Question of the week

Q: If I purchase a Minnesota hunting or fishing license on the DNR website, do I need to keep a printed copy with me out in the field?
A: If you’re using a home computer, you can print most licenses and need to keep a copy with you when participating in the activity. In cases where the license has a tag, the license will be mailed to you, and you must have the license in possession.Licenses purchased on a mobile device are issued in electronic format, and you can choose to receive an email and/or text message that serves as your license. In that case, you must carry your mobile device or a printed copy of this email or text message to show proof of license.

SOURCE: Steve Michaels, Minnesota DNR licensing program director


Mosquito Island closed during construction

The small island locally known as “Mosquito Island” will be closed to public entry until Oct. 13.
The island, which is part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, is located adjacent to the main navigation channel between Winona and Homer, MN.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maintenance and Repair Branch based in Fountain City, WI, will be rehabbing the upstream portion of the island to replace the area that has been lost to erosion.  
USACE will use approximately 60,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the main navigation channel to build a new island base. The new construction will tie into the upstream end of the existing island and continue upstream for approximately 900 feet. Once the base is constructed, approximately 3,300 cubic yards of soil will be dredged from an adjacent backwater. This dredging will create about one acre of fish habitat and provide enough material to cover the new island with about 12 inches of topsoil.
The new island section will be protected with rip-rap at the upstream end and rock vanes along the sides to discourage future erosion. The top will be planted with a cover crop to hold it in place through the winter. During the spring of 2018, trees will be planted on the island to provide wildlife habitat. The project will also place sand on the existing beaches to enrich them for public use.
The project construction will be funded by the USACE with an estimated cost of $600,000.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Storm damage, flooding closes state park trails

MADISON, WI - Wednesday night's storms resulted in downed trees and flooding at several state park and trail properties in west central, southwest and south central Wisconsin.
Crews are working to assess damage, clear downed trees and repair damaged areas of properties.
There are currently no reports of injuries or damage to personal property.
The horse campground and all horse trails at Wildcat Mountain State Park will be closed until at least late next week.
The sand beaches, boat landings and some parking lots at Governor Dodge are either partially or fully submerged. Many trails, including all horse and biking trails will be closed through the weekend.
Trails and portions of trails will be closed at the following locations until damage can be assessed, downed trees cleared and water recedes: Blue Mound, Governor Nelson, Tower Hill, Governor Dodge, Wyalusing, Wildcat Mountain and Perrot state parks; Badger, Military Ridge, Sugar River, Elroy Sparta, the 400 and Great River state trails.
People venturing out this weekend to one of these properties, should call ahead to the property directly before they go for the most up to date information on closed areas. For contact information, search the Department of Natural Resources website for "Find a Park."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Annual citizen-science deer survey begins Aug. 1

MADISON, WI - Operation Deer Watch, an annual citizen-science survey that collects information on deer, gives Wisconsin residents a great opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts.
Data from this survey provides insight to the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd for 2017 and helps shape deer management for the state. To get involved, record all bucks, does and fawns seen during the day from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30. Daily observations can be tracked using an online tally sheet found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "deer watch."
"This is a fun and useful opportunity for everyone to enjoy Wisconsin's plentiful wildlife," said Brian Dhuey, Department of Natural Resources surveys coordinator. "The Department of Natural Resources encourages anyone interested in deer, from hunters and trappers to outdoor enthusiasts, to take part."
Data from the survey is also used by County Deer Advisory Councils to develop deer season framework, harvest quotas and permit level recommendations.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Designs open for Minnesota 2018 Trout, Salmon Stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2018 Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp through 4 p.m. Friday, July 28, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Anglers can purchase the trout and salmon stamp validation with their fishing license for an additional $10. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the pictorial stamp. It is also sold as a collectible for $10.75. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work.
Trout or salmon must be the primary focus of the design, though other fish species may be included in the design if they are used to depict common interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Brook trout designs are not eligible this year.
Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Judging will take place Thursday, Aug. 3, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
For more information and contest guidelines, visit mndnr.gov/stamps, or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Bobcat harvest quota to increase for the 2017-18 season

MADISON, WI - The statewide harvest quota for bobcat has been approved and set at 750 for the 2017-18 seasons, which mark the fourth year of statewide bobcat harvest.
Hunters and trappers successful in receiving a harvest permit for the 2017-18 season will be notified by mid-September.
The quota of 750 bobcats includes both the Northern and Southern Zone - Wisconsin HWY 64 acts as the dividing line between these zones. The Southern Zone quota for the 2017-18 season is set at 200 bobcats (compared to 150 in 2016-17), while the northern zone quota is set at 550, (compared to 225 in 2016-17).
“Both zones will see quota increases this year, with a substantial quota increase in the Northern Zone.” said Shawn Rossler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources furbearer ecologist.
Each year, the department’s Furbearer Advisory Committee meets to review bobcat research, harvest, and survey data to make harvest recommendations. The committee expressed support for increased quota recommendations for both zones.  
Bobcat population estimate research is led by Dr. Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.
"The DNR works closely with trappers and hunters to learn more about this elusive, but common species. Together, we are working to refine our understanding of Wisconsin’s bobcat population and are finding that Wisconsin’s bobcat population is healthy and robust enough to provide additional harvest opportunities,” said Roberts. “The information we gather from ongoing research efforts will be used to update population models and continue to guide harvest quotas in the future.”  
Bobcat research is funded, in part, by a special application fee that was requested by Wisconsin;s sportsmen and women to ensure science-based management of this species.   
2017-18 bobcat hunting and trapping seasons begin Oct. 15
Wisconsin’s bobcat hunting and trapping seasons are divided into early and late time periods. These early and late seasons for each zone can be closed early, if needed, to stay within approved harvest quotas.
Time periods for 2017-18 are as follows:
* Period 1: Oct. 15 to Dec. 25, 2017; and
* Period 2: Dec. 26, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2018.
Successful hunters and trappers must register their bobcat by phone within 24 hours and, additionally, must also register their bobcat in person by the fifth day of the month following the date of take.
For more information regarding this year's bobcat quota, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "trap.”

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Endangered frogs calling again in Trempealeau County

MADISON, WI - For the first time in half a century, the unique clicking call of the Blanchard's cricket frog has been documented in the marshes of Trempealeau County.
In June 2017, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist Andrew Badje confirmed that what Wisconsin Frog and Toad Volunteer John Collison heard in Trempealeau County was indeed Blanchard's cricket frogs making their characteristic call. The call sounds like two ball bearings clicking together at increasing speed and was last reported in 1965.
While Blanchard's cricket frogs were historically abundant in southern Wisconsin in the early 1900s, they have always been rare in the northern edge of their range including in Buffalo, La Crosse, and Trempealeau counties. In those counties and statewide, Blanchard's cricket frog populations took a precipitous decline somewhere between the 1950s-1980s, and were found only in a handful of sites in southwest Wisconsin by the early 1990s. Explanations for the dramatic decrease include harsh winters, environmental pollutants, and habitat losses. The frog was added to the state endangered species list in 1982.
The frogs were also confirmed in Buffalo County in June, the first documented occurrence in that county in more than 35 years. And earlier this month, Badje documented a Blanchard's cricket frog population in La Crosse County, nearly 30 years after it was last documented.
"For frog-lovers, these are very welcome discoveries," says Badje, who works for the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program.
"They also show how important volunteer involvement in the Wisconsin Frog and Toad survey is to helping DNR detect population trends over time for frogs and to document the possible re-occurrence of species like the Blanchard's cricket frog 30-plus years later."
The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey is the longest running amphibian monitoring project in North America and relies largely on volunteers to collect data on the abundance, distribution and population trends of Wisconsin frogs. The survey marked its 35th anniversary in 2016 and was described in this Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine article along with a summary of frog trends over time.
"We really rely on citizen scientists to not only help monitor our frog populations, but to also provide rare species reports and other natural history observations," says Rori Paloski, a DNR conservation biologist who leads the reptile and amphibian team for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.
Badje says it is still too early to tell if the Trempealeau, La Crosse, and Buffalo County discoveries are signs the Blanchard's frogs are making a comeback in Wisconsin. Their re-discovery, however, suggests the frogs may have expanded into those areas from a nearby Minnesota population.
"Continued surveying on Wisconsin routes nearby will continue to tell if the species is expanding its range here," he said. "They certainly weren't here back when we completed surveys in the region in 2012, and didn't show up on the radar here until 2015 on a Wisconsin Frog and Toad survey."
People interested in helping fund work to monitor Blanchard's cricket frogs over the long-term now have a new option. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin recently launched the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund, an endowment fund that provides sustainable support to protect Wisconsin's frogs, turtles, snakes, lizards and salamanders. Find more information at WisConservation.org.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR