Monday, December 13, 2010

Statement of DNR Secretary Matt Frank on federal step in wolf delisting

MADISON –DNR Secretary Matt Frank made the following statement on the announcement by the Department of the Interior - US Fish and Wildlife Service that the service is moving ahead with efforts to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list in the Great Lakes states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

“We are pleased the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is moving forward to delist the grey wolf. Scientific evidence supports delisting. Transferring management of the wolf to Wisconsin is timely and will lead to improved management through effective action on problem wolves. We have worked closely with the Department of the Interior on wolf delisting over the past two years and applaud Interior’s proposed action to delist the gray wolf.

“The DNR has a federally approved wolf management plan ready to be implemented when delisting occurs. With the growth of the wolf population in Wisconsin, problems with wolves killing valuable livestock and hunting dogs have grown to intolerable levels, Frank said.

“We are ready to carry out our federally approved state wolf management plan to both protect the long-term viability of the wolf and provide relief for farmers and pet owners,” said Frank.

In April, Wisconsin filed a petition with Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar seeking delisting of the wolf in Wisconsin so the state could take over management of this large predator.

The wolf was considered extirpated from Wisconsin by 1960 due to bounties that lasted until 1957.

Wisconsin’s current wolf population descends from Minnesota as wolves, seeking new territories, moved into unoccupied habitat in Wisconsin. The wolf population recovered on its own due to protection, habitat management and education. As a result of the federal endangered status, the current population estimate of wolves in Wisconsin is nearly twice the level prescribed by the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan.

News Release Published: December 13, 2010 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Adrian Wydeven (715) 762-1363; Robert Manwell (608) 264-9248
DATE: December 13, 2010 CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven (715) 762-1363; Robert Manwell (608) 264-9248

Source: Wisconsin DNR

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Statewide antlerless deer hunt to be held Dec. 9-12

Statewide antlerless deer hunt to be held Dec. 9-12
MADISON – Hunters heading out to participate in the December 9-12 statewide antlerless deer hunt need to check deer tagging rules carefully for the unit in which they intend to hunt. The best source of information is the 2010 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations booklet available in hard copy at license vendors or online.
Depending on the type of deer management unit in which a hunter is hunting the following tagging rules apply:

Regular units

  • Requires a unit-specific antlerless tag in these units. Tags, if available, are $12 each for residents and $20 for nonresidents from all license sales agents.
  • “Buck Only” Regular Units: ONLY the following hunters can harvest and tag an antlerless deer in these 18 deer management units.
    • First-time Wisconsin hunter safety education graduates with an unfilled free special antlerless deer carcass tag issued upon completion of safety courses or available at DNR Service Centers (hunter must present their hunter education certificate) or by calling 1-888-936-7463. Group hunting is not allowed to fill this tag.
    • Qualified Armed Forces members (see page 11 of the 2010 hunting regulations for qualifications and tagging requirements).
    • Class A and C Disabled permit holders with an unfilled gun buck deer carcass tag which they may use to shoot a deer of either sex killed with a firearm during the Dec 9-12 hunt.
    • Landowners on properties with agricultural damage permits may issue antlerless permits to hunters who wish to hunt on these properties.

Herd control units

  • Requires a herd control antlerless deer carcass tag in these deer management units. Additional tags are available for $2 each from all license sales agents.

Chronic wasting disease management units

  • Hunters may use any unfilled 2010 deer carcass tag in these 22 deer management units.
A “Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet on the 2010 Deer Hunt Season Structure and Tagging" (pdf) is available on the DNR website.

Other things to keep in mind

Hunters should also be mindful that a lot of people are out enjoying Wisconsin’s outdoors including cross country skiers and snowmobilers who may not be aware of on-going hunting seasons and not wearing blaze orange.

“Always be sure of your target and what is beyond,” says Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark,
All gun deer, archery and small game hunters, except waterfowl hunters, are required to wear blaze orange during this 4-day antlerless deer hunt and follow all safety guidelines. Non-hunters should consider wearing bright or blaze orange clothing to increase their visibility while recreating in areas being hunted.

“Hunting is a safe today as it’s ever been and getting safer” Stark said. “The recently completed nine-day gun deer hunt was firearm fatality free for just the second time in our records and with everyone’s help and attention to firearm safety, we can keep it that way.”

Hunters with additional questions about the season structure or tagging requirements can contact the toll-free DNR information line at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).
News Release Published: December 3, 2010 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023 or Jason Fleener – (608) 261-7589
Source: Wisconsin DNR

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hunters register a preliminary tally of 218,144 deer over nine-day season

MADISON – A survey of Wisconsin deer registration stations conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources has yielded a preliminary tally of 218,144 for the just-ended, nine-day November gun deer hunt, an 11 percent increase over the 2009 nine-day season. The opener was highlighted by good hunting conditions on opening day and no firearm-related fatalities for only the second time on record (see related news release).

Statewide, hunters registered 102,006 bucks (a 17 percent increase over 2009) and 116,138 antlerless deer (a nearly 7 percent increase over 2009). Gun deer license sales totaled 621,094 at the close of the hunt.
The nine-day harvest numbers are preliminary and are expected to change before a final report is published in late winter. It does not include harvest information from the archery, October antlerless gun deer hunt, muzzleloader, December antlerless deer gun hunt or late archery seasons. The preliminary nine-day gun harvest count in 2009 was 196,688.

A table of county by county (pdf; 39kb) harvest broken down by DNR region, with a comparison to the 2009 preliminary harvest is available on the DNR Web site.

“This season included more regular units with a substantial number of buck only units as many units in the northern and central forest regions are close to population goals or are below goals,” said Keith Warnke. “Wildlife management and especially deer management is a process of continual adjustment. This season’s structure was influenced by deer hunters, population goal changes, last year’s deer harvest, and the resulting estimated local deer populations.”
Late seasons now open
“There are still days to hunt in 2010,” said Warnke. “The muzzleloader hunt is already underway for hunters holding unused gun buck and antlerless deer tags and there’s the statewide antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12.”
Hunters are reminded that the antlerless deer hunt Dec. 9-12 is open only to hunters with a valid antlerless deer tag for the unit in which they are hunting. That means that in many units in northeast Wisconsin, there will be little or no hunting during that four-day season.

There is the Holiday hunt in CWD zones in south central Wisconsin that starts Dec. 24 and lasts until Jan. 9, 2011.

In February, DNR biologists will use unit-level harvest numbers to develop overwinter population estimates and will propose season structures for 2011 in March. The Natural Resources Board will approve season structures at their April meeting.

Hunters asked to participate in online Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey

The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is still active until the end of all deer seasons and wildlife managers are asking hunters to keep sending in reports or to send in a report of what they saw during the just completed 9-day gun hunt.

“The observations of over 600,000 hunters spread out all across Wisconsin are invaluable to biologists watching for trends in wildlife populations,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR research scientist who compiles most of Wisconsin’s wildlife harvest and survey statistics. “The more observations the better in terms of tracking trends in species abundance and distribution.”

Hunter volunteers being recruited for deer research starting this winter

Following the close of the 2010-11 deer hunting seasons, DNR and UW researchers will shift into high gear with several multi-year deer research efforts.

Volunteers are needed to accompany and assist researchers in obtaining permission to access private property, live-capturing deer, fitting them with radio transmitters and then observing the marked deer for causes of death, fawn production and fawn survival. This research effort is intended to answer hunter questions regarding the role of predators on deer populations, factors affecting fawn recruitment and hunter harvest rate of bucks. Interested volunteers can find out more information and sign up on the White-tailed Deer Research Projects page of the DNR website.

Young hunters prove themselves safe and responsible

“What is really exciting, is the 11,331 mentored gun deer hunting licenses purchased by 10- and 11-year olds,” said Diane Brookbank, chief of DNR’s licensing and customer service unit, “an increase of more than 1,400 licenses over 2009. These are the future hunters who will step into the woods in place of the hunting ‘retirees’ as our population ages.”

Wardens reported no firearm incidents among these young hunters.

More than 621,000 gun deer licenses sold

DNR’s automated License Issuance System, known as ALIS, peaked at 330 transactions per minute at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before gun season. The 621,094 gun licenses sold through the end of the season on Nov 28 was a 3 percent drop from 2009 gun deer sales.

Archery license sales stayed with recent trends and increased by 510 licenses compared to the same period in 2009.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke – (608) 264-6023, Jason Fleener - (608) 261-7589 or Bob Manwell – (608) 264-9248

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources