7 deer test presumptive positive in southeast CWD zone

Preliminary tests show that seven deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone during the first firearms deer season may be infected with chronic wasting disease.
Hunters harvested three of the seven suspect deer near Preston in deer permit area 603, where 11 other deer tested positive during last year’s CWD surveillance efforts. Three others were harvested in Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park, which is still within area 603, but west of the core disease area. The remaining deer was harvested east of Wykoff and north of the park.
Test results from deer permit areas surrounding 603 aren’t yet available and must be analyzed to assess the full extent of the disease and whether or not it has spread outside of the disease management zone.
Once all sampling is completed and test results received, the Department of Natural Resources will follow its CWD response plan and determine next steps, which may include boundary changes to area 603 and additional deer hunting opportunities for the public or landowners.
Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said it isn’t clear whether the additional positives indicate a westward expansion of the disease or individual deer movements, given all the presumptive positive deer were adult males.

Testing continues on suspect deer and in 603
CWD testing is a two-step process.  
The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive.  
A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.
The DNR expects final test results and disease confirmations for all seven deer soon. Those results and any future positives in area 603 will be posted on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.
Since the archery deer season began in mid-September, 700 samples have been collected in area 603. Hunters brought in 499 of those samples during the first firearms deer season, which began Nov. 4, and concluded Nov. 12. Results are pending on 40 of those deer.
“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”
Hunters are reminded that mandatory testing of all adult deer harvested in area 603 continues throughout the 3B season (which starts Saturday, Nov. 18 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 26), as well during the remaining archery, muzzleloader and late seasons. Check stations are located in Preston and Chatfield.
The DNR also will open voluntary surveillance stations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18-19 in Rushford and Houston. The DNR encourages hunters who harvest deer around the disease management zone, in deer permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349, to participate in voluntary sampling at these locations in order to collect as many samples as possible.
Check the DNR’s website, mndnr.gov/cwd, for specific information on check station locations, additional CWD information and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises people not to eat meat from animals known to have CWD. Go to www.cdc.gov for more information.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Minnesota gun-deer harvest up 10 percent

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 145,054 deer through the second weekend of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Preliminary results through the second weekend show that the number of deer registered was up 10 percent from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 54 percent were bucks, compared to 63 percent during the same period in 2016.
In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 25 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was up 6 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 12 percent.
“It appears as though deer harvest improved substantially since the first weekend,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “Getting more corn out of the fields and a bit drier weather likely helped.”
Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2017 total deer harvest to be around 200,000. The 2016 total harvest was 173,213.
In much of Minnesota, the firearms deer season ended Nov. 12. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 19; the late southeast season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 26; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 25, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 10. More information on deer management can be found at mndnr.gov/deer.  

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Hunters reminded of whole carcass importation ban

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose or caribou outside of Minnesota that whole carcasses cannot be brought into the state.
The restriction is part of efforts to minimize the opportunity for chronic wasting disease 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.
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, and hunters should make those arrangements in the destination state and have the animal caped before leaving.
Alternatively, hunters can view a video at http://bit.ly/capeyourdeer on how to cape a deer. The same technique can be used on elk or moose. The video also includes helpful information on the carcass importation ban.
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 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook on page 65 and the questions and answers section on the back cover.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Warden Wire Chapter 2

Welcome to the second chapter of Warden Wire's feature FAQs: Special Edition - 2017 Gun-Deer Season.
These special edition FAQs were taken by the DNR Call Center, the Department of Natural Resources' conservation wardens and the Bureau of Wildlife Management. Today's topics include hunting on public and private lands. The Call Center is staffed daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and offers bilingual service in Spanish and Hmong. The DNR Call Center staff is happy to help you with any and all of your questions. The number is 1-888-936-7463.

QUESTION 1: What is the penalty for someone who harvests a deer in the correct zone and DMU, but does not have the correct land-type specified on their tag?
ANSWER: This has not changed with the new rules. The penalty would be $222.90 plus the cost of a bonus antlerless deer tag they should have purchased for that land type ($12 for residents or $20 for non-residents).

QUESTION 2: If someone in a group has an antlerless tag valid for use only on public land, will everyone else be able to participate under group hunting rules?
ANSWER: Yes. If the antlerless tag is valid for the DMU that the group is hunting (correct zone, DMU and land-type) and if all group members comply with all group deer hunting requirements, anyone in the group may participate in group hunting and fill an open antlerless tag. All members of the group must be using firearms and each must hold a regular gun-deer license in addition to contact and tagging requirements. A person hunting with a bow or crossbow cannot shoot a deer for someone else to tag, or tag a deer shot by another.

QUESTION 3: Will the Farmland Zone antlerless tag(s) included at no cost with the purchase of a deer hunting license need to be specified for use on public or private land?
ANSWER: Yes. Hunters are required to specify zone, DMU and land type (public or private) for all antlerless tags, including those that are issued with the purchase of a deer hunting license.

QUESTION 4: Do bonus antlerless tags require the purchaser to indicate public or private land?

QUESTION 5: If a person buys an antlerless tag valid for use on private land, is that person restricted to only shooting a deer that is actually on private land or is he/she able to shoot a deer that is on public land so long as the shot originates on private land?
ANSWER: Both the hunter and the deer must be located on private property. A hunter with a private landS tag cannot shoot a deer standing on public lands even if he/she is standing on private land.

QUESTION 6: If a person plans to hunt on private land AND public land, which antlerless tag is that person required to have?
ANSWER: Hunters must specify land type on all antlerless tags. If a hunter wants to hunt both public and private land within a given DMU for antlerless deer, this could be accomplished by selecting one land type (public or private) for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag that is included with a deer license, and selecting the other type (public or private) for a bonus antlerless tag (if bonus tags of that land type are available in that DMU). If the DMU offers more than one Farmland Zone tag with each licenses, those tags could be divided among public and private lands. Buck tags are valid statewide in any zone and unit, including on both public and private lands.

QUESTION 7: If a hunter possesses an antlerless tag for use on private lands, can that hunter access any private lands within the unit?
ANSWER: No. Trespassing laws exist and hunters need landowner permission prior to entering private land. There are lands enrolled under open Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law and Voluntary Public Access programs that allow public hunting access, but these lands are considered public lands for purposes of where antlerless deer tags are valid. Hunters must possess an antlerless tag for public lands to harvest antlerless deer on these “open” lands.

QUESTION 8: If a hunter purchases a bonus antlerless tag for hunting public lands, can that person switch it to a private lands tag after the purchase?
ANSWER: Yes. A hunter may switch land types as long as there are antlerless tags available for the desired zone, DMU, and land type, and does so before the deer season is open. That hunter would also have to pay a $2 processing fee if picking up the tag at a Go Wild license agent. Once the exchange has been approved and posted to their Go Wild account by the department, customers may print the tags themselves at home for no charge.

QUESTION 9: If a hunter with an antlerless tag valid for private lands shoots a deer on private land and the deer runs onto public land but does not die, may the hunter shoot that deer when found and if so, what type of tag is required, public or private lands?
ANSWER: If the deer is still alive when the hunter finds it, and if the hunter (or a member of the hunting party, if applicable) does not have a valid antlerless tag, the hunter should contact the local warden for advice on how to proceed. It is not legal to hunt and/or shoot a deer in a DMU or on a land-type for which one does not have a valid tag, even if they first wounded that same deer in the DMU or on the land type their antlerless tag was valid. To allow this would be to allow anyone to hunt in the wrong area and simply claim that he/she wounded the deer earlier in the area his/her tag was actually valid. If the deer is already dead when the hunter finds it in an adjacent DMU or property type, it would be legal and the hunter must immediately validate and tag the deer with a tag that is valid for the area where the deer was shot. This is no different than what could have happened in the past when someone was hunting near the boundary between two DMUs.

QUESTION 10: For people enrolled in open Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law programs and hunting their own land, should their antlerless tag be designated for use on public or private lands?
ANSWER: If all or part of the property is enrolled in Managed Forest Law, Forest Crop Law or Voluntary Public Access and open to public hunting, the landowner will need a public lands antlerless tag to hunt on land enrolled in one of these programs. If the property is enrolled in one of these programs but is closed to public hunting, or if the landowner plans to hunt on part of the property that is not enrolled in one of these programs, the landowner will need a private land designation on their antlerless tag.

QUESTION 11: What are some resources for finding land open to the public for hunting?
ANSWER: Hunters can consult several resources to help determine where to hunt, including the Public Access Lands Atlas, the listing of Voluntary Public Access lands and the Managed Forest Law lands map. For more on other deer hunting topics, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “hunting regulations” or “deer.”

If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

2017 nine-day gun deer season opens Nov. 18

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin's nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 18, and Department of Natural Resources staff are enthusiastic about the prospects for 2017.
"We are coming out of a third straight mild winter and a good summer growing season, so as expected we are seeing good to excellent deer numbers throughout most of the state," said DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "The public and County Deer Advisory Councils are also recognizing the increase as is evident by increased antlerless tag availability, especially in some northern counties. So, in general, we are anticipating an overall increase in deer registration this fall."
In 2016, far northern portions of Wisconsin saw an overall gun season increase of approximately 30 percent, while the total deer harvest, including gun, crossbow, and archery, increased by roughly 22 percent.
"In the past, the majority of the annual deer harvest came during the nine-day gun season," Wallenfang said," but for decades there has been a growing percentage of the total fall harvest coming during the early archery seasons. That trend continues as more and more people are turned on by the early archery/crossbow seasons when they can hunt for many more days and in nicer weather, plus during the peak of the rut when the deer are very active."
Wallenfang also noted that hunters need to become familiar with the new deer tagging requirements, baiting restrictions, new tree stand rules and a reduction in the number of buck-only units.
This year marks the third year of electronic deer registration through GameReg. Many hunters who used it in the past are realizing the simplicity and convenience of registering by phone or on their computer or smartphone. Hunters are reminded that registering their deer after harvest is required by 5 p.m., the day following recovery. Those who have not yet used GameReg are encouraged to use a number of resources available to learn more about it and prepare for success. More GameReg information is available online.
Wisconsin's four Deer Management Zones and county-based Deer Management Units have not changed in 2017. DMUs follow county boundaries in most cases, and nine DMUs are split by zone boundaries. DMU and land type-specific antlerless permits are intended to help manage deer populations more closely on each land type with the hope of enhancing hunting experiences on public land.
With each deer hunting license (archery/crossbow and gun), hunters receive one Buck Deer Tag valid statewide. In addition, each license includes one or more Farmland (Zone 2) Antlerless Deer Tag(s) that must be designated for use in a specific zone, DMU and land type (public access or private) at the time of issuance.
Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags may not be used in the Northern Forest or Central Forest zones, but bonus antlerless tags may be available for specific DMUs within these zones.
All Bonus Antlerless Deer Tags are zone, DMU and land-type specific. Bonus tags cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents and $5 for youth (ages 10 and 11).
In 2017, four county DMUs, in whole or in part, are designated as buck-only units and include Ashland, Eau Claire, Iron and Vilas counties within the Northern and Central Forest zones. Only the Buck Deer Tag issued with each deer license is valid in these DMUs, with some exceptions for youth, Class A and C disabled and military hunters.
Hunters are no longer required to validate paper carcass tags or attach them to harvested deer. It is also no longer required to keep the tag with the meat. However, hunters must carry one of the forms of proof of a deer tag. Hunters may show proof of having a valid, unfilled deer tag by providing a conservation warden with their Go Wild card, their authenticated driver's license, paper copies, or an electronic copy on their cell phone. Keep in mind that even with electronic forms of proof of deer tags available, hunters will need the unique tag number to begin the harvest registration process.
For more helpful information, including the following documents, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer":

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Use these hunter safety tips while out and about

MADISON, WI - It is no accident Wisconsin is known nationally as one of the safest places to hunt deer for the whole family and friends.
"This state is fortunate to have thousands of volunteer hunter education instructors dedicated to keeping everyone safe while enjoying the outdoors," Hunter Education Administrative Warden Jon King said. "And you have to credit the hunters who carry on that safety priority during their own hunts and as mentors. This is what makes Wisconsin a great hunting state - the people."
Wisconsin's culture of hunting safety started a half century ago when the department launched a six-hour course stressing firearm safety. The course was voluntary, and while the impact was not momentous, the number of firearm injuries during the gun-deer hunt began to decline.
Then came more change in 1980 when hunters were required to wear blaze orange during gun-deer hunts - and the number of firearm incidents dropped more dramatically.
Five years later came the expanded hunter education certification program, which also became mandatory for all hunters in Wisconsin born or after Jan. 1, 1973. About 24,000 are trained every year - and more than a million since the program started.
In 1966 in Wisconsin, the hunting incident rate was 44 injuries for every 100,000 hunters. Now the rate, based on a 10-year-average, is 4.04 incidents per 100,000 hunters, a reduction of more than 90 percent. Wisconsin has experienced five gun-deer seasons free of fatalities - 1972, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016.
How does Wisconsin keep the safety trend alive?

King says more incidents can be prevented by following these four basic principles of firearm safety - known as TABK:
* Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
* Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
* Be certain of your target and what is beyond it.
* Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

For tree stand users, here are some easy tips to follow:
* Always use a full-body harness.
* Always unload your firearm while climbing into or out of the stand.
* Maintain three points of contact during the ascent or descent - two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
Each deer drive should be planned with safety as the top priority, King said. "Everyone involved in the drive should know and understand the plan."

If you plan to participate in a deer drive:
* Review the four firearm safety principles.
* Reconfirm you have positively identified your target.
* Reconfirm you have a safe backstop for your bullet.
* Review and stick to your hunting plan. Make sure all in the hunting party honor it.
Thanks Wisconsin hunters for serving as an example for ethical and safe hunting.
For more information regarding hunter education and tips for safe hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "safety tips."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Warden Wire - Chapter 1

Welcome to the first chapter of Warden Wire's feature FAQs: Special Edition - 2017 Gun-Deer Season. These special edition FAQs were taken by the DNR Call Center, the Department of Natural Resources' conservation wardens and the Bureau of Wildlife Management.
Today's topics include tagging deer and harvest registration. The Call Center is staffed daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and offers bilingual service in Spanish and Hmong. The DNR Call Center staff is happy to help you with any and all of your questions. The number is 1-888-936-7463.

Question 1: What has changed with deer tag requirements?
Answer: Deer tag rules no longer require the hunter to validate the tag in any way to indicate that it has been used, attach a tag to the deer, or keep a copy of the tag with the meat until consumed.

Question 2: Do I, as a hunter, still have to carry proof of a tag while hunting?
Answer: Yes. Requirements to carry proof of a deer license and tags while afield have not changed. Acceptable forms of proof include an original or reprinted paper tag, a Go Wild conservation card, a Go Wild-authenticated Wisconsin driver’s license, or a Go Wild digital PDF file displayed on a mobile device.
Hunters need to know the tag number to begin the registration process, which will not be visible if you opt to carry your authenticated Wisconsin driver’s license or a Conservation Card. You can obtain the tag number from the paper tag, the Go Wild PDF file or from the MyGameReg section of your Go Wild account at GoWild.WI.Gov.

Question 3: Can I leave my untagged deer with a friend or allow someone else to transport it?
Answer: Yes. However, the deer must be registered before someone else can transport it. You are strongly encouraged to leave a printed copy of the tag and registration confirmation number with the carcass if someone else will take possession of it.

Question 4: Since tagging is no longer required, what should I do if I leave my deer in the field while I get my truck?
Answer: No special action is required. As long as the deer is harvested under one of your unused deer tags, you can leave the carcass in the field without attaching a tag or registering the deer.

Question 5: How do the new deer tag rules apply to group hunting?
Answer: No changes have been made to group hunting rules. At least one member of the hunting party must have proof of an unfilled deer tag in the area where the hunt is taking place, and be willing to use that tag number to register a deer bagged by another member of the group.

Question 6: Is registration still required?
Answer: Yes. Registration is not an option! You must register your deer by 5 p.m., the day after harvest. Register online at gamereg.wi.gov, by phone at 1-844-426-3734 or at a participating in-person station (find a list at dnr.wi.gov, search “registration stations”). You will need the unique tag number to begin the registration process. Tag numbers are available on the paper tag, Go Wild PDF or in the MyGameReg section of your Go Wild account at GoWild.WI.Gov.

Question 7: How can I find my tag number in order to register my deer?
Answer: Your tag number is easily visible on your deer tag. You can also find a list of your current tags and tag numbers in the My GameReg section of your Go Wild account at GoWild.WI.Gov.

Question 8: What should I do if I don’t have my tag number when registering it?
Answer: Even though a hunter may provide one of the authorized forms of proof for their hunting license and tags, a hunter is still required to meet their registration requirements and have their unique tag number available to complete the registration process. You may document your unique tag number in any method you choose as long as you are able to identify which unique tag number corresponds to each tag. For example, you may only use your buck tag number to register a buck. If you do not have access to a computer or mobile device to look up your tag number, you are encouraged to carry a printed copy of your tag. You can look up your tag number in the My GameReg section of your Go Wild account.

Question 9: Are car-killed deer now exempt from keeping the registration confirmation number with the meat until consumed?
Answer: No. Because tags that authorize possession of the carcass/meat are not issued for car-killed deer, individuals who take possession of a car-killed deer will be required to keep the registration confirmation number with the meat until it is consumed.

Question 10: Can I use alternate forms of proof (Conservation Card, driver’s license, electronic file) for agricultural damage tags, Learn to Hunt tags and DMAP tags?
Answer: No. A hard copy is required. These are special tags associated with specific programs and are not necessarily issued through the hunter’s Go Wild account. You may also be required to write in your customer number and birth date to use these types of tags prior to use. You are not required to validate or attach these special tags, but registration of harvests through GameReg is still required.

Question 11: Where can I find more information on these tagging and harvest?
Answer: Visit dnr.wi.gov and search “hunting regulations” or “deer.”
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR