Thursday, July 29, 2010

Operation Deer Watch’ kicks off August 1

Online reporting system will help track state’s deer population

MADISON – Beginning August 1, Wisconsin citizens will have a new opportunity to be part of managing white-tailed deer in Wisconsin. Dubbed Operation Deer Watch, people are being asked to record and report all deer they see between Aug 1 and Sept 30. Go to the Department of Natural Resources website [] and click on the Operation Deer Watch button to get started.

“All deer seen including bucks, does and fawns should be reported during this two month period,” said Jason Fleener, assistant DNR deer specialist. “The observations will be entered into a database and will be used to determine doe to fawn ratios, which are a part of the population estimation equation.”

Summer deer observations have always been part of the population estimation process, according to DNR biologists. The number of deer seen and the number of fawns seen with each doe are indicators of annual production in deer herds. In addition to deer seen, observers are asked to note date and location. Only deer seen between sunrise and sunset are to be counted.

In previous years, the observation period lasted three months and only state and federal biologists, foresters, law enforcement and other government staff participated.

“One of the recommendations of a panel of experts that that reviewed our deer population estimation model a few years back was to increase the number of observers and to shorten the summer deer observation period to two months from three,” said Fleener “We hope to capitalize on the intense public interest in Wisconsin’s whitetail deer population. It’s a great chance for the public to help keep an eye-on-the-herd and add a lot more observations to our database.

Operation Deer Watch is yet one more way in which the deer enthusiasts can help monitor the herd. In 2009, the department launched a hunter observation website that asked hunters to record observations from their trips in the woods. Valuable information on species distribution, as well as, data the number of hunting days, hunting hours and environmental conditions they experienced was gathered. Nearly 20,000 hunting trips were logged into the online database. In addition, similar new data questions were added to the deer registration form that successful hunters complete and this provided over 320,000 observations.

“We expect the value of these citizen-based monitoring efforts will grow with each additional year. We will be able to look at year-after-year changes that provide insights to our deer populations across Wisconsin” added Fleener.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Manwell – (608) 264-9248, Jason Fleener - (608) 261-or Jessica Rees - (608) 221-6360
Source: Wisconsin DNR, Weekly News Article Published: July 20, 2010 by the Central Office

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Register now for fall hunter education course

MADISON – Wisconsin hunters planning for the late-year seasons should register now for required hunter education certificate courses to avoid being sidelined this fall.
“Nearly all of the volunteer hunter education instructors are hunters themselves and enjoy hunting in the fall,” says Conservation Warden Tim Lawhern, who also serves as the state’s hunting education administrator. “The hunter education program offers about 1,200 courses every year, but very few of them are offered from October through December.
Every year Lawhern fields calls two weeks before the gun-deer season with hunter-hopefuls looking to fulfill the mandatory hunter education course. “More than 99 percent of our courses have already been offered by that time,” he says.
Anyone born on or after Jan.1, 1973, must have completed a hunter education course and show the certificate to purchase any hunting license in Wisconsin. Also, recreational safety students are required to obtain a Wisconsin DNR Customer ID Number before the completion of any recreational safety class and must provide that Customer ID Number to the instructor.
To find a course, visit the Department of Natural Resources Web site. Look under the heading of Recreational Safety Course – Upcoming Classes. If unsuccessful, check back as courses are added to the listing as instructors alert the DNR.
“In Wisconsin, we’ve reduced hunting accidents by 90 percent since the hunter education program began,” Lawhern says. “Hunting is safe -- and getting safer -- because of the volunteer instructors who teach hunter education and the number of our hunters who have now graduated from our courses. Sign up now while courses are being offered in your area.
“Remember, safe hunting is no accident,” he says.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern (608) 266-1317
Source: Wisconsin DNR

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wisconsin Continues to Advocate Wolf Delisting

Wisconsin’s gray wolf population at the close of the 2009-2010 winter is estimated to be 690 to 733 wolves, a roughly 10 percent increase over the 2008-2009 end-of-winter estimate of 626 to 662 wolves. The current estimate is more than twice the population goal prescribed by the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan.
Wolves continue to be listed as endangered in Wisconsin and elsewhere. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has attempted to remove the wolf from this list in portions of the Great Lakes states so that management could be handed over to the states.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources submitted a petition to the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging them to complete the delisting process and return management authority to the state. So far, attempts to delist the wolf have been blocked by the courts based on lawsuits brought by animal rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity, Help Our Wolves Live, Friends of Animals and Their Environment, and Born Free USA.
“Wisconsin has worked cooperatively with the Department of the Interior on wolf recovery for more than 30 years and has supported Interior’s recent efforts to delist the gray wolf,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “We believe, and scientific evidence supports, that delisting and transferring management of the wolf to Wisconsin is timely and will lead to improved management through effective action on problem wolves.”
With the growth of the wolf population in Wisconsin, there have been depredation problems with wolves killing livestock and hunting dogs. Although owners of livestock and hunting dogs have been compensated for their losses, additional management tools will allow better control of the population and greater protections for livestock and pet owners.
Deer hunters also question the impact wolves have on the number and distribution of deer, as evidenced by the fact that Wisconsin hunters harvested their lowest number of deer in 27 years during the 2009 season. The DNR estimates that wolves killed 13,000 deer in 2009. Researchers from DNR and the University of Wisconsin will be studying the impacts of predators (wolves, bears, coyotes and bobcats) on deer more intensely over the next three to five years.
The annual winter wolf count relies on aerial tracking of radio-collared wolves, trail cameras, and snow track surveys by DNR and volunteer trackers. Also included are wolf sightings by members of the public. The agency has conducted these counts since the winter of 1979-1980 when there were 25 wolves in the state.
A total of 180 wolf packs were detected in Wisconsin during the winter count consisting of at least 2 adult wolves each. Biologists found 30 packs distributed across central Wisconsin and 150 packs in northern Wisconsin. The largest packs in the state were the Moose Road Pack Douglas County with 11 wolves, the Crotte Creek Pack in Douglas County with nine wolves and the McArther Pine Pack in Forest County with nine wolves. At least 52 packs had five or more wolves in them.
The Wisconsin wolf population is considered to be one of the most closely monitored and managed animal species in the nation, according to Adrian Wydeven, a DNR conservation biologist and wolf specialist.
Wisconsin Offering E-mail Alerts on Wolf Activity

Dog trainers, pet owners and others interested in keeping track of recent wolf activity can now sign up for an e-mail or wireless service that will send an alert anytime wolves attack hunting dogs or pets.
The new feature relies on an easy-to-use service called GovDelivery. From the DNR home page search for “dog depredation by wolves” and follow the simple instructions for subscribing to the alerts. It is possible to unsubscribe at anytime.
The alert will be sent to a subscriber’s e-mail and/or wireless addresses of choice and will include a link to details of 2010 depredations and a caution map based on the location of any attacks. Wolves killed 23 dogs, including many hunting dogs, and injured 10 others in 2009, and 21 dogs were killed by wolves in 2008, according to the DNR.
Wisconsin’s dog training season opens July 1 and runs through Aug. 31 leading up to the opening of Wisconsin’s 2010 black bear season on Sept. 8. Bear season runs through Oct. 12. It is legal during this training period for hunters with a class A or B bear hunting license to train dogs on wild bear on public property open to bear-dog training.
“This new system will give dog trainers rapid alerts to problem areas with information that can help them avoid attacks on their dogs,” said Wydeven. “We will post new alerts just as soon as attacks are confirmed. We’ll also continue to maintain our wolf alert web pages with documentation of all attacks throughout the current season.”
Wolves with pups leave the den area where the pups were born and occupy one or more rendezvous sites within the pack territory during summer months. A wolf pack changes rendezvous sites somewhat unpredictably but will defend the current site and pups from any hunting dogs that get too close.
Alerts on other topics are also available through the GovDelivery feature. At the DNR home page select “Subscribe to DNR Updates” and select the topics you want to follow.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of July 1, 2010

State conservation wardens and specialized deputy wardens known as “Water Guards” will be out in full force over the Fourth of July holiday weekend to educate boaters and anglers about a new invasive species law that makes it illegal to leave a boat launch and drive on public roads with aquatic plants and animals attached to boats, trailers, or equipment. The new law is aimed at reducing the spread of zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil and other aquatic invasive species. Also, state park and forest officials are reminding visitors that most types of fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests.

After a very wet end of June, things have started to dry out, and most state parks and forests are reporting trails are open to most users; however, some mountain bike, ATV or horseback trails could still be closed due to wet conditions, so call ahead before heading out to make sure your favorite state park or forest trail is open this weekend. Many of the major river systems in the state continue to run at very high levels. Paddlers are being advised that some whitewater stretches are running fast and dangerous. Waterfall viewing is currently spectacular at Pattison, Copper Falls and other northern state parks. The lower Wisconsin River is very high and many sandbars are currently underwater.
The erratic weather and increased water levels continued to make for some very inconsistent fishing. Musky action has been slowly picking up on northern lakes. Walleye have been especially tough to find with just a few reports of success. Fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been slow. The typical summer pattern of associating with thick cover has not fully developed yet, and most largemouth have still been found along weed edges and in the lily pad beds. Panfish have provided the most consistent success, with quite a few nice crappie being found along with some decent bluegill and perch.
Along Lake Michigan, strong south and west winds last week brought in cooler water near shore creating great fishing conditions for pier anglers. Water temperatures near the lakeshore dropped to 58 to 61 degrees. Two Rivers pier anglers landed several 8-10 pound rainbows with a few browns and chinook salmon reported. Angles at the Manitowoc piers had success fishing for chinook salmon. Action out on the lake for trollers was mixed, with some ports reporting continued success for chinook along with some coho and rainbows, but other reporting action slowed.
The Mississippi River rose rapidly this week. The river stage was at 11.39 feet at Prairie du Chien Monday and was forecast to reach about the 13 foot mark. Flood stage is 16 feet. Boaters are urged to use caution on the Mississippi River as the rising water pulled some trees and debris off shorelines, with those obstructions now floating down the river. The heavy current, dirty water and floating debris and weeds caused problems for anglers, but some pretty decent bluegill action was still reported in the backwaters and walleye and sauger were still being found along wing dams.
Wood and Blanding’s turtles are still being seen making their way to nesting sites in the north. The young from second clutches of rabbits and squirrels are venturing from their nests. The giant Canada geese that nest in Wisconsin have begun molting. The adult geese will remain flightless until about the time the goslings gain the ability to fly.
Raspberries and blueberries are ripe in the north and a very good crop is being reported. Coneflowers, butterfly weed, beard-tongue, hoary vervain, prairie larkspur, brown- and black-eyed susans and yarrow are all blooming.
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - After a very wet month of June things are starting to dry off…at least for now. Mushrooms are certainly liking the damp conditions as they seem to be popping up everywhere. Lawns have liked the damp conditions also; the grass has been growing very fast and it has seemed to be a difficult task to mow the lawn between the rainfalls. The Bois Brule River is almost back to average river flow after the rain from last week. It was flowing around 470 cfs but has gone back down to 176 cfs as of July 1. The 65 year average is 151 cfs. Turtles are still laying eggs…and many times crossing roadways to do so. Some turtles such as the wood and Blandings turtles take 15 years to reach maturity. If seen crossing the road, motorists are encouraged to move the turtle across the road in the direction that they were traveling (as long as the traffic conditions are safe). With the Fourth of July coming up the Brule River State Forest wishes to remind people that it is illegal to set off fireworks in Wisconsin State Parks and Forests. Sparklers are okay to use but anything that goes "boom", is self propelled, or has flames coming out is considered illegal. This law is in effect to protect the fireworks users, other recreationists, and the natural resources.
Pattison State Park - The waterfalls at Pattison State Park are flowing at extremely high levels due to recent rains. This is providing some of the best summer scenic views in quite a number of years. The recent rains have also cause an increase in E. coli levels at Interfalls Lake, resulting in the beach being closed. New samples have been taken, so call the park before coming to swim to see if we have been able to reopen the beach. Nightly naturalist programs are being offered each day, so call the park for a list of programs.
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Big Bay State Park - Campground and trails are drying out. There are plenty of fawns out and about. The first of the raspberries are ripe. The blueberries are abundant and starting to ripen. The highs have been in the lower 70s with the lows dropping down to the 40s. Access to Madeline Island and the park are usually done with the use of Madeline Island Ferry Line service. The ferries depart from Bayfield and carry passengers and vehicles of all sizes. They run 7 days per week. The frequency varies depending on the time of year. Contact Madeline Island Ferry lines through the internet at
Copper Falls State Park – More than 4 inches of rainfall over the past week has made waterfall viewing excellent. River levels are higher than they have been for the past three years. Because of the rainfall trail conditions are wet. All trails remain open and are drying out. The Doughboy's Trail, the trail around Copper Falls, is in excellent condition and very popular with high water levels. Campers are encouraged to make reservations as campgrounds will remain near capacity through Labor Day weekend.
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Tuscobia State Trail – The gravel surface is in good condition. Visitors are reporting lots of great wildlife viewing, including grouse broods, fawns, bears and an abundance of flora.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The erratic weather and increased water levels on Northwoods lakes has made for some very inconsistent fishing success in the last week. Musky have been the favorite target species lately and action has been slowly picking up. Weed lines and sparse weed beds have been productive areas, with jerk baits and slow-moving surface baits providing the best action. Quite a few small and medium-size fish in the 30- to 40-inch size have been seen and hook-ups are becoming more frequent. The increased water levels and addition of a lot of stained water to the lakes and flowages really seems to have disrupted the walleye and bass bite across the Northwoods. Walleye have been especially tough to find and just a few reports of success have been coming in. The best action has come on leeches and crawlers that have been fished over and in the mid-depth weed beds. Fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been slow, with success for largemouth being a bit better than for smallies. For largemouth, success has been only been fair and most of the fish have been in the 12- to 15-inch size. The typical summer pattern of associating with thick cover has not fully developed yet, and most largemouth have still been found along weed edges and in the lily pad beds. Smallmouth bass have been especially erratic in last few weeks, with the best action being found around hard bottom and deeper water woody structure. Panfish have provided the most consistent success, with quite a few nice crappie being found along emergent weed edges and over mid-depth cover. Some decent bluegill and perch are also being caught and most have been found around deeper cover and along the deep weed edges.
Flambeau River State Forest - The ATV trail from Oxbo south is currently closed but expected to be open for the July 4th weekend. Feel free to call the office for an update 715-332-5271 ext. 101. The North Fork of the Flambeau River is at an above normal flow and making for some great paddling. The South Fork is still high and parts of it definitely only an experienced paddler should attempt, please use caution.
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland American Legion State Forest - Water levels are still low on some area lakes, making boating with some of the larger boats difficult and launching them at some of the landings questionable. Small and non motorized watercraft still has many exploratory and fishing options. Water temperatures are quickly rising for the swimming enthusiast and pan fishers. The spring migrants are now defending territories and raising young, with many warblers being seen and heard. Campers will be serenaded by robins, hermit thrushes and rose breasted grosbeaks in the early morning and late evening. The forest is alive with its summer inhabitants. Daisies, hawk weed and water lilies are painting the landscape. Trail conditions are great at this time and be sure to bring along necessary protection from ticks and insects, if used.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Fishing pressure this past week has been light due to rain and winds. Water clarity has suffered due to the run off. Temperatures at the landings are in the low to mid 70s, with the rivers running high and fast.
Marinette County - The Peshtigo Harbor catfish bite remains good, with the occasional smallmouth also reported. Worms and cut bait has been working well, enough weight must be employed to keep your bait on bottom. The Menominee River has been producing some nice catfish in the 3 to 6 pound range for anglers trolling crawler/harness. The evening bite for walleye has still been good. The bay is producing some nice salmon for anglers fishing fly/flasher and spoons in 60 feet of water off the mouth of the river and by Green Island.
Oconto County - Stiles Dam was still producing some panfish up by the dam along with some red horse suckers being caught on worms and night crawlers. Angles at the Oconto Breakwater report some nice catches of walleye caught by drifting and jigging along the weed beds in 12 feet of water. Some perch were also being caught in 9 to 12 feet of water in the weeds; however, the fish are running small. Oconto Park II angles also reported walleye and some perch activity.
Governor Thompson State Park - Flowers on the hiking trails are blooming, and there have been reports of baby fawns, bear cubs and fox kit sightings. Berry pickers along the road report blue berries are now ripening.
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - Strong south and west winds throughout the week brought in cooler water near shore creating great fishing conditions for pier anglers. Water temperatures near the lakeshore ranged from 58-61 degrees, with temperatures reaching nearly 65 degrees in 80 feet of water. Air temperatures through the week ranged in the upper 70s to low 80s. Scattered thunderstorms and heavy rain during the week slowed fishing at times, but with local fishing derbies approaching, many went out undeterred. Success of boaters at the ramps rose slightly to average 3-5 fish per boat. Out of Two Rivers, most fish appear to be coming into shallower waters, anywhere from 40 to 100 feet range. Some success has been out as deep as 120 feet. Most the boating pressure remains north of the trap nets off the lighthouse, with some boats fishing inside the trap nets off Two Rivers. Very few boats have tried fishing the pier heads, but that should pick up any day now. The fishing straight out of Manitowoc from 65-80 feet has been the hotspot for boaters during the week. South of Manitowoc, fishing has slowed down with only a few fish being caught. Out of both ports, coolers consisted of mostly chinook salmon with a few small rainbows and lake trout. The salmon have been relatively small compared to the last few weeks, with only a few fish in the 14-16 pound range being reported. The rainbows and lake trout caught were in the 3-5 pound range. Blue flasher/aqua fly and green dodger/green fly combinations remains the common theme for success out of both ports on the down riggers and pump handles. Green glow, blue/silver, and orange spoons have been successful both on the dypsies, down riggers, and high lines for salmon and rainbows. By the weekend, the Two Rivers’ piers heated up with anglers landing several 8-10 pound rainbows with a few browns and chinook salmon also reported. On the Manitowoc piers, first signs have been seen of successful pier fishing for chinook salmon. Several chinook have been caught during the morning hours, with a few rainbow and brown trout mixed in. Cleos, dare devils, and crocodile spoons took the majority of rainbows using an assortment of colors. Fishing off bottom also worked using shiners, alewife, or any other kind of bait fish that could be netted. No specific specie or size worked better than another. For salmon, 3/4 oz. champs have taken several of the fish. A few perch remain a common sight off both Manitowoc piers, with many anglers keeping 3-4 perch averaging 7-10 inches. Using minnows or crab-tails has brought the best angling success. A few ventured out for the opening of the perch season, with only a handful being caught of which all were very small. Chartreuse jig heads with a small plastic tail of several colors has been working with no live bait. The perch fishing in the area will only get better.
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - Some wet and gnarly weather continued into the fourth week of June, but many anglers were still seen hitting the water. An intense storm cell hit the Egg Harbor area in the middle of the week causing some fallen trees near the Bay. Spotty storms and some patches of fog over the weekend caused some difficulty for anglers; however, good catches were still being reported. Salmon fishing remains steady county wide with many nice coolers coming in out of Sturgeon Bay on the Bank Reef and north out of Bailey’s Harbor. With some of the inclement weather water temperatures have been somewhat erratic, but most success has been had fishing 70-100 feet down in 120-130 feet of water. Flasher and fly combos have been a popular choice with some rainbow trout and lake trout still showing up sporadically. Perch fishing has remained hit or miss in the bay; however, anglers were still working hard for their catches. Some anglers have been bottom bouncing minnows while drifting very slowly along weed edges and the edge of the shipping canal, hoping to land on a school to stay on top of. Although numbers have been lower, some very nice size fish have been seen with some regularity. Walleye fishing and smallmouth bass fishing pressure has reduced in the most recent weeks with the salmon fishing going well, but fish can still be found trolling crank baits and crawler harnesses along the flats and along the shorelines around the county.
Peninsula State Park – Heavy and sustained rain over recent weeks has resulted in standing and flowing water across significant portions of Eagle Trail. Park staff are in the process of investigating the condition of other trails and making necessary repairs. The Sunset Bicycle Trail is in good condition. The off-road bicycle trails are open to riding, but may be wet in some sections. Please report impassable trails to park staff. Harebell, herb Robert, and bittersweet nightshade are currently in bloom. Visitors have observed flocks of white pelicans along the shoreline, and bald eagles have been seen frequently perched atop trees along the bluff near Eagle Tower. Ruby-throated hummingbirds visit the White Cedar Nature Center’s feeders throughout the day. Peninsula is currently keeping a record of all salamander observations. Please report any salamander sightings to the White Cedar Nature Center. The bat boxes attached to the exterior of the Welcker’s Point shelter building are home to a nursery colony of little brown and big brown bats. Bats can be observed exiting the bat boxes nightly, approximately 30 minutes after sunset. Nicolet Beach is open for swimming. Concessions and rentals are available daily. Flush toilets and showers at Nicolet Beach are undergoing replacement and not available.

Kewaunee County - The weather this week was not very cooperative with the anglers. Scattered thunderstorms with high winds hammered Kewaunee County throughout the week and limited the boats that launched from the boat launches. One benefit of the storms was that they brought a southwestern wind that helped cool the water temperatures down to about 62 degrees at the surface. The fishing in Kewaunee has been very sporadic this week with a few boats reporting catching limits in the morning but other boats returning empty handed. The boats having the most success seem to be catching the majority of their fish around 4:30-5 a.m. and have been on both dodger/fly combinations and spoons. The most successful spoon color seems to be glow green and orange. The most successful dodger/fly colors seem to be green dodger/green fly and blue dodger/ aqua fly. The anglers on the Kewaunee pier braved many of the storms but didn’t yield much success. The fishing seems to be better in the late evening around 9 p.m. The majority of hits have been on spoons that are green/silver or blue/silver. The pier fishing in Algoma has slowed down this week with a few rainbow trout being caught but have been few and far between. There have been reports of schools of alewives being spotted of the pier but the high water temperatures (64 degrees) seem to be slowing the catch. Fishing out of Algoma continued to be slow this week but the fish being caught seem to be in depths ranging from 70-130 feet of water with many of the fish being caught deep. The fish being netted seem to be smaller than average with most King Salmon averaging about 8-10 pounds and the rainbows are averaging about 4-6 pounds. The action appears to be split between spoons and flies with the best color green glow for spoons and blue flasher/aqua fly combinations.

Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit - All horse, mountain bike, and hiking trails are open. However, due to recent rains there may be some muddy areas. The Greenbush mountain bike loop 4 is expected to be completed in late summer. Long Lake and Mauthe Lake beaches and swimming areas are open. Fishing piers and boat launches are in. Mosquitoes and horse flies have been active in the forest. Deer are on the move, and turkey broods are being reported. Be careful - wild parsnip is beginning to bloom!
Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit - Last week, severe storms made their way through the Eagle area. The forest was very lucky and sustained only minor tree damage. All campgrounds are open. Expect trail conditions to be muddy. The mosquito population has exploded after the large amount of rain we have received. Be sure to bring bug repellant. Mountain biking and horseback riding Trails are open. If there is a significant rainfall, riders are asked to refrain from using the trails to help preserve the trail conditions. Please call the Trail Information Line for the most current trail conditions.
Kohler-Andrae State Park - All hiking and nature trails are open. Turtles are busy crossing roadways. Monarch and red admiral butterflies are fluttering about. Black eyed Susan flowers are blooming. The Wisconsin Great Lakes Beach testing conditions can be found at
Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - – In Sheboygan trollers have been catching chinook, coho, and rainbow trout. Most fish have been caught from 35 to 50 feet of water. Spoons and flies fished 20 feet down have been productive. Shore fishing in Sheboygan has been good, with chinook, rainbows, and coho caught off both piers. Spoons have taken the most fish.
Ozaukee County - Trollers in Port Washington have found a mixed bag of fish between 35 and 90 feet of water. Good numbers of chinook, coho, rainbows, and a few browns have been hitting spoons or flashers and flies, and fish have been from the surface to 50 feet down. Shore anglers in Port Washington have been catching perch on jigs and minnows fished off the harbor side of the pier. Anglers fishing the lake side of the pier have been catching rainbows, chinook, and a few browns on alewives. Boaters fishing for perch in Port have been catching fair numbers on fathead minnows at the south pier.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee trollers have been catching coho and chinook, along with a few rainbows and lake trout. Spoons have taken the majority of fish, and the best colors have been watermelon, white, and blue. The most consistent depths recently have been 40 to 60 feet of water, and most fish have been caught straight east of the harbor or north off the filtration plant. The hours before sunrise and after dark have been most productive for trollers. For shore anglers in Milwaukee, the most consistent spot has been McKinley pier. Live alewives fished off the bottom have taken browns and chinook, and perch have been taken on plastics. Boaters launching at Bender Park and fishing for perch have been catching good numbers at the boils off South Milwaukee, and near the Oak Creek Power Plant. Small minnows fished about a foot off the bottom have produced.
Racine County - In Racine trollers have been catching decent numbers of coho and chinook. Fish have been near shore, and the best catches have come in less than 60 feet of water. Shore fishing in Racine has been good the past several days, despite the muddy water being discharged from the Root River. The north pier has had the clearest water, but the fewest fish. Perch fishing has been fair to good, with fish being caught in nearly all manners from south pier all the way to the wastewater treatment plant. Along with the perch, there have been browns, rainbows and even a few coho hooked recently, many by those targeting perch and spoons accounted for the remainder. For those fishing in boats, the perch bite has been fair to good, with the breakwalls and the bubbler providing good action at times. Minnows and crab tails have both produced, as have jigs.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha the trolling bite remains consistent, with good catches coming from as shallow as 40 feet of water, to as deep as 100 feet or more. Nearly all methods have produced fish at times. Fishing in the Kenosha harbor has been improving steadily, especially in the evening hours and into the night. Silver & green spoons as well as glow in the dark have been catching fish, as have tube jigs. Most fish have been brown trout, and activity has been good from the Best Western all the way out to the ends of the piers. Perch fishing has been slow from the piers, but better from Southport marina, especially in the early morning hours. Live bait has accounted for a large number of perch. Boats out for perch have been having a good bite in the mornings. Minnows have been the most consistent producer, but others are having luck with jigs and plastic.

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Devil’s Lake State Park - No swimmer’s itch has been reported yet this summer. No hiking trails have been affected by recent heavy rains however mountain biking trails are closed. Sunday, June 27, a free concert by the Castaways will be held on the North Shore.
Governor Nelson State Park - The lake level is slightly higher than usual. Panfishing has been good with and bluegill being plentiful. Blue bird monitoring efforts have recorded 25 bluebirds fledged with 9 eggs left to hatch. A fawn was spotted in the park, being only 10 inches high, described as adorable with beautiful coloring and all of its dots and estimated around two weeks. The mosquitoes do pose a problem in the evening, however ticks have never been an issue and nothing has yet to break that trend. Visitors can hear frogs near the water but they are proving difficult to actually see. The prairie is blooming beautifully with early summer flowers, and in the evening is covered with fireflies, a beautiful sight to see. Flowers in bloom include the ox-eyed sunflower, the pale purple cone flower, and the Joe-Pye weed, and the bright orange butterfly weed. The pale purple cone flower covers the savanna trail, painting it a lavender color. The Joe-Pye weed can grow anywhere between 6 and 8 feet with lavender/pink flowers. This year hosts the biggest compass plant bloom in 7 years, thought to be due to an early wet spring. For berry pickers, raspberries are plentiful.
Lake Kegonsa State Park - There have been record numbers of blue bird sightings coupled with the blooming of the prairies. The Prairie Trail did suffer damage from the recent heavy rains, so please use with caution. Mosquitoes are getting heavier, and the lake has seen quite a bit of blue green algae.
Military Ridge Trail – The trail has had it's share of rain. Staff is doing it's best to repair any small erosion concerns and remove any brush/tree branch encroachments. Construction of a new informational kiosk is going on at Riley by the Friend's of the Military Ridge Trail. When complete, it will provide eight panels of information and history about the area, railroad, trail, Aldo Leopold, local flora and fauna. It will be a great addition.
Jefferson County - Recent warm weather has fueled the growth of noxious blue-green algae on Lake Kegonsa and this has prompted advisories to avoid swimming in areas blanketed with this type of algae. On the morning of June 29, most of the lake’s surface area was reported to have been supporting heavy blue green algae growth which can have a paint slick or pea soup like appearance. Such blooms can be a moving target, since wind and wave action can often make a bloom disappear or appear quickly. Blue-green algae, technically known as Cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in Wisconsin lakes, streams and ponds at low levels. When conditions are favorable, massive blooms can appear. Some species produce toxins that, with exposure, can harm the skin (rashes, lip blistering), liver or nervous systems of people, pets, livestock and wildlife. It can also produce sore throats, headaches, muscular and joint pain and gastro-intestinal symptoms. In rare cases, the toxins can be fatal to animals although not all blue green algae produce toxins. Anyone who is experiencing such symptoms should contact their clinic or physician. For more information on blue-green algae, check out the DNR’s website at

Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County
Willow River State Park - Wild turkey poults are out with their mothers. The poults are about the size of a large grapefruit. The other wildlife newsmaker was observed by park staff early this week; two badgers were on the White-Tail trail on Monday. Given all the rain, there is an abundant crop of raspberries on the way and the sand blackberries are coming along well. Bugs are not a problem in the camping areas. The group camp has quite a bit of firewood cut from dead trees. The Willow River and Little Falls Lake should be at normal levels for the weekend. This area missed most of the really heavy rain.
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
The young from second clutches of rabbits and squirrels are venturing from their nests. Oftentimes rabbits and squirrels will give birth to two or three broods each year, with four to six young per brood. Early broods tend to number on the higher side of the range: later broods on the smaller side of the range. Both of these mammals are extremely productive species. It is also molting time for giant Canada geese, the race of Canada geese that nest in Wisconsin. Molting takes place in brooding areas, typically marshes or ponds. The adult geese will remain flightless until about the time the goslings gain the ability to fly. Another interesting tidbit is that non-breeding giant Canada geese travel to northern Ontario to molt.
Perrot State Park - Trails are in good condition. Water levels are very low. Fishing is a real challenge and patience is important. The drawdown on Pool 6 is expected to result in the water levels in the bay being about 10-12 inches below normal, once the extra rain waters exit the river system. Thanks to lots and lots of rain, the mosquito hatch is expected to be impressive in the next week or so. Campers are advised to remember their bug spray since there is none to be purchased in Trempealeau. Summer has arrived and the following can be seen in the park: wild quinine, coneflowers, butterfly weed, hoary alyssum, tall beard-tongue, large-flowered beard-tongue, hoary vervain, prairie larkspur, brown-eyed susans and yarrow. Raspberries and mulberries are ripe all over the park and blackberries aren't far behind. There will be a Fourth of July weekend Trading Encampment at the park. Several local reenactors will be setting up a trading camp near the Nature Center on Friday, July 2, in the evening and remaining in the encampment through Monday morning. Visitors are encouraged to stop by and chat with these folks from history to learn a bit about life in the 1700’s. Possible demonstrations include: wood carving, pipestone carving, trade blankets, musket firing, flint knapping, hawk throwing and knife throwing. On Saturday, July 3, at 2 p.m. there will be a program on the Life of an 18th Century Soldier. Meet Rene Godefroy de Linctot, an early French fur trader, part-time soldier visiting the Rendezvous Encampment near the Nature Center. Learn about this tough lifestyle that required guts and determination. On Sunday, July 4, 2 p.m.: Ancient People, Magnificent Mounds Come learn about the early pre-historic people we call Mound Builders. Phil Palzkill will start with a short video, which will be followed by discussion and a short, optional hike to nearby mounds.

Great River State Trail - The trail is open and in good condition. Turtles are frequently seen sunning themselves below the bridges and warblers are hiding along the edges of the trail. Raspberries, mulberries and blackberries are ripe along the trail for those with sharp eyes! The water levels on the backwaters are very high due to recent rains.

Wildcat Mountain State Park - Trails are wet and muddy from recent rains - Trails will be drying out with sunny weather predicted this week. The water level for canoeing the Kickapoo River is good. Canoe rentals, shuttles are available nearby in the Village of Ontario.
Crawford County - A large amount of rain fell in the last 10 days. The Crawford County area didn’t receive as much rain as areas north. However, local rivers are being affected. Heavy rains fell in the upper basins of the Mississippi, Kickapoo, and Wisconsin rivers. Water levels locally have risen substantially. The Mississippi River rose rapidly this week. Last week at this time the river stage was at 9.73 feet at Mc Gregor. The Mississippi River was at 11.39 feet this week and rising. The forecast is for a continued rise to about the 13 foot mark, which is considered the “action” stage. Flood stage is at 16 feet. The Kickapoo River rose rapidly too. Last week the river stage in Gays Mills and Steuben was at 7.37 and 7.44 feet respectively; this week it was up to 11.15 and 11.4 feet respectively. It appears that the Kickapoo might have crested and is on its way down. The Wisconsin River has been up and down quite a bit this week. The river stage in Muscoda was 2.85 feet this week. Canoers and kayakers who spend the night camping on the Wisconsin River must make sure they secure their watercraft so it doesn’t drift away over night. Local trout streams are running high and a bit dirty. They are expected to clear up within a couple days. Boaters are urged to use caution on the Mississippi River as the rising water had caused some trees and debris to be pulled off the shorelines. Those obstructions are now floating down the river. Keep a sharp eye open and slow down. The “slow-no-wake” zone on the Mississippi River is in effect for the summer boating season. The main channel is marked with buoys in the Mc Gregor Iowa area. Carp are actively spawning in the backwaters. Bow fishers have been taking advantage of it. Fishing has been disrupted due to the high water. Heavy current, dirty water and floating debris and weeds are causing problems for anglers. Anglers have been finding some pretty decent bluegill action in the backwaters in the flooded timber and vegetation where the water recently flooded. Access to those areas by boat is tough. Most of the traditional bluegill fishing areas are now seeing strong current, even in the backwater lakes and sloughs. Horseshoe Lake and Sawmill Slough have produced some “gills”. Try finding weed edges with clear water and no current. Some decent perch have been taken along the deeper weed edges. Primarily anglers are using a chunk of night crawlers on a dead line. Crappie action has been very spotty to slow. White bass action has been very spotty with this high water. Some white bass action can be found along wing dams and up near the Lynxville dam. The high water has disrupted action a bit; however, anglers can still find plenty of action. Look for smallmouth bass on wing dams close to shore, on closing dams, and rocky shorelines. The Wisconsin River has seen some very good smallmouth bass action. Largemouth bass were also being caught all over the place. Look for “bucket mouths” in the weeds, weed edges, and in the timber. A variety of artificial baits have worked. Even with the high water walleye and sauger were being taken. Angler will have to move around a bit and try different tactics. Wing dams are probably the best bet, although some the deeper back water sloughs are producing fish. Drifting with live bait (leeches or nightcrawlers) and trolling are the most popular tactics. Areas to check for walleye and sauger would be up near the Lynxville dam, McDonald’s Slough, the “S” curve by Harper’s Ferry Slough, wing dams, Roseau Slough, and the Wisconsin River. Up on Pool 9 near Lynxville and Ferryville try the Deer Island complex and the area of the main channel by Lansing. It probably goes without saying, but sheepshead (freshwater drum) are very active, even in the rising water. Sheepshead are being caught on night crawlers throughout the area. Catfish, both channel and flathead had been good. However fishing conditions are a bit tough as most cats are caught fishing off the bottom. Floating weeds and other debris makes that type of fishing difficult. Fishing conditions aren’t the best, but even so anglers are finding decent action. Fly fishers, spinners and live bait are working well even with the high water. Trout anglers will find insect pests and shoreline vegetation might cause some problems. Gnats, deer flies, horse flies and mosquitoes are out. Poison ivy, parsnip and stinging nettle are also out. Some of the early season grasses are starting to seed out already. Black cap raspberries are ready for the picking. Black bear sightings are starting to slow down now that the corn and other vegetation is growing up. Area residents should not be overly concerned, however pet food, garbage cans and bird feeders should be secured or removed so the bears don’t make a habit of returning to those areas.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest- All trails have been groomed in the last week and are in good condition to ride. The area received a lot of rain in the past few weeks resulting in a few wet patches on the trail. Repairs on the section south of the Highway 54 lot to Wildcat Road will be finished on June 30. After this date through Labor Day only smaller repairs will occur on the trail system with no associated trail closings. The state forest and Jackson County will not be participating in the utility terrain vehicle (UTV) pilot this year but are considering it for 2011. This year we will be assessing our trail for the feasibility of adding UTVs in the future. At a minimum we would need to improve signage and to establish a speed limit for the trail system.
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Brunet Island State Park – Wild bergamot, brown eyed susans, lesser daisy fleabane, the water lilies, some of the aster varieties, orange hawkweed, wild columbine, ox eye daisy, wooly yarrow, blackberry and raspberry vines are flowering. The common and wood strawberry are producing fruit. Species of birds seen or heard include: hooded mergansers, common loons, belted kingfishers, sandhill cranes, golden finches, red polls, mallard and bufflehead ducks, red winged blackbirds, phoebes, Canada geese, robins, mourning doves, nuthatches, ravens, black capped chickadees, piliated woodpeckers, great horned owls, and barred owls.
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Many visitors have been enjoying the warm weather swimming at the beach. People have been catching fish from the pier and at their campsites. Trails are in great condition for hiking with the warmer weather and many visitors have been camping, picnicking and fishing. Butterfly weed is blooming in the park. There are still some lingering mosquitoes so it is a good idea to bring bug spray. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent - check at park office for fees and to rent them. An accessible kayak and beach wheelchair is available for persons with disabilities to use for free - ask at the park office.
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Some coneflowers are just beginning to open. The butterfly weed is just showing a little orange on the buds. The stairway up the bluff is closed due to deteriorating lumber. A $354,600 project to replace it has been approved. We expect to seek bids for the project sometime this year. The petroglyph viewing platform at the base of the mound is still open and several miles of hiking trails are available.

Source: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin and Illinois ink cooperative agreement addressing CWD in deer

MADISON – Wisconsin and Illinois have reached agreement on guidelines for cooperative management of chronic wasting disease (CWD), the fatal neurological disease of deer that has been confirmed in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois counties.

“The wildlife in question – whitetail deer – obviously don’t recognize state lines,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “Science is telling us that we are dealing with a single widespread occurrence of CWD so it makes sense that we cooperate with our neighbors to the south in working to control its spread to healthy deer.”

The agreement, referred to as a memorandum of understanding or MOU, identifies mutual goals for managing CWD. Wisconsin and Illinois also will develop a cooperative plan they hope will lead to a more effective and ultimately successful management program.

Wildlife biologists and wildlife health experts from Illinois and Wisconsin DNRs have been talking and sharing experiences for many years. A formal agreement signed by the two agency leaders will benefit both states by making efforts both more efficient and cost effective.

Both states have identified reducing deer densities and limiting geographic spread of the disease through herd reduction strategies as important goals. Cross-border research opportunities will be explored and the states plan to share common public messages relative to outreach and education about CWD. Staff is authorized to assist the other state when needed in CWD control activities when expected results are considered mutually beneficial. Data sharing in particular will be helpful to identifying the most effective management strategies.

“The ultimate goal in this effort is to preserve the health and quality of our white-tailed deer resource and the traditions associated with deer viewing and hunting for now and for generations to come,” said Frank.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Davin Lopez – (608) 267-2948

Source: Wisconsin DNR

Collared bears get the attention of researchers and homeowners

Another intereting article not related to whitetail hunting but still interesting to hunter nonetheless.

EAU CLAIRE – The young black bear hanging around Eau Claire's southeast side for the past couple weeks has been a bit troublesome, but it has one feature making it especially valuable to wildlife researchers who are asking the public for tolerance and cooperation.
This bear is wearing a sporty black and brown collar worth more than $2,000. But its real value is in the information being stored on a digital memory card inside the collar. Every day, the collar takes a location reading from GPS satellites and records it. At the end of a full year, sometime next March, researchers will recover the collar, if all goes well, and they will be able to precisely chart the young bear’s movements through the seasons.
It is part of a years-long study into the dispersal patterns of young black bears. The collared bear in Eau Claire was born in a den near Mead Lake in Clark County, about 50 miles to the east. It is one of 10 yearling bears in central and western Wisconsin that were fitted with collars this past March.
For this reason, researchers are hoping the Eau Claire bear will not need to be trapped and relocated, because if that happens, its value to researchers is lost.
“We are interested in what kinds of habitat they are moving through and what they are not moving through,” said Karl Malcolm, a researcher with the University of Wisconsin. “That’s why these bears that are showing up in people’s back yards are rather interesting.”
If wildlife or law enforcement officials determine a bear is a threat to public safety, it will quickly be captured, study or no study. Such situations, fortunately, are rare.
Malcolm, by the way, is willing to come and speak to any group of homeowners, big or small, interested in learning more about the bear study.
Another of these collared bears was hanging around in Chippewa Falls in recent weeks, causing telephones to ring, but that bear has moved on and was last located near Durand. In fact, it has been moving along so quickly that researchers have temporarily lost track of its signal.
“I would appreciate it, if anyone sees a bear wearing a collar, that they call the DNR,” said Mike Gappa of Eau Claire, a retired DNR biologist and bear expert who has been assisting Malcolm with the study.
Biologists said conflicts between bears and humans are almost always associated with food or items that smell of food left outdoors. Bears have an extremely powerful sense of smell and they tend to follow their noses. Bowls of pet food, garbage left out overnight and bird feeders are major attractions, so the DNR is asking residents in any area where a bear shows up to remove any food sources. This will make it less likely that the bear will become habituated to humans, and more likely that the bear will move out of the area on its own, allowing the researchers to continue to follow its movements.
Gappa put the collar on the Eau Claire bear this past March when it was denned up with its mother. In addition to the 10 yearling bears with collars, seven sows are wearing less expensive collars that simply emit a radio signal so they can be located late next winter.
A sow bear breeds every two years, generally around June. In the first winter after breeding, the cubs are born in January. They will stay with the mother through the following summer and winter, but when it is time for the sow to breed again the yearling bears are sent off on their own to make a life.
Typically the young females don’t wander too far, researchers said, but the young males have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of territory they can call their own.
The bear in Eau Claire has been troublesome because it seems more habituated to humans than the average bear. It hasn’t threatened anyone, nor has it acted aggressively, but it sometimes needs more than the usual encouragement to move along. It can easily shelter in the heavily wooded Otter Creek corridor which runs behind homes, schools and businesses in the area east of U.S. 53 and north of Prill Road (County AA.)
Under a 2007 state law, any homeowner who knows or should know that a bear is coming to an outside feeder is required to remove that food source for a minimum of 30 days. Biologists point out that birds do not benefit from bird feeders once the snow melts in the spring.
For everyone’s benefit, researchers and homeowners alike, it would be best if the Eau Claire bear moves along and finds a better place to hang out, preferably not in someone’s yard.
“Take down the bird feeders,” Gappa pleaded. “Try to get that animal to move on.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kris Belling, DNR regional wildlife supervisor, (715) 839-3736 or Ed Culhane, DNR communications, (715) 839-3715

New rules in place to control feral pigs, wolf-dog hybrids and mute swans

So I know this isnt a whitetail article, but its a pretty intersting news release that most hunters have inquired about lately.


MADISON - Rules going into effect this summer are designed to prevent new introductions of three invasive species. Under the rules effective July 1, 2010,, people must have a license to possess wolf-dog hybrids, feral or wild swine, and mute swans in captivity.

Also as of July 1, it is illegal to release any of these species into the wild and such releases can result in penalties of up to $1,142, as well as restitution costs for any damage caused by these animals.

“All three species have proven their ability to exist in the wild in Wisconsin,” says Scott Loomans, wildlife regulations specialist for the Department of Natural Resources. “Wild and feral swine for instance, are opportunistic omnivores that eat an amazing amount and variety of plants and wild animals.”

Feral and wild swine disturb habitat for, and compete with, a wide range of native animals, wild plants and agricultural crops. They disturb native ground cover creating avenues for infestation by invasive plants. Through digging and rooting activities, large family groups have caused locally significant damage to crops. They even pose a health threat to domestic animals. Of primary concern are diseases such as pseudorabies, brucellosis and tuberculosis. While these diseases can be eliminated from domestic livestock herds, wild or feral swine that persist on the landscape could be disease reservoirs that continually reintroduce diseases to domestic herds.

In most cases, the possession of feral or wild swine is now prohibited. A limited exemption is available for some people who possessed animals on July 1, 2010 and who apply for a license with the Department of Natural Resources by September 28, 2010. The rules do not apply to owners of domestic hogs and no action is required by traditional pork producers.

Feral or wild swine include wild strains of swine commonly known by the name European, Eurasian, Russian, feral or domestic strains. Feral domestic strains also include animals which are confined but which exhibit characteristics of being in an untamed state, and hybrids of wild or feral with domestic swine. Included in this definition are any swine that is captured in the wild or from an unconfined environment after it has existed in the wild or unconfined environment outside of an enclosure for more than seven days, regardless of its physical characteristics.

Source: Wisconsin DNR