Early antlerless-only deer hunting season runs Oct. 19-22

Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless-only season from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in deer permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603 in Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted and Winona counties, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“This hunt aims to reduce the deer population because of high deer densities that damage agricultural crops and other resources in three of these permit areas,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “This year the hunt includes permit area 603 as one of several ways to reduce deer numbers to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease.”
Populations in permit areas 346, 348 and 349 have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. The antlerless-only season would help move populations toward established goals and provide additional hunting opportunity.
To participate, hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit. Bonus permits may be used, but hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit.
Public land is limited in the early antlerless hunt areas and hunters need to ask permission to hunt private lands.
In the early antlerless deer hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during other deer seasons. Early antlerless deer permits cost $7.50 for residents, $40 for nonresidents, and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Hunters in permit area 603 must have their adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative 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. Information on proper steps to follow after harvesting a deer in permit area 603 is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd/603.
CWD testing during the early antlerless and youth season outside the CWD zone is not required. Mandatory testing will occur on Nov. 4-5, during the first two days of the firearms deer season in these areas. Individuals can voluntarily have deer tested for CWD through the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota for a fee. More information is available online at vdl.umn.edu or by telephone at 612-625-8787.
The DNR has not yet made a decision about whether to have a late antlerless-only season in permit areas 346, 348 and 349 this winter.
All deer harvested during the early antlerless-only season must be tagged with an early antlerless or bonus permit, or disease management permit if the deer was taken in permit area 603. Hunters also must have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader deer license to participate. The early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season. More information can be found at mndnr.gov/deer.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Richard Bong State Recreation Area visitor entrance station closed temporarily

Pheasant hunters planning on hunting at Richard Bong State Recreation Area will need to do things differently this year when they come to purchase their hunting permit.
A vehicle accident occurred at the Bong entrance station last month that has put it out of commission for a while. As a result, customer service staff are temporarily relocated to the Molinaro/Nature Visitor Center.
Rather than driving up to the entrance station and purchasing the permit from their vehicle, hunters need to drive to the visitor center and walk to the building to purchase permits. This is likely to result in some delays in permits being issued.
The visitor center will open at 8 a.m. each day of the season, and hunters should plan on arriving early so they can get their hunting permits and get to hunting locations by the opening of the season at 9 a.m. Bringing cash to pay for permits will expedite permit sales.
For more information on the recreation area, search the DNR Website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “Richard Bong.”
For information on pheasant hunting, search “pheasant hunting.”

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR sets new tagging rules for deer, turkey season

MADISON, WI - As the archery and turkey seasons continue and the youth deer hunters will take to the field this weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters about recently implemented changes involving the use of deer and turkey carcass tags.
Deer tags are still issued with license purchases. However, validation and attachment of tags is no longer required, nor is the requirement to keep the tag with the deer meat.
Turkey carcass tags have been replaced with Turkey Harvest Authorizations. Turkey hunters are no longer required to validate or attach the tag, or to keep the tag with the turkey meat.
To date, nearly one million deer and turkey carcass tags have been issued for the current fall hunting seasons. All previously issued deer and turkey carcass tags are still valid as an authorization to hunt deer or turkey within the assigned or designated location. Customers making additional purchases throughout the remainder of this year's hunting seasons will be issued products that will not include the usual validation and attachment language.
While hunting, customers will still be required to carry proof they are authorized to hunt within the designated location. Hunters will be able to use their paper tag/authorization, DNR issued Conservation Card, a GoWild validated Wisconsin driver's license, a GoWild digital file as proof of compliance.
Harvested turkey and deer must still be registered under current law. Harvest registration is a critical part of deer and turkey population management. Customers will be asked to enter either their deer tag number or their turkey harvest authorization number into the Game Registration system to begin the harvest registration process. Please note, tag or authorization numbers are different than a customer identification number. Hunters will need to know their tag or authorization number to register.
All harvested turkey and deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after being recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the deer tag/harvest authorization number and the hunter's date of birth.
Hunters will have two options for registering:
* Online at GameReg.wi.gov (fastest and easiest option).
* Or, by phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG).
For more information regarding electronic registration, search "GameReg."
These changes do not affect other species such as bear, bobcat, fisher, otter or sturgeon.
For updated regulations materials, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword, "hunt." You'll be able to find key updates and official regulations under the "Know" tab.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Hunters can help reduce spread of CWD

MADISON, WI - Hunters participating in any of the deer hunts this fall are reminded to observe Wisconsin regulations and to consider supplemental, voluntary recommendations when transporting carcasses across county or state lines.
The movement of deer carcasses infected with chronic wasting disease is a key pathway in the spread of this disease.
"The infectious nature of the CWD prion contributes to an increased risk of introduction and spread of CWD if carcasses are brought to areas where CWD is not known to exist if not disposed of properly," said Tami Ryan, wildlife health section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Carcass movement restrictions are currently in place to limit the spread of disease. Both whole wild-deer carcasses and certain parts of carcasses from CWD-affected counties can only be moved within CWD-affected counties and an adjacent county. As an added voluntary action, it is recommended that carcasses remain within the county or an adjacent county to which the deer was harvested. Hunters may also consider applying this voluntary action to all areas of the state.
To view exceptions and a complete list of rules, go to dnr.wi.gov and search keyword, "CWD."
Hunters from other states/provinces should be aware of their state's carcass movement restrictions of deer harvested in Wisconsin before heading home.
Whole carcasses and parts of carcasses, other than those listed, from these states and provinces are not allowed into Wisconsin unless taken to a meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours of entry into Wisconsin.
United States: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Canadian Provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan.
For more information on deer hunting dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer." For more information on CWD and reducing the spread search keyword "CWD."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin ring-necked pheasant season opens Oct. 14

MADISON, WI - The longtime and popular tradition of pheasant hunting in Wisconsin will again take center stage when the fall 2017 pheasant hunting season opens statewide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The season will run through Dec. 31, with the possibility of being extended until Jan. 7, 2018.
Several other seasons also open that day including bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse in Zone B and Hungarian partridge.
Like pheasant, the bobwhite quail and Hungarian partridge seasons open at 9 a.m. The ruffed grouse season opens with the start of legal shooting hours.
Hunters should check the Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations booklet for rules and season structures for the game species they will pursue.
"Pheasant hunting offers a fantastic means to experience the outdoors, and it complements the other upland bird hunting opportunities in Wisconsin very well," says Mark Witecha, upland wildlife ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Pheasant hunting offers the chance to explore landscapes and habitat types you might not otherwise see."
Pheasants are one of the most sought-after gamebirds in North America, and populations do best in the agricultural landscape of southern and western Wisconsin provided there is habitat present in sufficient quantities to meet their food and cover needs throughout the year, according to Witecha.
Witecha says hunters should look for areas that contain adequate winter cover, such as cattail marshes and dense brush, intermixed with cropland, hay and idle grasslands which provide food and nesting cover. It will be important for hunters to identify areas with high-quality habitat, concentrating their hunting efforts in those areas.
During the 2016 pheasant hunting season, an estimated 43,520 hunters went out in search of pheasants and reported harvesting 307240 birds. The top counties for harvest included Fond du Lac, Waukesha and Kenosha.

A 2017 Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants statewide, as well as a valid small game license. Please note that free leg tags previously required on the hen/rooster areas are no longer required. The daily bag limit is one pheasant daily for the first two days of the season and two pheasants daily for the remainder of the season, with a possession limit of three times the daily bag limit. More information is available in the 2017 Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations, available online at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "regulations."

Pheasant Stocking Program
This fall, DNR wildlife staff plan to release approximately 75,000 game farm pheasants on 91 public hunting grounds. These numbers are a similar to 2016 stocking efforts.
State game farm production goals will remain at 75,000 birds moving forward. In addition, pheasants raised by conservation clubs through the Day-old Chick Program will also be released this fall on both designated public hunting grounds and private lands open to public pheasant hunting. Hunters are reminded to be polite and notify the landowner before hunting on private property open to public hunting as part of this program.
Hunters can view a summary of stocked properties on the 2017 Pheasant Stocking Information Sheet, available at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "pheasant." In addition, hunters can use the DNR's gamebird mapping application, FFLIGHT, to locate and explore properties stocked with pheasants (along with ruffed grouse and woodcock habitat and managed dove fields). FFLIGHT also allows hunters to use aerial maps, topography and measuring tools to easily navigate and identify areas of interest and make their trips more productive and enjoyable. To learn more about FFLIGHT, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "FFLIGHT."
Pheasant Hunting Opportunities through the Mentored Hunting Program
2017 marks the ninth year of the Mentored Hunting Program, which allows hunters age 10 or older, born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, to obtain a hunting license and hunt without first completing Hunter Education, provided they hunt with a mentor and comply with all of the requirements under the program. For additional information and the requirements of the program, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "mentored hunting."
"Pheasants are a popular gamebird, and they offer a great hunting experience to both novices and experienced hunters," said Witecha. "I wish hunters safe and successful trips this fall."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

What type of life jacket should I use?

Q: What are some good life jacket options for waterfowl hunting?
A: Without question, the best life jacket for waterfowl hunting is the one you will wear.
The greatest danger a hunter faces on the water is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket. So, whether it’s an inflatable vest or belt pack, float coat or foam-filled vest, picking a style you’ll consistently wear is the most important consideration.
Low-profile inflatable styles have become increasingly popular in recent years and are an excellent option for hunters who otherwise would not wear a life jacket.
However, late season waterfowl hunters face an even greater risk of drowning during the “cold water” months, when hypothermia and cold water shock make survival without a life jacket much less likely.
For that reason, a foam-filled life vest or float coat is the safest choice for late season hunters, as the foam provides some insulation against cold water should you fall in.
Float coats are an especially convenient option. They are warm and waterproof, come in a variety of popular camouflage patterns and eliminate the need to wear two outer layers (a jacket and life jacket).
Choosing a life jacket style that works for you, and wearing it every time you’re on the water, is not only a good choice - it’s the best choice you could have made.
To learn more about life jacket options and requirements, visit www.mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.

SOURCE: Lisa Dugan, Minnesota DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator

Trempealeau refuge offering deer hunting permits

TREMPEALEAU, WI - Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is once again offering special refuge deer hunting permits for the 2017 nine-day Wisconsin gun deer season and the 2017 late archery season.
Information on how to apply and applications are available at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Trempealeau/visit/permits.html.
Hunters may also apply in person at the refuge office.
A random drawing will be held on Oct. 17, to select 45 hunters for the nine-day gun hunt. Applications for the drawing are available now at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/trempealeau/ (follow the link to Permits). There is a $10 administrative fee for hunters wishing to be entered into the drawing. The $10 fee must be submitted with the application no later than Oct. 13, to be entered into the drawing. Permits to hunt will be mailed to selected hunters on Oct. 20. Due to the large number of applicants, hunters not selected in the drawing will not be notified.
Permits for the late archery season are also available on the website. Archery hunters may apply until Dec. 21, and all applications must be accompanied by a $10 administrative fee. Archery permits will be mailed upon receipt of application and fee. Archery hunters may also apply in person at the refuge office.
All hunters must possess a valid Wisconsin hunting license and a refuge permit to hunt on the refuge. Wisconsin State hunting regulations will be in effect.
Interested hunters may contact Trempealeau NWR for more information by calling 608/539-2311, ext. 2 (TTY users may call via the Wisconsin State Relay Service at 1-800-947-3529), via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or in person at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, W28488 Refuge Road, Trempealeau, Wisconsin 54661.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service