Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2009 Wisconsin Opening Weekend of Nine-Day Gun Deer Season Harvest

Below are the statewide deer harvest totals from the Wisconsin Whitetail Deer Hunting Opening Weekend. 

  • BUCKS - 49583
  • ANTLERLESS - 50478
    2009 TOTAL - 100330

  • BUCKS - 52477
  • ANTLERLESS - 81351
    2008 TOTAL - 133828

2008 vs. 2009 - % Difference 2008 vs. 2009
  • BUCKS -  (-5.5148)
  • ANTLERLESS - (-37.95036324)
    2008 vs. 2009 TOTAL - (-25.03063634)
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
To see a county by county breakdown go to

DNR Board Sets December Agenda

December 8 & 9 , 2009 Natural Resources Board Agenda
For meeting at:
Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2)
101 South Webster Street
Madison, Wisconsin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Natural Resources Board will convene at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-3 as listed on the Agenda.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the Natural Resources Board will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-7 as listed on the Agenda.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that matters concerning natural resource issues or the Department's program responsibilities or operations specified in the Wisconsin Statutes, which arise after publication of this agenda may be added to the agenda and publicly noticed no less than two hours before the scheduled board meeting, if the Board Chair determines that the matter is urgent.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Order of Business

1.Organizational Matters
    A.Calling the roll
    B.Approval of agenda for December 8 & 9, 2009

2.Information Items
    A.Air, Waste and Water//Enforcement
    B.Land Management, Recreation, and Fisheries/Wildlife
  1. Report and preliminary results of the 2009 firearm deer season (Tom Hauge, Keith Warnke, Randy Stark, and Diane Brookbank, 60 minutes)

3.Action Items
    A.Air, Waste and Water//Enforcement

    B.Land Management, Recreation, and Fisheries/Wildlife
  1. Request Adoption of Board Order WM-20-09, related to establishment of the deer hunting season frameworks (Keith Warnke, 60 minutes)
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Order of Business

1.Organizational Matters
    A.Calling the roll
    B.Approval of minutes from October 21, 2009
    C.Approval of minutes from November 13, 2009

2.Ratification of Acts of the Department Secretary
    A.Real Estate Transactions

3.Action Items
    A.Air, Waste and Water//Enforcement
  1. Request Authorization for Public Hearing on Board Order WT-15-09, Watershed Management’s Housekeeping Rule Revisions to chs. 102, 103, 105, 106, 108, 110, 114, 200, 203, 205, 210, 241, 299, 328, and 341 (Tom Mugan, 10 minutes)
    B.Land Management, Recreation, and Fisheries/Wildlife
  1. Request Adoption of Board Order FH-23-09, to revise Ch. NR 25 relating to the total allowable commercial harvest of whitefish in Lake Michigan (William Horns, 15 minutes
  2. Request Adoption of Board Order LF-08-09, to revise NR 52 relating to the Public Use of Lands Acquired under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program (Pat Henderson and Doug Haag, 20 minutes)
  3. Land Acquisition - Statewide Natural Areas - Oneida & Vilas Counties (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  4. Land Acquisition and Donation - Baraboo Hills Recreation Area - Sauk County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  5. Land Acquisition - White River Fishery Area - Waushara County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  6. Land Acquisition & Project Boundary Modification - Hartman Creek State Park - Portage County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  7. Land Acquisition & Project Boundary Modification - Brunet Island State Park - Chippewa County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes) Deleted
  8. Land Acquisition - Wildcat Mountain State Park - Vernon County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  9. Land Donation - Statewide Wildlife Habitat Area - Pierce County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  10. Land Donation - Paul Olson Wildlife Area - Wood County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  11. Land Donation – Statewide Natural Area - Door County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  12. Land Donation - C.D. Besadny Fish & Wildlife Area - Kewaunee County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  13. Land Donation & Project Boundary Modification - Green Bay West Shores Wildlife Area - Oconto County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)
  14. Easement Donation - Statewide Natural Areas - Marquette County (Richard Steffes, 5 minutes)

4.Citizen Participation
   A.Citizen Recognition
  1. Rebecca Wallace Award
   B.Citizen Participation

5.Board Members' Matters
    A.Approval of 2010 Meeting Locations

6.Special Committee Reports

7.Department Secretary's Matters
   A.Retirement Resolutions
  1. Steven J. Thomas
  2. Gregory J. Pittz
  3. Ronald W. Becker
  4. Linda L. Netzer
  1. The Friends of Kohler-Andrae State Park, Inc. will donate a Kubota Utility Vehicle at a value of $13,000 to Kohler-Andrae State Park
  2. Whitetails Unlimited Inc. will donate $5,615.17 to Upper Chippewa Area Wildlife Management for habitat work
8.Information Items
    A.Air, Waste, and Water/Enforcement
  1. Update on Ballast Water Permitting (Russ Rasmussen, 20 minutes)
    B.Land Management, Recreation, and Fisheries/Wildlife

Printable version of the December 8 & 9, 2009 Natural Resources Board Agenda (PDF)

Natural Resources Board Contact:
Laurie Ross, Natural Resources Board Liaison
Phone: 608.267.7420

Public Participation Information
Public Participation at Natural Resources Board Meetings

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource
See website for updates at:

16-day deer hunt starting Saturday before Thanksgiving proposed for 2010

MADISON – A 16-day gun deer hunt starting the Saturday before the Thanksgiving holiday will be the basis of a proposed 2010 deer season framework presented to the Natural Resources Board for consideration at its December 8 meeting in Madison.

“The special committee formed by the Natural Resources Board to develop effective alternatives to earn-a-buck discussed dozens of ideas and season structures,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “They ended up recommending a 16-day gun hunt with either an early or a traditional start date. At public hearings we heard sentiment overwhelmingly against an early start date so we are recommending a traditional opening date to the board at this time.

“This was one of the most heavily attended public hearing schedules in recent history. On behalf of the department, I want to thank all the organizations and individuals that participated in the public review process over the past few months. Public involvement in this decision process is invaluable.”

The complete proposal is available on the Natural Resources Board meeting adenda for December page of the DNR Web site. The special committee’s report [PDF] is also available on the Natural Resources Board Web pages.

If approved, the 16-day season would be an alternative to the use of earn-a-buck in areas outside the chronic wasting disease management zone beginning with the 2010 season. The season would open on the Saturday before the Thanksgiving holiday. Numerous Wisconsin hunting and conservation organizations have registered preference for the Saturday before Thanksgiving opener.

Other key features of the proposal include: extending the archery season through all gun seasons and extending archery season until the end of January in herd control units; addition of a four-day October antlerless only statewide muzzleloader hunt; a four-day October antlerless only gun hunt in herd control units; a four-day youth hunt that coincides with the October antlerless hunt; a seven-day statewide December muzzleloader hunt; a four-day December antlerless only gun hunt and a 10-day buck plus quota holiday hunt in farmland and central forest deer management units.

“An understandable reaction to creating additional hunting seasons is a concern that deer herds will be over harvested,” said Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist. “The safeguard against this is the existing quota system. Under this system the harvest of female deer is limited by permit to maintain populations at healthy, sustainable levels.”

The proposal calls for a unit by unit review of the effectiveness of any new season structure. In units that are more than 20 percent over goal and the expected harvest under a third year of any new season structure is unlikely to bring the herd to within 20 percent of goal, additional harvest measures will be considered.

More than 1,600 people attended the series of 11 public hearings held across the state in October and November. An additional 6,500 people used the web-based comment form or submitted email or mailed comments. Department social researchers also mailed a randomized survey to 1,000 hunters to gauge opinion. The response rate to the survey was a very respectable 71 percent.

Legislative review of any NRB action should be completed by March 2010 with any changes taking effect in time for deer season setting in April 2010

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248

Hunters register 100,330 deer opening weekend of 2009 season

MADISON – Warm temperatures and heavy fog in many areas greeted hunters on the opening weekend of Wisconsin’s 158th gun deer hunt. Hunters participating in the traditional November 9-day gun deer hunt registered a preliminary tally of 100,330 deer over the first two days of the hunt.

The 2009 preliminary count compares to a similar opening weekend count of 133,828 from 2008. Buck harvest statewide in 2009 was 49,583 (52,477 in 2008) and antlerless harvest was 50,478 (81,351 in 2008)

“We want to remind folks that these preliminary numbers come from a staff call-around to deer registrations stations this morning,” said Tom Hauge DNR’s wildlife management director. “The final opening weekend tally will likely be somewhat larger, when all the registration stubs are entered into the data base over the next couple of months.”

A breakdown of the harvest by DNR Region and county is available in portable document format.

This fall, wildlife staff indicated that they expected lower total harvest numbers - especially antlerless deer harvest numbers - due to several factors including lower deer numbers in many areas of the state, fewer herd control units and no earn-a-buck units outside of the chronic wasting disease management zone.

“There was pretty dense fog until 10-11:00 a.m. opening morning,” reported Kris Belling DNR West Central Region wildlife expert. “The fog coupled with wet conditions, made it hard to hear anything coming and definitely impacted the morning hunt. Hunters I talked to (in West Central Region) enjoyed the mild temperatures and it was comfortable enough for them to stay out hunting, and that seems to have offset the original difficulties due to the fog. Overall, it was just a nice week-end to be out. Lots of interest in getting the deer butchered quickly.”

However, the weather improved later in the day.

“Many folks take this week off leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and given the slower start to the season, there should continue to be good opportunity out there in many areas. There is still a lot of hunting left,” said Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist.

As of early Monday afternoon, 571 “opening weekend” hunting trip reports have been recorded on the department’s new online reporting database. Hunters reported seeing 796 total deer on those trips which translates to an average of 1.39 deer per trip. These numbers will also likely change as trip reports were still coming in at a rapid pace. Hunters wish to report their hunting experiences can do so from the DNR website.

Enthusiasm for hunting remains high

DNR Secretary Matt Frank visited several registration stations along the I-39, Saturday morning.

“At the stations I visited it was really gratifying seeing our next generation of hunters taking their place,” said Frank. “I especially enjoyed the chance to visit with the youngsters who brought in their first deer. Congratulations to all hunters for keeping our heritage strong. I wish them all success and an enjoyable and safe hunting experience during the remainder of the seasons.

The department’s license sales office reported 626,404 hunters hit the woods with a license to participate in the 2009 nine-day gun deer season. The number of gun hunting licenses included a new category this year, 9,592 10- and 11-year-old hunters who for the first time were able to participate as mentored hunters under Wisconsin’s new Mentored Hunting Law.

Deer license and tag sales will continue through the hunting seasons.

The long custom of buying a license on the way to deer camp is also intact. Over 43 percent – nearly half - of all deer hunters purchased a license in the eight days preceding the gun deer opener; 82,463 licenses were sold on Friday. At peak, which occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the DNR’s online licensing system – known as ALIS – was processing 212 transactions per minute.

Nearly 270,000 licenses were issued in the eight days preceding the season opener.

Of the hunters hitting the woods on Saturday:
  • 592,287 (95 percent) were residents and 34,117 were nonresidents;
  • More than 79,000 youth hunters under 18 years old participated in this year’s hunt, representing 13 percent of the total number of deer hunters;
  • More than 54,000 hunters were age 65 or older, and over 191,000 (31 percent) are under 30-years-old;
  • Females represent 8.5 percent of the total hunters, and 20 percent of new 10- and 11-year-old hunters;
  • Hunters throughout the U.S. and several foreign countries purchased a Wisconsin gun deer license. The highest number of nonresident hunters came from Minnesota (16,413), Illinois (8,568), Michigan (1,078), and Florida (898);
  • The most deer licenses were sold in Dane County (29,024), with Brown, Washington, Marathon and
  • Waukesha counties following;
  • More than 170,000 antlerless deer tags have been sold this year
Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegates also shared their experiences over the weekend.

Scott McCauley, Conservation Congress delegate from Wood County was hunting in Waupaca County and noted that for his party opening day was off to a promising start.

“Last year we had our best season ever taking nine deer. This year is looking even better with five people taking three deer and the season is just starting,” said McCauley.

Mike Riggle, Conservation Congress delegate from Taylor County called in, “Seven in camp now, including 11-year-old Austin Riggle hunting for his first time as a mentored hunter. Austin didn’t see anything but enjoyed being in camp and will be out again having a good time.”

Injury report

There were no confirmed fatal shooting incidents recorded during the first two days of the hunt but there were five non-fatal firearms-related incidents, reports DNR Hunter Education Administrator Tim Lawhern.

“We are grateful these five incidents were not fatal and wish a speedy recovery to the victims, but the fact remains that all five could have been prevented if strict firearm safety rules had been observed by the shooters and by the victims who wounded themselves.”

Three woundings occurred on Saturday. In Grant County a hunters was struck in the back of the leg by shrapnel when a hunting companion’s gun discharged into the door of a vehicle as he attempted to unload the gun.

In Price County, a hunter suffered a self-inflicted wound in the left hand from a handgun, and in Green County a hunter sustained a gunshot wound to his leg when he slipped crossing a stream on a log and his shotgun discharged

On Sunday a Barron County hunter was wounded in the thigh by a bullet, and in St Croix County a hunter sustained a self-inflicted gunshot would to the right hand from a .30-30 caliber rifle.

Hunter Safety Administrator Tim Lawhern noted that historically about half of Wisconsin’s shooting incidents happen during deer drives, usually because someone wasn’t where they were supposed to be or someone shot at a deer when they did not have a safe backstop or in a direction they should not have been shooting. “It is really important that hunting parties wanting to drive deer have a plan and that they follow that plan to the letter. Knowing where your hunting mates are and where safe shooting lanes are is critical,” he said.

Statistically, about half the hunting incidents happen during opening weekend. “I am hoping we buck that statistic and can avoid further incidents this year,” Lawhern said. “Compared to the ‘good ole’ days,’ hunting is safe and getting safer. In 1915, of the state’s 155,000 hunters then, 24 were killed and 26 were injured. That meant 1 in about 3,100 hunters could expect to be killed or injured. Today it’s 1 in 100,000 or better. Still any shooting incident is one too many. Hunters need to remember the shooting TAB-K safety rules and be careful with deer drives later this week,” he said.

Article Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource
Article Site:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

TV and radio host Dan Small greets hunters and offers a season outlook

MADISON – Television and radio host Dan Small of Outdoor Wisconsin and Outdoors Radio has teamed up with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to give hunters a heads-up on important deer season information and the latest season forecast as opening day approaches.

The opening greeting to hunters and the five regional forecasts are available for viewing on the DNR Web site.

“On the eve of Wisconsin’s 158th deer hunt I want to wish hunters, their families and friends my best wishes for a safe and enjoyable season,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “The traditions and the meaning of the season are as varied as the individuals and families holding them. Deer season is something special in Wisconsin.”

The DNR information line 1-888-DNR INFo (936-7463) is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week for last minute questions. The 2009 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations also are available online for hunters. Wildlife and law enforcement officials at the DNR encourage hunters to check the regulations for the unit they hunt to be sure they understand the rules and have the correct tags.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke (608) 264-6023 or Robert Manwell (608) 264-9248
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remembering the Hunters and the Tragedy

We all remember the hunters from Northern Wisconsin that lost their lives in a senseless act by another hunter. I will not go into race, I will not go into why it happened as we all either know the story or have heard about the story. All that I ask is that we remember and learn from this tragedy.

Please, this year, be safe, don’t trespass and if you find yourself in an unknown area, be respectful and find your way back out or get help. If you find a trespasser, be courteous, this hunter may not know they are in the wrong spot or on the wrong land. Hunters are hunters regardless of race, color, religion or whatever difference we have. Hunting is a sport that should not have tragedy associated with it.

Good luck this weekend, and be safe. I will post all the pictures and stories I get from you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 gun deer hunt on the doorstep

MADISON – Hunters anxiously waiting for opening morning of the 2009 gun deer hunt won’t have to sit still much longer with the Nov. 21 opener just days away.

“Deer hunting is part of the bedrock of our traditions in Wisconsin and I’d like to wish hunters and their families the best of luck for a safe and successful hunt,” said Department of Natural
Resources Secretary Matt Frank.

Last minute reminders

Every deer season is a little different and 2009 is no exception. DNR wildlife managers and conservation wardens wish to remind hunters of some important changes for this year’s hunt.

  • Most of the north and central forest region deer management units are designated as Regular Deer Management Units in 2009. Consequently, the free antlerless tags valid in Herd Control Units are not valid in these regular units. Hunters wishing to harvest an antlerless deer in these units must purchase a unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tag ($12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents).
  • Unit-specific antlerless deer carcass tags are limited in number. There are no antlerless tags available in 13 northeastern Wisconsin units and some units with low numbers of tags have already sold out. Check the regulations and be sure you know the rules for your unit and have the right tags.
  • The free antlerless deer carcass tag that comes with a gun deer license is good only in herd control units.
  • Only CWD Management Zone units will have earn-a-buck in 2009.
  • The venison pantry program is celebrating its 10th anniversary – a list of participating processors is available on the Deer Donation page of the DNR Web site. This program – made possible by hunters - has had a tremendous positive impact on thousands of families.
    More information on deer hunting in Wisconsin is available on the DNR Web site.
Safety should always be the number one priority as hunters head to the woods. Research shows that every firearms-related incident is a violation of one or more of the four basic rules of firearm safety.

“All four are common sense and should be part of every hunting activity you do,” said conservation warden and Hunter Education Administrator, Tim Lawhern, who is also president of the International Hunter Education Association.
  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it
  • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot

Youth Hunting
Remember when you were a kid, when your dad or mom or an uncle took you to deer camp or out on opening morning for the first time?

Think about sharing that experience and the wonder of the hunt with a youngster. Wisconsin’s new Mentored Hunting Law makes it possible for hunters as young as 10 years to hunt with a mentor.

The mentored hunter does not have to complete Hunter Safety Education to hunt under this program. The mentor does have to be a licensed hunter. There can be only one firearm between the mentor and mentored hunter, and they must remain within arm’s length of each other.

These common sense requirements make this the safest and best young-hunter program in the country. Mentored Hunting Law details are available on the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or Bob Manwell - (608) 2649248

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New World Record Whitetail Buck?

Wisconsin may be able to boast as the home of the world record whitetail buck. Hunter Michael Gregoire of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, may be on the brink of breaking both the Boone and Crockett as well as the Pope and Young World Whitetail Records. Numbers floating around the internet as well as well as reputable news wires say the green score(before the 60 day drying period) is a whopping 217 5/8 inches.
(Image Source: Big Buck Zone Outdoor Life)

As we all wait in anticipation for the world record to be either upheld or uprooted, take a moment to see the current records.

Boone and Crocket whitetail Typical:
(Info and Photo source: Boone and Crockett Club)

SCORE: 213 5/8
HUNTER: Milo N. Hanson
OWNER: Milo N. Hanson
DATE: 1993

Length of main beam: Right 28 4/8 - Left 28 4/8Inside spread: 27 2/8Circ. of smallest place between burr and first point: Right 4 6/8 - Left 5Number of points: Right 8 - Left 6

Pope and Young Whitetail Typical:
(Info and Photo Source: The Pope and Young Club)

Specimen: WHITETAIL DEER (Typical)
Score: 204 4/8
Year Taken: 1965

Friday, November 13, 2009

Deer hunters urged to help eliminate feral pigs

MADISON – State wildlife officials are encouraging hunters who have small game licenses heading out for Wisconsin’s traditional nine-day gun deer hunting season to keep an eye out for feral pigs. Since 1997 feral pigs have been found in at least 39 Wisconsin counties.
Feral pigs in Manitowoc County - 2004

“Each year we receive reports of feral pig sightings and harvests from around the state,” says Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist for Department of Natural Resources. “Most of these reports are of 1 or 2 pigs. However, any report of feral pigs is of interest and concern given the negative impacts they can have on the environment, Wisconsin’s agriculture production and our domestic swine industry.”

Feral pigs have been defined as “existing in an untamed or wild, unconfined state, having returned to such a state from domestication.” Feral pigs can be found across a wide variety of habitats and are highly destructive because of the rooting they do in search of food. They’re also efficient predators preying on many species including white-tailed deer fawns and ground nesting birds like grouse, woodcock, turkeys, and songbirds.

Feral pigs are known to carry a number of diseases of danger to humans and the domestic swine industry, including swine brucellosis, pseudorabies and leptospirosis. In 2008 a feral pig shot during the gun deer hunting season in Crawford County initially tested “positive” for pseudorabies however because of the poor sample quality test results could not be labeled definitive.

For removal purposes, feral pigs are currently considered unprotected wild animals and may be hunted year-round. The only day they cannot be hunted with a gun is the Friday before the nine-day gun deer hunting season. Also, feral pig hunting hours are the same as for deer during the nine-day season. During the rest of the year, there are no hunting hour restrictions for feral pigs.

There is no bag limit on feral pigs. Landowners may shoot feral pigs on their own property without a hunting license. Anyone else can shoot a feral pig as long as they possess a valid small game license, sport license, or patron license and have landowner permission if they are on private land.

While the Department encourages the removal of feral pigs when ever possible, Koele cautions that before shooting “hunters need to be sure the pigs are feral and they are not someone’s domestic pigs that may have just escaped. Hunters could be liable for the replacement cost of the pig if they are domestic.”

Information on feral pig hunting, including a list of counties where feral pigs have been sighted or killed, is available on the Department of Natural Resources Web site.
State officials request that anyone shooting a feral pig call a DNR service center or contact a DNR wildlife biologist so that blood and tissue samples can be collected for disease testing in collaboration with USDA and the State veterinarians office.

Feral pig sightings can be reported through the DNR Web site or by calling Brad Koele, Wildlife Damage Specialist at (608) 266-2151.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Koele - (608) 266-2151 or Dave Matheys - (608) 637-3938
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mentored hunting program a quick hit

MADISON – More than 10,000 10- and 11-year-old mentored hunting licenses have been purchased since the September 1 start date of the new program.

The Mentored Hunting Law was created in close cooperation with Department of Natural Resources staff, hunting groups and the legislature.

“The enthusiasm and response to this new opportunity has been fantastic,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “Study after study shows it takes a hunter to make a hunter. Introducing kids to hunting in a relaxed atmosphere with close supervision is key to nurturing a love of the natural world, a conservation ethic, and what may turn out to be a lifelong love and passion for the outdoors.”

“Hunting is an important tradition for many Wisconsin families,” said Rep. Ann Hraychuck, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Fish and Wildlife. “This law allows parents to decide when a child is ready to join in the family hunting traditions. The mentor is required to be ‘within arm’s reach at all times’ of the young hunter to provide safe firearm or bow handling supervision. Learning to hunt in a safe and controlled manner allows the mentor to share skills, ethics and an appreciation for the entire experience with the young hunter.”

Five hunting license types can be purchased under the Mentored Hunting Law. Within two weeks of the effective date of the new law 2,125 licenses had been sold. Through Nov 8, a total of 10,016 licenses have been purchased.

The majority of licenses sold have been gun deer licenses at 6,775. Deer archery sales have hit 1,097 and small game sales are at 1,895. Young hunters also purchased 247 fall turkey and 2 furbearer licenses.

And how have the young hunters been doing? A preliminary tally of deer registrations for the Oct 10-11 youth deer hunt (which is open to youth 10 to 15 years of age) shows that the harvest jumped from 989 in 2008 to 4,777 in 2009, a nearly 500 percent increase. There have been no reported hunting incidents involving any mentored hunters.

Wisconsin’s Mentored Hunting Law has been identified as being the safest set of controlled conditions for youth hunting in the nation. Mentors must be 18 years old and licensed hunters. Mentors may only accompany one 10- or 11-year-old at a time and must be within arm’s reach of the mentored hunter at all times. The pair may carry only one firearm or bow between them.

All other hunting and trapping rules apply with regard to season dates, season rules, bag limits, clothing requirements and harvest registration. Mentored hunters of any age do not need to complete a hunter safety education course prior to hunting under these controlled conditions, and if age 10 or 11, can purchase a reduced fee hunting license. Mentors must have completed a hunter safety education course if born after Jan. 1, 1973 unless they can provide proof they have completed basic training through the U.S. armed forces.

More information on mentored hunting and hunting in Wisconsin are available on the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Mott - (608) 444-1244 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Early returns on deer stubs and hunter self-survey indicate hunters are “seeing deer”

MADISON – Hunters report seeing between one to three deer per hunting trip during the early hunting seasons.

The data come from a preliminary count of deer registration stubs and new Department of
Natural Resources online hunter observation reports through October 28.

“Every successful hunter must fill out a Deer Harvest Information stub when they register their kill,” said Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist. “This year, there are blanks on the stub asking whether or not the deer was killed on public or private land, the number of deer seen on the day of the kill, the numbers of hours hunted on the day of the kill and weather conditions.”

With only a portion of registration stubs entered and much hunting still to come, officials emphasize that these numbers will almost certainly change.

The early tally of successful hunters shows 31,470 trips reported and 95,229 hours hunted; 92,029 deer were seen for an average sighting of one deer per hour hunted and two-and-half to three deer seen per trip. Overall weather ratings were reported as six on a 10-point scale with one being worst and 10 best.

Hunters filing voluntary hunter observation reports logged 3,430 trips 12,904 hours hunted and one-and-a-half to two deer seen per trip. Information on the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is available on the DNR Web site.

The eastern and southern farmland areas [PDF 294KB] saw the most hunting trips (9,659 and 9,940 respectively) by successful hunters. The greatest number of hunter field observation reports also came from eastern farmland (1,056 reports filed) and southern farmland (932 reports filed).

In both categories, hunters in the western farmland saw the most deer with 3.47 deer observed per trip for successful hunters and 2.09 deer observed per trip in the field observation reports.
Anticipated drop in harvest

As wildlife managers expected, preliminary registration returns entered through Nov. 5 show a decreased total archery harvest (about 31,000 in 2008 vs. about 22,000 in 2009).

“The archery antlerless harvest in this time period dropped by about 39 percent and the buck harvest climbed by about 7 percent,” said Warnke. “This was expected due mainly to fewer herd control units and no Earn a Buck outside of the CWD management zone.”

Antlerless registrations during the October antlerless gun hunt in herd control units were down also with about 11,000 deer registrations in the database in 2009 compared to about 26,000 by this date in 2008.

There are one-third fewer herd control units this year and no earn-a-buck requirements outside the CWD Zone thus, hunter opportunity to participate in the October gun hunt was more limited this year according to wildlife officials.

The registration numbers will most certainly change, say wildlife managers, as more stubs are entered.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023 or Bob Manwell - (608) 2649248
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wisconsin Whitetail Gun Deer Season: Getting Ready

Hunters are starting to hang their orange yet and its a good time to throw out some tips to help with preparing for the Wisconsin Whitetail gun deer season.

Sight in your Rifle
Ok, so this one is an easy one to remember but here is the tip that most may not know about. When you sight in your rifle don’t be afraid to take some shots from several different stances. I see a lot of hunters set up at a range sit at a picnic table or gun table, take 10 – 12 shots and call it a day. How often are you sitting at a picnic table or gun table when shooting at a deer? Stand up, take a knee, or even sit down on the ground. Rifle ranges are set up to allow for hunters to shoot from different positions. Remember the rifle range is good for practice so we are safe in the field.

Prepare for Weather:
When packing for the season, thing of two things seasons that are in transition for Wisconsin. Summer and Winter otherwise known as fall. What this means is that we are most likely going to get one form of an extreme or another one or more of the days during the season. Start you packing by packing for the warm 60 degree weather we may get and then pack for the extreme Arctic’s. When you are packed for both you can almost assume you are done as you should be able to mix and match for the weather that pops up. Don’t forget, it will most likely rain or sleet one of the days so an extra pair of boots wont hurt.

Plan to Get Lost:
Note: The most experienced hunters tend to be the most vulnerable to get lost. Forget your pride and carry a compass. Becoming lost with the woods when you have favoring weather conditions is one thing. Becoming lost when the weather is 5 – 10 degrees below zero, that becomes very dangerous. If you got lost and its cold you will need to start a fire. Pack a zip lock bag of matches, a canteen, and a couple granola bars. This may be the bare necessities, but at least you will get through the night.

Plan to Communicate
With today’s radio, cell phone, GPS, etc…there should be no reason why you and your hunting party cannot stay in contact. As a party, come up with a communication plan and don’t be afraid to use it. You won’t scare deer away if it’s the simple use of a ear phone stuck in your ear. Having fun during the season is what it’s all about so don’t turn fun into tragedy because a party member is lost.

Safety First
Know your shooting lanes! Wear your safety harness! Don’t drive your ATV with a loaded gun! Know your surroundings! Be safe and enjoy this years whitetail season.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Treestand Safety Tips For This Years Deer Hunt

It never fails that when you listen to the news after the first weekend of the Wisconsin Whitetail Gun Deer Season you about experienced deer hunters falling out of their tree stand. For something as easy as slipping on a harness, we sure do take for granted our ability to be safe when hunting for that trophy buck. This year, let’s all be safe and prevent all unnecessary falls and deaths when getting in and out of our tree stands. Next season is just as important as this whitetail season.

Here are some tips and helpful notes to staying safe this year in the deer stand.

  • Use a well-designed and built, sturdy treestand. Treestands manufactured by the
  • Treestand Manufacturers Association [TMA] that have been built since 2006, are commercially designed and tested to meet recognized industry standards.
  • Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions on the use of your treestand before using it. You should practice using the treestand in the morning and evening hours. As the saying goes; practice makes perfect.
  • Carefully inspect your treestand for wear, rust, metal fatigue and cracks, loose or missing nuts or bolts, and rot and deterioration before and after each use. Tighten loose nuts and bolts and replace rusty or worn hardware. Check straps or chains or other attachment devices for wear, and replace if they are unsafe.
  • Check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission at to see if your stand has been recalled due to safety defects. In the search field type in the word “treestand”, then click on the link for your stand. Contact the manufacturer if it has been recalled.
  • Let other hunters in your party know where your stand is located. Leave a map on the dashboard and also the time you will return.
  • Put a whistle, horn, strobe, 2-way radio or a cell phone in your pack. Make sure it is properly charged or have fresh batteries.
  • Don’t move seriously injured victims; treat for shock, stop the bleeding, and go for help.
  • Wear a full-body safety harness and maintain three points of contact at all times.
  • PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE using your treestand and harness.
  • Inspect for damage to a stand before the season begins and before and after each use.
  • Securely attach stand to a healthy tree.
  • Read the instructions that came with the stand.
  • Always use a haul line for gear.
  • Tie a haul line to the belt or stand when climbing to keep hands free.
  • Unload gun or bow before climbing or descending stand.
  • Be especially careful using tree stands during rain, snow and ice conditions.
  • Don’t use treestands if you’re tired, sick or on medications.
  • And as always wear blaze orange in the stand when the season requires it.


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Rut is Not Over: November 6th, 2009

Some of you dedicated readers have asked me if I am starting to see rut activity slow down in the last week. I hunt in both northern Wisconsin and the Midwest area of Wisconsin so I will give reports for both.

I want to let you know that I hunt the northern part of Wisconsin, about 10 miles north of Rice Lake, and as of this morning, I received a report that there was a 10 point buck pushing does around in an open hay field.

I also hunt in the Midwest portion Wisconsin, 8 miles east of Eau Claire, and as of this morning, the stand that had new scent dropped on it Monday night now has two new rubs, and one new scrape.

With the upcoming weekend being in the 60 degree area, we may see a little slow down. That actually is good news if you can get out Sunday night or Monday. With a small resting period we should see a spike in traffic this coming week.

Good luck and let me know if you have any reports from your area you would like to include.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wisconsin DNR Open for Nominees for 13th Annual Ethical Hunter Award

EAU CLAIRE - With Wisconsin’s new mentored hunting law, youngsters 10 and 11 years old will be joining the upcoming gun deer hunt, carrying firearms under the close supervision of their mentors.

Each of these mentors has a big responsibility, and in a critical way so does every other gun hunter in the field this year, said warden supervisor Steve Dewald with the state Department of Natural Resources.

“We obviously want these youth to have a positive experience in their meetings with other hunters,” Dewald said. “These kids are at an impressionable age and what they see this year they will long remember. Our fondest hope is that these young people will be made to feel welcome in the community of hunters.”

And so everyone who hunts becomes a mentor. It has always been this way. And while a few violators will attract attention, thousands of hunter conservationists will quietly pursue their passion for wildlife this fall, following not only the rules but strict, personal codes of safety and responsibility.

To celebrate and honor these hunter conservationists, the state Department of Natural Resources and the La Crosse Tribune proudly announce the opening of nominations for the 13th annual Ethical Hunter Award.

“We are asking hunters to acknowledge ethical behavior in other hunters when they see it,” Dewald said.

Dewald, outdoor writer Jerry Davis and La Crosse Tribune outdoor editor Bob Lamb created the award in 1997 in an effort to bring attention to the positive contributions made by Wisconsin’s safe and ethical hunters.

“This is a statewide award, and every year we get nominations from all across Wisconsin,” Dewald said. “That’s a good sign.”

The award signifies the qualities of “hunters helping others rather than pursuing personal gain” and “hunters engaged in behavior that positively reflects on the tradition of hunting.”
Dewald encourages people who have nominated hunters in the past to consider whether the person they nominated would still qualify and to consider nominating that person again. There have been persons nominated in the past who would have won the award if nominated in a different year.

These stories that come in the mail illustrate what wildlife and law enforcement professionals already know – that positive and often admirable behavior is common among the majority of hunters, Dewald said.

The following are requirements to be eligible to receive the Ethical Hunter Award:
The nominee must be a licensed Wisconsin hunter.

The ethical hunting act must have taken place in Wisconsin during the 2009 calendar year.
Written nominations should contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses to the behavior that led to the nomination.

Written nominations should be sent to Warden Supervisor Steve Dewald at the Department of Natural Resources, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, WI 54601 by Jan. 15, 2010.

An 18-year-old Rhinelander hunter received the award last year for helping a young woman hunter whom he met out in the field to trail, field dress and retrieve a 17-point buck that she had shot but was unable to find.

Other award recipients in previous years have been recognized for:

  • assisting a conservation warden who was dealing with a dangerous subject
  • restoring wildlife habitat
  • making private lands available to new hunters
  • providing opportunities for disabled hunters
  • rendering aid to a citizen at a serious car accident
  • Special youth awards are also given to youngsters who hunt ethically.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Dewald, warden supervisor – (608) 785-9970 or Ed Culhane, a DNR communications specialist, at (715) 839-3715

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Spanish and Hmong translations of hunting regulations available

MADISON – Wisconsin’s 2009 Deer Hunting Regulations are now available in Spanish [pdf; 2.7MB] Hmong [pdf; 2.6MB] languages on the hunting and trapping regulations page of the Department of Natural Resources Web site. The 2009 Small Game Hunting Regulations, including the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 Turkey Regulations, are also available online in Spanish [pdf; 1.1MB] and Hmong [pdf; 1MB] on the DNR Web site.

The regualtion pamphlets are available in hard copy at license sales locations and DNR Service Centers.

Spanish and Hmong speaking customer service representatives also are available to answer questions on the DNR Information Line 1-888-WDNR –INFo (936-7463).

“Extending information sources and availability to Wisconsin’s Hispanic and Hmong communities in a variety of convenient formats is an important goal for our customer service and licensing team,” said Vance Rayburn, DNR’s administrator of customer services, licensing and information services. “Our Spanish and Hmong speaking customers have told us they greatly appreciate having their questions answered in their native language.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurel Steffes - (608) 266-8109 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources