Regional West Nile virus monitoring of ruffed grouse begins this fall

MADISON, WI - In collaboration with the Minnesota and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, Ruffed Grouse Society and Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources will begin a multi-year monitoring program this fall looking at West Nile virus in ruffed grouse.
The DNR is asking ruffed grouse hunters for their participation in this monitoring effort. Similar to past disease monitoring efforts, the department is asking that hunters submit samples from their harvested ruffed grouse using self-sampling kits. This effort will focus on the core ruffed grouse range in the central and northern forests.
The DNR has assembled 400 self-sampling kits for ruffed grouse hunters to use in 2018. The WNV sampling kits contain detailed instructions and all the supplies needed to collect and ship one sample. Hunters will be asked to collect a small amount of blood along with the heart from their harvested grouse.
If you hunt the central and northern forests and would like to participate in the West Nile virus monitoring effort, sampling kits can be requested through your county wildlife biologist and will be available in early September. The number of kits provided per individual may be limited to ensure samples come from a large geographic area.
Hunters will be provided test results via email. Be aware that testing of samples will not begin until after the grouse season has closed and final results will not be available for several months after the close of the season. WNV is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and there is no evidence that WNV can be spread by handling dead birds or by consuming properly cooked game. It is one of several bird diseases afflicting native bird species.

Sick and Dead Birds
In addition to collecting samples from harvested ruffed grouse, the DNR is asking the public to report any sick or dead grouse observed while out in the field.
If you see any ruffed grouse that appear sick or emaciated, or if you find a freshly dead grouse, take note of the location and promptly call your county wildlife biologist for possible submission of the dead grouse for further investigation and to help us keep track of such reports statewide.
If you are willing to collect the carcass testing, please keep the entire bird intact. Place it into a plastic bag and keep the bird cool, but not frozen. Bring the whole ruffed grouse carcass to your county wildlife biologist the same or next day. Prompt collection of ruffed grouse is necessary to prevent decomposition or scavenging. It is recommended you wear gloves whenever handling dead animals, even those that appear healthy.
If refrigeration and prompt delivery are not possible, carcasses should be frozen and submitted to county wildlife biologists as soon as possible.
Carcasses in poor condition (scavenged with openings into the body cavity, having an odor, more advanced decomposition) will not be usable for testing, but please take note of the location and report these sightings to your county wildlife biologist.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Winners crowned for wild turkey, pheasant, waterfowl stamps

MADISON, WI - Eighteen talented wildlife artists submitted a total of 24 pieces of artwork for the 2019 Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contest.
Judging was held on July 20, at the Natural Resources Building in Madison. The judges for the 2019 Wisconsin Wildlife Stamp Art Contest were John Motoviloff from National Wild Turkey Federation, Burt Bushke from Wings Over Wisconsin, Bruce Urben from Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and Alex Weber from Pheasants Forever.
Stephen Senechal from Oxford, was awarded first place for his depiction of a turkey in a wooded setting. Since childhood, Stephen has known he would be an artist and he has been painting for over 30 years now. He has a formal art education with a degree in portraiture from the American Academy of Art. He learned to paint wildlife after moving to Wisconsin, and his winning entry is only the second turkey he has ever painted.
Todd Haefner from Janesville, was awarded first place for his painting of a hen and rooster pheasant overlooking an old farmstead. Todd started painting at 10 years old with his family and it was his childhood dream to be a wildlife artist. As an outdoorsman, Todd gains a lot of inspiration from nature, including the setting for his winning piece.
Jon Rickaby of Green Bay finished first for his painting of a pair of redhead ducks. Jon is a self-taught artist that has been painting since he was 12 years old. For him, art is a family activity and he is proud for his son who won the 2019 Great Lakes Salmon Contest. Jon's advice to beginning artists is to slow down and produce a high-quality product; use competitions as an opportunity to hone your skills.
For more information regarding Wisconsin's wildlife stamps, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "wildlife stamps."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

New DWI law in effect in Minnesota

A new law that went into effect Aug. 1, means people convicted of driving while intoxicated – regardless of the vehicle they’re driving – will lose their driver’s license and be prohibited from operating motor vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, motorboats and snowmobiles.
The state Legislature passed the law following the death of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who died in January after being struck by a snowmobile driven by a man whose driver’s license was revoked after multiple DWI offenses.
Before the law change, people convicted of DWI in a highway-licensed vehicle still could legally operate ATVs, motorboats and snowmobiles. The changes apply to violations that occur on or after Aug. 1.
“We have zero tolerance for people who endanger themselves and other people by operating a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle while they’re intoxicated,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the Minnesota DNR Enforcement Division. “This new law should send the message that drinking and driving – no matter what the vehicle – isn’t acceptable and the consequences are severe.”
As an example, a person convicted of DWI in a motorboat, or who refuses testing for a motorboat DWI, would have their driver’s license suspended and be prohibited from operating ATVs, motorboats and snowmobiles for one year. Additionally, first-time DWI offenders operating off-road recreational vehicles or motorboats also will be subject to chemical use assessments, conditional release and plate impoundment – the same as a DWI in a highway-licensed vehicle.
The Minnesota DNR and other law enforcement agencies in the state, along with ATV and snowmobile groups, supported the law change, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law in May by Gov. Mark Dayton.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR permit required to move floating bogs

Following heavy rains this past spring, more lakeshore property owners than usual were asking the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about an unexpected visitor – floating bogs dislodged by the high water and coming to rest against docks, water outlets and boat landings.
“This has been a unique summer. Typically we issue around 50 permits a year for property owners to move nuisance floating bogs and we hit that mark in mid-July,” said Jon Hansen, aquatic plant management coordinator with the DNR.
If a property owner or associated group chooses to remove or relocate a floating bog, they must acquire a permit from the DNR. The property owner or group also is responsible for moving the bog. But the DNR can provide advice as part of the permitting process.
Floating bogs are mostly emergent aquatic or wetland vegetation such as cattails. Most that end up along people’s docks are anywhere from 10 square feet to several acres in size.  
“Oftentimes people need help making sure any nuisance bog material finds a home that won’t bother others,” Hansen said. “We are not responsible for moving bogs and usually focus on sharing information. Although DNR staff were on site as crews of volunteers tried to move a large nuisance floating bog on North Long Lake by Legionville that was the size of five football fields this summer, that was a rare event.”  
The DNR considers the ecological value of bogs in the permitting process and prefers that floating bogs are returned to where they came from because of their ecological value. The removal or destruction of rooted bogs is not allowed. Property owners who want to move a floating bog that washes ashore are advised to act quickly before it becomes rooted.
While the property owner who finds a bog nestled against their boat lift may consider it a nuisance, bogs do play an important role in the health of the lake. Bogs are made up of vegetation that provide important habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife. They also act as sponges by soaking up excess nutrients that enter a lake and help prevent harmful algal blooms.
More information about aquatic plant management permits can be found at mndnr.gov/apm.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR confiscated hunting, fishing equipment auction set Aug. 4

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Aug. 4, is holding a public auction of confiscated fishing, hunting and trapping equipment.
The auction includes 214 firearms, 59 bows and 47 other pieces of equipment, including deer stands, fishing poles, mounts and traps. All of the equipment was confiscated following serious game and fish violations.
The outdoors auction is at Hiller Auction Service in Zimmerman. Auction items can be viewed in person from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3, and from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 4. The auction begins at 10 a.m. All equipment will be sold as-is, including all defects or faults, known or unknown. Once they have been purchased, items cannot be returned. Background checks are required of anyone who purchases a firearm.
Revenue from confiscated equipment auctions goes into the Game and Fish Fund, which is the DNR’s primary fund supporting fish, wildlife and law enforcement programs.
For more information, see mndnr.gov/enforcement/auctions/index.html. A list of equipment to be auctioned is at hillerauction.com.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR seeks designs for Minnesota’s 2019 pheasant stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2019 Minnesota Pheasant Stamp from Monday, Sept. 3, to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.
The pheasant stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and is required for pheasant hunters ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant management and habitat work.
The ring-necked pheasant must be the primary focus of the design, though other species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interactions between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s pheasant range.
Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists may issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds.
Final judging is open to the public and is scheduled at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. The public also is welcome to come and view the winning design 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 21.
For more information on stamp contests, guidelines for submitting work, and to sign up to receive regular email updates on stamp contests, visit mndnr.gov/stamps. Contest guidelines also are available from the DNR Information Center by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.  

