Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hunters: stay legal and ask to hunt private lands

Hunters: stay legal and ask to hunt private lands

Source: WI DNR

Got your eye on a prime hunting spot resting on choice Wisconsin private lands for your fall hunting expedition?

That’s a solid, smart first step to a successful hunt, says the Department of Natural Resources hunter education administrator. Forgetting the next step could cost you.

“‘Where am I going to go hunting?’ is one of the most important questions you need to be asking yourself now,” Conservation Warden and Administrator Tim Lawhern says. “If you want to hunt private land, you need to be seeking permission now if you haven’t already done so.”

The state of Wisconsin owns more than 450,000 acres, and leases about 17,000 more acres, of lands open to public hunting. State and federal forests provide 2 million acres, and county forests another 2 million acres open to hunting and fishing. In addition, property owners who participate in the damage and abatement and the Forest Tax Law programs must allow access to their lands, adding more public access.

Hunters who want to use private lands need to have landowner permission to avoid trespassing, and they need to behave courteously and considerately to be invited back the next year. “It all comes down to hunter etiquette,” Lawhern said.

When hunters contact the landowner to seek permission, Lawhern urges hunters introduce themselves by telling where they’re from, what they wish to hunt, and display your hunter education certificate.

“Regardless of the landowner’s answer, your response should simple be the same – thank you,” Lawhern said.

He also suggests hunters offer to help the landowner on his or her land before the hunting season, whether it’s with daily chores, haying, or some other need. “You might be surprised how far your willingness to shovel manure for a whole day will get you,” he said

After the hunt, Lawhern says, hunters should share their game with the landowner, and remember the landowner outside the hunting season. “Give them a Christmas card, a small gift, a thank you card,” he said. “Landowners always appreciate being remembered outside the hunting season.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern (608) 266-1317 or Joanne Haas - (608) 267-0798

Monday, August 24, 2009

Deer hunters asked to send in wildlife observations from field

Deer hunters asked to send in wildlife observations from field
Source: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin deer hunters can assist state wildlife officials in monitoring a variety of game and non-game mammals and birds in Wisconsin by submitting their field observations through a Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey Web page.

“Since deer hunters often spend many hours in quiet observation both hunting and scouting, they’re an excellent source of information for species that can be difficult to observe,” said Brian Dhuey a Department of Natural Resources research scientist who monitors wildlife abundance and distribution across Wisconsin.

“Of equal importance and interest to wildlife managers is knowing if hunters spend time in the woods and don’t see deer or other wildlife. It’s important that all hunting efforts be recorded, even if nothing is seen, because they are an important measure of wildlife abundance in an area.”
Deer hunters interested in participating in this survey can find survey instructions and record their sightings online on the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey Web pag. The survey period begins September 12 and runs through January 2010.

DNR researchers are interested in reports from all deer hunters (archery, gun, and muzzleloader) on the number and type of animals observed while they are out hunting or scouting. Deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, or other wildlife not normally seen in the area are the focus of this survey.

Wildlife managers use abundance and distribution observations with historical data to get a picture of the landscape.

“Other states including Iowa, Missouri and Ohio, have similar programs for gathering information from deer hunters and find it is a very effective way to take advantage of thousands of extra pairs of eyes in the woods,” according to Dhuey.

Hunters will be asked to report the date hunted, number of hours, where they are hunting (county and deer management unit), weather condition, types and number of deer seen, and numbers of other wildlife seen.

“There’s also a handy tally sheet that can be printed to take into the field,” adds Dhuey, “so you can record things as you see them and log them in to the online survey at a later date. Hunters can also sign-up for periodic reminders to send in their observations and to get updates of the survey results during the season.”

In a separate survey effort some hunters and landowners may also receive a mailed survey asking about hunter efforts put in during the hunting season and techniques used. Dhuey says the primary focus of the online survey is to gather observations on the range of animal species listed.

Hunters can also send in photos

Got a trail camera? Or do you carry a camera with you in the field? Wildlife biologists also are interested in photographs of rare or endangered species to help document their existence and location within the state. Pictures of moose, Canada lynx, cougar, American marten, stone marten, wolverine, Franklin’s ground squirrel, and badger are most sought after. Any picture of an animal not normally seen in the area or an unidentified animal is welcomed. Pictures can be emailed along with the approximate date, county and civil township of the photo to DNR wildlife management. DNR wildlife staff will try to positively identify all photographs submitted.
If you have any questions about the deer hunter wildlife survey, accessing the tally sheet, reporting your observation, sending in trail camera pictures of rare wildlife, or the results of the survey, please contact Brian Dhuey at (608) 221-6342.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey at (608) 221-6342

Friday, August 7, 2009

Public invited to comment on deer population goals

Public invited to comment on deer population goals

MADISON – Citizens following the deer management unit (DMU) population goal setting process can review and comment on recommendations expected to go to the Natural Resources Board for consideration at the board’s Sept. 22-23 meeting in Sturgeon Bay. Comments can also be made online beginning Aug. 15 through the Deer Management Unit Boundary and Goal Review page of the Department of Natural Resources Web site or at a series of public hearings beginning Aug. 13.

“Participation in shaping natural resource management decisions is the right of every Wisconsin citizen and a cornerstone of our conservation legacy,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “Public opinion is important to the DNR and these hearings and online comment opportunities are the public’s chance to be heard. By working together can we ensure the long term health of the deer herd and pass Wisconsin’s rich traditions on to future generations.”

View a video invitation outlining the hearings [Video 3:20]

Deer population goals and the boundaries of Wisconsin’s 133 DMUs are run through a public review process every three years. The last review was completed in 2005. For this round of reviews the Department of Natural Resources invited various hunting, forestry, landowner, and scientific communities to participate in a stakeholder review panel to evaluate DMU population goals and gather input from the public before drafting population goal proposals for the DNR and the Natural Resrouces Board.

“Deer populations need to be in ecological balance with their habitat if we are going to maintain our deer hunting and viewing opportunities,” according to Jason Fleener, DNR assistant big game ecologist. “Too many deer will degrade their habitat to a point where it can’t support the numbers hunters and wildlife viewers hope to see. Population goals attempt to balance a sustainable deer herd with social tolerance for high deer numbers.”

Deer management unit goals represent the desired number of deer per square mile of deer range (suitable deer habitat) at the end of all deer hunting seasons in each DMU across the state. Deer left on the landscape following the hunting seasons are the foundation of the following fall’s pre-hunt deer population. Population goals drive the number of harvest permits issued and season frameworks.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fleener - (608) 2617589 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248