Nominations sought for Wisconsin Hunter Ethics Award

LA CROSSE - First awarded in 1997, the annual Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award recognizes the hunter whose action are emblematic of Wisconsin's hunting heritage - which is not about trophy bucks or number of pheasants - of an outdoor tradition enjoyed responsibly, respectfully and safely by and for all.
DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller, also a member of the award committee, says ethical behavior often means going above and beyond.
"That means actions that help another during a hunt, or taking steps to ensure the resources are there for all," Schaller said. "In past years, award recipients have returned lost gear, helped others find lost game or assisted another hunter facing a challenge of some kind."
Anyone - hunter or non-hunter - can nominate a licensed Wisconsin hunter for the award for an action that took place during the calendar year of 2018. While many nominations are made during gun-deer season, the ethical action could be something done during a squirrel hunt, turkey hunt, waterfowl hunting or any other Wisconsin hunting season.
A four-person committee studies the nominations and selects the person judged most deserving of this award. The annual honor was established by Bob Lamb, retired outdoors editor of the La Crosse Tribune, retired DNR conservation warden supervisor Steve Dewald and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse biology professor and outdoors writer Jerry Davis.
Simply send the name, address and other contact information to Chief Warden Todd Schaller, by email or letter and explain what the ethical act was. The nomination committee focuses on what are often singular actions or events rather than individuals who have long term conservation related programs.
To become eligible for the 2018 award:
The nominee must be a licensed (resident or nonresident) Wisconsin hunter.
The ethical hunting act must have occurred in Wisconsin during the 2018 calendar year.
Nominations will be considered for any DNR-regulated hunting activity, not only deer hunting, in Wisconsin.
Written nominations must contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses, or be aware of the behavior, which led to the nomination. Mail to Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to Wisconsin DNR, Attention: Chief Warden Todd Schaller LE/5, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Jan. 15. 2019.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


More Wisconsin pheasants being released

MADISON - Department of Natural Resources staff will help bird hunters beat cabin fever this December as 2,160 pheasants will be stocked on eight different properties in southern Wisconsin during the week leading up to the winter holidays.
With the popularity of last year's late-season stocking, the DNR will expand its efforts for the 2018 holiday pheasant stocking event, supported by the new hatchery facility.
Cabin fever is no match for time spent pursuing pheasants with family and friends.
Properties to be stocked before the holiday season include:
* Mud Lake Wildlife Area, Columbia County.
* Mazomanie Unit of Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Dane County.
* Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kenosha County.
* Brooklyn Wildlife Area, Dane & Green counties.
* Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, Rock County.
* Waterloo Wildlife Area, Jefferson County.
* Sauk Prairie Recreational Area, Sauk County.
* Vernon Wildlife Area, Waukesha County.
"We selected properties with suitable cover for pheasant hunting near population centers," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "The department hopes this late-season stocking will provide an opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, and perhaps add some additional table fare to your holiday meal."
As a reminder, quality pheasant hunting opportunities exist throughout Wisconsin, including wild pheasant hunting where suitable habitat exists and previously stocked public lands. The pheasant season runs through Jan. 6. All hunting regulations and bag limits apply through the season close, see the 2018 Small Game Regulations for more information.
Hunters are reminded to practice TABK while afield:
T - Treat every firearm as if it is loaded;
A - Always point the muzzle in a safe direction;
B - Be certain of your target and what's beyond it; and
K - Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
In addition, hunters are encouraged to wear blaze orange while upland bird hunting to increase visibility with other hunters.
For more information regarding pheasant hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "pheasant."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


DNR proposes to strengthen bear hunting tooth sample requirement

Bear hunters who are successful in 2019 and after would be required to submit a bear tooth sample to be eligible for the upcoming year’s bear hunting license lottery under a new rule proposed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR has for many years required hunters to submit bear tooth samples. In response to low compliance, the agency two years ago began mailing letters reminding hunters to send the samples. The proposed rule would give hunters an incentive to follow the legal requirement, and the DNR would stop sending the letters.
Biologists use the tooth samples to determine the age of each harvested bear and ultimately estimate how many bears live in the state.
“These tooth samples help the DNR gather enough data for a good population estimate, and we will no longer have to pay the cost of mailing the letters,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief.
The change is the only new proposal in a rule package that moves dozens of temporary wildlife rules that have been in effect for several seasons to permanent status. Because the rules are already in effect, hunters won’t notice a difference when they become permanent.
An example of a temporary rule that would become permanent is sandhill crane hunting, which has been open in northwestern Minnesota by temporary rule since 2010.
A copy of the draft rules and more information about how to comment is available online at mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildlife.
The DNR will accept written comments supporting or opposing the rule changes through Tuesday, Jan. 22. Comments may be submitted to Jason Abraham, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Wild deer presumed positive for CWD in Houston County

A wild deer harvested in Houston County on Nov. 17, has been identified as presumptive positive for chronic wasting disease, the Department of Natural Resources said.
Official confirmation will come later this week. The hunter has been notified and the DNR is making arrangements to pick up the meat and carcass.
It is the first detection of the neurological disease in Houston County since testing began in 2002.
If confirmed positive, the DNR will offer landowner shooting permits in the area around where the deer was harvested and continue to collect samples as opportunities arise through deer-vehicle collisions or archery harvest. The DNR also will consider special hunts in January or February, depending on results from additional samples.  
“While disappointing, this discovery is not unexpected given the proximity of this deer permit area to areas where CWD has been found,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. The buck was harvested 8.5 miles from a Winona County deer farm where a deer tested positive for CWD in 2017 and 9.5 miles from the Wisconsin border. CWD is established in wild deer in western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.
Eleven other deer were harvested off the same property, in deer permit area (DPA) 346, none of which tested positive for CWD.
“We’ll work closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on our detections, so they can define their endemic areas,” said Cornicelli.
The Board of Animal Health regulates captive deer and elk in the state. The board creates endemic areas based on the location of wild detections of CWD. The purpose is to control and monitor farmed cervid herds in the area.
The DNR responds to and manages CWD in wild deer, part of a cooperative effort to detect and contain the disease.
Complete CWD test results from southeastern Minnesota are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck. Any additional deer harvested during current and upcoming 2018 deer seasons in the disease management zone that test positive for CWD will be reported on this CWD results web page. The DNR will directly notify any hunter who harvests a deer that tests positive. Complete information for hunters about CWD for current and upcoming hunting seasons is online at mndnr.gov/cwd.
Find more background information about CWD in southeastern Minnesota in a Nov. 30 news release at go.usa.gov/xPtVn.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Deadlines near for black bear, spring turkey harvest authorizations

MADISON - Black bear and wild turkey hunters are reminded to submit their 2019 applications before midnight on Dec. 10.
Applications for permit drawings can be purchased through Go Wild at GoWild.wi.gov or through an authorized license agent.

Black bear
Harvest numbers from the 2018 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 3,680 bears. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2019 harvest quotas.
Bear hunters are reminded that due to the high interest in this hunt, hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years, or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost.
If the hunter is selected in the drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of drawing status. Applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing and may purchase their 2019 Class A bear license beginning in March 2019. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account.
The season structure for the 2019 bear hunt is as follows:
Zone C (dogs not permitted):
* Sept. 4 to Oct. 8 - with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs.
All other zones:
* Sept. 4-10 - with aid of dogs only (bait may be used to locate bear to hunt with the aid of dogs).
* Sept. 11 to Oct. 1 - with all legal methods, including bait and dogs. * Oct. 2-8 - with the aid of bait and other legal methods not using dogs.