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Perrot State Park holding centennial celebration on Saturday

TREMPEALEAU, WI - Nicholas Perrot, a French explorer and diplomat, was one of the first Europeans in the upper Mississippi River valley.
When John Latsch donated land to the State of Wisconsin for a new state park established in 1918, he requested that it be named Perrot State Park in honor of Nicholas Perrot.
The park celebrates its centennial on Saturday, Aug. 4, with a day of history programs, children's events, prairie hikes and an opportunity for the public to share their memories of Perrot State Park.
In 1685, Perrot and his expedition team were working their way up the Mississippi River to establish alliances with local tribes and expand French interests in the fur trade market. They set up a small winter camp in this area and left in the spring to continue upriver. In 1731, a trading post was established on what is believed to be the same site. The exact location of this trading post unfortunately is not recorded, but excavations around Perrot Post have documented artifacts tied to the French.
As important as the French were to the area's exploration, Native Americans have been here long before that. The Mississippi River and surrounding lands were important travel and trade routes for many different native cultures including Paleo, Archaic, Early Woodland, Hopewell and Effigy Mound groups. Archeological excavations have shown that Paleo period tribes lived in the area we now call Perrot State Park as early as 13,000 years ago.
Latsch was a leading businessman in nearby Winona, MN, who was interested in securing the historic Trempealeau Mountain and adjoining river frontage as a park. He purchased some 800 acres of land including the mountain and adjoining river bluffs and donated it to the state for development of the park. Perrot became Wisconsin's fifth state park in 1918, following Interstate, Peninsula, Devil's Lake and Wyalusing.
Trempealeau Mountain, standing alone between the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers, is about 425 feet high. The other bluffs in Perrot State Park rise 500 feet above the Mississippi River.
From 1935 to 1937, Perrot was home to a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The 2606th CCC Company constructed the trails to the top of Brady's Bluff and Perrot Ridge. The men transported the rock from a quarry in the bluffs closer to Trempealeau. The shelter at the top of Brady's Bluff was also constructed by the Corps.
Today the park has grown to 1,270 acres and has 15 miles of hiking trails. Many of the trails take visitors up to the top of the bluffs and provide opportunities to enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River valley. There is direct bicycle access from the campground to the Great River State Trail. The park's boat landing on the Trempealeau River provides access to Trempealeau Bay and the Mississippi River under a railroad bridge. There are 102 campsites and four walk-in group campsites.
The centennial celebration kicks off at 10 a.m., with an official presentation followed by cake and refreshments. From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., there will be programs to celebrate 100 years of history, nature and recreation. At 11 a.m., and again at 2 p.m., a local raptor rehabilitator, Abbey Krumrie, will have a live raptor program.
The Friends of Perrot State Park is sponsoring this event and have organized a variety of opportunities for visitors to celebrate the park:
* Color with Colleen - Get your creative spirit kickstarted by meeting our Centennial Coloring Book artist. See her latest artwork and sit down with her to color your own masterpiece.
* Create a Centennial T-shirt to take home.
* Learn about flint-knapping and how arrowhead and spear-point heads are created.
* Watch local artists use wood and other natural materials to create wonderful treasures.
* Writer Dick Stahl will share the experiences he and his wife, Helen, had while researching his book "BLUFFING," a book of poems inspired by blufftop views overlooking the Mississippi River. Share your favorite Mississippi River Bluff with Dick and Helen.
* Mississippi Valley Archeology Center from UW-La Crosse will talk about the Native Cultures that lived here beginning 13,000 years ago and what we have learned through excavations in the park and surrounding area.
* Tell Your Story - stop by the Friends of Perrot booth and write down or voice record your memories of the park. Share family stories, tell about favorite places, or talk about a personal connection to the park and surrounding area. The Friends group will collect the stories and create a Centennial Notebook.
The Centennial Celebration is a great opportunity for visitors to the park to also make or keep their pledge to stay active in the outdoors through the Wisconsin State Park System #OutWiGo initiative.
For more information about the park, search the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "Perrot" or visit the Friends of Perrot State Park website at www.friendsofperrotstatepark.org.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR