MADISON, WI - Bird hunters will have another option to beat cabin fever in December when the Department of Natural Resources releases nearly 1,500 additional pheasants on five public properties before the holiday season. Cabin fever is no match for time spent pursuing pheasants with family and friends. These one-time stocking efforts, are in addition to the 75,000 birds released throughout the season and are the result of a trial run of the new hatchery equipment at the state game farm in Poynette. Properties to be stocked before the holiday season include: * Mud Lake Wildlife Area, Columbia County. * Mazomanie Unit of Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Dane County. * Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kenosha County. * Brooklyn Wildlife Area, Dane & Green counties. * Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, Rock County. "We selected properties with suitable cover for pheasant hunting near population centers, while avoiding counties holding a Holiday Hunt for deer," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "The department hopes this late-season stocking will provide an opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, and perhaps add some additional table fare to your holiday meal." As a reminder, quality pheasant hunting opportunities exist throughout Wisconsin, including wild pheasant hunting where suitable habitat exists and previously stocked public lands. The pheasant season runs through Dec. 31, and all hunting regulations and bag limits apply through the season close. Pheasant hunting regulations can be found in the 2017 Small Game Regulations. In addition, hunters are encouraged to wear blaze orange while upland bird hunting to increase visibility with other hunters. For more information regarding pheasant hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin hunters harvest 4,157 bears
MADISON, WI - Preliminary registration numbers show hunters harvested 4,157 bears during the 2017 Wisconsin bear hunting seasons. Preliminary registration totals for the 2017 bear hunt are as follows: Zone A: 1,069. Zone B: 816. Zone C: 1,009. Zone D: 1,263. "Although harvest declined slightly from 2016, this follows a pattern of annual variation that has developed in recent years, and reflects the goal to reduce bear numbers in certain areas of the state," said Jeff Pritzl, Department of Natural Resources acting large carnivore specialist. "The preliminary harvest of 4,157 is very close to the previous four alternate year harvests when hound hunters had the first week of the season. Crop and property damage reports, along with nuisance complaints have declined measurably this year, due in part to purposeful management of the population through hunting." Summary tables and more information regarding bear hunting in Wisconsin can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "bear."
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Pheasant hunting great excuse to get outdoors
Minnesota pheasant hunters still have time to harvest roosters this December. “We had a late corn harvest which affected the early pheasant season, but things are shaping up nicely for late-season hunting,” said Nicole Davros, farmland wildlife research supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Additionally, despite the lower overall count on our roadside surveys this year, our rooster index went up slightly. This means there are still birds to chase out there.” Field conditions were wet enough that the corn harvest was significantly delayed this fall. “Now that the crops are out of the fields, there are fewer places to hide and hunters should be seeing more roosters,” Davros said. Despite warmer weather in late November, pheasants are already using both grassland cover and winter cover such as cattail sloughs and willow thickets, according to Scott Roemhildt, DNR Walk-in Access Program coordinator. “Hunters who are willing to work these tougher-to-reach areas will have opportunities to harvest birds,” Roemhildt said. “The colder weather in our forecast will make wetlands more accessible to hunters as the water freezes up.” Both Davros and Roemhildt agree that late-season pheasant hunting is a great excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, regardless of whether any roosters are put in your bag. “Pheasant hunting is a great way to stretch your legs and clear your mind when things get hectic,” Davros said. Added Roemhildt: “It’s also a chance to introduce someone new to pheasant hunting as kids get time off from school and family comes to visit.” On Dec. 1, the daily bag limit increased to three roosters with a possession limit of nine roosters. Hunters need a small game license and a pheasant stamp to hunt pheasants in Minnesota. A small game license costs $22 for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64, and the pheasant stamp costs $7.50. Pheasant hunters 65 and older need to buy a small game license for $13.50 but are not required to buy a stamp. Hunters age 16 to 17 must buy a $5 small game license but do not need to buy a stamp, and hunters under 16 can hunt pheasants without a license or stamp. Hunters can also purchase a Walk-In Access validation for $3 to gain additional public hunting opportunities on private land that is enrolled in the program. As of September, 25,335 acres of land across 241 sites in western and southern Minnesota have been enrolled in the program. Minnesota’s 2017 pheasant season is open through Monday, Jan. 1. Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details on pheasant hunting are available at mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant. Additional details on the Walk-In Access Program are available at mndnr.gov/walkin.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Applications open for spring wild turkey permits
The deadline for firearms wild turkey hunters to apply for early season spring hunting permits is Friday, Jan. 26, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The spring season, which runs from Wednesday, April 18, to Thursday, May 31, is divided into six time periods. Only people age 18 and older who want to hunt using a firearm during the first two time periods (A or B) need to apply for a spring turkey permit. Permits for the remaining time periods (C-F) can be purchased over-the-counter. Archery and youth turkey hunters can hunt the entire season without applying for the lottery. Permits for the last four time periods and youth licenses are sold starting March 1. Surplus adult licenses from the first two time periods, if available, are sold starting around mid-March. People applying for permit area 511, the Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area, are advised that the sanctuary portion of the WMA will be closed to turkey hunting except for the special hunt for hunters with disabilities. For turkey hunting, a person may only use shotguns 20 gauge or larger, including muzzleloading shotguns. Only fine shot size No. 4 and smaller diameter may be used, and red dot scopes and range finders are legal. Visit mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey for more information about turkey hunting.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Test results show no new outbreaks of CWD
No chronic wasting disease was detected in more than 11,000 precautionary samples from deer that hunters harvested this fall in north-central, central and southeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This is good news for Minnesota,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. “The results lend confidence that the disease is not spread across the landscape.” In all, 7,813 deer were tested in the north-central area, 2,529 in the central area and 1,149 in the southeastern area outside deer permit area 603, the CWD management zone. Researchers still are submitting samples from cooperating taxidermists so final results will be updated online at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck as they become available. Given no deer with CWD were found in north-central and central Minnesota, the DNR will narrow surveillance next fall to areas closer to the farms where CWD was detected. A fourth precautionary surveillance area will be added in fall 2018 in Winona County because CWD recently was detected in captive deer there. Precautionary testing in north-central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer on farms near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. It also was conducted in the deer permit areas directly adjacent to southeast Minnesota’s deer permit area 603, the only place in Minnesota where CWD is known to exist in wild deer. Minnesota’s CWD response plan calls for testing of wild deer after the disease is detected in either domestic or wild deer. All results from three consecutive years of testing must report CWD as not detected before the DNR stops looking for the disease. Three years of testing are necessary because CWD incubates in deer slowly. They can be exposed for as long as 18 months before laboratory tests of lymph node samples can detect the disease. Proactive surveillance and precautionary testing for CWD is a proven strategy that allows the DNR to manage the disease 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. Precautionary testing is necessary to detect the disease early. 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 the disease. “Overall, hunter cooperation and public support have been tremendous,” Cornicelli said. “While there are always challenges when you conduct this type of surveillance effort, it really couldn’t have been successful without the cooperation of hunters, taxidermists, landowners and the businesses that allowed us to operate check stations.” Complete information about CWD and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Boundaries, rules set for late-season deer hunt in CWD zone
Boundaries for a special late-season deer hunt to help control chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota’s Fillmore County have been expanded to include portions of three surrounding deer permit areas, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The expansion of boundaries for the nine-day hunt that lasts from Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, became necessary when CWD test results of harvested deer revealed two infected deer in Forestville State Park and a suspected infection north of the disease’s core area around Preston. During the upcoming hunt, deer may be taken in an approximate 10-mile radius surrounding the new discoveries. That area includes all of deer permit area 603 as well as the portion of permit area 345 south of Interstate 90, the southern portion of permit area 347 and the northern portion of permit area 348. A map of the area and complete details are available on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd. “Hunters must plan ahead,” said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager. “Private land makes up most of the area and hunters must have landowner permission. Public land in the area likely will be crowded. And hunting opportunities will be limited and available only by permit at Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area.” Within 24 hours of harvest, each deer must be taken to one of four stations where DNR staff will register the deer and collect lymph node tissue for CWD testing. All electronic registration will be turned off. With the exception of fawns, deer cannot be moved from the hunt area without a test result that shows CWD was not detected. Prior to test results, hunters may properly quarter their deer and bone-out meat but the head, spinal column and all brain material must remain in the area until the animal’s test results show a not-detected status. Designated dumpsters where hunters can dispose of carcasses and parts will be available in Preston and Forestville. A refrigerated trailer will be available in Preston for temporary storage of the entire carcass if hunters choose to wait for the test result before processing their deer. After receiving a not-detected test result for the deer, the hunter can take the entire deer out of the area. Since the mid-September start of the archery season 1,334 deer have been tested in permit area 603 and results have shown six confirmed and one suspect cases of CWD. Although the number of CWD-infected deer is down from the 11 positives found last season, three of the new positives were found outside the core area. “We were glad to see the prevalence go down, but we’re unsure if we have a disease expansion or if males recently moved into a new area,” Cornicelli said. “Test results of deer taken during this special hunt will help us determine what the new disease management zone boundary will look like in 2018.” Complete information about CWD and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
Special hunt rules * Hunt dates are Jan. 6-14, 2018. * Hunt is open to residents and nonresidents. * There is no bag limit, the antler point restriction will be eliminated in this area and cross-tagging (party hunting) will be allowed. * Hunters can use any unfilled 2017 license or purchase disease management tags for $2.50. You do not need a deer hunting license to purchase disease management tags, which are valid for deer of either sex. * Legal firearms are shotguns, muzzleloader or crossbows using either a firearm or muzzleloader license. Archery equipment must be used if the person is hunting with an archery license. Centerfire rifles are not allowed. * All deer must be registered in person at one of the stations below. Registration stations will be staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the season: Chatfield – Magnum Sports, 20 Main St. S; Preston – Preston Forestry office, 912 Houston St.; Forestville State Park; Rushford – Pam’s Corner Convenience, at the intersection of Minnesota highways 16 and 43. * Submission of a CWD sample is mandatory. * All deer will be tagged and tested by DNR staff. Fawns will be allowed to leave the zone. * Carcasses from adult deer must remain in the zone until a “not detected” test is reported. This test takes three to four business days so hunters should make appropriate arrangements prior to killing a deer. Test results can be checked on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck or by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.
Hunting at Forestville, Pin Oak Prairie, Cherry Grove Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie SNA will both be open to limited deer hunting during the special hunt. To avoid overcrowding, permits for these areas will be issued on a first come, first served basis starting at noon on Monday, Dec. 18. Forestville State Park will remain open to visitors during the special hunt. Hunters must have a filled or unfilled 2017 firearm or muzzleloader license to obtain a permit. There is no group application for these hunts. Permits can be obtained online or wherever DNR licenses are sold. There is no fee for these permits. The same hunt rules as described for permit area 603 apply to these areas. Successful hunters can use any unfilled tag, or purchase disease management permits for $2.50. Specific hunt numbers, dates and available permits are: * 801: Forestville State Park, Jan. 6-9, 2018, 130 permits. * 802: Forestville State Park, Jan. 10-14, 2018,130 permits. * 803: Pin Oak Prairie SNA, Jan. 6-9, 2018, five permits. * 804: Pin Oak Prairie SNA, Jan. 10- 14, 2018, five permits. The Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA, which adjoins the Cherry Grove Wildlife Management Area, also is open to deer hunting and no special permit is required. 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
Black bear, turkey permit deadlines near
MADISON, WI - Wisconsin wild turkey and black bear hunters are reminded to submit their applications before midnight on Dec. 10. Applications for permit drawings can be purchased through Go Wild or at authorized license agents.
Black bear Harvest numbers from the 2017 black bear season are not yet finalized, but preliminary estimates show that hunters harvested more than 4,150 bears. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and the Bear Advisory Committee are currently in the process of determining 2018 harvest quotas. Bear hunters are reminded that due to the high interest in this hunt, hunters must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. In order for bear permit applicants to retain their accumulated preference points, they must apply at least once during any period of three consecutive years or all previously accumulated preference points will be lost. If a bear management zone is selected at the time of purchase and the hunter is selected in the February drawing, their preference points will be reset to zero, even if they do not purchase the harvest permit. It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of drawing status - applicants selected in the drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing, and may purchase their 2018 Class A bear license beginning in March 2018. Applicants may also check their status online through their Go Wild customer account. The season structure for the 2018 bear hunt is: * Zone C (dogs not permitted): * Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 - with aid of bait and all other legal methods not using dogs. All other zones: * Sept. 5-11 - with the aid of bait and other legal methods not using dogs * Sept. 12 to Oct. 2 - with all legal methods, including bait and dogs; and * Oct. 3-9 - aid of dogs only (Bait may be used to locate bear to hunt with the aid of dogs). For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "bear."
Spring 2018 turkey season Dec. 10 is also the deadline to apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization (previously referred to as a tag or permit). These are issued through a preference-based drawing system where Wisconsin residents have preference over non-residents and landowners have preference over non-landowners. For more information on the turkey preference drawing, see the
Turkey Frequently Asked Questions. Applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may also choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any time period. This third choice can be the same zone as the first and/or second choice. The second and third choices are optional, but applicants are encouraged to provide second and third choices to maximize their likelihood of success in the drawing. The harvest authorization drawing will take place in late December. Successful applicants will receive a post card by late January. Applicants can also check their status online through Go Wild. Successful applicants may purchase their required 2018 Spring Turkey License ($15 for Wisconsin residents and $60 for non-residents) and 2018 Wild Turkey Stamp ($5.25) in early March. Each harvest authorization will be printed at the time of purchase. All hunters are required to possess a valid spring turkey license and wild turkey stamp when they acquire their spring turkey harvest authorization. Unsuccessful applicants will receive a preference point that will increase their chances of drawing a harvest authorization the following spring season. All leftover harvest authorizations for 2018 spring turkey season will be available for purchase in late March ($10 for residents, $15 for non-residents), plus the cost of the Spring Turkey License and Wild Turkey Stamp. The 2018 spring turkey season will begin April 14 with the annual Spring Youth Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will begin the following Wednesday, April 18, and will consist of six separate seven-day time periods, with the final period closing May 29. The Spring turkey season is: * Spring Turkey Youth Hunt - April 14-15 * Period A - April 18-24 * Period B - April 25-May 1 * Period C - May 2-8 * Period D - May 9-15 * Period E - May 16-22 * Period F - May 23-29 Turkey hunters are reminded that Wisconsin's state park turkey management zones were eliminated Sept. 1, 2014. However, state parks remain open for hunting for a portion of the spring turkey season. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "hunting state parks." Harvested turkeys must be registered by 5 p.m. on the day following harvest. Hunters can register their turkey using the GameReg system, either online at or by phone at 1-844-GAMEREG (1-844-426-3734.)
Youth turkey hunt The annual Spring Turkey Youth Hunt will be held on April 14-15 for hunters ages 15 and younger. Youth hunters 12-15 years must have a Hunter Education Certificate of Accomplishment, unless hunting under the Mentored Hunting Program. Youth under 12 years of age must participate in the Mentored Hunting Program during the two-day, youth hunt, even if they have successfully completed a hunter safety education course. A spring turkey license, stamp and valid harvest authorization are required to participate in the youth hunt. All other existing turkey hunting rules and regulations apply. Interested youth hunt participants should apply for a spring turkey harvest authorization before the Dec. 10 deadline. A permit for any time period can be used during the two-day youth hunt, but hunters are limited to the zone listed on their hunting authorization. Applications for turkey hunts for hunters with disabilities are due Dec. 10 Hunters with disabilities who wish to turkey hunt next spring on private land are reminded of an additional opportunity to hunt using a separate application and authorization form. Applications to conduct a Spring Wild Turkey Hunt for People with Disabilities on private land must be submitted using DNR Forms 2300-271 and 2300-271A. Forms must be submitted before Dec. 10 to a local DNR wildlife biologist or department office for the county where the hunt will take place. Please note that any applicant who applies for a disabled turkey hunt on private lands using the above forms may not apply for a permit through the regular spring turkey drawing. For more information regarding bear and turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "bear" or "turkey." Those interested in receiving email updates can sign up for the DNR's GovDelivery service. Visit dnr.wi.gov, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page to "Subscribe to DNR Updates."