Dead, dying ash trees may be too weak for tree stand use

MADISON, WI - State forest health specialists caution hunters to avoid placing tree stands in or near weakened ash trees, especially in the southern half of Wisconsin and Mississippi River counties.
DNR experts say many ash trees in southern counties are dead or dying from attack by the emerald ash borer and may unexpectedly drop large branches - or even snap, especially under the weight of an occupied tree stand.
"Infested or dead ash trees are not as structurally strong as healthy trees, so they are not a good place to put a deer stand," DNR forest health specialist Bill McNee said. "At this time of year, it can be hard to tell if a tree is infested by the emerald ash borer. As a precaution, put your stand in another type of tree that will be structurally stronger."
Falls from tree stands are a leading cause of serious injury for hunters. The 2016 Wildlife Society research showed 'the most avid hunters' face a 1-in-20 risk of getting hurt in a fall from a tree stand. In addition to practicing tree stand safety rules, hunters are encouraged to check the health of a tree before assuming it is strong enough to support the hunter in a tree stand.
McNee also urges hunters to be careful around ash trees when on the ground, especially in windy conditions.
Hunters can play a role in slowing the spread of the emerald ash borer. Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR Invasive Forest Pest Program coordinator, said: "If you're planning to have a fire at your hunting area get your firewood nearby. Wood you bring with you from a longer distance may already be infested with the ash borer, oak wilt or other harmful pests and raises the risk of spreading an infestation to healthy trees.
For information about known emerald ash borer infestations, moving firewood and identifying ash trees, visit (exit DNR).
To review tree stand safety tips, search the DNR website,, for treestand."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

New nature therapy benefit helps military personnel, vets

Active military personnel in any branch or unit of the United States armed forces and veterans with a service-related disability are now eligible to receive a free year-round vehicle permit, providing unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.
“If you’re wondering how to say ‘thanks for serving’ to a veteran in your life, consider inviting him or her to spend time outdoors with you,” said Erika Rivers, director the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “Visiting a Minnesota state park can provide a healthy dose of nature therapy.”
These new benefits were approved by state lawmakers during the 2017 Minnesota Legislative session (Minnesota statutes, section 85.053, subdivisions 8 and 10).
Studies done by the Warrior Institute, Outward Bound, Sierra Club and others show that outdoor recreation enhances a person's emotional, physical and physiological well-being.  
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the leading injury for American veterans. An estimated 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime, and 20 percent of the veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, it is estimated that less than 30 percent of veterans with mental health issues will seek help.
“For whatever reason - the stigma, the expense, or something else - people in general find it difficult to seek treatment for mental health issues,” said Kacie Carlson, northeast region naturalist for the Parks and Trails Division. “They may, however, willingly visit a park or trail, which can help combat stress and improve well-being.”
Carlson recently attended a conference on nature-based resiliency-building for members of the armed forces, veterans and their families. She hopes to see more veterans take advantage of the health benefits available to them in the outdoors.
“We as outdoor recreation managers hold the recipe for a very effective prescription for wellness: the outdoors,” she said.
There will be a special program on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Whitewater State Park (near Winona) about the POW camp at the park that was once home to German prisoners of war. (What did they do here? Where did they go? What was life like being a prisoner? Did they cause mischief?)
To see all of the licenses, permits and passes that are available to military personnel and veterans, and the form of identification that an individual needs to show, visit
The DNR is recognized as a Yellow Ribbon Company for its support of active and retired military personnel and their families.For more information, contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Sign up for Voluntary Public Access

MADISON, WI - The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, provides financial incentives to private landowners interested in making their land available for public access.
Collectively, 176 landowners currently provide 31,000 additional acres for wildlife-related recreation in 52 eligible counties across the state.
Financial incentives, in the form of annual leases, are available for private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife observation. Eligible land types include grassland, wetland, forestland, and in some cases agriculture land. Land enrolled in conservation programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, and Managed Forest Law is eligible for enrollment.
Annual lease payment rates are based on the land type (agriculture land = $3/acre, grassland/wetland = $10/acre, and forestland = $15/acre) and 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 25 percent usable cover and near properties currently open to public hunting and/or fishing.
Landowners who enroll in VPA-HIP will also receive technical assistance for habitat enhancement practices. Landowners who complete recommended practices will be eligible for habitat based financial incentive payments, in addition to the lease payments. Regional public access liaisons stationed in Baldwin, Janesville and Hartford, along with Wisconsin's Farm Bill biologists, will coordinate a habitat plan for interested landowners.
To see landowner and recreational user testimonials who participate in the program, watch the new video(Spanish subtitles and a Hmong version are also available thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS award #69-5F48-17-004).
Interested landowners should call Anne Reis, VPA-HIP Coordinator, at 608-279-6483 for more information or visit and search keyword "VPA".

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Duluth artist wins 2018 walleye stamp contest

Duluth artist Dean Kegler won the Minnesota walleye stamp contest.
His painting was selected by judges from among 11 entries for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Kegler’s painting of a walleye about to strike a crankbait will be featured on the 2018 walleye stamp. This is the third stamp contest victory for Kegler. He also has won the 2016 trout and salmon, and 2009 pheasant stamp contests.
The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5, but is not required to fish for or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers will be mailed the pictorial stamp. A pictorial collectable stamp without the validation is available for $5.75. Walleye stamps are available year-round and are need not be purchased at the same time as fishing licenses.
Three entries advanced as finalists and were selected Oct. 26, at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.
Revenue from stamp sales is used to purchase walleyes for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. The 2017 walleye stamp is still available for purchase at all license vendors. More information about stamps is available at
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

New maps make it easier to visit Minnesota state forests

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt and recreate in state forests. “The DNR has updated six state forest maps with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”
State forest users now have two maps options. A geo map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.
“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest - no more getting lost.”
The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches and picnic areas.
The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.
New geo and paper maps are now available for:
* Paul Bunyan State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
* Badoura State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties.
* St. Croix State Forest in Pine County.
* Huntersville State Forest in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena counties.
* Lyons State Forest in Wadena County.
* Chengwatana State Forest in Pine and Chisago counties.
The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMAs), two ruffed grouse management areas and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.
The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.
The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter, snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.
The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobliers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River. Digital, geo maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at
People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.         

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Deer breeding season about to begin

MADISON, WI - Drivers should be aware that over the next month the state's white-tailed deer breeding season is beginning and will continue through the end of November.
The fall breeding season coincides with the highest rate of deer-vehicle collisions as deer move around substantially more during this time of year.
Deer can be active at all times of day or night, but are most active around the sunset and sunrise time periods. Motorists can limit their chances of hitting a deer by remaining vigilant especially in areas where trees and vegetation are in close proximity to roads, as these are the places deer are most likely to be encountered.
To reduce the chance of a deer-vehicle collision, drivers are encouraged to follow these tips:
* Be on the lookout for deer, eliminate distractions while driving and slow down in early morning and evening hours - the most active time for deer.
* Do not rely on deer whistles (not proven to be effective).
* If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
* When you see one deer, be prepared for another as deer seldom run alone.
* If you see a deer looming in your headlights, do not expect the deer to move. Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
To take possession of a car-killed deer, drivers should register the deer by calling 608-267-7691, or online prior to removing the deer from the scene. Individuals will be required to provide their DNR customer ID and carcass location to complete the phone registration system. DNR customer ID's can be found in your Go Wild account or created online. A physical tag is not required to take possession of a car-killed deer after completing registration.
Deer carcass movement restrictions intended to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease also apply to car-killed deer from CWD affected counties. Individuals should go to and search 'CWD' for more information. Car-killed deer from CWD affected counties should not be taken beyond the adjacent county unless taken to a licensed taxidermist or meat processor within 72 hours.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Trappers should contact DNR about trapped wolves

MADISON, WI – Trappers who incidentally capture wolves are encouraged to contact Wisconsin Department of Natural resources staff and participate in Wisconsin’s wolf collaring and monitoring program.
“Tracking collared wolves is a critical component of Wisconsin’s wolf monitoring program. Trappers can help improve the quality of Department of Natural Resources wolf population data by allowing us to collar incidentally captured wolves before they are released.” said Nathan Libal, DNR wildlife biologist.
Voluntary participation from Wisconsin’s trappers is an important part of the department’s work with many stakeholders and partners to monitor the state’s wolf population.
In the event of an incidental wolf capture, DNR staff will work closely with the participating trappers to determine if the wolf is a good candidate for our monitoring program.  Interested trappers can contact DNR wolf program staff by calling 715-401-1764.
For more information regarding wolf monitoring and management in Wisconsin, please visit and search keyword “wolf.”
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR