Wisconsin Conservation Congress Learn to Hunt Bear tag applications due

PRAIRIE DU SAC, WI – The Wisconsin Conservation Congress will once again award a bear harvest tag to a novice hunter based on the applications and essays which are due April 25.
The Learn to Hunt Bear Program (LTHB) is an opportunity to expose novice hunters to the hunting experience and recruit new hunters into the sport.  
The Conservation Congress is one of the statewide conservation organizations that are specifically issued a bear harvest tag through the LTH Bear Program. Each year the Wisconsin Conservation Congress is granted a tag with the express intent of awarding it to a deserving individual with the desire and interest in learning more about hunting bear.
Applicants must fill out and submit an application along with a brief essay describing why they would like to be considered to receive the bear harvest tag and why they would like the opportunity to hunt bear.
Learn to Hunt Bear events are open to anyone who is 10 years old or older who has not previously participated in a Learn to Hunt event for the species being hunted and no hunter education certification is required.
If you are a novice hunter, or know someone that would be interested in receiving the WCC’s LTH Bear Harvest Permit, please direct them to the WCC website. The link to the application can be found under the “Community Outreach” section. Applications must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 25, 2018. The successful applicant will be notified by May 12, 2018.

SOURCE: Wisconsin Conservation Congress


Get a free 'First Turkey Certificate'

MADISON, WI - To help commemorate a turkey hunter's first harvest or hunting experience, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides a free, personalized certificate available online.
Sign-up is easy and can be done in a matter of minutes online."Thousands of hunters take to the woods each year in Wisconsin to pursue the wild turkey, many for the first time," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. "The first hunt or first experience certificate is our way of saying congratulations to all of the first-time turkey hunters. We wish them all many more years of successful hunting."
After submitting an online form, first-time turkey hunters will receive a customized certificate with details of the hunt including a picture, the location, the bird's weight, beard length and more. Certificates will be sent electronically within a few weeks after submission.
First-time hunters can submit a certificate by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keyword "first certificates."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Turkey Donation Program provides help for families in need

MADISON, WI - Now in its second year, the Turkey Donation Program returns this spring to provide hunters with an opportunity to donate a harvested turkey to families in need.
"This is a great opportunity for turkey hunters to participate in a sport they enjoy and at the same time provide food assistance to Wisconsin families across the state," said Noah Balgooyen, Department of Natural Resources Turkey Donation Program coordinator.
Donated turkeys are processed free of charge and the meat is provided to local food pantries. Hunters must donate the entire turkey carcass in order for the processing cost to be covered by the program (beard, tailfin, and spurs/feet may be kept). A log sheet is maintained at each processor to verify the donation.
Hunters can participate in the program by following three simple steps:
* Legally harvest and register a turkey.
* Field-dress the turkey and keep it in a cool location.
* Drop the turkey off at a participating processor, during regular business hours, by May 31, 2018 (call the processor first to make sure that they are prepared to accept the turkey).
Those interested in supporting the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs to help cover meat-processing fees. To donate, visit any license sales location or donate online through a Go Wild account at GoWild.Wi.Gov.
For more information regarding the turkey donation program, including a list of participating processors, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "turkey donation."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


New plan fosters better understanding of deer management

Minnesota’s new deer plan sets a new statewide harvest target, increases citizen participation in deer management, and outlines ways to keep the population and habitat healthy.
The Department of Natural Resources is taking online public comments on the new plan now through Wednesday, May 9. Also, the DNR will hold 35 public meetings in April around the state so people can talk to wildlife managers, ask questions and provide input.
“We’re setting a course for deer management that encourages more dialogue among stakeholders, the public, and DNR staff,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Our ultimate goal is to support our hunting traditions, better engage the public, and to maintain sustainable, healthy deer populations throughout Minnesota.”
Part of the plan outlines strategic ways the DNR will prioritize its resources and activities to meet the plan’s eight key goals, which range from keeping Minnesota deer healthy to ensuring biological and societal factors are considered in management decisions.
“The plan recognizes the diversity of interests, considers multiple objectives and is informed by the best available science,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR acting wildlife populations and programs manager. “It also factors in ways to reduce the negative impacts deer can have on people and the landscape.”
The plan establishes an annual statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer. Although only one of several performance measures outlined in the plan, the harvest target will help communicate how the DNR is meeting overall population goals through time.
In general, annual harvests less than 200,000 will indicate a need for more conservative regulations to rebuild deer populations. Harvests greater than 200,000 will suggest hunting regulations need to be liberalized so more deer are harvested to reduce populations.
“It’s important for people to know we’ll be measuring our performance in a variety of ways, from increased opportunities for public engagement to improving deer habitat and limiting disease,” McInenly said. “That strategy will inform us if objectives are being met and what areas need more work.”
McInenly added that the plan doesn’t address the details of specific regulations or operational issues, but rather plots a long-term strategic direction for managing the herd.
For more than a year, a 19-member citizen’s advisory group helped the DNR draft the deer plan. The group’s members had knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer and familiarity with different areas of the state.
 “I want to express the agency’s great appreciation for the substantial public input and work of committee members in developing the plan,” McInenly said.

Public can now comment on new plan
The public can comment on the proposed plan on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan.
A questionnaire asks people to indicate their level of satisfaction with the purpose, mission, vision and goals of the plan and provides opportunity for people to give additional feedback on whether the plan reflects the conversation and public input over the last few years.
Also, the DNR’s 35 open-house meetings in April will help people understand the deer plan.
“The open houses provide an opportunity to learn more about the plan, ask questions, and meet the local staff who help manage wildlife and habitat,” McInenly said.
There will be no formal presentation at the meetings. Instead, local wildlife staff will provide handouts explaining the deer plan and process and will talk with attendees individually and in small groups. All meetings are scheduled from 6-8 p.m., and people can arrive anytime during the two-hour time frame.
Meetings are scheduled at the following locations:

NORTHWEST
* Baudette, Wednesday, April 18, Lake of the Woods School, 210 3rd Ave. NE, IT room.
* Bemidji, Tuesday, April 24, Bemidji City Hall, 317 4th St. NW.
Crookston, Monday, April 16, Crookston Public Library, 110 N Ash St.
* Detroit Lakes, Thursday, April 26, Minnesota State Community College, 900 Minnesota Highway 34, campus auditorium.
* Fergus Falls, Wednesday, April 18, Fergus Falls Area Wildlife Office, 1509 First Ave. N.
* Glenwood, Thursday, April 19, Glenwood Area Wildlife Office, 23070 North Lakeshore Drive.
* Karlstad, Tuesday, April 17, Lake Bronson State Park, Kittson County Road 28, Lake Bronson
* Park Rapids, Tuesday, April 17, Park Rapids Area Library, 210 1st St. W.
* Red Lake, Monday, April 16, Hayes Lake State Park, 48990 County Road 4, Roseau.
* Roseau, Tuesday, April 17, Roseau County Courthouse, 606 5th Ave. SW.
* Thief Lake, Wednesday, April 18, Thief Lake Area Wildlife Office, 42280 240th Ave. NE, Middle River.
* Thief River Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Thief River Falls Area Wildlife Office, 246 125th Ave. NE.

NORTHEAST
* Aitkin, Tuesday, April 17, Aitkin Area DNR Office, 1200 Minnesota Ave S.
* Brainerd, Wednesday, April 18, Brainerd Area DNR Office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, lower conference room.
* Cloquet, Wednesday, April 25, Carlton County Transportation and Tax Forfeit Land Department Building, 1630 County Road 61.
* Grand Rapids, Thursday, April 26, Grand Rapids Regional DNR Office, 1201 E Highway 2, upstairs conference room.       
* International Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Rainy River Community College, 1501 Highway 71, room H124.
* Tower, Wednesday, April 18, Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive.
* Two Harbors, Thursday, April 26, Two Harbors Area Wildlife Office, 1568 Highway 2.

CENTRAL/SOUTHEAST
* Cambridge, Thursday, April 26, Cambridge Area Wildlife Office, 800 Oak Savanna Lane SW.
* Carlos Avery/Forest Lake, Tuesday, April 24, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, 5463 W Broadway, conference room.
* Little Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 19502 Iris Road.
* Mille Lacs, Monday, April 23, Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area Office, 29172 100th Ave.
* Rochester, Tuesday, April 24, Willow Creek Middle School, 2425 11th Ave. SE
* Sauk Rapids, Thursday, April 19, Sauk Rapids Area DNR Office, 1035 South Benton Drive.
* Shakopee, Tuesday, April 24, Shakopee Area Wildlife Office, 7050 E Highway 101.
* Vermillion, Wednesday, April 25, Rosemount Research & Outreach Center, 16085 Alverno Ave.
* Whitewater, Thursday, April 26, Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Office, 15035 Highway 74.

SOUTHWEST
* La Qui Parle and Appleton, Tuesday, April 24, Lac Qui Parle Area DNR Headquarters, 14047 20th St. NW, Watson.
* Marshall, Tuesday, April 17, Marshall Area DNR Office, 1400 E Lyon.
* New London, Tuesday, April 17, MnDOT District 8, 2505 Transportation Road, Willmar.
* Nicollet, Monday, April 16, Nicollet Conservation Club, 46045 471st Lane.
* Owatonna, Thursday, April 19, Cabela's, 3900 Cabela Drive.
* Slayton/Talcot, Wednesday, April 18, Slayton Pizza Ranch, 2306 Broadway Avenue, Slayton.
* Windom, Thursday, April 26, Windom Community Center, 1750 Cottonwood Lake Drive.
For those who can’t make the meetings, the DNR is encouraging the public to contact their local wildlife manager for additional information or to address any questions they may have about the deer plan. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife.
Information about the deer plan, scheduled open houses, background information and a link to submit online comments are on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Landowner enrollment eligibility expands for Turkey Hunter Access Program

MADISON - Landowners in Turkey hunting zones 1, 2, and 3 interested in earning extra income in exchange for providing public access during the spring turkey hunt are encouraged to apply for the Turkey Hunter Access Program for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
THAP provides financial incentives to private landowners interested in making their land available for public access during the Spring turkey season, which runs from March 1-29.
Annual lease payment rates are $5/acre, and lease payments are made in the form of an upfront lump sum payment at the beginning of the contract. Priority will be given to parcels greater than 40 acres in size with at least 30-70 percent forest cover within a one-half mile of the property.
Research points to lack of access to quality hunting grounds as one of the reasons for declining hunting license sales. Private landowners can help retain, recruit and re-engage people in wildlife-dependent recreation by opening their land to public access for spring turkey hunting.
Funding for the Turkey Hunter Access Program is provided by Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Stamp Program.
Interested landowners should contact Anne Reis, VPA-HIP and THAP Coordinator, at 608-279-6483 for more information or visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "THAP."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Public comment feedback period open to County Deer Advisory Councils

MADISON, WI – County Deer Advisory Councils met in each county in March, and preliminary antlerless deer quotas, tag levels, and season structure recommendations for the 2018 deer hunting season are now available for review and comment.
An online public comment period will be open through April 12, to collect feedback on the preliminary recommendations. To view each county’s recommendations and provide feedback, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."
Antlerless quota recommendations and hunter success rates from previous hunts help determine the number of antlerless tags available for the 2018 deer hunting season, and help Department of Natural Resources staff and councils work to reach deer population objectives within each county.
"The impact that CDACs are having on deer hunting in Wisconsin is impressive and growing,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. “The public has a real voice in local deer management, and the council members weigh their decisions heavily on public feedback. If you have an interest in helping to shape the deer season in your county, this is an important opportunity.”
CDACs consider a variety of factors, like harvest data, population trends and winter severity to form harvest objective and tag level recommendations.
After the public comment period has ended, each council will reconvene April 16-19, to evaluate public feedback and determine final recommendations for the 2018 deer seasons, which will be reviewed and adopted by the Natural Resources Board in May.
All council meetings are open to the public and provide the opportunity for attendees to address the council. Meeting details for each county can be found at keyword "CDAC."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Minnesota bear hunt applications available

Applications for bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 4, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.
A total of 3,350 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Saturday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 14.
Notification to lottery winners will be made by Friday, June 1. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Wednesday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Monday, Aug. 6.
An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.
Bear license numbers in the quota area are unchanged from the 2017 season. The current level of bear permit numbers for quota areas is to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase and support a robust bear population.
The 2016 bear season harvest was higher than expected as a result of poor natural food availability. Hunters in the quota area had the second highest record (46 percent) success rate in 2017, while the no-quota area continues to see a high number of licenses sold.
Bear hunting information is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR