Entries open for Wisconsin stamp design contests

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin artists have until July 20, to submit artwork for the 2018 Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests.
Funds derived from the sale of these stamps contribute to restoration and management efforts on thousands of acres of important wildlife habitat. Stamp design entries must be received or postmarked by July 20, 2017, to be eligible. Judging will be in a closed session on July 27.
For rules, entry information, and Reproduction Rights Agreements, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "Wildlife Stamps." All stamp contest applicants should review contest rules carefully to ensure the eligibility of their entries. Artwork must meet technical requirements in order to be properly processed and prepared for judging and possible display at the Wisconsin State Fair.
In 2016, Caleb Metrich, Sara Stack and Craig Fairbert took home first place prizes for their entries in the Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests, respectively.
To receive contest entry deadlines, detailed event information, and the announcement for the winning artwork for the 2018 Stamp Competition, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and enroll in the "Waterfowl, Wild Turkey, and Pheasant Stamp Design Contests" list.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR announces Great Lakes photo contest winners

MADISON, WI - Six photographers from Wisconsin earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' ninth annual "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" photography contest.
Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer at Great Lakes events and at lakeshore state parks and regional DNR offices.  
Joe Polecheck of Superior, James Brey of DePere , Christopher Suchocki of Milwaukee, and Mason Morris of Port Washington won first place honors in the contest's four categories.
Morris was awarded second place in a separate contest category. Renee Blaubach of Grafton took second place in two contest categories, and Scott Pearson of Eagle River also won second place for his photograph.
Photographers from across Wisconsin and beyond submitted more than 250 beautiful photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This year's winning photos will be featured in the 2017-2018 16-month calendar that the DNR Office of Great Waters (formerly Office of Great Lakes) produces each year according to Jo Temte, the Office of Great Waters water specialist who coordinates the contest.
This is the second year that the Office of Great Waters has offered a category of Great Lakes Stewardship activities and asked participants to submit not only a photo, but a brief description of their Great Lakes project.
"We were excited to receive nine submissions in this category this year," said Office of Great Waters Director, Steve Galarneau. "We know there is a lot of great work going on to help protect and restore Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and we are happy to be able to highlight some of those projects this year."
In addition to the photo contest, DNR coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" writing project and this year received eleven submissions that can also be found on the Office of Great Waters website.
Poems by Patricia Williams of Iola, Stephen Lars Kalmon of Withee, Marilyn Zelke-Windau of Sheboygan Falls, Karen Gersonde of Milwaukee, William Tecku of Gordon, and Lynn Polyak of Wilmington, IL, will be featured in this year's calendar.
DNR's Office of Great Waters is currently accepting photos of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River for next year's contest. "Wisconsin's Great Waters" photo contest and writing project information and submission instructions can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Great Waters Photo Contest."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Submit turtle crossing reports to the DNR

MADISON, WI - With the spring breeding season beginning for many Wisconsin turtle species, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologists are once again asking citizens to submit their observations of where turtles and other wildlife are found crossing roads.
"In a little over four years, more than 1,000 citizens have reported 1,021 turtle road crossings throughout Wisconsin," says Andrew Badje, a DNR conservation biologist who coordinates the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. "These reports have helped us identify problem areas throughout the state so we can work with road agencies to take steps to make these sites safer for motorists and less deadly for turtles."
Citizen reports help DNR staff identify problem areas throughout Wisconsin. In addition, site history data helps the department collaborate on relevant projects with road agencies across the state.
Wisconsin has 11 turtle species and all of them lay eggs in upland nests consisting of gravel and sand. The loss of even one adult female turtle can have a large effect on future population numbers, especially in isolated populations or in species like the wood turtle that can take from 12 to 20 years to reach reproductive age, Badje says.
To report turtle crossings and other turtle sightings and learn more about Wisconsin turtles, visit the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program website.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Preliminary 2016 river otter, fisher harvest information available

MADISON, WI - Trappers harvested 1,474 river otters and 546 fishers, according to preliminary harvest data for Wisconsin's 2016-17 river otter and fisher season.
Preliminary data combines both state and tribal harvest information. Final harvest information should be available by mid-June. River otter and fisher harvest is distributed across the entire state through the allocation of harvest permits by management zones. River otters were taken in 72 counties and fishers were taken in 42 counties during the 2016-2017 season. Tribal harvest accounted for 22 fisher and 13 otter.
"The distribution of harvest has changed as fisher range has expanded to include southern portions of the state while otters have been well established statewide for a long time." said Shawn Rossler, furbearer ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "This past season Marathon, Dunn, Chippewa, and Clark saw the highest level of fisher harvest. Otter harvest was highest in Price, Taylor, Oneida, Polk, and Marathon counties.
The department's furbearer population monitoring and research efforts are led by Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.
"River otter and fisher are both members of the weasel family. We rely on detailed harvest records, track surveys, and valuable information gained by examining the ages of animals that are trapped," Roberts said. "Due to their generally secretive nature, we really rely on information gained through highly-regulated and monitored trapping seasons."
Harvest goals are developed annually in consultation with tribal and partner agency representatives, and individuals from key user groups. Management zones can be closed early, if needed, to ensure that harvest is within approved goals. In addition, Wisconsin leads the nation in the development and utilization of best management practices for traps to promote humane trapping and to minimize the capture of non-target species.
Trappers must report river otter and fisher harvest within 24 hours and receive an in-person registration tag from a local conservation warden within five days of the month of harvest. These species can only be taken by trapping and only with a species-specific trapping tag allocated through a quota system. Trappers successful in harvesting a fisher must provide the fisher's lower jaw to the department for scientific examination to estimate the age. Otter carcasses are collected very three years. Department staff uses this information to monitor population status and trends.
For more information regarding furbearers in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "furbearers."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Fawn laying in grass

Fawn searches play important role in Wisconsin deer research

Fawn searches play important role in Wisconsin deer research
MADISON, WI - Fawning season for Wisconsin's white-tailed deer is nearly here and Department of Natural Resources staff needs help from volunteers to place radio collars on newborn fawns in southwest Wisconsin.
Most fawns are born in late May and early June, and once again volunteers will be vital in reaching the department's goal of 100 collared fawns in 2017. Volunteers work alongside DNR search teams in southwest Wisconsin on foot to find fawns hidden in grassy fields and wooded underbrush.
This process is very labor-intensive, but also an incredibly unique experience for anyone interested in Wisconsin's wildlife. Volunteers can hold a wide range of duties, and will also have numerous opportunities to take photos and spot other wildlife in the area.
"Mother deer do not make our job easy, they like to hide their fawns in thick underbrush or in dense grassy fields, and fawns remain motionless, depending on their natural camouflage to stay hidden," said Dan Storm, DNR ungulate research ecologist. "We have to do a lot of walking to find them and rely on strength in numbers with help from volunteers. It is a lot of fun to find fawns and we get key information regarding fawn survival from these efforts."
Once found, fawns are fitted with expandable radio collars that will monitor survival during their first year of life. The collars are designed to expand as the deer grows and eventually drop off around its first birthday. This will be the first fawn capture of the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study, which is part of Gov. Scott Walker's CWD initiative.
Anyone over the age of 12 may participate in fawn searches - those under the age of 18 must have an adult present during volunteer activities. Interested volunteers can sign through an online form or via telephone at 608-935-1940. Sessions will take place between May 18 and June 4, 2017.
People who would like to contribute to fawn searching efforts from the comfort of their own home are encouraged to notify DNR staff at 608-935-1940 if they see a fawn within the study area.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Flooding could hamper holiday boat access

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Winona District officials are urging boaters to take precautions on this Memorial Day weekend.
Boaters should be vigilant as flood waters have significantly changed conditions at traditional access, camping, and day-use sites. Excessive current, turbid water and submerged and floating hazards should be expected in the river this weekend.
Boaters should also be prepared to locate alternative boat ramps to access the Mississippi River between Wabasha, MN, and Trempealeau, WI, as ramps may be closed due to flooding. Landings are closed when water levels submerse the ramp and/or dock, cover any portion that is asphalt, or obscure the concrete curbing from view. Refuge personnel are constantly evaluating river conditions to determine when refuge boat ramps can be opened.
Currently, the following boat landings are closed and not expected to open for the holiday weekend: Peterson Lake and Halfmoon located near Kellogg, MN, and access road to Halfmoon; Verchota and McNally on the Prairie Island Dike near Minnesota City, MN; Mertes’ Slough on Hwy 54/43 near Winona, MN; and Indian, Beef and Pontoon Slough landings on Hwy 25 (Nelson Dike) between Wabasha, MN and Nelson, WI.
Questions regarding the availability of boat ramps can be addressed by calling the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge at 507-454-7351.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service