Deer movement study begins in southeastern Minnesota’s CWD zone

A Department of Natural Resources research project that will examine how deer move across the landscape in southeastern Minnesota’s chronic wasting disease management area is scheduled to begins on Monday, March 12.
“The data from this study will help us estimate male and female dispersal patterns as they relate to disease transmission and build movement models,” said Chris Jennelle, a DNR research scientist. “We can use that information to predict likely pathways of potential chronic wasting disease spread and also estimate causes of death for use in population models.”
The DNR’s private contractor plans to capture 115 deer of varying age and sex classes and fit them with GPS radio collars. Daily movements will be tracked to determine seasonal movements and dispersal pathways. Deer dispersal occurs when juvenile deer come of age and move away from their mothers. Exactly when that occurs during the May-to-July time frame, and how far they go, can vary.
Deer will be captured in nets launched from a helicopter. Captures will occur on private land where the DNR has obtained landowner permission. Deer also may be captured on public land. All captures will occur on and around the periphery of the disease management zone, also known as deer permit area 603.
DNR staff will keep participating landowners updated on how GPS collared deer use the local landscape.
DNR scientists in Minnesota hope to share movement data across the upper Midwest with colleagues in Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. With that information in hand, research and management strategies can be developed that will have a better chance of slowing disease spread and benefiting the long-term viability of deer populations.
More information about CWD can be found at mndnr.gov/cwd.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR seeks input on Winnebago Walleye Management Plan

OSHKOSH, WI – The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three public meetings on a proposed update to the Winnebago Walleye Management Plan.
The meetings will also offer the public an update on the status of the Winnebago System walleye population.  
Each meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with the first occurring Monday, March 19, at the JP Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh.
The second public meeting is set for Wednesday, March 21, at the Engler Center for the Performing Arts, 530 W. Main St., Chilton, and the third is set for Wednesday, March 28, at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center, N3880 Rogers Road, New London.
The Winnebago system is well known both for its healthy, self-sustaining walleye population and the decades-long history of public input in support of fisheries management.
This is the first major update to the plan since it originated in 1991. Winnebago System waters include lakes Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des Morts and Winnebago and all their tributaries, including the Wolf and upper Fox rivers, from their mouths upstream to the first dam.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Blue Moon Hike set at Merte's Slough Landing

Refuge ranger Ed Lagace is leading a hike to enjoy the last blue moon of 2018.
The hike will begin at the Mertes’ Slough Landing from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31. Lagace will share stories of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the great blue heron rookery and other wonders of nature that occur along the trail. Participants are advised to dress for the weather and bring binoculars or cameras to enjoy the blue moon which is scheduled to appear just before 8 p.m.
The Mertes’ Slough Landing is located at S3629 Highway 54, Town of Buffalo, WI. The landing is located on the Hwy 43/54 dike road on the Wisconsin side of Dick’s Marina. The GPS coordinates for the landing are 44°03`54.87"N 91°38`13.10"W.
For more information, contact Lagace at 507-494-6236 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Deer feeding bans continue in 16 Minnesota counties

A deer feeding ban remains in effect for 16 counties located in central, north-central and southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“This time of year, we start to hear of people interested in feeding deer, especially when they see deer searching for food before plants start to green up,” said Erik Thorson, acting big game program leader with the DNR. “People can help deer by being aware of and following the feeding bans that still are in place – they aid in preventing the spread of disease.”
Feeding bans in central and north-central Minnesota are precautionary and were put in place surrounding two farms where multiple captive deer were infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD). Testing of hunter-harvested deer in these areas last fall did not detect CWD in the wild, but surveillance efforts will continue until the disease is not detected for three consecutive years. The bans remain in place through February 2019.
Central Minnesota counties affected by the ban are Kandiyohi; McCloud; Meeker; Stearns; Wright; and the portion of Renville County north of U.S. Highway 212.
North-central Minnesota counties affected are Aitkin; Crow Wing; Morrison; the portion of Cass County south of Minnesota highways 34 and 200; and the portion of Mille Lacs County north of County Road 11.
In the southeastern Minnesota counties of Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Mower and Winona, a ban on deer feeding and deer attractants remains in effect through Wednesday, June 27, and will likely be extended because of ongoing disease issues. In Fillmore County, 17 wild deer have been found to have CWD since fall 2016, when the disease was first discovered near Preston.
Feed includes corn, grain, salt, mineral blocks, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay and other food that is capable of attracting or enticing deer. People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that prevents access by deer, or place the food at least 6 feet above the ground.
Food placed as a result of normal agricultural practices is generally exempted from the feeding ban, but cattle operators should take steps that minimize contact between deer and cattle.
One of the probable mechanisms for CWD spread among deer is over a food or attractant source that concentrates animals. Feeding bans are intended to reduce the number of areas where deer can come into close contact, either directly or indirectly.
“Even though people have good intentions, feeding often does more harm than good,” said Thorson. “In addition to spreading disease, feeding can lead to death when deer abruptly shift their diet or cause behavioral changes that end up harming the animals.”
More information about the precautionary feeding ban is available on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

2018 Spring fish and wildlife rules hearing questionnaire available online

MADISON, WI - The questionnaire package for the 2018 Department of Natural Resources spring fish and wildlife public hearing and annual Conservation Congress county meeting and the list of meeting locations is now available for review on the Department of Natural Resources website.
On Monday, April 9, there will be 72 public hearings, one in each Wisconsin county starting at 7 p.m. where people interested in natural resources management have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony to the DNR and the Conservation Congress on proposed natural resource related advisory questions that may impact future rule changes.
The hearings, held annually on the second Monday in April, are combined with the county meetings during which attendees can introduce and vote on citizen resolutions to address natural resources related issues.
The spring hearings cover three major areas: elections for county Conservation Congress delegates; DNR wildlife and fisheries ideas for potential rule changes; and Conservation Congress proposals for future rule development.
During the Conservation Congress county meetings, county residents have the option to run for a seat on the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their views about natural resources issues on the Conservation Congress, the citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and DNR. Individuals also have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation issues of a statewide nature to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process.
To view the 2018 spring wildlife and fisheries questionnaire package or for information about the process search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "spring hearings."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Richards to speak about CWD at Viterbo on Wednesday

Bryan Richards, Emerging Disease Coordinator at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI, will speak about chronic wasting disease at the Reinhart Center at Viterbo University in Room 107 on Wednesday, March 14, at 7 p.m.
CWD is a growing threat to the Coulee Region’s whitetail deer population.
Last fall a CWD positive deer was found just 3 miles from the La Crosse County line near Chaseburg. Therefore, no baiting or feeding will be allowed in La Crosse County in the future.
This informational session will cover disease basics, the distribution of CWD throughout North America and Wisconsin, scientific advances in assessing CWD and potential effects on the deer herd.
This meeting is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance and Viterbo University.For more information, contact Marc Schultz at 608-792-1445, Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704, or John Wetzel at 608-526-4238.

Navarino Wildlife Area honored for accessible hunting, fishing, more

FITCHBURG, WI - The Navarino State Wildlife Area has been honored with the Disability Advisory Council Richard Welsh Memorial Award for Outstanding Property. This is the first time a Wisconsin state wildlife property has been given this award.
Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff stationed at Shawano and the staff at the non-profit Navarino Nature Center, which is located on the state property, have been working together to provide accessibility to all hunters, students, visitors and others enjoying nature, including those with disabilities.
Navarino Wildlife Area is unique in Wisconsin. By incorporating a non-profit nature center on state land and forming a partnership to provide environmental education, the variety of programs, activities and available grants are numerous. Both DNR and Navarino Nature Center programs are enhanced by this close bond. Local communities and larger regional centers, such as Green Bay and Appleton, all benefit.
Kay Brockman-Mederas, wildlife biologist and property manager, and John Huff, Peshtigo area wildlife supervisor, accepted the award at a recent meeting of the Disability Advisory Council in Fitchburg. The presentation included comments on the nature center displays and facility, its accessible boardwalk over Glenn's Pond, the accessible waterfowl blind and viewing areas, disabled hunter access permits and the recent addition of a fishing pier on the Wolf River donated by Shadows on the Wolf, a conservation organization founded by hunters and anglers.
Other opportunities on Navarino Wildlife Area include an auto tour (booklet or CD available) which explains history and management, an interactive visitor's map, prairie and tree identification tags on nearby plants, interpretive signage along trails, "Senior Safaris" trolley tours and an accessible dock on the Wolf River.
Creating outdoor opportunities for all ages and abilities is a focus of many ongoing and new projects. These include expanding accessible trails around the nature center, boardwalk renovations, "Nature Playscape" development, more media-based messages, and fundraising for a new outdoor education resource facility.
For more information, the "Open the Outdoors" webpage explains accessible opportunities in Wisconsin. Navarino State Wildlife Area information is available on the DNR website. The Navarino Nature Center (exit DNR) website is linked through the wildlife area webpage.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR