloski Marsh) has unique shooting hour restrictions. Contact a local wildlife biologist or consult the 2017 Migratory Bird Regulations for a list of areas with special requirements or limitations.

Mourning Dove

The 2017 mourning dove hunting season will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 29. This season structure is identical to 2016. The daily bag limit is 15 doves, and the possession limit for doves is three times the daily bag limit.

Go Wild

With the transition to Go Wild in 2016, the Canada goose harvest registration phone number is now consistent with all other species registered in Wisconsin – this system also provides for online registration. Hunters can register online at gamereg.wi.gov or via phone at 844-426-3734 (844 GAME-REG).

In addition, Early, Exterior and Horicon zone goose permits are printed on regular white paper, rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their Canada goose harvest permit – acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, DNR-approved PDF displayed on a mobile device, Wisconsin driver’s license, or Go Wild Conservation Card. In-field validation of a goose harvest permit is no longer required, but hunters are still required to register their geese within 48 hours of harvest.

Band Reporting

If you find or harvest a banded bird, please report it at www.reportband.gov. To report the bird, you will need the band number (or numbers), location, time, and method of recovery. Even if the band you recover is inscribed with a 1-800 telephone number, it must be reported at www.reportband.gov.

Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool

Dove hunters are encouraged to check out the Fields and Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.

FFLIGHT also allows users to print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and provides measuring tools to help estimate acreage and walking distance. Mobile users can use this tool on-the-go to find suitable habitat for hunting. For more information, search keyword “FFLIGHT.”

Lake Trout season closure in Apostle Islands region

BAYFIELD, Wis. — Lake Trout fishing in Lake Superior has been exceptionally good this season. So good that harvest quotas have been reached requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to close the lake trout season for sport and charter anglers at 11:59 p.m. on August 20, 2017 in the Apostle Island region (WI-2) of Lake Superior.

Lake Superior lake trout zones
Lake Superior lake trout zones

“Following a slow start to the season, July lake trout fishing has been very good, nearly equaling harvest the prior seven months” said Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor.

The recreational season for lake trout started Dec. 1, 2016 and typically runs through Sept. 30, 2017. However, the Natural Resources Board approved an emergency rule last December that included conditions where the season would close prior to September 30 if the recreational lake trout harvest reaches 7,350 fish or 75 percent of the total allowable recreational lake trout harvest of 9,800 fish for WI-2

According to Darryl Fenner, owner of D’s Superior Fishing Charters, fishing has been outstanding in the Apostle Islands area in the past couple months. However, he added, “We as charter fishermen support protection of the resource however that needs to be done.”

Lake trout are managed in Lake Superior using a quota system where various user groups are allocated an allowable catch. These user groups include: sport and charter fishers, state licensed commercial fishers, and tribal home use and commercial fishers. While commercial fishers are given their allotment in the form of tags at the beginning of the season, sport harvest is monitored by using a creel survey.

The emergency rule was approved by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board at its December meeting following a series of public meetings and an online survey where anglers were given the opportunity to select their preferred regulation.

Margenau said “we provided anglers with four regulation options last fall and the associated risk of reaching the quota with each regulation. The current regulation was the most preferred by those responding to the poll”.

Even though the lake trout season will end early, there are still plenty of other fish in the lake for recreational anglers to enjoy. Shortly there will be opportunities for fishing coho salmon and brown trout as they return nearshore.

Chequamegon Bay offers great fishing for numerous species including walleye, northern pike, perch, and even sturgeon. Lake trout fishing will continue to provide a recreational fishery in WI-1, from Superior to Bark Point.

County Deer Advisory Council meetings provide public with opportunity to get involved in deer management

MADISON – Beginning Aug. 21, County Deer Advisory Councils will review deer population data and other key information in order to develop preliminary three-year population objectives within their counties.

Council meetings will also discuss potential changes to Deer Management Unit (DMU) boundaries. Each CDAC meeting is open to the public – meetings are currently being scheduled and will be available at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “CDAC.”

“Setting population objectives and reviewing DMU boundaries are discussions that occur only every three years,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR CDAC coordinator. “These meetings and the resulting recommendations set the stage for the number of antlerless permits and the season structures that are used in each county for the next three year period. As a result, it is important that the hunters from each county will attend and provide their input as they will be impacted for the next several years based on the results of these meetings. “

August CDAC meetings will develop preliminary recommendations, and a public feedback period in mid-September will include an online survey. Councils will reconvene in October to determine final deer season recommendations in each county. Final population objectives and DMU boundaries will be determined at the December 2017 Natural Resources Board meeting based on the information received through this public involvement process.

Councils will accept public comments prior to forming both preliminary and final recommendations. The public is encouraged to attend and provide feedback at any CDAC meeting or send comments to CDAC members – a contact list for each council and other helpful information is available at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “CDAC.” For additional information, contact DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov.

‘Jump into Summer Fun’ continues this August at Wisconsin state park system properties

MADISON – August is summer at its hottest at Wisconsin state park system properties and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is featuring summer activities all month on its Facebook page and Twitter account. People are encouraged to share their own experiences using the hashtag #WIstateparks.

August is the peak of family fun summer trips and the first week of the month we featured family fun getaways and properties with family friendly recreation opportunities. Whether it is renting canoes or kayaks at Hartman Creek or Governor Dodge state parks or hanging out on a sunny afternoon at the pool and splash pad at Blue Mound, Wisconsin state park properties offer families plenty of ideas for summer fun.

The recently renovated pool and new splash pad at Blue Mound State Park are one of many opportunities for people to
The recently renovated pool and new splash pad at Blue Mound State Park are one of many opportunities for people to “Jump in to Summer” at Wisconsin state park system properties.
Photo Credit: DNR

This week we ask visitors to share which is their favorite state property and why. Share a photo or video of you visits to document why its your favorite, and don’t forget the opportunity to vote the in Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Gold Seal Award contest.

Daytime isn’t the only time to enjoy the parks, there is plenty of action on hot summer nights as well. On week three we’ll feature campfire sing-alongs, astronomy programs and evening music concerts that extend the fun well into the evening at properties.

Finally on week four we will visit the splendor of the Door Peninsula, home to five separate state parks, all with unique features that make each a jewel in the park system.

To participate, follow the suggestions on the DNR Facebook Page and Twitter account. Links for both can be easily found in the footer of the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov. Search for keyword “parks” to find out more about properties and activities.

August is inaugural National Shooting Sports Month

Share your hobby highlights with DNR’s social media

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is joining a national foundation in marking August as National Shooting Sports Month to promote the activity and its dedication to safety and skill-building as fun and appropriate for youth to adult and open to persons with varying physical abilities.

DNR Hunting and Shooting Sports Coordinator Keith Warnke says the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s inaugural month-long celebration is an opportunity to introduce and to promote the state’s growing number of private shooting ranges with public access hours, youth trap-shoot activities and firearm safety for hunters of all ages.

Shooting range
Shooting ranges offer people a safe place to improve their shooting skills.
Photo Credit: DNR

“Shooting sports are all about skills – skills that you carry into real life. This is why this sport is challenging and fun, and worthwhile for kids. This goes way beyond just hitting a bulls-eye,” Warnke said. “First, you learn to be safe. That carries with it an ability to concentrate, be responsible to how and where you shoot. In order to hit that target at the range, or at a shooting competition, you have to be able to control your breathing, your muscles, concentrate and be confident in your abilities. These are all real-life skills and it doesn’t matter how big, tall, fast or strong you are.”

Warnke says this is why shooting sports are popular with youth groups. “Some of us may have started out with a Red Ryder BB gun or the like,” he said, referring to the popular A Christmas Story holiday movie about a1940s boy’s obsession to get a BB gun. “But, nowadays, safety training goes hand in hand with any shooting sport.”

Invitation to trapshooting groups, ranges and sport shooters to share

Users of any of Wisconsin’s ranges, teachers and members of trapshooting groups and citizens are invited to post to the DNR social media platforms highlights of this sport. Here’s how you do it:

DNR Facebook

  • Tag Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in posts
  • Post on DNR’s timeline as a visitor, share comments, photos or both
  • Comment on DNR posts by sharing your thoughts or photos

DNR Twitter

  • Tag/tweet at @WDNR in tweets
  • Retweet our tweets
  • Include use of either hashtag #letsgoshooting and #shootingsportsmonth

“This sport has a lot to offer in terms of fun for all and a lot you can learn about yourself that you can use in daily life,” Warnke said. “And at the top of the list is safety.”

Two shooting sports month events already on the docket

  • NSSF First Shots, August 26: www.firelinestc.com (Appleton and Rice Lake events)
  • Community Outreach Program, August 31: www.billsgs.com/event/community-outreach-program-hudson-wi/ (Hudson) (both links exit DNR)

To learn more about Wisconsin ranges, search the DNR website for keywords “shooting ranges.” 

To learn more about the National Shooting Sports Foundation, visit: www.nssf.org (exit DNR)

Wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contest winners announced

MADISON – Twenty-one talented wildlife artists submitted a total of 34 pieces of artwork for the 2018 Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contest.

The judging panel of Paul Heinen, Joe Wagner, and Cary Reich from the Nature Conservancy Wisconsin Field Office choose the winners on July 27.

Caleb Metrich was awarded first place in the 2018 Waterfowl Stamp contest and Robert Leum was awarded first place in both the 2018 Wild Turkey and Pheasant Stamp contests.

2018 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp design contest

Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk, a self-taught artist, submitted the winning design for the 2018 Waterfowl Stamp design contest. Caleb Metrich has painted several winning stamp designs in the past, including the 2012 and 2017 Wild Turkey Stamp, the 2014 Pheasant Stamp and the 2014 Waterfowl Stamp.

First place in the 2018 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp design contest goes to Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk for his painting of a pair of Canada Geese in a marsh setting.
First place in the 2018 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp design contest goes to Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk for his painting of a pair of Canada Geese in a marsh setting.

An honorable mention was given to McKenzie Lazarz for her colored pencil drawing of a pintail duck preening.

Duck and goose hunters are required to purchase the $7 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp in order to hunt waterfowl in the state, and proceeds are used for managing, restoring, and protecting habitat in Wisconsin and Canada for waterfowl and other wetland-associated species.

2018 Pheasant Stamp and Wild Turkey Stamp design contest

Robert Leum of Holmen, an avid hunter, submitted the winning design for both the 2018 Pheasant and Wild Turkey stamp design contests. Robert is a previous stamp design winner. He received first place for his paintings in the 2009 Waterfowl Stamp, the 2002 Pheasant Stamp and the 2001 Wild Turkey Stamp design contests. 
CAPTION: First place in the 2018 Pheasant Stamp design contest went to Robert Leum of Holmen for his depiction of a rooster and hen pheasant at an old farmstead.

First place in the 2018 Pheasant Stamp design contest went to Robert Leum of Holmen for his depiction of a rooster and hen pheasant at an old farmstead.
First place in the 2018 Pheasant Stamp design contest went to Robert Leum of Holmen for his depiction of a rooster and hen pheasant at an old farmstead.

Second place was awarded to Todd Haefner of Janesville for his painting of a rooster pheasant in a farmland setting and third place was given to Robert Andrea of Spooner for his painting of a pair of pheasants on a winter landscape.

A $10 Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants in the state of Wisconsin, and proceeds bring in several hundred thousand dollars annually for the development, management, conservation and maintenance of wild pheasants and their habitat in Wisconsin and also support stocking efforts on Wisconsin’s public hunting grounds.

First place in the 2018 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest was awarded to Robert Leum of Holmen for his painting of a tom in full strut and two hens in a grassy field.
First place in the 2018 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest was awarded to Robert Leum of Holmen for his painting of a tom in full strut and two hens in a grassy field.

Second place was given to Sara Stack of Mellen, for her painting of a pair of turkeys in a grassy field. Third place went to Virgil A. Beck of Stevens Point for his painting of a male turkey in full display in a forested landscape.

All turkey hunters are required to purchase the $5.25 Wild Turkey Stamp to legally hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Proceeds from stamp sales provide vital support for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin, and bring in over $775,000 annually for habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases and management of the wild turkey program.

Please note that an electronic “stamp approval” is printed on the licenses of wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl hunters at the time of purchase. Hunters will not receive an actual stamp unless they request it. To obtain a physical copy of a stamp, visit the Wildlife and Fish Collector Stamp webpage, or go to any DNR Service Center.

For more information regarding Wisconsin’s wildlife stamps, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “wildlife stamps.”