2019 spring turkey
Dec.10 is the deadline to apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization (previously known as a tag or permit). Turkey harvest authorizations are issued through a preference-based drawing system. For more information on the turkey preference drawing, see the Turkey Frequently Asked Questions.
Applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any time period. This third choice can be the same zone as the first and/or second choice. The second and third choices are optional, but applicants are encouraged to provide second and third choices to maximize their likelihood drawing a harvest authorization.
Successful applicants will be notified by mail after the drawing results are finalized.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive a preference point that will increase their chances of drawing a harvest authorization the following spring season. Hunters can check their application status online through Go Wild.
Any harvest authorizations that were not awarded in the drawing will be available for purchase as bonus harvest authorizations. Bonus harvest authorizations will cost $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents.
All turkey hunters are required to possess a valid spring turkey license and wild turkey stamp when they acquire their spring turkey harvest authorization. A 2019 Spring Turkey License is $15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents. The 2019 Wild Turkey Stamp is $5.25.
The 2019 spring turkey season is as follows:
* Youth Hunt - April 13-14.
* Period A - April 17-23.
* Period B - April 24-30.
* Period C - May 1-7.
* Period D - May 8-14.
* Period E - May 15-21.
* Period F - May 22-28.
For information on hunting in state parks, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "hunting state parks." All harvested turkeys must be registered. For information on how to register your turkey, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "turkey registration."


SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


December, January deer hunts scheduled in Wisconsin

MADISON - The nine-day gun deer hunt may be over, but hunters can still participate in the muzzleloader season, archery and crossbow seasons and two antlerless-only gun hunts.
The muzzleloader deer season will close Dec. 5, but hunters can extend their gun-deer hunting opportunities by filling any unused deer harvest authorization during the annual statewide four-day, antlerless-only hunt that takes place Dec. 6-9. Hunters may fill any unused antlerless harvest authorizations while hunting in the proper deer management zone, unit and land type specified on the authorization.
In addition, the antlerless-only holiday hunt will be offered in 19 farmland units from Dec. 24-Jan. 1. These seasons are used at the request of County Deer Advisory Councils and utilized in units with high deer numbers in need of antlerless harvest to slow overall herd grown. Hunters may fill any unused antlerless harvest authorizations in their proper deer management zone, county and land type. Any unit where the holiday hunt is not offered will be open for archery and crossbow hunting, and bucks may be taken.
Any legal firearm, crossbow or archery equipment may be used during the statewide antlerless-only and holiday hunts.
Additional opportunities are also available for U.S. Armed Forces members and Class A and C disability permit holders. More information is available in the 2018 regulations.
The archery and crossbow seasons will remain open statewide through Jan. 6, 2019.
Metro sub-units have special deer seasons, including the gun deer season, that close on Dec. 5. All archery and crossbow seasons remain open through Jan. 31, 2019 in the extended archery season deer management units. All other archery and crossbow seasons close Jan. 6, 2019.
All hunters except waterfowl hunters are required to wear blaze orange or blaze pink clothing during any open firearm deer hunt. Other outdoor enthusiasts recreating on public lands are encouraged to wear bright colors for their own safety during these periods.
For more information regarding which hunts may be offered in each county, check out the interactive deer map at keyword "DMU."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


South goose hunting zone split hunting season set

MADISON - Goose hunters in the South Goose Hunting Zone are reminded that the regular goose season closed with the duck season on Sunday, Dec. 2, for 13 days.
Goose season will reopen on Sunday, Dec. 16, and run through Thursday, Jan. 3.
This second split in the goose season allows hunters to hunt geese over the Christmas and New Year holidays. This late-season opening was supported by the majority of the public and by most hunting and conservation organizations.
The time frame for 2018-19 will give hunters the ability to pursue geese during a period when many have time off from work and school. This is also a time when many hunters return home to Wisconsin for the holidays, and these new season dates give people the chance to capitalize on their time off while spending time outdoors with family and friends pursuing geese.
For more information on goose and other waterfowl hunting, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waterfowl."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR