Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Natural Resources Board - Special Advisory Committe Requests Your Input on WI Deer Season Alternatives

Natural Resources Board - Special Advisory Committe Requests Your Input on WI Deer Season Alternatives

A committee appointed by the Natural Resources Board to develop acceptable effective alternatives to earn-a-buck has developed several packages of possible deer hunting season structure changes. Citizens can offer input to the proposals through an online survey beginning July 25 at noon. After this round of surveys, a final report will be delivered to the Natural Resources Board for consideration.

Who should respond...anyone who has an interest in the Wisconsin deer herd! Send the following link below to anyone you know who may want to respond: www.wiherdcontrol.org.

This survey will begin this Saturday, July 25 at noon and continue through noon on Tuesday, July 28.

2009 WI Deer Hunting - State Park Unit Access Permit Sales Information

2009 WI Deer Hunting - State Park Unit Access Permit Sales Information

Wisconsin deer hunters who would like the opportunity to hunt in certain State Park and Forest Deer Management Units in 2009, may purchase $3 access permits on a first-come, first-serve basis for these units until sold out. Deer hunters should first check the 2009 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations to see which properties require special access permits, and to find special season information and weapon restrictions within those properties (pages 42-46): http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/regs/Deer09regs42-47.pdf.

The State Park and Forest deer management units that require $3 access permits are as follows: Brunet Island (23A), Council Grounds (52A), High Cliff (64A), Harrington Beach (69C), Kohler-Andrae (77E), Lake Wissota (59E), Loew Lake (77D), Peninsula (80C), Perrot (61A), Rib Mountain (57D), Wildcat Mountain (72A), and Wyalusing (73A).

Access permits for even numbered units will be sold beginning at noon on Saturday, August 22, but will not be sold on Sunday, August 23. Access permits for odd numbered units will be sold beginning at noon on Sunday, August 23. Any State Park Units with remaining access permits available will resume sales on Monday, August 24 until sold out or until the hunting season ends.

Hunters are encouraged to purchase their 2009 Wisconsin gun or archery deer hunting license first before the day they purchase their access permit. Hunters may purchase deer hunting licenses and state park access permits at any DNR licensing location http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/licenseagents/ or online https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/wi_public/goHome.do.

Visit the following links on the DNR web site for access permit availability and other details:



Antlerless (Bonus) Tags for Regular Units go on Sale August 22 and August 23, 2009

Antlerless (Bonus) Tags for Regular Units go on Sale August 22 and August 23, 2009

Wisconsin deer hunters who plan on hunting in Regular Deer Management Units in 2009, and wish the opportunity to harvest antlerless deer, can purchase unit-specific antlerless (bonus) tags on a first-come, first-serve basis for most of these units ($12 each for residents, $20 each for non-residents). Deer hunters should check the 2009 Deer Season Structure map first to find their unit designation (Regular units are in white): http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/hunt/deer/dmu.pdf.

Antlerless tags for even numbered Regular units will be sold beginning at noon on Saturday, August 22, but will not be sold on Sunday, August 23. Antlerless tags for odd numbered Regular units will be sold beginning at noon on Sunday, August 23. Deer Management Units with remaining antlerless tags available will resume sales on Monday, August 24 until sold out or until the hunting season ends. The first-come, first-serve system replaces the "Hunter's Choice" application process, which was last used in 2005. Hunters will be limited to purchasing one unit-specific antlerless tag per day.

Hunters are encouraged to purchase their 2009 Wisconsin gun or archery deer hunting license first before the day they purchase their bonus antlerless tags. Hunters may purchase deer hunting licenses and antlerless tags at any DNR licensing location http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/licenseagents/ or online https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/wi_public/goHome.do.

Archery deer hunters will automatically receive one free antlerless tag which is valid in any unit statewide, but may purchase additional unit-specific tags if they are available. Thirteen Regular units will not have unit-specific tags available for 2009, and most gun hunters will be limited to buck-only deer hunting in these units.

Visit the following links on the DNR web site for bonus antlerless tag availability and other details:





Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Online survey seeks opinions on deer herd control alternatives

Online survey seeks opinions on deer herd control alternatives
Weekly News Article Published: July 21, 2009 by the Central Office

MADISON – A special advisory committee created at the direction of the Natural Resources Board and charged with developing potential alternatives to Earn-a-Buck (EAB) will be seeking public opinion through an online survey beginning July 25.

Visitors to the Special Advisory Committee for Hunter and Landowner Support of Effective Alternative Deer Population Control Methods Web site [deerherd.editme.com] (exit DNR) can request email notification as soon as the survey is available on the committee’s website. Additional information on deer hunting in Wisconsin is available on the Department of Natural Resources Web site.

The Natural Resources Board created the committee to represent a broad range of deer interest groups and to bring the board a set of possible EAB alternatives. The committee’s Web site is intended to be a source of public information on the committee’s work and lists the stakeholder organizations represented on the committee, the committee’s working notes and links to the same reference materials and data committee members are discussing.

The special advisory committee began work in early June 2009, will submit completed recommendations in early August, and is under a very tight timeline in order for any proposed changes to be adopted in time for the 2010 deer hunting seasons. The members of the advisory committee were invited to participate as volunteers from organizations representing deer hunters and landowners along with representatives of the deer science and research community.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fleener (608) 261-7589 or Robert Manwell (608) 264-9248

View all articles in this issue or check our previous Weekly News Issues.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Clam Lake Elk Herd Updates

I know this blog is to talk about whitetail deer in Wisconsin but I wanted to throw this article out there because its interesting to hear about the growing(and shrinking) herd of elk. I will continue to post articles and news about whitetails going forward but enjoy a brief vacation and enjoy the elk news.

Clam Lake Elk Herd Updates

Second Quarter— April through June 2009
Current Status: At the end of March we estimated that there were 134 elk in the herd. During the second quarter of 2009 we had experienced 3 verified mortalities (all 3 by wolves) before the start of calving season, resulting in 131 elk at the end of the 2008/2009 ELK YEAR (an ELK YEAR ends at the start of the next calving season). Since calving season started May 20th we’ve also had 8 calves die and one yearling bull hit on Highway 77. We have also had about 40 calves born. Extrapolating these losses proportionately, and considering productivity this calving season, results in a net population estimate of 153 elk. Balancing losses with additional collared animals, we currently have 81 elk with functioning radio collars.

Elk Calving Season: The results of the 2008 calving season demonstrated the importance of the timing of green up on calf development and survival. This year we monitored the progression of spring “green up”. The snow left the Clam Lake area by mid March (earlier than normal), and ice was off area lakes by mid April. By May 5th ditches were 40-50% green, by May 8th they were 70%+ green. Aspens started leaf out on May 11th and maples on May 12th.
We began daily monitoring of potential mothers on May 18th, but were distracted by mortality signals on both the 18th and 19th. The first day of full cow monitoring was May 20th and the first day of searching was May 21st, when we found our first calf. M266 was estimated 1 day old so the new Elk Year of 2009/2010 began May 20, 2009.

From May 21st to June 9th we found 20 calves, 7 females, 12 males and 1 unknown (the bear only left a few pieces of rib and some hair). The observed sex ratio is 17 males to 10 females (171 males: 100 females). Because we lost 3 pregnant cows prior to calving we had to adjust our estimated number of calves born down to 39 calves. During calving season we lost 8 of the 20 calves found, 4 due to bears, 3 due to unknown causes and 1 due to a natural accident. The extrapolated observed loss of 40 percent resulted in an estimated loss of 16 of those 39 calves born, or 23 living calves as of June 24, 2009. No doubt we’ll lose more during the next 11 months.

In addition to elk project and DNR staff (including a crew from the BWM CO), 151 volunteer searchers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Natural Resources Foundation, Glidden and Hayward High Schools, the Fox River Environmental Academy, and various Elk supporters, local and from around the state, helped search for elk calves. Credit goes to the many helpers who gave their time, in some cases traveling hundreds of miles, to help find calves.
Partnerships: We continue to provide support to UWSP and USFS on their elk related projects. The Wisconsin Safari Club International approved on May 24, 2009, a $25,333 grant for expansion of the motorist elk crossing warning system, contributing the “lion’s share” for this project. On May 1st the RMEF Project Advisory Committee approved $41,000 worth of Elk Project Grants, $22,442 of elk project grants for 3 WDNR projects ($800 for the Glidden High School monitoring of the Butternut group of elk; $8,975 for WDNR elk monitoring of the Clam Lake Elk Herd; and $12,667 for expansion of the motorist elk crossing warning system). The RMEF Director of Conservation, Tom Toman, approved all 3 WDNR projects on June 11, 2009. Work on the warning system expansion will begin immediately after the WI Dept. of Transportation approval of WDNR’s permit applications for said project. We hope to have the project completed by November.

Research on the Clam Lake Elk Herd: Prevalence and intensity of meningeal worms (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) and liver flukes (Fascioloides magna) in elk (Cervus elaphus) of northern Wisconsin: by Trina M. Weiland…a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree Master of Science in Natural Resources (Wildlife), College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, May 2008. Ms. Weiland found no eggs of meningeal worms (P. tenuis) in 292 elk fecal samples collected during 2006 and 2007. Her findings were that P. tenuis is not currently causing significant problems in the elk herd, however, she recommended continued periodic monitoring, using elk serum testing, to identify any changes to this status. Prevalence of F. magna eggs in elk fecal samples ranged from a low of 27.6% in summer 2007 to a high of 61.7% in winter 2007. Overall drier conditions in 2007 resulted in lower fluke intensity in 2007. Higher intensities and prevalence were observed in Winter compared to other seasons due to the several months development needed between ingestion of metacercariae (an infective dormant stage of juvenile fluke) and development of egg producing adults. Ms. Weiland also found different prevalence and intensities between different elk subgroups with high levels in the “Wayside” and 1029 groups and lower levels in the 208 elk group. She speculated that this may have been due to different habitat aspects of the areas used by these respective groups. One general characteristic between the areas used by the 208 group and the combined Wayside/1029 group is fewer residences within the 208 group and more aquatic, especially riparian habitats in the Wayside/1029 areas. In other words, the 208 group occupies areas with less of a “recreational feeding” history and with less habitats that would provide livelihood for the gastropod alternate hosts. Though higher elk losses due to meningeal worms and liver flukes were observed from 2003 through 2005, Ms. Weiland observed lower levels of intensity and prevalence of both meningeal worms and liver flukes from 2006 through 2007 and these parasites do not present a significant threat at this time. This is likely due to the high degree of cooperation by residents in the area in reducing recreational feeding of deer and elimination of elk feeding, thereby lowering the risk of mortality due to these parasites in recent years. Trina Weiland’s study results collaborates that reduction of elk parasite impacts currently observed.

In early May we applied 100 pounds of fertilizer per acre on the 3 treatment areas of the ELF Line forage quality project. After the first significant rain fall after fertilizer application we placed 30 forage exclusion cages on treatment and control areas for biomass measurements and to measure herbivery impacts. In the next few weeks we’ll conduct a second plant composition survey, measure biomass production and submit samples to test forage quality. In the next quarter or so, we’ll analyze results and develop recommendations.

Elk Education: During this quarter we gave 21 elk presentations to a total of 869 participants. We also gave 4 print and 1 radio interviews. The new elk display was set up during the Madison Deer and Turkey Expo, the La Crosse RMEF Banquet and the Hayward Musky Festival.
Upcoming Events: We’ll be continuing work on the ELF Line forage fertilization pilot project, monitoring the 81 radio collared elk, submitting permit applications to DOT for expansion of the motorist warning system, meeting with WDNR wildlife health staff regarding elk project protocols, monitoring the 2009 elk rut, and conducting a number of elk education presentations during the upcoming quarter.

Elk Health: This quarter we had verified losses of 12 elk (3 wolves, 4 bears, 1 vehicle, 1 accident, 3 unknown). The previous high quarterly observed loss was 9 during the first quarter of 2005. On May 11 we received a mortality signal for F175. It had been killed and eaten by wolves. There were no remains suitable for collection except the radio collar. F175 was 4 years old and there was a 92% probability that she had been pregnant. On May 18 we received a mortality signal for F145. It too had been killed and eaten by wolves. The kill site was 2 miles east of F175’s kill site. F145 was 5 years old and there was also a 92% probability that she had been pregnant. Similar circumstances to F175. On May 19 we received a mortality signal for F125. Again, she had been killed by wolves, and again her kill site was 2 miles east of F145’s kill, she was 7 years old and 92% probability that she had been pregnant. It’s apparent that a wolf pack, probably the Ghost Lake Pack, has learned that pregnant cows are vulnerable during these last stages of pregnancy. All 3 animals had been with groups of cows only a day or 2 before being killed, so it is likely these groups were being tested by the wolves and these 3 cows were the losers. It is likely that their advanced pregnancy was the issue that caused the wolves to separate them from the cow/calf groups they had accompanied just before death. This is the first time we’ve observed this hunting behavior and success on the herd. Time will tell whether this pack regularly exploits these pregnant cows. In addition to losing these 3 prime aged cows we also lost the 3 calves they held and all future productivity from these cows and any female calves they would have produced. These facts have been factored into our current population estimate.

In addition to these losses we also lost 8 of the 20 calves we found, 4 to bears, 1 probably due to exposure (still to be determined and considered “unknown”), 1 to an accident (calf got under a dead fall and died from the struggles to release itself), and 2 from unknown causes (one whole calf recovered that will be necropsied by our wildlife health experts). Because we estimate we found half of the calves born, we’ve also had to extrapolate these losses 2 fold. On June 13 we lost M241 in a vehicle collision within 100 yards of a flashing yellow motorist warning light at about 3-4 am. It was apparent from the condition of the yearling bull and vehicle parts nearby that M241 had been hit by a semi-tractor unit. A local resident reported the fatally injured elk to the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department, but no accident was reported by the driver of the semi.

On June 30th we had a mortality signal for calf M273. It turned out that M273 was found in the West Fork of the Chippewa River. It is unclear what the cause of death was and because of the current in the river the mortality signal was delayed. This resulted in degradation of the carcass to the point that we did not collect it for necropsy.

Things to Come: After 30 years of service with the DNR, Lowell Tesky has decided to go Pro. Pro fishing, hunting and antler searching that is. It has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with Lowell. The “Elk Crew” will be one less now, but we pray that Lowell will enjoy his new, long career.

September Bugling Season

Bulls begin to shed their velvet in mid August
By late August some bulls begin to bugle
Peak bugling is Sept. 10th – 20th
Places to listen include: 4 miles east of Clam Lake to 8 miles west of Clam Lake off Hwy 77, as well as 4 miles south of Clam Lake on cty hwy GG.

Note: Please do not chase or harass elk or any other wildlife when viewing. Be sure to pull completely off the highway when listening or viewing. Thank You!

Laine Stowell & Matt McKay

Download a printer friendly version [PDF 311KB] of this update.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 1 marks start of summer deer observation period

July 1 marks start of summer deer observation period

Weekly News Article Published: July 7, 2009 by the Central Office

MADISON – July 1 marks the beginning of the three-month summer deer observation (pdf) period during which DNR biologists, foresters, property managers and staff, wardens and staff from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Forest Service record the deer they see as they go about their daily duties. The observations are one of many factors biologists use in developing deer population estimates and monitoring herd health.

Summer deer observations are one of many factors biologists use in developing deer population estimates.

Direct observations from the field are vital information for deer managers, especially in northern and central forest deer management units (DMU) where harsh winter weather can have a much greater impact on fawn production the following spring. In the northern and central forest regions observations are bunched into “population modeling” groups of 3 to 4 DMUs each and plugged into the department’s deer population estimating model. Each summer fresh observation data are put into the population estimation.

“Wildlife populations are estimated by blending science, hunter harvest, history and observation,” said Keith Warnke, DNR deer and bear ecologist. “Variations in local habitat and conditions, and nature’s whims make this challenging and it’s important to keep in mind that these are estimates. Deer movement and location are influenced by many factors beyond population numbers.”

In addition to DNR staff summer field observations, the department also mails a summer wildlife inquiry (pdf) to about 5,000 rural landowners across the state. The landowner survey is not incorporated directly into population models but is compared to previous years as a signal of broad population trends.

The summer wildlife survey asks respondents to report observations of nine species of wildlife including coyote, red fox, skunk, bobcat, wild turkey, gray partridge, ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse and deer.

Farmland Regions

To people living in and traveling around Wisconsin it is not a surprise that there are ecological and climate differences between the southern farmlands and the northern forests.
In most years, winter weather simply doesn’t have the impact on southern deer in the way it does in the north. So in farmland regions biologists don’t adjust the fawn-doe ratio yearly like in the north, but they do analyze summer deer observations for trends that suggest a change in reproductive success in the herd. Also the population groupings contain more DMUs compared to the northern and central forests.

“Summer deer observations are important to hunters because the number of fawns per doe are one factor that is included in the population model,” explained Warnke, “that is why we collect this information. They are also an important factor in overall population management as deer management units approach established population goals.”

Wildlife managers emphasize that deer populations vary across the state with some areas heavily populated and others less so. Local population swings are not always predictable in the space of a single season and can result in lowered viewing opportunity in a given hunting area. Having a flexible hunting plan can be an important factor in a successful hunt.

“In areas where deer are at healthy levels, fewer deer may be seen than in the past when populations were out of balance with their habitats,” says Warnke. “The traditional hunter’s skills and strategies of scouting, patience, knowledge of deer behavior and woodsmanship are worthy of practice and perfection.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke (608) 264-6023 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248
View all articles in this issue or check our previous Weekly News Issues.

Still space in Buckhorn youth learn to hunt workshop and youth hunt

Still space in Buckhorn youth learn to hunt workshop and youth hunt

Weekly News Article Published: July 7, 2009 by the Central Office

NEECEDAH, Wis. – Space is still available for youths interested in a “Learn to Deer Hunt” workshop and special hunt that will be held at Buckhorn State Park located on the Castle Rock Flowage near Neecedah. Applications for the hunt must be received at the park by July 15.
The Buckhorn State Park Youth Deer Hunt Program includes a one-day workshop on August 22 or 23, and a hunt on Nov. 7 and 8. Previous youth hunters had quality deer hunting experiences with their chaperones, according to Joe Stecker-Kochanski, Buckhorn State Park supervisor.

To participate applicants must be age 12 but not older than 17 by Nov. 7, 2009. They must have a hunter education certificate by August 22 and must not have previously participated in a Learn to Deer Hunt program. Participants who have not previously harvested a deer with a firearm will receive preference. Applicants who have harvested a deer with a firearm can still apply, but will be selected on a drawing on July 16 if any spots remain available.

A chaperon must accompany all applicants. Applicants may select a chaperon or authorize Buckhorn Park to assign a qualified chaperon. This person will not be allowed to hunt or carry a firearm and must be at least 21 years old. The chaperon must have at least five years of hunting experience.

Applications are available on the Buckhorn Learn to Deer Hunt Web page and must be submitted by July 15. Successful applicants will be notified about July 24. Note: A student who has participated in the Sandhill youth deer hunt program is not allowed to participate in the

Buckhorn hunt and vice versa.

Successful applicants and their chaperons are required to attend a workshop in order to participate in the hunt. Chaperon must be the same person at both workshop and hunt weekend.
A deer gun hunting license is not required. A back tag will be furnished. This is a bonus deer and will not preclude the harvest of a deer during the regular season. The bag limit will be one deer of either sex. Only shotguns will be permitted; muzzleloaders and rifles are not permitted. A fee will be $25 to cover course and hunt materials.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Buckhorn State Park - (608) 565-2789
View all articles in this issue or check our previous Weekly News Issues.

Practice is key to successful bow hunting

Practice is key to successful bow hunting
Weekly News Article Published: July 7, 2009 by the Central Office

MADISON -- When it comes to bow hunting, a state hunter safety specialist says practice is a must – but all practice is not equal.

“Not too long ago, archery practice meant a couple of bales of straw with a paper plate or pie tin attached,” said Tim Lawhern, hunter education administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “The quality of targets has improved, but the routine remains the same.”
The pie tin practice session remains effective to train the muscles, but fails to replicate what bow hunters face in real conditions. “Only when we can use these real life variables in our practice can we truly prepare for that shot-of-a-lifetime moment,” Lawhern said, adding practice sessions in your hunting clothes while using your gear makes the most sense.

Real-life variables to work into practice sessions address distance, shot angles, body position and obstructions.

More opportunities are blown because hunters fail to correctly judge distance, Lawhern says. “Many of today’s better-equipped hunters have addressed this issue with the purchase of a laser rangefinder,” he said. With a touch of a button on the laser rangefinder, the hunter can know within a yard the range of the target.

But, Lawhern advises, using a rangefinder is not a replacement for the ability to judge yardage on your own – and there are ways to practice. “Try tossing an object in the yard and take a guess how far away it is, then step off the distance to judge your guess,” Lawhern said. “You can do this walking in a park or in your yard working. Practice in both wooded and open areas. Perception is different in these areas.”

Shot angles

When it comes to bow hunting, there are two kinds of shot angles: vertical and horizontal.
The vertical angle is the one formed by the hunter being either above or below the deer, Lawhern says. “These angles are most associated with tree stands,” he said. “However, steep terrain can also play a factor in vertical angle.”

A good way to practice for this is to shoot from either a tree stand or a deck. If it's not possible to do this in your own yard, try the local sportsman’s or rod and gun club. Many will allow you to shoot for a nominal fee. Use the available terrain to practice as many different shot angles and distances.

Horizontal angle is the angle at which the deer is turned in relation to the hunter. “Most of the time, we refer to it as quartering away, or quartering toward,” Lawhern said. “The best way to practice for these types of shots is with one of the many 3-D animal targets available.”
Some companies make models with scoring rings or quartering shots, or ones with anatomically correct vitals painted on the side of the animal. If you are unable to get such a target, the standard version is fine.

“Just remember when shooting at an animal that is quartering, it is crucial that you keep in mind the location of the internal organs, and plan a shot that will angle through both lungs, regardless of where the scoring rings are located.”

Body position

Working various body positions into your practice routine is not difficult and doesn't require anything special. It is a matter of alternating shots from your normal stance with any other possible body positions that could occur during an actual hunt.

“These include planting your feet at various angles in relation to the target, as well as squatting, kneeling, or even sitting comfortably in your tree stand seat,” Lawhern said. “Try to imagine as many scenarios as possible and work them into your practice routine.”


Veteran hunters often will recall missing a target because the arrow collided first with a tree or branch.

Using any obstacle at hand, place your 3-D target in as many real-life-hunting situations as possible. “This may cost you an arrow or two, but the practice will be invaluable,” he said. "Further, make sure your shooting area is safe if you suspect you could have an arrow ricochet."

There is no way to prepare for every situation, Lawhern says. “But being able to judge distance, how and where to aim and make the shot regardless of your body position will boost your chances for success.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern - (608) 266-1317 or Joanne Haas (608) 267-0798
View all articles in this issue or check our previous Weekly News Issues.