CWD tests mandatory for deer harvested in parts of Minnesota

Precautionary testing during the first two days of firearms deer season will determine whether chronic wasting disease may have spread from captive deer to wild deer in central and north-central Minnesota.
“Wild deer are not known to have CWD in these areas, and this is the second year of surveillance there,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Mandatory testing of wild deer that hunters harvest is a proactive and preventative measure to protect Minnesota’s wild deer populations.”
During opening weekend of the 2017 firearms season, 10,500 deer were tested and the disease was not detected. Because so many deer were sampled last year, the DNR is reducing the size of the surveillance area this year.
Central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 277 and 283 east of Highway 4; 219 south of Highway 55; and 285 north of Highway 7. Hunters who kill a deer in one of these permit areas, but outside the surveillance zone, do not need to submit the deer for testing.
North-central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 242 and 247.
All hunters in affected deer permit areas will be required to have their deer tested on Saturday, Nov. 3, or Sunday, Nov. 4. After field dressing their deer, hunters must take them to a sampling station. DNR staff will remove lymph nodes, which will be submitted for laboratory testing.
Hunters must register their deer by phone, internet or in person. Harvest registration will not be available at CWD sampling stations.
Testing in north-central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. Test results will determine whether CWD may have been passed from these captive deer to wild deer.
Deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s permit areas 255, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349 are subject to mandatory testing on Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 17-18 because of their proximity to CWD-infected wild deer in permit area 603, a captive deer facility in Winona County found positive, and additional positive deer in Wisconsin and Iowa. Deer permit area 603 has mandatory surveillance throughout all deer seasons. Hunters should consult the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd for more complete information.
Proactive surveillance and precautionary testing for disease is a proven strategy that allows the DNR to manage CWD by finding it early and reacting quickly and aggressively to control it. These actions, which were taken in 2005 to successfully combat bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota deer and in 2010 to eliminate a CWD infection in wild deer near Pine Island, provide the best opportunity to eliminate disease spread.
“Without precautionary testing, early detection would not be possible,” Cornicelli said. “Without early detection, there’s nothing to stop CWD from becoming established at a relatively high prevalence and across a large geographic area. At that point, there is no known way to control it once established.”
Additional details on mandatory testing will be released throughout the fall as firearms deer season approaches. Complete information about mandatory CWD testing this fall, sampling station locations and a related precautionary feeding ban are available now on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Hunters reminded about whole carcass importation ban

Hunters reminded about whole carcass importation ban
Hunters harvesting deer, elk, moose or caribou outside of Minnesota are reminded that whole carcasses cannot be brought into the state. The prohibition on importation of whole carcasses of these cervids from anywhere in North America was put into place in 2016 as a proactive measure to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease in Minnesota and bring consistency to regulations.
“We imposed the importation ban because of the increasing prevalence and distribution of CWD in North America in both captive and wild cervids,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota is one of 12 states with this type of ban. In total, 40 states have implemented some form of carcass important restrictions.
“Several popular states for Minnesota hunters have recently modified their carcass regulations,” Cornicelli said.
In Wisconsin, carcass movement outside CWD-affected counties has been restricted. Michigan recently banned all whole carcass importation, regardless of CWD status. Cornicelli said hunters are encouraged to check the CWD Alliance website at cwd-info.org for the most current state-by-state regulations. Hunters are encouraged to consult the regulations in their destination state to ensure they are complying with their laws.
The restriction is part of efforts to minimize the opportunity for CWD to become established in Minnesota.  
Only the following cervid parts may be brought into Minnesota:
* Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
* Meat that is boned-out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
* Hides and teeth.
* Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
* Finished taxidermy mounts.
“We appreciate the cooperation we’ve had from our hunting groups and individual hunters as we address this significant disease challenge,” Cornicelli said.  
Cornicelli said meat and trophy handling already are part of the trip planning process so taking the additional steps to minimize CWD risk can be added to that process. Another item to consider is the mount itself.  
“If you kill an animal you want to mount, you should make those arrangements in the destination state and have it caped before you leave,” Cornicelli said.
Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from this restriction.
Carcass import information is available at mndnr.gov/deerimports, in the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook starting on page 63 and the questions-and-answers section on the back cover.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Applications open for antlerless-only deer hunt at Sandhill Wildlife Area

BABCOCK, WI – A one-day antlerless deer hunt will be offered Saturday, Nov. 10, at Sandhill Wildlife Area, a 9,150-acre experimental hunting area in central Wisconsin.  
This unique hunt is being conducted by the Department of Natural Resources to reduce the deer herd within the wildlife area.
“Following three consecutive mild winters, this special hunt opportunity is necessary to adjust population levels and sex ratios to achieve the deer management goals desired on Sandhill,” said Darren Ladwig, DNR wildlife biologist.
Participation will be limited to the first 100 completed applications received. Applications must be mailed or delivered in person, and must be received by Sunday, Sept. 9. No telephone, fax, or email registrations will be accepted.
Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis at Sandhill Wildlife Area, located at 1715 County HWY X, Babcock. The Sandhill office is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. All applicants must possess a valid Wisconsin deer hunting license.
Hunters must possess a valid Sandhill Wildlife Area hunting permit to enter the grounds for the Nov. 10 hunt. Each successful applicant will receive one bonus antlerless permit, valid only within Sandhill for the weekend indicated on the permit.
To enroll in the hunt, successful applicants must complete a 2018 Sandhill Antlerless Deer Permit Application, currently available at all Department of Natural Resources Service Centers, Sandhill Wildlife Area, and on the department’s website.
All selected participants are required to attend a one-hour clinic Sept. 29, at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, located within Sandhill Wildlife Area, and will receive a confirmation letter or email along with clinic information and payment instructions – payment is due Sept. 21. Once clinics times are assigned, no further changes will be made.
Clinic fees are $20 for adults and $15 for youth hunters ages 15 and under. As a reminder, do not send fee payment with the initial application. Participants will be issued bonus permits following completion of the clinic. Please read theapplicationfor complete rules and restrictions.  

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Wisconsin hunting seasons begin Sept. 1

MADISON, WI - Saturday, Sept. 1, marks the opener for Wisconsin's mourning dove, early teal and early Canada goose hunting seasons.

CANADA GEESE
Canada Goose hunting begins with the early season Sept. 1-15, with a daily bag limit of five geese during this time.
This early season targets locally breeding geese with the higher daily bag limit of five geese per day during the early season. During the early goose season, regulations apply statewide, with no zone-specific regulations.
As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.

TEAL
This is the first year of the operational early teal-only duck hunting season. The early teal season runs from Sept. 1-7, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Shooting hours for the early teal season have changed and are now sunrise to sunset for the entirety of the season (see page 28 in Migratory Bird Regulations).
The duck identification quiz, found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "waterfowl" gives hunters an opportunity to brush up on duck identification prior to this early season.
While the early teal season is offered statewide, some state-owned properties have special waterfowl hunting limitations. For example, Mead Wildlife Area does not allow waterfowl hunting prior to the regular duck season, and Lake Mills Wildlife Area (Zeloski Marsh) has unique shooting hour restrictions. Contact a local wildlife biologist or consult the 2018 Migratory Bird Regulations for a list of areas with additional requirements or limitations.
To view a full list of waterfowl hunting seasons and the 2018 Migratory Game Bird Regulations, search keyword "waterfowl."
Early teal season and early goose hunters are, at minimum, required to purchase the following licenses and permits and carry one of appropriate proof of authorization:
* Small game license; Federal duck stamp (16 years and older).
* State duck stamp (16 years and older) HIP registration.

MOURNING DOVE
The mourning dove hunting season runs from Sept. 1, to Nov. 29. The daily bag limit is 15 doves, and possession limits for doves are three times the daily bag limit. Dove hunters are at minimum required to purchase the following licenses and carry appropriate proof of purchase:
* Small game license; HIP registration.

GO WILD
While afield hunters must carry proof of the license, permit and authorization purchase. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, Go Wild Conservation Card, authenticated Wisconsin Driver License, or DNR generated PDF on your mobile device.
To purchase the required license, permit and authorization and for more information For more information regarding Go Wild, visit gowild.wi.gov.

BAND REPORTING
Hunters who find or harvest a banded bird, should report it at www.reportband.gov. You'll need the band number, or numbers, where, when and how you recovered the bird. Even if the band you recover is inscribed with a 1-800 telephone number, you can only report it at www.reportband.gov.

GAMEBIRD HUNTING TOOL
Dove hunters are encouraged to check out the Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat for grouse and woodcock hunting, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds and managed dove fields.
FFLIGHT also allows users to print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and provides measuring tools to help estimate acreage and walking distance. Mobile users can use this tool on-the-go to find suitable habitat for hunting. For more information, search keyword "FFLIGHT."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Continental duck population estimates released

MADISON - With duck hunting seasons just around the corner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the 2018 continental duck population estimates.
These estimates come from one of the largest bird surveys in the world, conducted annually across North America. Historically, these estimates were used to set the waterfowl seasons for the current year. However, because USFWS changed its regulatory timeline, these estimates will be used to set the 2019 waterfowl season structure.
The total 2018 continental duck population estimates is down 13 percent compared to 2017 at approximately 41.2 million ducks. Despite nearly all species seeing some decline compared to 2017, almost all are still above or near their long-term averages. Mallard, Blue-winged teal, and green-winged teal populations are near 7.9 million, 6.4 million and 2.4 million, respectively.
Nearly 75 percent of Wisconsin's duck harvest consists of mallard, wood duck, blue-winged and green-winged teal. The Wisconsin breeding duck population estimate of 439,397 represents a decrease of 8 percent compared to 2017, and is near the long-term (45-year) average. Of the species-specific population estimates for the three top breeding ducks in Wisconsin, (mallard, blue-winged teal and wood duck) mallards, showed the largest increase from 2017.
"With the combination of a late cold spring followed by dry conditions and above average temperatures this summer, things were drier this year across much of the breeding grounds and is likely the reason for the decline in numbers," said Taylor Finger, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory bird ecologist. "Most of these populations remain healthy and are either near or above their long-term averages, and hunters should expect another good year of hunting."
As a reminder, waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP), which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their harvest. HIP registration is free and can be done at the time hunters purchase their licenses, but can always be added later on if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds.
With the transition to Go Wild our new licensing system, we have even made it easier and more convenient to register for HIP online. Simply log on to your Go Wild account at GoWild.WI.gov, select "buy license" and navigate to the Hunt/Trap tab. If you have not already registered for HIP, it will be available as an option to select.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Disabled deer hunters urged to sign up for sponsored hunt

MADISON - Eligible hunters interested in participating in the 2018 gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities are encouraged to contact a land sponsor to sign up for a hunt before the Sept. 1 hunter participation deadline.
As of the June 1, sponsor application deadline, 65 landowners have enrolled almost 80,000 acres across 40 counties, which takes place Oct. 6-14. For a complete list of 2018 sponsors, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "disabled deer hunt."
"We are thrilled with the number of sponsors that are willing to provide opportunities for our hunters," said Maggie Stewart, assistant big game ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Giving hunters access to over 80,000 acres of land is instrumental in making this unique opportunity a success and for continuing Wisconsin's deer hunting tradition."
Hunters or assistants should contact sponsors directly to sign up for a hunt. Hunters will have to provide their name, contact information, and DNR customer ID number. To be eligible, hunters must possess a valid Class A, Class B long-term permit that allows shooting from a vehicle or Class C or D disabled hunting permit. As in the past, eligible hunters must also possess a gun deer license.
It is important for hunters to note that some properties are able to accommodate more hunters than others. The smaller properties may only be able to allow the minimum number of three hunters, so hunters are advised to contact potential sponsors as early as possible to determine if space is available.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Ruffed grouse hunters can volunteer to help collect samples

Ruffed grouse hunters in northern Minnesota can voluntarily submit samples for a West Nile virus research project being conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Minnesota is collaborating on this project with researchers in Wisconsin and Michigan, and will be sharing protocols and results.
West Nile virus is known to exist in the upper Midwest and cases have been found in wild birds, people and other mammals. Birds vary in vulnerability to the virus. Some bird species recover quickly and become tolerant to the virus while others, such as blue jays and crows, suffer higher rates of mortality. The research seeks to examine exposure and active infections in ruffed grouse.  
“Although the adult population has been cycling around a stable 10-year average, we don’t know if West Nile might be impacting the production of young birds, which make up a large portion of what hunters see in the fall,” said Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota DNR.
Hunters who would like to assist with the project should be willing to collect blood samples and hearts from birds within 30 minutes of harvest. Collection kits will be available for pickup at the Bemidji and Grand Rapids regional DNR headquarters buildings beginning Monday, Aug. 27.
Researchers also will collect samples at the Ruffed Grouse Society National Hunt in October, Pineridge Grouse Camp, Bowen Lodge, Hoot-N-Holler, from private hunting guides, and by working with wildlife students at Bemidji State University to reach a sample size of 400 birds.
“This is an important citizen science collaboration for us. Working with hunters and students to collect the samples from harvested birds is critical to the success of the project,” Roy said.
Return postage and complete instructions are included in the kits. Samples also can be dropped off at Pineridge Grouse Camp near Remer.
West Nile virus is carried by infected mosquitoes. Not all people or animals bitten by an infected mosquito will contract West Nile virus. There have been no documented cases of people contracting West Nile virus from consuming properly cooked meat. Although the virus has been present in Minnesota for quite some time, a study in Pennsylvania indicated the virus could impact ruffed grouse populations when combined with habitat stresses.
The research is partially funded by the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Game and Fish Fund.
More information about ruffed grouse management can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse. Questions about the West Nile virus study can be directed to Charlotte Roy at 218-328-8876 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR