MADISON, Wis. - Another Wisconsin nine-day gun deer season is around the corner, and license sales continue to indicate that the hunting tradition is alive and well throughout the state. As of Nov. 17, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and patron licenses reached 538,643 compared to 539,137 in 2018 - a difference of only 494 licenses, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "License sales are brisk. We are happy to see customers buying their licenses early and not waiting for the last minute. DNR staff, private agents and our Go Wild system are prepared for a busy week as we expect sales traffic to increase each day as hunters prepare for the opener on Saturday," says Kimberly Currie, Director of Customer and Outreach Services. Two areas have already exceeded last year's sales totals for the entire season. Individual crossbow license sales are up 10% year-to-date over last year's season total. The number of licenses purchased for young children also remains strong. In 2018, 2,257 children under the age of nine held a license compared to 3,648 already this year. The DNR plans to release preliminary sales totals for the opening weekend on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Carcass disposal locations available for firearms deer hunters
Hunters who harvest deer in north-central and southeast Minnesota during firearms deer season will have 26 dumpsters available in a variety of locations to dispose of carcasses after completing deer registration, chronic wasting disease sampling and removing the meat. “These dumpsters will be in place in time for the hunting opener, and they’re an important part of the plan to combat CWD by helping hunters comply with carcass movement restrictions in CWD zones,” said Bryan Lueth, DNR habitat program manager. Hunters in three zones – the north-central CWD management zone, the southeast CWD management zone and the southeast CWD control zone – must register their deer, complete required CWD sampling, and comply with carcass movement restrictions by keeping whole deer carcasses within the zone until receiving “not detected” test results for their deer. The DNR is providing dumpsters to enable hunters to quarter their deer and dispose of the carcass in a designated dumpster. Locations of the dumpsters are posted on the DNR website for the north-central management zone, southeast management zone and southeast control zone. Hunters can check online to determine whether a disposal location has a quartering station. The DNR encourages hunters to use the dumpsters to comply with carcass movement restrictions and limit possible disease spread. “Before you hunt, plan ahead so that after you have your deer sampled for CWD, you have what you need to properly quarter your deer and take meat out of the zone. Also consider if you want taxidermy work done. We tell hunters to plan as if you are going to shoot the biggest buck of your life,” Lueth said. Minnesota’s firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 9. Having carcass disposal locations available to hunters aids in the DNR’s three-pronged approach to limit the spread of CWD in areas where the disease has been found in wild deer. The DNR aims to reduce deer densities, ban people from feeding deer in some areas to reduce this human-facilitated contact between deer, and restrict deer carcass movement. CWD is relatively rare in Minnesota, and this is the first year the DNR has worked with waste haulers to provide dumpsters for hunters to use. Organizations and individuals are also contributing funding for the effort. So far, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bluffland Whitetails Association, Crow Wing County and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association have participated in the DNR’s Adopt-A-Dumpster program. “Thank you to organizations and individuals who’ve helped sponsor carcass disposal locations. Now, heading into the deer opener, we have nearly all the locations available for hunters that we originally planned,” Lueth said. Keeping Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy remains the goal in the DNR’s response to chronic wasting disease. Since CWD was first detected in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR has tested more than 72,000 wild deer in the state. To date, 54 wild deer have tested positive for CWD in Minnesota. CWD affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. It is spread through direct contact with an infected cervid’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass. There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease. For more information on chronic wasting disease, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions, hunter information, lists of meat processors and taxidermists, and for location of dumpsters, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Get ready for gun deer season with 'Off the Record' podcast
MADISON, Wis. - With gun deer season beginning later this month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources invites you to listen to the "Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record" podcast to help get prepared. Recent episodes cover the impact of Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin and the DNR's Hunt for Food program. In the "Getting a Grasp on CWD's Impact in Wisconsin" episode, Tami Ryan, the DNR's Acting Director of the Bureau of Wildlife Management, and, Dan Storm, the DNR's Elk and Research Scientist, address the substantial research efforts underway to help slow the spread the deadly nervous system disease. CWD affects deer, moose and elk and is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions cause brain degeneration in infected animals and lead to extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Six active research projects are ongoing in the department related to CWD, the largest being the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator study, which is focusing on the potential impact of CWD on deer survival and deer population growth in southwest Wisconsin. In the "What's CWD Got to Do With It" episode, Mandy Kamps, a DNR Wildlife Biologist, broke down the basics of CWD, which was first detected in Wisconsin more than a decade ago. Included in the episode are two avid Wisconsin deer hunters on a mission to help stop CWD through the DNR's volunteer Adopt-A-Kiosk and Adopt-A-Dumpster programs. Hunting is a time-honored tradition in Wisconsin. Anyone who is just looking for a better understanding of the culture or interested in knowing where food comes from stands to learn from the DNR's Hunt for Food program, which is covered in the podcast episode "Enjoy Wisconsin's Wild Side and Learn to Hunt For Food." The free program combines classroom and field instruction for beginners before pairing participants with an experienced hunter to go out in the wild. During the episode, you will hear from two Wisconsin hunters who fell in love with hunting after participating in the program. For families, though, it can be challenging to find the time for hunting adventures while balancing responsibilities at home. However, it can be done. In the "For the Love of the Hunt" episode, devoted husband and outdoorsman John Stellflue recently headed out for the youth hunt with his nephew - on his wedding anniversary. Listen in to John and his wife, Caralyn, as they share their secret to balancing his love of the hunt and their marriage. Gun deer season begins Nov. 23. Find out more about season dates here. Anyone in need of purchasing a license can do so on the DNR's Go Wild webpage. Want more? Listen to all the episodes of Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record here.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Follow 4 rules of firearm safety for safe, successful hunt
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recreational safety specialists and the state's 4,100 volunteer hunter education instructors urge all hunters to keep your safety and the safety of those around you in mind at all times this fall. Hunters following the four firearm safety rules have resulted in a 94% percent reduction in hunting incidents since 1967. DNR Hunter Education Administrator Jon King said conservation wardens investigate every hunting incident and provide information to the Hunter Education Program to gain a better understanding of how and why incidents occur. "When we look at all of the incidents, we see at least one of the four firearm safety rules being violated every time," King said. Hunters commonly refer to the four firearm safety rules as TABK. * T: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Never assume a firearm is unloaded even if you are watching as it is unloaded. Make it a habit to treat guns like they are always loaded. When carrying a gun, setting it down, working with it, putting it away, or getting it out, it is always smart to check the action to make sure that it is unloaded and the safety is on. Be sure to plan on unloading your firearm whenever you are not hunting, which will help you reduce the chance of an accidental discharge. * A: Always point your muzzle in a safe direction. When you are hunting with your family and friends, there are many ways to carry your firearm. No matter which way you carry your gun, make sure it never is pointed at another person, building or vehicle. A safe direction is one where the bullet will do no harm in the event of an unwanted discharge. * B: Be certain of your target, what is in front of it and what is beyond it. Positive target identification is a must. Do not shoot at movement. Know what is between you and your target and what is beyond your target. You must be sure of your target before deciding to shoot. Remember your bullet can travel a long way after shooting it; make sure you have a safe backstop. * K: Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Almost every year, there are incidents of people shooting themselves, friends, houses and vehicles while handling a gun. The main thing to remember when holding a gun is never to put or rest your finger inside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. "It is not enough to remember the rules, you have to practice them while using a firearm all the time," King said. "Wisconsin hunters have done a great job of practicing the safety rules, and reminders from time to time help keep everyone safer."
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Ruffed grouse season shortened in Zone A
MADISON, Wis. - An emergency rule will move the season closing date for ruffed grouse hunting in Zone A from Jan. 31, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2020. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved this emergency rule at its Sept. 25 meeting. The rule will go into effect on Friday, Nov. 8. The ruffed grouse season opened Sept. 14 in Zone A. The emergency rule does not impact season dates for Zone B, which runs from Oct. 19 to Dec. 8. Bag limits remain at five birds in Zone A and three birds in Zone B. Emergency rules are effective for 150 days, so the early closure only applies to the 2019-20 season. However, the Department of Natural Resources' draft ruffed grouse management plan recommends a permanent rule change to close the ruffed grouse season in Zone A on the Sunday nearest Jan. 6. The management plan and permanent rule changes will be presented at the December Natural Resources Board meeting.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Deer hunters encouraged to get deer tested for CWD
MADISON, Wis. - The 2019 Wisconsin deer hunting season is underway, and the Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters who harvest adult deer to test them for Chronic Wasting Disease.
2019 Surveillance This year, enhanced CWD surveillance efforts are occurring throughout 18 counties in northern Wisconsin as part of a multi-year rotation across the state to determine where CWD exists on the landscape. Additional surveillance efforts will focus on areas surrounding wild and captive positive detections as well as in select counties with low sampling numbers in recent years. To meet surveillance goals, the department is seeking to test as many deer as hunters will provide for sampling in the following locations: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Eau Claire , Florence, Forest, Iron, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Oconto, Oneida, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Washburn and Waupaca counties. Surveillance is also continuing in the Southern Farmland Zone. While there are focused areas of surveillance, hunters anywhere in Wisconsin can have their deer tested for CWD, and there are a variety of options available to make sampling convenient for hunters. Options for CWD sampling include both in-person service as well as self-service options. Hunters should contact staffed sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation and should have their harvest authorization number and location of harvest information available when submitting a sample for CWD testing.
Deer Carcass Waste Disposal Hunters are encouraged to dispose of deer carcass waste in a licensed landfill that accepts this waste or in a dumpster designated for deer carcass waste. If a municipality allows deer disposal curbside or at a transfer station, the carcass should be double bagged. If these options are not available and the deer was harvested on private land, burying the deer carcass waste or returning it to the location of the harvest are the next best options. "The cooperation of businesses who provide a sampling or disposal location and the hunters who have their deer tested are vital to the success of our CWD surveillance process," Tami Ryan, DNR Acting Director of the Bureau of Wildlife Management. Hunters can find a map with the CWD sampling locations and deer carcass disposal locations on the DNR website as well as in the Hunt Wild app.
Baiting & Feeding There are currently baiting and feeding bans in several counties throughout the state. Hunters and landowners should check the DNR baiting and feeding webpage frequently for updates, as new baiting and feeding bans may be enacted in 2019 with new wild or captive CWD positive detections. None of the counties currently identified statewide will be removed from the baiting and feeding ban in 2019.
Prevent the spread of CWD The DNR recommends a few simple practices to help prevent the spread of CWD. This includes and is not limited to information on proper carcass transportation, handling, and disposal, reporting sick deer, following baiting and feeding information and the cleaning and decontamination of equipment. Another way hunters can help is by following urine-based scent recommendations.
Sick deer reports DNR staff is interested in reports of sick deer. To report a sick deer, contact local wildlife staff or call the DNR's Customer Service hotline at 1-800-847-9367.
Test results To view CWD results for a harvested deer, hunters will need to enter a customer ID or CWD sample barcode number. The average turnaround time from when the deer is brought to a sampling station to when the results are available is typically 10-14 days. The Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin's Department of Health Services and the World Health Organization advise against consuming venison from deer that have tested positive for CWD.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin bear hunters fare well
MADISON, Wis. - Preliminary data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shows hunters harvested 3,648 bears during the 2019 Wisconsin black bear season, nearly equal to the 3,680 reported in 2018. "Wisconsin often leads the nation in black bear harvest, and these preliminary results suggest that our bear population remains healthy and abundant across the prime bear range in the state," said Scott Walter, DNR Large Carnivore Specialist. "Although we reduced quotas and permit levels to meet population management objectives, generally higher hunter success allowed us to achieve 95% of our desired harvest quota and an overall harvest similar to last year. The data provided by hunters through the registration process is critical to both tracking bear population size and establishing harvest quotas that address population management objectives." Statewide harvest totals were buoyed by high hunter success in Zone C, which consists of the southern two-thirds of the state, where harvest increased by 36% (from 660 to 898 bears) over 2018, and Zone A (north central), where harvest increased by 20%. "While the statewide harvest was strong in these northern zones and allowed us to broadly achieve our harvest objectives, hunter success and total harvest were lower than hoped for in Zones B (northeast) and D (northwest)," Walter said. "Weather and the availability of natural foods can lead to variation in hunter success, so the beauty of our zone-based approach to management is that we can identify and track local bear population trends. The 2019 data provided by hunters will be instrumental in allowing us to adjust quotas moving forward to ensure that bear populations in all zones are at desired levels." Reflecting sustained high interest in Wisconsin's bear hunting opportunities, more than 120,000 hunters applied for either a harvest permit or preference point for the 2019 season. "The passion Wisconsin bear hunters have for our bear resource, the hunting experience and for introducing new hunters to the outdoors is wonderful," Walter said. "Our staff scientists are bringing new population monitoring tools to the table. We have a new bear management plan in place and our bear population remains healthy and is expanding into new areas. Now is certainly an exciting time for the black bear program in Wisconsin." Visit the DNR website to learn more about black bear ecology, history and management in Wisconsin and review the recently-approved Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan, 2019 - 2029.