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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.”

Third year of reintroduction effort provides 31 Kentucky elk to Wisconsin’s Northwoods

WINTER, Wis. — After another successful winter trapping effort, 31 elk are now roaming their new home in northern Wisconsin after being released from their acclimation and quarantine pen.

Video Credit: DNR

This year’s class represents the third year of Wisconsin’s elk translocation efforts and the first year that elk have been released into the Clam Lake elk range in over 20 years. Following two years of translocation efforts in Jackson County, focus shifted back to the original northern herd that resides primarily in Sawyer County, which originated from 25 Michigan elk released in 1995. Twenty-eight elk arrived at the holding pen in late March, but numbers grew slightly as pregnant cows gave birth this summer.

“Overall it was another great year, with many key partners including the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Flambeau River State Forest, U.S. Forest Service, and others all coming together to make these efforts a success,” said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources elk ecologist and elk reintroduction coordinator. “We experienced some new challenges this year, but overall things went well and we are excited to release these elk into the wild,”

Project goals include the addition of up to 75 elk to the northern population in an effort to supplement herd growth and add new genetics. Currently, the northern elk population is estimated at approximately 165 animals spread throughout several hundred square miles.

“The northern herd has grown steadily, but slower than desired over the years,” said Wallenfang. “This current effort will give the herd a boost in overall numbers and hopefully provide a jump-start for herd growth — an influx of new genetics will also benefit the herd moving forward.”

Upon arrival from Kentucky, the elk received 24-hour care and monitoring during the required 120-day quarantine period, which concluded in early June. Final health testing, general animal condition, and calving determined when the elk were released. Each animal, including newborn calves, were fitted with a tracking collar to provide extremely useful movement, habitat preference, and survival data prior to release.

The public is being asked to avoid the general vicinity of the holding pen, and remain watchful when driving in the area to avoid vehicle collision with the elk.

“It’s been a great effort getting them here, and now we want to do everything in our power to ensure the herd’s success,” says Lou George, northern regional director for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “We ask for these first several weeks that folks give them their space until they settle in.”

Elk in Jackson County adjusting well to life in Wisconsin

During the first two years of elk translocation efforts in eastern Jackson County, the Department of Natural Resources and a number of key partners released 73 elk.

The central Wisconsin herd is currently estimated at approximately 60 animals, with up to 20 calves expected to have been born this spring. Several have been confirmed and efforts are being made to confirm additional births through field searches, observations and trail cameras.

“You don’t expect to see a lot of herd growth during the first couple years, but they are doing quite well and beginning to show their reproductive capabilities,” said Wallenfang.

These elk are being observed and enjoyed by locals on a regular basis, and visitors from outside the area are traveling to Jackson County in hopes of viewing them in the wild.

To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, 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 “elk in Wisconsin” and “wildlife projects” distribution lists.

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “elk.”

Wisconsin Bureau of Parks and Recreation Management Hiring Rangers

MADISON – People who are interested in a career where they will be surrounded by some of Wisconsin’s most beautiful landscapes can apply for ranger positions that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is in the process of recruiting for at multiple locations throughout the state.

Rangers find themselves traversing a career path surrounded by the outdoors and rewarded by helping families create lasting memories.
Rangers find themselves traversing a career path surrounded by the outdoors and rewarded by helping families create lasting memories.
Photo Credit: DNR

“A Wisconsin park ranger is the face of the Wisconsin State Park system, providing outstanding customer service and public safety to millions of visitors from around the world that recreate each year in one of the premier state park systems in the nation,” said Chris Madison, chief ranger for the park system. “Rangers find themselves traversing a career path surrounded by the outdoors and rewarded by helping families create lasting memories. They are experts at maintaining and managing outdoor recreation, natural resources, interpretation and providing high-quality customer service.”

Madison said an ideal ranger candidate is one with a background and education in natural resources, with strong communication skills, the ability to problem-solve, and a passion for outdoor recreation. Rangers are often called upon to make decisions without immediate supervision, while providing consistent, impeccable visitor service.

Although not law enforcement officers, rangers are counted on to provide safe and memorable experiences for our visitors, from the bustling excitement of Devil’s Lake State Park, to Wyalusing State Parks’ bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, to extraordinary sand dunes of Lake Michigan at Kohler-Andrae State Park.

People who are interested in an adventure, can review the full job announcement on the State of Wisconsin jobs website at:

wisc.jobs/public/job_view.asp?annoid=92060&jobid=91574&org=370&class=65400&index=true (exit DNR).

Jump into summer fun continues this July at Wisconsin state park system properties

MADISON -Summer is in full swing and Wisconsin state park system properties offer visitors many opportunities to beat the heat and enjoy the outdoors. This July, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will highlight ideas for enjoying the many opportunities for water sports at state park properties on its Facebook page and Twitter account. People are encouraged to share their own experiences using the hashtag #WIstateparks.

High water this summer at Crystal Lake in the Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest isn't stopping beach goers from enjoying the lake
High water this summer at Crystal Lake in the Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest isn’t stopping beach goers from enjoying the lake
Photo Credit: DNR

From Great Lake’s beaches to crystal clear inland waters, visitors can find many spots to swim, paddle, sail boat or just hang out on the beach. The first week of July featured Great Lake’s beaches. Check out the posts on the DNR Facebook page and post photos of your favorite Great Lake’s beach. This coming week will look at some fantastic inland beaches at state properties.

In coming weeks watch for opportunities for getting on the water and some best spots for sunrise and sunset viewing.

To participate, follow the suggestions on the DNR Facebook Page www.facebook.com/WIDNR and Twitter account twitter.com/WDNR. Links for both can be easily found in the footer of the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov.

Online chat will answer questions about becoming a conservation warden

MADISON – People who have questions about the hiring process involved to recruit the Class of 2018 Wisconsin Department of Natural Reslurces conservation wardens can participate in an online chat scheduled for noon, Wednesday, July 12.

The DNR recently launched its hiring process to fill the next recruit class of wardens. With that process comes questions. Anyone interested in finding out more about the process or about what the warden positions involve can participate.

Wardens Cara Kamke and Jon Scharbarth, along with Lt. John Sinclair and Assistant Training Director Jeff King will be waiting to answer questions. People who can’t attend live, can visit the DNR chat site later to read the transcript at their convenience. Find the job listing and more about this career by visiting the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and searching keywords “warden recruit.”

To participate in a chat, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the graphic or search the phrase “ask the experts”. You can also join the conversation via the department’s Facebook page at facebook.com/WIDNR – select the tab labeled “Ask the Experts Chat” at the top of the page.

First state live release fish records set

Six traditional records fall in a stringer of great fish tales

MADISON – Four Wisconsin anglers have reeled in their place in fishing history by establishing the first state records for fish caught and released live.

Rod Eberly of Appleton submitted the first ever application under the new live release state record fish program launched earlier this year by the Department of Natural Resources. Eberly’s historic catch was a 17.75-inch white bass caught and released May 8 from the Fox River in Brown County.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 10 photos

State record fish fall like rain in 2017

Eric Amenda from Germantown caught and released an 8.25-inch pumpkinseed sunfish on May 28 from Pleasant Lake in Waushara County.

Dennis Wilkerson of Twin Lakes caught and released a 10.5-inch rock bass on June 10 from Powers Lake in Kenosha County.

Ben Halfen of Prairie du Sac caught and released a 10.5-inch bluegill on June 16 from Reynard Lake in Bayfield County, establishing the first live release state record for bluegill.

“We’ve heard from anglers over the years that they wanted an opportunity to get recognized for catching and releasing trophy fish, so we’re happy to say we have our first live release records on the books and look forward to many more,” says Justine Hasz, DNR fisheries director.

DNR recognizes live release records by length for specific fish species meeting qualifying lengths. The angler is required to submit an official record application and photos showing the fish lying along a ruler or other measuring device, and with the angler. The photos and application are reviewed and certified by DNR fish biologists. New live release records must exceed the existing record by at least 1/4 inch.

The new live release records program is part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Similar efforts have found success in other states and among some national record-keeping organizations.

Six traditional records and a stringer of great fish tales

Anglers in the traditional state fish record categories landed six new records — and some even better fish tales – in the first half of 2017. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.

Among the record setters is a pair of brothers, a Madison teenager who set his second state fish record after a frenetic race for the golden shiner record in 2011, and a Denmark angler who broke his own record. Traditional categories are determined by fish weight, with anglers needed to have the fish weighed on a certified scale. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.

2017 By Weight records (hook and line)

  • Tanner Derusha of Odanah submitted the initial record for a 10.5-inch, 5-ounce rainbow smelt caught on March 5 from Chequamegon Bay in Ashland County.
  • Brad Geisthardt of Germantown bettered the existing common shiner record with an 8-inch, 4 ounce fish caught on April 23 from the Mukwonago River in Waukesha County.
  • Keeping it in the Geisthardt family, brother Eric of Milwaukee set the initial record for an alewife with an 8 1/8-inch, 2.4 oz. fish caught May 19 from Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County.
  • MaxField JonasKrueger of Madison notched his second state fish record with the 19-inch, 2-pound 13.4 ounce golden redhorse he caught May 29 from the Rock River in Jefferson County. As a 13-year-old, JonasKrueger set a new record for golden shiner with a 9.75-inch, 4.8 ounce fish from Fowler Lake in Waukesha County. His record was eclipsed 10 days later, and then that record was broken again in successive days a month later by a Watertown woman and then by her fiance.
  • Xavier Vang of Milwaukee erased an almost 20-year shovelnose sturgeon record with a 37.5- inch, 7-pound, 13.1 ounce fish caught May 28 from the Mississippi River in Vernon County.

Weight records (alternate method)

Shawn Schmidt of Denmark bettered his own record with a 9.5-inch, 13-ounce pumpkinseed speared on May 13 from Silver Lake in Washington County.

For more information on state record fish and the process anglers should take if they have caught a fish that might be a state record by weight or under the new live release program, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “record fish.”

Natural Resources Board to meet June 27-28 in Hudson

MADISON – A request for approval of the Menominee River State Recreation Area Master Plan, a request to approve management plans for 12 State Natural Areas, and a request to initiate an amendment process for the Kohler-Andrae State Park Master Plan are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets June 28 in Hudson.

The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28, in the County Board Room of the St. Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Road, Hudson. On Tuesday, June 27, the board will tour and/or receive presentations at locations around the Hudson area beginning at 11:20 a.m. at the UW-Hudson Center, 2501 Hanley Road.

The Menominee River State Recreation Area encompasses 7,652 acres of land in Dickinson and Menominee Counties, Mich., and Marinette County, Wis. The Menominee River Area master plan process is a collaborative effort between both the Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources. With public ownership on both sides of the river, this joint master plan will help create a “one place, one feel” experience. The board action will address only Wisconsin recreational and conservation goals.

A view of the Menominee River from river's edge.
A view of the Menominee River from river’s edge.
Photo Credit: DNR

The DNR has developed Tier 3 management plans for 12 State Natural Areas located in Brown, Columbia, Door and Sauk counties. Tier 3 properties are smaller in size (ranging from 34 to 499 acres), have little infrastructure, and have narrowly-defined property objectives and goals. The purpose of SNAs is to protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscapes, significant geological formations, and archeological sites. They also provide habitat for rare, nongame, and game species and provide unique recreational opportunities.

The DNR is requesting board approval to initiate a process to consider amending the master plan for Kohler-Andrae State Park to evaluate a request from the Kohler Company to use approximately 5 acres of park property for access and a maintenance facility for an 18-hole golf course the company is proposing to construct on land it owns adjacent to the park. Kohler has also submitted applications for wetland and waterway permits from the department, but those permits will be evaluated separately from the master plan amendment process. Any permission for Kohler to use park lands would be contingent upon the company receiving all approvals needed for its project from other DNR programs as well as from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or local officials. The master plan amendment process provides several opportunities for public input and would require final approval by the board at a future meeting.

The complete board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword “NRB” and clicking on the button for “view agendas.” [http://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/agenda.html]

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to attend the Tuesday tours and/or to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to attend the tours, testify, or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, June 23, 2017. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website.

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.