Wear body harness when hunting from a tree stand

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety Administrator Jon King is urging Wisconsin hunters to beat the 1 in 20 chances of falling from a tree stand by wearing body harnesses climbing up - and down-during the archery and crossbow deer season and upcoming gun-deer hunt.
King says he understands hunters wanting to enhance their ability of seeing and bagging their deer during the archery season.
"But, without a mind on safety, all enhancements may come with a risk of falling to an injury that will end your hunting season on impact," he said.
The 2016 Wildlife Society research showed 'the most avid hunters' face a 1-in-20 risk of getting hurt in a fall from a tree stand. "Hunters can beat these odds and enjoy safe, healthy hunts by wearing a body harness and reviewing tree stand safety rules," King said.
King offers these safety tips, and suggests people search the DNR website for keyword "treestand" for more tree stand safety tips:
* Always wear a full-body harness also known as a fall-arrest system. Connect to your tether line and keep your tether line short. The tether is designed to keep you in the seat, not to catch you after you fall.
* Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand: This means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
* Always use a haul line to raise and lower your unloaded firearm or bow into and out of the stand. You can also use the haul for other things like a heavy backpack.
* Use a lifeline when climbing up and down. This keeps you connected from the time you leave the ground to the time you get back down.
* Be aware of suspension trauma. Suspension trauma can happen in less than 20 minutes and can be fatal. Attaching an additional foot strap to the body harness will take pressure off your upper legs.
Prefer a course instead? Consider this free online treestand safety course. A 15-minute investment of your time in taking an online safety course could save your life. The Treestand Manufacturers Association provides a free, interactive course that you can finish in minutes.
King also urges hunters to always inspect their stands - especially the ones left up all year.
"Inspect the tree and check straps to make sure animals haven't chewed on them," he said. "Another way to check your stand is to pull on the stand and move it around to see how much it moves, check the hardware and make sure nuts and bolts are tight and make any adjustments that need to be made."
King also says now is the perfect time to review the four basic rules of firearm safety. "These apply to crossbow use and hunting in general."
* Treat every crossbow as if it were loaded.
* Always point the crossbow in a safe direction.
* Be certain of your target and what's beyond.
* Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
For more information search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword treestand and view the "Free" Tree Stand Safety Course.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Away from desks, into the outdoors for youth deer season

Youth ages 10-15 can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 21, in 28 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Youth deer season is about giving kids a unique opportunity to get out into the woods with a parent or mentor,” said James Burnham, DNR recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator. “Many students get a couple days off school for teacher workshops during the youth season so the break is a great time to go hunting and help share the passion for being outside that so many of Minnesota’s hunters and anglers have.”
Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater State Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth firearms deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.
Since it was first implemented in 2004, the youth deer season has expanded and encompassed new areas – creating a growing number of opportunities to develop Minnesota’s next generation of hunters. Passing along the annual fall deer hunting tradition does more than contribute to the bottom line of businesses in communities across Minnesota. It helps fund conservation efforts that benefit wildlife, habitat and water quality, making a better Minnesota for all.
How to participate
Youth ages 10 through 15 must obtain a firearms deer license. Youth ages 12 to 15 need to have completed firearms safety or, if not, can obtain an apprentice hunter validation.
During the youth season, a parent, guardian or mentor age 18 or older must accompany the youth and only need a license if the youth is taking advantage of the apprentice validation option. Party hunting on a youth license is not allowed – so youth must take and tag their own deer.
The bag limit for the youth season is one deer only. Youth may use their regular license or a bonus permit if they take an antlerless deer, regardless of the management designation. Bucks must be tagged with the youth’s regular license. Participation does not affect eligibility for the regular deer season; however, the harvested deer counts against the youth’s annual statewide bag limit and the bag limit for the deer permit area.
If hunting in permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603, the early antlerless only season is in effect from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21, so adults and youth can hunt at the same time in these areas; however, if a youth harvests a deer and wishes to continue hunting during the early antlerless only season they must purchase an early antlerless permit.  

Tags and CWD testing in permit area 603
In permit area 603, youth hunters may purchase and use disease management tags but only for antlerless deer. Disease management tags may be purchased at any electronic license vendor, online or by telephone and are valid without first purchasing a regular deer license. The tags cost $1.50 plus issuing fees.
Youth hunters in permit area 603 must have their adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) by providing the head of all adult deer in one of five head collection boxes (see page 64 of the 2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for location details).  
After the head of these deer are provided for sampling, the hunter cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a not detected test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached.
A tent and tripod to hang deer is provided by the Bluffland Whitetails Association at the Preston DNR Forestry office. This is available to hunters to allow them to quarter their deer, leave the carcass remains in a provided dumpster, and give them options so quarters or meat can leave the 603 zone before receiving a CWD test result. Information on proper steps to follow after harvesting a deer in permit area 603 or to check CWD test results is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
CWD testing during the early antlerless and youth season outside the CWD zone is not required. Mandatory testing will occur on Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18, during the first two days of the firearms A and B deer seasons in these areas.
More information about the youth season can be found on page 35 of the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Mepps buying squirrel tails again this fall

ANTIGO, WI - Mepps continues to ask hunters to save their squirrel tails this fall.
The tails are used for their hand-tied, dressed hooks of their world-famous, fish-catching lures. They've been recycling squirrel tails for over half-a-century.
“Squirrels are good eating and we can reuse their tails for making the world's No. 1 lure,” said Mepps Communications Director Josh Schwartz. “Consider harvesting squirrels for the 2018 hunting season.”
Mepps buys fox, black, gray and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for tails, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.
"We do not advocate harvesting of squirrels solely for their tails, said Schwartz."
For details on the squirrel tail program, either visit our web site www.mepps.com/squirrels or call 800-713-3474.

Richfield artist wins DNR pheasant habitat stamp contest

Richfield artist Timothy Turenne won the Minnesota Pheasant Habitat Stamp contest.
The painting was selected by judges from among 11 submissions for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Turenne is a three-time winner of the pheasant stamp contest and his painting will be featured on the 2019 pheasant habitat stamp.
The pheasant stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and is required for pheasant hunters ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant habitat management and protection.
Three entries advanced as finalists and were selected Sept. 20 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. Other finalists were Ryan Stigman of Perham, second place; and Edward DuRose of Roseville, third place.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The 2019 pheasant stamp will be available for sale in March.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Teach a kid to hunt small game on Take a Kid Hunting Weekend

Getting outdoors in pursuit of squirrels, rabbits and other small game is the focus of Take a Kid Hunting Weekend this Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23.  
During the weekend, adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a youth younger than age 16 can hunt small game without a license, but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Small game hunting is an excellent way to learn how to hunt and sets the stage for pursuing bigger game like turkeys or deer,” said James Burnham, DNR’s recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator. “New hunters can learn about the woods, build fundamentals for safe and successful hunting tactics, and spend some quality time with a mentor.”
Squirrel or rabbit hunting also offers a reason to walk in the woods during the transition to fall colors, and can provide some delicious table fare.
“Hunting squirrels or rabbits often means lower pressure to harvest an animal, warmer temperatures, more conversation and a focus on fun,” Burnham said. “So if you’re looking for younger faces at deer camp or in the turkey blind, weekends like this can help stir an interest.”
For more information on small game hunting and hunting regulations, visit mndnr.gov/hunting/smallgame.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin Fall hunting and trapping forecasts available online

MADISON - Fall hunting and trapping seasons in Wisconsin are well underway, and a number of hunting and trapping forecasts are now available to help hunters and trappers prepare for their time in the outdoors.
Forecasts for the following species can be found at the links below - each forecast is located on the corresponding species page:
* 2018 Fall Deer Hunting Forecast.
* 2018 Fall Upland Game Bird Hunting Forecast.
* 2018 Fall Migratory Bird Hunting Forecast.
* 2018 Fall Bear Hunting Forecast.
* 2018 Fall Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Forecast.
For more helpful information for deer season, be sure to check out season two of the Wild Wisconsin web series and Off the Record Podcast. Learn more at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "wild wisconsin."
To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "white-tailed deer" distribution list (found within the "hunting" list).
For more general information regarding hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "hunt." For more updates throughout fall hunting seasons, follow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on our social media platforms.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Waterfowl hunters can help stop spread of aquatic invasive species

MADISON - As Wisconsin's goose and duck seasons get underway, the Department of Natural Resources is asking for help from the state's dedicated hunters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Just a few minutes of preventative action can protect your hunting tradition for generations to come.
To help protect waterfowl habitat and populations, hunters must take these simple steps before launching into and leaving a waterbody:
* Inspect waders, boats, trailers, motors and hunting equipment, including boots, blinds and dogs.
* Remove all plants, animals and mud.
* Drain all water from decoys, boats, motors, livewells and other hunting equipment.
* Never move plants or live fish away from a water body.
In addition to standard boating gear, waterfowl hunters often use decoys, dogs, waders and push poles that may contain water, debris and mud where invasive species such as zebra mussels, faucet snails and starry stonewort can hide. Use of nonnative vegetation such as phragmites to help conceal blinds or boats can also lead to the inadvertent spread of species that clog waterways and crowd out beneficial plants that provide food and shelter for ducks and geese.
Other types of aquatic invasive species may serve as hosts for parasites or bacteria that can kill waterfowl. As a result, DNR urges hunters to clean equipment as well as boats and check dog coats before leaving a hunting location.
DNR staff and partners will visit with hunters at key locations throughout the state during opening weekend, Sept. 29-30, sharing these steps that everyone can take to protect waterfowl populations and their habitats. Key locations include: Horicon Marsh, Mead Wildlife Area, locations along the Mississippi, and Big Muskego Lake.
"Healthy wetlands and waterways support strong waterfowl populations," said Paul Samerdyke, a DNR wildlife biologist stationed at the Horicon Marsh. "We know that Wisconsin waterfowl hunters are committed to conservation, and they've been solid partners in restoring and improving wetland habitats. We don't want these efforts to be diminished by the spread of damaging aquatic invaders."
DNR staff also appreciates hunters' knowledge and experience in familiar hunting areas and encourages reporting new aquatic invasive species. Early detection is crucial to reducing or eliminating the harm from damaging species.
For more information on Wisconsin's invasive species rule and what hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts can do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "Aquatic Invasive Species."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR