Minnesota DNR investigating deer carcasses dumped in Wabasha County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources seeks the public’s help in identifying the person or people responsible for dumping the bodies of eight white-tailed deer near the Zumbro River in Wabasha County.
A state conservation officer received a call Monday, March 18, reporting the carcasses had been dumped sometime the night before on County Road 81 near the Zumbro River just outside of Kellogg. At least seven of the animals were bucks; all had their antlers or their antlers and skull plates removed.
“At the very least, this is a waste of Minnesota’s precious natural resources,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We urge anyone with information related to this ongoing investigation to call the Turn in Poachers hotline.”
The TIP hotline is 800-652-9093. All of the deer have been collected and will be tested for disease.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Wet conditions force temporary road and trail closures

Heavy rain and flooding mean some roads and trails in state forests, state parks, recreation areas, and wildlife management areas will close temporarily, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
This is because they are not firm enough to support vehicle traffic without causing damage. The closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.
“These are normal spring closures that happen when roads and trails become wet and fragile,” said Dave Schuller, state land programs supervisor for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and check the DNR website for updates. This is important for personal safety as well as avoiding damage to these roads and trails.”
Road and trail users should pay particular attention to state forest closures. Generally, all roads and trails in a particular forest will be closed, but not always. Those that can handle motor vehicle traffic will remain open, but may be restricted by gross vehicle weight. Signs will be posted at entry points and parking lots.
For information on road closures, log on to mndnr.gov/closures. Information on this page is updated on Thursdays by 2 p.m. However, closure signs may be in place before the website is updated.
Road and trail closure information also is available by contacting the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 888-646-6367 or 651-296-6157, (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).
For information on roads and trails on county land, contact the county directly.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Citizen scientists asked to lend their ears for frog, toad conservation

MADISON - Each spring for the past 35 years a small army of citizen scientists (or froggers, as they proudly call themselves) head out into the darkness to survey seasonal wetlands, marshes, lakes and rivers to help DNR conservation biologists document the breeding calls of frog and toads throughout Wisconsin.
"Once again, it's time for volunteers to lend us their ears," says Andrew Badje, the DNR conservation biologist who coordinates DNR's Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey. "The information volunteers provide is essential to monitoring and conserving frog and toads in Wisconsin."The traditional longstanding survey requires driving along a pre-set route for three nights, once each in early spring, late spring and early summer. Volunteers make 10 stops per night (five minutes at each site) and document the species heard calling and the relative abundance of each species.
Phenology surveys help monitor when frogs and toads first start calling each spring and summer. Phenology volunteers choose one wetland to monitor throughout the frog calling season and record data as often as possible for five minutes per night.
Finally, more volunteers are needed for a special effort to survey mink frogs, which often call in the daytime. Volunteers are recruited to listen twice during the day and twice at night along set routes in June and early July.
The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey was launched in 1984 amid concerns of declining populations of several species of frogs. Through the survey, citizen scientists have helped DNR conservation biologists define the distribution, status and population trends of all 12 frog and toad species in the state.
"Our froggers have also really become advocates for frogs and toads," Badje says. "They survey upwards of four routes in all corners of the state, bring their children and grandchildren on fun nighttime frog calling excursions and provide numerous frog and toad educational presentations at local libraries and nature centers.
"A few hardy 'uberfroggers' have even been surveying for 38 years, longer than I've been alive," Badje says. "With this level of enthusiasm, there is no doubt why this survey is the longest running citizen science amphibian calling survey in North America."
Since volunteers started collecting data in 1984, they've spent more than 9,200 nights surveying 91,000 sites, according to
"Without the level of monitoring volunteers can help provide, the DNR would have a more difficult time assessing how well our current conservation measures are working," Badje says.
Volunteers are currently documenting the highest levels of American bullfrogs and Blanchard's cricket frogs since the survey began, a sign that proactive conservation measures for these two species are likely paying off.
Volunteers have been instrumental in documenting new populations of Blanchard's cricket frogs along the Mississippi River in recent years, and in places they haven't been documented in over 30 years.
And volunteer data has documented a long-term decline for the northern leopard frog over the 35-year survey, while showing that spring peepers, boreal chorus frogs and green frogs have been on more stable paths since the survey began.
Read more about the survey and its results in the April 2016 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Take an overnight canoe camping trip with new ‘I Can!’ program

A new “I Can!”program offers participants the chance to learn the outdoor skills necessary to take an overnight canoe camping trip.
The overnight adventure trip is one of many summer programs Minnesota state parks and trails has available for beginners of all ages who want to learn to camp, paddle, mountain bike and fish.
Participants on the overnight trip will paddle down the St. Croix River to a riverside campsite, learning canoeing skills along the way. After a night of camping on the river, participants will paddle a few miles downriver to St. Croix State Park where the outdoor adventure will come to an end.
“Our goal is to make it easy for busy families to discover the fun of spending time outdoors together,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “We provide all the gear, along with friendly instructors who can show you how to use it.”
Registrations for the “I Can Paddle! Canoe Camping” program and other classes are being taken now. Programs start in June and continue through August. They include:
* I Can Paddle! Canoe Camping – Learn how to plan for an overnight canoe camping trip. Meals and the use of canoeing and camping equipment are included. Participants must be at least 10 years of age; children under age 18 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian ($85 for the overnight program; up to two people per canoe).
* I Can Camp! – Develop or refine fire starting and camp cooking skills. Sleep on comfortable air mattresses in tents large enough to accommodate two adults and up to three children ($60 for one-night programs or $85 for two-night programs).
* I Can Paddle! – Get out on the water for a sea kayaking adventure on Lake Superior ($35 for ages 12-18, $45 for adults) or a guided canoeing or kayaking trip on a Minnesota lake or river (prices vary).
* I Can Mountain Bike! – Learn riding techniques and explore mountain bike trails with guides from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Club ($15 for ages 10-15, $25/adults).
* I Can Fish! – Experience the fun of casting into the water and the excitement when there's a tug on the line ($7/person, children under age 12 are free).
The “I Can!” series also includes the Archery in the Parks programs, which are free. No reservations are needed.
For more information about the programs - including dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements - visit mndnr.gov/ican or 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).
To register for an event, visit mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, except holidays).
The “I Can!” series is made possible with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths of one percent sales tax revenue from the Legacy Amendment. Revenue to the Parks and Trails Fund may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
The I Can! programs received a Government Innovation Award in 2015. Nearly 18,000 people have participated in these programs since they were first offered in 2010.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin's National Archery in the Schools Program tournament set

MADISON - Nearly 1,600 of Wisconsin's youth archers are set to gather March 29-30, to aim for top honors at the 2019 Wisconsin National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament at Wisconsin Dells.
The annual event will be held at the Woodside Convention and Expo Center. The tournament is open to the public and free for all spectators.
Daniel Schroeder, coordinator of the department's NASP, says the tournament offers fun, exciting views for spectators.
"These competitors in grades 4 through high school travel from 66 Wisconsin schools. They are serious about their archery skills and it is exciting to watch them compete," Schroeder said.
Athletes and their families travel from all over the state to compete for awards and to qualify for the NASP national tournament held each year in Louisville, KY.
Schroeder says the program offers school children a chance to experience a sport they may not have known was available to them. "This program is growing because the schools are dedicated, getting more students into the sport," he said. "Students who may not see themselves as competitive athletes have found their sport - and it is a  confidence builder in academics and beyond."
The Wisconsin Dells state tournament also will feature a competitive NASP/IBO 3-D animal range, a bow fishing shooting area and several exhibitors.
Through NASP, archery is typically taught during the school day as part of a physical education curriculum. Every student uses identical, universal fit equipment and is taught safety, proper form, shooting and scoring arrows and much more. Interested teachers can attend a one-day training session to receive Basic Archery Instructors certification. Archery equipment and a teaching curriculum is provided, and grants are available to help offset any initial startup costs for schools. With the grants, schools can get started with minimal investment and budget strain.
For more information, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "NASP" or visit naspschools.org.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Rare Wisconsin songbird flies into record books again

MADISON - Wisconsin conservation biologists are eagerly awaiting the return of Kirtland's warblers, hopefully including an Adams County bird that flew to fame in 2015 when researchers found it wintering 1,500 miles away in the Bahamas.
The bird has since returned to Adams County at least three times to nest and been a father twice over, adding to Wisconsin's growing population of this endangered species and knowledge about the rare songbird's habits and habitats.
"We're looking forward to seeing if he comes back in 2019," says Davin Lopez, the Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist leading DNR's efforts.
"This bird has been doing exactly what we want him to do: return to his birthplace and have a family. He also has been an excellent scientific subject, showing the value of the information we can learn from banding and monitoring," Lopez adds.
The bird hatched in 2014 in Adams County, and was one of six fledglings to have bands attached to their leg that year to help track if the young warblers would return to the breeding site in following years. The bird became known as ABPI, short for the color and order of the bands on his leg (Aluminum, Blue, Purple, Indigo).
Ashley Olah, the DNR nest monitor that summer, subsequently sighted the bird on Cat Island on April 6, 2015, in the Bahamas, where she was working as part of a Smithsonian Institute research team surveying for the rare songbird.
The discovery was the avian equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, and now, four years later, ABPI remains the first, and only Kirtland's warbler to date that was banded in Wisconsin and sighted again in the Bahamas.
ABPI was not found in Wisconsin that summer, but returned to its Adams County birthplace in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and had successful nests of its own in 2017 and 2018, according to Sarah Warner, the biologist leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's banding and conservation efforts in Wisconsin.
"The life history data we have for ABPI is rare for most ornithological banding studies," Warner says. "Without banding and other monitoring efforts in place for the Wisconsin program, we never would have known his wintering site, his longevity, and his strong site fidelity."
"Site fidelity" means the bird returns to its birthplace.
Funding for the monitoring program was provided by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

More good news for the Kirtland's warbler
That ABPI returned to Wisconsin again in 2018 and successfully nested was just one piece of good news for Kirtland's warblers, according to the recently released 2018 nesting season report on the FWS's Wisconsin Kirtland's warbler web page.
Wisconsin's Kirtland's warbler population has continued to increase and geographically expand in response to partners' conservation efforts, growing from 11 birds and three nests documented in 2007 to 51 birds and 16 total nests in 2018.
In addition to monitoring and nest protection, partners have maintained and expanded the pine barrens habitat Kirtland's warblers need. Pine barrens are a globally rare type of savanna that support many other rare or declining plant and animal species, including the state endangered sand violet and the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The number of Kirtland's warblers in Wisconsin doesn't yet meet the criteria to be removed from the state's endangered species list. However, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to announce this spring if the bird will be removed from the federal endangered and threatened species list. The species has met federal recovery goals following years of intensive habitat management, mostly in lower Michigan where the core population is found.
Visit the Kirtland's Warbler Conservation Team website for more information.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR seeks input on Timber Riders ATV trail proposal

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites public review and written comments on a proposal by Beltrami County to obtain grant-in-aid funding for additions to the all-terrain vehicle trail system.  
The new trail, known as the Timber Trail, will provide a 128-mile ATV trail system. The trail will follow existing township and county roads, an existing ATV trail (the Blue Ox Trail), highway ditch and a new small connection trail. The trail will be maintained by Beltrami County and the Timber Riders ATV Club.
The DNR will accept written comments until 4:30 p.m. on April 16. Comments may be submitted:
* Via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
* Via mail to Dave Schotzko, area supervisor, Parks and Trails Division, Minnesota DNR, 3296 State Park Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601.
A map of the proposed trail segments can be found at mndnr.gov.
For more information, call Dave Schotzko, 218-308-2367.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR